Monday, August 8, 2016

Adventures in Parenting: Month 10

Weight: 22 lbs
Teeth: 7

Birthday parties: I'm probably supposed to start planning this, right? O_o

Mobility:  Kid is everywhere.  We're crawling, cruising, and essentially getting into every nook and cranny where his tiny body and giant head can fit.  Baby proofing required some padded corners, cabinet locks, and moving of some furniture to prevent access to some spots.  

We also have this uber-wide entryway between our living room and kitchen--too wide for any available pressure-mount gates and we don't want to put holes in the walls.  So a coworker gave us their 6-panel play yard--we're using 4 panels to block off this entry and the other two near the fireplace. 

Sleep:  Now that he can move around in his crib a lot, this is requiring some adjustment for all of us.  Sometimes he wakes up, sits up, cries or babbles for a bit, crawls around, and then within a minute or two, plops down in a new spot and passes out. Sometimes in some really strange positions.  On at least one occasion, he just flopped forward while sitting up and fell asleep doubled over.

I envy your flexibility, kid.

Or sometimes he stays awake for 10-15 minutes, just sitting there playing with a pacifier quietly, and it's a 50/50 shot as to whether he'll eventually lay down on his own or one of us will have to go in there and soothe him back to sleep.  It's a crap shoot, really.
A particularly rough night, but passed out at 10:04pm.

We've learned to just be wary.  If he's got a cold, we mentally prepare ourselves to get up every couple hours...and then sometimes he surprises us by sleeping through the night.  5 nights in a row.  But we KNOW it's coming--the night when he wakes up 3-4 times.  So we just try to assume that we're going to have to get up at some point EVERY NIGHT, and then if we don't, it's a nice surprise.

Eating:  He's doing pretty well with finger foods and spoon feeding "real" food. I can cut up pasta with some sauce and veggies and ground beef and feed it to him on a spoon, and he'll manage pretty well.  Sometimes he can't quite handle the little bits of ground beef so after he's been chewing on them forever I just fish it out of his mouth (the joys of being a mom). He loves quartered grapes and chunks of watermelon--though he'll squeeze the watermelon until all the "water" is on his high chair tray and then eat the "melon". ...so maybe he just likes "melon".

We've also tried giving him bits of banana "rolled in Cheerio dust" so they're easier to pick up.  Which is true, they are...but that "dust" eventually turns into a "crust" which doesn't seem to end up in his mouth--just all over his hands, face, the high chair....but hey, he's self feeding, and babies are messy. It's what they do.  

He's a big fan of pancakes, his cheese puff snacks...oh, and Mexican food.  Seriously... I think Mexican food is designed for sharing with babies.  Mild salsa, guacamole, refried beans, rice, cheesy bits of soft tortilla...he has a field day!
Nomming on some banana-oat pancakes.

Teeth: He's had 6 for quite a while, so we've just been waiting for his lower lateral incisors to show up.  Finally noticed one of them peeking through the other day, which probably means that #8 isn't far behind.  He doesn't get overly cranky with teething, but it does usually mean a few more wake-ups than usual, a lot more drool, and always having something in his mouth to gnaw on.

Solo Parenting:  I started talking about this last month.  We survived 2 weeks without The Hubs.  Barely. It was pretty rough. I'm glad for a good day care that's open 6am-6pm which gave me some flexibility... if he woke up super early, I could just nurse him, change his diaper, and then take him there in his PJs and they'd feed him breakfast.  Or if I was running late from work because of traffic, I had until 6pm to get him.  For the weekend that we were alone, we went to my parents' house so I wouldn't have to try to entertain him all by myself, and that was really helpful.  He loves Nana and Papa, and their boxer Joey.  

I also had to go to a conference during this time period, which involved an overnight stay.  Thankfully, the conference was being hosted at a resort that was about 45 minutes from my parents' house, so my mom came down to watch Baby J while I was in sessions.  The night before that was tough, though.  Lil' Man wasn't handling the strange room well, and after going to bed at 9pm, woke at 10:30, 11:30, 12:30... after that last one, I just said "screw it".  My hotel room had a king size bed, so I used all the pillows in the room to build a fort around the edge, and brought him into bed with me.  It took him about 5 minutes to get settled down, but he fell back asleep snuggled next to me. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to fall asleep because of being paranoid that I'd roll over on him, but eventually I found a comfortable position that ensured I'd have to wake up to turn, and I passed out too. It definitely wasn't the most restful night's sleep ever, but he did sleep until 5:30am that way.

Developments:  He's a jabberbox, with lots of "mamama-dadadada-babababa-nanananan"...but mostly only at home.  Out in public he's quieter, sitting back and watching everything around him and smiling at everyone who passes.

He's also started testing the waters of standing without holding on, and crawling everywhere (including under things, like the dining table and end tables if he can manage it). No longer content to stay in one spot, if we're not in the room with him he's on the move to come find us.

He also loves to make us smile or laugh at him. One of the newest games is him scrowling at us if we touch his forehead or nose.  Then we scrowl back at him and he immediately smiles.
Life with Kids:  We hosted a BBQ at our house for the first time in..well, a long time, but definitely the first time we've had people over since Lil' Man was born.  Many of our friends now have kids, so it was important to me that we be able to keep them entertained.  Ages ranged from 9 months - 3 years.  I pulled out all of the "toys that make noise", bought a couple big rubber balls, and a bubble machine.  I have no idea if any of the adults had fun, but the kids were definitely entertained.  

And of course, then there's Lil' Man's stalker B...who could care less if there were any toys so long as she gets to play with Baby J.

Home Repairs and Babies: So we're looking to buy a slightly bigger place and put our house on the market, which means getting our house up to snuff as well and taking care of 12 years of wear & tear.  Which would probably be a LOT easier without a kid in the house.  Generally, it means scrambling to get as much work done as possible while he's napping, and then taking turns on projects so one person can keep him entertained or work on something while in the same room as him while the other works on a bigger project in another room.  But we've made a lot of progress just in the last couple weeks with small updates:  touch up painting, replacing some worn out looking hardware and flooring, deep cleaning, etc.  There's still a lot to do, but we've got time.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Thirsty Thursday: Peach Muscadine Sangria

I picked up this bottle of wine during my last trip down to Louisiana, knowing that we had an upcoming BBQ for our 5th wedding anniversary.  It seemed like a perfect way to add a little "Cajun" flair to our party!  

In the past, I've not had a lot of good luck with Louisiana wines--primarily because the grape that grows the best in Louisiana is the muscadine.  It's a beautiful, GIANT grape with a thick skin, native to the southeastern states with a slightly odd sweet taste that in my past experiences has resulted in an overly sweet wine.  However, it seems that Landry Vineyards has managed to tame the wild muscadine, resulting in a light, semi-sweet, very drinkable peach blend.  I would have been perfectly content to sip this chilled from a glass all by itself on our back porch...but I promised our friends a peach sangria!

I was really pleased with how this turned out.  Very light, drinkable, not overly sweet, perfect for a summer BBQ!

INGREDIENTS:
1 bottle (750mL) peach muscadine wine (you could sub another white fruit blend if you can't find this exact one)
1 cup peach brandy
1/4 cup lime juice
2 cans ginger ale
Fresh Fruit: 2 peaches, 1 apple, 1 orange, washed

DIRECTIONS:
The morning of the day you plan on serving (or the night before if you'll be having with brunch), slice up your fruit and add to a pretty pitcher.  Pour in the lime juice, brandy, wine, and ginger ale, stir, and then cover to help preserve the effervescence.  Place in the fridge for at least 2-3 hours, then serve to your guests! Use the bits of fruit as garnish. Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Fifth Wedding Anniversary Gift: DIY Wooden Puzzle

How time flies!  It's a little difficult to believe that The Hubs & I have been married for 5 years now.  Sometimes it feels like it was just last year...and other times it feels like it's been forever.  In a good way, I mean.
(Amycakes.  Still the best cakes on the planet.)


In the past 5 years, The Hubs & I have:
Traveled to 7 countries
Visited 20 states
Bought & sold 1 business, and
Made one really awesome child.
As you may know, I like to give at least one handmade gift each anniversary.  I've blogged about each here:
So Year Five is "Wood". (Or "silverware" according to the "modern" list.  But I'm of the opinion that the "modern" list isn't so "modern" anymore, so let's just stick with tradition, shall we?)  

There's no shortage of wooden gifts available out there, so it's all about what suits your spouse's personal tastes.  And mine has a taste for beer.  So I ordered him a custom engraved bottle opener wall mount for our kitchen:
And then I also wanted to make him something.  Like a puzzle!  But I was having a hard time finding a blank wooden puzzle that I could get in a reasonable amount of time, and that wouldn't cost a fortune.  Then it occurred to me...I could just BUY an existing puzzle and use that--it didn't have to be blank!

So I found a wooden tangram puzzle with a small frame.  Then I picked two photos--one from our wedding day, and one from very recent.  My puzzle measured about 4.5" square, so I ordered 5x7" prints of each of the photos, and then trimmed then down to match the puzzle size.


I applied Modge Podge to the back of one photo, then overlaid it on the puzzle pieces, and let it dry overnight.  Once dry, I trimmed around the outer edge so it would be nice and even, and then Modge Podged the second photo to the opposite side, allowing it to dry.

Once fully dry, I used an Exacto knife to separate the pieces, and trim excess from the edges of each piece.  And then I used Modge Podge to coat the outside of each piece to add some extra protection and help fill in any gaps.

Last step was to put it back in the frame and then use some cling wrap to cover it & keep all the pieces in place once I put it in with the rest of his gift:  A box of truffles from The Candy House (for us to share, of course), and a bottle of BARREL-aged beer (barrel = wood).  


In return, The Hubs made me a very sweet piece that is now hanging in our bedroom:


Along with another mystery gift that arrived unassembled while he was out of town for work, and that I didn't look at so as to keep the mystery intact. All I know is that a) it likely is made of wood, b) it's heavy and large, and c) the box also contains glass.  Quelle surprise!


If you missed it, I did a Wedding Week a few years ago—here’s the links if you’re interested: