Saturday, February 28, 2009

Let It Snow!

We had a major cold front move through here last night, and it brought snow with it! It's just an inch or two on the ground - thankfully it hasn't been cold enough here for the roads to freeze. But it snowed pretty heavily all day, and it was pretty in the air! So when Elias and I took a quick trip to WalMart this afternoon, Daddy took a few pictures of us - Elias in his first snowstorm! I really don't like snow or cold weather, but my cutie pie makes everything more fun!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Whose Best & Whose Worst?!

Whenever you have a child, you hope they're going to have all the best parts of you and your spouse, yet not inherit your bad traits. Unfortunately, we can't choose which of our traits our children will inherit, so we just have to see what they got and make the best of it as they grow up! So we're watching Elias to try to see what he got from each of us and how he develops as he grows. In the past couple weeks, I've seen two things that he looks like he got from us, and it's yet to be determined whether they're good things or not.

First of all, his two front teeth are growing in, and there is definitely a gap between them! In case any of you don't know, I have a gap between my front teeth that braces didn't fix. (They would've if I had worn a retainer for the rest of my life - once I lost the retainer, the gap came back.) I don't mind it, I think it gives me something unique about my appearance, and my teeth are great besides that. No matter how much I enjoy my gap, though, we really had hoped that Elias wouldn't inherit it, just for the sake of orthodontist bills later in life! (Of course, even if he didn't have a gap, he still might've needed braces. But still!) We had hope because my sister had a gap that braces did fix, and of her two children, only one inherited the gap. So we knew it didn't HAVE to be passed down. However, we asked the pediatrician last time we were there, and she said that it's really too early to tell if he's going to have a gap in his baby teeth, but even if he does, that doesn't necessarily mean there will be one when his permanent teeth come in. Soooo, we still have 8 or so more years of suspense until we know for sure whether Elias will get the gap!

The other is a much better thing in my opinion. Last week we were at the Baby & Me group at the library, which involves songs, stories, and a craft. That week's craft was coloring, and Elias had never used crayons before. When he saw the crayons, he immediately picked one up with his left hand and held it properly as if he were going to color. (Justin is a leftie.) I tried switching it from his left to his right and he wouldn't take it. Then I even tried letting him keep the one in his left and yet also putting one in his right. Nope, nothing doing. This is obviously not conclusive evidence that Elias is going to be left-handed, but it could be a sign that way! I think it would be great if Elias was left-handed like his daddy, although I will do my best to make sure his handwriting is better!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Blog Changes Coming

Just to give you all a heads up, I'm working on a massive overhaul of my blog! For some time, I have been wanting to come up with a new blog title and look that better conveys what I'm trying to use my blog for. Last night, God gave me the perfect name for my blog - I'm so excited! So now I'm trying to figure out blogger and how to use prettier templates besides the boring ones they offer, so have patience with me as my blog will be looking different each time you visit for a while... I'll get it all pulled together soon!

WFMW: Stick Blender

For this week's edition of Works For Me Wednesday, I'm going to talk about an appliance that changed my life. It may be a no-brainer for some of you, but it was quite a revelation for me. This life-changing appliance is the stick blender I use to make baby food.

A little bit of background: I have a Magic Bullet, which is an AWESOME blender and worked great to make Elias' baby food when he was just getting started. However, he's older now and wants thicker, chunkier food. I think that's great and I want him to move to table food as soon as possible, but I was having a terrible time trying to make it in the Magic Bullet. The problem was that in order to make thicker food, you add less water when pureeing, and that just didn't work with the Magic Bullet (or any blender, for that matter). The food just wouldn't move down to the blades to be mashed. I was seriously at the point of throwing in the towel and just moving to jarred food.

But then, a ray of light came down from heaven and landed upon a stick blender that was on markdown clearance at Aldi for a mere $8.99. I figured I might as well give it a try, and I tell you, it has changed my life. It does a great job in pureeing the foods, and I don't add any water at all.

Above you see some carrots I steamed, and below you see what the stick blender did to them. Awesome!The only drawback I have found to using this stick blender is that Elias is scared of the noise, so I can't run it when he's in the room. It doesn't wake him up, though, so I just do it while he's napping.

So for any of you mamas who are or will be making baby food, consider investing in one of these when your little one is ready for stage 2 foods!

Please note the new host site for the WFMW theme: www.wearethatfamily.com.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

The Stats

Elias had his 9-month checkup today, and here are his stats:

Weight: 21 lbs, 10 oz (60%)
Length: 30.25" (95%)
Head: 18" (50%)

My big boy! He has dropped a bit in the weight percentile, but he has increased in the others... If he gets any taller, he'll be off the charts! So he's growing more up than out, and I think that's great. I had been worried about how MUCH this child eats, but he's certainly not getting too fat. So I guess just bring on the food!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Mailbox Monday

This is another blog theme that a lot of the frugal blogs post weekly, showing all the neat free things they got in the mail that week. I don't get enough stuff to do this weekly, but I did get a LOT of things this week, so I thought I'd show them off!Most exciting to me is a check for $13.72 from ebates.com. Ebates is a site that gives you cashback for shopping online at most of the stores you would anyway - you just get the bonus by clicking through ebates to do it. This check is the $5 bonus I got for signing up, plus the $8.72 cashback I got when we bought Elias' carseat at babycenter.com. If you sign up through my referral link, then not only will you get the $5 sign-up bonus, but I'll get a $5 bonus for referring you! Everybody wins! So if you're interested, please click here to join! I mean, free samples and coupons are great, but you can't beat cold hard cash!

A free 12-month onesie from the Pampers Gifts to Grow program! As many of you know, I don't use disposable diapers, but Money Saving Mom put enough free codes on her blog that I was able to get enough points to get this. Not only is it free clothes for my baby, which is always good, but Pampers also donates 7 cents to UNICEF for each one of these onesies that is ordered. Click here to learn how to do it yourself!

A coupon for a free sub sandwich at Quizno's! (This actually came to my email inbox, but it was exciting and I wanted to share about it.) They're giving away free sandwiches to the first million people who register, so hurry over to get yours! Sign up here. I registered both myself and Justin, so we both got coupons! Free dinner - SCORE!

Free sample of Total Cranberry Crunch that came with a $0.75 coupon. Sign up here to get yours.

Free Huggies booklet with $3.50 in coupons, which I got by joining the Huggies Baby Network. Sign up here.

Free sample of Always Infinity maxipad that came with a $1 coupon. Sign up here to get yours from Wal-Mart.

Free sample of Splenda with Fiber, plus a $1 coupon. Click here to order your own.

Coupon for $3 off 3 Johnson's products - this one was a printable offered online, but I had trouble printing it, so they mailed me one instead. From what I've read, you can get Johnson's products for under $1 at Wal-Mart, so this will get me three free products. Sorry, this one isn't still available. They do them quite often, though, so if you're interested, keep your eyes peeled!

A free issue of Family Fun Magazine. I actually was able to snag a free 2-year subscription to this, so I'm excited about that! Sorry, the offer isn't still available.

So how about all that neat fun stuff?!?! It's fun to be frugal. :)

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Clapping!

OK, this is weird! Before today, Elias has not shown any signs of even being close to clapping his hands. He was always interested whenever we clapped our hands, but the closest he has ever come to that motion is when he does the "more" sign while eating. But today, we got home from church, fed him his lunch, and he started clapping when he was done eating! Like real, coordinated clapping that makes the good noise and everything. Then he did it again later when Daddy started clapping his hands. What on earth?! Did they do something at church with him?? I'm going to ask them next week if they taught him how to clap! :)

Saturday, February 21, 2009

9 Months!

My precious boy turned 9 months old today! NINE months! That seems so long, and yet so short. He is growing and developing by leaps and bounds! I guess our biggest developments this month were teeth and mobility. He has 4 teeth now - 2 bottom, 2 top. And he's still army crawling, but getting faster and better every day! I finally invested in a safety gate because one of his new favorite things to do is make a break down the hallway when I'm not looking. So I'm going to have to gate that off so he can't leave the room on me! It's dangerous even in the living room with me, though, because his favorite thing to do there is crawl under the end tables and play with the lamp cords. Geez! So the lamps have to go too. On my list of things to do next week is do a thorough baby-proofing where I crawl around on my hands and knees and get a baby's-eye-view of what needs to be changed to make it safe for him! Trying to decide between installing cabinet latches and just moving anything potentially hazardous to a higher location... (I'm afraid cabinet latches would prevent Justin and me from being able to get what we need, too!)

Now that he's so mobile, though, we're trying to come up with ways to keep him contained, yet happy when we have things we need to do and he's awake. So far, his favorite option is still the old standby Exersaucer. He can seriously stay in that thing like 30 minutes, if needed. Another newer option that he likes most days is a walker that his Cousin Joshua handed down to him. He hasn't entirely figured out how to make it go yet, but he really likes the music it plays. That's usually the option we go for when I need to contain him while cooking dinner, since the kitchen is a tile floor where the walker works best. We also recently borrowed a Johnny Jump Up from some friends, and we thought he'd LOVE it since he's so active with his legs. He's only been in it twice, but it hasn't been the big hit we thought. Usually he bounces for about 5 minutes before he starts yelling to get out.

Another new thing this month is shoes. I've tried putting shoes on him before, and he SCREAMED at me and kicked them off. But he's getting big enough now, and I'm getting tired of people asking "Where are his shoes?" So I instituted the rule that he has to wear shoes whenever we leave the house. And really it only took one time of fighting and wrestling to get them on, and then he was fine. Now it's not a battle at all to get him to wear shoes. And he's SO DARN CUTE in them!
At each of his 3-month milestones previous to this, we've gone to Wal-Mart and gotten portraits made. However, after having a bad experience at Wal-Mart for his 6-month portraits, we decided to try to take some cute ones at home for his 9-months. Errr, this is the best of what we got:Cute, but not incredibly professional looking... He just wouldn't sit still! He kept crawling at the camera and trying to grab it... (You can see that we even tried bribing him with his Jimmie Johnson toy car... Didn't work.) Maybe we'll go to Wal-Mart after all... :)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WFMW: Vinegar in Smelly Laundry

I've decided to take part in a weekly blog theme called "Works For Me Wednesdays," abbreviated as WFMW. Basically, it’s just any blogger who wants to participate posts a blog on Wednesdays sharing some tip, idea, trick, product, or whatever else “works for them.” Hence the name. Then we post links to them all in one place. (This week that will be rocksinmydryer.net, but the host site will be changing next week… Stay tuned!) But I’ve been discovering a lot of neat tips and tricks that make my life easier, and so I thought it would be fun and maybe helpful to some else for me to share them.

So my first WFMW tip is putting vinegar in my laundry. Let me explain. When I was pregnant with Elias, I did research about laundry detergent and fabric softeners, and we made the decision to start using detergent that was fragrance- and dye-free and to stop using softener altogether. (We use All Free & Clear because it’s the cheapest of the free detergents.) That is better not only for us, but also for the environment and for our budget. However, this means that we don’t have anything perfumed to cover up unwanted odors in our laundry.


I have a son who is a heavy-wetter, which means he OFTEN has clothes that get leaked upon. They obviously don’t smell so great, and just the normal wash wasn’t enough to get the smell completely out. I also have a husband who has to wear a shirt and tie to teach every day, which means that sometimes he sweats and his shirts don’t always smell like daisies either. So I had to find a way to get the odors out of our laundry without just covering them up with perfumes. So I did some online searching and found that adding vinegar to your laundry in place of fabric softener will actually neutralize the odors, not just cover them up.

I figured it couldn’t hurt to try, and unbelievably, it works! Just add about a cup of vinegar (more for super-stinky loads, less for not-so-stinky) to your rinse cycle the way you would with softener. I actually use the machine’s dispenser so I don’t have to go back during the rinse cycle. (I mean, who has time for that?!) But it does leave my washing machine smelling like vinegar, so if you don’t want that, then you may consider a different method of dispensation. It neutralizes the bad smells, but it doesn’t leave your clothes smelling like vinegar – they just smell CLEAN!


So vinegar definitely Works For Me.

"More, Please!"

About a month ago, I started working with Elias to teach him some sign language. I want him to be able to communicate a bit with us even before he can talk, and especially when he needs or wants something, I want him to ask for it instead of just crying. So our first concentrated effort at signing was to teach him "More, please," when he's eating. So I was VERY excited when he started using the sign for "more" in the past couple days! He's still not incredibly consistent with it, but it is clear that's what he's doing, and I am thrilled! Today I set the camera on the counter and filmed a bit of it to share my pride with the world!

I always show him the signs, then take his hands and have him do the sign, so that's what you see at first in the video. But after that, he's doing it all by himself!
video
I'm so proud of him! Can't wait til we get "please" down too!

By the way, if you're wondering what that banging noise is, this child NEVER stops kicking. Ever. So that's him kicking the footrest of his high chair.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Our Valentine's Day

We had a fun Valentine's Day yesterday! First of all, we watched the UK game on TV, and it was very enjoyable! Jodie Meeks is insane. Elias even enjoyed watching a little bit!

Then we went to the basketball game at SBU, where Justin teaches. This was the first game we had all been to together - it was FUN! I was surprised how well Elias did - he sat on my lap and just watched the game! He would seriously watch the guys run up and down the court. I thought he might be scared by the noise, especially the buzzer, but he was just fine. He had a great time, and we all did too!I thought we were all cute in our matching SBU gear.

Then we just spent the rest of the evening at home. I cooked dinner which I must say was fabulous! I made Crab-Stuffed Portobellos and Valentine Roasted Asparagus. It was so pretty I took a picture!I thought the heart-shaped red peppers on top of the asparagus was cute. I can't take credit for the idea, though - I found it online!

I'm so thankful for both my boys - my sweet valentines!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Changing Table Debate

I just thought I'd post a quick update about our changing table debate! (If you missed the original post on this topic, you can read it here. THANKS to all of you who made comments with suggestions and sympathy - it really helps to know we're not alone!) We decided to keep fighting it out. We want Elias to learn to obey his parents, especially in situations where he could get hurt. So he needs to learn what "No" means, and we feel like this is a good place to start. Thinking about it, that's the whole reason we did the BabyWise program in the first place. (Well, that and we wanted to be able to sleep at night!) We felt that we wanted to start from the very beginning establishing Daddy and Mommy as the leaders of the home - Elias is NOT the boss! We want him to learn to trust us as people who love him, want what's best for him, and know better than him what is best, and we want him to learn to obey us as his authority figures. This will set him up to learn to trust and obey God later in his life! So I know that's adding a deeper dimension to just a silly problem with rolling over on the changing table, but we want to be parents who think about this stuff and teach Elias the significance behind even the most mundane decisions.

So anyways, all that to say, every time Elias rolls over on the changing table, we roll him back over and tell him "No!" He got mad at first, but he's already stopped resisting as much. It also helps that I think I found THE toy that will distract him - a large stuffed elephant with crinkly ears that you pull its trunk and it plays music. (A hand-me-down from my sis - THANKS, Jess!) It's only been a couple days, but I've never had him roll over on the changing table when he has Elly Fent in his hands!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Little Drummer Boy

Elias got toy drums for Christmas, and he really likes them! Daddy snapped some pictures of him jammin' on them this week.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

This is NOT a fun game!

My son has a new game he likes to play that he thinks is really funny. It's called "Roll Over on the Changing Table While Mommy or Daddy is Trying to Change My Diaper or Dress Me." Not funny, kid.At first I was really resisting - rolling over on the changing table is dangerous and, especially if someone else is changing him who isn't prepared for him flinging himself around, he could fall. However, besides him getting really angry and screaming whenever I try to prevent him from rolling over, it takes both hands to restrain him and then I can't do whatever I have him on the changing table for in the first place. I did some searching online and found that this is a very common problem, and most people said they never found a solution. Lots said that they can offer a "contraband" item that baby isn't usually allowed to play with (wipes, tube of cream, clean diaper, etc.) to distract the baby long enough to do a fast change. Doesn't work with my child. He prefers to play on his tummy. So I've now perfected the art of changing a diaper/dressing him while he's laying on his tummy. That was really interesting with a dirty diaper this morning! I'm hoping this is just a phase and he'll grow out of it...

Monday, February 09, 2009

Update on Tooth and Naps

The front tooth FINALLY came through today. It has been coming for weeks, and today it finally broke through. Yippee! We can also see the other top tooth coming in - hopefully this one won't take weeks!

Also, the severe napping strike seemed to only last 2 days. Wimpy, I know. We had a big weekend with some friends in town, so his schedule was a little off, and he napped pretty well through all that. So we'll see if he naps now that they're gone - he did today!

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Jeepers, Creeper!

Elias is getting mobile now! I think the technical term for what he's doing is "creeping," because it's not quite crawling. But we definitely have forward motion! Here's a video I took this afternoon:

I'm proud of him and excited, yet also kind of fearful. Gone are the days I can just leave him laying on the blanket and he'll still be there when I get back! I think our house is fairly childproofed already, but I guess it's time to get serious about making sure everything's safe for our roaming bandit.

In case you're wondering why I started singing to him at the end, it's something he does with his daddy that he doesn't do with me. Justin can sing to him and Elias will "sing" back - really more like a shriek, but it's cute! He is getting VERY vocal these days - babbles, shrieks, grunts, you name it!

And I have a lot of time to hear him vocalize because he seems to be on a napping strike. My friend, Ashlee, has a son who is just 1.5 months older than Elias, and she blogged about her son doing this when he was about Elias' age. I'm thankful she did or else I might be panicking right now! He's gone from napping 4-4.5 hours during the day to napping 45 minutes-1 hour. Total. Ummm, what?! It was just all of the sudden he decided to stop sleeping! He's not fussy or tired, and he doesn't complain that I put him in his crib for naptime even if he doesn't sleep. I think it might have to do with his motor developments being too exciting to allow sleep, and also his top teeth are coming in, both of which may be affecting the napping. Thankfully, he's still sleeping AWESOME at night, so that's most important to us. Ashlee said it only lasted a couple weeks for her son, so I'm praying that's the way it is with us!

Monday, February 02, 2009

Super Bowl Party = NOT Fun!

Last night we attempted to go to a Super Bowl Party with our Sunday School class. We got there right before kickoff and settled Elias on the floor with the other babies the way they always play when we all get together. However, only a few minutes went by before E started screaming. What's up, baby dude? We would pick him up, comfort him, and put him back down - screaming again in just 10 minutes. Before too long, even holding him wasn't doing the trick. We even tried putting him down for a nap in the Pack 'n Play at the friends' house where we were... Yeah, right. No chance of sleeping! He just screamed for about 30 minutes before we gave up and took him home. As soon as we get him in the car, he's fine. Once we're home, he plays happily with his toys until bedtime.

What on earth?!?!?!?! He is never like that! One of the other moms said "He is so sensitive!" No, he's not! I've never seen him act like that!

I think there were several different factors that, all combined together, made for our Super Bowl Flop. First of all, it was Sunday. Sundays are just hard for our little man! During the week, he sleeps 2-2.5 hours during his morning nap; on Sundays, he gets MAYBE 30 minutes. That's already a recipe for disaster. Combine that with an afternoon nap that didn't go well that day, and we've got one TIRED boy on our hands.

Second, he's not used to crowds. Being home alone with me all day makes him not really used to the party atmosphere. Combine that with the fact that they had it dark in there because some people actually wanted to watch the game (Go figure!), plus the group would occasionally start shouting at the TV, and I think he just got scared.

I'm concerned about him panicking at the party, though. Makes me think that I'm not getting him enough social interaction. He goes to the nursery every week at church and does fine, and he sees the other babies whenever our small group meets, which is pretty irregular. But that's it. So, I'm going to start taking him to the weekly "Baby & Me" storytime at our public library, and I hope maybe that'll help broaden his horizons. Anybody have any thoughts, experience, or suggestions about this matter? I want to raise a well-adjusted child who is not the kind whose parents have to leave a party early because he's melting down!!!