27 March 2015

Friday I'm in Love

After an unanticipated hiatus, it's good to be back this Friday morning. Be sure to check out what the other ladies are loving this Friday, too: MishaKendraMary Beth, and Laura.

ONE: Sanuk Yoga Mat Flip Flops

Spring is in the air, and these are on my shopping list. I bought a pair a year ago, and I've basically lived in them ever since, wearing them out. Just how comfy are they? Well, I had them on until moments before Elliott entered the world. That comfortable.

TWO: Anti-Mom-Guilt Articles

This recent article is another in support of hands-off parenting. I'm a big fan of letting kids explore for themselves rather than entertaining them. Along the same lines, let's give our kids some freedom and stop being so hard on one another.

THREE: Orla Kiely at Target

Every time I end up in the baby section at Target, I try to find an excuse to buy something from this beautiful collection by Orla Kiely. Sadly, I've yet to give into the temptation, but check out the cuteness.

This also makes me super excited for this collaboration. Yes, please.

FOUR: Amy's Kitchen Burritos and Wraps

I picked up a few of these on a whim last weekend, and they pretty much vanished. We tried three or four flavors, and I'm excited to keep tasting through the line-up. Filling. Satisfying. Healthy. Egg-free to satisfy my current paranoia. Did I mention that Amy's Kitchen does not use any egg products? I can see these being a good back-up as Mr. E needs bigger meals.

We're feeling some very spring-like weather here in the PNW. May the sun shine on you, too, this Friday!

23 March 2015

Elliott - Seven Months Old

It's been a crazy month at our house, which is why you haven't heard from me very much (ok, at all really). That's a topic for another day. Today's topic is ELLIOTT.

This has been a big month for our (not so) little guy. A couple of hours after his six-month post went live, he started rolling. As expected, he hasn't really stopped. He's proficient bordering on expert, though he still hasn't figured out how to roll in his sleepsack in bed. It's not for lack of trying (and crying), I assure you. In the last couple of days, I've noticed a rather sudden interest in getting to things out of reach and even some scooting. It makes me slightly terrified, but the one who should be really terrified is the big sister because Elliott has his eye on her stuff!

Elliott is also sitting up pretty well. He has the tripod down and is doing better about being able to self-correct when he gets excited and leans back too far or too abruptly. I don't really trust him to sit on his own unless he has the Boppy behind him, but that will probably change soon. He's surprisingly good at getting out of the seated position and into a tummy laying position. It's hard to tell if he's doing that by choice or because he has collapsed too far forward to recover.

Aside from all of this gross motor development, we've had some excitement in the food department with Elliott. When he was first exposed to eggs, he swelled up and broke into itchy hives with some wheezing. We are now the (not so) proud owners of an Epi-Pen and waiting for our appointment with the allergist before getting too adventurous with other potential allergens. Our pediatrician did say that dairy should be fine because he has been fine on the formula that I occasionally use to supplement (which is apparently dairy-based). Elliott's happy about that and loved the yogurt we gave him on his 7-month birthday. His other favorites are zucchini and banana. I don't think he has turned away anything we've given him, though it wouldn't stop me from continuing to offer it. We're doing primarily baby led weaning, and he hasn't really had anything pureed to any finder than a chunky mash. Part of this method is inspired by Denaye and part is, frankly, out of laziness. We fed Madeleine the food that we ate (more or less) from almost the beginning, but this time I have the confidence to not spend the extra time pureeing and blending and watering down and instead just feeding from the beginning. Elliott eats three meals a day, and I'm constantly challenged to find more and more that is appropriate for him right now (especially with the allergy concerns) because this guy loves food! I'm currently nursing Elliott four (occasionally five) times a day and (sadly) often once overnight. I hope that things will soon slow down enough for my milk supply to re-connect with Elliott's needs.

For the most part, Elliott is still a happy guy. He continues to be chatty, and his "bwah, bwah, bwah" and "bah, bah, bah" have been joined by "bahp, bahp, bahp" and "dah, dah, dah." I swear he looked at George the other day and said "dah dah," but George thinks I'm nuts. He and Madeleine continue to interact more and more, and he absolutely lights up when she walks into the room. Elliott is also starting to encourage his sister to get into trouble, like when he smiles and laughs at her being naughty at the dinner table. We are in serious trouble when these two are a bit older.

In the sleep department, we are experiencing a rough patch. He takes two or three naps during the day. If the first two are long enough and the second one ends late enough, he doesn't need the third nap. I'd say he only takes the third small nap 25- to 50-percent of the time. At night, he is generally pretty easy to get to bed but has been waking up once a night, sometimes just an hour or so before he should be up for the day. I'm guessing it's either because he's not getting enough milk from me during the day or because his schedule is confused between early daycare days and later other days. No matter what, I'm really hoping to get back to having a boy who sleeps through the night!

We had a particularly bad night last week when he (finally) had his six-month pediatrician's appointment, complete with a whole slew of vaccines. For a baby who is constantly wiggling and moving, having sore thighs is the pits...and he let us know about it. I know that I often talk about how good and happy Elliott is, which is true, but when he is unhappy, look out!

On that note, I'll leave you with this month's photo of our sweet, sweet Elliott:

You've come a long way, baby:

02 March 2015

February 2015 Recap

I feel like we fit a lot into February without feeling too stressed, so that's about as good as it gets! Get ready for tons of photos!

These two (plus Bear)!

Elliott spent all too much time at the pediatrician's office in February, but he loves being in a diaper, on the loud paper, with a full width mirror.

Madeleine did Valentine cards this year. I had her do part of each one, and I got a good lesson on toddler attention span.

We've been taking more family walks, and I get treated to this view. Please don't ever grow up, Elliott.

Madeleine adores her doctor's kit and examines anything that will sit still for long enough, including her giraffe.

I loved catching a cuddle with my girl, but she's already giving "too cool" looks. Bummer.

We celebrated Valentine's Day with pizza, and George informed me that this is the obvious choice given its heart-like shape. Uh huh.

We got out and took our first "hike" with Madeleine walking. She did pretty well all things considered.

Someone has noticed that Mummy and Daddy are spending regular time on the rower and wants to do it, too.

This was the month of "that's my job!" We have given Madeleine several "jobs" around the house, including cleaning veggies.

Our magnolia is confused and completely flowered (this was just the start) in February.

With all that spring-like weather, sometimes it's hard to keep our coats on.

Elliott could not get that half of a banana in his mouth soon enough. Banana, zucchini (courgette), and oatmeal are currently his favorite foods. 

I had to capture their coordinating star jammies.

I can't get enough of this sweet boy. Please don't ever grow up, Elliott.

We caught another showing of Tiny Tots at the Seattle Symphony, and both kids loved it. Elliott was a happy squealer for a lot of the show. 

This is the best behavior I have ever seen from her. It was amazing.

When you come home to sun flooding your house, you have to snap some cute kiddo shots.

Somebody figured out the rolling thing and decided to nap on his belly at our friend's house.

And those piggies...

It's hard to eat my breakfast when all I want to do is smile at my sister, who is very excited to feed me.

Let the sock removal game commence.

Madeleine was all about the frosting at our friend's birthday party. 

And I leave you with perhaps the best photo of the month:

Onto March we go...

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!).