Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

TAG - I'm it...

Someone recently tagged me, and it has to do with pictures, so I can't help but join in. :) (Anything to do with pictures pretty much reels me in...)

I have to post the Sixth Picture from my Sixth Folder.

This is a picture from when we lived in the Ecovillage at Berea College - probably senior year (2006). (If you click on the link, my apt is the one that you see the most of - I loved that place!!)

Camden was helping me fix dinner - spaghetti. He's got his little apron on with his name (he loves this thing and it is TOO cute!). And then when I turned my back to rinse something off, he caught a tea towel on fire.... There was a brief moment of chaos, but we quickly got it under control. Aaahhhhh, gas stoves! ;) Actually, I would love to have my gas stove back again.............. And yes, Camden still helps to cook. He actually really enjoys it and wants to try everything out. He can chop an onion, crack eggs into batter, and he likes to try all of the spices and seasonings that go into a recipe. He may not always even want to eat the end result, but he still enjoys the cooking part! :)

Ok - YOUR TURN! Who else is going to join in??

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Giving Our Children Presence

October is Attachment Parenting Month! :)

The theme for 2008 is "Giving Our Children Presence," which is quite appropriate with the holidays coming up!!

We are using this approach to parenting in our home and encourage everyone else to do so, too. A secure attachment between children and parents is SO very important!

Find out more about AP Month here!

What is Attachment Parenting? Find out more about that here:
Attachment Parenting International

Here are just a few things we do in our home to help Aiden form a secure bond with us...
  • Co-sleeping No, not IN our bed. But he sleeps right next to our bed, in the same room. That way, we can respond to him right away when he wakes and is hungry. He is learning that we attend to his needs, and having him close by ensures we can do that quickly.
  • Baby-wearing
  • Breastfeeding (on demand) exclusively
  • Responding immediately to Aiden's cries Infants do not cry for no reason - there is something they need. It is their way to communicate. We are teaching Aiden that we are there for him and he can expect us to help him. We do not let him "cry it out."
  • Giving ourselves and our marriage time, too. It's difficult to be an effective parent if you neglect yourself or your relationship with your partner. So we carve out time for that. It's hard, and time to ourselves is hard to come by, but it's important.
  • Early bonding Not only immediately after birth (thankfully I was able to hold Aiden minutes after he was born via c-section as opposed to a couple hours with Camden), but also at home. Ryan was able to take 6 weeks leave from work, which was great for him and Aiden to bond!
  • And many other things..... This is how we approach parenting our children every day.
What about you? What are some things you do with your kids?

Pumpkin Picking

This past weekend, we finally made it to a pumpkin patch. We went to Ganyard Hill Farm, which was recommended to us. There was a lot to do there - hayride, corn maze, petting zoo (and you could feed the animals corn kernels), pumpkin picking, a "hay mountain" with slides, etc., and even cotton picking. Camden had a great time and is already asking to go back next year. (We told him we might check out someplace else b/c, while it was really nice, it didn't seem really worth the admission price...). Anyway, a fun time was had by all. Aiden slept the entire time, except to stop and eat sometime in the middle of the visit (then back to sleep). It was cool weather, but we waited until it got cool b/c it didn't seem right to do fall activities with t-shirts on. :)

Here are pics from the day!

Ganyard Farm - Pumpkin Patch, 2008 October

Friday, October 17, 2008

Breastfeeding IS Beautiful - Update...

Someone recently made a nasty comment after reading my blog post about breastfeeding. Here is a note that I put onto the bottom of that blog (after deleting the comment). And please, if you're going to post a nasty comment on someone's blog, have the decency to show your name and not post it as "anonymous." This blog isn't public, so only people that I know and have given out the link to are reading it. I don't appreciate that. If it was you, feel free to speak up and let it be known.

Here is what I added to the blog. I'm posting it here for those that have already read that blog and won't happen to see the update...

Side note
- I do use a nursing cover when I feed Aiden out in public - so my goods are NOT just out there for the world to see. Someone recently made a nasty comment about people nursing in public - I doubt they have children (or if they do - that they have breastfed). You would be surprised to know how discreet someone can be when nursing, and nobody has ever even looked at me in any negative way for feeding my child. Everyone that has known what I was doing was very accommodating and respectful. And yes, in the photo of Angelina breastfeeding, she is in her own home and not in public - but she is allowing the public to see the picture, which is beautiful - and hopefully this will help others think differently about nursing in public (with their own child or when seeing others doing so).

Thursday, October 16, 2008


Camden has a friend over this afternoon - school let out early today. While I was in Aiden's room feeding him, Camden and the friend were playing the Wii. Here is a snippit of the conversation I heard:

Camden: What's that guy's name?
Friend: What - Who?
Camden: The artist. He does blobs.
Friend: Monet?
Camden: Yeah - Monet. It looks like a Monet painting.

I have no idea what on the Wii looks like a Monet painting... They're playing Wii Sports (golf, I think). But I thought hearing this was entertaining.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Through the Night??

Apparently "experts" consider a baby sleeping for a 5-hour stretch at night "sleeping through the night." Well, Aiden has been doing this since he was between 5 and 6 weeks old. But I disagree with calling it "through the night." I mean, if he goes down at 9:00pm, 5 hours later is 2:00am! That is not "through the night." That's IN the night - the middle of it. Even now, he'll go down around 9 (sometimes a little earlier or later - it's not too consistent just yet) and typically wake up between 4 and 5, which means he sleeps about 7 hours in a row. I still hesitate to call this "sleeping through the night," especially when I am not waking up for good at 4am. And especially when he goes right back to sleep, waking again 1-2 hours later, then sleeping again before finally getting up for the day.

So I'm still trying to figure out when to put that "Sleeps through the night!" sticker up on Aiden's calendar... I disagree with the "experts" out there on this one.

Smart Guy

This morning, I was getting ready to nurse Aiden.... I had him lying on the couch next to me as I sat down. I usually have a cloth between us when he nurses - for any possible spills (anyone who has nursed or even bottle-fed a baby knows what I mean!) or spit-up even. This morning, before I picked him up, I just went on and laid the cloth across his shoulder on his chest. This was a brand new cloth, clean as can be. Immediately, his eyes lit up, he started getting all excited, bouncing around. He turned his head to the cloth and kept opening his mouth - ready to eat!

Sometimes I use a cloth that has my scent on it and lay it near him when he's trying to sleep (and having difficulty) - the smell helps him calm down. It's really fun to see. But this morning, this showed that the smart little guy has figured out that a clean cloth on him like that means TIME TO EAT! :) It made my morning. I love watching him learn and make those connections!!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Passing It On

Family traditions are important to me. Different types - not just family gatherings. It's those little things that family members give/lend you or the habits you learn from them, you know. Those things are big.

My mom passed on to me the bassinette that I slept in when I was a baby. I used it with Camden when he was born, though he barely got to use it because he was just so big! But he napped in it some. Aiden has been using it at night since he came home. Sadly, he is getting too long and spent his last night in it recently. Last night was his first night sleeping in another bed. He's not in his crib at night yet. He's in the playard bassinette so that he can stay in our room at night.

Notice the pink sheet and yellow bumper - those are originals from when I slept in this bassinette! :) My mom did make a firmer mattress with a waterproof cover to fit in the bassinette when Camden was born, since she used a pillow with me (and we don't do that these days!), and she also made some handle covers to match the yellow bumper. She said she had more sheets, including some non-pink ones, but we never found them. So both my boys have slept with the pink one. :) It has meant so much to me to be able to use this!!

Here is a picture of Camden in the bassinette, too.

Another thing that has been passed on is a song. My mom says that she learned it from her grandmother, and it's one that I sang with Camden and now sing with Aiden. When he was born, you could hear any of us singing it or humming it whenever we held him - me, my mom, or even Ryan. The song is simple - you sing "Bye-O-Baby, Baby, Baby" to the tune of the "Rock of Ages" hymn. Camden even sings it now when Aiden is fussy, but he made his own version, simply singing Aiden's name over and over. It's very cute. One day we were talking with my mom on the webcam. Aiden got a little fussy, and she started singing this song, and he immediately quieted. He probably recognized both her voice and the song.

Maybe one day these boys will be singing this song to calm their own children...

Breastfeeding IS Beautiful

I've never been a fan of Angelina Jolie. Really. I know many men (and lots of women) think she is just beautiful. But for various reasons, I haven't cared much for her, to be honest. But...I will praise her for what she is recently being noted for - her photo for the cover a magazine, where she is breastfeeding one of her new babies.

I nurse in public (NIP - or some call it BIP, breastfeeding in public). It's not always my first choice, but it's how I feed my baby, and if he needs to eat, that is my top priority. Not my comfort, nor anyone else's, for that matter. Many women are hesitant to do this, and one reason is that others seem to frown on it. Breastfeeding a child is a beautiful thing and should never be looked at in any other way. And I will do so wherever and whenever my child needs to nurse. I refuse to nurse my child in a restroom because I might cause someone else discomfort (seriously - would YOU want to eat in a bathroom?!). I refuse to let my child cry because he is hungry and I don't want to offend someone I don't even know.

I think it's great that organizations such as La Leche League and people like your doctor encourage women to breastfeed as long as possible (they're now saying to try for 2 years if you can for the best health benefits). I think it is great that ordinary people talk about it being ok and that women do nurse in public (though I rarely see it - but maybe that's because they're so inconspicuous or because I'm not looking for it). BUT I think it's even better that someone of such high status is allowing herself to be seen by everyone nursing her baby. Kudos to you, Angelina.

Side note - I do use a nursing cover when I feed Aiden out in public - so my goods aren't just out there for the world to see. Someone recently made a nasty comment about people nursing in public - I doubt they have children (or if they do - that they have breastfed). You would be surprised to know how discreet someone can be when nursing, and nobody has ever looked at me in any negative way for feeding my child. And yes, in the photo of Angelina breastfeeding, she is in her own home and not in public - but she is allowing the public to see the picture, which is beautiful - and hopefully this will help others think differently about nursing in public (with their own child or when seeing others doing so).

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Have you given him a bottle yet???

Ummm - NO.

We haven't.

Are you going to try one soon???

Ummm - Not sure. We're in no rush.

Now, if you want more of an explanation - here it is, briefly. When Camden was a baby, I went back to work part-time (just a few hours a day, a few days a week) when he was three months old. It wasn't long enough to pump, so he just got a bottle during those times, which wasn't much at all. But then at six months old, my milk went away. Was it because of the missed feedings and getting a bottle every now and then? I don't know. But I know I tried everything I could (and everything that was suggested by "professionals") to keep my supply going. Tried pumping - and nothing would be accomplished after way too much time with a pump. Tried feeding more often. Tried it all! It was a difficult time, and in the end, my milk was just gone. I was devasted - totally not ready to give up nursing. Thankfully Camden had no difficulty - it was just Mommy. That's not something one enjoys being forced to give up.

This time around, I'm doing everything in my power to NOT have that happen again. If that means I exclusively breastfeed, so be it. I don't mind. (Yes, it can make other things in life a little more difficult at times, but it's worth it.) We may offer him pumped milk in a bottle eventually, but we don't know when that will be. And we're ok with that. Ryan is on board with this and very supportive. In fact, we don't even HAVE a bottle in the house for him! (Ok, I picked out the kind I want, but the store didn't have the size we needed. It was just in case, anyway, so we're in no hurry to get it.)

Nursing is such an amazing experience - many of you know that and understand the bond that develops and how special that time is. Being able to nurse is something I certainly don't take for granted. Plus, it's so beneficial to the baby, and I intend to nurse Aiden as long as possible.

Just thought I would bring this up b/c some inquiring minds have wanted to know. And I'm sure more will ask. Many understand and even agree, and I'm sure some do not. That's ok (just keep it to yourselves, please). :) But if you want to encourage, comment away!

Day Off

Camden had a teacher workday this past Friday, so Ryan took the day off, and we planned on doing something fun with Camden. The plan was to go to Ganyard Hill Farm for some pumpkin picking, hayriding, corn-mazing, and lots of other things... But then the night before, the weather forcast was for Friday to be pretty hot in the 80's. So, we changed our plans to going to the Durham Museum of Life and Science - so we could be inside, esp since we would have Aiden. He has been wanting to go back there for a while, and we'll do the farm on a weekend soon when it's a little cooler. We had a lot of fun and got to do almost everything.

We ran out of time to do all of the things in the Catch the Wind exhibit (which is where I suggested we START, but no.....nobody listened to that until it was too late). Therefore, we didn't get to go up in the Ornithopter or do most of the other activities, other than guide the small sailboats. Camden really wanted to explore more of this area after he saw what it was (me telling him earlier didn't convince him...). We know where to start next time!!

Here are the pictures from our day:
Durham Museum of Life and Science (Oct 10, 2008)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

TWO months old - and SHOTS!!!

Aiden turned two months old yesterday (wow!). Here are his two-month pics.

We had his check-up today where he got his first shot! We are using an alternative schedule of immunizations, so he hasn't had any shots yet and got less than most would at this visit. He'll still get all of the shots - just on a different schedule. During this visit, he got one shot and one oral vaccination. The oral - he hated (even though the nurse said it's very sweet and babies love it). After a couple drops, he started coughing, and I warned her that if he was coughing, he was likely to spit it up - after which he proceeded to do so. The rest stayed down, though. The shot was horrible for all involved, of course. He cried and cried. I got tears in my eyes. Ryan didn't - and I told him I would write that in the baby book so Aiden knew he was mean (just kidding!). I got to be the savior and nursed him right after the shots - he fell right to sleep and did really well the rest of the day.

Aiden is now 13lbs, 7oz and is 22.5 inches long. He's GROWING!!!

And in many ways... These days he talks to us quite a bit. He's a morning person for sure (morning for him being anywhere between 8 and 11am), talking to me lots while we change his diaper and clothes. Sometimes he tries to talk to me while he's nursing... He'll look up at me, smile, and start to coo. I try to tell him it's time to eat, not play, but then I can't help but return the smile (and then we just decide we'll play and eat later!). He smiles a lot, especially at his star next to his changing station. He has learned how to make the toys on his bouncy seat move by kicking his legs. He's able to go to sleep for some of his naps (and go back to sleep if he wakes) on his own - no fussing. :) (Sometimes - not always - but it's still wonderful that he's learning to do so!) He still sleeps a lot - about the same # of hours as when he first came home. But more of it is at night. He goes to bed anywhere between 8 and 10-something (depending on naptime - and the later time is usually after he's been asleep and we wake him to change into bed clothes). He'll then typically only get up around 2-3, again at 5, and then sometime between 6-7 (then he's back to sleep until later in the morning). So, some would say he's really only waking up twice in the middle of the night (depending on how you look at it!).

There's so much more, and it's just amazing watching him grow and learn so much everyday!!


Saturday was a big day for us!! After the soccer game, we went to Chapel Hill to visit some friends and their new baby boy, born exactly six weeks after Aiden. What a cutie he was!!

A (very blurry) picture of Kate with Baby Brent and me with Aiden (and Camden in the background there!)

After that, OUR visitors arrived - my mom and grandmother. We have two Mammaws in our home this week. :) It's been great having them here and spending the time together. We've done some shopping, cooking, and lots of other things.

I'm also learning how to cook (and eat! Haha!) some veggies that I haven't had in a long time or just never liked but have determined to like now. So both Mammaws are teaching me how to pickle beets (because I haven't had them in years like I like them - and now I know how to make them!), different ways to cook zucchini (because I always hated the stuff but I know it's good for you) and sweet potatoes (because Ryan and I decided recently we have got to learn to like them) and winter squashes, among other things... I joked to my mom - Why didn't you teach me this stuff when I lived at home??? Ha. She always had this kind of food - I just didn't like any of it or didn't pay attention! I guess I've grown up, huh?

Here are some pics from the visit so far...

Mammaw Gerry, Mammaw Melly w/ Aiden, and Mommy

Walking home after getting Camden from school

Aiden with his cool shades on the walk home (had to wait until he was asleep to get them on, and he still moved his head around to shake them off!!)

Saturday Pictures

Saturday Camden had a soccer game - their first of the season that they actually didn't win. (It was a tie.) We got a couple good shots of Camden playing and shots of Aiden in Daddy's arms during the game.

Side note... Aiden is definitely a momma's boy - mostly because I have the one thing he wants the most and that comforts him the most (momma's milk). He hardly lets Ryan hold him when he is tired, cranky, or upset for whatever reason. But today, he actually let him hold him and fell asleep in his arms. First, he spit up all over me under the nursing cover.......on the bra, the inside of my shirt, on my pants, everywhere. Only a tiny bit got on him, of course. This boy doesn't spit up much, but when he does - it's BIG. It's usually from eating for comfort (when his belly is already full) or because he coughed and got choked up. This time he was nursing for comfort, I suppose. Anyway, here are some great shots we got that afternoon... Hope you enjoy!

Before the (apparently comfort) nursing

In Daddy's arms

Friday, October 3, 2008

Brotherly Love

Camden is crazy about his baby brother!!! How do I know? For one, he asks to hold him ALL the time! He wants to do so much to help out and play with him. In the car, when Aiden fusses, Camden will stroke his head and try to calm him by shushing or even singing. The singing thing is big b/c he doesn't like to let people hear him sing. We had told him that Aiden loves to be sung to and doesn't care what anyone's voice really sounds like - he still likes it. Yet, Camden still wouldn't do it b/c he didn't want US hearing him, I guess. But now he will. He does it softly, but he does it. :)

Another big way to know how much he loves him? When we take pictures of Camden, we're usually saying "No, that's a fake smile. Can you give us a real smile? Please! Camden - come on..." But check out this picture...taken with no requests for any kind of smile..........

See what I mean? He's crazy about him!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

My Little Cuddler

Lately Aiden's been doing this new thing when he wants to go to sleep. If I'm holding him up with his head on my shoulder or chest (usually after he's eaten, has fallen asleep, and is being burped - b/c he doesn't normally fall asleep in this position) he nuzzles around until his face is up against my throat under my chin, so it's kind of hidden. It takes him a while to get it exactly where he wants it, so he's just wiggling his head all around for a while, rubbing his face against me. Kind of funny, and sometimes I can't help but thinking kid, what are you doing?

When he's nursing and falling asleep, he'll try to turn his head so that his face is in the crook of my arm, against my elbow - in that little space so that his face is pretty much hidden. Sometimes he tries to take a part of me along with him since he's still eating, and I explain to him that it doesn't go with him.... But he doesn't always get the message. When he's done, he'll just bend back, nuzzle around until he's just right and fall asleep.

It's really quite cute, especially to have him nuzzling up against me so much, finding a place on my body that suits him just right and makes him so comfortable.

Umbrella (Christ Remix)

Gotta see this. It's pretty awesome.

(If you're reading this with Google Reader - you'll have to go to the blog to see the video. It's not showing up on reader for some reason...)