Mexico 2015.

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The plain old truth is that I haven’t quite known what to say.  I’ve toyed with shutting my little blog down because I hardly think what I have to share is of any consequence in light of my recent discoveries in all things spiritual.  Then again maybe the little things of life are that much more important because ‘heaven is all around us’ as it were.

We went to Mexico again this year and it was amazing.

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It was a slower pace than normal for me and I realize that part of my emotional/spiritual journey will be learning how to truly slow down.  It is only when I slow down that I can enjoy motherhood.  As a mother I am constantly pulled to move quickly to avoid a child’s meltdown, to keep up with the laundry; to keep up with the dishes, the diapers, the nursing, the teaching and answering questions, the endless amount of chores to be done while also being a good mom.  That is not even to mention the never-ending dust bunnies that I see and I know I just vacuumed yesterday (or was that last week already?).  I will never keep up with all of it.  I will never do enough.  And if I try I might just end up not being as good of a mom as I want to be.

So I need to slow down.

There is a parallel here that I am discovering ever so slowly.  Just as I will never be able to do all that I need to do to reach perfection in my daily life as wife and mother, I will also never be able to be good enough, pure enough, strong enough, brave enough, loving enough, kind enough, etc., etc.  Not without Jesus.  What He did for me is only now beginning to take shape in my heart and mind.  It is just beginning and it is OVERWHELMING.

So you see why I’m having a hard time coming up with something snippy and useful to post?  My normal attitudinal diatribe is sort of paling in comparison to the greatness that is HE who is everything, and HE who has saved us, and guess what?  You have been saved too.  Yup, I said it.  JESUS loves you.  Haha, I don’t even care that I sound like a WWJD bracelet wearing-card carrying thumper.  If you don’t know this I’m gonna tell you, because you don’t know until He has introduced himself to you, but once He does, hold on to your behind.  Not joking.

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So, in light of the revelation that has totally taken over my life (because, you will remember, I thought I was a Christian.  I thought I loved Jesus, but YOU GUYS…I had no idea.  I had never MET Him), you can see why I’m considering my blog to be somewhat ‘meh’ these days.

But this morning a dear friend sent me a text and in it she said something about me being an inspiration.  ME??  I thought about that for a minute, and it was surprising and it felt so good, especially coming from her.  She is the one who is inspiring.  But anyway, it got me thinking about my blog.  If my, ‘testimony’ were to reach ONE person, that is enough.

There was this guy who went to preach in Africa.  He was straight-up American with no foreign languages on the docket.  When he opened his mouth to speak to a large crowd of people his words came out in German.  He was speaking fluent German and he doesn’t speak German.  He later found out there was one person in the audience who only spoke German for whom his testimony had obviously been intended.  This is what I’m talking about.  This is my God.  He cares to go after that one lost sheep so badly that He will go to insane lengths with unfathomable patience to get you.  To get you.

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Yeah that’s right, Mr. H. is staring you down.  Be slightly nervous.  I fell for him because he smoked, drank, had tattoos and dropped the F bomb regularly whilst having a sprinkling of reverence for God which I thought was attractive in that sexy-humble kind of way.  That was us pre-children I’ll have you know.  But God is sneaky because it was marrying Mr. H. that really got me.  Slowly but surely his love for the Lord and prayer for my soul caught me in that net and as I look around at all the other fish here with me I realize that my God is MOVING right now in a way I never knew possible.

He is after you.  Don’t doubt it for a minute, and His brilliance in going after those of us who have lived in DEEP sin and rebellion is that once we find that absolute TRUTH, we are unafraid of what others think of us since we have lived a life on the outside our entire lives.  A girlfriend I never would have imagined would give her heart to Jesus texted me in January that she has met the Lord and now all we do is talk about Him.  You should have seen us 12 years ago (you should have seen me two months ago).

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Oh yeah, Mexico.  This is basically how I lived down there.  Dolly chunk-a-munk lived on me and we walked everywhere like this.  It’s our jam at home now and I love it.

I am sorry I haven’t been posting much.  I am sorry I’m not posting fun food stuff.  I have a ton to share there.  I’ve been baking 100% rye sourdough and it’s good but it’s kind of super rye-ee.  Now I’m trying a mix of rye and spelt.  I just want to steer clear of wheat, but you guys.  I can’t seem to pull off beautiful bread, artisan style crumb, with 100% whole grains.  Anyway, I’m going to get to a place where I’m thrilled with something in that department before I post.  I have a couple of tricks I’ve learned from a sweet little rye cookbook I bought HERE that I will share soon.

I’m making water kefir again, but it is taking about 15 batches for it to be lively enough to be super bubbly and delicious.  I’ll post on that once it’s a total success.

Truthfully I haven’t been inspired in the kitchen.  Just doing the few things I do because I know how, but not venturing out much.  I don’t know if all moms with two kids under two have a hard time finding TIME, but I sure do.  Very often I have to choose between washing my hair or changing new poo diapers; catching up on emails or sleep.  The fact that I’m writing this post right now basically means my living room is covered in legos, there is flour all over the kitchen counter, and I need to vacuum before the Mr. gets home.  Will it get done?  No really, I’m actually asking ’cause I don’t know.

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That is either a crocodile or an alligator, but either way, not cool.  You know how they kill you right?  Spinning down down, creepy evil buggars if you ask me.

Back to Jesus.

There is something I have to say here.  You truly just cannot and will not know until you know.  You are an atheist.  Fine.  I have many friends who are.  I’m woo-woo and you can write me off and that is fine because you know what?  He will have His way.  If the hound of heaven is after you, you almost have no hope of escaping.  I sure didn’t, and thank goodness because now that I KNOW, I am just plain overwhelmed that I may have never known Him.  And I’m only talking about in THIS LIFE.  There is eternity to consider here.  You know the whole ‘you don’t have a soul you are a soul’ thing right?  That’s a deal.  And also, C.S. Lewis said God has placed eternity in our hearts.  It’s true.  I knew it.  That longing, that unfillable by any other means thing.  And believe me, I have tried those other means.  All. Of. Them.  You don’t have a longing?  You are stoned then, and that doesn’t count.  You can’t really measure anything if you don’t take the test properly.

And one more thing.  I was in the camp for a while that subscribes to the whole “well, might as well be safe and believe Jesus died for my sins, because if it isn’t true then no harm, and if it is, ‘yay, no hell for me’.”  I say take that one step further and really put it to the test.  Put Christianity to the gosh-darn test and take your coffee loving, book reading, science-y-snobby-hipster-bottom to your favorite coffee shop, pull out your mac, sip your black americano (or true italian macchiato; none of this ‘starbucks macchiato made-like-a-late’ bull honkey) and follow this foolish little formula:

Ask the Holy Spirit to reveal Himself to you (he doesn’t exist right?  So you can do this safely just to prove it).

Read the bible.  I mean, like the whole thing (no, not in one sitting you have to sleep).  Every time you open it though you have to ask to meet the Lord, and you have to actually want the Truth.  If you don’t really want to know the Truth, whether that be that God doesn’t or does exist, then you are just an angry atheist and those are just funny (Richard Dawkins) because they are so angry at God that they spend their entire lives trying to get others to stumble…oh how grateful I am that my sins are forgiven because I have made so many stumble…but I digress.  Anyway, if you want the Truth regardless of what it is, then you will find it.  I promise you.

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This guy here is a dragon.  This guy dares you to do it.

-Bee

Mexico 2014.

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Oh Mexico.  Another perfectly timed trip.  Winter here in Washington state is rather blah and for some reason this year more than ever before.  That is probably because I was so sick for the six weeks leading up to the trip, that Dub and I barely left the house and were literally dying for some sun.  There are 14 of our family members that have done this Mexico trip two years in a row now.  I am not sure if we are going to mix it up and try somewhere new next year, but the last two years have been totally amazing, due in no small part to the exceptional resort where we stay.

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I’m pretty sure they put drops of essential oil in every water source so you are always distinctly aware of the clean and fresh environment.  I have done my fair share of world traveling, but haven’t had much experience with anything all-inclusive until now.  From what I’ve heard, all-inclusive is generally not so good.  The Marival is obviously the exception to this rule.  There are four excellent restaurants and full bars, including an amazing spa.  The menus have organic options, and every morning along with breakfast they serve fresh pressed juices.

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The grounds are kept spotless and there are always attentive and kind staff on hand to help with whatever you need.  Until last year I was rather skeptical about travel in Mexico.  I believed what so many Americans believe, that Mexico is mostly a dangerous place, full of drug running and human trafficking.  I’ve been to several countries in Africa, some multiple times; I’ve been to Indonesia several times and alone; Thailand, Nepal, Costa Rica, Israel, Dubai, Jordan, all over Europe throughout my life, and so on.  Still, Mexico was probably my most feared destination with a baby.  It’s the movies probably.  I’m here to say that I was just plain wrong.  Of course there are danger zones in Mexico, but Nuevo Vallarta is probably safer than the town/city you live in, and the resort/compound at which we stay makes it even more so.  There are kids all around and everyone is super friendly.

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We had a pretty cool visit from some iguanas several days in a row.  My uncle used to have one and warned us that it wasn’t the mouth we needed to avoid, but the tail, and it will whip around and slice you open in a second.  Still, we were probably getting too close (Jae especially, of course).  Then one time I was just sitting in the shallow pool and watching one of them and one of the staff walked up to him without noticing.  Once the guy saw the iguana he stopped immediately and veered WAY around him.  When in doubt do as the locals do.  I stopped lurking so closely after that.

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We took a trip into Puerto Vallarta for “shopping” (but really just looking because most of it is…meh) and our favorite little restaurant for lunch.

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We got to see a humpback whale and we weren’t even whale watching!

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We enjoyed many days by the pool and many dinners together as a family.

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Dub had his Umma with him every day for a week.  He was in hog heaven.

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Oh, and my dad decided to interrupt probably one of the most peaceful moments of relaxation in the world by dumping a champagne bucket full of ice water on me in this exact moment…

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Thanks pops, and watch your back.

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This guy.

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Oddly he wasn’t much for the water until about the 6th day in.

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He did however, ask for pancakes every single morning.  Just like his mama; not so into water, way into food.

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Thank you family for such a wonderful trip-we love you!

Mexico The Trip.

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Welcome to Mexico.  Our wonderful family took a much-needed February vacation down to Nuevo Vallarta this past week,  and I was blown away by the place and the people.   As we all know, I put a ridiculous amount of thought into what to bring for baby Dub but found that it really wasn’t as different there than it is here.  Where we stayed the water was clean and the food was amazing and I certainly didn’t need the first aid kit I insisted on bringing.

The thing I feared most was the plane ride, but as you can see from the picture here, I was a happy mama and baby Dub was a dream flyer (with the help of his Umma, shown in the background).

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The flight was painless, albeit stressful since I know enough to know that a 6 month old (any age?) is a ticking time-bomb.  The drive to our hotel was at most 20 minutes, and once we arrived, paradise descended upon us and didn’t depart until the day before we left when I spotted two people checking out wearing jeans and rolling carry-ons.  At that point I seriously considered requesting that the hotel institute a law banning normal people clothes being worn anywhere on the premises.

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Our room was the size of an apartment and Mr. H. and I decided we want to live there.  Not really, but really.  It had a full size kitchen and a living-room, two bathrooms, and an amazing patio.

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Welcome.

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The view…

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So other than eating amazing food and lounging by the pool for seven days what did we do?  Not much actually, but we did take a trip into town and of course I had to have a coconut.

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For the first time in my travels I actually didn’t do anything on this vacation.  Maybe it’s because I’m officially old now that I have a baby, or maybe I’ve finally reached maturity.  Either way, I finally get what a vacation is.  I am home now feeling rested and ready to take on the last few truly cold months the Northwest has to dish out.

I did do one thing on the trip though.  I took one really great photo of Mr. H.

IMG_0030I dig this photo.  Ray-Ban should sponsor me.

Wait, and this one of the Dub is pretty nice as well.  It’s so cool to take acceptable photos of those you love most.

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I love the Canon 7D.

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Oh wait, I did do more than just lounge by the pool.  We swam with freaking sea lions.  I moaned and groaned and did not want to go.  My dad and uncle and Mr. H. hassled me until I had to give in and I am SO GLAD I DID.  I thought there was no way they could be as cool as dolphins, and I’d already done that.  I was so wrong. (Relish this moment Mr. H.)

Did you know sea lions are incredibly smart and sweet, and that they are soft and like really big sweet…well, lions?  I was actually so excited and in love with Marina the sea lion that I literally had to stop myself from crying in the salt-water pool.  I will spare you the photos of my elation.  Seriously, you don’t want to see it.  I was out of control.  You can see Marina running to the pool though…

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So yeah, lots of eating and drinking (although I just had a beer here and there since I’m BFing, and let’s just say Corona and Pacifico taste a bit like lime water compared to the beers we enjoy here in the Northwest made with local hops.  First world concerns, as Mr. H. says.

Thank you to my wonderful family (baby whisperer) for such an amazing trip.  I will close with a photo of what I did most and what I do best.  Eat. Good. Food.

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Next up, something about food please.

-Bee

The Mexico List, and an update on the amber necklace.

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Mexico.  I certainly never thought I could be smitten by Mexico and lounging poolside.  I’m more of a far away backpack traveler at heart.  This trip has revealed to me a side of Mexico I never knew, and also, a side of myself that I quite like.  Slow down Bee.  Also, having a baby makes travel super-duper fun, stressful, and more fun.  This post is not going to be about the trip, but about preparing for the trip.  I want to tell you what I brought with me, what saved my arse, and what I didn’t end up needing.

I had lists, and in a previous post I told you I would post my lists here.  I had lists on my phone, in my diaper bag, in my email with links to other mama’s travel lists, and on my nifty little list board that Mr. H. bought for me, just because, even though my lists drive him bonkers.  Instead of literally posting pictures of those, I will use the power of my brain (something rarely done these days) and actually remember.

I had a different plan for each piece of luggage I would bring.  The diaper bag was the first line of defense, posing as my “small personal item” for the plane (haha), and then after that was the carry-on that is as large as they will allow, and appears to look very much like an airstream, so says my mother.  In the diaper bag I had the essentials I knew would be life savers in case of a meltdown, butt blowout (the baby not me), and/or just general 6 month old baby boredom.  The carry-on was back-up.  Refills of the essentials, and extra clothes for me and Mr. H. should we encounter something disgusting, which was more than likely.

Then there was the monstrosity that is my new “I have an effing baby” suitcase which I pretend to hate but actually love.  It too resembles an airstream with some euro flare.  In it I had everything else.  The diaper bag was pretty straight  forward for a mom.  Diapers, wipes, toys, clothes, changing pads, alcohol-free baby wipes for Dub’s hands on dirty-stinky-sick-making airport stuff, the skin of a mango since baby Dub LOVES that, etc.  The suitcase is what concerns you.

Okay nevermind, I am going to use my list to tell you my list.  My brain is already tired.

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Here we go.  So I think this is pretty self-explanatory but I’ll touch on a couple of things.  I knew we were going near the equator and I still thought I should bring vitamin D since the babe can’t get that from my milk, but I did think better of it and didn’t pack it so no judgy my retardation.  Also, I thought in case Dub got too much sun I could lather him with coconut oil in case there wasn’t an aloe plant nearby.  Snacks for Mr. H. and I so I didn’t resort to eating airport food, which worked on the way down, but not on the way up since I have no self-control and ate it all.  We got truly healthy snacks.  Organic, soaked and sprouted fruit-seed-nut bars that cost something like five thousand dollars a pack, but hey, I knew we could use the energy.  I’m the kind of traveler that loves to sleep on the plane and forget I was ever there (minus the take-off which I truly live for), so knowing I couldn’t exactly sleep since I now have a baby, I wanted to be prepared.  Real food works wonders, fake food puts you in a coma.  Diaper covers with disposable diapers?  Yes.  I am a cloth diaper mama but I brought chlorine free diapers and wipes on this trip for my sanity.  I use covers with disposables because they seriously work to keep poopies off of baby clothes and therefore mama.  Boom.  Now, I agonized over the sun hat, spf, swim diaper, and floatie to purchase but I’m very happy with my choices.  Let me share with you.

(I should note here that as a cloth diaper mama I have found that the service and selection at Jillian’s Drawers is truly incredible, and since I feel they thoroughly vet the products they carry, I used their site to determine the good brands for my trip.  I would have purchased everything through them, but they were out of most of what i needed.  Must have been the time of year.)

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Think sport/think baby are the same.  This is the one item I needed that they did have in stock.  This is the brand I would definitely use for a baby.  Very safe.  It is thick so I didn’t find it particularly easy to get on, but I would rather that than a toxic one.

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The iplay sun flap sun hat.  It has an adjustable string in the back, and ties for the chin.  It stayed on and it will fit him for at least a year.  I found that Dub was really protected in this hat.

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Imse Vimse swim diaper.  Arguably the best swim diaper on the market.  Great fit, and great at containing a mess, although I never had to deal with that.  From what I read this is the way to go.  I also bought a cheaper one as a back up at Target right before we left for in case this one got dirty and I wanted to put Dub back in.  Didn’t need it.

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Swimways baby spring float by Swimways.  I put way too much thought into whether or not to get the one with the canopy.  If you get the sun hat, my opinion is that you don’t need the canopy, but of course we weren’t in direct sun for super long periods of time.  This was a great purchase, although my guy was PISSED when I first put him in it.  I mean, I could have done it better.  Mommy bad.  I didn’t get him wet first, and it was a little cool for him.  Here is how that looked while everyone drinking chichis around the pool judged me…

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Oops.

We did have more luck about 10 minutes later when I did it proper like and got him wet while I held him.  I am a spaz and I just get too excited.  Either way, the float was great.  He is just barely 6 months so he has a lot of room to grow in it.

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Last but not least, I got this (but in blue) rashguard.  For those of you who don’t know, a rashguard is a lightweight spf shirt that you can wear both in the water and out.  It keeps your baby’s skin protected (spf 50) and also dries quickly after being in the water.  I had no idea about these before, but it helped me feel better about the harsh sun.  At my local secondhand baby shop I also picked up a second rash guard which I did NOT need.  One point for you Mr. H.

We are doing baby-led weaning (more on that later, and no, I am not weaning my baby) and I didn’t once use a bib.  I just don’t care if he get’s messy I guess.

I agonized over what baby carrier to bring.  I have the Baby Bjorn original, the Ergo, and the K’tan.  I chose the Ergo for this trip because in case we were to have to brace for impact on the plane I wanted what I felt to be the most secure, fastest to get on, (although the Bjorn is pretty speedy) and most plane crash safe carrier I could have.  No I am not joking.  Yes I am a freak.  I chose correctly even though we will never put that to the test.  I was more than happy with the Ergo for it’s comfort and even though Dub loves to look out (Bjorn), he was quite happy and seemed to feel comforted facing me in such a new place.

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Since I don’t normally use sposies (that is short for disposables, I’m just going to try to explain all the mama speak here for those who don’t know) I wasn’t sure how many to bring for one week, I brought two packs of 35 and holy cow I only used one.  Those things really hold moisture.  Also, Dub didn’t poop for two whole days!  I was starting to worry when on the third day I opened his diaper to find World War III.  Must have been the travel.

So what did I not need?  Well, the double purchases were stupid.  Oh, and did I even mention baby bug spray?  I bought this one at Target.

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California baby bug repellant

Didn’t need it for Dub, the bugs hated him.  I on the other hand should have used it.  I’m still itching like crazy.

In summary, I learned that I probably don’t need to plan for a plane crash, I don’t need doubles of things like swim diapers, and that overall I’m a pretty good mom if only because I care to think about every detail.

An update on the amber teething necklace.  We didn’t have any crazy episodes of wailing down there.  I did bring acetaminophen and gave it to him once because the teething tablets didn’t work.  I am not sure if the necklace is doing something, but he hasn’t had an episode like the ones that drove us to purchase it since we put it on.  Also, if you happen to sit at breakfast next to a bunch of nurses you might get an earful about how the necklace on your baby isn’t safe, and how nurses know everything, and some other stuff.  Unfortunately I wasn’t there to defend my awesome mommy status and my husband wasn’t armed with the following information to do so for me.  The amber necklace I purchased has a break away clasp that will come apart with very little pressure.  Each bead is individually tied to ensure the baby can’t break it and then choke on the beads.  In addition to that I purchased the smallest size so he can’t get it over his chin to chew on it.  Take care to purchase legit amber if you are going to get one.  I hear certain ones are a scam out there.  Next up, Mexico THE TRIP!

Peace.

Dub, teething, and the amber necklace.

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Let me introduce to you the one that has changed my life forever, baby Dub.

What on earth was I doing until I met this guy?

Yes, under his chin there if you really look you will see an amber necklace.  As with all things I had strong opinions about before I had a baby, I have eaten my words with this necklace.  I’ll be honest with you.  When I saw a little boy with one of these on (pre-baby) I judged his mother for being woo woo and making her son look like a girl.  Well, ladies and gentleman I am here to tell you that after two nights of wailing screaming and finally resorting to baby acetaminophen when all the chamomile tinctures and Hylands homeopathic pills didn’t work, we are now attempting the miracle that is the amber teething necklace.  No, your baby doesn’t teethe on it.  They wear it against their skin and supposedly the amber magic enters into the bloodstream and, hippie mothers around the world claim, your baby hardly feels the cutting of the teeth ever again.  Dub shall be the judge of that.  We are on day two.

As for this blog and the future I must mention here that we will be in Mexico in less than a week, and I (and Mr. H.) are living for it.  In this part of the world there really is nothing better than ditching the winter blues for some serious sun.  Yes Dub is excited.  Yes, he just said that.

I  am not sure if I will post again before we leave, as I have never traveled with a baby, certainly not internationally, and I have lists…LISTS of things to remember.  Oooooh, okay I will post one more thing before I leave.  My lists.  Boring for some, fun for ME!

Okay you can see one more of him…

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This is Dub in his new high chair.  Again something I said I would never do; spend real money on baby stuff.  I’ll do a post on this particular baby thing soon.  Oh it is amazing, AH-MAZING.  Can you guess what company could create a high chair warranting such praise?  I bet you can.

‘Til next time,

Bee