Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving

Things I'm thankful for this year. In no particular order.

Time - I'm so thankful for more time with my little girl now that I've cut back on my hours at work.

Husband who is completely amazing

Allison's life - Adam's precious sister who was in a car accident last week. God spared her and she is going to be fine.

New brother-in-law in June - Adam's sister who is getting married. He's a good man.

Knowledgeable God who knows all my faults and failures and loves me anyway

Salvation - God is so good.

God fearing parents - both mine and Adam's

Incredible siblings - both mine and Adam's and Incredible nieces and nephews

Very beautiful and fun-loving daughter

Inviting church that encourages us to grow and seek God

Neighborly friends who love us

Good job with coworkers who are good and a good boss

Monday, November 22, 2010 one punched her

She has an ear infection.....and it's in her eye too =(

It was really hard to get her to sit still for a picture, but this is what it looked like when she woke up this morning. There was no puss or anything coming out of it. It was just super swollen.

This is her very first ear infection. We've had other times where we thought she had an ear infection, but doc always said her ears looked "perfect", but not this time. So Caroline is on her very first antibiotic this week. I'm so amazed that we made it to 18 months!

Friday, November 19, 2010

18 months

My baby girl is 1.5! And boy is she letting us know everyday. She is just downright hilarious. Everyday Adam and I have funny stories to tell each other of something she has said or done. I love her sweet innocence of discovering the world.

  • Like when she says "Good morning" at 6:30 PM.
  • Or the Sunday she DEMANDED to take her bible to church with her. I'm 99.9% sure she doesn't understand that the Bible and church go together, but she just loves her bible so she wanted it to go with her that morning. What is really funny is that we were in such a rush that morning that Caroline was the only one of us that brought her bible to church =)
  • Or when she tells you to "sit down!"
  • Or when she asks to "hold you?" (meaning "will you pick me up?")
  • Or when she started giving out unprompted "I love you"s - the word "love" has a lot of emphasis when she says it. So it comes out "i LOVE you"
  • Or when she spontaneously says her blessing...."blessing?...blessing?" (folds her hands) "God (something I can't understand) ... God (something else I can't understand)...Amen!". 
  • Or when she tells us "stinky....poopy" just get to out of the car seat or highchair. She knows we will want to check her diaper.  She's such a stinker!
  • Or when she tries to burp adults. She pats you on the back and says "burp baby!"
  • Or when she says "Puhhh - lease!" 
  • Or when she points to her socks and says "cute!"
She is literally changing everyday. It is just amazing to watch this process of learning and discovering that God created. I love watching her learn.

Here are some things she has learned this month:

- She has started putting a lot of 2 and 3 word phrases together.  Before she would say them if I said them, but now she is putting words together on her own.

- She is starting to feed herself some. She has really never shown much interest in feeding herself with a utensil. She would play with the utensil and then hand it to me. This month she has shown some interest in it. She loves to eat her yogurt all by herself. Most other dishes are teamwork.

- We tried timeout this month and it worked (knock on wood). I wasn't sure if it would work yet because of the whole sit still thing. But Caroline understood.

- Caroline can count to 10! And in the correct order.

- She loves to say her ABCs, but not in order - completely randomly.

- She loves to tell us what color things are. She is usually wrong, but she loves telling us =) She can say red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, pink, brown, black, and white.  And she has 2 books about colors "memorized" so we could easily fool someone into thinking she knows her colors, but she doesn't.

- She sang "Happy Birthday" to Adam last week - sure it was 11 months late or maybe 2 months early. Anyway, it was the first time we've heard her sing.

- Caroline got her last canine a few days after turning 17 months old. Whew! We are done with teeth for a long time -SIKE! 2 weeks later she started to drool like she hasn't drooled in over a year! We started going through 3-4 shirts a day and still leaving behind a drool rash on her chest =( She also ran a low grade fever for almost 2 days straight. Today the doctor confirmed that one 2-year molar is poking through and the gums for all the others are really swollen - major boo!

- Caroline has been loving coloring this month. She loves to get you to color with her, but she gets to choose the color.

Please color with me Mommy!

- Caroline can climb up her play set and slide down all by herself!

- Caroline's eyes really seem to be greener this month. There are times when they are really green and other times they are kind of a dark blue or gray.

- Caroline knows the shapes triangle, square, and circle. I didn't even know she knew these, but at our hotel in Richmond there was a diamond pattern in the carpet. Caroline would stop every 15 feet and point to the pattern and say "tangle!" Sure it was really a diamond, but she knew what she was talking about. It did make walks down the hall very long sometimes because she would stop at all of them! Then when we got home she showed me the square and circle buttons on our TV remote.

I guess this is the thing that amazes me most. So much of what she is learning right now I haven't taken the time to teach her and neither has my aunt. We haven't tried to teach her numbers or shapes. We sing songs and talk about stuff, but we are just having fun. It amazes me that she's just observing and picking it up. Awesome, but scary too.

We had our 18 month check up today. Caroline's crazy growing is starting to slow down. She has only grown a 1/2 inch since her last appointment putting her at 32.75 inches. And she only gained 14 ounces since her last appointment putting her at 27 pounds 8 ounces. The appointment went great. Caroline took the shots like a champ! She didn't even cry for the first one. She looked at me nervously and said "down please." She cried a little after the second, but was polite enough to tell the nurse "bye, bye" amidst her tears.

Here are some more pictures from this month:

Caroline is wiping out the seat before she gets in =)

Enjoying a puzzle.

Caroline loves bubbles. Her favorite part is attempting to get the wand in the solution.

Blowing the bubbles - sort of =)
I cleaned her car seat and she decided she wanted to get in it - in the house. Of course I had to "buckle".

These are some pictures I took in Richmond at a park one afternoon. My dad took some more that are better quality. When I get those from him, I'll post those.

Caroline with my dad.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Richmond Marathon

This past weekend Adam ran the Richmond Marathon. It was a great weekend. My parents decided to come which was great because they got to help me with Caroline and help me focus on Adam.

We had complicated hotel issues when we got there, which was kind of a nightmare because we arrived after a 7 hour car ride at 11:00 PM. Our baby was sleeping in the car and it was 38 degrees outside. After discussing the issues for over an hour we were finally in our room. The three of us were all finally in bed by 12:30 AM. Even though we had issues with our reservation we had an AWESOME room setup. There wasn't anything spectacular in the room. The awesome setup was the fact that there was a little nook in the room the size of a pack 'n play - AWESOME! We put that little pack 'n play there and it was like Caroline had her own room. I guess normal people would throw their luggage there, but it was a perfect little place for Caroline.

Here are a few pictures I have. My dad took a good bit of the ones during the race so I'll steal them from him later. He also took a good bit of our family shots so I'll have to post those later too. 

Picking up Daddy's race bib.

Making a poster for Daddy with Grandma.
 Helping Mommy finish hers.
 Carbing up the morning of.

Wishing Daddy good luck.

 Sitting at the halfway mark.
 My dad holding up his sign for Adam.
 Not Adam, but note that the arrow my dad is holding up is pointing the runners in the wrong direction. My dad thoroughly enjoyed his prank on the runners.

Cheering with Grandma.

There he is! Feeling good enough to give a thumbs up.

Cheering some more.

And this is what a baby girl looks like after spectating her first marathon. This is taken in the high chair at lunch.

Whew! What a day. We enjoyed some really great Richmond restaurants and Caroline and I enjoyed touring the city a little with my parents (Adam was resting). It was a really nice trip. I'm so glad my parents went. You just can't understand a marathon until you've run one, but you sure get a better understanding when you have spectated it.

I'm so proud of my hubby.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Fruits and Veggies

I'm a fruits and veggies kind of gal - really more veggies than fruits. I love vegetables - everything from green beans and corn to salads and spinach. I love it. My husband, however, is another story. He says "I like vegetables," in his defensive voice, but then you look at his plate and the only thing left is the vegetables =( Caroline is more like her mommy. It may not be a "love" relationship, but she usually eats her veggies and she LOVES her fruits.

Fresh veggies and fruits can get expensive to buy and they perish quickly if you don't eat them. I think most people don't buy fresh for these 2 reasons. I, myself, have struggled with these and since we have been married I have mostly stayed away from fresh fruit and only bought frozen veggies. However, with Caroline here now, I want to have the fresh fruit and veggies available to her regularly. So I've discovered some cool tricks over the last several months that I would like to share.

On average, the cheapest fruits throughout the year here in SC are bananas, apples and pears. Sure it sounds boring, but babies and kids love them. You can start all 3 of these as first foods when solid feeding because they are easy on the stomach and aren't usually an allergen. All of these fruits are so easy to prepare whether for a baby, toddler or child. You may just need a couple of tools.

Bananas are the easiest.
  • Until your child is eating table food, just take a banana and mash it with a fork. It is that easy. I suggest that you cut off the amount of the banana that you want to mash and serve as baby food. Typically half of a banana is equal to a 4 ounce jar of baby food (stage 2 size). If you mash the whole thing, the unused part will turn brown and have less flavor.
  • Once your child is eating table food, slice it. Bananas are a great first table food too because there is almost no chewing involved. 
  • And then when child is older just hand them the banana. EASY!

Pears are almost as easy as bananas. The key is knowing when the pear is ripe. I am only familiar with Bartlett, Anjou, and Bosc pears. These types of pears are ripe when it is a little soft on the outside. Another thing to know about pears is that the skin can hold pesticides unless you buy organic. What do I do? I just cut off the skin. Babies and toddlers can't really handle the skin anyway.
  • So if you are making baby food: slice and peel the pear, then mash with a fork. I use a knife to peel the pear and it literally takes me less than 30 seconds to peel 8 slices. Again, I suggest that you only mash the slices you want to serve as baby food because pears also brown and lose taste if the whole thing is smashed and saved until later. So store the unused slices in a baggy in your fridge for later. Smashed pears and bananas should be served almost immediately. Pears are very juicy so for a thicker baby food, you may want to add some baby cereal to the mix. For a small pear, half of the pear is usually about equal to a 4 ounce jar of baby food.
  • For a toddler: slice and peel the pear, then cut the slices into bite size pieces.
  • For a child: hand them the pear!
Pears and bananas are so easy, I often throw them in the diaper bag for wherever we are going. They are perfect on the go baby food for restaurants. Just throw the fruit in the diaper bag and use a knife/fork to prepare it at the restaurant. 
    Apples are a little more challenging. That is why I have a tool!

    If you have this tool, it is also EASY! The tool is a peeler, slicer, and corer all in one. My parents gave this to me for Christmas last year and we use it ALL THE TIME!
    • For a baby: I suggest you make a lot at one time because unlike bananas and pears, you need to cook the apples to get them soft. When pears and bananas are soft, they are ripe. When an apple is soft, it is rotten. So it must be cooked. Use the tool to peel, slice and core several apples. You can do a bag of a dozen apples in about 3 minutes with the tool. Dump the results into a frying pan. Add a little bit of water to the bottom of the frying pan and cook on medium until it becomes applesauce. You need to occasionally stir it and continue to cut up the apples. The best apples for applesauce are Gala apples. This is because they have the best combination of sweet and tarty. I've also tried Green, McIntosh, and Rome apples for making applesauce. Red Delicious apples, though indeed delicious, aren't very good for applesauce. They don't have enough flavor. Serve the applesauce and you can freeze/refrigerate the leftovers.
    • For a toddler: IT'S EVEN EASIER. Use the tool to peel, slice and core an apple. Stack the apple "chips" and make 8 cuts like a pie. Wahla you have apple in bite sizes. Takes less than 60 seconds start to finish. I do this ALL THE TIME.
    • For an older child: hand the apple to the child =)
    My new trick with vegetables is to chop 'em up and put them in all kinds of things. I've known about this trick for a while, but have never used it. I was inspired a few weeks ago by a blog I read. My favorites so far: carrots and spinach.

    I like to buy baby carrotsthis article on and you should feel better. I like baby carrots because they are already peeled and ready to go!

    So how do I use them? I chop them very finely with my Pampered Chef chopper and then I add them to things we are eating. In the last week, I've added them to spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, chili, and salad mix. I added about 1/2 a cup each time. And it totally made the taste of each of these even yummier.

    I like to buy frozen chopped spinach. Sure it's not fresh, but frozen veggies are pretty close to fresh. I've actually read that sometimes frozen is even better than fresh because it is frozen immediately before it is distributed. "Fresh" produce may take several days to distribute to the grocery stores losing it's freshness. Anyway, with frozen chopped spinach, I just sprinkle some in whatever I'm making. I usually add about 1/2 a cup and it adds great flavor to almost anything! This past week I put it in the chili with the carrots and in potato soup.

    By the way, 1/2 a cup of a veggie or fruit is considered one serving size for an adult. So if you put 1/2 a cup of a veggie into a dish for the whole family, each person is not getting an entire serving size of that veggie. So don't let that replace the veggies. Either hide a whole lot more veggies in the dish or let the hidden veggies be extra.

    Even though these are just a few examples, you can sneak veggies into just about anything.

    I hope these ideas inspire you to try some new tricks. Please share them with me!

    Thursday, November 4, 2010

    Northside Fall Festival

    On Halloween afternoon, Adam had to work so Caroline and I headed over to my aunt's church's Fall Festival. Caroline had a great time and we thought it was a good alternative to me taking her by myself trick or treating in our neighborhood where I don't know many of the neighbors.

    Caroline was EXTREMELY timid about everything. We had to discuss everything for at least 5 minutes before she would try it. I love her cautious attitude and tender heart, but sometimes I just want to scream "Go for it girl - it's going to be fun!"

    There was a preschool area of just preschool activities. One was the "wagon hayride". It was a baby wagon filled with hay and a man would take one kid at a time on a ride in a small circle twice. Yup we had to talk about that one for a while! After about 5 minutes of talking about it and touching the wagon, Caroline walked away. Then, she saw another little girl several months younger than her take the ride - well that did the trick!
    Still unsure about this.

     After just one circle, Caroline started repeating "out! out! out!". The man's second circle was a lot quicker =)

    There was an obstacle course. It had a couple of balance beams, which were about 2 inches tall sitting on the ground and then a plastic tunnel. Caroline really loved the balance beam. She kept saying "step". But the tunnel was another story.

    Tackling the beam with Aunt Alice helping.

     Talking to Aunt Alice about this plastic tunnel.
     Bending down to look at Mommy on the other end.
     Changing her mind. Nope - no way!

    And then we went over to one of the moon bounces. I had a feeling Caroline would love this if she would only try it. She loves to "dance" on our couches. This is a habit we need to nip in the bud pretty soon, but she laughs so loud when we let her do it. She can't get onto the couch by herself yet so she only does it when we are right beside her.

    Anyway, we went over to a moon bounce that had no line and only 2 children in it. We stood outside for a long time. We talked about how the children were jumping, dancing and hopping (3 words Caroline knows really well). We talked about how much fun they were having. Caroline finally started reaching towards the moon bounce.

    And the verdict was:

    This was the furthest away from us she went in the moon bounce.

    She LOVED it! And the volunteer let her stay way beyond her normal turn, which was wonderful! She was still very timid. She barely stood long enough before she fell and she mostly stayed within a 2-foot radius of the entrance. She never ventured to the far corners! But she LOVED it!

    We completed the afternoon with a nice hay ride.