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...........

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This Thanksgiving we stayed at home - our very first one with just the four of us. Camden was only out of school for Thursday and Friday, and the traveling just wasn't justified...two days on the road and two days visiting didn't make sense. So, we stayed at home. It was nice, though we did miss being with our families. It's normally a time where we visit and see people we see rarely, which is one reason I like Thanksgiving so much. We had a Thanksgiving lunch with all the traditional foods and just hung out all day, taking it easy. Nothing dramatic or fancy. It was an easy-going day, and Ryan and I even topped it off with a glass of wine before bed. I haven't had a sip since Thanksgiving 2007. That's what pregnancy and a very frequent nurser will do to you. ;) Since we started working with Aiden's sleeping, he is now consistently sleeping from 8pm until around 2 or 3 without nursing (meaning he does wake around midnight very briefly but goes right back to sleep). I hope to post soon about the sleep training. We're very excited about it.

Yesterday we were going to put up the Christmas decorations (no Black Friday shopping for us; no thank you!), but we realized that we finally had to give up our old tree and trade it in for a new one. I have a strict no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving rule, so none of that happens until the day after. I LOVE Thanksgiving. It's the one holiday where it's all about being with the people you love for that one reason. No commercialism, no expectations with gifts... I like to give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves.

But now we're busy getting in the Christmas spirit! Ryan is getting ready to go pick up the new tree, boxes of decorations are all over the living room, Christmas music is blasting, and we're all together at home. We even have some company for the weekend. MaMaw came down to help out today... Ryan and I are going out together for our first date since Aiden was born. It will be Aiden's first time being away from both of us at the same time; his first time with a sitter. And of course, not just any sitter would do! ;) For our date, Ryan is going all out, and we're going to see The Phantom of the Opera. I haven't been in years, and Ryan has never seen it (the movie does not count - it compares in no way). I'm not sure if he purposefully got tickets to something that I would not be able to resist or get refunded at the last minute (haha!), but his plan is certainly working because we will be walking out the door without a baby shortly before 1 this afternoon. We did get afternoon tickets because Aiden still has to nurse before bedtime; hopefully if he misses an afternoon nursing, he won't be upset, but we weren't going to chance the bedtime nursing. I'll let you know how it goes! I am a bit nervous, I'll admit it, but I'm also really excited to be going to see the opera and doing something adult with my husband. :) I think Aiden knows something is up, though. As well as he has been sleeping lately, he was up almost hourly last night. Hmm...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fifteen Months

My not-so-little 15-month-old

A little late on this, but we've had so much going on, I'm happy to get to it at all! This past month has been full of traveling and sickness, so I'm sure many of Aiden's likes and dislikes will have to do with those things....

Favorite things:
  • Animals and making animal sounds, especially growling and roaring! He's really been into reading books that are about animals, too. We visited a petting zoo at a pumpkin farm and the NC Zoo this month, and he really enjoyed both. He has the cutest little baby roar I have ever heard. It makes all of us laugh and grin each time we hear it.
  • Refrigerator magnets. He has the bottom half of the fridge to himself, basically, and he has a few magnets that are there for him to play with. These include a tiger magnet I already had and some other magnets we got at the zoo...again with the animals...they're a hit!
  • Cars. The kid loves cars, especially those little matchbox cars. A few times in the past, Camden has considered getting rid of his huge collection of them, but I've managed to convince him to keep them for future siblings. Glad we did! Camden has actually decided he likes them once again, and whenever Aiden finds his way into Camden's room...he tries to snag yet another car from the stash! He will just stand around rolling the cars and trucks on the window sill, the couch, the ottoman, a bookshelf...anything at the right height for him. It's nice to have a couple small toys that I know will hold his attention for long periods of time, especially for when we're out and need to have something stashed in the diaper bag for emergencies!
  • Grandparents. We have gotten to see almost all of them for at least a little bit this past month due to a planned visit and one unplanned visit. He is learning to remember everyone and knows they are all fun! (So...when is everyone going to come visit us again??) ;)
  • Candy - in the wrapper. After getting some candy in his little trick-or-treat bag on Halloween, Aiden thought it was too much fun to put the candy in and out of the bag and to just play with the wrappers. He has no idea there is anything IN there, and we're perfectly happy to keep it that way.
  • Peas! I have never seen a child get so excited over eating peas! He will actually jump up and down and shake his hands when he sees more peas that are on the table and not yet on his tray. He wants them that badly!! He also really likes dishes with squashes in them...pumpkin, butternut...it's all good.
  • Swinging. The funniest part is that while swinging, he will look so serious. You might actually think he's not having fun and wants out, but if you attempt to stop the swing, you will discover that you are very wrong. I've noticed that Aiden looks this way a lot, though. It often does not mean he doesn't like something. He's just a serious-looking kid; very observant and focused.
  • Mum-Mum snacks. I heard about these from my friend, Becky, and then happened to see them at Whole Foods. We've had to eliminate some of Aiden's favorite snack foods due to the allergy issues, and these are completely egg-free and wonderful to toss in the diaper bag on the way out the door, just in case! And he loves these things!!

Aiden likes dropping things over the side and then peeking over to see them.

Least favorite things:
  • Long car rides. He's never been a fan, and no matter how often we go on these long rides, he doesn't seem to be getting used to them. Quite the opposite. He's also not a fan of napping on these long car rides. Or being in the car when it's dark outside. Instead of sleeping...he gets scared.
  • Milk from a sippy cup. Not that he hates it, but it's not his favorite. We were just recently told we could give him cow's milk again. He wants it from our glasses, though. Or sometimes he'll drink it from his cup with the lid off, but only sometimes. And it's even rarer that he wants it with the lid on. (He's never had a bottle, so that has nothing to do with it.) Mostly...he just wants what WE have. Doesn't matter that he has the same thing in his own cup... Funny kid.
  • There really isn't a lot Aiden doesn't like. We're really blessed to have such a great kid (sleeping habits aside). He is typical in that he doesn't like someone trying to prevent him from doing what he is trying to do... But I've also noticed that if I take the time to explain that I understand what he wants to do and why he can't do it, he actually calms down some. We've noticed a difference in how upset he gets when we don't explain this versus when we do. Tantrums aren't that bad just yet. (I know, I know...we have time for that to develop more...)
  • Going down for naptime. This has gradually gotten worse and worse lately. We had a good routine for a while, and then he was getting molars and lots of colds and...there's always something, it seems. He would end up almost falling asleep when he nursed, but it was working ok because I would put him in his crib before he was actually out. I would pat his back for a moment, and he would be asleep in no time. (Sleeping long enough is another story.) But I've noticed he wants to nurse longer and longer and is having more and more difficulty going to sleep, sometimes taking an hour (after nursing). It can be quite frustrating for Mommy. Sometimes Aiden thinks it's fun, sometimes he is really trying to go to sleep but just can't seem to get there, and sometimes he fights it like crazy. At the end of the month, I put the mattress on the floor so I could sit next to him, which is what he really wants. We're going to have to come up with another plan soon, though... (more about that when I get some time to write about it)
  • Baths. He's used to taking a shower with Mommy, but we're changing some of our morning routine, and it means Aiden is taking baths more. He's fine with the bath..it's the rinsing his hair that he doesn't like. I think he prefers the shower over that.
New Developments:
  • Learning how to walk down steps. We visited family a couple times this month. One grandmother has a short half-step between a couple rooms and another has two regular steps between rooms. It wasn't long before Aiden mastered going down either.
  • He's also realizing that he can get hurt if he falls down those stairs. He wasn't scared with a couple steps, but back at home...he refuses to go down the stairs, even with a parent in front of him. He will stand up, reach out his arms, and whine for you to carry him. He won't budge otherwise. Well, he will sometimes turn around and go UP instead...
  • Aiden can also get down from the bed. Our mattress is on the floor without a frame at the moment, since we're co-sleeping at night. There is something to prevent him from rolling off the side of the bed, but he has learned to shimmy down past that and scoot off the bed by himself. The day I took his 15-months pictures, he decided to show me that he no longer had to sit for those pictures...and he proceeded to roll onto his belly and scoot right off of that chair and walk away. Great timing.

  • More signing! It is really amazing and totally crazy how quickly babies pick these things up. I can show him a sign once...and that's all it takes! I haven't counted how many signs he knows at this point, but I would say it is twice what he knew last month or close to twice. We are hoping to get some of the Signing Time videos for Christmas to work on some new ones (hint, hint). ;)
  • Animals and animal sounds are big hits, and he picks them up so quickly, too.
  • Remembering what is in certain books and anticipating what happens next. I can say a word or phrase from one of his books, and his face will light up as he looks at me (sometimes those eyes are really wide, like he's thinking, hey...I know that word!), and he will go and get the book it was from. Or I'll be reading a book, and right before I get to a certain part, he'll do the sign for it or a sound from it. One example is from his Big Words for Little People. There is a page about "privacy" - and it says something about wanting to be alone to do weird dancing (and we jiggle like we're dancing) or needing to pee (and I do the sign for peeing). Before I say those phrases, he'll start dancing and grin at me or do the sign for peeing, which he thinks is hilarious!
  • Aiden now says "mama" alllllll the time. When he wants something or wants me, he'll put his hands out towards me and say "mamamama" in the cutest little voice ever. Sometimes Ryan will go in to check on him at night, before he is in our bed, and...although he's supposed to try to get Aiden back to sleep without me nursing Aiden...he'll show up at the door of the bedroom with the little guy in his arms. "He wants his mama," he'll say, in his own cute little voice. (I want to tell him he was conned.) What really happened was he went in to get Aiden, and Aiden pulled one of his cute "mamamamama" stunts, and Daddy is whipped and gave in. But it is hard not to do that; it's just the sweetest thing. I think all mamas will agree that is the sweetest word in the world. "Mama." It also seems that "dada" is not heard so much around here anymore. Hmmm. He seems to have switched one out for the other.
I know there is more that I am missing, but we've just had too much going on for me to remember it all right now. (It's been a rough couple weeks here.) I've had this open and drafted for...three or more days now...and am just getting to finishing it, so I think we'll just leave it as it is at this point! Maybe this next month will be a better one....or should I say the next one, seeing how we're halfway through the sixteenth month by now!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take a Moment...

to hug your children extra tight and thank God they are alive and well.

Then take a moment and help out some fellow parents who are not so lucky this evening.

A mother and father lost their baby boy to SIDS on November 10th. While I do not know the family personally, they are part of a really tight-knit online group I am a member of. We all have decided to get together and round up donations to help cover the cost of the funeral, which is going to be very expensive. This is such a minor thing and a huge thing at the same time. Helping with the expense will really take a heavy burden off of the parents, who are dealing with this HUGE unexpected loss. But at the same time, we all wish we could do something more.

If you are interested in sending even $5 to this family, it would make such a difference. A little here and there really adds up. I know we wouldn't be prepared if, God forbid, we had to deal with something like this all of the sudden. I doubt many of us would be...

Christopher laughing with his Mommy

One of the group members set up a website for this family. The family did not ask for any help, but we, as a group, wanted to step up to the plate and do the only thing we could, the majority of us being hundreds or more miles away. There are pictures of Christopher, the four month old that passed away, and his parents. There is also information about the funeral arrangements. You can donate from this site (money goes directly into the mom's PayPal account) :

We cannot imagine how horrible it would be to wake up to this kind of nightmare. Words cannot describe the tragedy of losing a child, and I'm sure there are few words that can offer comfort. It is such a devastating situation that we all worry about and we all fear. This was their child. This was their only child.

If you are not led to donate, please, please pray for this family! They so need your prayers.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to eat a pomegranate....

Yes, that's really what this post is about. Well, how to open one and get those little pieces of goodness out, to be more specific. I've had several people ask me how I do it recently...mainly because I have said that it's easy to do and doesn't take but a minute. But most places that tell you how to open them say to soak them and then pull out the seeds...blah, blah. NO! That takes way too long. And I would rather spend more time eating than opening. And with the fact that these babies go FAST in our house, the method needs to be super-quick.

A few years ago, before I had ever even eaten pomegranate, I saw Marth Stewart show how to do this. If you have ever spend time doing it the long route...you will be kicking yourself. For all of you that have done that, that avoid eating pomegranates because you don't want to go the long route, or for those of you that don't eat them just because you don't know how to open them...here you go!

Click HERE.

Sorry...I can only post the link, not the video. I'm fairly certain you don't have to have facebook to see it, but if not... You score the pomegranate - cutting around the fruit as if cutting in half one way, and then again as if quartering it (don't cut through!! Just cut through the edge. You don't want to waste any of those morsels inside!). Then pull apart the four pieces. You might have to use the knife to pry a bit. Next, you take one quarter, hold it over a bowl (might want to be a bowl with good, high sides, and you might want to put it in the sink...just in case some juice makes its way out. That stuff stains.) - with the skin facing up and the fruit facing down into your palm. Take a big wooden spoon or something similar...and you basically whack the seeds out of the thing!

Not only do you get the fruit out quickly...but you take your frustrations out at the same time. Who knew pomegranates were good for your emotional health, too?! ;)

I know these things are SO good for you and there are tons of ways to use them in recipes, etc. We just eat them straight. They don't last long enough to do anything else with them! And they're the perfect size for little Aiden, no cutting necessary.