The 2011 VMAs

To be honest, with birthday festivities on Sunday, I completely forgot about the VMAs until I checked my Twitter feed and saw all you guys tweeting about the event.

So I caught a VERY late rerun of it to see what it was all about this year.

I think the preshow should have been called "Selena Gomez and Friends" as I just kept seeing her pal-ing around with Beiber and Demi Levato, etc. And sorry Cobra Starship, I still ONLY like your Snakes on a Plane song. Beiber looked quite butch-feminine too, poor kid.

Gaga surprised everyone who was wondering what crazy get-ups she was going to be sporting this time when she kicked off the show dressed as the dude from her latest video "You and I". She stayed in character throughout the whole show. It was definitely a change for her, but still just as bizarre!

Nicki Minaj presented an award with a super skinny Jonah Hill... it worked for Seth Rogan but Jonah just looks a bit odd! And Nicki looked like she was trying to be Gaga with her whacked out get-up.

Chris Brown, despite the fact I've never really liked him, gave a pretty neat dance performance which included "dances" from different eras in music, such as grunge headbanging from Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit" video. I read today though that he lip sync'd it though, which is kinda disappointing since Pink did all the wire trapeze work last year and didn't lip sync.

The Britney tribute was pretty lame and too short... and Dude Gaga hovering next to her during the whole acceptance speech with puppy dog eyes (after Britney turned down a kiss, stating she's already done that on the VMAs) was just creepy.

http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/i/2011/08/28/Beyonce-pregnant-VMA_240.jpgBeyonce's performance was quite classy though and yes, she modeled her baby bump at the end which was cute.

Adele's performance was great as usual.

The Amy Winehouse tribute was pretty good and the footage with Tony Bennett was pretty neat to see! She had amazing talent... too bad she wasted it.

Katy Perry's get-up at the end was just plain strange... I get the 80s look was supposed to be from her TGIF/Last Friday Night video, but what was up with the yellow box on her head?

What's in the box?!?!
And Lil Wayne's performance... ugh... so, SO much fail in that one. For one, it was auto-tune city. Second, he sampled Iron Man - that's just... no. He gave up lip syncing altogether halfway through the performance and there was sooooo much swearing in the song that us viewers at home were just hearing a constant string of annoying beeps. One of the worst performances ever.

I give up - these MTV Award shows just keep getting worse and worse... the movie awards are a joke (Twilight for best movie EVERY. YEAR. IN. A. ROW?! Are you kidding me?!) and the VMAs haven't been worth watching in years.

I'll still probably catch a rerun of next years though. And the year after.

Fun with Our Phones Monday #1

Okay so I realize it's now officially Wednesday (although since I haven't gone to bed yet it's still technically Tuesday in my mind!) but since it was my birthday and we wanted to have fun evening hubby took Monday night off and well, I forgot, lol...

Anyways, I first saw this link-up last week via some bloggers I recently started following and decided I wanted to start participating in a weekly post again since it's been awhile and well, I'm always taking photos of Jay at least throughout the week if not other random stuff we see while out and about =)

 Showing off his Robot jammies I bought him from work and of course he's wearing his bib as a cape - I call these his "Super Jay" pics, lol...

Since Jay now has a pair of jammies for every day of the week I've been letting him pick out which ones he wants to wear but putting them all in front of him and whichever one he grabs first is his selection. We've been doing this since he was a newborn, giving him options and letting him "pick" - I think it's good for him and gives him a little bit of independence and lets him express his personality.

I went in to check on him before we went to bed and found him laying asleep like this in his crib! I'd say he looks quite comfy!

 Last Thursday I was over at my parent's house, hanging out after work as I had to pick Jay up anyway and my sis's boyfriend decided he was going to make pizza for dinner and invited me and hubby to join as the pizza was quite huge! We hung around for a bit too and I snapped some cute photos of Jay. The 1st one he's got his eyes closed cuz of the flash (oops!) and the 2nd one he just looks mischievous!

 My birthday ice cream cake from our family cookout we had at our house on Sunday! 2 candles on 1 side, 7 on the other (cuz we don't own 27 candles, lol...)

Jay snuggling with his daddy after all our birthday guests left and his sugar high from the bit of ice cream cake he had finally wearing off (kiddo was literally bouncing all over the place, lol...)


How I spent birthday #27!

http://rlv.zcache.com/isapi/designall.dll?action=realview&pdt=card&pending=false&pid=137027670847540558&type=greetingcard&orientation=vert&side_01=front_vert&side_03=inside2_vert&side_04=back_vert&bg=ffffff&max_dim=80&rvtype=product&square_it=true&view=frontWell yesterday (Monday) I officially entered my late-20s as I turned 27, an age I actually don't mind and a number I kinda like, lol...

Anyways, we celebrated.

I requested Sunday and Monday off work as 1) I didn't want to work on my birthday and 2) we invited family over for a cookout on Sunday.

Usually we cookout at my parent's house for my birthday on the Sunday before or after (whichever is closest) however since we have a house of our own and a grill hubby and I decided just to invite everyone over here for it. My parents came over, as did my sis and her boyfriend, hubby's parents, his little sis, and all 3 of his brothers that live nearby came too (which is a rare occasion getting us all together on a non-major holiday!) and my little cousin came over too although my aunt and uncle were both sick.

http://t1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRih5A2A9o7gVJtMFrKHNwcSC5A1AoRmaYU2OjNzdknPNER79b85AEarlier in the day we went to Old Navy to spend my $30 in "Super C-A-S-H" I had and I ended up getting another pair of jeans, a pair of lounge/active pants, a cute dressy shirt, 2 cami's and hubby got himself a pair of cargos too. Then we went to Walmart to pick up some corn and other cookout stuff we needed last minute and then stopped at Dairy Queen to get an ice cream cake for us to eat!

We started boiling water for corn on the cob around 445 and hubby started up the grill around 5pm. By 630pm we were ready to eat!

It was a pretty fun time however Jay is a bit scared of his Grandpa J (hubby's dad) as he hasn't seen him that often compared to everyone else (minus his uncles) and Jay's at that age where he's scared of being alone with people he doesn't know or recognize. He made up for it though by giving Jay some of the ice cream cake (which made him literally jump all over the place well into the night, lol...).

In addition to my HTC Thunderbolt hubby got me earlier this summer, he also told me he got me the Tony Romo navy jersey I wanted and it'll be here before the regular football season starts in just under 2 weeks. My parents got me Nickelodeon's Hey Dude season 1 on DVD and Lego Pirates of the Caribbean for Wii. My sis and her boyfriend got me The Mask on DVD which also has the terribad Son of the Mask on it as well, lol...

Monday (my actual birthday) I spent the 1st part of the day snuggling with my favorite little snuggle buddy for a bit before going to the chiropractor for my weekly adjustment and physical therapy on my back (which includes an ultrasound which feels like a mini-massage, then I get an actual massage and they do this electrical stimulation thing that feels good too). After that I went to Gamestop and got Smash Brothers Brawl for the Wii using a $25 gift card I got from doing surveys along with a 20% off birthday coupon and then I looked around Target to see if I could find Super Mario All-Stars for the Wii as Gamestop didn't have any copies for sale in our area and my aunt, uncle and cousin gave me a giftcard for there. I also stopped over at Borders to see if they still had any good Bestseller's left (ie: The Help and One Day as I heard both were good!) but unfortunately they didn't. I did stumble across the Elmo's Christmas Countdown DVD for 50% off though which I grabbed, as the lowest price I've seen it for was $14 and I was planning on getting it for Jay to watch this holiday season anyway (little dude LOVES watching Elmo and any shows that have puppets in them!).

After my little shopping trip I went and got a much needed pedicure as my toenails were a mess (my big toenails *always* get ingrown somehow) before meeting hubby at home to take me out for dinner.

We went to Olive Garden where I got their stuffed chicken marsala with a glass of their new Moscato wine which tasted *really* good (and I'm not much of a wine person). It had a bit of a sparkling taste to it and the chicken was really good too!

Conan = Khal Droggo minus facial hair
Jason Momoa is sooooo typecasted now, lol...
After dinner we went and saw Conan the Barbarian in 3D for FREE! When we saw Cowboys & Aliens last month they gave out free passes afterwards as I guess the movie started kinda late (although hubby and I were both late as he missed his exit on his way back into from traveling for work and walked in right as the movie was starting) and I did some research and found out our passes were good for 3D movies too, so we decided, why not? Not to mention Conan's the only movie in theaters right now I could get hubby to go see with me, plus it's Jason Momoa (aka Khal Droggo from season 1 of Game of Thrones - yum!). Yes, the movie was bad - very bad - but it was entertaining to say the least (assuming you go into it knowing it's going to be bad), lol...

We took a quick trip to Walmart on the way home before being reunited with Little Man who was thrilled to see us (he got passed back and forth between his grandmas today!). Since it was still my birthday hubby (who took the night off work) took care of putting Jay to bed for me, since I usually do it during the week.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e0/27.jpgSo... that's how I celebrated turning 27.

Not bad, not bad at all... the only part I could have done without was Jay being difficult while I was changing his poopy diaper earlier and getting some of it on my arm, lol...


Jay's Super Mario Bros Room

I've recently posted this on my baby/family blog, but since some of you have asked in the past, here's the progress I've made the last few months on Jay's Super Mario Bros themed nursery/room! (keep in mind, it's a work in progress, as I don't have a lot of time sans baby to work on the painting).

The name sign on his door. We almost bought one after seeing an ad in one of our parenting magazines and seeing the cute ones on the website, however it dawned on me that, duh!, I went to school for graphic design, why not just make one myself and keep it Mario themed?? So an hour in Photoshop, printing by FedEx/Kinkos, and a dollrod, shoestring and hot glue and voila! Custom door name sign!

The "growth tracker" vine I just did this past weekend - I thought it would be a neat thing to use to track his height over the years =)

Here's the changing table area. The 4 panels I did at our apartment before we moved but never got around to hanging them until recently. Jay LOVES Elmo and since taking him to the new Winnie the Pooh movie he's been quite taken with his stuffed Eeyore (he never paid any attention to it on the table, opting to eat Yoshi or Tails' faces instead, until after we saw the movie, like he recognized it, lol...). He's got Mario and Luigi figurines that we picked up during Border's going out of business sale, a scent warmer lamp (which comes in handy when changing those dirty diapers!). There's also his Jedi Bear from Build-A-Bear Workshop and Yoda and Darth Vader bobbleheads we also got during the Border's GoB sale.

I wanted mushroom dresser knobs and after finding a photo of one on DeviantArt, I decided to just buy plain white ones and paint my own! This is them drying, lol...

Red curtains to offset the blue (and Tiger peaking out the window!) and the castle at the end of the level.

Another view of that side of the room, you can see the crib and more of the painting

The corner on the other side of the crib with his bookshelf and the beginning of the level painting.

The lamp on the table - I just painted the shade this last weekend to make it look like a mushroom!

We decided to do Super Mario Bros for the theme as hubby and I are both gamers and I wanted a nursery that was different and unique, plus something that would last for awhile (at least) and that Jay would eventually come to appreciate as he gets older.

We have an escape artist!

That's right folks - Jay has become a little escape artist!

This afternoon I decided to leave him parked in his walker in the living room (it doesn't move on carpet) with some toys and PBS Kids shows on while I went around the corner to get myself ready to go for the day. I came back after brushing my teeth and checked on him and he was sitting there, watching TV and playing with toys, so I went to go get dressed.

I wasn't even gone 5 minutes, finishing up what I needed to do and went to go get him to get him ready to go as well (and change his diaper as it was quite stinky!).

I come around the corner and see the seat of the walker lifted upward like it often is when we pick Jay up out of it... but yeah... Jay wasn't in his walker!

I looked around and there he is, on his tummy on the floor next to his walker, playing with the toys he had dropped!

I have NO CLUE how he got out of his walker! You'd think if he fell I would have heard a thump and obviously the walker wasn't tipped over... craziness!

Guess this means he's getting put in the pack n play from now on when I get ready - no more unsupervised play in his walker, even if it's only for a minute!


A weekend of news

This weekend has been full of new things for us.

He was beating the table too, like "Give. Me. Pancakes!"
Friday evening I had to work and didn't get home til a little before 11pm as the store was pretty trashed and there was only 2 of us to pick everything up. We always go out for dinner on Fridays but since it was so late we opted for something 24hrs and instead of our usual choice of Denny's for late-night diners, we went to IHOP as I had a coupon for a free entree. It was time for Jay to eat his bedtime bottle too so I picked him up out of his carrier and started feeding him as we waited for our food, but he was too excited about sitting up at the table - we decided to try letting him sit in the restaurant's high chair and well, he seemed to enjoy it!

Saturday they didn't need me to go into work, so after putting away all the groceries we bought at Sam's Club that afternoon (which I LOVE shopping there!) I played with Jay in his bedroom for a bit while daddy went into work. I've had a container of my old blocks in there that I brought over awhile back from my parent's house, however I hadn't really went through and thought they were all 1 type of block but turns out I had some soft plastic ones and some wooden block blocks in there too! I cleaned em off and gave em to Jay and he seemed to enjoy them! He also sat up with no support and played with them for a good 15-20 minutes too! He did that on Friday as well and seems to be getting better at sitting by himself!

He also pushed the empty diaper box in the photo below across the room, while "military crawling" the whole way - he's getting sooooo close to actually crawling, as he's got the stance down but then resorts to the military crawl where he drags/pushes himself instead, lol...

This photo also cracks me up as it's got him and Tiger having a stare down too (and no, she wasn't getting ready to pounce - she had been sitting/laying down watching him and got up to stretch, lol...)

Oddly though, bedtime the last few nights have been rough - you can tell he's tired as he's rubbing his eyes and getting all fussy, but he DOESN'T want to go to bed. I'll hold him and try to get him to snuggle and calm down... read to him, sing to him... and he's fine til you put him the crib and then he freaks out! It's been 3 nights in a row now - unless he's completely passed out when you put him down, he doesn't want to go to bed and we have to just let him cry it out til he wears himself out enough to fall asleep. I hate letting him cry it out, but nothing else seems to work! I think part of it is the separation anxiety but still... mommy always comes for him when he needs me and he knows that deep down.

Jay's room, part 2

Since making my post the other day, showing off Jay's room, I've added a few things over the weekend!

Saturday night I was reading through one of the parenting magazines we get and saw an add for these really cute framed name signs for your child's door or room. After picking one out online with hubby, it dawned on me - why I don't just make one myself? I mean, I did go to college for graphic design and do it somewhat professionally... duh!

So I sat down for an hour or so, made one up, sent it off to our local Fed-Ex/Kinko's to be printed on stronger paper, picked it up Sunday afternoon and got a few things at Walmart to put it together (ie: a dollrod and shoestring) and here's the finished project on his door:

I love it!

I was also looking up dresser knobs online the other day too, looking up mushroom-like ones when I came across a photo on DeviantArt of someone who made their own Mario ones and duh! Just buy white knobs and paint them myself! So I picked some up Sunday while I was at Walmart and voila:

My creative way to let them dry, lol...

He also has a small reading lamp in his room next to the rocker so I can read him some books before bed and I decided to get around to painting that like a mushroom too:


And I also decided to make a vine going up into the clouds like there are in certain Mario levels that we can use to measure his growth over the years!

I remember being a kid and getting all excited about putting a new mark on a certain spot of the wall to show how I'd grown every so often and I'm sure Jay will love it too!


Jay's room

Just realized I've talked before about how we're doing Jay's room all Mario Bros (since our kid's are most likely going to be into video games and well, it'd just be awesome and hopefully be something he'll appreciate even when he's a teenager if we're still in this house then) but I've never posted any of the pictures!!

First stop, is the changing table area:

You can see he has a stuffed Eeyore, Yoshi, and Tails (from Sonic) on the actual table and some fun stuff on the shelves above - Mario & Luigi figures, Jedi Build-A-Bear, Yoda & Darth Vader mini bobbleheads, an Elmo lunchbox (which he picked out), a mini Clifford, and some keepsake stuff. I did those paintings weeks before he was born.

Here's the outside wall:

As you can see, doing World 1-1 from the original Super Mario Bros is still a work in progress (I honestly never have enough freetime away from Jay to work on the painting it seems), but I have the outline of the pipes, boxes and even the castle done. We hung red curtains to contrast the blue walls and that's his sound machine on the nightstand (and Tiger stretched out, looking out the window). His closet is to the right around the corner on the wall next to the changing table.

Another shot of the outside wall:

You can see more of the painting a little bit as well as part of his crib.

And the 4th wall:

This is where the painting starts and has his bookshelf with books and toys and the rocker with a little table and lamp.


True Life: I'm a [Mommy] Blogger

A few weeks ago I linked-up my general/catch-all blog for the "True Life: I'm a General Blogger" link-up that Tara and Mrs Monologues were hosting... this week they're hosting a "True Life: I'm a Mommy Blogger" link-up!

For all the newbies from the link-up, welcome!

I'm Rachel, we live in northern Illinois and I am a new mommy to 6 and a half month old Jaydran Alexander (we call him Jay for short), born on February 4, 2011.

August 14, at his 1st county fair!
My son's name is quite unique (our last name is Johnson, so we felt he needed a unique 1st name since there's a million and one Johnsons in our town!) and if you do a Google search you'll find that he's the only one with that name too! The story behind it is that my husband came up with it. He writes sci-fi as a hobby (and hopefully professionally someday!) and when he played baseball as a kid, one of the boys on his team had a sister named Jaydra. Liking the unique-ness of the name, he decided to make Jaydran the male version of it and use it for his writings. And yes, it's also the name of his World of Warcraft character, which caused me to initially veto the name but it grew on me and it seems to fit Jay as well, as he's quite an awesome little boy!

So this is my mommy/personal blog, as I chronicled our journey of trying to have a baby, my pregnancy and our adventures of being a family!

Having dealt with quite a bit so far (gestational diabetes, "failure to thrive" and eating troubles, breastfeeding woes, hydrophrenosis and a UVJ Obstruction requiring eventual surgery), I hope that by sharing my experiences and struggles I might be able to help other moms experiencing what I have and give them answers and insight to things they might be wondering (I know I tend to Google a lot when I'm looking for an answer or someone who's been there, done that and can offer insight on what I can expect).

Anyways, Jay is a special little guy who's had quite a rough start in life.

He LOVES Elmo!
Before he was born they were concerned about his femurs being a little a on the short side and his left kidney appeared to be enlarged. Due to a lack of growth between weeks 30 and 37 they decided to induce me at 37weeks, 5 days so he was a few weeks early. To be honest, labor was pretty easy - took just under 9 hours and was natural (but with a dose of dilauted to help with the back labor) and I honestly didn't feel much of anything until the last few hours, not to mention I went from 7-10cm dilated in about 10 minutes and the last half hour just flew by (you can read his full birth story here). His kidney was still enlarged though so they diagnosed him with hydronephrosis and had us start seeing a local urologist.

We also tried breastfeeding for the 1st few weeks however instead of gaining weight he lost weight! Then he gained a little back but not much so the doctor had us spend a week in the hospital while we tried to figure out why kiddo wasn't eating enough to grow. I found out at my 6 week post-partum check-up that they failed to mention to us that there was a knot in the umbilical cord, which would explain his eating problem - he got used to eating just enough to survive and his stomach never got big enough to take in more! Ever since the week in the hospital with him hooked up to a feeding tube to stretch his stomach out he's been quite the eater now, eating several full bottles a day, 2 servings of rice cereal for breakfast and veggies and fruits for dinner (he hates peas though, lol...).

He had a little too much fun
with his peaches!
As far as his enlarged kidney... the local urologist sent us up to the children's hospital in Madison for further testing where we learned that the blockage is at his bladder and not up at the kidney like we initially thought but that there is no reflux which is good. They referred us to a pediatric urology specialist at the children's hospital up there who has us coming up there every 3-4 months to check on it, saying that it appears to be a UVJ ureter obstruction. He'll most likely need to have surgery by the time he's 2 to correct it though, as his left ureter tube is pinched off at the bladder and they'll go in, take it off, snip it and reattach it to the bladder.

The idea of my baby having surgery so young is something I try not to think about, as I don't want to worry about it until it's time, however the specialist was very comforting and made me feel confident about it, saying he's done it plenty of times and has always been successful so far. I am not too thrilled though that he'll have a surgery scar though. Not gonna lie, with his week long stay in the hospital and all the testing they've done on his kidney, it's been really hard having to watch them do all this stuff to him... fortunately he's so little he probably won't remember it when he's older, although it wouldn't surprise me if it's what causes his monthly night terrors (he's had 1 a month since he was born, where he freaks out in his sleep for several minutes and won't wake up out of it).

Chillin' with daddy!
My hubby works a lot (he has both a day job as an inventory & purchasing manager for a Verizon authorized retailer and works 3rd shift as a part-time UPS supervisor - we're hoping he goes full-time there soon though so he can quit the day job) leaving me to take care of Jay most of the time during the week. I do work part-time though at The Children's Place which is pretty nice as I get 25% off Jay's clothes (and sometimes 40% when they do employee appreciation weekends!) on top of whatever the sale price is - he is quite the well dressed little guy! Fortunately my parents don't live too far from us so my mom babysits Jay when hubby and I both have work so we don't we have to worry about daycare.We also have a domestic Egyptian Mau kitty named Tiger and she will be 3 years old in October and we just bought and moved into our first house back in April! Needless to say, it's been quite a year for us!

Showing off his shades!
For now, Jay is our only child and we've discussed it and decided that we'll most likely wait until after his kidney/ureter issue is resolved before we decide to try for another (so probably when he's close to 3). Ultimately we'd like to have at least 1 more kid and maybe a 3rd (I love Jay despite my lack of experience with little boys however I would like to have a little girl too).

Jay is quite the well-behaved baby though, only really crying when his mouth hurts (due to teething - he currently has both his bottom front teeth) or he's hungry or overly tired - he behaves very well in public! He loves Elmo and anything with Elmo's face on it, he enjoys staring at pictures and playing in his baby walker. He is also VERY curious about electronics such as smartphones, computers, the remote control and the PS3 controllers! He doesn't crawl yet, but is very close (he drags/scoots himself across the floor instead!) and he does like to roll EVERYWHERE! His bedroom is being painted to look like world 1-1 from Super Mario Bros and he has various Mario Bros and Star Wars collectibles throughout his room!

 And some more pictures of Baby Jay:
One of his 1st pics, 6lbs 7oz, 19inches long & a full head of hair!
One of my favorite pics - Jay & daddy
He was soooo little!!
My poor baby with his feeding tube in,
pumping his tummy full of milkies
Being all cute during our move from
a 1 bedroom apartment to a 3 bedroom house!
Our little family (minus Tiger our kitty!)


It's getting colder...

I've been wanting to get Jay some sleepers for this fall and winter but I figured I'd wait until it got colder out so I could get a size he'd be in for at least a little while...

...well, despite it being August, the nighttime temperatures have been in the 50s and 60s so letting Jay sleep in just a onesie is a bit out of the question. I was letting him sleep with some lightweight sweatpants on that he has, however him never being one for his legs to be covered would find a way to get them hiked up to his thighs so when I'd check on him before going to bed myself his legs would be all cold and have goosebumps (as were his arms). We let him sleep with a heavier blankie last night which he kept on him for the most part (the lightweight swaddle blanket we used in his crib he would always kick off easily) but I'd rather not do that as the thought of SIDS terrifies me.

So I gave in and bought him some sleepers from work the other night, a month or so earlier than I was hoping.

Dinosaurs, Robots, Football & other sports,
and Bears (with bear faces on the feet!)
He's getting so big!!
I picked out these 4 for him for now, thinking I'll get him heavier ones when it gets closer to winter. Got a great deal on them too - they're on sale for $8 (originally 2 for $24) but my discount gave me $2 off each so I got 4 for $24 - $6 a piece! Not a bad deal, considering the 0-3 month ones I bought him last spring at Walmart were $5 each. While he still fits in most 3-6 month clothing from work still (our stuff runs big on him I've noticed), I bought these 6-9 month hoping he'll be able to get a couple of months out of them at least - they seem to be fitting him okay though so maybe we're ready to move into his 6-9 month clothes...

I was showing them to my mom when I came home from work last night and Jay seemed to really like the bear one as he started grabbing at that one out of the 4 and seemed really excited over it so I let him wear that one first tonight!