Saturday, May 28, 2011

... of coroporate endorsement, part... 6 months

If you've been following us for the past few months, you may remember this blog I posted about the baby products I had found the most essential for our newborn. Well, obviously he has grown and things have changed. Not that those things weren't the essentials for that time. They were. And I would still endorse them. But we are in a whole new realm of infancy now, and have a whole new list of essentials.

Part 1: Feeding

Medela Slow Flow Bottles:

I previously endorsed the Playtex Drop ins Nurser bottles. And they were the best for Abram up until about 6 months. Then, all of a sudden, after making it all the way up to the fast flow nipples, he started freaking out while he was taking his bottle. We actually had friends babysit him and they said that it seemed like it was torturing him. I'm not sure what happened. We think that the flow was just too slow for him. He has gotten extremely efficient at nursing and only takes about 15 minutes total. So the next night, I tried just putting the Medela nipple right on the storage bottles that I was using to pump. And, suddenly, he was fine! Apparently the slow flow Medelas are faster than the fastest Playtex nurser and would definitely not have worked for him before this point. But now, they are great! And the best part is that we already had a bunch because of the pump.


Ikea Antilop High Chair: High chairs are expensive! Even when looking for them at second hand stores, you are looking at upwards of $50. Most of them are all kooshy and big and I wasn't sure it would fit in our already overcrowded kitchen. And then I remembered a friend of mine talking about the Ikea high chair. Over half of our house is already full of Ikea things, so I was more than ok with adding one more.

It is light weight and easy to clean and the price with the tray and bolster cushion is $30. Love it. I don't clean it as often as I should, but it's so easy to wipe down that I can just get it all off at the end of the day.

Ikea Smaska Spoons:

In keeping w
ith the Ikea trend, I have to say that the best baby spoons that I've found are the 6 for $1.99 at Ikea. There are actually only 3 of the ones in the pack that I really like, but still a good price. I have bought three other kinds of spoons and, therefore have a tub of about 20 spoons that we are not using. I got a few Munchkin kinds and a Nuby kind, but they are all fairly deep. Like, the spoon is very... spooned. The Ikea spoons are almost flat and he can get his little lips around them much easier. Three of the spoons are a little smaller, which is better for him right now. But the larger ones may come in handy later. The day we started using those spoons was a lot cleaner day in the Smith house.

Beech Nut Baby Food: I've tried the Gerber and Good Earth (?), but the best baby food I've found is Beech Nut.

It tends to be less watery, which is better for cleanliness. They also have the basics like peas and carrots and sweet potatoes and beans and pears and squash. Good Earth has interesting combos and Gerber is watery. My only complaint right now is that I do most of my shopping at Target and Target doesn't carry them. So I have to make a special trip to Wal-Mart to stock up. My hope is to start making our own baby food soon, so I'm hoping to have a report on that in the coming weeks!

Part 2: Play

Ikea Wipeable Laminate Fabric:
I completely stole this idea from a fellow mom blogger and went to Ikea and got my own fabric to copy her idea.

Mine turned out smaller, but I really like it. You can't see in the picture, but it has red stitching, which makes it a little more fun looking.

It has a layer of fleece inside to make it just a bit more padded. I use it inside in the middle of the living room because Obie's hair doesn't stick to it like the blanket I was using. Also, he can drool all he wants and I just have to wipe it up! Added bonus: he loves the dots. It's almost as good as the TV for him. He grabs at the dots and plays with his toys on his tummy for quite a while and I can get stuff done! I still have a yard of the fabric and I am contemplating what I should make with it!

Just a funny video of Abram working on taking off his diaper:


I love how he looks at me with shifty eyes as he is tugging away at it.

Part 3: Sleep

BreathableBaby Crib Bumper:
We have had quite a few issues with Abram and his sleeping. Over the course of a "naptime" he will wiggle his way all around the crib with his bum up in the air and eventually end up with his face and head smashed into the corner. He was also getting his arms and legs stuck in the crib bars and ending up very upset. So we got the BreathableBaby crib bumper. It has definitely solved some problems and gave me a bit more peace of mind. However, he still finds ways to tangle himself up in there.

He is actually asleep in this photo.

Part 4: Travel

The Pea Pod Carrier:
Baby carriers are one thing that I've gone a little crazy over. I've been set on finding "the one". The one that will end the search for a better one. And what I've learned is that I don't believe there is a perfect carrier for all ages of babies. I do think that the Baby Bjorn was good for when he was little and the Mody Wrap was good for when a was still wanting to sleep while being held. But now that he is bigger and he wants to look around and interact with things, I wanted something that would help me carry him on my hip. I know, I know, the Moby Wrap does that, but those 10 yards of fabric are just a little cumbersome to carry around and the wrapping is a bit too intricate. SOOOO... I made a sling type carrier based on something that I saw. It's reversible and it folds up fairly small, and I will continue to use it. BUT. I saw a free pattern for the Pea Pod Carrier here. So I made one.

And I really like it! It's easy to clip in. He feels really well supported and I can really do things with both of my hands! I wish I'd had my arms down in the picture so you could see it better, but you get the idea. I added a pocket to the back so that I can put things like credit cards and my phone for trips to the store. There is a clip for keys as well! And the best part is that it folds up really small and fits in our diaper bag.
Here it is with a blanket, an extra pair of clothes and shoes in the...

JJ Cole Diaper Bag
:

I got this treasure at the MamaCents sale in Austin, so I'm not entirely sure that it's even meant to be a diaper bag, but I love it! Without being too heavy of cumbersome we can fit: The dinosaur pouch with the carrier, blanket, clothes and shoes, the changing pad with diapers and wipes, a toy, a pacie, sunscreen, pacie wipes, gum, a bunch of life savers, my make up, my keys, my wallet, my phone, hands free headphones, children's tylenol, an extra sun hat, and the most current Joann coupons. Ya know, the essentials. I also like it because it is nice and manly for Quinn, so he can carry it with out feeling silly. It also has some clips on the side where I can hook my awesome Contigo water bottle.

I thought about doing a section on this great find, but I won't bore you with those details. Let's just say it's the best water bottle I've ever owned - so far. I haven't had it for too long, so I don't feel comfortable endorsing it fully just yet.

And that's pretty much it!

I had really hoped to have a stroller section in this blog, but I have yet to find the perfect stroller. And believe me, I've looked. I'm beginning to think that my problem is that I am being too frugal. It might just be something that I need to spend some money on. But here's where you can help, my mama friends: What strollers do you love? Let me tell you the features I'm looking for:
-Reclining seat back
-Lightweight (for airplane travel)
-Durable wheels
-Easy to maneuver
-Able to hang diaper bag on handle
-One hand fold
-Sun shade with "window"
-Ok for neighborhood walks
Desired, but not required:
-Reversible handle
-Parent cup holder
-Folds up relatively small

So far we've tried the Graco Alano, Kolcraft Lightrider, & Peg Perego Pliko. I'm not sold on any of them yet. Let me know if you have any tips or suggestions.

Alright. I think I've bored you enough and I need to head to bed so I can get some decent sleep tonight. Abram has been sleeping from 8:30-5:30 when I wake him up for a feeding that helps us stay on schedule for the rest of the day (otherwise I'd let him sleep)! Praise God for 6 month olds!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

... of a little friend


"Yea!!!"

Our close friends, Danny and Abby McReynolds, are expecting a baby in the middle of July. I was kinda hoping that their baby would be closer to Abram (I think that Danny and Abby were hoping, too...), but God's timing is perfect, and little McBaby will come exactly when he or she is supposed to! And, besides, 8 months is not that much in the scheme of things.

We went to their shower this weekend. It was a co-ed shower, so Quinn and Abram got to come, too :) Here are Danny and Abby:


Danny

Abby
I should have gotten a picture of them together, but alas, I wasn't thinking.

Abram did surprisingly well and didn't fuss at all! Considering he was long overdue for a nap and Abby's brother, Nathan, was playing with him in the backyard a lot of the time, that was amazing. He really is getting to be much more fun and easy going... knock on wood. He was also entertaining himself by chewing on his rattle toy.


I made McBaby a "cuddle blanket" (a small one that is more for snuggling with than covering). I did not get a picture of it, but I did also make a pillow monster in their room colors.


It was a little bit of a spur of the moment gift idea. I've never made one before, but I think it turned out pretty well. I got the idea from this picture on Pinterest (of course):

To give credit, they are available at little bit funky on etsy.

So we can't wait to meet and play with Little McReynolds!

Abram continues to grow every day and gets more and more curious.

Fascinated by the bush.
Fascinated by his toes.

He also loves flapping his arms and smacking himself. Also, standing up is a huge Abram-like. If he is ever unhappy sitting down, we just have to stand him up and he is all good. Here is a video of him before bed, with a full tummy, enjoying his arms.


We can always get him to smile by clapping or just saying the word "peekaboo" He doesn't even need the actual peekaboo act. He is also getting to where we can just say the words "clap clap clap" (as you can see in the video). So that's why I sound like a crazy person.

He also loves riding on Daddy's shoulders. Quinn likes it until his neck starts to hurt from leaning forward.



And with that I will say good bye so that I might get to take a shower before he wakes up from his nap.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

... of being a real boy.


"Well, hello there!"

It's so crazy that Abram is starting to become a real little boy. He is doing more and more things on his own, like sitting up, grabbing at everything, rolling over both ways, and taking better naps (although right now we are having a battle of the wills nap time). And as he gets older, he is looking more and more like what he will look like for good. Quinn and I have a hard time identifying who he looks more like. We can see that he looks like me when I was a baby:

but aren't sure how much he looks like either one of us now.

He has been sleeping better at night, but we've had a few issues. We think it's growth spurt related and are expecting him to grow out of all his clothes any day now! We have just had to concede to his desire to sleep on his tummy and we pray every night for his protection. He likes to sleep with his little butt up in the air. It doesn't really look comfortable, but it's pretty darn cute.


Eating is getting more productive and more fun. He is pretty consistently eating one stage one jar at lunch and dinner, which is a lot for him! And less and less is ending up on his face, hands, and clothes.

But we aren't pros yet.

So we had the party on Tuesday with community group, co-workers, neighbors, and former students. It was an awesome mishmash of people and we had a great time! I made the watermelon cookies, which turned out ok, but very small. And me and my justification-self called them "little half cookies" for his "little half birthday".

Each one had 6 chocolate chips for his 6 month birthday.


And then I ate his cookie. Poor mushy, milky food boy couldn't enjoy it himself.


The other neighbor boys: Blake and Ryan




Norma, Isaac, and adorable Adriana

Two of my former students who are college sophomores now!
Tara and Chelsea

Quinn's co-workers: Sean and Akin

Community group friends: Lacy, Jonathan, and Dave

We had a fun night and can't wait to host another party... when Abram will probably (hopefully) be crawling and unstoppable!

Monday, May 16, 2011

... of the big .50

It has finally arrived. Abram will be six whole months tomorrow! And, boy, how times have changed since that fateful afternoon 26 weeks ago.

I sit here, surrounded by toys, covered in slobber and sour milk, my arms stronger and my joy more full. It really is true that you love your kids more and more every day. I mean, I loved him when he was born, but not like this. Now I honestly can tell him I love him for everything that he is and his little personality and all of the adorable things that he does and just because he is my son. I think it's taken this long for me to really feel like I had a son, too. Still a little strange to use that word, but I'm sure I'll get more and more used to it as he becomes more boy and less baby.

Tomorrow we are having a gathering at our house. It is really just to get our community group and neighbors and friends together, but it just happens to be Abram's half birthday. So I think we will celebrate. Maybe with these cute summery watermelon cookies?



They look nice and easy, but I am going to have my hands full tomorrow getting the house and everything ready. It will happen if Abram is a good napper. We shall see. Today has been a little hard and his schedule is... not a schedule at all. It was all because of his well check this morning... and my running errands for a few hours after the well check...

When Abram was born, he weighed 6 lbs 14 oz and was 20.25 inches long. This is what he slept in for the first month or so of his life:


At six months old, he is 14 lbs 9 oz (8th percentile) and 26 inches (30th percentile). Still long and skinny! Here he is in that same basket wearing his birthday onesie I made him that he will wear for the party tomorrow!





I really liked doing the onesie and it was relatively easy. I did it with freezer paper, which I had no idea about, but learned about it from Sir Bubbadoo's mom here.

So, the next post should be some good pictures from the party! We have to be better about taking pictures. We've definitely been slacking these last few months. Sorry all you Abram fans out there! We'll get better... promise.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

... of ruining the surprise


"SURPRISE!!!"

I made what I (humbly) think is pretty neato gift for my mom for Mother's Day. I really wanted to show it off here, but we put it in the mail on Monday and I am hoping that it will get to her today or tomorrow. And if it doesn't and you are seeing it for the first time, Mom, Happy Mother's/Teacher's Day!! She is also an incredible kindergarten teacher and last week also happened to be Teacher Appreciation Week. I figured that since, as my mom, she was by far the best teacher I ever had, I would make her something that she could use in her classroom.


The pictures are from my iphone and, therefore, not incredible. But you get the idea.

I wanted it to look like notebook paper. If I had it to do over again, I would take the time and hand embroider the lines so that they were darker. The machine definitely did a faster job, though. I also wanted the writing to look like kid writing, so that's why it's a little wonky. I would have exaggerated the kiddness of it and made it wonkier, but I thought that if she wanted to use it in her classroom where the kiddos were actually going to look at it daily, I should make it grammatically correct and fairly "good" handwriting so it wouldn't confuse them.

So there you go. Fun Teacher/Mom gift. Now I have something in my repertiore for when my kids are school aged. If I remember it 5 years from now. Ah, the glories of a blog.

On an Abram note, he got his first pair of sunglasses and, boy, is he a cool lookin dude. Here he is on a walk:


It is also warming up here in Texas (although we are getting a nice rain today) and I have a feeling Abram will be spending more time like this:

And he's so cute, who wouldn't want to see his little belly?

And here he is matching with Daddy. To cute not to share.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

... of a complete loss of dignity

This post is not for the faint of heart. And I am not just saying that. If you are not a parent (maybe even more specifically, a mother), you may need to consider stopping right here. Or scroll quickly through to look at the few pictures and scoot yourself right back to Facebook, or wherever you came from. If you do not have kids, but think you might be ready to have kids, this could be a deal breaker for you. So continue at your own risk. You have been warned.

Tonight, I feel I truly became a mother. Up until this point, I really thought I would do anything for Abram, but I had never been called on to do too much out of the ordinary. Sure, I've lost a lot of sleep and made a lot of stupid faces and noises and been peed on and spit up on, but these all felt like normal baby-caring things. A babysitters' resume would look similar. But tonight, I crossed a line. THE line. The Mommy line.

Since we started feeding Abram solids in the last few weeks, we have noticed that he has been pretty constipated...

...You see where this is going yet?...

... When he has been able to go, it has been pretty difficult and it's only been when I've been helping by massaging his stomach and pumping his legs. And he gets all strained and he tries really hard and he cries after something comes out. And it breaks my heart. I mean, I feel him. I know exactly what it feels like. And the last thing I want is for my 6 month old to get hemorrhoids. So, it's been about 5 days since he went last. His stomach was all round and sometimes he would strain like he was trying to go, but to no avail. I gave him baby prunes yesterday and today and was hoping for something to happen soon. I also read something the other day about how, if you think that your baby is straining to go, put them in a warm bath to get them to relax...

... Yeah, it's going there...

... Tonight, we were having dinner with some friends, Maggie and Danny.


We were feeding Abram and all of a sudden he started straining, trying to go. I whisked him out of his high chair, ran him to his room, put him on the changing table, stripped him down, and started pumping his legs and massaging his stomach. After being peed on, I finally was able to help him get some very hard and painful stuff out. He was red and crying and very uncomfortable and I was on the verge of tears for him. He had already gotten a good amount out, but when he started straining some more and was not relaxing, I yelled for Quinn to start a warm bath.

Now, we usually bathe Abram in a little whale tub that doesn't immerse him and his tummy. So I was going to have to get in the actual tub with him...

...uh huh...

... After about five minutes of calming him down and pumping his legs and playing in the bath with him, it finally happened. I became a real mother. As I sat in the bathtub with my son and his... little... accomplishments, with our dinner guests in the living room, I realized that my theoretical devotion to this small person had been tested and upheld. I can now honestly say that I would do anything for my child.

And with that, I wish all you incredible mothers out there a Happy Mother's Day.