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...........

Thursday, January 14, 2010

If you haven't already, please visit Gwenn's blog and read this post.

This breaks my heart in so many ways.

This is ONE story. Out of the (way too) many.

Help in Haiti

By now we have all heard the news about the earthquake in Haiti. We've seen the news footage, seen pictures of the devastation, have heard about the rising death toll. It is beyond tragic.

This hits close to home for us, as we have some friends from church that are missionaries in Jacmel, Haiti, just a very short distance (less than 40 miles) from Port-au-Prince. Gwenn and Nick and their family have been in Haiti just under a year, joining Joy in Hope, and are houseparents to orphaned children.

Without dragging on and on about what is going on (we all know about it by now...if you're somehow out of the loop, just go to CNN.com), I want to quickly post some links about the situation and how we can all help. Help is necessary. Please do not just sit back and hope things get better for these people soon. Lots of people are praying. And yes, do pray. And keep praying, as the worst is surely not over with. But also be active. If you donate only a few bucks, it will make a difference. A few dollars to us in the U.S. can do a heck of a lot more in Haiti.

Here is a CNN.com article that was recently posted. The article focuses on an interview with Gwenn and shows some of the photos she has taken.

Find Gwenn on facebook to view her pictures. Or here are links to some of the albums she has posted. When viewing these, please keep in mind how real this is. It's easy to see a photo and romanticize it or to not take it too seriously. But this is real, folks. These were taken just yesterday, last night, today... These are on facebook, but you do not need a facebook account to view them.

Earthquake pictures added just yesterday.
Pictures of the Mangine family overnight.
Pictures taken today.

Joy in Hope page on facebook. They're showing updates and have information on how you can donate.
Donate via Joy in Hope, a 501(c)3 non profit organization... Click here and select "Immediate Needs" (or mail checks to JIH - Earthquake, 2731 NC Hwy 55 #251, Cary, NC 27519). Donations are being used to help provide much needed food and supplies to those affected by the quake.

The Mangine family blog. Gwenn is updating when they can get internet connection. She is posting about the conditions, what they are doing there, and ways that you can help. Please visit and read. There are some very touching and personal stories, not just about their family but about others they have come across.

If you want to know of other ways to donate, the list is pretty lengthy.
Here is a list from the Huffington Post and what each organization is doing to help.
Tips on giving safely and another list of possible organizations to which you can donate can be found here.

However you give and whatever you give, please just GIVE. And keep praying.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Seventeen Months

  • Crackers. This child is having a love affair with crackers. He adores them. He gets way too excited over them. If he sees a box that is remotely similar to a cracker box, he signs cracker very enthusiastically and expects you to deliver the goods. I also FINALLY discovered some cheese crackers that Aiden can eat (so far, all of them have that dreaded phrase "made in a facility that also uses eggs" or the company won't tell you they are egg-free but will give you a crappy, generic response that tells you that they don't really care about disclosing the specific allergy information needed, leading me to not trust them nor buy their products, such as Peppridge Farm, the makers of goldfish crackers).
  • Dipping. This is a new thing. New Years Eve, we had steak for dinner. Aiden didn't care too much for his until we gave him some steak sauce to dip with; then he ate it up! Every now and then (as in he's eaten it maybe two or three times...), we give him a cut up hot dog (organic, no nitrates/nitrites, no antibiotics...the healthiest kind possible). We recently gave him some ketchup with it, and boy was that a hit (organic ketchup, of course...the other stuff has HFCS in it; no thanks!!). He picked up the idea of dipping rather quickly and thinks it's a lot of fun. He will try to dip anything just about these days, such as his banana and cereal in his yogurt. Sometimes I give him a big carrot stick at lunch or snack (because it's big enough he won't choke on it and it's a great teether!), and if he also has yogurt...the carrot definitely goes in the yogurt. Why not? He pretty much dips anything he can.
  • Mommy singing. He's always liked this, but now he can let me know he likes it. I'll sing a song and he'll sign "again" over...and over...and over. I never realized he liked it so much. Sometimes this happens during those nighttime wakings; those times aren't as fun for me.
  • ABCs and his Fridge Phonics Magnetic Alphabet Set. Aiden got these for Christmas and loves them. He'll put the letters in over and over. The magnet sings a song with each letter, or you can push a button for it to sing the alphabet song. We've noticed Aiden trying to sing the song on his own, too. Although he doesn't have the letters down yet, you can tell that's what he is singing. (And of course, this is another favorite he likes Mom to sing.)
  • Turning the TV on and off, changing the volume and channels, etc, by pushing the buttons on the TV. It took him longer to figure this out than I expected, but now that he knows... Fun times.
  • Rubbing noses. He'll lean forward so his nose is just touching yours and...well, he actually expects you to do the "rubbing," but he gets quite the kick out of it.
  • Kissing. He kisses just perfectly now. Or he CAN, at least. He doesn't always do it, but he'll kiss and make the smacking noise at the same time. He'll lean in, sometimes his mouth is open and he'll close it while he's kissing you (sometimes closing it on your lips), and *smack*...followed by him clapping because I clap when he does it right. Sometimes he won't do the smack and will then clap himself, but I tell him that doesn't count. And sometimes he'll even add the "mmmmm" when he's kissing. Very cute stuff.
  • Pound Puppies and Pound Pur-r-ries. While at my mom's over Christmas, Aiden found one of the kitties in my old room. I then found the rest of the stash, and Aiden loves, loves them. Since they used to be mine, I brought them home for him, washed them up, and he's having a blast. (Surely that was ok, mom, right? Or did you want them to keep collecting dust at your place?) ;)
  • Smoothies!! I make smoothies a lot; they're a great, healthy breakfast item here in our home. I make them with frozen fruits, bananas, oj, splash of lime, ground flaxseed... Sometimes I add in yogurt (if not, I throw in some probiotics) or soy milk. We just do whatever floats our boat that day. Camden's crazy for them, and now so is Aiden. He'll stand there while I blend them and start getting impatient. He gets so excited he's literally shaking and can barely stand it while he waits for me to pour his into his sippy cup.

Least Favorites
  • Poopy diapers. This is a post for another time, but we've been having some problems for a couple months now, ever since that infection he had back in the fall. Let's just say that this kid poops way too much and in a way that we think is not quite right and his bottom does not appreciate it. There's more to it, and we'll get into all that another time. We're looking into other food issues and will post more once we know more.
  • Having his temperature taken. We still use a rectal thermometer. He's not too much of a fan.
  • Another thing that's not a favorite for the rest of us...he's definitely learning how to let you know he doesn't like something. He can get pretty loud when he's protesting. I know this will continue, though...

New Developments
  • Nodding/shaking his head. He mostly nods when he wants to say yes, but he'll shake his head "no" every now and then, too. It's so cute to see him nodding. He has been doing that for a while, but this past month, he really has gotten into it. It's also nice when you can ask a yes/no question...and get an answer!
  • Feeding himself. Well, he's been doing this for quite a while, but he's really improving on using a spoon and cup. We even had vegetable soup the other night, and he was feeding that to himself...scooping the soup with the spoon and keeping it level while he brought it to his mouth. He also has these cute little glasses that are just his size (they belonged to Grandma Strode, who passed away this past fall), and he's doing so well at drinking from them without spilling. He's so careful as he brings it to his lips and sips from it.
  • Talking more. We still haven't gotten that explosion we're expecting, but he definitely is saying more words. He even tries to say some longer words, such as banana. It often comes out as "nuh-nana." He's created a name for mama's milk now...It's almost like he's combined "milk" and "mama." He calls it "me-me" (as in saying me twice).
  • Sleep. There's good and bad. He was doing so well before we traveled over Christmas. While traveling, he thought it was a good idea to wake up a lot more at night and to try to stay awake once the clock hit 4 am or so. The good? Normally when we drive up to see family, even on the longer trips where we're in the car for about 12 hours, Aiden sleeps for an hour. Tops. He's not a happy camper when he gets tired again later but won't sleep more. For some reason, he slept three hours exactly on the drive up (which was especially nice since it was just him, Mommy, and Camden). On the way back home, he also slept for three hours (well, ten minutes shy...Daddy decided to speak, waking him up). That was a miracle! I'm not sure what has happened with nighttime sleeping, though. Once back home, he did ok for a couple nights, but on New Years Eve, he woke up LOTS. I worried that meant something about sleeping this year... Since then, it hasn't been that great. I'm hoping it's just due to the fact that he's working on all four canines coming through. We'll see.
  • Aiden can count now...kind of. If you ask him to show you one, he'll hold up one finger. If you ask him how old he is, he'll hold up "one." And he likes for us to count small amounts of things for him, as well (or any amount, as long as we make sure it's not boring).
  • Cleaning!! Aiden can clean up now - or help, at least. He actually was doing this last month, but he's doing much better. The other day he was playing in my bedroom while I got ready; he has a basket with some toys in there, so I asked him to put the books back in the basket. He not only picked up the few books right next to it, but then he walked across the room and got a book I hadn't even seen! I was impressed. He helps with the daily clean-ups...with all those toys and books he drags out all day long. When we sing the "clean-up" song, he even asks me to keep singing it. I'm sure that won't last forever!
  • I think we've hit a growth spurt. We've been wondering, the way this kid has been eating recently. He'll eat two or three big bowls of something like taco soup and still want fruit or something else to eat... He definitely can EAT. I've noticed lately that his jeans are getting a bit snug on his belly and I don't have to roll them as much on the bottoms (some not at all). So, he's growing in both ways! We might have to pay a visit to Gymboree or some of our other favorites sooner than we had expected! We are stocked up on clothes for the summer, but that doesn't help us now... I asked him to have his growth spurts between seasons, but I don't think he heard me.
Ok...I think that's enough for now. ;)

Monday, January 4, 2010

My kid and potatoes

Camden has never been a fan of potatoes. Believe it or not. I've tried all kinds...baked, twice baked, mashed (he hated those the most), fried (as in fried potatoes, not french fries...though he normally doesn't eat many french fries, either), you name it. Come on, what kid doesn't like mashed potatoes?! MY KID.

Last year, he decided he would eat baked potatoes if he could smother them in salsa. Whatever it takes. And it's healthier than what most of us would put on our baked potatoes, right? And this year, he realized he likes (really likes) roasted potatoes.

And he loves these.

And tonight I made this potato soup. He kept telling me how good it was, which I thought was kind of funny, as it's not all that far off from mashed potatoes...thinner, though. (He always says he can't stand the consistency of mashed potatoes. And sweet potatoes. And butternut squash. So, yeah, I think he really has something against that consistency.) We let him serve himself, so after his first small bowl, he got seconds...a bigger serving this time. And even told me thank you for making such a great dinner.

This kid really surprises me sometimes. I'm pretty sure even he was surprised tonight.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Years Sleep...

I hope the sleeping patterns that have been occurring since New Year's Eve is no indication of how the rest of the year will continue... Aiden has been doing so well with sleeping, but something has been going on the past few days.

He has been sleeping through until around 4 or 5 am, nursing, and (after a while) sleeping another hour or so. During all the traveling over Christmas, he did wake more, but that's not too unusual with a baby sleeping in different places. For the past few nights, he's been waking up a few times each night, having a hard time getting back to sleep, really wanting to nurse before his normal time. We think he's teething now - seems like all of the areas where the canines will eventually be are a bit sore. And he's been a bit itchy sometimes, too. Ever since his infection a couple months ago, his eczema has been hard to get under control. Sometimes he wakes up and is clearly uncomfortable from it.

Last night, he wore his Christmas pjs that we got from Gymboree - cute red pajamas with little penguins all over them. I think we won't be buying any more pajamas from there, though, as much as we like their other clothes. The very second night he wore them, Ryan commented that he thought they bothered Aiden. I wasn't so sure and passed it off as coincidence. We're both convinced now. He had been wearing some others the past couple nights, but last night we put on the Gymboree ones...and he woke up MUCH more and was scratching all over and in places he doesn't usually scratch when wearing any of his other pjs. I think it's the way the seams are placed in these pjs. Around 2am, we changed his clothes, gave him some teething oil (and later gave him some baby motrin), nursed him...and finally had him back asleep. We thought. After I nursed and finally got Aiden back to sleep, I joined a sleeping Ryan in our bed. By this point, we had both been up most of the night; we had put Aiden in our bed at one point even. But he kept waking. Hopefully this time, around 3 or later, he was asleep for a good few hours.

Instead, he suddenly screamed bloody murder. I kid you not. Two very short and very scary screams. You've never seen two sleepy parents jump out of bed so quickly. We've never heard him sound like that. Very scary. We have no idea what it was, though. I was actually in tears after hearing him shout out like that. Shockingly, he was asleep when I got to him - all of two seconds later. But he quickly woke up and seemed pretty freaked out about something, begging for me to hold him. (Earlier, he was like this with Ryan...not wanting him to touch him and crying for me.) As scared as we were, we didn't think twice about bringing him to bed with us for the rest of the night, er, morning. Ryan fell right back to sleep (what a guy). Aiden was exhausted but having the hardest time getting to sleep. You bet I patted him, sang to him, and basically did whatever it took to make sure he felt secure and could go to sleep. And you bet I had a hard time falling asleep after all of that, too.

It was a rough night. After a couple other rough (but not AS rough) nights. Aiden is now taking a much needed nap (and a bit longer than usual - which doesn't even normally happen after a long night or two of little sleep). Ryan and I are hoping this is no indication of the sleep we will - or will not - get during 2010.