Halloween Krispies Treats

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I added the mini-mallows too soon, so they look like melty blobs.

I love Halloween.  I love Rice Krispies treats.  I make them every year come October.  This year, Oreo came out with a Halloween cookie that I just had to try, so I decided to play with my trusty ole’ back-o-the-box recipe to incorporate my second love, Oreo cookies.  Add in some mini marshmallows, and you have yourself a heavenly, devilishly delicious treat.  I may have eaten 90% of the pan all by myself.

Til next year, Krispie Treats.

Ingredients:

(I’m too lazy to look up measurements for this post.  I made these at the beginning of the month, so I’m just going from memory here.)

  • Butter
  • Marshmallows (one jumbo size bag, one bag of miniatures)
  • small package Halloween Oreo cookies (I went with a row of cookies but you can choose how many cookies you want to incorporate), semi crushed
  • box of Rice Krispies cereal

Directions:

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I ate half the pan and half the package of Oreos before I got around to taking a picture.

Follow directions on back of cereal for making krispies treats.  I make them on the stove instead of using the microwave.  Melt butter and marshmallows.  Remove from heat and add the cereal, stir.  Yadda Yadda.

Then, add your crushed Oreos.  Stir.  Add about half a bag of miniature marshmallows.  Again, your call on the amount you want.  Just don’t add them too soon, or they will melt.

Spread into a greased pan and restrain yourself from eating them too soon.

Enjoy!

Friday Five – My 15 Month Old’s Favorite Apps

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Ellis loves her my iPhone and iPad.  I love that they can serve as a distraction when she starts to get cranky in the car or wants me to pick her when I’m trying to get dinner made, etc.  I think people who say children under 2 should not be exposed to media at all are bonkers.  I’m talking to you, American Pediatrics Association.  My daughter watches Sesame Street and/or Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood almost everyday.  Often it’s in 5 or 10 minute blocks because she has the attention span of a 15 month old, and if they are not singing, she’s not interested.  Unless there are dogs, or animals that look like dogs.  She’ll watch dogs.  And the advertisements that come on before Sesame Street.  They are the same every time and get her excited.  Sesame Street is always brought to you buy Earth’s Best Organics for Kids and PNC.

The best apps for her age are those that have simple illustrations and basic steps (just like books).  If it requires more than one or two steps then it’s too advanced.  She’s working on her hand-coordination skills, learning how her hands and fingers manipulate the screen, and even better, her favorite button (the home button) will exit her out of her favorite app and might just call on Siri.  So, she’s also learning how to find her apps and open them.

#1.  Elmo Calls by Sesame StreetIMG_0029

I mean, do I even need to explain?  Elmo calls your child.  No, he doesn’t just call your child.  He FaceTimes with her.  Why didn’t this exist when I was a kid?

#2.  Peekaboo Barn by Night & Day Studios

This app is super cute and super simple.  There is an image of a barn, and the doors start to shake.  You tap on the doors, and it reveals an animal inside.  It makes the animal sound, says the name of animal in addition to revealing the name in print as well.  IMG_0027Once you go through all the animals, night time falls, and all the animals go to sleep.  Ellis hates this part.  Wake them up!  Let’s keep playing!  At least I think that’s what her whines mean.  She learned you either have to go through the motions or close the app and open it to start it all over again.

Similar to this, she also loves:  Peekaboo Vehicles by Touch & Learn (super loud and annoying, but she loves it!) and Peekaboo Trick or Treat with Ed Emberley by Night & Day Studios.  (Lately, she’s been playing these last two all the time.  I think she needed a break from Peekaboo Barn.  Surprisingly, she’s not really into the Peekaboo Sesame Street version.)

#3.  Itsy Bitsy Spider by Duck Duck Moose

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Itsy Bitsy Spider hands

Itsy Bitsy Spider is one of her favorite songs.  So, it made sense to find an app that played the song over and over.  This app is so much fun for her, but so weird.  It mixes elements of realism and fantasy, so it’s not quite educational, but then when you click on certain objects like the sun or a fly, a child’s voice gives a scientific explanation that is far too advanced for a 15 month old, let alone a 3 year old.

#4.  Busy Shapes by Seven AcademyIMG_4274

If Peekaboo Barn is the digital version of that old school toy where you pull a string and a bored man’s voice says, “The cow goes moo!,” then this app is the digital version of the plastic ball with the different shaped holes that you have to fit plastic pieces into.  How in the world am I supposed to describe that? A shape-sorter ball toy thing.  Yeah, so this is the digital version of it.

#5.  Sago Mini Sound Box by Sago SagoIMG_0032

So, she’s kind of over this one already, but it was her favorite for so long that I had to include it.  It’s really pointless fun.  It’s colorful and makes a lot of sounds.  The more you touch the screen, the more colorful balls appear accompanied by various sounds depending on what theme you select.  You hold down on a ball and a surprise pops out like a fish, cat, or dog.

 

 

Friday Five – 15 Months

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Waiting at the doctor’s office.

Today, you are 15 months. (Technically, the 26th, but I’m late getting this together.)  This is more significant than say, 14 or 13 months, because you get to go back to your doctor for a well visit and shots!  Hooray for you!  You really have grown leaps and bounds in the last three months, and you’re not at all a little baby anymore.  These are my favorite times with you.  You are fun, adventurous, silly, mischievous, and so so sweet.  These are just a few of my favorite things about you.

1.  First thing in the morning, if your daddy gets you up from bed, you come looking for me.  Sitting at my desk, I watch you turn the corner, Bear-Bear in arm, and you smile and start running as soon as you see me.  Then you ask for milk.

Routines are the best.  Our mornings and evenings are generally the same every day.  At night we read stories, and then your daddy puts you down at night.  You just seem to do a much better job of going to sleep if he does it.  So, after our last story, we’ll say, “Okay, time for night-night!  Can Mommy and Alex have a hug and kiss?”  You are always willing to give Alex hugs and kisses.  Me?  Sometimes I’m lucky, sometimes I have to steal them.  Often, you’re too excited about bedtime (why?) that you start running toward your room with just a quick wave of the hand to tell me goodnight.  But it’s the most adorable thing I’ve ever seen.

2.  You make animal sounds for cat, dog, monkey, owl, and cow.  You can say a lot of words, including your own name and Alex’s which is so cute to hear!  Also, the first time you meowed like a kitten, I almost lost my sh*t.  You make it sound so cute!  I also say that to you about a billion times a day.  “Oh my gosh, you’re so cute!”  No, seriously, you are the cutest.  We’ve also conditioned you the old Pavlovian way that anytime we mention one of your body parts, you respond it turn.  Eyes? You blink.  Nose?  You wriggle your nose and snort.  Mouth?  You open wide and say “Ah!” Arms? You wave them around.  Ears? You pull on one or the other.  Belly?  You tickle your chest.  Toes? You reach down and touch them.  Hair? You grab your head.  You also like to sign “toothbrush” when we talk about your teeth.  You love to brush your teeth.

3.  You really do pay attention to everything we do and try to mimic us.  The other day I was working in the kitchen, and you came up with a kinda-used Kleenex, opened the trash can and threw it in.  It makes me wonder what else you’ve been throwing away when I wasn’t looking!  You help clean with a towel, Kleenex, napkin, or whatever, and you’ll start wiping down the furniture.  You like to push the power button on the vacuum.  You hold toy phones (and one green calculator) up to your ear and start having a serious conversation with someone on the other end.  I’d really love to know what you’re saying.  You hang your purses on the handles of your stroller and push it around the house.

4.  We have dance parties because you like to sing and dance.  Your favorite song right now is “Best Day of My Life” by American Authors.  You will stop everything and start singing and dancing when it comes on.  Your daddy just informed me the other day that you get upset if he tries to turn on Sports Talk Radio in the car.  Good girl!

5.  (This is really a combination of many things.  But I’m sticking to my list of 5.)  When I put you in your car seat, if you happen to be eating something, you like to open your mouth and make funny faces because you enjoy watching yourself eat in the mirror.  You love playing outside and would stay out there all day if the weather (and I) permitted it.  You are starting to climb up on the furniture and also starting to fall off of it.  You fell off of our tall bed for the first time this week.  Miraculously you went feet first and landed on your butt and immediately wanted back up on the bed.  The good news is, because you’re taller now, these falls off the furniture are much shorter.  Still, stop trying to kill yourself.

Friday Five

Yes, it’s Friday, and there are five items I want to talk about.  But let’s not assume that this is a weekly thing you can expect, okay?  I make no commitments.  Really, this blog is to document every second of my first child’s life, in exhaustive detail, not to draw readers.  But, if you are interested in what my life is like with 14.5 month old (63 weeks and one day to be exact [no, I'm not counting, a "mom" newsletter that I never remembered subscribing to, told me]) keep reading!

Tonight’s first ever Friday five is about night-time books.

We have story time every night as part of our bedtime routine.  It’s awesome, and I’m proud of it.  It’s the one time we come together as an entire family (including the dog) every day to break free of distractions and the outside world and just be together, on the same couch, reading together.  We take turns reading, and we use silly voices.  Sometimes Ellis nurses while she listens, and other times, she runs around crazy trying to ward off bedtime while we read aloud.  Ellis has books that she likes and books she doesn’t care for.  After several months of research, we’ve found a few books that are staples in our reading lineup.

#1.  The Going to Bed Book   

Who doesn’t love Sandra Boynton books for their babies?  They are always silly fun, and so catchy that you can easily memorize every page.  This comes in handy when Ellis wants to hold the book and turn the pages herself.  Ellis likes this one because we rock like a boat at the end of it.  AND BONUS  Night-Night, Little Pookie    Another Sandra Boynton.  This is “Mommy’s book, ” meaning I am the only one allowed to read it to her.  For whatever reason, I took on a silly half-British/half-Minnesotan accent for the Mommy’s voice.  “Oh, Poooookie!  It’s time for bed now!”  It just goes.  Ellis laughs.  Sometimes she lets me kiss her, but most of the time she squirms out of my arms.

#2.  Time for Bed by Mem Fox   

Yeah, this one is sweet.  The pictures are adorable, and it’s a perfect way to soothe a rambunctious one to sleep.  Not really.  But we try!  I read reviews online that criticized how unrealistic this story is.  Things like, “The whole wide world is NOT going to sleep.  People in China are just waking up!” or “Baby bees are actually larvae, not smaller bees!”  So sometimes Trav and I have a little fun and point out all the unrealistic things mentioned in the book – which is every page, because after all, this is a children’s bedtime book, not an informational text about animals and the way the world works.  Lighten up, parents.

#3.  Goodnight, I Love You, Ten Tiny Toes, and I Love You Through and Through  

Really, all the Caroline Jayne Church books featuring those cute little babies.  They are adorable, the illustrations and rhyming text appeal to Ellis, and the books are easily interactive.

#4.  Under the Same Moon by Suzanne Berry.

This is one of those books that you record your voice.  My mom got it for Ellis when she was born because she lives halfway across the country.  The story is so sweet, the pictures are beautiful and captivating, and Ellis loves hearing someone else read besides us.  She’s starting to chime in and do the “Whoo, whoo, whoo,” which is one of our favorite parts.  Perfect for anyone who has loved ones far away.

#5.  Goodnight Moon    

This is our closer.  Every. night.  We have it memorized.  We could probably recite it backwards if you asked us.  Please don’t ask us.  Ellis has never really shown any interest in this book, but we’ve heard time and again how so many families love this book and their children love it and yadda yadda.  So we’ve tried to force it to be a much-loved piece of her childhood.  In reality, I think every one of us (including the dog) despise it.  Maybe eventually as she got older she would have liked this book, but it ultimately is the signal that bedtime is next and resistance is futile, so she does everything in her power not to listen to this book.  She even tries pulling out other books for us to read instead, or she’ll start attacking the dog, or even jabbering because she knows we can’t resist responding excitedly to every little utterance she makes.  Someday it’ll be fun to ask her to point out the red balloon and the telephone (an antique that she would never recognize in real life), but right now she could care less about the kittens and the mittens, the creepy old lady, and the bowl full of mush.

UPDATE:  Since reflecting on our Goodnight Moon habit, I mentioned to Travase that maybe we retire Goodnight Moon for a while.  His response:  “Oh, thank God!”  So, we’ve not read it for about a week now, and baby girl has been just fine with that.  But seriously, the other books I mentioned we really do love.

It’s Labor Day, Seriously.

I’m kind of freaking out right now.  Minor panic attack.  You see, I got a message from the Y’s group fitness coordinator asking me to come in on Tuesday to interview and audition for an instructor position.  I had put this on the back burner because all of the hoops I’ve been jumping through having been leading me to believe that it would be a long journey before I got a chance to work at the Y.  We had BBQ plans on Sunday which kept us out having fun til late, and then there was this thing called a sh’ton of reading I still had left to finish for my graduate class.  Add to that a sweet little toddler who wants me to pick her up so that she can bang on the keyboard, and I’m feeling a little like there’s not enough time in the world to do everything I need to accomplish.  My solution?  Use up even more of my invaluable time writing a silly blog post about a dessert I made yesterday.  Yeah.  Good call.  But if it takes my mind off my stress for just a little while, then we’ll call it worth it.

Basically, I’m writing a post about a recipe because it doesn’t exist on the web, and I want to be able to pin it for future use.  I guess you can say it was that good.  But also, I was all domestic and didn’t bring a store-bought dessert to a party, for which I am proud!

Fruit Pizza Mashup

Fruit Pizza Mashup

*This recipe is a combination of several recipes and readers’ noted alterations.

INGREDIENTS

2 packages sugar cookie dough

8 oz cream cheese (softened)

1/2 C confectioner’s sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 container Cool Whip (thawed)

fruit toppings

1 C pineapple juice (unsweetened)

1/2 sugar

pinch of salt

1/2 T lemon juice

2 T corn starch

Preheat oven to 350F.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray to prevent sticking.

Prepare the cookie crust by rolling out and flattening one and a half packages of cookie dough.  You can choose to form it in the circular shape of a pizza, or just a rectangle like I did.  Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.  Let cool, then carefully lift cookie crust off pan, and flip it upside down onto a serving platter.  I cut the edges off to make it look prettier and fit my serving tray.

Wash and cut your fruit.*  Let sit in a colander, or lay on paper towels to drain.  This prevents a soggy crust.  *I used blueberries and strawberries to go with the “patriotic” labor day theme, but you can use whatever fruits you prefer.

For the “sauce.”

Combine cream cheese, cool whip, confectioner’s sugar, and vanilla.  Whip until smooth consistency.  Spread evenly on top of cookie crust.  (I had leftover cream.)

Add your fruit.

For the glaze.

Combine pineapple juice, sugar, salt,  lemon juice and cornstarch in a pan. Heat to boiling, boil and stir 1 minute. Let cool to room temperature, then drizzle over your fruit pizza.  (Next time I am going to try less cornstarch.  I’m not sure how necessary it was.)

Enjoy!

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Checking In

Lots of things happening around the Erickson household.  Sorry.  Hold on.  I’m laughing at that statement.  Okay, slightly more than the usual nothing is happening around here, so I thought I’d share what we’re up to.

Grad classes are starting back up.IMG_2512

I started grad school back in the winter of 2012.  It was fast and furious at first, but then I went back to work AND got pregnant at the same time, so my roll slowed to a stop this past winter.  Somehow I didn’t plan correctly, and FSU threw a wrench, because my last two courses (well, a course and an internship) are both only offered in the fall, and cannot be completed at the same time.  You see what I’m saying?  I had anticipated taking my last class in the fall and internship in the spring and FINALLY being done.  So now I’m considering whether I should just get my MLIS in general library and worry about completing my media certification at a later time, or what one more year to graduate.  Decisions, decisions.  The exciting thing is that this should be my most fun class as I am basically reading and writing about young adult literature.  Classes start the 25th, and I’m just hoping that I still have some of my intelligence left from before I became a mom.  These days I talk. very. simple.

Side note: Our poor dog hasn’t been to the groomer since May. That miserable look on his face is the real deal. For the past week, he’s had a pink stain on his back from a raspberry Ellis dropped on him. He has an appointment on Monday. The groomer can take care of it then.

With lots of reading, writing, and class work on the way, I needed to reclaim my office.IMG_2532

But I can’t actually reclaim MY office because it’s right next to Ellis’s bedroom, and so I can never use it when she’s sleeping, which is the only time I can use it.  Huh?  We decided to turn my “purple oasis” into a toy dumping ground playroom for Ellis, and we moved my unloved and unused vanity out to the front room and transformed it into a desk by removing the mirror and adding one of the dining room chairs.  It’s like I have brand new furniture in a brand new house!  For the longest time I had been using the dining room table, but it looked cluttered and messy, and we even had the table pushed up against the wall for a while, so Ellis had more room to play and wouldn’t be tripping or playing with cords.  Now I have a permanent place to do my Facebook trolling work.  We are looking for a couple of bookcases for her new playroom, but oddly it’s been tough to find a couple of simple, white, 5-shelf bookcases that aren’t entirely made of plywood and veneer.

Also, I’m hitting the gym a lot more frequently.

About a month ago, I got a Facebook message from a friend inviting me to register for a local Sh’bam instructor training.  Prior to this, I had been very lackadaisical about working out.  It happened once in a while, when the conditions were just right.  Mostly, I felt like I could care less about my fitness; I’m a mom now, who am I trying to impress?  But I had one day to decide whether or not to go through the training and was told that training rarely makes its way to Jacksonville, so if I decided to do it in the future I would most likely have to travel.  I hadn’t taken a Sh’bam class in practically a year, so I had to get up to speed before training weekend.  I thought it was also a perfect opportunity for Travase to experience what it’s like hanging out with a baby all day, as that’s what he’d be doing while I was in training.  It was the first Saturday and Sunday in August, and it was a ton of fun.  I passed!  Now I have to submit a video teaching the entire release to a class of at least five people in order to receive my certification.  Great!  Except my local Y doesn’t allow non-employees to teach or shadow.  So I’m stalled for the time being.  I have to complete three courses in order for the Y to hire me, so a couple more things have been added to my to-do list.  I am signed up for two in September, making it a pretty busy month ahead!

Ellis is a full-on walking, talking toddler.IMG_2849

She is learning new words every day (night-night, bird, uh oh) and is finding new ways to “manipulate” her mommy into getting her way.  She points at everything and asks, “Dat?”  I’m not always sure what she’s looking at, so I hope I’m not confusing her by calling the sun “bird” or a picture of us “ceiling fan.”  Florida summer is like everyone else’s winter.  We are cooped up inside most of the day to avoid the heat and the very near, very strong sun.  I canceled our My Gym membership because her naps always seemed to overlap with class times, or her classes were cancelled for one camp or another.  We may go back when she’s down to one nap that works with their schedule.  Until then, we visit the library, hang out at Barnes and Noble, BuyBuyBaby or ToysRUs (although they know Ellis now at BBB as the girl whose mom lets her run loose in the store.  I don’t think they are a fan of the “Try before you buy” mentality), or just hang out at home a lot.  I’ve been taking her out to lunch more frequently because sometimes it’s easier than feeding her at home.  I feel like I’m spending a lot of money to feed such a tiny girl, too.  I have to buy a vegetable, fruit, and a grain/protein.  The good news is the leftovers can come home and be used for several meals, but a lot also ends up on the floor.  She can’t seem to grasp the concept that she can just shake her head ‘no’ if she doesn’t want any more of something instead of sweeping it to the floor and out of her sight.

I thought she was ready to go to one nap a day because she started refusing either her morning or afternoon nap.  That went on for a couple of weeks of just pure nap hell, and then she decided to take both naps again.  I’m still not sure what’s going on because yesterday was another no-nap day.

Travase and I went on a date for the first time in months.

It was our anniversary on the 19th, so we got a sitter for the previous Saturday.  Nothing crazy.  Dinner, frozen yogurt, and home before 10.  Our relationship has been a little rocky for a while, but we finally sat down and had a long conversation last week and just opened up about everything that was bugging us.  I think it has totally helped.  We’re not 100%, but we are both working on it and are trying to do a better job of communicating with each other, and giving each other what we need from the other person.

So that’s our life in a nutshell, right there.

This is Not a Pro-Breastfeeding Post

Except that it kind of is…

(This post is about boobs.  Fair warning.)

August 1-7 is World Breastfeeding Week, so I thought it would be a good time to check in on how nursing has been going with Ellis and me.  I’m sure those of you who were around a year ago were probably completely turned off to the idea of breastfeeding after I shared the hellishness that were those first few weeks.  I mean, it was awful.  To be completely honest, maybe the one thing that really got me motivated to succeed was that my MIL was coming to town to stay with us for a couple of weeks and nursing was the one thing that only I could do for my baby.  I was worried that she would come in, take over, and I’d never see my baby again.  Again, hormones and being a new mom made me overprotective.  I wanted to be in full control of caring for Ellis’s feedings and naps.  I felt that was MY duty and responsibility as a mom, and I didn’t want to share it.  I had flipped out when my own mom gave Ellis a bottle while I took a nap the first week we brought her home, and I was worried my MIL do the same.  So, I decided no bottles, no pumping, all boob.  And because I forced myself to not offer bottles, Ellis and I had to figure out the nursing thing.  The first weekend was hard because she would cry but not latch on.  It was entirely frustrating, but we soon got the hang of it.

Here we are a year later, and we are still going strong!  Ellis is a bit of a picky eater, in the sense that all she really wants to eat is fruit and cheese, so I love that I don’t have to worry whether she is getting enough nutrition from her food.  I can offer her a variety of foods, and if she throws it, no biggie.  If 2/3 of her meal ends up on the floor or in her lap, I’m not stressing.  Well, I am a little, but that’s because I have to clean it up!  I’ve always nursed on demand, so if she asks for it, I give it up.  She learned the sign for milk real quick!  Her main nursing sessions, though, are first thing in the morning, and right before her naps and bedtime.  But there are other times she asks for it, often in public, at a restaurant, when I’ve just ordered a glass of wine.

Which leads me to nursing in public.  I’ve done it everywhere: in the car, in a fitting room, restrooms, at the airport, on airplanes, in a support group circle, a bench at the zoo.  I am not, however, a “lactivist.”  I don’t particularly feel comfortable pulling out my boob in front of strangers, and so I don’t do it at the table in a restaurant, for instance.  Not out of consideration for others, but out of consideration for myself.  I am not nursing to make a point; I’m doing it to feed my child.  I am lucky that I haven’t really heard or been given any grief about nursing.  Everyone seems to be pro-nursing.  But sometimes it doesn’t work, or it’s not someone’s choice, and that’s okay, too.  I’m not telling anyone that what works for my child is what’s best for everyone.

Last weekend there was a big kick-off to World Breastfeeding Week with an event called The Big Latch On.  Here in Jacksonville, it was held at a popular baby-play center.  They had an incredible turn out; I think 30 something latched babies, but the first time I heard about it, I just wasn’t interested.  First off, my daughter would not be in the least bit interested in nursing when she is surrounded by the awesomeness that is Bay & Bee.  I’ve been there enough to know that hunger and tiredness do not exist once she’s walked through those doors.  Second, she is always distracted if there is anything remotely interesting going on around her, including other people.  I could never nurse her in the group circle at our mom meetings, because she would always pull off and look around, leaving me exposed.  Lastly, I only nurse for my daughter.  I don’t want to put her in a situation where I’m like, “Here, honey, you HAVE to eat right at this exact moment.  We’re changing the world!”  Force feeding is never a good idea.  I just don’t care about making a statement.  I feel like if someone wants to nurse badly enough, there is support for them.  Maybe I’d feel differently if I had ever experienced any negativity from breastfeeding, but I guess I’ve just been lucky.

Oh, and a couple more things:

  • You lose weight like crazy.  For a while I was eating donuts and cookie dough every other day and was still losing.  Of course, that didn’t last, especially after Ms. Ellis started sleeping through the night, and her feedings dropped off.  But the trade off was worth it.
  • When baby is born and for the first three or four months at least, it feels like all you do is nurse.  That’s normal.  It won’t last.
  • For most women, your period doesn’t come back until nursing sessions are significantly reduced.  For me, it was when Ellis started sleeping through the night and didn’t need night feedings any more.  Again, trade off worth it.
  • Contrary to popular belief, it doesn’t hurt to nurse a baby with teeth.  Teeth are not involved in the sucking action.  What hurts is a baby biting you.  Which has only happened less than a handful of times.  I have worse memories of her biting my fingers, shoulder, neck, leg.  Yeah, those were painful.  Also, babies are pretty smart, and they know not to bite the boob that feeds them.
  • This one’s controversial, but you can drink if you’re nursing.  You just have to plan wisely.  Like, don’t drink around her meal times, but once she’s fed, you can go for a drink.  (Admittedly, this is harder in the first few months when they are constantly nursing.  My suggestion then is to pump milk ahead of time, if your baby will take a bottle.)
  • Pumping is the worst.  Spilling or wasting any pumped milk is even worse.  It doesn’t hurt, but the stress involved to make sure you produce enough does.  Babies nurse more effectively and efficiently than a pump, so you might take twice as long to pump and get only half as much milk as a baby can provide for herself.
  • Nursing is convenient.  You can never forget to bring food or supplies to feed while out and about.  Just pull out your boob, and it’s all good.
  • Downside:  All of my shirts have to be easy access.  I hate pulling my shirt up and exposing my soft belly.  Ellis wasn’t use to seeing my belly one of the times I had to do it.  She started slapping my stomach and laughing.  Thanks, daughter!  Lots of v-necks and button downs for me.
  • You won’t need nursing pads after your supply and demand has evened out.  Engorgement goes away.  The only time I really feel full and NEED to pump or nurse to relieve them is in the morning.

If you are considering breastfeeding, if you are not considering it, if you started and had difficulties, there is information and help out there for you.  You were made to do this.  If you’re pediatrician ever recommends formula over breast milk for any reason: baby not gaining enough weight, intolerance to certain foods, etc., you don’t necessarily need to find a new pediatrician, just know that they are not all as well-informed as you’d think they should be.  Just get a second opinion, and stand up for yourself.  “That’s great, doc, but I’d rather continue nursing.  How else can we help Little Suzy gain weight?”  Don’t compare your baby to formula babies, which many pediatricians are likely doing.  I was lucky, and my pediatrician supported me, but I also didn’t really encounter any serious issues with nursing.  Again, some women have difficulties that, if I had encountered them, I would have probably stopped altogether and said, “Eff this sh*t!”  The information and knowledge about nursing/pumping was overwhelming for me at first, but it soon became second nature and a breeze.  I’ll say it again, I’ve been very lucky.

So when am I going to stop?  That I don’t know.  I’m hoping Ellis will be done before I am, because I think it would be easier if it’s her decision.  I really can’t see myself going past two years.  I’m hoping once all her teeth have come, and she’s less finicky about food, she won’t care to nurse as much, and we can start to phase it out.

Helpful resources:

KellyMom – http://kellymom.com/

La Leche League – http://www.llli.org/

 

Carseat Shopping and Weekend Shenanigans

We had one thing on our agenda this weekend, and that was to purchase a new car seat for our apparently “tall” baby.  I’m short; my husband’s not tall, so I’m not sure where she gets it from.  Anyway, she has surpassed the max height for her infant seat, and so it was imperative that we get this done.  We started at Babies R Us because I had already checked out BuyBuyBaby’s selection the week before.  I wasn’t impressed by the selection BRU had, but we decided to make the most out of our trip and let Ellis play around in the toy section for a while.  Of course, she had to go down almost every aisle and try out everything that moved.  By the time she was done, we only had time to eat lunch before heading back home for her nap.

We tried again on Sunday and went straight to BuyBuyBaby.  I was being incredibly indecisive and going back and forth between the MaxiCosi and the Peg Perego, when the sales guys came over for a third time and schooled me on why Britax was my only choice.  Something about safety, yadda yadda ya.  After I got over the fact that it didn’t come in cuter colors, I agreed that it was the responsible choice.  Ellis ran around the store some more and right when we were about to leave, found all the riding toys, so I had to take her for a spin in EACH of them before we could go.  We did lunch at Latitude 30 before grumpy cat needed to get home for a nap.  (I’m talking about Ellis, but I could have been referring to myself as well.)

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Wish we had gotten the wagon with the seats.

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This is one sweet ride!

 

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Being just a touch dramatic.

Ellis refused to sit in her seat so that we could adjust the straps to fit her.  We have a doctor’s appointment in the morning, so hopefully she cooperates and lets me put her in the seat then.  She has learned to shake her head no and can throw a decent tantrum, so wish me luck!

What happens when you let a baby loose in a toy store:

First Library Books

I was a teacher for a few years before I left to pursue my Masters in Library Science.  I’m kind of a geek when it comes to libraries.  So, it might surprise you that today when I took my daughter to the library, I had a $3.60 fine and my library card was expired.  Also, it had been so long since we last visited that I wasn’t aware of the new summer children’s program schedule which does not offer baby story time, so I was surprised when we showed up 5 minutes before opening time and found the parking lot nearly deserted.  Normally, there’s a line of moms with babies waiting to get their names on the list as story time fills up fast.

No biggie.  You had the whole children’s department to herself.  You played with the toys while I browsed bedtime stories.  After a while, you got braver and started exploring new sections, and I was no longer free to browse because I had to keep chasing you down.  I didn’t want people to think I was a neglectful mom who just let her 12 month old daughter run around unobstructed.  And you were running.  Every time I looked up, you were up on your feet, teetering back and forth with your arms bobbing in front for balance, a big grin on your face.  You were just so happy to have all this room to move.  I think it was better that story time didn’t occur because I never would have realized how much fun you could have just on your own exploring.

I did happen to grab a few books while you were running wild and free.  I kind of stuck with the theme of dogs and cats.  I wanted books with pictures of dogs for you to look at because you are always pointing them out everywhere we go.  You see them on TV, outside, in pictures, everywhere.  The other day I was shopping for a vacuum, and you pointed at a box and said “dog.”  I started to correct you, that no, there’s no dog, but then I looked where you were pointing, and there was in fact a picture of a dog on one of the boxes.  It was small, but you found it.

You’ve never actually seen a cat in person, but I feel like it’s important for you to know what one is, and pictures of them are always cute, so I grabbed a couple of those, too.

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These are great because they are photographs, not pictures or diagrams, and there is very little text.  The Scheunemann books also rhyme, so that makes them fun to read.

FICTION

For Ellis, I’m looking for simple, sing-songy text or repetition, and engaging images.  The first book on this list, Little Dogs Say “Rough,” was a miss.  We haven’t even gotten to the page with dogs yet.  But Cat the Cat is a huge hit.  She stops what she’s doing to look and laugh.  The last one by Bill Martin, Jr. (Brown Bear Brown Bear) is sweet and lulling, so it’s enjoyable for both parents and baby.

12 Months

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That’s all folks! I’m off to be a toddler now.

We did it!  We kept you alive for an entire year.  Let’s give ourselves a pat on the back.  Pat. Pat. Pat.

Okay.  Let’s talk about your accomplishments now, shall we.

I made this Birthday Board for your party.  First Birthday Board captureI had to guess at some of your stats because your 1 year checkup wasn’t until after your party.     First Birthday Board

You did an amazing job at your doctor’s appointment, and Dr. Thornton made us feel like rock star parents.   They pricked your finger to test the iron levels in your hemoglobin.  You didn’t flinch, but were more annoyed that they were holding your finger and then wrapped a band-aid on it.  It didn’t take you long to pull it off.  Also, your iron levels are above amazing, again, according to the doctor.  Love that man!

You are actually 30 1/2 inches tall and weigh 18 lbs 14 oz.  Your doctor calls you “long and lean.”  You are the height of an average 15 month old, he says.  But you just had a growth spurt, so you might still be the same height at 15 months.  You have a “perfectly normal” sized head at exactly 18 inches.

Your 6th tooth hasn’t quite come in; it’s still on the cusp of breaking through, and your 5th tooth is only halfway out.

Also, the doctor informed us that because you take unassisted steps of any amount, you are walking.  So you CAN walk, just not well yet.  But you’re more comfortable trying to get from Point A to Point B by walking, especially if Point B is Mommy.

You point at Alex and say “dog.”  You point at a picture of a dog and say “dog.”  Basically, you’re a genius.  But you also point at the couch sometimes and say “dog.”

You are a really happy, easy going, social baby, but you are also a Momma’s girl.  If you can see me, you don’t want anyone else.

You sleep with a stuffed bear, and it’s the most adorable thing watching you hug tight to it.

You nod and shake your head.  We encourage the nodding more.

You say “Ahhh!” after taking a drink of water.

You are constantly on the go and into everything.  I just chase you around all day from one disaster to the next.  As much as we’ve babyproofed the house, you still find  things to get into.

There is a game you like to play when I try to put you down to bed.  You’ll be talking and playing, so I’ll say, “Good night! Love you!” and start to put you in your crib.  You’ll immediately bear hug me around the neck and lay your head down on my shoulder, as if to say, “Just a little bit longer, Mom!”  It works.  Until the 10th time, then I just wrestle out of your grasp, kiss you, and say night-night.

Stats:

I could have made a really awesomely amazing infographic, but ain’t nobody got time for that.  So here’s a quick rundown of your first year in numbers.  These are estimates because I wasn’t 100% diligent about recording everything, but according to my BabyConnect app:

3123 is the number of diapers changed

9.6 gallons is the amount of breastmilk you’ve taken from the bottle.

I stopped recording pumping a while ago, but the last recorded amount is 9.7 gallons of pumped milk over 53 hours and 25 minutes.  (I hate pumping!)

You have spent at least 371 hours and 54 minutes nursing.

You’ve visited Miami, Kansas City, Des Moines, Wichita, and Story City.

You’ve been to four states: Florida, Missouri, Kansas, and Iowa.

You’ve been on two plane trips and are a great flyer.

You’ve been sick once.

And finally, I’ve taken at least one gazillion photos of you in your first year, and shared about 20% of those photos with the internets.

Not sure when my obsession with you will end.  Most likely never.

Love you.