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, September 30, 2009

They make Baby Yogurt, you know?

Recently, Ryan made a run into the grocery store to grab some yogurt because we had coupons that would make them free. And you don't pass up free stuff, you know.

He came back with what he was supposed to get, plus a little extra (which is ironic because the whole reason he went was because I will usually come out with the extras...). The first thing he said was, "you know, they make baby yogurt." Yeah. "Oh, I just didn't know if you knew."

Why did he tell me this, you might be wondering. Because we "make" Aiden's yogurt each morning. Meaning, we buy organic, plain, whole fat yogurt and blend it with extras. Every day. I thought I would share how we make his yogurt (which is actually soooo yummy), why we bother, and why we don't give him the "baby yogurt" (that Ryan clearly did not even know existed).

What we do...
Like I said, we buy organic, plain, whole fat yogurt. A big container of it. Lasts a long time, and if it is lasting too long, we can use the extras in a smoothie or even freeze some of it. No worry about wasting it around here. In our freezer, we always have a stash of frozen fruits - just about every kind you can imagine. So, I take some yogurt, some organic frozen fruit (or fresh - whatever we have on hand), half a banana, and some ground flaxseed - pop it in one of the magic bullet containers and blend it up. We make all sorts of fruit blends - a popular one is blueberries, strawberries, and banana. But Aiden will eat and love just about anything we put in there - including but not limited to raspberries, mango, cranberries, blackberries, peaches, mixed tropical fruits, etc, etc...I mean, ANYthing we can get. We always have a ton because we make this and we make a lot of smoothies - I'll have to share that recipe sometime. Simple but so yummy! Anyway, banana always goes in because sweetens it up just enough. Without the banana in either his oatmeal or yogurt, Aiden is so-so about it. Add the banana, and he is bananas for the stuff.

Now, if you don't know what flaxseed is all about, it might be time to check it out. It's got great stuff in it (omega-3 fatty acids, fiber, lignans). It's good for fighting/preventing all sorts of health issues and diseases. It's EASY to use. We use it in our oatmeal, smoothies, yogurt, cereal...all sorts of things. You can even bake with it - and use it to replace other ingredients like eggs, flour, etc....(I usually have intentions of baking with it and remember as soon as I put something in the oven.) We keep ours in the freezer. You can buy it at any grocery store. Just get ground, not the whole seeds. More info below...

Mayo Clinic on Flaxseed/Flaxseed Oil
Mayo Clinic on Whole vs Ground Flaxseed
WebMD on Benefits of Flaxseed
Of course there is plenty more. Any google search will bring up tons, but these are pretty decent to start out...

Anyway, back to the main topic. I blend all this up in the good 'ol Magic Bullet, and then Aiden can't get enough of it. Any of us will eat it, too. It really is quite good. I only make enough for one serving at a time. I could make more if I left out the banana, but if you put the banana in there, it doesn't keep well for long.

So..why don't we just buy him the baby yogurt? It would be quicker in the mornings. Not that our typical routine takes longer than two minutes, but peeling off the top of a yogurt container would be somewhat easier. Those of you that have looked at, bought, or regularly use baby yogurts....have you noticed what is added to the yogurt? Sugar. That's fine if anyone else wants to use that. I mean, I buy regular yogurt that has sugar added. No biggie. But I'm still very picky about what Aiden eats, and I try to avoid added sugar. Besides, there is a LOT of sugar in the baby yogurts!! And I can EASILY whip up some plain yogurt that has no added sugar, is full of fruits, and has lots of great stuff for Aiden - and he LOVES it. So, to me, it's totally worth it. Especially since he eats it once each day.

That said.... I'm also picky about what we eat, and we've been trying to eat the "healthier" yogurts, too. This means organic, without quite so much sugar, with natural ingredients. I'm surprised (well, not so much really...) at how many "healthy" yogurts have High Fructose Corn Syrup in them. These do not count as being healthy at all, as far as I'm concerned. I do NOT buy any of those containing HFCS, even if they're free with a great coupon and a good sale. And actually, the yogurt we make for Aiden is very yummy. With all of this in mind, we actually just bought a yogurt maker. So, we'll see how this goes. I'll let you know. I'm excited to see. Ryan was hesitant - until he learned how cheap the yogurt maker actually was. ;)

Maybe not something you care too much about...but I thought I would share. Surely someone out there was curious. I've actually had some people ask, so... There it is.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Today We Celebrate

This time last year, we were all in a state of concern. Worry over the unknown. Scared of something our youngest, new child could have wrong with him and what it meant for his future. Multiple doctor visits and genetic tests later...the word "normal" never sounded sweeter. There are still possibilities and unknowns...but, the way we see things, we have a healthy baby boy.

Details? Click here.

Today we went to the geneticist at Duke for our one-year follow up. We basically revisited the results from last time. Aiden either has one of two forms of IP (if you have no idea what I'm talking about, just visit the link above for details) - a very mild, "diluted" form OR a mosaic form. The mild would mean that he could pass this on, as it would be genetic. This would be something located in all of his genes, just in a very mild form. While testing showed negative for this type of IP, testing only covers 80% of the positive cases. This might mean a future daughter of Aiden's could end up a carrier for the condition. Aiden might never have any other symptoms than what happened when he was just a couple days old or a repeat in the same area but not in other places on his body. He might develop some minor issues, but they would be things that happen to people that don't have this condition, as well. The mosaic form...hard to say what that could mean. It could mean that he wouldn't pass it on, he might pass it on, he might or might not be infertile. It all depends on where during fetal development the mosaicism occurred. In case you're not picking up the vibe here...we still are dealing with a lot of unknowns - and some big unknowns.

Aiden playing with some cars and trucks in the waiting area at the hospital. They were attached so you could slide them but not take them off. As soon as he tried to pick one up, he looked at us and signed "please" because he wanted us to give them to him. He didn't understand they wouldn't come off and kept repeating the sign! He finally just started to push them around. You might be able to see in the first picture - he makes the "shhhhh" noise as he pushes them. (We made sure to wash hands well. Remember, cold and flu season is upon us!)

So, what does this mean? For Aiden? For us? What do we do?

Well, we don't know entirely what all it means. We know what we can know at this point. We have done all the testing that is available to us. In Germany, other testing is being created - testing that could one day possibly pick up IP whether it is in the known gene or another or even if it is a weaker version of the condition. This currently is not happening in the United States, but perhaps it will in a few years or so... Our doctor told us of one other person with this same issue as Aiden who is an adult at this time and at the age where he is wondering how this could affect possible children. He just spent a week with the NIH undergoing tons of testing. Hmmm... And there are clinical trials in Tiawan right now, too. Who knows what will be happening as Aiden gets older. For now, as Aiden's birthday approaches each year, we will simply email the geneticist to see if there is anything new we should know about. As an old teacher of mine used to say, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it." And if we do.

For us...especially when it comes to future children, we're mostly in the "green." If Aiden has a milder version of the genetic form of IP, then we can be safe assuming that any other children might not get it or would also have a mild version. Why does this matter? Girls are affected much more severely than boys, so it matters if we were to have a girl. It isn't an issue at this point as much as if this was a genetic form that was more severe with Aiden. Also, boys usually are not even born with this because they miscarry (more of this information is in the link I provided above, so I'm not going into detail here). That does mean there could be a small chance of miscarriage with other boys we conceive. This also means that Aiden is a miracle baby to us. :) We feel very blessed to have him with us.

Other than contacting the doctor each year for possible updates, there really isn't anything else for us to do. If other trials, testing, etc are available, great. Otherwise, there is no need for us to go doing any more research (most of the information online can be kind of scary and is more focused on the severe cases). Our job is mostly to enjoy our child. That, of course, is a fairly easy job.

This is one of those Kohl's for Kids toys. One of the assistants gave it to Aiden when we had to wait for so long. I'm not sure which story it goes along with...or what it actually is. Anyone know? Either way, he loves it. He kept hugging it, then holding it out for me to hug, then hugging it again...

I wasn't able to take notes today. Our visits with the geneticist are quite information-heavy. When we had to wait for the longest time because she was with someone else, I couldn't help but remember how much time she spent with us the last couple times we saw her. I would say most people that come in to see her aren't in and out quickly. It's just not that kind of place. Anyway, I usually take detailed notes. Harder to do with a toddler in the room... So, I'm basing all this information on recall alone. When we get the notes they send us in the mail, I'll update anything if needed.

Monday, September 21, 2009

The Best Dressing EVER

Maybe not everyone will agree, but we think so.

I haven't posted a lot of recipes lately, and I have a bunch to share, so... Here goes one that I've been meaning to post for a while. I have a couple favorite recipes that I got from my friend Mark's mom, and I just have to share this one. This salad dressing is so delicious! It's hard to explain what it tastes like; when having it with our salad the other night, I asked the guys how they would describe it. Camden said a number of words...sweet, tangy, a little salty (?), vinegary, among others. I wish I could describe it better because you may not have all the ingredients - and might not want to run out to get them just for this one recipe. But, if you're adventurous, you might. Or if you cook a lot of different things...you might just have it all in your kitchen! I say go for it if you don't have it already. Camden is not big on salad at all and will only eat it with two dressings - raspberry vinaigrette or this vinaigrette. He will always choose this one if it's available. So will I.

I have no idea what this is called. I call it Susan's dressing because I got the recipe from Susan. No clue where it's really from... Some of the ingredients might make you say what??, but just trust me on this. It IS so good.

Here are the ingredients:
1 cup sugar
1tsp garlic powder
1Tbsp dry mustard
1tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp celery seed
1/2 cup minced onion (if using dried, find conversion)
1Tbsp + 1/2tsp basil
1/2tsp celery salt
1/2tsp pepper
2 cups salad/veg oil
2/3 cups vinegar (apple cider)
1/4 cup lemon juice

Shake together ingredients in jar. Shake before each use. Makes 1 quart. Pretty easy. The hardest part is measuring. Yeah, that's rough.

I put all dry ingredients in and shake them first. Then I add the vinegar and lemon juice to help dissolve the sugar. I add the oil last. I always use the dried onion just because it allows the dressing to keep longer.

My fancy "jar"...

Oil - I typically use Enova oil. I love that stuff. And it works really well with this dressing. The last time I went to get it, the store was out, so I got the Smart Balance Omega oil instead... Tasted just fine, but it separates even more between each use of the dressing. Enova is thicker, I suppose. I'll be sure to only use it from here on out.

Yum! Pour over some lettuce, apples, cranberries, and walnuts for a delicious dish. (We usually use feta cheese. We were just out when I took the pic and used cheddar.) In the winter, we use clementines instead of the cranberries (or sometimes with...).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Winners are...

#172 Holly at Daytime Sunshine
#77 Becky over at The Berry's Blog

Winners selected using random.org.

Enjoy your new (free!) gdiapers courtesy of Sharni at the Nappy Shoppe!! Winners have already been contacted, so they know what to do from here. :)

Thanks to everyone that entered. There was a pretty good turn-out!

And check back soon because there might just be a gflapper giveaway in the works... Think Christmas gifts (for you, someone else, you....)

Congrats to our winners!!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


We finally caved and joined the world of twitter.... For one, a common way to enter many giveaways is to follow other bloggers, etc on there. (Umm...kind of like the gdiaper giveaway on this blog - follow The Nappy Shoppe as a way to enter - see previous post. If I had our twitter acct set up when the giveaway started, that would have been another way...) I'm not sure how active we'll be on it just yet, but we'll post updates here and there (I'm sorry..we'll tweet...geez.). Feel free to follow Our Growing Family.

gDiaper GIVEAWAY Reminder!! Ending soon...

The gdiaper giveaway ends soon - this Sunday night. Spread the word and be sure to enter yourself. Two winners will be selected; winners each get a free gdiaper in their choice of size/color, courtesy of The Nappy Shoppe. Here are the details. Be sure to comment on THAT post to enter; not on this one. :)

Hurry up!! Remember, there are TEN ways to enter.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Aiden wants to introduce you to Bunny. Aiden LOVES his Bunny. He hugs Bunny. He kisses Bunny. Heck, he sometimes tries to bite off parts of Bunny's face and ears and hands...but it's all out of love for Bunny.

Mommy and Daddy have been trying and trying to decide what on earth Aiden would be for Halloween this year. Then it hit us - a bunny! Think about it...Aiden loves Bunny, he loves the book Guess How Much I Love You (which is about two bunnies - Big and Little Nutbrown Hare), and this is the last year we can get away with something as cutesy as a fuzzy bunny costume. After this, he will be too big to dress up like that - and he'll be able to voice what he wants to be. (He'll have opinions!!! And a voice!)

The problem is, we can't find a bunny outfit! Well, there are pink bunnies and maybe a white one here or there online. And then, of course, the bunny outfits for...(ahem)...women. None of those are what we are looking for. (Especially that last one.) We want one that looks like Bunny, who happens to look a lot like Little Nutbrown Hare in Aiden's favorite book. Is that too much to ask?? We don't think so, but perhaps it is because we're not finding it.

Does anyone out there know of a place that just might have the cute little bunny outfit we want for our cute little baby boy? We would be very grateful if you would share your knowledge!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Crock-Pot Recipe Request!

Usually, my hubby and I sit down each week and plan out our weekly meals. This makes things so much easier when we do it, but lately we've been slacking a bit. That makes things difficult for me come 4:30pm and I haven't even had a free moment to considered dinner....(which is why I need that weekly plan!). In light of that, I've been wanting to find some really good and really easy Crock-Pot meal ideas. I have a couple Crock-Pot cookbooks - one is a six-ingredient one, which is always great for me because I love simple. The other is full of more complicated meals, which is not so great for me. Either way, what I really love is getting recipes from other people; I like to collect all kinds of recipes from others. So.....readers......please comment with your favorite Crock-Pot recipe(s). You could email me, but if you comment instead, we can all benefit and get a few new recipes! (For those of you reading in facebook, please click on the note title and comment in blogger.)

I'll share one of our favorite ones, too. This is a favorite not only because it is good but also because it is SUPER easy. I would much rather use more natural ingredients over processed (and this isn't that bad when considering some of the processed foods out there)...but this is such an easy go-to meal when you're really in a pinch. The first time I made this, Camden emphatically said that it was one of the best things ever. The second and third time, he let me know it wasn't THE best thing ever but was still very good. Ha. That's still a compliment, in my opinion.

Cranberry Chicken

4 chicken breast halves
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 cup barbecue sauce (whatever flavor you like - I like the sweeter ones for this)
1 can (16oz) whole berry cranberry sauce

Place chicken in sprayed slow cooker. Combine remaining ingredients and pour over the chicken. Cover and cook on low 3 1/2 to 4 hours or until chicken is tender and cooked through. Makes 4 servings.

How much easier can it get?! And if you don't have an onion on hand, you can go without just fine. We've had it both ways, and it's great either way. Also, I actually just dump all the ingredients in the Crock-Pot and stir it around. Why bother dirtying another dish unnecessarily??

If you have a good recipe for a side dish or a dessert, share that, too. Hey - I have a large and a small cooker, so.... ;) I could have a main course and more going on at the same time. Wouldn't that make me look like housewife of the year? Ha. (Ryan doesn't need to know how easy it is...right?!)

Looking forward to seeing what you all have to share!

13 Months Take 2

Few things I forgot to include in the 13 Months post...

  • Aiden loves to stick his foot through the posts on his crib when I'm putting him to sleep at naptime. If I move him, he moves right back and puts his whole foot through it again.
  • He will sometimes go around making a wheezing noise, you know, like the way you sound when you can just barely breathe. We don't encourage this one much. I would rather him not make those kind of noises for fun so that I know it's real if it happens (when it is real...)
  • He also likes sticking out his tongue and smacking his lips at the same time. I guess he is just discovering what all he can do with his mouth and the noises he can make. He's really enjoying doing all sorts of things!
  • When he eats something he really likes, he makes a yummy noise, like "mhm, mmmm" - going up higher with the first "mhm." So hard to put into print, but it is so funny.
  • He also started a whine that we do not find to be so cute or funny. It's very distinct. He will go "aahhaa aaaaaa" - again, you just can't explain it with words... Kind of like the yummy noise where he goes up at the first part and then a long, flatter aaahhh at the end. When he does it, we ignore it. If he wants something (usually more of whatever he's eating), he has to sign "more" before he'll get it. The whine won't cut it. (And towards the end of the month, he is decreasing it a lot.)
  • Another noise - he "blows" his nose. Not really, but it sounds like it, so that's what we call it (maybe it will help him learn how to blow his nose?). He scrunches up his nose and blows in and out, in and out.
  • WORDS!! Just after turning one, Aiden said "bye" and waved. One week later, he added "hi" and waved when he saw Daddy walking past his room while we were inside. He's also been saying "dada" quite a lot lately. Sometimes it seems as if he really is saying it to mean "DaDa" and calling for Ryan; many other times, he's just making the sound. He is quite proud that he can do it intentionally, and just grins as if to say "I did that!" With "hi" and "bye" - he says them occasionally and only when he wants to. There is no making this kid do anything. He does things on his terms. (Some say this is one of the things he gets from me..... I can't really argue that.)
Ok, I think that's it.... I thought they were worth posting, even though I forgot them the other day. (Been out of town or would have done it sooner.) In case you're wondering why...part of the reason is because, as much as I slack in getting these posts done on time, I am REALLY a slacker when it comes to filling out the baby calendar and baby book. This gives me something to go back to when I finally get to the other two things to fill them out, so I have it written down somewhere. Plus - who doesn't like to hear what our baby is doing?? ;) (Well, I'm sure the grandparents - all of which read this - do!)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Thirteen Months

When I posted the twelve month post, Ryan said something about not having to do the monthly posts anymore. He was wrong that I would stop there. But I have no idea how long it will go on. For now, he's still growing and changing and learning so much each month that I feel I need to document it. It's just as much for my own records as it is for sharing with loved ones. I'll continue to do them as long as I feel it's worth it, I suppose. Funny thing - my friend, Becky, does monthly posts for her little guy, Colin, who is just about a month older than Aiden. Shortly after Ryan and I talked about this, she posted a similar statement about doing Colin's monthly posts. Great minds and all, right? ;)

So....here goes Aiden's thirteen months post (almost a week late - seems to be the trend, so why change that, right?)

Favorite Things:
  • His little farmer guy. Someone gave Aiden a megabloks tractor that has a little farmer to go with it. He LOVES that thing. He'll walk around with it, "talking" to it. The funniest part is how he talks to it. He does this "sssshhhhsshhhssssshh" sound that sounds kind of like he's whispering (and almost kind of spitting b/c you can hear where saliva is on his tongue while he makes the noise). It's really hard to explain. He has never made this noise before and only does it when he has this little farmer toy! (Actually, recently he had one of Camden's lego people and was doing the same noise, so...I guess it's his noise for talking with those types of toys. Very cute and humorous!)

Aiden with his little farmer toy
  • Bunny. The attachment to Bunny only grows. Now, when he wakes up from a nap and I pick him up, he turns to indicate he wants Bunny... Where before he would want him and then put him back, he now wants to take him with us. He will carry him all over the place. Anytime we leave to go out, I am sure to bring Bunny along. Some people might not like a child getting so attached to a lovey like this, but it's actually a great thing! Very healthy for kids, so we are encouraging it. (And hoping to maybe find a second one to have in case we need to wash this one or it gets lost...)

Aiden loving on Bunny
  • Signing. He knows he can tell us what he wants and doesn't want. It's a great thing!
  • The refrigerator or pantry door opening. He can be on the other side of the house, and if you open either of those, he is there in an instant! And he gets himself right in there so you can't shut the door...while he attempts to get the small bottles and jars out of the fridge door or anything he can reach from the pantry.
  • Trying to stand as much as possible when in the bath tub. Dropping toys over the side of the tub.
  • Toilet paper. If you visit our house, you might discover an empty roll of toilet paper on the holder - and the actual roll of tp behind the seat. This is because Aiden will unroll it if given the chance...and then tear the paper into the tiniest pieces possible. So we leave the empty one on the roll and the one we're using out of reach. That way if he gets the roll off the holder, he's just as happy to play with it, sans mess.
  • Nursing. When he is teething, he wants that pretty much around the clock!
  • His red wagon.
  • Balls.
  • Music. He is constantly signing to have music! He'll go stand by the tv set (because we use the dvd player to play the cds) and sign for it and just wait for me to put the music in, grinning the whole time.
  • Camden's room, and specifically, Camden's legos. If you set him down in his own room, he toddles as quickly as he can right into big brother's room, heading straight to the legos on the shelf. He's actually really gentle with them and just likes to pick up the little lego people.
  • Undoing the velcro tabs on his gdiapers.
  • Putting on (and taking off, and putting on, and taking off...) his hats.
  • Laughing at himself or at nothing - completely out of the blue! He'll just laugh to hear himself sometimes, I think. And they're big, belly laughs, too. He'll make the funniest face when doing them.
  • The dishwasher. This ranks right up there with the open refrigerator. He goes right for the utensils in the basket - and puts them on the floor one by one. His way of helping, I suppose.

Least Favorite Things:
  • Finger prick to check for iron. They call this a finger "prick," but it's so much more than that.. They squeeze the crap out of their fingers to get the blood out. Meanwhile, the baby is fighting to get that finger back and is screaming at the top of his lungs. Not fun.
  • Eggs. Now that we know that's what caused the allergic reaction. (Surprise, surprise. Really - it was.)
  • Rice milk. We were told to wait on cow's milk b/c of the egg allergy, and rice milk was suggested instead. (Soy is another big allergen, so we're not going that route.) A couple times he's drank it ok, but usually he turns his nose up at it. Good thing I'm still nursing.
  • Mommy leaving the room, even for just a second. Not always a big fan.
  • Molars. Those suckers are MEAN. Just mean. When Aiden teethes with these molars, he gets no sleep and has diaper rashes. It seems to come in spurts. A couple weeks ago we had a rough week, and then this week, it all came up again. Luckily, we only had one really rough night with no sleep, but the rash lasted a few days. He never gets rashes, but these things cause a bad one, for some reason. We had to go from our cloth inserts in the gdiapers to using the flushable inserts so we could use the good ointment to clear him up. Poor thing. :( Good news is that one molar came through on the day he turned 13 months. It's all the way through now, and one other molar has barely broken through. Things have been much better the last few days because of that! (But we still have the top two to go.....)
  • Having something forced from his tight little grip. This kid is strong!
  • Soap bubbles. I'm not sure why they suddenly bother him, but they do. He sits in the front of the tub when I shower, and when the bubbles from my soap run down to where he is, he tries to push them off and looks at them with disgust. Then he does the same thing when he is being washed. I try to act excited and show him he can play with them. He just wants them OFF. He does seem to be getting better about them but still isn't crazy about it.

I just think this picture is funny.
He was standing up, stiff as he could be,
leaning back against the chair.
Just looked funny.
I don't think he was really in the mood for pictures...

New developments this month:
  • Walking!!! He started walking almost right after his birthday. He's almost running now! Crazy how quickly they master a skill. He didn't actually WANT to walk when he did. He had the ability, but just wasn't interested. We knew he would be motivated to come after his sunscreen bottle, though. He loves any kind of lotion/shampoo/soap bottle, and this is his favorite. So, he managed those steps to get the bottle, protesting all the way. After a couple times, he realized he could move just fine on his own. And he hasn't stopped since.

See him going after that small orange bottle?
THAT was his motivation for walking!
  • Kicking off his pants. When I'm undressing him or taking his pants off for a diaper change, I'll pull the pants down off his waist, hold him up, and say "kick, kick, kick" - and he kicks until his pants fall all the way off. He thinks it's so funny and is quite proud of his accomplishment.
  • Signing!! Man, babies are incredibly smart. He already knows so many more signs. He received Baby Signing Time videos/cds for his birthday. They arrived on Thursday, and by Sunday (when he turned 13 months old), he had already learned a handful of new signs! (And we had only watched a few times. But the songs are incredibly addictive, so Mommy sings them all the time...)

My cutie pie

Thursday, September 10, 2009

The Lawn Dog

Now that we own a house instead of living in an apartment...we have our OWN yard, which means that other people letting their dogs go #2 on our lawn is even MORE annoying than it was when we "shared" the lawn area outside our apartment door. Our yard is where our kids play, and I would much prefer not to have to worry about them falling in dog poop...or getting it in someone's mouth (remember...one of those children just turned one and still puts everything in his mouth!). We actually see dog poop IN our yard, not just on the edge. Seriously, do people just let their dogs run off without a leash - or do they have them on a leash that is really that long and let them go into the middle of other people's yards?? We are not very happy about this, as you could imagine. And it seems like so many people around us has dogs... That's fine. I just don't want to have to deal with the poop.

The other day, Aiden and I were taking our morning stroll and saw this in a neighbor's yard.

It's a small stand that goes into the ground. Flat, small (12x12), gets the point across in a tactful way (especially compared to some other signs I've seen...).

What do you think? Any dog owners out there? If you saw this posted next to a tree on the edge of our yard, would you be more or less likely to let your dog do its business on our lawn? Would you be offended?

I certainly don't want to make matters worse. But I would love to make them better! Do share your thoughts...

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Great Thing About Parenting... REAR-FACING CAR SEATS

Ok - back to the car seat discussion... Last week, I posted about booster seats - the law (in NC), when to know your child really can fit in the car with just a seat belt and no booster, lots-o-links to check out, etc, etc. Here's the link for that discussion, if you missed it. This time, I'm addressing the whole rear-facing versus forward-facing issue. This has come up a lot more lately, and I am so glad it has! This is a huge safety issue, making it very important in my mind. This post is especially important if you have a child that is under three years of age (or possibly even older!), if you are pregnant, or if you will be pregnant in the future, or if you know someone that falls into one of those categories....I would say that is a good number of you, right?

So, if you have had a baby turn one recently (or just about anytime ever), you might have been told by your pediatrician that it's safe to turn that baby around and put the car seat forward-facing. You can more easily see your baby, he/she can see you and everything else around, blah, blah. If you're doctor has RECENTLY said this, your doctor is not up-to-date on the latest and safest. My advice is to read around, study the information that is available, and make a decision that is best for your family and your child. I would think most would agree that keeping a child rear-facing as long as possible is the safest way to go, especially after seeing what research shows us. Did you know that children in Sweden often sit rear-facing until they are much older, sometimes up to six years of age? In fact, rear-facing is not just the safest way for small children to ride in vehicles; it is the safest way for ANYONE to ride. It's just not feasible for some of us...I think you can see why. But it IS feasible for younger children.

But don't just take my word for it....

What does the AAP say about this topic? Here is an exerpt directly from the AAP website:
See last line of #1 in the AAP Recommendations.
Children should face the rear of the vehicle until they are at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 lb to decrease the risk of cervical spine injury in the event of a crash. Infants who weigh 20 lb before 1 year of age should ride rear facing in a convertible seat or infant seat approved for higher weights until at least 1 year of age.3,4 If a car safety seat accommodates children rear facing to higher weights, for optimal protection, the child should remain rear facing until reaching the maximum weight for the car safety seat, as long as the top of the head is below the top of the seat back.3

Did you catch that? The MINIMUM for turning your child around is 1 year and 20lbs (not one OR the other - BOTH), but what SHOULD happen, according to the AAP, is leaving a child rear-facing until reaching the MAXIMUM WEIGHT FOR THE CAR SEAT, also following directions for fit based on height. Check your child's convertible seat...I would bet that it will hold your child rear-facing past whatever they weigh at one year. In fact, most would hold a child up to two years, and many are now using much higher limits, up to 35-40lbs. One will be coming out this month and will hold a child up to 45lbs rear-facing! That should be well past two years, even up to three or more.

Here is a video that I really urge you to see. I am a highly visual person. I need to SEE things in action. What I want you to do here is to visualize YOUR child in the place of the crash test dummy in each clip.

If you have already turned your child around to be forward-facing and the seat will still hold them REAR-facing - you CAN turn them back around. :) Many people have done this once learning how much safer it is. If you don't have a seat that holds them rear-facing at a higher weight, I can give some recommendations, too.

Ok, I know some of you are thinking...but my child's legs/feet will hit the seat. They can't be comfortable or safe like that? How will they sit? Where will their legs go?? Well, that's not too difficult to answer. Notice how young children naturally sit. They cross their legs, they bend them. They are quite flexible, much more than us adults!! It does not cause them discomfort to sit like this. AND there are no documented accounts of children breaking their legs because they sat rear-facing in a car seat and were in an accident. Most accidents actually push the seat towards the front of the car, which would take the feet away from the back, not push them into the seat. BUT if my child were to be faced with this situation, I would much rather have to deal with a broken leg than any of the possible consequences from being forward-facing in that accident: broken neck, brain damage, the head actually separating from the spine (yes, it can and has happened), or death. Broken legs heal.

Someone actually sent me a handful of links based on the type of reader you are, so...check this out. There's something for everyone (or read them all!):

For the newspaper-style readers:
For the research-based readers that want the statistics and facts laid out in writing, charts and graphs:
Three links for the people that like to gather info from medical associations:
Two safety organizations explain why extended RFCSs are safest:

Even More Links:
AAP Policy Recommendations: Selecting and Using the Most Appropriate Car Safety Seats for Growing Children: Guidelines for Counseling Parents (See last line of #1 in the AAP Recommendations)
CPSafety.com - Why RFing is safest, crash test footage, information on different types of crashes (frontal, side, etc)
CPSafety.com - RFing Basics checklist; How to be sure the seat fits the car properly, your child fits in the seat properly, and when to move to a different seat or forward-facing
Car-Seat.org - A forum with tons of information on car seats, safety, and just about anything related
Car-Seat.org - New information on the new seat that will fit up to 45lbs rear-facing. (We have the current model of this seat, which goes up to 40lbs, and love it! Highly recommend this seat; I'm only bummed it's coming out with a higher weight limit AFTER we bought and used ours.)
CarSafety4Kids.com - Rear-facing facts, including myths and misconceptions
Car-Safety.org - Lots of great facts about rear-facing car seats, use, and safety

Have other great ones? I can't get them all, I'm sure, so feel free to comment with links, and I'll add them!

Ultimately, you have to decide for yourself what is best for your child. My hope is that you will take the topic seriously and will read up on it for yourself. Don't just take my word for it. I'm not an expert, just someone who is passionate about this topic. Do your own research. I trust that all of us (well, most, at least) put our child's best interest as a top priority. It is up to you to determine what that means for your child and your family.

Comment away. Remember to be polite. This is not a debate; we're simply sharing information and how we do things. If you're reading this in facebook or via email subscription, please comment in blogger so all responses are in one place. If you have done the research and have opposing thoughts with this topic, I would love to hear them. All opinions welcome, as long as there is tact involved. :)

I will put up a post soon sharing what car seat we use with Aiden and why. We put a lot of thought and research into it, and some people have shown interest in wanting to know more, so we will get to that next time.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

gDIAPERS Giveaway!!

Giveaway time is here!

The giveaway item is.....gdiapers! (In case you didn't notice what the title of this post was., you know.) Wait, what? Didn't gflappers (just barely) win, based on the poll? Well, technically, yes, though gdiapers was ahead for most of the time. BUT there was recently a giveaway on another blog with gflappers, and with some thinking and taking the poll into consideration, we decided to go with gdiapers THIS TIME around. (We're working on getting a giveaway for the gflapper inserts sometime soon...so stick around!) So, if you're new to the idea of something other than typical disposables or want to use something more environmentally friendly and baby friendly on your little one's tush, this is the way to go. Or if you use other cloth diapers - try this out, too! You can use cloth inserts in them; we do! Or if you know of someone that might be interested or is a user already, and you need a great gift for them... OR if you just love gdiapers and can't get enough... OR you have just started out and want to grow your stash - for free!.......you get the point. Enter this giveaway!

Never heard of gdiapers? I have other posts about them. Check those out HERE. In short, they're a whole other way of diapering. There is an outer gpant that is cloth, into which a waterproof, snap-in liner attaches. Inside that, you can use the gdiaper flushable inserts (yes, flushable! or compostable. or throw them away...they break down in a mere couple months. Disposables?? Take over 500 years!). They are plastic-, chlorine-, and chemical-free. And they are CUTE! You can take it one step farther and use cloth inserts in them, as well. gDiapers makes them, and so does Sharni (the lady doing the giveaway!). Hers are called gflappers, and that is where we get ALL of our cloth inserts. (They're fabulous.)

You have two weeks before the giveaway closes. Winner will be chosen by random (using random.org). If you want to up your odds, though...there are TEN ways to enter! Do them all at once or spread them out. Whatever floats your boat. Just be sure to do it before time is up. TWO winners will be selected, each receiving one gdiaper - size and color of your choice.

Ways to win... You need to leave a SEPARATE comment on this post for EACH way; the comment is your *ticket* into the giveaway! Winners comments (did you follow/tweet/subscribe/fan/etc?) will be verified before announced. :)
  • Visit The Nappy Shoppe website - comment and share what your favorite item is, if you have ordered anything there in the past, or what you would want to get if you had your choice
  • Subscribe to Sharni's blog - here (click on "rss feed" in the left corner; leave a comment saying you did so)
  • Fan The Nappy Shoppe on Facebook - here (leave a comment saying you did so)
  • Follow The Nappy Shoppe on Twitter - here (leave a comment saying you did so)
  • Tweet the giveaway (leave a comment saying you did so)
  • Link the giveaway on facebook (leave a comment saying you did so)
  • Blog about this giveaway on your own blog and link back to this post in your own (leave a comment and link to your blog on here)
  • Email about this giveaway to your friends, linking to this post in your email (cc me in the email - daisyryan.adkins(at)gmail(dot)com and leave a comment here, as well)
  • Subscribe to my blog via email or reader (leave a comment saying you did so)
  • Follow my blog (see column on right to click to follow)

Count that...TEN ways to enter the giveaway!! Remember to leave a separate comment for each way to enter. Also, be sure to leave your email address in the comment so we can reach you.

Contest ends Sunday, Sept 20th. Winners announced shortly after that (once verified).

Spread the word!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Giveaway Poll...

If you haven't voted on the giveaway poll (to the right, in blogger), then do it now! The poll closes on Friday, and the giveaway will begin soon after that. Right now it is extremely close!! There are five votes each for the gflappers and wet bags and six votes for gdiapers. Vote and enter the giveaway even if you don't cloth diaper or don't use gdiapers...it's a great opportunity to try something for free!

You can try the gdiapers if you have been wondering what they're all about. You can try the gflapper in just about any pocket cloth diaper or the gdiapers... And wet bags are handy whether you use them for diapers or anything else that could get wet (and you want to keep separate from other dry things...).

Just vote soon. Like now.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Another Allergy Update

I realize I haven't posted the latest on Aiden's newly discovered food allergy, so here it is.

Apparently there is a wide range of egg allergies and reactions. We still don't know what Aiden's is but hope to find out before long. He has eaten baked goods with eggs in them and seemed to be fine. If you think about it, you eat very little egg when consuming baked goods... For example, my banana bread (that he recently ate) is made with two eggs; the recipe makes two loaves. Aiden eats half of a slice (and I do not slice thickly). So...it's very minimal.

Now, he has had scrambled eggs, but only a couple times because we just don't eat that very often. We never noticed a reaction before (but we also weren't looking for it), BUT...looking back at the last time he ate them, we now know he DID have a reaction. He was eating other breakfast foods, including fruit, and he got red around his lips and on his chin. We just assumed it was from the fruit juice irritating his sensitive skin and brushed off any serious concern. This has happened a couple times, too, and it seemed minimal enough to not worry - so we don't even remember what foods he was eating at the time, and it's likely we attributed it to something else that seemed to make sense (and could have been wrong). In this case, we know he was also eating eggs at the same time. And he's since eaten this same fruit - a lot - without any reaction. Had to be the eggs then.

We also found out that the egg whites in Aiden's birthday cake icing were cooked - at 200 degrees. The egg whites that caused the nasty hives that let us know he was clearly allergic. So, they weren't raw, but we're not sure at what point he may be ok to eat eggs...if they're cooked to a certain point, etc.

We went back to the other doctor (the ENT/allergist) on Monday and were expecting to do blood work to find out more. That's what the nurse had told us, at least. But the doctor did not plan on that... I think it has more to do with his specialty and that he is not a pediatric allergist. He does not do skin pricks on children this young, and the blood test he can do takes a good amount of blood, which requires a child to sit still for a while (which is pretty hard with a one-year-old). He kept saying he took 5ccs...but I don't know what that means (EDITED - My friend, Corley, let me know that 5ccs is a teaspoon. Thanks!). He actually asked at one point if either of us were in a field with biology or chemistry because we followed everything he said so well and understood it all. Ha. We explained we do a lot of research on our own. I think sometimes he was just assuming we knew everything he could tell us; good and bad with that because he told us a lot, most of which we actually did understand.

Anyway, his advice was to eliminate the eggs from Aiden's and return in 6-8 months for the testing OR to go to a pediatric allergist and have testing done now. We actually had an appointment with a pediatric allergist at Duke (in case you're wondering why we didn't do that first!), BUT our family doctor's office couldn't get us in until the end of October. So, we were given this appointment with the ENT/allergist because it was much sooner.

We did, however, KEEP that other appointment, just in case. We have spoken with a nurse there, and they will do the skin prick and a blood test. Different people have offered their opinion on whether or not we should go on with the skin prick with Aiden being so young - because a number of allergens will be introduced to his system. We feel that this is the best course of action. Based on what we have been told, the blood test will only tell us that, yes, he is allergic to eggs, but with the skin prick, we can find out more about his reactions (and maybe to the different ways he could be exposed to egg - ?). We will be in an environment that can deal with anything that could come up, though we don't expect problems. This is one reason the first doctor doesn't do these tests with babies, aside from the fact that it's hard to keep them still for so long - the possible reactions, including anaphylaxis. We have been told by others that have had the skin prick that it isn't actually painful, just itchy. Who knows how Aiden will do being still or doing what they need while the test is done, but we'll work through it. We have been put on a list to change our appointment in case some others are canceled, but we're not sure if that will get us in sooner or not. As of now, we will not be there until late October, and I'm not sure if they will do the tests on our first visit or not.

We were still advised to remove cow's milk from Aiden's diet and give him rice milk, which he will drink sometimes but sometimes wants nothing to do with. (He is still nursing fairly often, so we aren't at the point where we rely on other forms of milk completely.) Milk allergies are closely linked with egg allergies, and so this is more of a preventative measure. We'll keep doing this for now and see what the pediatric allergist says after we do further testing.

Thanks for keeping us (especially Aiden!) in your thoughts. We appreciate it! :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Great Thing About Parenting... CAR SEATS (BOOSTERS)

I'm a rebel. I break North Carolina's child passenger safety law....

Well, kind of. Maybe not-so-much. According to this law, a child can stop using a booster seat and sit in the car with a seat belt when they are 8 years old or 80 pounds. I say that is wrong and ridiculous. My ten-year-old still uses a booster seat, and I will NOT apologize or be convinced that I am wrong.

So, let's get this discussion going. If you are new to the blog, here is the intro to the "The Great Thing About Parenting..." series. The rules are easy - this is a discussion, not a debate; be nice. This is not about who is right or wrong (I'll try to keep it that way myself with this topic...); this is about sharing what we do, why, etc. Simple enough. If you disagree, I still want you to join in! All opinions welcome. Let's all just remember to show respect.

This is going to be a multi-post topic. I'll be discussing booster seats more in this one, as that's one area we have to consider with our older child. Many people move their children out of booster seats WAY too soon, and some do it because they think they're doing the right thing - following the law. But if you look farther into the matter, I hope you'll see why the laws can be flawed...

If you look beyond this law into why a child needs a car seat or booster, you will quickly learn when it really is appropriate for them to go without and rely only on a seat belt. I wish more people would do this. Or that laws would be changed to instruct people when a child really can safely sit without a booster. If this were the case, my ten-year-old would not be a minority in this case. I know of very few children his age that sit in boosters. In fact, I know of too many children that are way younger and get to sit in the *FRONT SEAT* of a car with only a seat belt. Please don't tell me if you let your young child do this. I don't want to know. Well, I kind of do because I would want to smack you and tell you that you are CRAZY and putting your child in danger. But you probably don't want that, so it might be best to keep it to yourself. (I wouldn't actually do it...just want to.)

Actually, while this is probably one of the parenting topics I am MOST passionate about, it is one that I do not lecture people on. I try not to lecture in general. I have friends that disagree about this topic. We know how each other feels (you know who you are...), and we have simply agreed to disagree. I will say what I think is right and best, but I don't push and lecture and refuse to be friends with someone who feels differently. We each do what we think is right/best for our children; I truly believe that most people base their decisions/actions on doing what they think is best for their children/family. When faced with the information, it all comes down to each parent deciding what is best for their own child. I can't make those decisions for you, just as you can't do that for me.

Here is an excerpt from North Carolina's child passenger safety law:

Restraint Required:
» A properly used child restraint device (CRD) is required if the child is less than 8 years old AND weighs less than 80 pounds. Most parents and other care givers will be able to comply by using belt-positioning booster seats for children between 40 and 80 pounds. The child must be within the weight range for the child restraint/booster seat and it must meet Federal standards in effect at time of manufacture.

» Children may be secured in a properly fitted seat belt at age 8 (regardless of weight) OR at 80 pounds (regardless of age) - whichever comes first. Placing the shoulder belt under a child’s (or adult’s) arm or behind the back is both dangerous and illegal.

» If no seating position equipped with a lap and shoulder belt to properly secure a belt positioning booster seat is available, a child who weighs at least 40 pounds may be restrained by a properly fitted lap belt only. WARNING: Belt-positioning booster seats can only be used with lap and shoulder combination safety belts. Belt-positioning booster seats must NEVER be used with just a lap belt.

(To find the law for your state, simply do a search on "child passenger law" and your state. It should be fairly easy to find.)

So...In my mind, a lot of this is wrong. Age and weight are not the ways to determine if a child fits properly in the seatbelt. It is all about FIT; how do certain points on a child fall on the seat/seat belt? If they do not properly line up, the child needs a booster seat. It's fairly simple. If a child does not fit properly with just a seat belt, that child is not protected as they should be.

I know oftentimes parents are excited when their child(ren) can move to the next level, going from infant carrier to a convertible seat to a booster to just the seat belt. In my opinion, this is NOT something to celebrate. Each move puts your child in a less protected environment. Each time, they are more in danger of being seriously hurt in an accident. And regardless of how safe of a driver YOU are (or think you are), you are one driver out of all the others out there sharing the road with you and your family. Don't think you are safe from an accident.

Want to know WHEN your child IS ready to move to just the seat belt, without a booster? It's an easy test. You simply put them in the seat, buckle the belt, and know what to look for...

This information was taken from the Safe Kids website:

The Safety Belt Fit Test

Use a booster seat with the vehicle lap and shoulder safety belts until your child passes the Safety Belt Fit Test.

Vehicle safety belts are designed to fit an average-sized adult. Children usually need a booster until they are about 4 feet 9 inches tall and weigh between 80 and 100 pounds to get the best protection from a safety belt.

Take the next step to the safety belt when you answer “yes” to these questions:

  • Does your child exceed the booster seat’s height or weight limits?

Does your child pass the Safety Belt Fit Test?

1. Have your child sit in a back seat with their bottom and back against the vehicle’s seat back. Do the child’s knees bend at the seat’s edge? If yes, go on. If not, the child must stay in a booster seat.

2. Buckle the seat belt. Does the lap belt stay low on the hips? If yes, go on. If it rests on the stomach, the child must stay in a booster seat.

3. Look at the shoulder belt. Does it lay on the collarbone and shoulder? If yes, go on. If it’s on the face or neck, the child must remain in a booster seat.

  • Never put the shoulder belt under the child’s arm or behind the child’s back. Do not allow children to play with the shoulder portion of a seat belt. Treat it like any cord.

4. Can the child maintain the correct seating position with the shoulder belt on the shoulder and the lap belt low across the hips? If yes, the child has passed the Safety Belt Fit Test. If no, the child should return to a booster seat and re-test in a month.

We just did the test on Camden this week. He actually is not even 80lbs - not even 75... His legs are fine (quite long enough), but the seat belt does NOT lay on the shoulder. It pushes into his neck and face, meaning he needs to grow in the torso area before he is ready to go without a booster. He does not argue the fact or tell us it is unfair. He knows many children his age are no longer using booster seats, and he doesn't try to hide the fact that he DOES from any of his friends. He knows the reasoning behind our decision. He knows we are keeping him as safe as we can. I have always explained to him that safety comes before feelings or comfort. In this case, it's not an issue; but if he were to complain or disagree, he would know that since this is a matter of safety, we would not budge.

I really do hope you look into this matter further, even if your child isn't yet ready to move to a booster seat. (Keep them in a convertible with a five-point harness as long as possible!!) It is still worth it to educate yourselves so that you are more aware.

Here are some links that discuss this topic (booster seat safety and moving to a seat belt only). If you have others to share, please do so, and I will add them to the list.

AAP Policy - Selecting and Using the Most Appropriate Car Safety Seats for Growing Children: Guidelines for Counseling Parents (See AAP Recommendations #5)
BuckleUpNC.org - NC Child Passenger Safety Law - G.S. 20-137.1
Safe Kids
CP Safety - Booster seats
CP Safety - Choosing the best booster seat (a comment they make - safety before popularity)
CarSafety4Kids.com - Booster Seat Information
CP Safety - Information on Lap Belts, including a series of pictures showing course of movement during an impact - with a shoulder belt vs lap belt only

Please feel free to share your thoughts and knowledge on this matter. I am by no means an expert. I have read into this, but I know there is a lot of information that I have not covered here on this post. I am simply sharing what I do know and what I do with my older child. Keep in mind the rules for the parenting discussion - be nice and keep it clean. If you're reading via email or facebook, comment on blogger so all comments/discussions will be in one place. Thanks for reading and joining in!