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, March 31, 2009

Six-Month Pictures! (Part ONE)

Yes, Aiden is almost 8 months, and I'm just posting these... We actually were going to get more taken because it was raining the day we took some of the indoor shots. And then the weekend we had scheduled to do the outdoor shots...it rained again! So, we'll still be doing those soon, maybe in the next couple weeks. But I had been waiting to show all pictures together. Anyway, here are the ones we have! My friend Laura took these. She's getting into photography (like I want to do - and plan on doing!!), and I think she's doing a great job! :)

2009 Feb Aiden 6-month Pictures PART ONE
Click on the photo here to view the album.

There are also some nursing pictures of just me and Aiden. If you would like to see those, either email or comment and let me know. I have them saved as private and am only going to share them individually with some people. I do not want these floating around cyberspace. But I must say, they are, by far, my favorite pictures from the shoot. Definitely. They are very tasteful and well-done.

Thanks Laura!!

Part TWO coming some time in the hopefully-near future! :)

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Hero of the Year

is Gene Strode!!

So - here's the short version of our drama... (I promise I will try to keep it short!)

Fall 2005, Ryan and I pick out our wedding photographer. His photos are amazing, he's got a great personality, everything seems just perfect. This is TOP on my list of "must have the best" for our wedding - I mean at the very top. Anybody that knows anything about me knows that I love photography, so it's not a big surprise this was #1 (oh the irony.....you'll see!).

July 15, 2006. Ryan and I get married. And our photographer does a wonderful job! Well, except for the fact that the majority of our pictures were supposed to be OUTside and were taking INside. But others thought it was too "hot" for that. I've since gotten over that. Ok...not really. (We did get some amazing shots of me and Ryan outside before the reception, though.)

TODAY... We still have NO pictures from our wedding day. You walk into our home - no photographs of me in my wedding gown, Ryan in his tux, Camden in his... Nothing. (No engagement photos, either.) For the past year, our photographer has not answered any phone calls, emails, anything. And we've been quite insistent and then some. We can't just show up at his home/office, though, because we kinda live in a different state. (We have since found out that he has a record of not getting photos to people in a timely manner...)

My step-dad, Gene, and my mom were in to visit recently, and we were discussing the photos. Well, long story short (if you call all of this short)...Gene pays Mr. Photographer a visit. He got our wedding guest book (filled with engagement shots - we had to have it "fixed" after some of the pages came loose), our wedding album, our large wedding portrait, and the cd of printable photos (and he got him to add our engagement session photos to the cd!!). We still have yet to get some other prints made, but we're hoping that he will now respond to us after this visit from Gene-O.

Anyway, Gene is officially the hero of the year! Of the last three years! Because, yes, folks - it has been almost THREE years since our wedding. And we will finally be getting some photos to show for it!

By the way...this guy had the nerve to use one of our wedding shots on his wedding page online!! Here it is - we're at the bottom (and this isn't even the best shot he took of us). http://www.kcphoto.com/wedding%20photography.htm It's a picture of me smootching my new hubby. What nerve this guy has, though, huh?!

And if you want to check out our wedding album (that Mom emailed and told me was beautiful! Can't wait to see it in person!!), here is the link to that: http://www.kcphoto.com/Sample%20Albums/DesignerPreview/ShroutDesignerPreview/AlbumlFrame.htm

I guess you all know this guy's name now, too, huh? ;) Spread the word to those living/getting married in/around Richmond, KY. Do not use this guy. Sure, his photos are really great. He has a great presentation and says all the right things. But...obviously has a very poor follow-through.

gDiapers Giveaway WINNER

Winner is #7 - Paul, who said his favorite part of gdiapers was the flushable aspect. Congrats!! I've emailed Paul and will give him a couple days to respond! :)

Thanks for playing folks!!

I should be getting more great coupons and other g-things soon... So perhaps other giveaways are in the future!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Too good for a sippy cup?

This is Aiden drinking water - from Mommy's water bottle. We're starting to wonder if Aiden thinks he is just too good for a sippy cup. He won't really drink from one much. He'll take a little bit but then will just chew on the spout. Or push the cup away. Or throw it down. He sees us drinking from our cups or water bottles, and he starts kicking those legs and getting all excited over the possibility of getting a sip.

Aiden does really well drinking from a regular cup (us holding it, of course). We were really surprised, though, when he figured out how to drink from my water bottle (and figured it out quickly)... It's one of those where you have to bite the straw and then suck at the same time to get anything out of it. A bit more complicated than the sippy cup, yet he does better at it. Hmmmm...

Last night I put his sippy cup in front of him while I was finishing up dinner. He then watched as I got out glasses for the rest of us and started to whine for them. He didn't want the sippy cup, no. He wanted our glasses. He couldn't have any, though, since we were having smoothies with berries (and he can't yet have berries).

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Kid's Choice Cookies (or Mama's Choice!!)

In my case, it was Mama's choice. I baked them, so I got to choose what went into them. Plus, I did it when Camden wasn't at home (or maybe he was just in the other room, either way) - and I knew if I asked him if he wanted walnuts, he would say NO. This way, they got in there AND he ate them. :) And liked it.

I got the recipe for these oatmeal cookies (Kid's Choice Chip & Fruit Oatmeal Cookies is the long name) from the King Arthur blog I subscribe to. Love that blog. Love that website. Love it all. (This is a great food blog to subscribe to, if you're interested. They don't do just sweets but also lots of breads, soups, and all sorts of things! They have great photos, tips, funny stories... It's a great blog to follow. And they only post every couple days, so it's not overwhelming.)

The deal is, you take the recipe and then you add a total of three cups of whatever add-ins you want (chips, chunks, dried fruit, nuts, etc, etc.). Somewhere (maybe the blog, maybe the actual recipe from the website) it was suggested to use dark chocolate chunks (I had chips), dried cranberries, and walnuts. Well, that sounded perfect to me, so that's exactly what I did.

And I made these right after Lent began (yes, it was a while ago - but I still just had to share the recipe b/c they are so good! ummm...I mean, surely they're good. I wouldn't really know since I gave up cookies for Lent and all, right?). Since I couldn't have these, I wondered to myself, how will I know they taste right? Well, obviously Camden would be the judge this time, but I did test a bit of the cookie dough before cooking anything. That's ok, right?

What isn't ok, I am pretty sure, is continuing to eat the cookie dough... More about that in a moment.

So, I made a couple batches of the cookies. Actually, just a couple cookies in each batch. Camden was having a friend over, so I baked four cookies using King Arthur's tablespoon scoop (actually is much larger than a T) and then four using the teaspoon scoop. They liked both, by the way.

The rest? I scooped it out with the teaspoon scoop, put them on a baking sheet, and popped those babies in the freezer. You didn't think I was going to bake a whole batch of cookies when only one of us in the house could eat them, did you?? (Ryan also gave up cookies.) And actually, I made half of the batch with little mini chocolate chips. Not dark. Ryan made the comment that while he likes all the other cookies I make, sometimes he just wants plain ol' chocolate chip, implying that I need to make some plain ol' chocolate chip (and he reminded me that meant NOT dark choc chips, which is what I usually use, because, hey, that's what I like).

So, all of that was frozen. And somehow a few of those frozen balls of cookie dough made their way right into our mouths... I'm not sure HOW that happened! Actually, I have never been so tempted to eat cookie dough! After a couple, I told Ryan that I was deciding that the dough counted as "cookies" and we were to eat no more! My guilt was getting to me. And we now have a bag full of cookies waiting to be baked once Lent is over and we can once again indulge. ;)

Here is the link to the blog post about the cookies. They do a great job of showing pictures of the process and writing up their tips and whatnot (such as using the jumbo muffin scoop, which is about a quarter cup, for bake sales - or just for eating on a Saturday night, right?). The actual recipe is here, along with how to bake the frozen ones. On the blog, I noticed they say you can freeze the cookie dough balls up to two months; on the recipe they say one. I say...are they really going to last that long???

UPDATE 3-2-09

I made these again to have some for a playdate. I discovered that I made the first set with the jumbo scoop instead of the tablespoon scoop. How did that happen?? Well, my husband has this tendency to "clean up" my stuff, and he took the scoop, which was still in its box, and some other baking things I had just bought and put them somewhere else. I finally realized this and got everything back out - and put them where they actually belonged.

The tablespoon scoop made perfect sized cookies. (And yes, I tasted the dough again. And it is one of the best cookie doughs I have ever had. No kidding.) Camden tested a couple cookies after they came out of the oven. His reaction? His eyes got as big as they could, he made lots of mmmmmmmmm noises, and said "these are REALLY good!!!" So - I guess you could say they pass the test. They still had the nuts in them, and he said they were so good even with them. Even better than last time. (How? I don't know. The recipe is exactly the same...) According to him, they were just how I wanted - a tiny bit crunchy on the edge and a little chewy in the middle. Perfect! Here's a pic of the tablespoon sized cookies. Every one came out perfectly sized. I love those little scoops!

I've had a terrible time resisting these cookies!! I'm sending the rest with Ryan to work... They are calling my name, and I can't just say "no" anymore! Come Easter...I won't have to!


Does anyone know a great recipe for your own bubbles?? Aiden has discovered bubbles and loves them, of course! It's amazing how such a simple thing like bubbles can fascinate children.

BUT I like to know what is in things, especially things I blow in my child's face and all over the blanket he plays on (and rubs his face in and lays his toys on - that he then puts all in his mouth...he tries to eat the blanket sometimes, too, so...). I have no idea what is actually IN the bubbles you buy, but homemade is most often better and cheaper (even though bubbles are pretty cheap to begin with).

So, if any of you have a great recipe and tips, please share! Thanks!!

Monday, March 23, 2009

We're in trouble now!!!

So, Sunday, Aiden was set down next to his jumper while Ryan got out the blanket to set him on, and this is what Aiden suddenly did.....................

This was kind of like figuring out he could sit... We just sat him up one day, and he stayed! Who knows what would have happened if we had sat him up alone earlier. And today, he was next to something he can pull up on, when he's normally not. And this is what we discovered!

He was definitely wanting something up there...

That's it! (Thanks, Dad!)

We're definitely in trouble now!

Cupcake College

No, I didn't go back to school. My friend, Andy, and another friend of hers did a class called "Cupcake College" this weekend to raise funds for SAFEchildNC, a great organization here in Wake Co. helping to prevent child abuse, which is one of my passions. (Funny thing - I wanted so badly to do my second-year internship with this place when getting my masters at UNC, but they only accept first-years, so I didn't get to do it. Bummer. BUT the director was there at the party, so I got to do some networking! Yay!)

Basically, Andy has perfected her cupcake recipe, originally from a King Arthur recipe (KA stuff is great by the way. I love everything I have ordered from them, mostly tools, and their recipes are fabulous! I even subscribe to their recipe blog, which I highly recommend! That's where I learned to make these delicious "volcano" loaves!) Back to the story... Joan, the co-host, did a tutorial on how to make the cupcakes and tips to make them the best ever - and these were VERY yummy cupcakes. And Andy did a section on decorating. I never knew using fondant was so easy! Ummmm...I take that back. It's hard. Very hard. So, if you ever get cupcakes from me with fondant decorations...know I put a lot of hard work into it!!

So, I came away with some great cupcake making/decorating tips, I got to network with someone from a company I could possibly work for one day (that I could possibly WANT to work for), and I had a blast. They are doing another one covering chocolate (this was white) cupcakes in June. If you're interested, let me know and I'll be sure to get the info to you when it is emailed out!

I don't think I'll be able to go back to making box cupcakes... Actually, that's one of the few things I make from a mix these days. And the cake arena was next on my list to start doing from scratch, so this was perfect timing!!

Another unexpected outcome...I spent a couple hours away from Aiden. For the first time. Ever. Yes, really. The kid nurses every two hours and will not drink milk from anything but mama, so...it's not been very possible. Plus, we've been fine with how things are. The plan was that Andy's husband and two young boys were going to be at the party for my boys and husband to hang out with. But on the way, we found out the boys were at their home a couple streets over. Aiden refused to eat before we rushed out to the party, so we weren't sure how it would go...but he forgot about eating once he was with all the other guys (and one baby girl!). Soon as he saw me, he was begging for his milk, though! So - we both did fine. :) Good thing it wasn't longer than a couple hours, though.

Ok - I know you want to see some pics from the cupcake fun! I left the camera with Daddy to take pictures of all the kids. But guess what? He didn't take any. So I could have had the camera. (Grrr....) I snapped a few after we got home, though some of the decorations weren't up to having their picture taken by that time. Here are a couple, though...

This was an "ice cream cone" cupcake with oreo bits in the icing - after it had fallen on its side and part of the icing came off while the cupcake rolled around a bit. Still looks yummy, though, huh?!

The (very hard!) fondant-covered cupcake

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Let's Talk About Sex, Baby

Count of hands...How many are singing the song now??

Today at lunch, I made a statement that I think Ryan and I need to start talking to Camden about sex more often. Camden's like WHHHHAAAATTT???!!! Um, yeah - he's getting older. I'm not stupid. We've had the talk and sex is not a taboo topic in our home - that's how I grew up, and I think it's the best way to go. It's not a bad word or something we ignore. But we don't have a lot of actual conversations about kids, growing up, sex, etc, etc. - the kind of talks we will soon need to be having more often. I've heard some of his friends mention "making out" and stuff like that - from what they've seen on tv shows or whatever (not talking about themselves doing it - but that won't be too, too long!), so sooner might be better than later. Not that I am worried about anything happening now - especially after some of Camden's comments and expressions while we chatted. But at the same time, I know how soon some kids do things. Like I said, I'm not stupid. I've been in schools. I've worked around kids. Middle school can be a big age for some things, unfortunately, and he's almost there (in middle school, I mean!).

Plus, the other day the computer was open to cnn.com b/c that's our homepage. He clicked on some article and then went back to the homepage again. When asked what he clicked on, he tried to say it was a different one. I finally got him to fess up about what he clicked on - something that had the word "sex" in it. He tried to get out of telling the truth, but after me saying that I most likely know the answer but am giving him a chance to tell me himself (which is almost always the case! Us parents are smarter than kids give us credit for sometimes...most of the time. Let's hope it stays that way, too!) - anyway, after that, he told the truth and admitted he was just curious. The article was actually just about how some families think it's harder to talk about money that sex. Wow - that's interesting for a fourth grader, huh? Anyway...back to the story...

We told Camden that we don't want him getting all of his information from friends because we don't want his knowledge to come from people that make up half of the stuff they talk about. We want him talking to people that can be honest with him and know the real facts.

His response??

I know. You're witnesses.

We ALL just had to laugh at that one. He's like - well, you did just have Aiden! Hello. You don't just suddenly one day say, hey, I'm gaining weight. How did that happen? (He actually said all of that - I'm not paraphrasing.) The conversation went from him being shocked to us all having a nice laugh. And after all, isn't that how it should be when you talk to kids about sex? Well, not all jokes and laughter - but lighthearted and comfortable. He knew it was ok to joke around, and I'm pretty happy about that.

Spoke Too Soon??

I said the other day that Aiden was showing signs of separation anxiety when we left the room or his vision but not signs of stranger anxiety... Maybe I spoke too soon.

That very day we went to MyGym for our last class for a while. We're taking the swim class now, too, and I think one class a week is all we're going to do for now. (These classes aren't cheap, you know!) We hadn't been to MyGym for a few weeks b/c of illnesses, scheduling issues, etc, but he has seen the people there quite a bit. I sit him down in the circle and the teacher says hello to him. Aiden bursts out crying. Only lasted a second, but still. I assume it's because he hasn't napped but less than 10 minutes all day (his napping habits have gone south lately!). And he was fine the rest of the class.

Later in the afternoon, a neighbor stops by. Aiden loves Nikki! Anytime he sees her, he just grins and grins at her. This time - she says hi, and he cries!After he seems calm, he looks back at her - cries again. Then we go through it all again. :( He did end up smiling at her before she left, but he sat on my lap, close to me the whole time. Hmmm....

By this point he still had not napped even 30 minutes total. (I am not embracing this new nap routine he's been trying out.) So - we can chalk it up to sleepiness, or it could be the "stranger" thing. We'll give it a little more time and see.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

Here are this week's Friday Fill-Ins. I did this once a few weeks back and have just been crazy-busy the past couple weeks, so I didn't get to it again until now. (I didn't decide to quit after one time, Connie!) ;) Answers are in bold.

1. Why do we have to get out of bed so early in the mornings? I would much rather sleep in until 9 every day. Oh wait - I DO that now... (I would rather be able to do it and not feel guilty about it then.)

2. Going to bed way too late and sleeping in way too late are now habits. Habits that we really want to change.

3. I have a baby that used to fall asleep on his own within 5 minutes of being laid in his crib...and now he might take an hour to go to sleep for 20 minutes. I really think it's separation anxiety kicking in, based on the way he is acting when going down (and when awake).

4. I had never heard the phrase "_____" and it _____. Ok - I'm just going to admit that I can't think of anything here and that I'm not going to stress myself trying to figures something out that is good to say. :) It's ok not to be perfect sometimes. Wow - maybe THAT should be the phrase I had never heard...come out of my mouth, that is....and it sounds just fine to me at this moment. There - how's that!? ;)

5. I'll be going to bed late tonight, like the way I always do. Tonight it's because it was Camden's last basketball game. Ryan coached and we had a little party after the game - and we had to stay until the end. Then come home, get both boys to bed. And we haven't had any time to just relax for ourselves yet - and it's after 10pm. And I'm not the kind that can just come in, do a bunch of work, and flop into bed - I need the down-time before I can go to sleep, even if it means I'm up extra late.

6. How was I to know that I would be such a different parent the second time around. I know there is nine years between them and that I have grown a lot since Camden was born, but I hadn't expected to be so different. I've learned a lot since the first and I'm a very different person, and though I was a good mom when Camden was born, I feel that I've grown so much and put more thought into why I parent this baby the way I do. I don't just do things because that's just how it's done - I parent with purpose and know why I do each little thing.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to maybe sitting down after I finish typing this and watching Private Practice (from last night - we recorded it), tomorrow my plans include Camden's first soccer game, maybe a visit to Babies R Us for a bunch of things we need for Aiden, and hopefully some relaxing time on the couch reading a good book and just being (while Aiden hopefully sleeps long enough to allow part of that), and Sunday, I want to go to church (we've missed some lately and I need it) and then meet some new people and learn some new techniques on how to perfect the cupcake at "Cupcake College" that my good friend Andy is co-hosting!

Happy weekend everyone!

gDiapers Giveaway!

This is my *first* giveaway ever! I have some awesome coupons for gdiapers for people that want to try them out (or know someone who does). (I wish I had some actual gdiapers to giveaway, but I don't. Sorry. Maybe someone from gHQ will be reading this and offer something up!!)

Good news is you can use these at your local Babies R Us!! Many carry them now, and starting in April - ALL BRU stores will carry gdiapers!! They have the starter kits (which is what the coupons are for), insert refills, and select styles of gpants. How awesome is that?! (Pretty awesome is the answer.) These coupons are good until the end of 2009, so you will have plenty of time to use them - and can even wait until your BRU carries gdiapers if you want.

If you're just hearing about gdiapers, here is a bit about them...

gDiapers consist of a washable, cotton outer 'little g' pant and a plastic-free flushable diaper refill. They are made of breathable material just like sports clothing. You have a few options with the refill - flush, toss, or compost (wet ones)! Even if you toss it, the great thing is that it decomposes within a few months. You can't say that about disposables that take over 500 years! The refills have no chlorine or plastic. Your little one will be much less likely to get a rash wearing these babies. The waterproof snap-in liner is also plastic-free, helping baby's bottom to breath. Another great thing is you don't have to wash the outter pant with every change, like you do with most cloth options, since it doesn't get wet or dirty. Check out the gdiapers website for more facts (and videos) about the breaking down of the refills, to read more faq's about the dipes, and to see all the cute gpant colors!

We have used gdiapers since before Aiden left the hospital when he was born. They are adorable and work so well! We love them. In fact, I'm a bit addicted to them... (see previous post)

I mentioned in this post that gdiapers.com is having a sale right now. I can give you a coupon code for 20% off your order (just let me know if you want it!), the grass green gpant is on clearance (until they are all gone!), and there is free shipping (on orders $50+) until the end of March. So go there to get some great deals!

Babies R Us also is having a great deal on gdiapers! Buy a gpant and a refill package, and get $6 off the gpant!! That's pretty awesome. I've never seen these pants that cheap! They carry the Good Vibe Girl and Good Vibe Stripe (which I didn't think I would like until I saw them in person - very cute!)

And enter your info below to get three $2 off coupons for starter kits (contains 2 gpants, 3 snap-in liners, 10 flushable refills, a swishstick, and a HUG - handy user's guide). These are available at BRU stores, Whole Foods (many but not all), diapers.com, and other local stores in many areas. You can go to gdiapers.com and do a search for local stores in your area. You can also get them at gdiapers.com - but the coupon can only be used at other retail places.

To enter:
Leave a comment with your email address (or have it in your blog link) and state what you think is the best part about gdiapers. :)
(For those of you that already filled out the other form - I will be including your entry, too! No worries. I just decided - after running some errands and coming back to comments in different places - that it's just easier to have all the entries in one place!)

For extra entries, please leave a comment for each type of entry - and include your email so that I can get in touch with you if you win! Remember, I blog a lot about my family and the baby, so subscribe if you think you will like reading lots of those stories as well as the green-related posts and all the other things I choose to blog about. ;) Your choice!

1. Subscribe by email (see right column on blog)
2. Subscribe to my feed
3. Follow this blog (see right column, about halfway down)
4. Blog about this on your own blog and link back to this post. (Leave a link to your blog post.) Or email others with a link to this post, and copy me with the email.

Winner chosen using random.org. Giveaway ends Fri. March 27th. I'll give the winner a couple days to respond after being selected, and then will mail out the coupons. Good luck!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Hello, my name is Daisy....

...and I'm a gdiaper-aholic.

I'm a bit addicted, I think... There are some new gdiaper colors out, and I've been formulating why we "need" to get them so I can convince dear Ryan. We have enough gpants to get us through a few days, especially with the fact that you do not have to wash each gpant after just one diaper. Since the liner and insert gets wet and the outter pant doesn't, the outter pant doesn't need laundering that often. Nice plus there! But it doesn't help my case when there are new ones that I really, really want!
  • Right now, gdiapers has free shipping (helping my case) - through the end of March.
  • I have a coupon code for 20% off (helping my case). Let me know if you're considering purchasing some g's, and I'll send it your way!
  • One of the g's is on clearance (grass green!) (helping and hurting - b/c it's still one more g I want to buy!). They're only $14.44 until they are gone!
  • There is a new color/print out called goo-goo blue that is just adorable!! (not helping my case...)
  • Another color (grasshopper green - perfect for spring!!) has been brought back (not helping my case...), and I just have to have it b/c it's one of the colors I do not have now. That and the goo-goo blue!
  • Got chocolate brown was sold out in large, and now it's back in stock! (not helping my case b/c we don't need it NOW but I'm trying to get one of each color in large for later on...)
So, what's the verdict?? Well, I'm working on it. ;)

Here's what's working against me...
  • g's cost money, even if they are on sale.
  • we don't really NEED any of them.

And what's working for me...
  • they're on SALE! well, there's the free shipping (on orders over $50), 20% off, and grass green is a couple bucks cheaper (and will no longer be available soon!)
  • they look adorable on Aiden - and I just have to have them! Though Ryan would say I just "want" them. (Not sure what that's all about...)
  • the more we have in rotation, the longer they will look great. (that's a good excuse, right?)
  • we use cloth inserts, so this is still cheaper than disposables

This is Aiden saying "g's are on sale?!?! WHAT are you waiting for, Mom?!?!"

Hurry and place your orders soon if you love g's just as much as I do!! And let me know if you need that coupon code!! (20% means the more you spend, the better the discount! That's what I say, at least.) ;)

And if you have no idea what gdiapers are....well, let me know b/c I can tell you ALL about them. We love them - they work great! And are great for baby, for the earth, etc, etc. And they are so stinkin' adorable!!


It's happened...Aiden has realized that Mommy is her own person and that she sometimes LEAVES the room!

It actually happened a couple weeks ago. One day, almost every time I stepped out of Aiden's view, even for just a second, he immediately started crying. Crying as in basically screaming -until I returned to his view and then came and retrieved him to comfort.

We knew the time was coming soon. He's right on track developmentally with this. Next up - stranger anxiety. We haven't seen anything about this yet. He's around different people from time to time, but he isn't showing any discomfort or fears about meeting new people. Of course, he's also never been LEFT with anyone he doesn't know. And to be honest, he's never really been away from Mom. (Yes, it's true, and I won't apologize.) We'll see how that part plays out.

For now, I just have to keep him within my vision most of the day, which...ummmm...I kind of do anyway. Obviously I don't leave him in a room on his own. So, it's not really a big deal. He is having a bit of a harder time going down for naps and all, but it just takes standing by his crib a little longer and reassuring him that I'm there close by. And when I move around the apartment doing things, he will sometimes keep a close watch on me, as if to remind me that he is quite aware that I COULD go somewhere at any time. And then again, sometimes he's perfectly fine with me being out of eyesight for a moment or two. You never really know which one you're going to get!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

SEVEN Months

A little overdue, but life happens, and I'm just now getting to Aiden's monthly check-in. He turned seven months old March 6th!

Let's see.... In the past month Aiden has learned quite a few new things.

He loves playing with his toy piano now that he is sitting. A few weeks ago, I discovered while he was playing with it, he actually pushed it away and scooted himself and the piano off of his blanket on the floor... We soon learned it's because he realized there are small toys under the piano, and he's trying to get to them! (The piano is made to change heights, positions to grow with baby, and underneath are some small toys that dangle if a baby is lying under it with the piano in a different position.) He sees us moving the piano towards him to play with it, and he gets very excited!

He has realized he can knock things over instead of just play with them. Two toys in particular get this a lot: His LeapFrog Animal Alphabet Discovery Ball has a spinning part on it. He knows how to do this well, but apparently sometimes he just wants to knock the thing over. He pushes it with purpose! Not because he doesn't want it - but because it's fun! And because he CAN. The other is his Lamaze Chime Garden. Same thing as with the spinning ball - he knows how to do it and loves this toy. But sometimes - DOWN it goes! The second you put it in front of him, he knocks it down. You pick it up, he knocks it down. Great fun!

Aiden has also discovered BALLS! This is partly thanks to big brother and his small, soft basketball. He'll pretend to be playing basketball, and Aiden cracks up over it. Aiden now will sit and roll his toy balls all around! He loves them and is so interested in what he can make them do and how far away they roll.

Aiden loves reading!! Loves it. Often, when he's nursing before a nap, he will finish eating, try to sit up (can't do it all the way on his own yet), and reach for the book that we leave tucked in the glider. He knows reading comes next and is ready for it! He will even sit and let you read a long book that is for older children, such as Big Words for Little People, by Jamie Lee Curtis. We really like that book - and he will let you read the whole thing! Like I said, he loves reading! He also likes to try to eat the board books, which I know is supposed to be ok...but I don't like the idea of him eating cardboard, so we're on the lookout for some great cloth books. Some great organic cloth books would be preferred. It will be going in his mouth, after all.

Aiden is sitting like a pro now. He doesn't fall over much, and when he does, it's usually because he tries to pull his foot up to his mouth while sitting.... So, that's kind of his own fault there. I try to explain that, but he doesn't seem to believe me.

Food - this child loves to eat!! First of all, he is still nursing every two hours. Yes, two. If we're out and about, he might go another hour - if he's distracted enough and has a nap in between three. But at home - it's two max. Then there are solids. He has liked just about everything we have given him. We've added some green veggies to the mix - green beans and peas. Carrots are a fave now (if you're making your own baby food, remember to either use organic or wait until baby is over 8 mos due to the nitrate issue), as are mango, prunes, and yogurt. All the squashes are great. Sweet potatoes, of course. Applesauce. Avocado. You name it! He's gotten to the point where if we are eating, he must be eating, too. And by that, I mean we have to feed him while our food gets cold b/c he demands bite after bite - with no break for us to get our own bites in! He's a big fan of water, too. The only thing is, he isn't a big fan of sucking through a sippy cup valve. He actually does much better drinking from a real cup (us holding it, of course).

Doesn't he look just like his Daddy here??

Sleep....well, this isn't his strong point. But that's ok. We'll get there. Aiden was still waking every two hours to nurse - and really needing to nurse (not just waking and wanting to). We had moved him to his own room at nights after Christmas, and I was becoming more and more sleep deprived. You end up getting woken up more when you have to go to a separate room to feed the baby. So.........back into our room he went in early February. It was immediately much better for Mommy. I still wake plenty throughout the night to nurse him, but neither of us have to wake completely, and I get much more sleep with him nearby. It's working wonderfully for all of us! And I don't mind the nursing sessions through the night this way. :)

We did get weight and height this month. Since Aiden is on an alternative vax schedule, we are in the dr office once a month (from this point on, it's much less often, though). He now weighs 17.11 lbs (at 7 months, not today - he was weighed at the dr office on the 6th) and measures 26.5 inches.

I love baby feet.
I probably kiss these toes as much as I kiss his adorable face!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Aiden the Swimmer!

Today was our second Baby&Me swim class. Aiden still loves it. Even though he was suddenly plulnged under water this time around.

That's right. I said UNDER WATER!

Actually, I chickened out the first time. We sing "Ring Around the Roses" and last week, we "all blow bubbles" instead of "fall down" - and then the moms blew bubbles on the edge of the water. I hadn't expected that on week two we would be starting to take them under, but surprise, surprise. I wasn't prepared for it, so we still blew bubbles. But then during the free play time at the end, we went for it. It was a little strange because there was really no way to prepare Aiden for it. The instructor had said we could wait until we felt comfortable, and the mom next to me in our circle admitted to me that you don't really get to a point where you feel comfortable trying it - you just do it. (She was in the class a previous time.) I think she's right. I didn't feel comfortable until we actually tried it. It was kind of unnerving until we got through it that first time.

So, are you wondering how you take a baby underwater for the first time? Yeah, I was, too. You puff air in their face and then quickly set them under the water and then right back up. It happens very quickly. I mean, you're not keeping them under there or anything! Another reason I chickened out at first - I wanted to see him breathe in and hold his breath when I did the little puff BEFORE assuming it would work and plunging him under the water. Logically, I knew he would do it. That's how babies are. (Have you ever blown air into a baby's face? They breathe in quickly and hold their breath for a couple moments. And sometimes make a funny face while doing it.) BUT being Mommy about to put baby under the water for the very first time...I just had to double check.

We ended up going under a couple times. Well, I didn't. Aiden did. And he never fussed one single bit! It was really neat, actually. He blinked a bunch when he first came up, but that was it. It was almost like he was saying...oh, it's whatever. This is nuthin'......

Aiden also wanted to taste the water some more this week. Whenever I blew bubbles on the water surface, he would try to put his head to the water and...instead of blowing bubbles, he would open his mouth and stick out his tongue. He'll get it. I'm surprised he's not doing it already, actually, because he is always making the noise on his own. We're just adding the water! Lol! I'm sure within the next couple classes, he'll be blowing bubbles along with me. In our shower after class, he was enjoying sticking his mouth in the water and tasting it. I did it to show him it was ok with that water - and he thought it was hilarious! And then showed me he understood by doing it himself, too. :) He's so much fun - and it's so much fun watching him learn!

We'll see what happens next week!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My Dear Husband

On the way to a playdate for Aiden yesterday, I was reminded of how awesome my husband is. I'm reminded often, but it's really nice when it's out of the blue or I notice when I'm not looking.

Dear hubby has been filling the gas tank in my car for the past couple years. He does it when I don't even know half the time. He'll go out for an errand and take my car instead. I would say that I can count on one hand the number of times I have had to fill up my own car since we moved to North Carolina in the summer of 2006 - almost three years ago! I would have to think where the gas stations are around here before having to fill up. Maybe I'm spoiled. That's ok, as far as I'm concerned. Is it being spoiled if you are truly grateful and appreciative, though? Because I am.

The great thing about Ryan is that he really pays attention to me and what I want and tries to do everything he can to make my life the best he can. He does this in many ways. Not just the pumping my gas. He washes the dishes that won't go in the dishwasher (most nights). I'm not sure if this is because he knows I don't like to do that chore or because he hates leaving things a mess. Either way, I'll take it as him doing something for me and appreciate it. He fills my water bottle up every night and brings it to my nightstand. He also brings my cell phone to the nightstand (and plugs it up to charge if it needs it). In the mornings, he tries to be really quiet when he gets ready for work so that he doesn't wake me or Aiden. If he finds out on the way home that I didn't get around to dinner or simply don't feel like it, he never complains but immediately thinks of an alternative, whether it be him fixing something quick or stopping to pick up take-out.

I could go on, really. I could also go on about how he isn't perfect and tell you about some of the little things that annoy me sometimes. But the truth is, he pretty much is perfect.

Anyway, I hardly even think to look at the gas meter anymore. A negative side effect, I suppose. I happen to glance at it on the drive to Raleigh yesterday and notice it is completely full. And I am reminded of how awesome my husband is. And I am reminded of how he finds ways to show me all the time that he loves me. Ways that don't shout it or ask for recognition. Ways that are not in-my-face. Ways that are not asking for anything in return. Ways that quietly say he knows what little things will make me smile and will make my life a little bit easier.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Why can't he be more reasonable??

Just because he's a baby...that doesn't excuse it, you know.

Aiden has this issue with us doing anything near his nose. Trying to use the nasal aspirator you get at the hospital is useless. He jerks his head every which way, flails his arms to keep you from getting near his face, and screams at you. (And for any of you that haven't had babies and are thinking "so what?" - babies are STRONG. If they don't want you going there, they can do a heck of a lot to prevent it!) And even if we can get that thing into his nose, he jerks so much that we're afraid it will hurt him. No joke. I mean, you're sticking that thing UP his nose. Add that to a bunch of flailing around and all - that could do some damage. We would rather not.

So we got this other thing to clean his nose. It actually works really well - the Nosefrida. You don't put anything IN the nose, actually. The only problem is, he hates things coming NEAR his nose. So, even though it works and there isn't the worry about hurting the inside of his nose when he moves around, it still isn't working all that well if we can't get it there....

I tried to reason with the kid today. I reminded him how well he can breathe after his nose is cleaned out. I mean, hello! - can't he remember that from all the other times we have done it?? Does he not notice the difference? And today was one of those times, like most, where the (practically-dried-by-this-point) snot is right there on the edge! I would barely have to do anything to get it out! But does he care about that? Noooooo.... Mr. Big Shot would rather assert his independence and remind me that I can't make him. There was no reasoning or considering the logic behind it all. None whatsoever! It's almost like he didn't even understand me!

*Rolling my eyes*


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Lost Generation

This is a video that was submitted in a contest by a 20-year old. The contest was Titled "u @ 50". This video won second place. When they showed it, everyone in the room was awe-struck and broke into spontaneous applause. So simple and yet so brilliant...

I received this in an email. Very interesting. Worth the time it takes to watch (esp with it being less than two minutes long).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Weekend Recap

So much has been happening with so little time to blog about it. Last week, Aiden turned 7 months! That will get its own post next (or soon, at least). Then the weekend rolled around, and my mother and step-father came into town from Kentucky to spend a few days (well, originally it was a couple days, and then they surprised us by staying one more! Yay!!) While they were here, we had perfect weather, so we took advantage and did lots of outdoorsy things.

They arrived in time to watch Camden's basketball game Friday night. I'm sure he was thrilled to have them there, even though his team lost. He played his best friend's team (and some old soccer and basketball teammates were on the other team, as well, along with his old soccer coach). Saturday, Mom and I transplanted some plants from Ryan's Granny's funeral. We were given a beautiful planter that had a lot of plants bunched in together, so we gave them all their own pots to let them grow more and beautify our home - not to mention help clean the air! We spent Saturday afternoon walking around at Bond Park in Cary and then grilling out at home.

Sunday, Mom and I took Aiden and visited Duke Gardens in Durham. That was so nice and relaxing - we spent more time than we maybe needed to and got back rather late, but oh well. We didn't feel the need to be rushed, so...we didn't rush ourselves. We also know that next time we go, we can take a picnic, blankets, and things to play b/c there are a bunch of open fields just for those purposes - a good way to make sure the kids all enjoy a day at the Gardens! When we got back home, we went straight into the kitchen to finish up dinner. Mom has been bringing a venison roast the last few times she's visited (you'd better be careful, Mom, or I'm going to start expecting one every time!!) b/c it's my favorite. So we had the works - venison, mashed potatoes, peas, gravy, rolls. All homemade, of course. It was soooooo yummy!

Here are pictures from the weekend with our visitors! (PS - We had to fork over some money to pay for extra storage b/c we upload so many pics, so please do check out our online albums! It wasn't much, and it was worth it - but only if people actually view them!) :)
Mammaw & Pappaw Visit - March 2009

Monday...Aiden had his first swimming class! I've been wanting to do a Baby&Me swim class and looked up all the ones in the area. After comparing prices, scheduling issues, # of classes, make-up policies, class length, open classes, what they taught, what mom got out of it, etc, etc...we ended up going with the AquaMoms class. It's a good mix b/c they do teach the babies to go under and all that good stuff (not right away, of course!), but it also incorporates mom getting a workout in, as well. Plus, after sharing the info, the moms from BabySteps class (and MyGym - the same ladies from all) are taking the class, too! How fun!! :)

We were doing MyGym for a while. That was ok - but Aiden didn't really seem to care one way or another, and we were doing things I could do at home. I think it would be better for a child that is a little older and more active. It was more for me to get out of the home. But swimming is something I really thought would be beneficial. Camden became scared of the water when he was pretty young (he fell face forward in the tub twice during one bath with his father when he was about a year and a half - and he never forgot it!!), and it took him a long time to get over it. At five, he was still taking showers with goggles. He finally became ok even in the pool (I figured this out after he was jumping off the diving board with a life-jacket...), took lessons, and LOVES to swm now. BUT I wanted it to be a bit easier with Aiden...get him used to being in the water earlier and not have to go through so much drama! So, to me, the price of the swim lessons is worth it.

Anyway, his first class was on Monday...and he LOVED it! We did different things in the water, moving the babies around, up and down (not under yet!). He would giggle and laugh! We (the moms and some babies that have been in the class before) would put our mouths on the edge of the water and blow bubbles..and Aiden even tried to do it. He was sticking out his tongue and ended up swallowing some water and coughing it up (even though I didn't put him down close to it - he put his head down into it trying to blow bubbles), but he still loved it! It was a lot of fun for both of us, so I think this will work out great. And when the class ends - it will be just about the time the pool opens up! Great timing (that wasn't entirely accidental...) No pictures of the pool, though. Ryan said he figured I wasn't likely to take any pics at the class. Ummmm...no. Not that I'm not likely. It's kind of impossible. We'll find a way to get some, though! I always do.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Aiden's First Boo-Boo

I forgot to mention another big deal from our Monday "off"....

Aiden got his first boo-boo. He fell forward, which he does not do often these days, while reaching to get a toy. He hit his nose and screamed his head off!

The bad part was neither Mom nor Dad saw it. I was sitting less than two feet away, but I was looking in the other direction at the moment it happened. Talk about bad timing... So, we both spent a great amount of time looking all over to see where any bump/scratch/bruise could be on his face to be sure we knew where he hit. We finally found a mark under his nose, which made me feel much better b/c I knew he didn't get really hurt (not compared to a bump on the head/eye/mouth, at least). We were both really worried for a while b/c he screamed and screamed. But it was his first time getting hurt, so...that's understandable. The poor guy is learning that the world isn't always fun and good-feeling. :(

Here's a picture of the nose, a day later. It actually looks worse today than it did yesterday.

Ryan is still a bit upset about the whole ordeal. I reminded him, this is the first of many!

Busy Weekend - But in a Good Way!

I feel like I haven't been on here in quite a while, but it's just been a few days. We had a busy weekend and then a snow day on Monday, so today really feels like it's Monday, though it's not.

Saturday we had some of Aiden's six-month pictures taken. I say some because the plan was to get some outdoor shots, but it rained all weekend, so those are put on hold until a nicer weekend. A friend of mine from grad school is branching out and doing photography, and she is very good! I saw some pictures of another grad school friend's baby on facebook and was about to ask who in the heck her photographer was (b/c I thought it was the same person that took the newborn pics, which were also great...and similar). Turns out, it's our friend from grad school. So, she took Aiden's six-month pics (a little late, as he's almost seven months, but my perfectionistic self is trying to get over that...esp as it's my fault b/c I wanted him to be sitting fairly well to get some great sitting-alone and possibly looking-over-the-shoulder-while-sitting-alone shots). I've seen a few preview shots and am very anxious to see the rest! I will show them once they're available.

And if you're in the area and looking for a great photographer, let me know and I'll send you her way!! You won't be disappointed.

I must say, though, I'm a bit envious. This is something I would love to be doing!! Maybe this will motivate me to get out my photography books, dust them off, and brush up on taking *real* photographs. I already have the books out and have been messing around with taking pictures without all the auto settings and flash (though we get little natural light in our apt). I have yet to start actually reading in the books yet, though (which are from college - I thought I hadn't even read any of them, but one book has highlight marks all throughout it... I just don't remember any of it anymore!!)

Then Sunday, another rainy day, we all went to Marbles Kids Museum. Camden had wanted to go to see an IMAX feature on the ocean, so we decided we would go for it. We don't have Aiden watch tv, but we figured this would be ok. It's short and it's educational - and it doesn't happen often. And sometimes, it just really needs to be about Camden, too. A friend of his came along, and we spent the day at the museum (it cost just about the same amount to see the film and go through the museum as it did to just do one, so...). We really enjoyed the museum, and even though it was one we had to pay for (there are some great free museums around, too!), it was worth it. I really appreciated the focus on finding ways to reuse materials (which was a theme in many of the different areas of the museum) and the EcoLab area. Aiden did a GREAT job at hanging out with us the whole day. It's getting easier to go out and about with him - on all day activities, even though he still nurses often. (He really is a great baby!) Here are some pics from the day out...

Marbles Kids Museum

Monday came along with some more snow. North Carolina hasn't seen this much snow in a long time, I don't think. This time, we didn't get too much - a couple inches, but many other areas were slammed with a lot more. Camden and Ryan were both home for the day, and Camden's friend came to join us. So, it really did feel like an extra Sunday afternoon.