23 February 2015

Elliott - Six Months Old

It's a little hard to believe that our sweet Elliott is six months old. Even though I've tried to embrace the infant days and savor every sweet baby smell, I think these past six months have gone even faster with Elliott than with Madeleine. That said, I feel like our family is hitting its stride.

Elliott's sweet personality is shining through more and more each day. He is smiley and bright, causing strangers to regularly comment on his good nature. He doesn't really have a bad time of the day, but his best time of the day is definitely when he's naked on the changing pad at bedtime. This kid has some lungs and can squeal with the best of 'em. Wow! He uses his whole body to show his excitement, waving his arms and legs and blowing raspberries, too. It's quite charming most of the time, except at meal times, and then it's just messy.

Speaking of meals, Elliott's entry to the world of solids is the biggest change over the past month. He eats oatmeal/rice cereal for breakfast and either thick purees and/or large, soft handheld food for dinner. So far, he has tried avocado, sweet potato, asparagus, red potato, pears, applesauce, and bananas. I'd say banana is the favorite thus far and not just for its creamy, sweet flavor but because he loves holding half a banana and shoving it into his mouth for little bites. Elliott is a very social kid and loves to sit at the table with the rest of the family at meal times. He has made big strides in his ability to sit in the booster seat over the last couple of weeks. In general, he can sit either in tripod (leaning forward with weigh on both legs and his arms between his legs) or with some assistance.

Even though he has taken to solids really well, Elliott hasn't backed off his breastmilk consumption and still gets fed five times a day, sometimes having formula mixed in. It seems like he is starting to lose some of his baby rolls, but the scale says that he has gained a full pound in the last two weeks. Although it doesn't contribute to his heft, Elliott grows finger nails at an alarming rate; I have to cut them about every two days.

Elliott needs lots of fuel to keep his moving body going. He still isn't completely rolling over, but he is oh so close. Any time he is put down, he spends most of his time on his side, just about completing a roll one way or the other. He even sleeps on his side about half the time, sometimes resulting in arms and/or legs getting stuck outside the crib. A large part of me is nervous that he has made it to six months without rolling, but the practical part of me knows that he is never going to stop once he gets moving. He already scoots from place to place on his back and with rocking side to side, and he is clearly interested in keeping up with Madeleine.

Speaking of Madeleine, Elliott is totally enamored with her. He lights up when he hears her voice, turns to look at her, smiles, basically makes her the star of the show. George and I have already caught ourselves telling him to not encourage her (to act up). In order to try to keep up with his big sister's chatter, Elliott is often very chatty himself. He usually says baahh, baahh, baahh or bwah, bwah, bwah on repeat, though I have caught a couple of mah, mah, mah and baap, baap, baap sequences.

Finally, I hate to talk about sleep. Each and every time that I mention it, we end up having a four to five night stretch of wake ups. Nonetheless, I'll do it again. We seem to be in a good place with two solid daytime naps (usually two hours each or a three-hour afternoon nap if the morning one was short) and a little cat nap just before dinner. I can see that last nap going away soon as it seems to be starting later and later. Elliott goes to bed between 7pm and 8pm and gets up around 7am. He was having wake ups most nights, but we did some minimal sleep training a couple nights ago and have since had full nights of sleep. Elliott still sucks his left thumb to show that he's getting tired and to put himself to sleep. I think it's here to stay. If he's really upset (a pretty rare occasion), I'll give him the pacifier, but he immediately takes it in his hand and either chews on the side or just holds it.

He fought several viruses this month, and I'm so happy to have him back to his happy, healthy self. Mind you, he never really acted sick, but his breathing and congestion said otherwise. This is a really long update, but Elliott is just so much fun right now. I can't wait to see where the next month takes us!


The "official" photo was too good not to use, but this photo really shows where Elliott is this month: lots of smiles, raspberries, and movement.


A look back:

20 February 2015

Friday I'm in Love

Hello, Friday! Time to share some love, and be sure to check out what MishaKendraMary Beth, and Laura are loving this week, too.

ONE: OXO Tot Baby Food Containers


We bought a couple sets of these when Madeleine was just starting solids, and they have served us well. They're great for purees for babies and grow with kiddos as they hold snacks and small portions. I even take them to work with me on occasion! Now that Elliott's eating solids, they're getting used for their original purpose once again.

TWO: This Cape Tutorial

Madeleine has been on a super hero kick for a month or so. She calls herself "Super Madeleine," puts her arm in front of her, and yells "zoooooom" as she runs around the house. We exploit this activity when we want her to do something or go somewhere quickly. I digress. Madeleine had found my old nursing cover and repurposed it into a cape and, while that was super cute, I wanted to make her a proper cape. The internet led me to this terrific tutorial, which was a good match with some of the 52 yards of fabric I have sitting around for Miss M's use. It was super easy and took me more time to pick fabric than it did to cut and sew.



THREE: Dinosaur Train


Madeleine is a big PBS Kids fan (not that we expose her to much else), and she's recently branched out beyond Daniel Tiger and Sesame Street to enjoy Dinosaur Train. I appreciate the messages (including the main family having an adopted dinosaur who doesn't look like them) and scientific explanations within the show. Perhaps it's just because it's something new, but I actually enjoy watching episodes with her.

Happy Friday! I'm especially thankful for our temps in the 50s and 60s with most of my family enduring temps of -20 or colder (Fahrenheit!).

11 February 2015

Baby Gear Favorites

As Elliott creeps closer and closer to six months, I find myself putting more and more baby gear away. What better time to share some of our favorite baby items for those of you expecting a little one or looking for the perfect gift for a wee one?

Fisher-Price Rock N Play


I don't know how we lived without this for Madeleine because it allowed us to get some sleep when Elliott was a restless newborn who didn't love sleeping in his big, flat crib. I think this is an absolute must-have for second (and third, fourth, etc.) kids because it provides a safe place for baby out of the reach of well intentioned siblings. I caught Madeleine climbing up both the short and long sides, and she never managed to tip out Elliott!

Keekaroo Peanut Changing Pad


I bought this on the recommendation of a friend when I was putting together Elliott's nursery, and I am so very glad that I did! Not only did I not have to make changing pad covers, I also don't have to change changing pad covers when they get soiled. Even the most neon yellow baby poo hasn't managed to stain this baby. There are only two down sides: Elliott isn't always thrilled to be laid on a chilly pad (that may have more to do with a diaper change standing between him and a feeding) and the price - ouch.

Love to Dream Swaddle Up 50/50


I've previously mentioned how much I love the Swaddle Up, and I think the 50/50 is the best possible version of this because it allows for swaddle weaning and a long life as a sleepsack once swaddling days are over.

Diaper Dekor


We decided to get a diaper pail rather than use a trashcan this time around. Even though we cloth diaper, having the pail for overnight disposables, wipes, and (soon) diaper liners really cuts down on nursery odors. This particular pail will be repurposed for ordinary trash in another room once we're past diapers. Anyone using more than the occasional disposable will be happier with a higher capacity one than the classic, but this one gets us through 5 to 7 days between changes.

aiden + anais Hooded Towel


This towel has made it through two kids and is the only baby towel that has made it to six months with Elliott. This gem really does the trick with soaking up the water and wrapping all the way around a growing baby.

NoseFrida


This is one of those things you're glad to have when the baby gets congested at 3am. I've also learned that the real trick of the NoseFrida is also having saline drops to put in the nose to loosen things for (much) more effective snotsucking, so buy them together. Isn't parenting glamorous?!

Chicco Keyfit 30


Admittedly, I don't have experience with any other infant seat, but this carseat has done the job with both of our kiddos. Madeleine used this until about a year old, but I'm expecting Elliott to max out with his height around six to seven months. This seat is highly safety rated and incredibly easy to use. Given that 90% of car seats are installed improperly, having a seat that's easy to use means a lot for making it truly safe for precious cargo. In case you're wondering, the Diono Radian RXT is our favorite convertible seat.

Dr. Brown's Bottles


I expected to have to try several different types of bottles, but both of our kids were offered these ones and took them without a problem. This system is supposed to simulate the effort required with breastfeeding. I don't love having the extra pieces to wash, but I can't complain about totally drama-free bottle feeding intermixed with nursing.

Sophie


Sophie was popular the first time around and is even more popular with Mister E. There's something about this toy that makes it easy for little hands to grip and satisfying for them to chew. I also happen to love that it washes easily. And, yes, it does have over 3,000 5-star reviews on Amazon.

What would you add to my list?

06 February 2015

Friday I'm in Love

As upbeat and beautiful as the weather and mood were in Seattle last week, this week has been the opposite. Boy, am I ready for the week and the constant rain to be done!

Moving on...

ONE: Mac and Cheese Trick

Macaroni and cheese is one of Madeleine's favorite foods, and it's a go-to when we're low on food for lunch. I never make it according to the box, though. I typically use greek yogurt in place of butter and milk, add extra cheese, and dress it up with frozen veggies or leftovers. This week, I made a fabulous pot of mac and cheese by crumbling a lamb burger patty and mixing in left over curry. Yum! Little miss has been pretty picky lately, but she ate a pile of it!

TWO: Baby Cheapskate

I also scroll through Baby Cheapskate to see what sales are happening. I love it for monthly sale predictions as well as notice of what's on sale right now. '

THREE: Mack Weldon Shirts

George has had a couple of these for quite a while. Every time I fold them, I consider sticking them in my pile to "borrow" for a while. I revealed my lust to George, who kindly ordered me some soft goodness. I want to wear my shirt for bed every night. If you're looking for something soft for your Valentine this year, look no further.

Welcome to the weekend, now go check out what the other gals - MishaKendraMary Beth, and Laura - are loving this week, too.

04 February 2015

January 2015 Recap

I'm going to attempt to write monthly (photo) summaries this year in an attempt to document our everyday life for friends and family who want to see how we spend our days.

Right around midnight on Dec 31/Jan 1, Elliott woke up, wheezing. We ended up spending several hours in the emergency room while he got a steroid treatment and a chest x-ray. Diagnosis: croup.

Madeleine loves reading to her brother and babies. 

January was the inaugural Jumperoo month for Elliott, and I feel like he has really matured from the beginning to end. 


I went back to work. Thanks to Freemie, pumping is easily concealed.

Elliott was invited to his first (but most definitely not his last) tea party.

This little girl came up with some seriously silly songs and moves.

Grandma came to visit, and - amongst other things - we took her to Din Tai Fung for "dump-a-lings," Madeleine's favorite! 

While Grandma was holding down the fort with the kiddos, George and I escaped to Vegas for a wonderful weekend of sunshine, delicious food, gambling, and kid-free time.

I took about a million photos of Elliott sleeping this month, and this was my favorite. Relaxed much?

On a beautifully sunny and warm Sunday, we made and impromptu visit to a small local zoo, where Madeleine was able to see deer up close and personal. 


We all enjoyed our zoo visit. 

During one of our PEPS meetings, we took a picture of the kids who wanted to sit on the couch for a picture. Note, this represents less than half of our group. We're a growing (moving!) bunch! 

Madeleine climbed to the top of her Jacob's ladder for the first time and was so proud of it. 


Elliott had his first taste of solids.

These two made us laugh, scream, roll our eyes, smile, and cry. We love them so!

I can't wait to see what's in store for February!