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...........

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Boot Camp Day #3

Today was Day 3 of Naptime Boot Camp (click on the link if you're just stopping by and have no idea what this is all about). I'm sure you saw how wonderful (cough!) our night last night was. The naps are actually going much better, I'm pleased to say.

YESTERDAY
Day 2, Nap 1

Took only 30 minutes to get him down for a nap, and he wasn't fussy about it, either. (I say "only," yes, but that is more than two hours like one of the naps from Day 1, now isn't it?)
He slept...for an hour and five minutes before waking! Yeah, that's right.
Took me just 15 minutes to get him back to sleep. 15 minutes! Remember how it took me TWO hours on Day 1?? I'd say this is improvement.
Then he slept for another hour and ten minutes!

Nap #1 total = 2 hours, 15 minutes

Day 2, Nap 2

Took 25 minutes to get down. I think it could have been better, but I felt rushed because Camden had soccer practice coming up soon (so much for clearing the schedule - when I started out for the week, I almost forgot about soccer practice!).
After 40 minutes of sleeping soundly, we had to wake Aiden up to go.... He was clearly not ready for it. :(

TODAY....
Day 3, Nap 1
After laying Aiden down, I remembered the plan to remove the bumper from the crib, so I did this, and he thought it was such fun. I realized he would really enjoy talking to me if I stayed in the room, so I left it - and he was just happy as could be. He fell asleep within 15 minutes.
And slept for an hour and 15 minutes before waking.
It took me 15 minutes to get him back to sleep.
He slept for another hour and ten minutes.

Nap #1 total = 2 hours, 35 minutes



Day 3, Nap 2

This one was a harder sell. The bumper-less crib wasn't so novel this time around, and Aiden just wasn't into going to sleep with it like that. It took an hour and 15 minutes to get him to sleep. But he fell asleep in the bed, not in my arms. (Same as the day before - fell asleep in the bed each time. Another improvement.)
He slept for just under an hour. I didn't attempt to get him back to sleep as it was too close to bedtime for that. (He did wake once during the nap and put himself back to sleep....)

So....verdict is......we're getting there! There is certainly improvement. He's doing better at going to sleep and is staying asleep much longer - naps from today and yesterday are at least twice the lenght than the typical naps prior to this week. I'm pleased with how it is going. Very pleased. We're not at our goal, but we are progressing very well. I won't complain.

And hopefully telling all of this will not reverse any of it. That tends to happen sometimes... Just like now... Aiden is not happily letting Ryan put him to bed like he did last night. I might have to intervene in a second. Ok, I'm going to do it now.

We'll see how tomorrow goes!

***

I'm back...just got Aiden to sleep. He was being a mama's boy. Nothing wrong with that, right? ;) He was actually being really cute. Well, first he grabbed my lips, and when I said no, he laughed. (He has a new habit of grabbing your lips or nose...REALLY grabbing.) That wasn't the cute part. The cute part was he kept asking for kisses. He was opening his mouth and saying "ahh" - and I would kiss him, and he would laugh. And he did it over and over. I think he might have been a little delirious after such little sleep last night... He kept doing it while obviously falling asleep. It was funny. And cute. He can be so much fun, even when he's not supposed to be having fun. :)

Most important lesson as a parent?

I get some emails about parenting from time to time. One today had a question for parents to think about.. What is the single most important lesson you have learned since becoming a parent?

Off the top of my head...

Forget everything you thought you knew about parenting.

You can't know how your little one will be before he is here. You can't predict how you will parent (even with second children and so on! I'm already doing things so differently than I did with Camden - which doesn't make it better or worse, just different). You can try to predict things or plan it all out, but it will be different once that little one is in your arms. It's fine to read all those books and do all that research (hey - I do it!!), but you need to learn to take what you read, what you experience, who your child is, and everything else and figure out how all of it together works for YOU and your family. Don't try to parent "by the book" because your child is an individual. Take advice with a grain of salt. Be ok with questioning how things have been done, and know it's just fine to do it your own way and not everyone else's.

And realize that you will do, think, and say so many things you never thought you would.

And that's ok.

The Good and the Bad

Last night was a mix of sleeping issues...both good (possibly) and bad....

Apparently Aiden does sleep much better on his belly. He actually let Ryan put him to bed, something he's been boycotting for the past couple weeks, and he went to sleep on his belly. That child slept from 8pm until 1:15am... Without waking! He always wakes shortly after being asleep - waiting until 10pm is usually considered good. We noticed he did lift his head a few times and he moved around quite a bit, but he went back to sleep on his own, another thing he never does. So, a little before midnight, I pumped some (because I was already way overdue for a nursing session) and we headed to bed. Yes, that late. It's become a rather bad habit of ours - one we keep saying we're going to break and have yet to do.

I was still awake or had just fallen asleep when Aiden woke up. Insomnia on top of the different feeling from not having him there with us, as usual...a mix of things keeping me awake.

The above was the "good" part of the night. (I say "good" because I'm not sure how I feel about him sleeping so long on his own like that. Yes, it's good...but at the same time, we missed him being with us and worried about him because we're used to having him next to us where we can check him and know he's ok. Don't bother telling me he's fine in his room. Logically, I do know that.)

From that point on, both Aiden and I got pretty much NO sleep. I could tell he was tired and really struggling. He was tossing and turning all night and all morning. As soon as he would get comfortable and you thought he was falling asleep, he would start all over again. And he would whine because he didn't like it. It's got to be the teeth that are popping through because he NEVER does this. At one point, we got one hour of sleep. Other than that, it was a few minutes here and there, but that is all. He did sleep for a half an hour this morning after Camden and Ryan had left, and he still wasn't ready to wake up but couldn't go back to sleep. I hate it for him. He was clearly in pain from his teeth. He cried for a while, and there wasn't anything I could do for him because I had already given him what medicine I could to help. (He's doing ok now, with the help of some more ibuprofen - playing and having a good time on the floor next to me. Chewing like crazy on all his wooden teethers or any other wooden toy - which he prefers far more than any of the other teethers.)

But man...we are BOTH tired (that might be quite an understatement). Since Friday night, we have spent HOURS at a time awake in the middle of the night. But this past night was definitely the worst - with less than two hours of sleep and most of it spread out. I blame it all on the teething. This is not normal Aiden behavior. I think we'll both be quite happy when they are all through!

And in case you are wondering...no, we don't regret not putting Aiden to sleep on his belly sooner. I'm not kicking myself and thinking he would have been sleeping longer all along. Not at all. We weren't ready for him to be on his belly, and even having him in his own room on his belly for a while last night made us a tad nervous (those bumpers are coming back down today!!). We've enjoyed having him sleeping with us. So, no regrets. Whatever he does from here on out will work just as well, but we don't wish we had done it sooner. It has worked for all of us just fine.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Our Big Secret Revealed!

You might have noticed me refer to some "secret" lately...well, we can finally share our news with the world. We just bought a house! Our first house. :) We've been tossing the idea around for a couple years now, going back and forth, but some things have come up lately that made us want to take the plunge. It's a great time, and we'll be in the area for a few more years, so it makes sense.

We had a rather stressful experience getting our house.... We put an offer on one place and the seller countered but not in the way we wanted. We were happy, though, because while waiting...another house went on the market. A really nice house. In a great area. And for a lower price. So, we went to see it.

While there, we found out someone else was putting in an offer. The seller agreed to wait and hear ours, too. We offered the best we could. The seller asked the others to come back with their best offer - so apparently it wasn't as good as our offer. And after waiting and waiting...apparently it still wasn't as good because WE GOT IT! We've been waiting and waiting again...for the loan to officially be approved. It took longer than we expected, and while we weren't worried, we're relieved to finally have the official word that we are buying this house! We've been keeping this from the rest of the world (except for family and a few friends) until we knew for sure that everything was working out. It's been hard not to spill the beans! (And we have to a few people...just not on public sites like this.)

We're very excited, and so is Camden. He will need to switch schools - but there is a new school RIGHT next to us (literally - we just walk to the next street over, cross that street, and then there you are...never even have to leave the neighborhood, really). And it's a year-round school, which we are thrilled about. (Yes, really.) Another plus - this is a really growing area. We'll be in Holly Springs instead of Cary (but who can afford to get a house in Cary?? Especially with a YARD?!). Cary is so expensive since it has seen - and is still seeing - so much growth...but next in line are Apex and Holly Springs, both getting lots of attention for being great "small towns" to live in and have a family. All the growth that is coming to those areas are great for us. There is a new grocery and hospital branch being built right down the street (within a mile), and lots of other things popping up. Also, a new high school is next to the elementary, and a middle school is being built at this time. This is all so great for us for when we sell it in a few years (so all of you guys who are thinking we'll never be moving back home....don't bet on that!). ;)

Here are some pictures from our first walk-through. Keep in mind, the furniture, etc, all belong to the current owner. We'll update with new pics once we are in and start making our changes!



OUR House

YAY!

Proof

Proof that Aiden did sleep today. He actually slept fairly well - much better than yesterday.

There isn't much that is sweeter than a sleeping baby.


Really, it's just an excuse to put up a cute picture of my sleeping baby.

And my mom says she was very sincere with her "good luck loving the baby to sleep" comment. :) Sarcasm would have been ok, but it's also nice to have mom on your side.

Boot Camp Update

So, yesterday was Day 1 of Boot Camp.... How did it go? I'm keeping a log, so here is how it went down...

7:30am woke up
9:25am nursed
9:30am nap routine begins (he's a quick nurser most of the time)
10:00am asleep!
10:45am wakes up....start trying to get back to sleep
12:35pm asleep! yes, it took nearly two hours. he went to sleep a few times but woke right back up
2:05pm wakes up....so the two hours it took to get him to sleep were worth it!

Nap #1 ~ 45minutes, 1hour and 30 minutes = total of 2 hours and 15 minutes (just not all at once - the goal is to close that gap and have him stay asleep the entire time) He woke up from the last part of the nap incredibly happy!

4:05pm start nap #2 routine
5:00pm asleep!
5:07pm wakes up...he was just kidding with being asleep...
5:50pm asleep!
6:30pm wakes up - we let him stay up since it was getting closer to bedtime and didn't want to mess that up

Nap #2 ~ 7 minutes, 40 minutes = total of 47 minutes (still better than just 30!) and he woke up a little cranky (but he never stays that way)

Now for me, Aiden being "cranky" means he isn't too thrilled and fusses until I get him out of the bed. This child is always so happy (well, most of the time, at least). People always comment on how happy and content he is. And it's true. But I can tell a difference when he gets a REALLY good nap. His happiness just increases. Others might not notice a difference, but Mommy sure can.

Day #2....
We slept in today. Big time. And I let it happen. Because....Aiden has a cold. We've had a rough few nights with teething and just waking up and staying up. As in two nights he stayed up for two hours at a time in the middle of the night and one night, he was in and out - mostly out - of sleep until 3:30..which meant I got no sleep until 3:30. Last night he woke some and he woke this morning early - but clearly very tired. I let him sleep as much as he wanted because he now has a cold on top of the teething. He obviously needed the extra sleep. So, it might alter our nap plans a bit, but I'm quite willing to do that when he's not feeling well.

That said, he went down for his nap at 12:10 and is still asleep at 1. He normally sleeps on his back, but he's on his belly this time. I think he would sleep better on his belly, really. But here's why we normally don't do it...

He doesn't roll from his belly to his back!! Yes, really. He rolled from back to belly at 4 months. But he's only done the other way a few times since then. He is about to turn 9 months... He'll get onto his belly when going for a nap sometimes and then gets mad. He has a harder time falling asleep that way b/c he keeps raising his head and looking around. He fights it more. And when he wants to roll over...he ends up going in circles! But this morning (after sleeping the last stint on his belly next to me), he rolled from belly to back three times in a row. I let him see my excitement, and he seemed pretty pleased. So....since he's shown me he can do it, I'm allowing the belly sleeping. We knew before that he could raise his head if he wanted (of course!), but we're that much more comfortable if he can roll back if he wants. (I still can hardly believe it's taken him this long to do it...but I think it's because he's learned to scoot and go in circles so much that when he tries to roll, that's what ends up happening instead. Oh well!)

Like I said, though, I think he'll sleep better on his belly. I've said that from the time he was born. (We didn't let him sleep on his belly except for a few times when he napped in the living room early on. We could tell he slept better but didn't want to make a habit of sleeping that way. And we certainly weren't comfortable letting him belly sleep while in another room - until he could clearly roll himself back over if needed. Some people let their babies belly sleep early on, and that's their call. We just weren't comfortable with it until now.) In fact, he has coughed quite a few times while sleeping during this nap...and NOT woken up. That's huge for him. If he coughs or sneezes in his sleep, it always means naptime is over and he's wide awake. But he's coughed a handful of times and slept right on. That makes me quite happy!

We'll see how the rest of the day goes! And in case you're wondering about all the teething and sneezing and how that affects the "boot camp" week... I thought about it, and it really doesn't have to affect it much at all. Remember, I'm not letting him cry it out. I am soothing him if he needs it. This isn't a stressful time for him (though it is for me...I spent HOURS in the nursery yesterday. HOURS, people!). So, with that in mind, boot camp continues. If it's hard on him, we'll alter our plan. This is about what's best for him. And he needs this sleep! Especially if he's getting sick. No one else is sick - and I think his waking so much lately contributed to the cold. I know that happens to me. So....let's bring on the sleep!!!

PS - My mom sent an email saying good luck with loving Aiden to sleep. I'm not sure if she was being sarcastic or not. The other day she asked what was wrong with rocking him to sleep. Again - sarcasm or not? Though it didn't sound like it was, but this other comment was in an email, so I'm not sure... Mom - want to clear it up? Are you mocking me here??? ;) Or really wishing me luck? Or what?

Monday, April 27, 2009

Boot Camp

This week we're doing our own little Naptime Baby Boot Camp - Attachment Parenting Style.

What does that mean??

It means that naptimes need some work, and we're devoting this week to making some changes. We had naptimes down...but then separation anxiety kicked in. And then teething (this weekend was really tough - more on that later). Aiden used to be fine with us laying him in his crib and drifting off to sleep on his own in about five minutes. Happily. But nowadays...we're doing a lot of rocking, extra nursing, picking up and putting down, crying (well, Aiden is - sometimes I want to b/c I don't want this to be a bad experience for either of us), holding, singing, etc, etc. Not that most of that is wrong (don't want the crying, though), but it's more than what I want or Aiden really needs. Many days lately, it takes an hour to get him to sleep. Then he sleeps for half an hour. And many nights he will not allow Ryan to put him down or even rock him -when Daddy always did the bedtime routine before. If Dr. Phil were to ask us "How's that working for you?" I would have to say, well, Dr. Phil - IT'S NOT.

So, how what is Boot Camp Attachment Parenting Style exactly? It's putting a lot of effort into reteaching Aiden to go to sleep on his own - and teaching him to sleep longer...but without the CRYING, or with as little as possible. If he cries, I will pick him up and cuddle with him. I will soothe him. This will be a GOOD experience...hopefully!

How am I going to do that and be successful, you might ask? With a lot of patience. I'm working on conjuring up some of that. It's tough, but I am determined. But seriously, I've done it before, so I know it is possible. We've got the help of our favorite sleep guru, Elizabeth Pantley. I brought our book back out - The No-Cry Sleep Solution - and I checked out her No-Cry Nap Solution, too. I read that one yesterday (yes, in one day...I told you I was determined!). I've refreshed my memory about the tactics such as the Pantley Dance (to help a baby that wants to sleep in your arms be ok with being moved to the crib to sleep), the Pantley Pull Off (to help a baby that wants to nurse into a deep sleep learn to be able to fall asleep without sucking on anything), and many of her other tactics. I do know that some of them work b/c we have used them before. But we're adding a few more in with our newer habits that have recently been formed.

So, I'm sitting in Aiden's room while he sleeps his first 30 minutes, waiting to soothe him back to sleep if he wakes after that first short stint, which he usually does...hopefully soothing him back. I've done this a few times. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. When it has, he has slept up to an extra hour and a half! And he wakes up much happier. So...I know he NEEDS the sleep. Now, we just have to get him to be able to GET it. (Thirty-minute naps are NOT good enough! Yet that's his trend lately. He went from 40 minutes to thirty this past month...)

That's why we're taking this entire week and devoting it to naps. I'm clearing our schedule of everything else - no playdates, no shopping, no running errands. Nothing but focusing on our schedule and learning to nap.

How can YOU help? I have one request. If you are going to call us, please call my CELL phone and NOT the home phone. If the home phone rings, Aiden wakes right up and thinks naptime is over - even if he JUST fell asleep. I have the ring as low as it will go, and I can't turn it off b/c that is the only number the school will call if something happens with Camden. So, please...call my cell phone. If you don't have the number, email me and I'll give it to you. Thanks!!

Wish us luck!! I'll post updates along the way.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Definitely MY Child

Aiden appears to have inherited my love for sour things - or the ability to eat sour things and not make that sour face. Camden was the same way.

Here's proof....

Eating out, we got some lime wedges. Aiden sucked away, never once making a face.
He loved it.

Definitely MY child.

Coming Soon

No parenting discussion this week. Sorry. There was just too much going on with us this week! Way too much - and too little computer time. But I'll be posting it as soon as I can next week. I think we'll hold off on the cry-it-out and go into diapering this next one. I've had some people asking me about our diapering methods lately - and some mama's are expecting soon. So I want to get on that topic! :)

Hope you all are having a great weekend. Get out and enjoy the sunshine!

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Best Muffins EVER

Well, maybe they're not the BEST, but they're really good. This is my go-to recipe for muffins. I almost always substitute one ingredient, though....dark chocolate chips for the blueberries, though blueberries are good, too. I got this recipe from Barefoot Contessa on the Food Network. Have you ever watched her show? I love her. She's always so calm and quite relaxing to watch and listen to. I'm not a huge fan of all the foods she makes, but I have quite a few recipes I like. And I just enjoy listening to her talk anyway.

Blueberry Coffee Cake Muffins

12 T (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temp
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 extra-large eggs, room temp
1 1/2 t pure vanilla extract (use the real stuff, people!)
8 oz sour cream (we prefer the Daisy brand....um...hello?! My name is Daisy....) ;)
1/4 c milk
2 1/2 c all-purpose flour (I like to substitute some with wheat flour)
2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t kosher salt
2 half-pints fresh blueberries (or frozen. or dark chocolate chips. or whatever floats your boat.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Place 16 liners in muffin tins. (I like using those silicone cups - the muffins pop right out of those like nobody's business!)

In the bowl of electric mixer with paddle attachment (or whatever you have, I'm sure it will be fine if you don't have a KitchenAid mixer like some of us...the beloved KitchenAid mixer...you really should get one if you don't have one!), cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.

With mixer on low, add eggs 1 at a time, then add vanilla, sour cream, and milk. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. (I never sift...just put it in the bowl and stir it in together. And I do this while the butter and sugar are mixing to save some time.) With mixer on low (not sure why she keeps saying this when you just keep it on low...) add flour mixture to batter and beat until just mixed. Fold in blueberries with a spatula (or stir in chips) and be sure the batter is completely mixed.

Scoop the batter into prepared muffin pans, filling each cup just over the top and bake for 25-30 minutes, until muffins are lightly browned on top and a cake tester comes out clean. (I like to use an ice cream scoop - and it makes slightly smaller muffins, which I'm fine with...plus, there are more this way, even if they are smaller.)


Anyone able to tell me what the coffee cup in the background says??
Answer at the end of post.

And enjoy! We certainly do. Everyone in our home LOVES these things (except for Aiden since he can't have them yet..) and everyone I've made them for has seemed to really like them. Many have asked for the recipe, so I take that to mean they liked them, at least! ;)

I do have another great muffin recipe, but it's a more fallish one, so I won't be sharing that until the fall. Nice of me, isn't it?

Coffee cup says...
God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth. (Berea College moto.) Who got it right??

Friday Fill-Ins

Tonight's Friday Fill-Ins. Also, my sister has been doing these since I started - check it out!

1. Apparently there's some sort of confusion about how things should really work out to make things fair...or it seems that some people are having a hard time getting it right, at least.

2. Today was a warm, sunny day. We even had dinner on the patio outside. :)

3. 2009 is rather busy and anxiety-provoking so far. The anxiety has been good at some times and other times it was the kind where you didn't know if it would be good or not in the end. We've had a lot go on already this year - and it's not even half over with! It certainly hasn't been calm, that's for sure.

4.I wish people did what was right that was it - none of the drama and competition needed. Not only with me but with some other people I care about. If people just did right by others, this world would be so much better. Why is that so hard?

5. For too long I've been putting up with some things I would rather not. And it looks like I'll have to keep putting up with them. I don't like to bad-mouth people publicly, so I won't say more. But I really wish there was more fairness and justice going around. Again - this would be nice for not just me but some other people going through similar (yet different) things. You know who you are - and you know what I'm talking about.

6. I am not obsessed with researching; I am not! Ok, I totally am. Before making purchases for Aiden - or the rest of us, really, but especially baby products - I research everything like crazy!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to a night at home (I've spent each day since last Saturday running around and being far too busy - a night at home relaxing would be nice. Will Aiden cooperate to help a mama out?), tomorrow my plans include Camden's soccer game (and it's in the middle of the day and the high is 90 degrees...NOW I'm missing those morning games) and Sunday, I want to go to church and hopefully not do much else - though it never works out to be so relaxing. Our weekends end up being busier than the weekdays!

PS - Does there seem to be a trend with my answers tonight about fairness and drama and things related that are not so fun??

Where Are You, God?

Yesterday was a terrible day. A friend of mine is really going through it and needed some things to work in her favor. They did not. I won't be sharing what is going on - it is not my story to tell. But I will share some of what I am feeling about it.

We have been praying so much for God's will to shine through in this situation. She has been; I have been; many others have been. Her relationship with God and her faith have grown so much over the past couple years, and it has really helped her through this. She has trusted that God is in control. But what happened in the end...I can't possibly see how it is God's will. It is something that any mother would struggle enormously with. My friend lives in another state, so I can't be there to support her the way I want. Even if I was there, I couldn't fix this the way I wish I could. I can't take the pain away or make things right. My heart is breaking for her, and I would not wish this on my worst enemy.

After talking with her on the phone yesterday, I couldn't help but think some things that I don't like admitting...
Where were you, God? How is this in your plan?? How could you let this happen?

I trust that God has a plan for each of us and that he looks out for us, never giving us more than we can handle and always using our trials to bring us closer to him. But at the same time, I do not understand what is happening! I don't know why He is allowing this. And I am angry with him for what this family is going through.

Yesterday was a terrible day. For many of us. My entire perspective on a lot of things changed immediately when I heard the news. Those new gdiapers I thought I just had to have - I really don't care about now. Dinner out to a nice restaurant - wasn't important. The parenting discussions and other blog posts I had in mind - they can all wait. I have my family; we are healthy; we are together. That's what matters, isn't it?

Please pray for my friend and her family. Pray that God's will WILL shine through. And if what is happening IS God's will - please let it be evident HOW it is His will. What will this pain and fighting accomplish in the end? This can't possibly be the end, but I know my friend is getting tired of the fight. Pray that she get the support she needs and that she is surrounded by love. Pray that her faith is not shaken but that she leans even more on God. Pray that He shines in her and through this situation.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Happy Earth Day!

Hope you did something great for our Earth today (and everyday)!

Design FAIL

The blue line is there to make the "fly" - but they left the seam alone, so it looks like the seam is just crooked.



I think the way they did this looks rather silly. Don't you agree? It's hard not to keep wanting to move the pants to get them "straight" if you're not really paying attention - to know that they are straight.

FAIL.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

FYI

Know how your pee smells funny after you eat asparagus? Well, when you feed asparagus to a baby....it smells even worse. Aiden recently had asparagus - and loved it! :) And by the next diaper, you could tell. And when Ryan brought him to bed after he woke up to nurse that night, I thought Aiden had a dirty diaper - which is odd for him at night. But no...it was just the asparagus.

Just a warning in case you decide to feed it to your baby. :) I'm not even sure if there is a jarred baby food asparagus...but this is your warning if you make it. I expected it to be different but not quite what it was. It really smells more like a dirty diaper than anything else....

Enjoy!

Edited to add: Aiden's dirty diapers are not all that strong smelling - so this might not be so bad for some. It's not necessarily a knock-you-in-the-face kind of smell.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

You Know What REALLY Irks Me??

Well, it more than irks me. I just kind of like that word.

But what really gets to me is when people make an assumption of what kind of person you are based solely on the fact that you are a Christian.

They hear that word...and suddenly they think they know all about you - your beliefs on all sorts of topics, your values, so many things.

In case you're wondering, this isn't in reference to anything that has been said on this blog - or even to me as an individual (recently, at least). It actually was thrown back in my face after reading something that someone I don't even know commented on something a friend posted on facebook. Christians this and Christians that... As if every single Christian feels/thinks/believes the exact same way on every other issue there is in this world. It's a very unfair and wrong assumption.

And I'm not sure who I am more angry towards - the many Christians that do/state things that lead to these types of assumptions or the people that just blindly believe them (which sometimes are other Christians).

But please people - just because someone states that they are a Christian - don't make assumptions and lump them in with some stereotype - and then judge them based only on that. Nobody likes to be stereotyped. Do YOU?

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Aiden's New Ride

Check it.


We just got this new stroller for Aiden. It was TOTALLY worth the pretty penny it cost. Well, it was for me, at least. I have discovered that I am not into having him face the world with me not being able to see him - not yet, at least.

There are articles and such coming out lately that say parent-facing strollers lead to better vocab and language skills because the parent is speaking to the child more when out and about on a stroll.

That's NOT why I wanted this. Just in case you think I'm jumping on the latest bandwagon.

When we're out and he's in the regular stroller, I find myself constantly wanting to lean over to see him or peek around because I want to see his reactions to things. I find that it's so hard to talk to him because we're not facing each other and I have to talk louder - and he can't see me while I talk. I can't see what he's doing or anything like that without making a big effort to do so. And that's not always practical.

When I do talk to him in the forward-facing stroller - I feel like it's just something like "Aiden...I'm still here. What are you doing?" "Hey there Aiden!" And that's about it. And I feel like it's forced. And I feel guilty and want to get him home and out of it ASAP. When he's in his infant carrier in the stroller or in the Ergo carrier on me, I have actual conversations with him! (Yes, I realize he's not actually conversing back with me...) And now I can do this in the new stroller!

I kept trying to tell myself this new stroller was just a "want." It was not necessary. We had a decent stroller already. But EVERYtime we went out with it, I realized how much it bothered me! It actually was VERY important to me. And those of you that think that's quite silly. Think it. I don't care. (I really don't.)

Ryan realized how important this was and that I wasn't just really wanting something for the sake of wanting it. So....when I happened to see it $50 off at Babies R Us the other day (the only retail store in the U.S. carrying it by the way... How's that for no competitive pricing?), we jumped on it and got it. And you know what? We have used it EVERY DAY since then. Even though I have to carry it down the steps to from the apartment (the few steps to the parking lot - we live on the first floor) going in and out, I am getting out with it. I still love the Ergo - but this stroller is awesome. Yes, awesome.

When I say it cost a pretty penny....it did. But not as much as the other similar strollers like Quinny or Bugaboo. Compared to those, this was a bargain. Compared to our Chicco stroller...notsomuch. To me - totally worth it. (And yes, I did research in depth before choosing this stroller - and looked for used ones and anything else to find a cheaper one.) ;)



Things I wish were like the other stroller? There is no parent tray - just a cup holder. And the basket is smaller. And I could fold/unfold the Chicco stroller with one hand. But that's it. Just those few minor things.

Some details....
It goes either forward or rear-facing.
The seat comes off to fold it down. But it's still really easy.
The canopy is HUGE!
Larger tires are air-filled instead of plastic.
It comes with a rain cover that even covers his feet.
It holds a child up to 50lbs - which is more than many strollers hold.
When he's bigger, he can climb up into it himself b/c of how sturdy it is and where the foot rest is
The wheel lock is one where you push a button with your foot to lock/unlock it (versus the ones where you push down to lock but have to pull up to unlock - which I hated when I wore certain shoes - sounds silly, but it's a big deal when you wear those certain shoes all the time...)
Everything is super-easy to use.
There is fabric that covers the buckle part of the straps - so he doesn't get pinched, won't get hurt if the buckle gets hot, and can't try to undo it himself.
Seat is placed higher than many strollers - nice if you want to pull it up to a table while out somewhere.
The handlebar adjusts up and down for people of different heights.
It is SUPER easy to turn and move around. I mean SUPER. It glides...
The basket underneath zips on one side and has a drawstring on the other - so stuff is not going to just fall out.
I've already had one person comment under her breath that she's either never seen a stroller like this or hasn't in a long time (she was so quiet I couldn't tell which it was...but it was a nice comment the way she said it).
Ummm....I love it. What more is there to need to know??
And Aiden looks oh-so-cute in it. (Just like he does in anything...)

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Great Thing About Parenting... CO-SLEEPING

Ok..it's our first go-round. Topic of the day is CO-SLEEPING! Well, any type of sleeping, actually. Co-sleeping, room-sharing, crib-sleeping...whatever it is you do/did, have your baby do, plan on doing, are interested in...whatever!

If you have no idea what this is, here is the original post explaining the series that this is starting.

First...ground rules!! This is not meant to be a debate! This is meant to be a discussion. We're simply sharing what we do (or plan on doing, etc) and offer some explanations as to how we reached our decisions, offer some insight, stuff like that. No bad-mouthing others that think differently. The point is not to try to prove our own way is the right way. Let's be open-minded and simply chat together. If things get ugly at all, I will jump in and moderate - that means approving comments before they are posted online. That also means NOT approving any mean comments. It's my blog, so I get to do this if I choose to.

Now...here's my story. First of all, I never ever planned on being a co-sleeping Mama. I've always been one to say that my kiddos will NOT be sleeping in my bed with me. They go to their own bed. Well, having a child can undo all that you had planned to do.... Everything went as originally planned with Camden. He was a great sleeper. Learned to go to sleep on his own early on, and he's been wonderful about it ever since. I know I am blessed with how great of a sleeper he is!

Then enters Aiden. Now...I am blessed with Aiden, too. But he is not the world's best sleeper. We first had him in our room in his bassinet. I think many parents do this with their newborns, so I doubt I'm part of the minority there. He slept close to my bed at night so that I could get up to feed him, which he did often. We waited until all the holidays were past to move him to his bed at night because we traveled a lot and wanted to wait until we were home and back into our routines before creating another schedule change. He was still waking every couple hours to nurse even though he was five months old.

Let me back-track for a second... At just a couple months, Aiden was sleeping through the night. But then around three months or a little after, he went back to waking more often. And he never really went back to sleeping longer. He seemed to be really hungry when he woke, too - not just waking for the sake of waking and wanting to be nursed to sleep. The boy ATE!

Ok - so we put him in his own bed after the holidays. We thought maybe then he would start sleeping longer - being farther away from the food supply. Nope. Not at all. He woke the same, but what changed was Mommy having to go farther to feed him. That woke me up more. And after a short time, I was very (I mean walking-into-walls-very) sleep deprived. Something had to give. We kept trying to come up with a solution. I will say that Ryan was the first to actually VOICE the idea of co-sleeping. (Why am I saying this...because I want people to know that him giving up part of the bed was not forced on him, that's why.) We had both clearly been thinking it for a while. Saying it out loud was a relief. And trying it was even more of one!

I immediately felt more rested. Sure, I was waking the same to feed Aiden. But with him right next to me, neither of us had to wake fully, so we both fell right back asleep (me and Aiden, that is. Ryan just slept away after the first couple nights.).

Now, we did want to be sure we were doing this safely. So...as with all of our major decisions, we researched. And researched. And researched. I won't go into all the details (I will provide a few links for those interested), but I will say a few things. I was surprised to find information that actually is very encouraging for co-sleeping. Co-sleeping is VERY safe, possibly safer than crib-sleeping alone. There are stats to back this up, which makes it rather interesting. (I am a stats person - I really am. I can get pretty excited over some good stats. Yes, I'm a bit of a nerd that way.)

When we hear about infants dying while co-sleeping - we are hearing a sliver of the real story. It is actually very rare, while crib deaths occur much more often. Ok - I'm really not going to go into detail here b/c it's depressing to talk about babies dying. But the whole parent-rolling-on-top-of-baby story happens so rarely and is typically due to an overweight parent, a parent that has been drinking or is under the influence of some drug, or is with a parent that does not breastfeed. Those of us that co-sleep (I know you're out there) know that when you sleep next to your baby, your sleep cycles become in sync and you will wake at the slightest movement coming from your baby.

There are many benefits to both Mom and baby when co-sleeping occurs. It helps regulate baby's sleep cycles, helps baby to stay in the lighter stage of sleep when they are younger (it is believed that babies younger than 6 months are in more danger of SIDS when they are in a deeper sleep and unable to arouse themselves), it helps breastfeeding (and helps keep supply up because you are still nursing throughout the night. Supply issues have always been a concern for me, so this was another benefit for me.) It is believed that co-sleeping decreases the risk of SIDS. Mom actually sleeps better because she doesn't have to fully wake up when going to another room to check on, feed baby, etc.

Now, I must say, we have taken EVERY safety precaution. I do not think co-sleeping is something that should be done on a whim without thought or action taken to create the safest possible place for your baby.

Curious about some of our safety precautions?? Here are a few things we are doing... The covers on the bed only come up to my waist, if that - they never go past Aiden's legs. He is not next to my pillow or anything soft and fluffy. There is something in place to ensure Aiden doesn't roll off the bed. I never worry about him rolling off the bed, though, because the only way he moves at all is to scoot closer to me. And he will do this in his sleep. He sleeps best when he is as close to me as possible. If after nursing, I move away an inch or two, he will eventually move back. He sleeps even better if our faces are right next to each other. (Have you ever noticed how well your little one will return to sleep if you put your face next to his? No? Try it! Works *almost* every time. Your breath helps regulate their breath - and they can tell you are so close, even if they still have their eyes closed and are just fussing in their sleep. I've been amazed seeing how simply putting my face next to Aiden's has affected him.)

And aside from all the reasons I listed...we just LOVE co-sleeping. It started out as simply a way for ME to get enough sleep - or more than I was, at least - but it's become more than just that. (I wish now that I had done it with Camden!) We love watching Aiden sleep when we all get into bed at night. It's wonderful waking up in the morning...especially those times when he wakes one of us up by patting on our faces or by laughing and "talking." I've really gotten to know Aiden's sleep habits, too, so I feel like I know him better. Believe it or not, I feel like it's even brought me and Ryan closer together. We feel really connected and happy when we're lying there with Aiden, watching him sleep and smiling over how cute his sleeping mannerisms are. In the mornings, Aiden will often wake up when the boys are getting ready for work and school, but he and I will usually go back to sleep for a bit. When we do wake up, we aren't rushed one bit. I don't have to jump up to get him from his room. We lie there in bed, cuddling, playing around for as long as we want. It's a great way to start the day.

For those of you asking have we thought about how long he will be in our bed? How long until he should be sleeping through the night? How will we get him in his own bed eventually? What about "us" time? Well, we've thought about it ALL, trust me. For starters, Aiden still naps in his own crib and goes to sleep at night in his own crib. He usually wakes around the time we are going to bed - or he wakes when we should be in bed, so we use that as our incentive for going to bed! We're not concerned over how long Aiden will be in our bed. I mean, he will eventually outgrow nursing through the night and will move into his own bed. I don't know any 15-year-olds that are still waking in the middle of the night, unable to go back to sleep without help, or that are still in bed with the parents. (Yes, that's extreme, but you get my drift.) And "us" time...I won't go into that. But we have it figured out.

Things I have noticed since co-sleeping... Aiden sleeps best snuggled next to me. He goes to sleep with a SMILE on his face when he is in our bed next to me (no kidding! And no, he does NOT do this when going to sleep in his crib.). It is said to be normal for babies to cry out in their sleep, and Aiden has done this a LOT while in his own bed. He'll fuss, make terrible faces, and cry out - makes you think he must be having a bad dream. Are you familiar with this, too? He does not do it at all in bed with us. Aiden likes to bring his legs in and push them up against me when nursing (ok - he likes to KICK me), but if I bring his legs up a bit higher, he will simply curl up and nurse. Aiden likes to have his feet out of the covers when falling asleep (but you can cover them after he's asleep). In the morning, he loves to try to play with my nose and mouth - he thinks it's funny, especially when I tell him no and try to move my face away.

Basically, we have found out that this really works for us. I know that many of you are saying "no way" to something like this. And that's fine. Feel free to share what DOES work for you and why. :) Any questions for us, ask away.

Here are a few links in case you are interested. I recommend glancing through them. I have found that this is a VERY INTERESTING topic.

Dr. Sears website - on cosleeping.
Some info on safety things to consider (also Dr. Sears)
Great article with lots of STATS (this article was referred to often in the reading I did)
Dr. McKenna & some articles by him can be found here. He has done a TON of research in this area.
Safe Co-Sleeping article.
Another article - long but good.

Remember, if you are reading this in facebook or via email subscription, comment HERE on the blog. Let's keep the discussion all in one place! Also, please use your name - it's only fair! Thanks!

Be sure to vote on the poll, too - whether you comment or not! It's on the top right corner.

Friday Fill-Ins

Here is this week's Friday Fill-Ins. My answers are in bold. Happy Weekend, everyone!

1. Join me in wishing Ryan a HAPPY BIRTHDAY. It's on Saturday.

2. Put a little green in your day! Did you know that Earth Day is coming up soon? Next week! Maybe it's time to rethink what you do to help out - or what more you can do. :)

3. Happiness is a choice. You don't buy it. It's not given to you. You can't blame others if you don't have it. It's your own choice to be happy or not.

4. Dazed and confused was my first cd ever. And I still have it. That and the movie - on TAPE. Yep, that's right.

5. I'm waiting for some news. Once I get it, I can finally share. ;) Hopefully it should be really soon.

6. Sleeping in is hard to resist. Very hard. It's almost impossible for me. Even on those days I really plan on getting up early - or even on time...once morning gets here, sleep is just more tempting than anything else.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to no plans, actually - and that's kind of nice, tomorrow my plans include wishing my baby (as in my hubby) a happy birthday (we don't do gifts - but I'll try to think of something nice, aside from the cake I already made him) - and thinking of my friend, Kathy...she's getting MARRIED (but we can't be there b/c of the distance), and Sunday, I want to sit down and watch Desperate with Ryan and relax a bit because even though our weekend seems calm so far, it always ends up being crazy and not at all a break from the week!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Things to Remember When I Don't FEEL Like Brushing or Flossing My Teeth....

...how much I am starting to hate going to the dentist.
...how I always have to get extra lidocaine when they fill a cavity because I feel the pain very easily even with the first shot.
...how I always tell the dentist I need extra lidocaine in order to not feel the pain, and they always say "we'll see how it goes first."
...how tense my whole body is when they first start but trying to stay calm b/c maybe they'll be right this time, and I will be numb enough to not feel anything.
...how they give me just the one dose, and then as soon as the drill starts...I DO feel the pain.
...how I can actually feel the needle going into my jaw as they give me more lidocaine. No...I don't just feel the "pressure" - I can literally feel the needle as it slides all the way in there. That's almost as much fun as the pain from the drill.
...how I hate waiting for the second dose of lidocaine to kick in and worrying that it won't work, even if I know it will.
...how I can then not relax during the rest of the procedure b/c I'm so worried about it hurting again. (Have you experienced that pain?? It is NOT fun.)
...how uncomfortable it is to know that the dentist and assistant are staring into my open mouth while I am lying there helpless, trying to look at something else, like the cover to the light they are shining into my mouth.
...how I can't stand the sound of the drill whirring......................
...how much I don't like having to bite down and grind my teeth on that thing that helps them figure out if they've shaped the cavity well b/c you can not tell how it feels when you are numb.
...how much I don't like my face being numb all the way up to my eyes. (They seem to put the needle in so that it numbs the top part too much and the bottom not enough.)
...how I am numb for most of the day since I need that extra dose.
...how much my jaw hurts the next day or two after having those needles put in and my mouth messed with
...how sensitive my teeth are for a few days or so after the cavity is filled.
...how I am considering more and more the possible benefits of sedation dentistry, even though that scares me for other reasons. But it might be a little less traumatic!
...how I AM starting to feel that visits to the dentist are becoming traumatic for me.
...how I should know better with my step-mom being a dentist and all. (But she used to tell me how great my teeth were, even when I never flossed too well - so I guess I felt like I could keep getting away with it.... But it's apparently catching up with me.)

...how much I may not like to spend time brushing my teeth sometimes when I just want to fall into bed...but it really doesn't take all that long if I just do it.
...how much I really don't like to spend time flossing but the last couple cavities have been b/c of my not liking to floss.

*sigh*

Now just to remember all this stuff more than just a few days after each dentist appointment. Maybe having this written down will help me out.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Eight Months Measurements

Getting this on here late again.
At eight months, Aiden is measuring in at.....

Weight 19lbs
Height 28 1/4 inches

When I hold him, he seems awfully small to me!

Weekend Recap

Haven't been on here in a few days due to quite a busy schedule and visitors. Let's see if I can quickly give an update on our happenings...

Saturday - My birthday (yay - big 29...thanks to dad for welcoming me to the "last year in my twenties"). We didn't do a whole lot b/c we just had other things going on. And with Ryan's birthday being next Saturday, we wait and do something together. And with his mom coming to visit on Sunday, we knew she would want to go out to celebrate with us, as well. But Ryan did get me breakfast from my favorite coffee shop across the street. He then spent the rest of the day finishing up other people's taxes. But he did do all the diaper changes. ;) I felt like I was on the phone the entire day - more than I have been in the past few months combined! Thanks for everyone that called to wish me a happy birthday! :)

Sunday - EASTER! :) Aiden got a "What is Easter?" book - a really cute book that talks about the bunny and egg hunts but explains that while all that is fun, it's really all about Jesus. :) We try to keep it on the real reason. Camden got some seeds and small pots that are really cute (and are "green toys" on top of that). He really liked it (in case you were wondering).

Ryan's mom, David, and CAMDEN arrived! I was making a cake for Ryan when they walked in the door. Funny thing - I made one of his favorites (carrot cake) and Sharon brought his other (red velvet), so he pretty much was a lucky fellow in regards to having his cake and eating it, too (even though it was much closer to my birthday than his....). ;) Though I didn't quite get one part right on the cake, it still turned out great, and I'll definitely make it again. It's Paula Deen's recipe. The part I didn't get quite right... She uses jarred baby food carrots and calls for 2 jars. Well, I don't use jarred food b/c I make my own, so I was guessing on the amount. I didn't get quite enough, but it was still really good. Just would have had more carrot flavor. Also, for the icing, she calls for 1/2 cup and in parentheses says (1/2 stick)...well, 1/2 stick is 1/4 cup, so.... I used half and it tasted fine. My friend used a whole stick and had good results, too. Do what suits you. Here's the recipe if you want to try it out. Also, Ryan thinks he would like a buttercream icing better than the cream cheese one that I made for this one. We'll see. (The icing job wasn't the best - didn't wait for the cake to cool all the way b/c we were in a hurry!)


Monday - I had a fun time at the dentist. Not so much. More about that next post. Camden had a cleaning. MaMaw Sharon watched Aiden (I don't think she liked that part at ALL, do you?) ;) Then she took us to get Aiden his first pair of shoes. She has been waiting since the day that child was born to buy him shoes, and we finally gave the go-ahead. It's recommended to wait until they are walking to get shoes (they don't need them beforehand) and then to get soft-soled ones b/c the other types can interfere with the development of their feet and walking. Aiden walked away (well, was carried away) with a cute pair of sandals for the summer and some white shoes for when it's cooler. Both are a bit big for now, but he's not even crawling yet, so.... (I'll have to get copies of the pics of the shoe shopping from MaMaw Sharon - I'll post them soon!)

Then we shopped some more. Met Ryan for dinner at P.F. Chang's. Then I took the boys home for bed while Ryan spent a bit more time with Sharon and David. Aiden was spent from being out ALL DAY. He's not used to it and didn't have much down time or time playing on the floor, and it was getting late. Plus, Camden had school the next day. We had fun hanging out, though. :)

PS - I wasn't all that impressed with P.F. Chang's after I thought about it. The sweet & sour chicken - better at Red Bowl. We loved the chicken lettuce wraps - but Red Bowl has those, too. So.... And Aiden really did NOT like the place. It was dark, and he was not happy there. (But then again, he had been out all day. And he woke up after we got there, so he woke up not knowing at all where he was....)

Tuesday - part of that is a secret that will be shared more soon. Then Sharon and David left for Huntington. And Ryan went to work. It was me and the boy back at home. He took one good nap - moved himself so he was pressed against the bedding and slept for an hour (that's a LOT for him!). The other nap would have been longer but Daddy was talking really loudly and woke him up. Neither Aiden nor Mommy really liked that.

He has fallen asleep with his head close to the bumper ever since. I think he likes to be up against something when falling asleep. I'm his preferred something, but apparently this is a decent second choice. (And yes, I checked frequently to make sure he had plenty of space to breathe - and he hasn't been getting this close since - partly b/c I won't let him.)

When Camden got home from school - he realized he forgot his homework folder at school. His class is in a trailor, so we had to wait a while in the office for a key. Then we got caught in a downpour on the way back to the car. We were running, and I'm holding Aiden - bouncing him while I run. I thought he might get upset, but he thought it was hilarious! He loves being in the shower, so he probably thought this was a big, fun shower. :) He just thought it was great, as you can see in the pic - same grin he had while running through the rain! He's still a little wet in the pic, too.


Today - Got Aiden down for nap #1...not 5 minutes later the school calls. Camden always gets hurt at inconvenient times... He hurt his thumb playing football, thought he dislocated it. We get to the doctor office (which is 20 minutes away) - calling on the way...once they opened b/c it was lunchtime when I had to go get Camden. Had to keep calling b/c they weren't yet accepting appointments for overbooking and they don't want walk-ins (what? give me a break - ummm..my kid's in pain here). Finally get an "appointment" when we're two minutes away. Wait the half-hour till the appointment. Then another half-hour. Xrays show no fractures. So he has a sprain and possibly some torn ligaments. I think we'll stop by Babies R Us on the way home b/c it's practically next door - to see if they have the car seat we will soon get Aiden and the stroller I want to get him (a reversible stroller so I can see him - more on that soon). And they do have the stroller. It's on sale. So we get it. Ended the day on a good note, at least!

Whew. Ok - that wasn't too short. But you know pretty much all we did the last few days. Probably more than you care, right? ;)

Saturday, April 11, 2009

EIGHT Months

Speaking of being eight months... Let's see what's new this past month!

Sleep...
Aiden's had a rough month sleep-wise. His naps have gone downhill since separation anxiety kicked in. Then there's the fact that he rolls onto his belly in his crib - yet can't roll back (yes, really - he goes from back to front too easily but not the other way) and will not sleep on his belly, so that makes things difficult. So, it takes quite a while to get him settled and ok with going to sleep in his crib - and then he's been sleeping only for 30 minutes. (Oh - and if you call us during the day PLEASE call my CELL phone b/c the home phone WILL wake him, even with his music on and his door barely cracked and me running to get the phone after one ring. Even if he's only slept for 10 minutes...he will NOT go back to sleep.) At nighttime...Aiden's still in our room and loves sleeping so close to Mommy. And it's working for us, so we're happy with that arrangement. Happier than when he was in the other room and waking just as much, at least!

Eating...
Aiden still nurses every two hours, maybe three if there is enough distraction. Solids - he cannot get enough! If we eat, he MUST eat, too. Forget trying to feed him and eat at the same time. He wants it all with no breaks! Aiden is eating a great variety of fruits and veggies and yogurt. We also added in turkey one evening when we made a turkey breast for dinner. I pureed some with some applesauce and he LOVED it. He really likes just about any kind of food you will give him! He decided he did not like the sippy cup but preferred Mom's water bottle - so we just got him his own. He loves those bottles - the ones with the thick spout that you have to bite and then suck to get the water. He gets rather excited when he sees either mine or his!

A few of Aiden's favorite things....
Basically anything big brother does makes Aiden laugh hysterically! He loves playing with Camden, and Camden can't get enough of Aiden. It's a pretty good match.
Aiden loves playing with his toy piano! If you put it just out of his reach, he will reach and reach - and eventually will barely touch the edge of it and scoot it until he can pull it to him.
One of Aiden's favorite things to play with - a mirror. Toys with mirrors don't impress him too much, but a real mirror does - he can tell the difference, I guess. We have one leaning up against a wall so he can play in front of it, and he just can't get enough. He's also figured out how this mirror thing works. He'll look at me in the mirror and then turn to look at me in person - and back and forth. He thinks it's pretty funny. He'll also lean forward and give himself a kiss in the mirror - very cute!
Aiden's newest trick is this hilarious laugh... He will squint his eyes, smile really big, and do this squeal/laugh thing. It's not a real laugh - he's making himself do it. Just because he CAN. He'll sit there and do it over and over. He cracks himself up with it, I think. He certainly cracks us up with it!

Aiden will surely be crawling soon! He scoots all around, in circles, even backwards, but not yet going forward. This annoys him sometimes. But, to be honest, I'm not in a huge rush for him to be crawling. Then we really have to watch out! He can pull himself up just a tiny bit if given the opportunity. He can pull himself a few inches off the ground from a sitting position.

Aiden's tooth #3 is through now. It's funny, too.... We've been waiting for the top four teeth to come through. They have been so close for the longest time now! And still are. But suddenly we noticed another bottom tooth about to pop through - and it did just a couple days later. A bit out of the blue! The others are getting even closer - ANY day now. (Really.)

You can't fool Aiden anymore... He knows that if you hide something, it really is still there. And earlier, when he tried to eat my cell phone - after I said NO...he tried to throw it away from himself. We went through this routine a few times, and then he decided it just wasn't worth it anymore. ;)

Other new things..
He puts his arms up when you go to pick him up.
He flips out when Mom goes out of his sight for a moment.
He is very good at entertaining himself when playing - but if he starts fussing, he will light up if you just sit down with him!
He really loves swimming.
He also loves taking showers and will open his mouth to catch the water pouring down. He'll also stick out his tongue to feel the water. And if we do either of these, as well, he thinks it is too funny!
He loves playing with balls and is getting quite good at throwing things (balls or any other toy for that matter...)
He likes wearing hats just fine - but forget the sunglasses! No way.
He likes to spin in circles when sitting, using his feet to turn him round and round.
He's figured out what it means when I do the sign for "milk" and he says "eh, eh, eh" repeatedly when he's wanting to get some!
He is amazingly good at sitting and bringing his foot to his mouth at the same time...
He always pulls off his right sock but not his left one.



Happy Eight Months, Aiden!!

UPDATE:

Measurements!!
Weight - 19lbs
Height - 28 1/4 inches

Six-Month Pictures! (Part TWO)

Now that Aiden is eight months old, we finally found a day that there was no rain, the right type of sunshine, and where our schedules were open to fit in the rest of Aiden's "six-month" photo shoot. ;) Laura came out to our place to get some nice shots, including some really adorable Easter pictures. They are my favorites! Too cute. Here they are.... These are with the older set you already saw - the newer pics are the second half of the album.

2009 Feb Aiden 6-month Pictures and Easter Pictures (8 Months)


Enjoy!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins

Here are this week's Friday Fill-Ins. :) My answers are in bold.

1. Being Anonymous is the easy way out. If you're going to state things, even controversial things, have the courage to make yourself known. If you aren't comfortable with that, perhaps you shouldn't be saying it period.

2.My baby is a perfect little guy, sleeping aside. He's perfect in every other way, so should I just embrace the sleep issues instead of dwelling/stressing on them? Maybe so (after all, he kind of comes by them honestly...I have always had sleeping problems, from birth on. And Ryan didn't sleep much as a baby, either. Hmm...)

3. Let me embrace thee, sour adversity... That's it. Sometimes things can turn out to be much better than we expected... You never know. Might as well embrace it, right?

4. April birthdays, warm sunshine, being able to leave a screen door open, and telling Camden to get outside and play are part of what I look forward to most about Spring. (In case you're wondering - my and Ryan's birthdays are both in April, exactly one week apart. And many friends are April babies, as well.)

5. Who needs therapy when there is a nice glass of red wine and a good friend nearby. Of course, I'm still off the wine since I breastfeed so often, and my closest friend that I love to chat with over a glass of red vino is far away.

6. Things related to the real reason for the holiday MUST go into the Easter Basket! No silly gadgets or tons of sugary candy (ok, there will be SOME sugary candy - but very little). The focus is on Jesus rising again - not so much on a bunny and junk-food.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing a little (from what Ryan says he plans - we'll see if it works out for us), tomorrow my plans include celebrating my birthday and possibly going to a make-up swim class with Aiden (and Daddy can come and watch) and Sunday, I want to give Camden a HUGE hug when he returns home from his week in KY and spend some time with Ryan's mom and David, as they are coming to visit for a few days!

Happy Easter, everyone!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Here's Proof

Finally asleep. With the pad in hand. (See previous post if you have no idea what I'm referring to.)

I won't say how long it took to get him to sleep. But I know he will only sleep a fraction of the time it took to GET him to sleep.

Poopy Diapers and Breast Pads

Aiden and I have been working on a nap for just over an hour now... Well, I've been working on getting him down for a nap. He's been working against it, I guess. Yesterday was a decent nap day, so I guess he thought he needed to mix it up again today.

But there's another problem... Aiden has this tendency to fill his diaper right at those moments when he's been fighting sleep and is finally giving in. He's not the kind of baby that cries or fusses when he has a poopy diaper. Not at all. He doesn't do anything to tell you, and they aren't really all that stinky (every now and then - but not for the most part). So you really have to stay on top of things with his diapers. BUT he will not go to sleep with a poopy diaper. So, if he's having a hard time, I pretty much have to check rather often. And it usually happens right when he's decided he will consider that nap after all.

So...after an hour of fussing and us working on this nap thing - there we are...on the changing table, cleaning up a rather poopy diaper. What does that mean, folks? It means we get to start ALL OVER with the nap process.

Right now he's at least calm. He has one of his favorite things to play with - one of mommy's cloth breast pads. I've discovered that if I can get him to lie down calmly and I give him one of those, he might just go to sleep. It's funny to watch him holding it close to his face, clutching it in his hand... And I'm pretty sure that one day, he'll appreciate that I shared this with the blogging world.

Ok - quiet time is over, I suppose. Back to fussing. Gotta go...........................

Expired Food "OK"??

I get informational emails from some baby websites ocassionally. Here was the "tip" this week, from parentingweekly.com (called that because they send out weekly tips)...

Feeding your baby canned or jarred baby food after the expiration date has passed probably won't make him ill, but your baby will get fewer nutrients. Expiration dates on baby food are very conservative and are there mainly for quality purposes, not for safety; however, the nutrition and flavor of the food will deteriorate over time.

I'm sorry - WHAT?! I don't eat food past the expiration date. Why on earth would I feed my BABY food that has expired?? In fact, I give my baby the best - better than even I get. So...this totally doesn't fit in with that.

Do you really want to give your baby expired food?? I mean, even if some "experts" (I really have no idea who is actually giving out these tips, after all) say that expiration dates are "mainly for quality purposes, not for safety"????

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Great Thing About Parenting...

...is that you get to choose your own way.

As a parent, you have the choice for HOW you parent your children, with very few exceptions. There are so many different ways to do everything, and many of those choices can lead people to judge you as a parent, as a person in general. But the thing is, there are basically no wrong ways to do things, just different ones.

True, there are extremes - ways that we will all (hopefully) agree are not healthy and do more harm than good. But this isn't about extremes such as child abuse, neglect, etc. I'm talking about choosing things like circumcision, diapering, parenting approaches. And while I may have my own opinions about what is right for my family, many others choose to do things differently. And that's perfectly ok.

I have a lot of friends that think similarly to me when it comes to parenting. We agree on the things we do, don't do, believe, etc. I have many friends that are NOT like-minded when it comes to our parenting approaches. And I have friends where we overlap and have a bit of both going on. In fact, one of my best friends...while we are very similar ourselves and our values, there are some great differences when it comes to parenting. We recognized early on that this could be a source of tension between us. So what did we do? We agreed to simply overlook those differences and agree that we could be different and not let it affect our friendship. And we haven't looked back! Every now and then we might say "yeah, you do that differently." But that's as far as it goes. No harm.

I know a lot of people can easily judge other parents, especially mothers (judging other mothers), when they see things done differently than they would. I think this happens especially when people don't see or understand the motivation behind the practice. Or they may not have learned about a specific approach. I think we can all benefit from knowing people that take different routes with parenting. We don't learn if we are only surrounded by like-minded people. And we need to create safe places to share how we do things, what we know, how we think so that we can learn from one another - or at least understand where others are coming from.

So...in light of that, I'm willing to share a few things myself. And hopefully open up some dialogue. This is not to be a debate or to open up any sort of heated discussion. I'm willing to go into more detail about any of these topics, sharing more of my reasoning and how I came to parent this way. I have realized how parenting is a constantly evolving practice. I am a completely different parent with my infant now than I was when Camden was the same age. I want the same things for my children, but I have learned different approaches.

Like I said, this isn't meant to be a DEBATE. The point being to share what we do, what we've learned, what we know or want to know, give suggestions, etc. The point is NOT to state what is "right" or to judge others for their approaches. I think when we start to judge or believe that our own way is the only way, we end up hurting ourselves and we close ourselves off from learning more. My ways are in no way my "own." I did not create them completely on my own. I take in a lot of information (I research so much, it's crazy), ask all kinds of people their opinions, and I use it all to come up with what I want for my family. My ways are not right for everyone. No one way is right for everyone. So, whaddya say? Can we share and discuss without judging? If so, great. If not, hit the road Jack, 'cause this ain't the place for you. :) (And if comments get out of hand, I will moderate as needed - meaning those comments will not get posted.)

To start off, here are some topics and a brief (and I mean brief) statement on what we do. I'll post about each one individually. Please stay tuned and join the discussions! And bring your friends along for the ride.
  • Diapering. We use gdiapers and cloth.
  • Circumcision. We did not.
  • Vaccinations. Yes, we do - but on our own schedule.
  • Crying it out. Nope. Don't do it.
  • Co-sleeping. We do now. (Maybe this will be the first one...b/c I think almost nobody knows this about us and most are probably very surprised.)
  • Breastfeeding. Huge fans!
  • Baby Food. Did it later than four months, and we make our own.
  • Television & Other Media. Less is more. And none for baby.
  • Car seats & seat belts. This is a HUGE topic for me!! You'll see why.
  • Miscellaneous. How 'bout we talk about BPA, PVC, pthalates, organics, etc, etc.....
Did I miss anything?? Let me know if you think of anything I should add!

Now, while I said before that I think it is unfair to judge people on their parenting approaches, I must add this... I think it is VERY unfair and very wrong to judge someone when you are not experienced with it or when you have not taken the time and energy to learn about the topic. Can you really argue what vaccination schedule is best when you haven't researched it? What about circumcision? Have you researched both sides? I tend to research all of this in depth. It's not always necessary, true. But I want to know WHY I am parenting a certain way. And I would always rather be safe than sorry. I don't just go with the flow - I learn and make choices based on what fits our family best.

Some could say I'm "picky," but I like to think that
I parent with purpose.

And I can always tell you why I do something. Ask me. Really. I am very comfortable sharing why I parent the way I do.

If someone disagrees, that's ok. But I do not think it's ok to tell someone they are wrong if you do not know the topic well and cannot explain why you think they are wrong without something to back you up (other than opinion). I think we should all be able to share our parenting ideas and approaches, learn from one another, and be ok parenting differently. Besides, does it really hurt one family if another does things a little bit differently than them??

I think life would be rather boring if we all did everything the same way, don't you?

So, let's get started! :) If you want - you can subscribe to my blog in your reader, you can access the posts via facebook in the notes section, you can follow in blogger, and you can subscribe via email. With email - for some reason, for a while there the posts were not going out each day like they should...some were going out after a week sometimes? So...consider that and check back here, too. It seems to be working just fine now, though! Also, please comment HERE on the BLOG - not via email or facebook. Let's keep it all in one place, folks. :) And please include your name when you comment - it's only fair, even if it's just a first name.

Looking forward to it!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I'm going to be in TROUBLE!

I'm going to be in serious trouble when I stop nursing Aiden... I'm sure most of you are aware of the fact that nursing uses a lot of calories, which helps with losing the baby weight you gain during pregnancy (and you're supposed to consume extra calories to help make sure you get enough since you use so many - this is not a "weight loss" method people! Just saying!). It's very true, though. Within less than two weeks of Aiden's birth, I had five pounds to go. (That's when I first weighed myself, so who knows how quickly it really happened. It really wasn't a focus of mine.) Within a few more weeks, I was at prepregnancy weight. Ideally, I wanted to be five pounds lighter. Doesn't sound like much, but five pounds can mean a lot when you have a stack of jeans you can't fit into (and about two that you can) - and those last five can be tricky.

Especially when you don't work out. Or get enough sleep. And eat sweets all the time. I'm talking every day. I did give up cookies for Lent, but there are still plenty of brownies, ice cream, and cupcakes in the sea. I obviously have not been trying to lose weight. I do still eat well (aside from the treats). Like I said, while nursing, your focus should not be losing weight. You need the extra calories to feed baby. (That's not how I justify the sweets - I just love them! That's all.)

But thanks to nursing, I lost those last five a while ago. I've enjoyed fitting into more of my jeans - I'm up to at least four or five pairs now. And I can put them in the dryer again! And they still fit. I tried on some pants today that I haven't worn in a few years. They fit - and might be a little loose in some areas even.

I am very aware, though, that this is due to my nursing because I'm certainly not doing anything else to help lose weight. In fact, I'm doing quite the opposite! And I am VERY aware that I am in some serious trouble when the nursing stops. Serious.

ps - I may have lost the weight, but I do still have the very soft belly (and many other "soft" parts...). One day, I'll really have to do some work with those areas. Right now, that's really not my concern. I have too many other things on my plate that are higher priorities. But come summertime and bathing suit season....Hmmmmmm...

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Mr. Obvious

I had thought, about an hour ago, that I was actually going to get into bed early tonight... Assuming I go to bed right after writing this, it's still early, but not AS early. This is how we seem to do things...

Anyway, I just had to share this short story. I got a good laugh out of it.

Camden and I were at the dining table earlier, and he was looking over some papers sent home from school. He has a field trip coming up - a big one that is all day and into the evening. They're going to Wilmington, NC to visit the USS NC Battleship, have lunch at the beach, and then visit to the NC Aquarium. Ryan is going as one of the parent chaperones, so the paperwork was all about the trip.

I asked how many other dads were going (all the chaperones for the whole grade were listed), out of curiosity. He mentioned a couple just from his class were. Then he said...hey, this one kid has a dad with a different last name. His tone saying, that's odd.

I said...yeah, sound familiar??

It took him a while.
And me actually saying - your name is different from Ryan's...

Ummm...Hello! We both laughed about that one.