Friday, November 21, 2014

...of gluten free?

Simon is 8 months old. Due to a lack of variety in packaged baby foods and a lack of time on my part, he doesn't have the most diverse diet. He pretty much sticks to apples, blueberries, pears, and bananas, pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potato, green beans, green peas, chicken and yogurt. We've tried beef (today), mango (once), and he's had carrots, potatoes, and prunes. He had rice cereal a lot when he was younger and then we ran out and I had a container of baby oatmeal cereal. But every time I would give that to him, he would spit up (or more like throw up) a ton for about a day afterward. I've tried giving him Holland toast - which he liked - but the same thing happened. And he looooves the Gerber puffs, but he spits up more the next day if I give him too many of those as well. So, not sure if it's a gluten thing (since the oatmeal seemed to do it to him as well), but we are experimenting with some things.

He basically wants to grab any food at all that happens to be around him and shove it in his mouth. It could be in your hand, on a plate, or on the floor, but he's going to go for it. We have to have, what I like to think of as, the Simon Radius in mind at all times. Is there anything within a stretching arms' reach of this child that I don't want knocked off or put in his mouth? He always seems to go for the bread (of course he does) and so I started thinking of things that I could make him that weren't wheat flour based that he could nibble on. If we were in America, I might buy stock in Baby Mum Mums. Abram loved those. But, alas, I can't find anything similar in this country. But the other day while I was looking in the flour section of the grocery store, I saw rice powder, which is rice flour. And it was super cheap - like $1 for a kilo (over two pounds). So I got it.

Today, when I tried to give him the beef and he didn't seem to like it, I was kind of at a loss of what to make for him for lunch. I need to go to the grocery store and make some more baby food. But I thought maybe I could google a rice flour muffin in a mug that I might be able to give him. Before I found any, I got distracted by this recipe for regular blueberry rice flour muffins. I ended up giving him apples and blueberries for lunch and then making the muffins while he rode in the Beco on my back (Fussy Pants McGoo did not want to hang out in his high chair).

I did a few things differently from the original recipe. My blueberries were fresh frozen. I doubled the recipe. I added about 1/4 cup more milk. I added a tsp of vanilla. I didn't do the streusel topping. In the original post, she said that the batter expanded for her, but mine didn't at all.

I think they turned out great! They taste really good (Quinn and Abram both thought they tasted as good or better than regular muffins) and I think they look totally normal and fluffy. I hate rice milk. It tastes exactly like rice, so I was a little worried that these would taste like rice, but they don't. For anyone trying to avoid gluten, I think this is a fantastic muffin.

So here's my modified recipe:

Makes 12 muffins.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Grease a 12 cup muffin tin.

-2 eggs
-1 1/4 cup milk
-4 tbsp sugar
-4 tbsp oil
-2 cups white rice flour (powder)
-4 tsp baking powder
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp fresh grated lemon zest
-1 cup fresh blueberries

-In one bowl, combine rice flour, baking powder, salt, lemon zest.
-In another bowl combine eggs, milk, oil, vanilla.
-Mix together until combined (my batter was not runny at all, more like scone batter)
-Add blueberries.
-Fill muffin cups about 3/4 full.
-Bake for 15-20 minutes until tops are a little hard, sides are slightly brown, and toothpick comes out clean.
-Let cool for a few minutes before removing from tin.

Si Guy hasn't tried them yet, but I'll update his 8 month blog post with the verdict :) I know the rest of the family will definitely vote to make them again.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

...of 7 month Simon

Yeah right. I don't think I've been actually "on the verge" with any birthday post in many, many months. I am thinking maybe I need to change the name of this blog to "Better Late Than Never". You know, in the interest of honesty.

Anyway. Here are Simon's seven month stats, for curiosity and posterity.

Weight: Had him weighed with clothes on and before he had finally really pooped for the first time in a few days, so not sure if that skewed that number. But he was 8.4kg! That's 18.5 lbs! I guess that's about the 50th percentile, which is just like Selah at his age. He does not feel or look that big to me. I think that's mostly because he is literally my little monkey. I think I could completely let go of him when he's on my hip and he wouldn't fall off.

Clothing size: 6 months. Very perfectly. Pulled out some new 6-9 sleepers that are a little big, but the 6 month ones are almost too short.

Eating: 5 bottle feedings a day:
               -Anywhere from 2-6am
             Then solid food for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He is doing great with pretty much all fruits and vegetables we've introduced. We may be having a problem with wheat (gluten). He did fine with rice cereal, but whenever I give him oatmeal baby cereal, he spits up the entire rest of the day. I gave him Holland Toast the same day I gave him oatmeal and yogurt and it was a crazy upchuck day. So, we are wiping the slate clean and going to add each thing one by one to see how he handles everything. Also, he has looooved chicken, but seemed to get really fussy an hour or so after that. He just seems to have a bit of a sensitive stomach...

Sleeping: Bedtime around 8. Wake up around 9 (give or take 30 minutes). Nap around 10:30 to 12:30. Nap around 3 to 4:30. There are off days (like today), but he is normally a pretty predictable sleeper. I am not going off of a schedule, but off of intervals. He basically doesn't make it (willingly) more than two hours awake, but we push him at bedtime and we are usually in melt down mode by the time we get there. But it's like, we're used to it now, so it doesn't phase any of us anymore. It's just what he does.

Teeth: Two bottoms. I think he's teething now. But I want to say I see something happening on the sides of the bottom and not the top center. He's been veeeeeery fussy the last few days, so I'm looking out for something big to happen soon and I'm cutting him some slack :)
(See those bottom two under all the squash?)

Favorite things: 
   -Any other Smith.
   -Gerber Puffs. I feel a little bad for already introducing them to him already, but I wanted him to work on swallowing with his high palate in hopes of getting more tongue action on it and having it spread out on it's own.
   -Mirrors (still)
   -Being thrown up in the air
   -Chewing on anything
Least favorite things:
   -Riding in his car seat for longer than 15 minutes.
   -Being rocked like a baby when being put to sleep
   -Being tired or hungry. Man he's a vocal kid.

Brother/Sisterness: Loves 'em. Like major. They love him, too, except when he grabs their hair when they get too close. Every. Single. Time. He took a pretty big fistful out of the back of Selah's head tonight when I hadn't noticed he'd gotten her. Poor girl. I am working on helping them understand putting toys just out of his reach to help encourage him to scoot (he started the invisible scoot today, so we are close!) They either just give him the toy or put it way too far away.

Potential Personality Traits: He is, overall, an incredibly happy kid. It makes it easy to decipher when something is going on, like teething or illness. He isn't even on reflux meds any more! He still spits up, and I can tell it still bothers him a bit, but we started phasing it out last month and he has seemed fine. It's super easy to get him to smile. He likes to be held, but is ok being put down to explore things around him and does NOT like to be rocked to sleep. He pinches the back of my arm like a lobster if I tip him back to rock him and he'd rather just be put in his bed. All our kids were like that. They love their beds so much that it's difficult to get them to sleep anywhere else or any other way. It's possible, just difficult :)

I know most of these pictures have already run the social media circuit, but I don't have access to the good camera right now. Although, there aren't many pictures to choose from on that anyway. I'm trying to be better about using the nice camera, so maybe next month will be a little better.

Anyway, we love this little monkey and can't wait to see the boy and man God will shape him into.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

...of the big .50: Simon Edition

It is nearly 6am on September 12 and I am sitting awake, waiting for Simon to go back to sleep from his early morning feeding. In different circumstances, I would just let him shuffle and talk himself to sleep and head back to that wonderful state myself. However, he has been the reason each of the other kids has been up around 6:30 the last few days (instead of their normal 8 or 8:30) and he has lost about 5 full feedings in the last four days and so I am on high alert for squeal and up chuck. So instead of wasting all this precious time watching who knows what on Netflix (Criminal Minds, House of Cards, Peg+Cat...), I thought I would get an early start on the 6 month update that should be comin atcha in the next few days.

Date: 12 September 2014

Weight: I need to take him in for his shots next week, so I hope to have this stat Sunday or Monday.
*as of 9/16 when I took him into both the ER and the regular doc for a very high three day fever, he weighed 8kg fully clothed with new diaper at 2pm on one scale and 7.6 fully clothed with full diaper at 6:30pm on another scale. Considering the weight of the diaper, that's a discrepancy of about 1.5 pounds. So I'm going with around 16.5 lbs. that's 2 whole pounds more than Abram at 6 months. But it's the 40th percentile and Abram was in the 8th. So I'm happy he's healthy.

Feeling yuck.

Clothing Size: We are in a weird 3-9 month stage. So, essentially, 6 months. But some 3-6 month stuff still fits and some 6-9 month stuff is fitting. But mostly just right on target with 6 months.

Eating: 5 bottles a day, officially. Never more than 6oz (180ml), usually a little or a lot less. That's one very sad thing about formula: when they don't finish a bottle, you are literally throwing money down the drain. With nursing you can always give the exact right amount without wasting anything. BUT, when you dump bottles of pumped milk that are not finished, you are pouring time and effort down the drain and that definitely feels worse in the moment. The dumped formula comes back to haunt you while you are at the cash register buying your weekly $20 tub of the stuff wondering if you could have stretched even one more day out of the last one if you had just given a few smaller bottles. But we can never tell how much he will eat at a feeding, so we just do the standard 180 each time. Ah well. At least he isn't malnourished anymore...
He eats breakfast lunch and dinner, usually around the same time as us. His daily schedule looks something like this of late:
5/6am: bottle, sleep
9:30am: wake, bottle, fruit and cereal (apples, pears, or bananas)
11am: nap
1pm: wake, bottle, veggies (pumpkin, squash, sweet potatoes, peas)
3pm: nap
4:30pm wake, bottle
6pm: veggies 
7:30/8pm: bottle, bed

Sleeping: See eating schedule. 
Love that he is sleeping though the night now, but there's a caveat. He often stirs and needs to be flipped/comforted/prayed over around 11:30 each night. So I basically stay awake until then and make sure we make it through that little moment and then I get to go to bed. If I went to sleep, he would have to get very loud before I would hear him (Quinn is either out with friends or fast asleep at that hour) and he would probably wake up Selah and probably need a bottle to calm down and fall asleep. If I catch him before he gets worked up, we can make it through without much problem. But we will see what the future holds. It seems that every week is different with an infant. You get used to one schedule, only to have him get a tooth and completely throw it all out of whack the next week. 

Teeth: None! I have been convinced he was getting his bottom ones since he was 3 months old, but nothing yet. Abram and Selah both got their bottoms at 4.5 months, so he's behind. But seriously, I think they are working their way out at this very moment ;)

Favorite things:
-Sweet potato
-Being tossed in the air
-Peekaboo is a new fave
-Daddy and Abram
-Baby Einstein
We are working on sitting up, recently.

Least Favorite Things:
-New people (unfortunately), but he's getting better about this.
-Being on his tummy when he's not sleeping (he always spits a up- and yet he sleeps on his stomach...)
-Currently, peas may have been placed on this list. 
-Being tired (still pretty much the only time he really looses his mind anymore)

Brother/Sisterness: He loves his sibs. His eyes are so full of adoration when he looks at them, it makes my heart melt. I think he and Abram will be close, even though they are a little more than 3 years apart. Selah generally likes him and has been wanting to hold him recently. She gets excited whenever he wakes up from a nap or sleep and gasps and smile and says: "He's awake! Hi Si Guy" almost every time I get him up. So sweet.
Best baby hair.

He really has been such a great baby overall for the last three months and we are so so grateful for this amazing little dude. He is a perfect addition to our family. Quinn and I have a thing about the number 5. Our names (including our last name) all have 5 letters. It's a nice number. And it seems that 5 is a great number of people in our family as well. At least for the moment :) Just kidding... ?

Happy half birthday, ya lil' munch.

*** Horrible mother alert! I never got a five month picture of this kid. Dude. What was I thinking? Can't make that up, ya know? Anyway, here's one through four along with a sincere promise that I won't let that happen again (Simon).***

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

...of two months at a time

Having three kids is a lot of work. Getting over a 9 hour jet lag, starting homeschooling, and doing a kind of kitchen “remodel” with three kids is so much work that Simon's monthly posts have completely fallen by the wayside. This (Sept. 3rd) is my 4th attempt to record something for his 4th and 5th months of life. I did the 4th month awhile ago, but never posted it. So I'm going to post both in one.
11pm Jetlag

You might ask why it even matters. I've asked myself that question as well. And then I've gone back and read what I wrote about the other kids during their first year and love it for two reasons. 1. It's just fun to reminisce. They are only babies for so long, I want to remember it as best as possible. 2. It's nice to be able to compare (in a good way) the baby with what the older kids did at his age. It's less stress inducing than stress relieving.

So those are my reason's and here are the stats:

Date: July24th, 2014

Weight: I don't know. It always seems like I say that. We need to take him to the doctor soon to get a local prescription for the equivalent of Zantac before we run out. The last time he was weighed was about a week ago before we left and he was about 14.5 lbs. He gained a ton really fast at the beginning of the month, but I think he's slowed down a bit. If he is around that, he's in about the 30th percentile. Abram was in something like the 10th and Selah was in the 50th, so Simon is right in the middle. Nice and average for our family.
He doesn't quite look average compared to Abram...

Clothing size: Very comfortably in 3 and 3-6 months stuff. Pretty soon he will be too long for the 3 month sleepers, so I dug out some of the ones Selah was in when we moved here that were actually Abram's. Glad I have those because I hate that I have to buy baby clothes new here, unless I go to a once monthly “Baby Bazaar” in Dubai. Resale shops are not a thing here like they are in the States. But I did buy some used stuff while we were there. We don't have any hand me downs from Abram until one year, I think. So we just have to get a few 6 and 9 month stuff and then we should be pretty good.
Love that double chin!

Sleep: All over the place. I mean, generally, really good. For about the last month, while we were traveling, he got into a rhythm of bed at 9ish then sleeping (with one or two dream feeds) until 9am. Then awake for 30 minutes or so and back to sleep until around noon. After that 15 hour chunk, he would take two to three 45 minute naps during the rest of the day. I wouldn't expect much longer, since he was sleeping so long at night.
Since we've been back, the jet lag has really messed with him. As has his being sick. He's been stuffy and now that he's not stuffy, he's started coughing just today. Now I'm listening to him tonight and he's coughed/gagged a few times in the last hour. So tonight might be a long one...

Eating: He eats around 5-6 times a day, anywhere from 4-6oz. It's usually only once during the night and then every three or so hours during the day. We haven't started solids yet, but probably will in the next month. I'm waiting for him to be able to sit up better on his own and get a support pillow for our high chair.
This only lasted for a few seconds, unfortunately.

Favorite things:
-Mommy and Daddy
-His hands

Least favorite things:
-Acid reflux

5.5 month update
Date: August 30, 2014

Weight: I did take him to the doctor for more Zantac around 4.5 months and he was almost 7kg (15.5 lbs!) I guess that's about the 40% for weight or something. For height, I forgot what he measured, but I remember looking at the chart and seeing that it was the 95 percentile! People keep saying he looks big. He is chunky in the thigh area, which is adorable, but he is also very long, which contributes to the higher weight. He definitely feels even heavier now, a little like a tank. Maybe he will be our football player?!

Clothing size: Definitely in 6 months. And some of it is almost too short. Not too tight, but too short. Can't believe I'm even contemplating having to put my almost 6 month old in 9 month stuff. Football player, I tell you.

Sleep: He goes to bed at around 7:45. Up until a few days ago, he was waking sometime around 12-2 and then maybe around 6 and then getting up for real around 10. I finally figured out that he was waking himself up by rolling over onto his back while he was sleeping. If I gently roll him back over and hold my hand on his back for a minute, he goes back to sleep. The last week that's happened and then he's slept until 7:45am (and 5:45am yesterday)! Pretty amazing! Really hoping that trend continues. 
He wakes up for the day sometime around 9:30/10. And then takes two more 1.5 hour naps or three 45 minute naps. He does not like to be rocked to sleep and will always want to be put down into his bed to suck his hand to sleep. Except for bedtime when I hold him and feed him to sleep. When I burp him, he usually sleeps on me for as long as I want to wait to actually lay him in bed. I often don't rush if I don't have to. It's such a nice snuggly time and I look forward to it every night.
Blurry, but sweet.

Eating: He takes 6oz or less of formula 4-5 times a day and has 3 solid food meals a day. Right now, his food list is: Rice cereal, oatmeal, sweet potatoes, carrots, pumpkin, butternut squash, bananas, and pears. Hoping to introduce some peas, broccoli, and green beans soon before he turns orange.
Definitely a solid food fan.
First day of peas! Loved them.

Favorite things:
-Daddy. He likes me for sure, but when I'm holding him and Quinn is anywhere nearby, he will stare at him like Quinn is the end all be all until he gets Q's attention and then he grins and gets super excited. It is probably the most awesome thing he does.
-Mirrors (still)
-Abram and Selah
-Eating solids
-The TV (we try not to let him watch it, but sometimes it's impossible...)

Least favorite things:
-Being tired
-Being rocked or held like a baby when he's tired
-Being hungry
-That's it. He really is our happiest and most easy going baby to date!

I can't believe that he is the same child we had four months ago. The formula, Zantac, and sheer age has really done wonders for this kid. He's such a blessing to our family. I am so thankful that the Lord chose him to add to our little brood. Can't wait to see how his personality develops as he grows.

I also can't believe that I should technically be writing his 6 month update in only two weeks. Seeing as this post took almost two months to write, we will see how that goes.

Love you Simon Paul! You are the best baby boy any of us could have hoped for.

Monday, July 28, 2014

...of a poster child

15 weeks ago, I posted an adorable picture of Simon sleeping with a caption that said something to the effect of him being our most high maintenance baby yet and screaming like we were cutting off his limb whenever he wasn't eating. 

5 weeks later, we found out he was tongue tied. We had it revised (clipped), but he still had a very high palate. So he basically couldn't nurse. He was hungry. Switched him to formula and the crying diminished, but he was still crying and screaming often. Nothing we did helped. 

3 weeks later we took him to a doctor in America to talk about GERD (acid reflux). He was a classic case and we'd suspected all along but thought it would just improve. But it just seemed to be worse. We started him on Zantac, and within two days... he was like a completely different baby.

Now, 7 weeks later, at 19 weeks old, he is the most agreeable, amiable, go with the flow baby we could imagine. And we regularly think back to those rough days God brought us through and are so thankful for The Lord's faithfulness and blessings through modern medicine. 

And THAT is my Zantac commercial for the day. 

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

...of three (and a half) months

Well, Simon's three month post is coming to you late, as usual. Man. Three kids and overseas/cross country travel really puts a damper on the blog thing. Anyway,  here's an update on the Si Guy.

Right before his three month birthday, we went to the doctor and he was 5.6 kg or about 12 lbs 6 oz. On formula, he has jumped up from the 5th percentile for weight at two months to the 25th at three months! Not sure if he'll keep shooting up there or that's where he will plateau. We might take him to see our old, wonderful pediatrician in Austin before we head home for his four month check up.

Since we started formula, our nights have gotten so, so much better. He can go up to 10 hours without eating (he's done that once), but his normal night starts around 8pm. He sleeps until around 3am, eats quickly and goes right back to sleep until around 8am. Sometimes he will go back to sleep after that, but he usually gets up for a little bit and heads back down for a nap not too long after waking up. His naps have been erratic because of all the visiting we've been up to. He seldom sleeps in the car seat, but normally takes his best naps in the Beco carrier (with Quinn) or the wrap (with me).
Today, he miraculously took a two hour morning nap in his own bed! Not sure if we are starting something new or it was just a fluke.

So we started formula about a month ago. And it's been so much better for him. I felt some guilt at first at not being about to continue breastfeeding, but we realized he was almost literally starving. Poor guy. He just wasn't good at nursing. We thought the tongue tie revision at nine weeks would change everything, but it didn't. I'm not sure if we were too late or if his really high palette was the problem, but it just wasn't working for any of us. When we finally started formula full time, he started putting on healthy weight and sleeping so much better. Then we had to figure out (or admit) that he had acid reflux. He was horribly unhappy 90% of the time he was awake. Angry, screaming, fussy.
Then he would spit up and have a few happy minutes until the next time he needed to spit up. And this kid spits up a lot.
I took him to a doctor in Colorado, she prescribed Zantac, he started it, and he's been like a different child. Not only is his sleeping better, but he is now happy 90% of the time. It's been a real God-send and answer to prayer.

Believe it or not, I'm pretty sure he is busting through his first tooth as we speak. Teething at three months sounds insane. Especially since we know kids who don't have teeth at one year. But the other kids got their first teeth at four months. Strangely, Abram got his first teeth while we were visiting our friends in the UAE/Oman and Selah got hers in Boise when we were here last. Maybe he knew he needed to keep with tradition and get his first teeth somewhere other than at home. Four months would have been too late :) I think I actually felt it starting to poke through today. He's had a white spot there for almost two weeks, so I wouldn't be surprised. But if it's the case, he's broken a family record!

He's finally started relaxing his hands and grabbing at stuff. He's super alert and smiley when he's awake and he's talking (cooing) more now. He absolutely loves bath time, but hates being taken out of the bath.

 He's getting into the stage of infancy that Quinn and I admittedly like so much more than the newborn stage. I'm excited for him to get more interactive with his brother and sister and us.

He's quite the handsome buddy and for all of the difficulties we had through the first few months, we wouldn't trade it for all the full nights of sleep in a lifetime.

Here are some pics of a few of the people that Simon has had the privilege of meeting for the first time on this trip:

Great Grandpa Shockley
Great Aunt Kris
 Aunt Hilary
Great Aunt Pam
Cousin Lizzy
Family friend, Anne.
Great Aunt Cindy
Great Grandma Smith
Bopa and cousin Silas

Happy three months, SiMan! We all love you so much!