Author: Becca Eby

Babywise Works for Us.

Some parents love it, some hate it, but almost everyone who has heard of Babywise has an opinion.  I’ve had a lot of people throw judgemental negativity at me when I say that I’m a fan.  I think most of them probably haven’t actually read the book.  After a Twitter exchange that left me feeling judged I decided to take to the blog to defend our parenting choices, not that I have to.    
I read about 18 parenting books before Fisher was born, among them “On Becoming Babywise”, “Secrets of the Babywhisperer”, and “The Baby Whisperer Solves all Your Problems.”  All three recommend parent led routines for babies.  Babywise in particular is a little controversial, but I think a lot of folks judge the book by the misinformation that is out there.  I was wary of it going in, but had noticed that many of my friends whose children seemed particularly content and well rested used the methods.  I don’t agree with 100% of any of the parenting books I read, Babywise included.  We did not use the methods at first, but were pulling our hair out after 3 weeks of winging it with a baby who was having serious nursing issues and had his days and nights reversed.  We decided it couldn’t hurt to try, and it was like a miracle.
The nursing issues were resolved after his tongue tie was fixed, which you can read all about here.  We used Babywise and The Baby Whisperer’s advice to get Fisher’s days and nights straightened out, and he almost immediately started doing a 5-6 hour stretch of sleep at night.  We never forced anything, but guided him into a routine.  He occasionally fusses as he winds down to sleep, but we don’t let him “cry it out”.  As he grew he eventually dropped night feedings completely on his own.  At about 7 weeks he stopped waking up for the 1 am feeding, then dropped the 4 am around 12 weeks.  The first night he dropped each feeding I woke up freaking out that he hadn’t woken up, but he slept right on through.  Since then he has been sleeping from about 7 pm to 7 am with one feeding between 9-10 pm.  
He is exclusively breastfed and has been since our nursing issues resolved.  He is in the 95 percentile for weight and head size, and 75 for height.  People often comment on how happy and content he seems.  Are we really blessed with a sweet, easy baby? Yes, and we fully realize that.  However, did we make choices that helped him become the sweet, growing boy that he is? Yes.  We do not let him cry it out, but instead listen when he cries and try to meet whatever he needs.  We do not keep him on a rigid schedule, but do use a flexible routine.  It works for us, and for our child.  We also babywear and cloth diaper and make our own baby food, but I’ll talk more about those parenting choices at another time.           
What people think Babywise is about:
strict schedules
crying it out
not listening to your baby’s needs
What Babywise is ACTUALLY about:
routines – eat, play, sleep
interpreting your baby’s cries
listening to your baby’s needs and fulfilling them
If a particular parenting choice doesn’t appeal to you, it is easy to judge that parent and think that they are wrong and you are right.  I do it, you do it, and I did it a heck of a lot more before I had a baby.  I think the key to getting rid of the judgement is realizing that there is no one right way.  There are parenting choices that most can agree are universally bad, but after that we all have the freedom to choose to parent our children the way we see fit.  I hope that your choices are working for you and I respect them, and hope that you can respect mine.  If you want to learn more about Babywise and the Baby Whisperer, definitely read the books.  You can also learn more at Babywise Mom and the Baby Whisperer Forums.    
Have you read Babywise?
Do you love it/hate it?
Do you use it?
If not, what parenting books/methods do you prefer?   

A Vintage Highchair Makeover with Tutorial

Fisher is now 7 months old, and was in desperate need of a high chair.  We looked all over to find one that we liked, but had no luck.  We wanted a vintage wooden one, but all that we found were ridiculously expensive.  Big plastic models were looming in our future when our friend Betsy spotted this metal gem at a vintage store for $20.  She grabbed it for us.  Jed was horrified.     

 The poor chair was all kinds of ugly, and Jed though there was no hope.  As eternal optimists, Betsy and I saw lots of potential.  I took the ugly duckling home and it sat in the garage for a while until we had time to get the project completed.

 The tray has already been sanded in the above pic.  It was originally the same color as the back below.  Ick.

 Ugly, oh yes she’s ugly.  On the other hand, she is very well made and easily folds to store flat against the wall.  The tray also removes completely so that it can be easily cleaned.  Awesome.  

 The tan seat and seat back had to go, immediately.  My mama and I went to visit City Craft, a great Dallas fabric store.  I wanted to find some oil cloth to recover the chair so that it would be durable and easily cleaned.  City Craft has a great selection, and had a sale going on.  I choose an oil cloth design in black and white that looks like Mexican papel picado decorated with birds, flowers, and calaveras (happy dancing skulls a la El Dia de Los Muertos).

 We removed the cushions and Jed sanded the ugly bronze paint off of the seat, tray, and back.  The legs and arms were already in pretty good shape.

 I removed the vinyl covers off of the seat and back, and then laid them out on my oil cloth.

 I cut a big square for each one.  
 Then I trimmed it down to size.  I had to trim it even more so that it would fit well.  

 Meanwhile, Jed painted the tray, seat, and back with a lovely light turquoise.  He had to do 3 coats to get it to look right.

 To recover the seats, I had to carefully stuff the oil cloth behind and under the seat and the back.  Then we hammered the seat and back in.  This was the trickiest part of the whole project.  I got a little frustrated, but persevered so that we could have this lovely creation.  

 What do you think?
 I love it.  

 I love the black and white, the papel picado design, the paint color, everything.  I’m a little obsessed with it, quite frankly.

Fisher loves it too.  
The metal makes a great sound when he bangs his little hands on it, and an even better noise when he bangs his sippie cup.  

 I love using vintage pieces because they are often so much higher quality than plastic crap from Target.  We love Target and have our share of plastic baby stuff, but are happy when we can have something a little more stylish and sturdy to go with the rest of our house.

 If you’ve made it this far, thanks for putting up with the insane amount of pictures in this post.  Like I said, I’m obsessed.

How have you used or repurposed vintage furniture or baby gear?
I’m sharing this project at some great blog parties.  They are listed on my right sidebar.  Be sure to check them out to see tons of awesome crafty ideas.  Thanks for reading.  
I also linked up at the PAINT IT Party at Design, Dining, & Diapers.

Baby Laughter is Magical

If you need a laugh today, enjoy this video of Fisher laughing like crazy at our dog Jackson. He did this for about ten minutes before I started filming. What was Jackson doing that was so funny? Most of the time he was just laying in his bed. I wish I could be so easily entertained.

On the Move

I guess it is time to baby proof. He is 7 months old today and scooting backwards all over the place. I’m sure he will get the forward motion figured out soon and then we will really be in trouble.

Austin, TX with a Baby

For your viewing enjoyment, I present a photo collage via Instagram of our trip to Austin this week.  
It was in the 30s and 40s, with a hazy shade of winter cast over the city.  We stayed downtown at the Stephen F. Austin Intercontinental Hotel, because we were in town for a state teacher testing conference representing Jed’s school.  Fisher and I did a lot of lounging around in our room because of the cold both weather and illness affecting us.  We shopped and ate and enjoyed ourselves, and would love to go back when the weather is nice.  Downtown is very walkable, and the city has so much to explore.  I would choose a different hotel next time.  The Intercontinental was nice and had lots of architectural interest, but our room was tiny and expensive (paid for by the school) and the mandatory valet parking was very pricey.    
Where did we eat? 
The Mellow Mushroom near the University of Texas campus was our first dinner stop.  We were headed out to Hula Hut at the lake, but traffic was horrendous so we decided to stay close.  We love Mellow Mushroom in Asheville, so we went for what we know.  We had the Funky Chicken pizza and the soft pretzels.  The key at MM is to order a side of the Esperanza house dressing.  That junk is so good.  
The next day Jed had a long lunch break so we went to Mellow Johnny’s, Lance Armstrong’s bike shop.  My husband is a cyclist and could entertain himself in a bike shop for hours.  He showed Fisher all the cool bike stuff while I shopped for Christmas presents for him.  If you are into bikes, the shop is a must see.  Many of Lance’s bikes are on display along with a well thought out selection of cycling gear and accessories.  It also has a cafe called Juan Pelota’s that serves breakfast burritos and coffee.  
For lunch we headed to the Taco Shack.  I had a chicken torta with bread that melted in my mouth.  Delicioso.  
At the Taco Shack, Fisher had a big first.  He sat up in a high chair throughout the meal.  Yay!!  He loved playing with his toys and sitting up like a big boy while we ate.  

Fisher and I did a little more exploring, driving around the state capitol and South Congress shops.  We picked up a few cupcakes from Hey Cupcake, one of the famous food trucks on South Congress.  I surprised Jed with them when he got back to the hotel.  

Fisher and I did lots of snuggling on the big king sized bed in our room.  A sniffly baby makes exploring in the cold not so much of an option.    
Our last night in town we went to Magnolia Cafe on South Congress.  It rocked my world.  It was cheap and delicious with a laid back atmosphere and creative menu.  I had baked acorn squash with the chef’s special pecan pesto on top, with a side of curried shrimp and veggies.  Oh my.  I was in broccoli heaven.  
We came back to Dallas and were greeted by gridlock.  We loved the feel of Austin and hope to go back and explore more when the weather is nicer.  Where would you like to explore?   

Fisher at Five Months

 Here is our boy at five months.
His favorite activities right now:
bath time with Daddy
Mommy & Daddy serenading him
playing in his Johnny Jump Up and Exersaucer
walks around the neighborhood
being outside

 He is so curious and aware of his surroundings.  He tries to touch and grab everything, then stick it in his mouth.  We’ve had a few messes caused by curious little fingers.

His eyes are still a gorgeous blue grey.  
He smiles and laughs so many things.
A few examples:
me hiccuping
Jackson (our dog)
rubbing his belly with my face
when we smile or laugh
silly songs
This look may be a preview of the teenage years.
He does push ups like a champ, but still isn’t rolling over. 
I blame the giant noggin.
He babbles constantly, especially when wanting attention.  His little voice is so sweet, but he can get LOUD.
He sits up pretty well, but can come crashing down at any time without warning.  Most of the time the crashes don’t bother him at all.  I wish I could have posture like his.  
He is super easy going, and sleeps really well most of the time.  He sleeps from 7 pm to 7 am with only one feeding at 10 pm in between.  We are still exclusively breastfeeding, but are excited to start solid food soon.  
We fall more in love with him every day.  

Frugal Friday – Buying a Used Car with CASH

Meet Betty, our new-to-us ride.  
Isn’t she lovely?
Here is her story.
After much discussion, Jed and I decided it was time to purchase a car.  We already have 2 cars, both completely free to us thanks to the generosity of Jesus/Young Life donors/family.  Those cars are 10 and 20 years old respectively.  We love them in their old age, and are so thankful for their faithful service. Big Red, Jed’s 20 year old GMC pick up has developed some issues that are pretty serious, so we know her days of dependability are numbered.  We thought about waiting until she died a natural death, but decided the wiser thing to do would be to start the search for our next car while we still had the flexibility of two working cars.  
My 10 yr old XTerra has almost 150,000 miles on her, so we thought it would be good to make her our secondary car before the miles get too high.  We also discussed going to one car, but our current living/working situations don’t allow for that.    
We set a budget of $10-12,000, knowing we could pay cash for that.  We are FAR from wealthy by American standards, but we have worked hard to save most of my paycheck each month for over a year.  We also have a 6 month emergency fund built up that we didn’t touch for this purchase.  
We started looking on Craigslist for lots of different models.  We both like Tahoes, Outbacks, and other small SUVs and station wagons.  We looked at mini vans, but just couldn’t do it.  Not that there is anything wrong with mini vans.  They are great, I’m sure, just not for us right now.  We test drove cars from dealers and individuals, including 2 Tahoes that I’m pretty sure were stolen or from police auctions.  SOOO SKETCHY.  
We looked at used car dealers in our area that were part of bigger dealerships with good reputations.  At one dealer we found a 2005 Honda Pilot listed at $16,915.  She was beautiful, but way out of our price range.  We wanted around 80,000 miles or less, she had 81,000.  She also came fully loaded with leather, a sunroof, DVD, 3rd row, rear air, and more cup holders than you could ever want or use.  Right off the bat the salesman told us he could mark her down to $13,900, because she was a Honda on a Chevy lot.  Still way out of our range.  We drove her, and she was such a smooth ride.  We went home, ate lunch and let Fisher take a nap.  We checked the Kelly Blue Book and her Carfax.  The Carfax came back saying that she was worth $330 more than the KBB value, which was $18,600.  Whoa.  So, she was offered to us at $5000 less than the KBB value.  She was still over our budget by almost $2000.  Not ok.  Then we pulled up the dealer website to look over the details again, and noticed that the rock bottom internet only price they had listed was $12,500.  Hmmm.  That might be doable for a car that is far beyond anything we had hoped to find.  
We went back to the dealer that afternoon and told our salesman about the internet price.  He said he would have to honor it.  We went for it, on the contingency that our trusted mechanic could take a look at it first.  He asked us about financing, and we told him we were paying cash.  That threw him off completely.  He didn’t really know what to do, and said no one had done that since he had been there.  
They wouldn’t let us use our debit card or write a check, so we had to wait until Monday morning when I could go to the bank and get a cashier’s check.  I handed the check to the dealer, they gave me the keys, and we were done.  No car payments for us!  We love our new ride and are so thankful to not have a big car payment every month. 
Why pay cash?  Interest my friends, interest.  Let’s do a little math.  If we put down $1000 and financed $11,500, we would actually end up paying over $1000 extra for our car.  Yikes.  That’s a lot of money.   
Have you ever paid cash for a big purchase? How did you make it happen?  Would you do it again?

A Nap Time Prayer

Father God,
Thank you for this sweet baby that you’ve entrusted into my care.  Help him to sleep well and wake up refreshed and rested.  Protect him as he sleeps and give me peace of mind to know he is safe.  Help me to be the mom you have designed me to be.  Give me wisdom as I raise him and help him to see you.  
In Your Son’s Name I pray,