Monday, December 22, 2014

Holiday Photo Session and Christmas Cards

Just wanted to squeeze in a little holiday cheer on my blog before Christmas, because it's been one heck of a month and Mark and I are living on borrowed time from the ever-dreaded and popular FLU that is circling through our family this season.

Our month started off with Stella getting croup.  She was really sick for about 10 days.  We made 2 trips to the doctor, 1 to the hospital, and 2 to the pharmacy before we could call her recovered.  Her throat was very tight, she had a hard time breathing, sleeping, name it and she struggled with it!  I must say she remained as cute and lovable as ever, even continuing to do her trademark "dance" (or arms raised in "Praise Jesus" form as we call it) when her new baby doll sang to her.  She is such a sweet girl!

So for the first half of the month we were not in holiday mode at all, but by the 13th Stella was doing better and the weather was beautiful (upper 40s) so we decided to get our tree (more on that in another holiday blog post).  Not even a week after that the flu hit.  It started with my sister and nephew and then moved onto my mom and then to poor little Stella.  This didn't bring her down as much as croup did but she threw up a couple of times Friday night and then twice in her crib overnight Saturday night (you haven't lived until you pull puke out of a baby's ears with a q-tip.  super fun.).  She's not eating as much as normal and has had diarrhea (which was a welcome site actually as the constipation has been bugging her off and on since her birthday), but other than that she still seems happy-go-lucky.  I have been keeping her home all week though, just in case.  Tomorrow I hope to finish up my shopping, wrapping, and baking as well as take Stella to see Santa.  Big day but gotta fit it all in, Christmas is in 2 days!!  I am just praying Mark and I make it through without getting the flu ourselves.  We've both been drinking lots of OJ and taking it easy as we've felt slightly run down.  Maybe it's from caring for a sick baby all month, that is exhausting!  Even our dog Kaiser decided to join the club and throw up all over the basement!

So...onto the fun part of the post!  Back in early November we had a family holiday mini-photo shoot with a local photographer I have been so eager to work with.  She did not disappoint!  Check out her website Sarah Sunstrom Photography to see just how awesome she really is!  Here are a few of my favorite images from our session (and yes, I do own the rights to these photos.  included in the package we got)...

I was so in love that I already booked a full session with her for this summer.  I mean if she can capture these in 10 minutes during windy, freezing weather I can hardly wait to see what she can shoot in an hour and a half with sunset lighting!!  Super excited!

Finally I wanted to share our Christmas card.  I had a simpler one made to mail out to all Mark's customers (I just whipped one up from Wal Mart because he of course told me last minute he needed them!), but for our family ones I splurged on some great cards from Shutterfly.  I had a million coupons so I got them for a great price!  I love Christmas cards and I hope to make our mini-photo session a yearly tradition. 

I will do another holiday post after the holidays, I have lots more pictures from our adventures to share.  But right now my house needs tidying and my baby needs snuggles while watching Veggie Tales Christmas Songs (for the 100th time).  Merry Christmas to all, enjoy your health, families, and please remember the reason for the season!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Stella Anne's 1st Birthday Celebration!!

Stella's first birthday fell on a Monday, but we were in party mode by the Thursday before!  That Thursday afternoon my mom watched Stella while I went shopping for the party (I had went the Saturday before that for decorations and this trip was for food-I have a short shopping attention span!).

We opted to have Stella's party at the Community Center in Annawan.  It was only $25 to rent it for the day, and I was able to get in the day before to decorate!  We hoped to have it at our house, but Mark was just too busy to get the shop ready.  It was a good thing we decided to have it in town because it snowed the day of her party and was SUPER cold...record low temps.  She was born on a day full of tornadoes...her birthday is one for the books weather-wise!  Anyways, on Friday I packed everything up and headed to town late in the afternoon.  I picked the key up at the library and then Stella and I went to my moms.  We ordered pizza with Abby & Ryder and Mark joined us after work.  After giving Stella a bath with Ryder (wow did they enjoy that!  hysterical laughing!) and putting her to bed at my mom's (Stella and I were spending the night there to make the party preparation go smoother) Mark and I headed uptown to decorate.  He is such a good sport, he never once complained!  We went with a "Our Little Pumpkin" birthday theme, which matched the baby shower I had last fall (read all about that HERE).  I love fall, and it saved us money because I mostly used decorations from my house, plus some leftovers from the baby shower.  The place looked beautiful by 11:00pm!  Mark and I enjoyed decorating, we had some coffee and (he had) beers and made the most of it.  I have read several blog entries about the debate over "Pinterest Parenting"  (you know, those parents who go out of their way to decorate, throw parties, etc...vs. those who just prefer to wing it).  I gotta say I think both sides are right.  You have to identify your style of parenting and go with it.  If you fight your instincts you will be miserable and that will reflect on your children.  BUT...while you are going with your own flow, don't criticize the other team.  As long as you are doing your best to make your children happy and enjoying it along the way, you are winning.  There's no need for heckling.  As a stay at home mom and previous 2nd grade teacher, I ENJOY party planning, decorating, and projects.  And even though he'd never admit it, so does my husband.  Wow, anyhow, stepping off my soap box and back to the birthday weekend...

Mark headed home after decorating because he had to go into work for a few hours Saturday morning.  I stayed at my moms to avoid the half hour drive home and back again in the morning.  When I got up on Saturday I ran to Wal Mart to grab some fresh flowers, white chocolate mocha's, and a few misc. items I had forgot.  Then it was back to the Center to put the finishing touches on the decorations.  My awesome mom watched Stella so I could get this stuff done, and kept an eye on the food we threw in the crock pots that morning.  I went back to my mom's late morning to shower and get ready.  The party was set to start at 2:00 pm.  My dad and Mark came into town around 12:30 and we headed back to the Center to set the food out and blow up balloons (we bought our own little helium tank so we didn't have to wrestle balloons into the car).  The cake was dropped off at 1:30 and my mom and sister dressed Stella and brought her up at 2 (after a nap, can't have a crabby birthday girl!)

The party was so much fun!  After enjoying appetizers and socializing we started opening Stella's gifts.  All her cousins were such a big help!  Stella enjoyed holding the cards and laughed at all the cousins.  She LOVES little kids!  The wagon from Grandpa was a big hit and everyone got to take turns getting a ride.  The it was time for cake!  I thought Stella would really be into eating her smash cake, but it took her a little bit.  Ryder was only too happy to show her how to eat it :-)  She did eat a bit of it before she got bored.  Mark and I took her in the kitchen and washed her off in the sink.  Around 4:30 almost everyone was gone, so we started the clean-up.  NOT FUN!  My mother-in-law, dad, and Mark were a huge help.  By 9:00 my feet were swollen, I was super tired, and all too pleased to call the birthday party a success!  We loaded everything up at my moms and headed home to go straight to bed.  Stella sat in her bouncy chair and played with a balloon during the entire clean up, good as gold!  Man I love her.

I woke up still exhausted on Sunday but forced myself to unpack, put away, and clean everything so we could enjoy Stella's birthday on Monday.  We had a ton of extra food, so I sent some with my dad, some to work with Mark, and saved whatever would keep for Thanksgiving.

Stella's birthday was quite the day.  She woke up crying.  I figured she was just tired from the weekend, but then we realized she was trying to poop.  She had been struggling to poop all weekend, but always got a little out and never cried so I didn't think too much of it with everything that was going on.  Looking back she hadn't had a normal poop in 4 days, which is really unlike her considering she usually poops about 4 times a day.  Well, the grunting and crying just kept getting worse.  Jenny said try some OJ and Abby said a warm bath.  We did both.  By this time I was crying and Mark had to come home.  She just couldn't go and was so upset.  The doctor finally returned my call and said to give her half a suppository.  The pill kicked in a few hours later and she was back in business!  So for her first birthday Stella Anne got a suppository and some prune juice.  Yes, I know this is probably TMI.  But I share because this is how life goes.  A beautiful party and happy girl one day and tears and pills up the rear the next.  It was sure a birthday to remember (I'm just glad Stella won't)!

Was glad I got some cute birthday pix before the tears set in!
Happy Birthday Stella!  just keeping it real.
12 months of cuteness.

1 year pictures taken by my talented friend.  Got a few with Ryder too!  Just beautiful.
To see all of Stella's pumpkin birthday party pictures click HERE.  Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!  I have my house cleaned and am excited to bring in the holiday season and a fresh new month!

Saturday, November 22, 2014

12 Month Update...Our baby is 1 year old!!!

Stella Anne is officially 1 year old!  Sometimes I feel like it flew by, other times it seems like a decade ago I was laying in that hospital bed.  This past year has been quite the ride.  I love my daughter on a whole other level, more than I ever thought was possible.  But I must say it's been a challenge for me to find the balance between being "Brooke" and being "mommy".  I struggle knowing when to let go and how to balance it all.  I'm sure we all do, but I've always been somewhat of a perfectionist, Type A person.  While I wouldn't change a thing, I do realize my goals have shifted from trying to make everything "perfect" to just enjoying the "imperfect" journey of raising a family.  I know if I don't find a better balance I will fail on all fronts.  This past year has been wonderful, but I look forward making the upcoming year even better!

So...what have we been up to?  I can sum the past month up in 3 words:  harvest, Halloween, and planning.  With the cold, freezing temps and light dusting of snow the past week, harvest is officially over!  Mark even had a 3 day weekend this weekend!  For Stella's first Halloween we attended a 2 parties (one was Beau's birthday party and the other was a friend's Halloween party...both had beautiful weather and were lots of fun), and spent trick-or-treating snuggled up at great-grandma and grandpa's (and out of the cold!)  The planning was getting ready for Stella's birthday party.  I love planning parties!  It was a lot of work, but it all came together perfectly.  I will do a separate post on her birthday weekend very soon, but for today I'm just sticking to the basic 12 month update.  At her 1 year check-up, Stella came in at 28" tall (13%) and 22 lbs (81%).

Enjoying the last nice days of fall!
The Routine:
Changed things up a bit this month.  For food, Stella took four 6oz bottles throughout the day:  morning, before nap, around 4:00, and before bed.  She ate breakfast around 10 (waffle, pancake, oatmeal, or banana) and lunch after her nap (I have been trying to use up all my homemade baby food before switching to strictly solids.  She does well with texture now, just don't want to waste anything!  So lunch is casserole with applesauce, a veggie, or cottage cheese).  Stella also loves snacking on puffs while I get her meal ready, and she always has a water/juice mixture to wash it down.  At 49 weeks I switched her to the Toddler Transitions formula.  I wasn't planning on it, but it's much cheaper plus I had tons of coupons.  Now I will begin weaning her from that to whole milk.  I am still using bottles and her "baby" sippy cup.  I tried a regular sippy cup and she did a lot of choking and then refused it.  I plan to keep trying and get rid of the bottles in the next couple of months.  Everything I read says to put them on a cup at 1 year, but no way is she ready for that!  I think (hope) as long as she doesn't have a sippy cup in her hand 24/7 it won't affect her teeth, appetite, or whatever else they say it does!  At 49 weeks I also added the 2nd layer in her cloth diapers.  I was changing them every hour and they were starting to leak often.  The 2nd layer and bigger fitting solved that problem!  But now she HATES having her diaper changed.  She throws a fit, kicks and screams.  Might almost be time to do away with the changing table...and welcome a huge backache for mommy!  Stella is still sleeping 7pm-7am...the time change threw her off a bit but she was back to normal after about 4 nights.  She's now napping from about 12-2pm, but she's been crying out often and waking early lately.  I'm positive she's teething again, we polished off the first bottle of Tylenol at 49 weeks.  Fun.  We did her bath in the shower and it worked much better...she's playing in the tub so much she started to get our whole kitchen wet!
So I never did a baby food post, and I realized I kept putting it off because I didn't have much to say!  I didn't use any special equipment, I made 1 food at a time, whenever I had time, and it worked out perfectly!  Click the picture to read how I did it!
Loves pulling her bouncy chair down and playing with it!

Hanging out in the office playing "farm" while mommy works.

A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestones:  Good news first.  She is now saying "mama" "dada" "hi" (with a wave) and "juice"  (more like "jjjjjjjccccee" but getting better every day!)  She is constantly babbling and talking jibberish.  She also "reads" (takes a book, holds it properly, and turns the pages).  She can put the rings back on her toy now and can pull the See & Say lever on her own.  She also "gives me 5" when I hold my hand out.  She's very independent and loves to play with her toys.  BUT.  She is developmentally delayed (gross motor).  Her doctor ordered X-rays of her hips to make sure there wasn't a physical problem.  Thankfully they came back fine.  But she doesn't stand, pull herself up, "cruise" the furniture, sit up from a laying position, or show any desire to crawl, scoot or walk.  He said we'll give her 4-6 weeks and then look into physical therapy if there are no changes.  Jenny is going to show me some stuff to work on with her.  I really don't want to have to do therapy.  I think she's just stubborn and content to sit, but I am still worried.  I will do what I can this next month and we'll just go from there.  Being optimistic, she is starting to lean over and put her knee down when she wants something far away.  But then she gets stuck and cries.  Amy gave us some baby bikes and she got a walk-behind lion for her birthday, so hopefully those will help!  She did scoot backwards on her Dora car!
  • Getting tickled.  She is so ticklish and laughs so hard!
  • Getting her nose sucked out.  Yep, wasn't just a newborn thing.  She laughed so hard when I had to pull it back out this month.  Crazy girl!
  • Singing at the TOP of her lungs in the car.  
  • Putting her hand in our mouths and feeling our tongues.  Girl is strange!
  • Balloons!  She loves them in stores so we splurged on several for her party.
  • Watching mommy vacuum.  Until I get out of sight, and then she cries hysterically.  Lucky for her our house is tiny and I'm never gone long :-)
Stella's favorite toys this month!

Every once and a while she'll get "on a roll"...literally!

"reading" in her swing

cruising on her Dora car

 Around the house:
  • Now that we have reached the big ONE I won't be doing monthly updates anymore.  I'll still update, probably every 3 months for the next year.  I have so much to work on this winter!  Mark has told me a hundred times he can't wait for winter to spend more time with us, and I'd have to say I agree.  I love nice weather and fall is my favorite season, but I always look forward to "hibernating" for the winter.  Just cuddling on the couch, working on projects, and taking time for myself.  I've been using this blog to keep track of Stella's progress, but this winter it's time to scrapbook, work on her baby book, and so many other fun and exciting things!  So I'll see you in February for her 15 month update, but after Thanksgiving I will do a post on her birthday party/weekend!!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

11 Month Update

Lots of celebrating this month!  We tried to live it up while we could knowing harvest was just around the corner.  We are now entering the "daddy's never home" stage.  Only now it's not just mama missing him...Stella cries when he leaves her in the morning and claps when he comes home (on the rare occasion he makes it home before she goes to bed).  But prior to this past week, we took a fun "adult" trip to Chicago (read about that HERE), celebrated Mark's and my birthdays (read what we did HERE), attended the Bomleny reunion, and got Stella's 1 year pictures taken (a bit early, we wanted to catch the beautiful fall weather...I will be sharing those around her birthday).  We also spent plenty of time playing with all Stella's wonderful cousins.  Having a big family is truly the best (especially when you all really get along!).
Swinging with Ryder.

Picnic fun with Mo.

best friends.  hanging out at the reunion.

The Routine:
Reading the monthly food routine from last month made me realize NOTHING changed at all!  I did introduce a few table foods here and there, but she always gagged.  Finally I was able to get her to eat pancakes (48 weeks).  Hopefully it will be easier from here on out!  I made a chicken stew and she hated it at first, but after a few tries she grew to love it.  She likes any vegetable and meal heated up a bit now.  We are done with the afternoon nap, she still sleeps from 7am-7pm, but now she naps from about 11:30-1:00.  I actually prefer one longer nap as opposed to two short ones :-)  (46 weeks).  Also a quick note about bath time:  she now wants to sit up in the tub and is enjoying playing in the bath.  Time to get the bath toys out!

bath time with her favorite toy:  the green ring.  simple kid.

yumm, pancakes!
A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestones:  Again...EEEKKK!  Stella is really "behind the curve".  I say this with love.  But she doesn't show any interest in crawling, standing, or pulling herself up.  She loves to play and jump in her bouncer and is super flexible, but she just doesn't want to move.  She's a good baby but I can't help but be concerned.  I work with her a few times throughout the day.  She gets upset, but we're trying.  I'm anxious to see how her check-up goes next month.  She did learn a few new tricks this month:  she can sit up on her own from a reclining position (when she falls back on the pillow), she knows if she's holding a toy during a clothes change she needs to switch hands when I pull her arm through her shirt, she can repeat "mama" after I say it, and she had her 3rd & 4th bottom teeth poke through (45 weeks).  With 8 teeth, we started brushing her teeth this month and she loves it!  Last week she was fussy, drooly, and really poopy.  I think more teeth are on their way, and this time I wasn't shy with the Tylenol!
  • Stella is scared of a few things.  So I guess these AREN"T her favorite things:  men (except daddy), the car wash, elevators, loud noises, Kaiser barking, and every time the car or stroller come to a stop.  This makes shopping and running errands not very fun!
  • Now back to the favorites.  Playing and rolling the ball back to you.  Or trying anyways.
  • Sitting turned around in her stroller like a big girl.
  • Grabbing out of reach toys with her toes or pulling the blanket she sits on toward her until she can reach the toy.  Seriously, girl doesn't wanna move.
  • Making the "kkkkk" sound and just constant babbling in general.
  • Ryder and Kaiser.  They make her laugh so hard that she turns red and the vein pops out in her forehead.
  • Laughing when babies and kids cry.  Guess we're going to have a manners lesson soon...
  • Playing "peek a boo" around the side of the couch.
  • Shaking her head back and forth when she's happy.
  • Slapping her bare tummy during diaper changes.

Popsicles with Grandpa

watching Ryder play at Grandma's

baby's first doll
 Around the house:
  • Sadly I spoke too soon about my medication.  After being off it for a bit I felt the old feelings creeping back in.  I made the decision to stick with it until December like my doctor suggested.  I have a check-up before the New Year and we'll go from there.  It's always harder doing everything on my own but I know that's a part of our life every Spring and Fall.  Now it's just time to focus on getting ready for Stella's birthday!  I am excited for her party!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Birthday Fun

Fall is my absolute favorite time of year, so it works out perfectly that Mark, Stella and I all celebrate our birthdays in the fall!  We don't usually do too much since Mark is almost always in the middle of harvest, but since it's been pushed back a bit this year we decided to have some fun.

Mark's birthday is October 5th.  He went out with some friends the night before and we had plans to spend the day with Stella in Peoria.  Of course, she decided not to nap and it was pretty chilly out so we lounged around the house and went out for some delicious Mexican food that night.  It was Mark's first time going to dinner with Stella, and she did very good.  Except she was a little too happy.  She screamed and clapped through dinner.  Seriously, who about has to leave a restaurant because their child is too HAPPY?  She's a unique baby alright.  I made Mark a Chocolate Pumpkin Spice cake to take to work for his birthday (yes, I still believe in "birthday treats" for adults).  It was amazing! (we sampled it the night before and Mark got to blow his candles out)

This past weekend is what we usually call our "birthday weekend" since it falls in between our birthdays (Mine is the 14th).  On Saturday Mark worked and Stella visited my mom while I enjoyed some quiet time in the park.  Beautiful scenery and a great time to unwind and just be by myself for a bit.  On Sunday we decided to head to Cedar Rapids.  Our brother-in-law owns a restaurant there and we hadn't been there yet.  Shame shame.  We saw their new house and Stella got to play with her cousins for a bit, and then we went for an early supper.  If you're ever in the area, check out the White Star.  Delicious food and beautiful restaurant...and not just because I'm prejudice ;-).

Tuesday was my birthday, and it was a very dreary rainy day.  Stella, Kaiser and I spent the day at home.  They both decided to give me a hard time for my birthday.  Oh well, what are ya gonna do?  I still enjoyed my day with them (good thing they're so cute).  Mark came home and surprised me with a really nice card (complete with a special handwritten message inside!) and some beautiful orange roses.  We dropped Stella off with Mark's parents so we could go to dinner and she even spent the night!  (we didn't want to disrupt her sleep again since she goes to bed at 6:30, and then I was able to run errands the next day)  We went to dinner at Z Best Cafe (in Sheffield, if you haven't been there you are MISSING OUT!) and it was undoubtedly the best meal of my life.  I had organic chicken sauteed in mushrooms and spinach with asparagus and roasted potatoes.  Of course I had dessert too...chocolate lava cake with vanilla ice cream...gotta have cake on your birthday ;-)  We came home, watched a movie and went to bed.

Now with our birthdays out of the way it's time to focus on Stella's.  I've already started party planning and it's SO much fun.  I am excited for her big day!!  Is it really only a month away?  Yikes...better get planning!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Homemade All Natural Mouthwash

In my efforts to go all-natural and save money while doing it, I decided to make my own mouthwash.  It costs quite a bit to purchase all-natural mouthwash, but you can make it in about 2 minutes for around $1 a batch!  Quite the savings, plus it tastes delicious and doesn't burn the crap out of your mouth!  (yes, it works too.  The baking soda, tea tree oil, and vodka kill all the nasty germs in your mouth.)  I have been doing this for about a year now and my mouth has never felt cleaner!  Read on to see how I make it (recipe is adapted from HERE).

·          16 oz. filtered water (or bottled if you don't have a home filter)
·          2 tsp. baking soda
·          2 tsp. vodka (any kind)
·          10 drops Tea Tree Oil (I like Now brand)
·          10 drops Peppermint Oil (again, I use Now brand)
·          12 drops Sweet Leaf Sweet Drops

To Make:
Combine all ingredients and shake.  Simple, no?  I used a pretty fancy water bottle I nabbed from our hotel room in Chicago, but you can use any bottle you prefer (I've seen some cute ones on Pinterest made of old liquor bottles.  Remove label first with rubbing alcohol and wash.  If you don't care how it looks, use an old recycled mouthwash bottle.  I used a Listerine one until I found my pretty bottle.)  I used a funnel to pour the ingredients through since my bottle has a pretty narrow neck.  I do wash the bottle each time I make a fresh batch of mouthwash.  Also, don't forget to give the bottle a good shake before each use to combine all ingredients.  Use morning and night for maximum benefits!

Monday, September 22, 2014

A fun-filled weekend in Chicago

Mark's company always throws a party for the top sellers each year and this year we were lucky enough to attend.  We decided to leave the "kids" with Mark's parents and head to Chicago for an adult weekend.  Knowing this was coming, I soaked up as much time as possible with Stella and Kaiser on Friday.  After playing an endless game of fetch with Kaiser, Stella and I headed to town.  I made sure to go after her morning nap and it worked like a charm.  She was one happy baby!  We ran some errands and then went to the park.  It is called Windmont Park and it's pretty nice.  There is a walking path around a lake, big porch style swings along the path, several picnic shelters and 2 different playground areas.  I enjoyed an iced coffee while Stella and I walked 3 laps around the lake to get our mile in.  I faced her forward in her stroller for the first time and she LOVED IT!  She was waving and smiling at everyone there, she was quite the hit!  Pretty much everyone stopped me to ask about her!  We also rocked in the swings a few times, that was Stella's favorite part.  She liked to watch the walkers go by and wave at them.  Such a sweetie!  We made a quick trip to Wal Mart and then headed home.

All excited for an afternoon at the park!

Fun for mommy and Stella!

Beautiful scenery, beautiful girl.
On Saturday Mark watched Stella so I could get ready and pack.  He even ran them to his parents for me so I had extra time! (to be fair, he was out in the shop with a buddy late the night before, so it was "my day")  Around 1:30 we hit the road for Chicago.  The hotel was beautiful, the food was excellent, the bar was open, and the band was from our old town!  They were a blast, and very talented!  It was such a fun evening, and so nice to get some time to ourselves ;-)

You know it's a fancy hotel when the bathroom has suicide doors and a TV in the MIRROR!

Cheers to an adult weekend!
Sunday we checked out of the hotel around 10:30 after a leisurely morning and headed out for some shopping (hey, we were right across the street from Woodfield Mall.  can't pass that up!)  We ate a terrible lunch at A&W (the root beer wasn't working, the ice cream wasn't ready yet, the employees were dirty and I watched a lady pick her nose.  seriously, I thought it was going to be food poisoning:  the sequel), and then Mark headed off to Cabelas while I spent the afternoon at the mall.  I don't know why I get so hyped up about shopping there, after about 10 minutes I realize how pricey everything is, grab a coffee and spend the rest of the time people watching anticipating my next trip to Target.  Anyways, it's nice to go to the "big city" once and a while.  And I do mean once in a while.  Like once a year.  I did enjoy a mini-makeover in Sephora and purchased some make-up.  After grabbing some chinese for an early dinner we left for home.  Just missed that baby too much.  We picked her up around 6:00, they were both good as gold all weekend.  Good to hear!  We came home, relaxed on the couch, and went to bed early.  Another fun weekend in the books!
Beautiful morning for some city shopping!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

10 Month Update

Hello double digits!  The initial birthday party planning has even begun, how is that possible?  This past month has been amazing.  Beautiful weather, more time to relax, and not quite harvest time is perfection!  I did some organizing and cleaning this month.  Now that Stella sits up all she wants to do is play, so I had to make room for all those (hand-me-down yet perfect) toys!  This month we enjoyed our 7th- and last - wedding of the season with Mark's entire family (lots of fun), attended our nieces' birthday party, celebrated Labor Day, and went to lunch with two of my girlfriends.  We even got to watch Ryder one day, a nice surprise!  Stella spent the first 3 weeks of the month an extremely content baby but I think a few more teeth are on the way judging by the mood this week :-)  Still the funnest baby I know, teething or not!!

Watching daddy in the year she'll ride in the truck too!

Enjoying lunch with mommy and her friend!

So much fun this month.
The Routine:
I cut back Stella's formula intake to 20 oz a day, but she always cried after her meals.  Baby LOVES to eat!  So I upped it to 24 oz, which works out good.  She gets a bottle when she wakes up and before she goes to bed, and the other 3 feedings are done in her high chair.  Stella is a creature of routine (wonder where that comes from?).  She eats at 7:30, 10:30, 1:00, 4:00, and 6:30.  For the first meal I do oatmeal cereal mixed with fruit and a little formula, lunch is a homemade pasta or casserole (that I've pureed in the blender) with yogurt or cottage cheese and a juice/water blend to wash it down, and the third meal is rice or multigrain cereal mixed with a veggie.  I still make the fruits and veggies on my own (and still need to do a post on this!).  This month Stella was introduced to tomato/cheese pasta and potato/bean casserole.  She does eat the Gerber meals when we are gone, much easier to take with :-)  Cottage cheese was the first food with texture that didn't make her gag.  She couldn't even handle a tiny bite of mashed up french fry!  For now I still blend everything up pretty good, but hope to include more textures in the next month.  She can now feed herself puffs too (41 weeks).  It's messy but so adorable!  I got a great video of the first time she figured out how to feed herself from the high chair.  I introduced the sippy cup this month.  It is one with a nipple, so it's similar to a bottle.  The first time she couldn't handle it, but when I tried again a few days later she loved it!  (oh and also she holds the bottle on her own now too!).  Sticking with the "routine" little Stella poops at the same time every day.  And always in her crib.  She goes when she first wakes up (still in the disposable, sweet!) and after I lay her down for her morning nap.  Like clockwork.  She refuses to poop in public, which is kinda nice!!  Naps are still twice a day, usually 11-12 and 3-4 with bedtime still clocking in from 7-7.  LUCKY US!!  But...if she misses her morning nap she's a crab all day.  I made the mistake of taking her out without her a.m. nap a few times this month and learned my lesson.  Nap BEFORE errands/fun!
Same position, every nap and every night!

Loves holding her own bottle now.
A few of Stella's favorite things:
  • Milestones:  EEK.  Stella is still pretty content doing a whole lot of sitting/playing/watching TV.  She is getting slightly better at standing flat-footed (with help) but prefers to stand on her big toes.  Future ballerina?  She shows no desire to pull up or crawl and fights us when we try to work with her.  We'll get there.  On the plus side we haven't had to baby proof yet ;-)  She knows her name and "no".  She likes to cry when you tell her no (usually done only when she puts her hand down her diaper as you're changing it or pinches you when she's upset) but I'm determined to teacher her right and wrong so I still do it, hard as it may be.  She also cries when you talk too loud...she lost it when I yelled to Kaiser.  Lesson learned!  Stella waves at everyone she sees...every stranger, me and Mark, even Kaiser and her reflection in the mirror!  No shyness or mommy attachments here (yet).  She loves to play and laugh with Ryder and really tries to say "mama" or "mommy" when she's upset.  So cute!
  • Rocking, singing and dancing.  She loves music!  She rocks on the couch and sings in a high pitched voice (lots of videos of this!), it's the cutest thing I've ever seen.
  • Watching TV.  If something is in her way of the screen she'll strain her neck to get a glimpse.  It's crazy.  We found a new show, Harry the Bunny, that she adores.  It's meant for babies so he just laughs the entire show which makes her laugh.  I'm just grateful for the break from Yummy Yummy.
  • Turning all her big toys over and using them like a drum.  I need to get her an actual drum.  I just can't bring myself to do it yet!
  • Clicking her tongue.
  • Playing games...itsy bitsy spider, SO BIG, eyes/nose/mouth, peek-a-boo, this little piggy, patty cake, humpty dumpty, trotty trotty horsey, this is how the ladies ride...
  • Listening to daddy make monkey sounds and read books in funny voices.  Melts my heart to watch story time before bed.
    Another favorite:  playing with/eating her toes.
 Around the house:
  • I am proud to say that I am off my postpartum medication and finally well on my way to losing all the baby weight.  I feel like my old self again...only better!! We've fit in lots of quality family time this month before harvest kicks in, and the slower pace has been nice after a busy summer!  Fall always lifts my spirits, we brought in in early with a bang in our house (see THIS post to read more).  Lots to look forward to next month...Mark's and my birthdays, Stella's first Halloween, birthday party planning, and finishing (ok, I'll be honest...starting) Stella's baby book and other memory keepsakes from her first year.  Time flies and I'm enjoying every SECOND of it!