Thursday, December 30, 2010

Crafty Book Sling!

I have been wanting to get Nolan some sort of book organizational system for a while. I really liked these types of toddler shelves but the reviews always said they didn't last, they don't match our furniture, and they weren't cheap.

Yesterday, I decided to google do it yourself book sling and I came across a great blog and tutorial. With a Christmas gift card I was off to JoAnn's to find the perfect fabric. Just a short time later, and of course after Nolan's bedtime, it was finished. Tim hung it for me today and I'm thrilled. I only wish the curtain bracket allowed the opening between the two dowels to be a bit wider for some of his chunkier books. Now I need a few more of these!!






Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Disney

This past weekend was Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party at Magic Kingdom that we won tickets to. We took our good friend Ben and his girlfriend. Besides it feeling very much like winter, we had a great time.



Nolan was a champ and rode with us on numerous rides. He was mesmerized by the It's a Small World ride, had fun spinning on the tea cups, flew high on Dumbo and Aladdin's carpet, and even nursed on the Haunted Mansion ride.

video
....Tim forgot he was filming and turned the camera at the end. I haven't had a chance to use our software to edit that part yet!
Nolan with Ben!

Nolan and Daddy on It's a Small World


Nolan fell asleep at about 9:15 and slept through the fireworks amazingly. he woke up pretty upset and we had to visit the baby care center to warm up a bit. I put him in the ERGOBaby carrier and zipped him under my coat where he slept through the late night parade too. He awoke just in time to leave the park and take the very windy and chilly tram ride to our car. He has a fun stuffed Mickey to remember his first Disney trip!

Momma Kangaroo holding sleeping baby.
We won't mention just how horrible it is to have a poor sleeping 14mo old in a hotel room!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Oh to be a...

KID!!

Nolan and I went with our meetup.com Mom's group yesterday to O2B Kids. I wasn't sure what all they had but I knew the day would start with a puppet show then some free play time.

The place was amazing. I'm still gushing about it because we had such fun. As members, every Tuesday and Thursday they have a play group day. Basically starting at 10 for an hour they have different activities based on the ages of the children. Yesterday as guests we got to participate in everything and get a feel for the place.

We started with a morning puppet show that introduced songs, rhymes, letter and numbers. Nolan had fun and was ready to run up on the little stage himself. Next, was art class which I was a little leery about. I've wanted to start doing such things at home but still was afraid he was too young. Although he enjoyed the Play-doh toys more than the actual dough I was just glad he didn't eat it (yes, he chewed on some of the toys)!

 Seeing my little baby sitting on a big boy chair was definitely adorable too.

 They had a fun "sand table" which was an idea we might borrow for home. In "sand" consisting of rice and pasta noodles of various sizes and shapes were different digging and scooping toys. It was much cleaner than sand and probably safer if eaten too!

We then got some energy out in the gym. This tumble area had a great running trampoline, a balance beam, and lots of fun foam shapes to climb. It was a blast and by the end Nolan would even jump a bit on the trampoline. He was a jumper as a baby in his different toys but now that he walks it is really a difficult skill to master. I was glad to see him trying.

We finished up our day with some free play in the toddler area. There were plenty of toys to climb on and explore here and a nice area for moms to sit and relax!


This last picture says it all... WE HAD FUN!!!


P.S. Anyone know how to put two pictures side by side in Blogger?

Monday, December 6, 2010

Christmas Tree!!

We picked out Nolan's second Christmas tree yesterday. It seems crazy that he is on go around two now for all the holidays! Last year he was just a wee blob in my arms but now he is Mr. Personality. He explored the tent while we searched for the perfect tree.
What do you want mom?

He was a big boy exploring on his own and running, yes I said running, back and forth.

Finding cool things to play with

...and to eat

Climbing by myself

...and not holding still for a nice picture!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy, but disappointed!

I should be really excited but I can't help but be a little disappointed. I won 4 tickets to Mickey's Very Merry Christmas at Disney World! I'm sure you're asking, "how could she possibly be disappointed?" Well here is what happened.

I've spent the past two weeks entering a contest on our local MomsLikeMe forum to win 4 tickets to Disney's Christmas special, 2 nights in a Disney resort, and a $100 gift card to spend while there. Basically in order to enter enough times to have a shot at winning I spent about 30 minutes online every night after putting Nolan to bed. That's a lot of my free time!! I figured it would all be worth it though if I won!

The email I received telling me I could pick up the tickets at the local news station said I had won 4 tickets but didn't mention the other parts of the prize package. I re-read the official rules and indeed more than just the tickets was offered. When I went to pick up the prize, all I was handed was four tickets that are only good on one specific night and a Sunday night at that.

I asked the person in charge of the contest about the other parts of the prize package and she said that she had made a mistake and they were supposed to go with a second contest being run for Disney annual passes. The rules for that contest don't mention anything about a giftcard or hotel nights being offered. I understand mistakes but suddenly the prize is waaaaay less valuable. It seems like a mistake was made but since it was listed that way they should be offered with this contest.

I'm trying not to feel greedy but it's really hard!! You can't run a contest for a prize then only give away a third of it!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

Happy Thanksgiving!! I'm thankful for my wonderful family amongst many other things!


...even when they are cranky!

I can't believe how big my little turkey is now and how little he was last year.

We'll end this little "parade" of pictures with Santa of course!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Purple Potatoes!!

So I'm kind of gullible when it comes to "new" foods. I was one of the 6 people in America who bought the grapple. Yep, they were apples that tasted like grapes. Just the other day I say a pear that tasted like an apple or vice versa can't remember. Tim gave me the look and we left the store without them. Afterall, I can just buy a pear if I want one! I usually end up disappointed in whatever new and fun food I try to buy anyways.

So when I was shopping at our local health food store and saw organic purple potatoes I just had to get them!!
Here is a shot of the potatoes half peeled. You can see both the skin and flesh are indeed a dark purple!

I cooked them this week as part of a beef stew. It was fun and a bit weird as without the carrots the whole dish would have been one color. As it was, it still kinda looked like dog food! I'm hoping to be able to use fun little meals like this if Nolan ever decides to be a picky eater! Here is a shot of the stew cooking before the meat was browned.
The stew turned out great and both Nolan and I enjoyed it!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Losing the Locks!

We finally did it! Nolan has had his first haircut. I've wavered for some time on getting his hair cut. I love the shaggy look but keeping it out of his eyes was getting more complicated and he can't yet tuck it behind his ears.As I knew and feared, he looks more grown up. I need that itty bitty baby look!!

We went to a salon that specializes in only children. Nolan got to ride in a boat while getting his haircut.  Our stylist was really great with him. There was no negativity associated with it what so ever. She simply let him sit there and play with a Thomas Train while she chopped. We didn't use a cape this time because we were trying to keep him as calm as possible. I'm amazed at how good it looks considering there was no restraining him whatsoever. My big boy didn't shed a tear which is amazing after his traumatizing day with Santa earlier this week (post to come later!).

Now for the fun part...


So what do you think? I really like the cut but when I look back to yesterday's shaggy photo shoot I get a little sad!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Art Playdate

Nolan and I met our mommies group at The Cummer Museum of Art today. We knew better than to take a dozen rowdy toddlers through an actual art gallery but the museum has spectacular gardens and a kids section. Besides taking amazing garden pictures.....

...Nolan and I had fun with the psychedelic music and art creator. Basically they had the contraption that would turn you and your movements into a TV like art. I snapped shots of us playing there. See if you can find us in the artwork!





Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Knitting for kNolan

I've wanted to learn to knit ever since I was pregnant and looking at all the great baby items that can be made. Everyone knows about booties but as a cloth diaper user longies (or check out these) were one thing I really wanted. They are just to darn expensive to buy though!

I got a few "teach yourself to knit" kits and could manage to make an inch wide foot long string before some issue cropped up or it became to tedious with Nolan wanting to help. This past week I was at JoAnns wishing their PUL fabric was correctly laminated so I could make Nolan an awesome monkey diaper when I spotted the knitting kits again. I knew I couldn't just buy another one and hope it'd work out. Then I saw the Kniffty Knitter products and became intrigued.



For those of you not in tune with every JoAnns product, the Kniffty Knitter items are looms on which you can knit basic items. They come in circular, perfect for hats, and long looms, great for blankets and scarves. The JoAnns employee assured me they were easy and it was completely possible to teach yourself while juggling a running 1yr old.

I bought my first loom in the size which would make Nolan ridiculously cute hats. That same day during his nap I made this!!


My second hat attempt was just as successful.
I've since bought a few more looms and have been reading everything I can on them. Besides the basic stitch used in these two projects, you can do a regular purl stitch and many others. The looms have much more functionality than their simple instruction booklet lets on. The main downside is that you cannot control the distance between the stitches because the pegs on the loom are permanently installed. This means it works best with thicker yarns or doubling up on thinner yarns. Projects three and four are already on the looms being worked! Now I just have to find a pattern for longies that can be done on a loom!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Circumcision Myths

.....also see Part One - To cut or not to cut?

I want my son to look like daddy. Personally, I believe two wrongs don’t make a right. Over time society has become more advanced and we can admit that things that used to be acceptable and common place no longer are. I know of no man who compares his genitals to his dad’s to get self worth. Perhaps a question from a curious three year old will occur but a simple “daddy had surgery when he was a baby will suffice.”

Won’t he be teased in the locker room? The most recent statistics show that circumcision has dropped to record lows in the United States and stands at just 33% (for 2009). This means that when the 2009 babies get to the locker room only 1 in 3 will be circumcised. If your son chooses to leave the country, the number of circumcised males will likely be even less (75% of the world is intact).  

An intact penis is unhygienic and dirty. Prepuce amputation is no replacement for proper hygiene. Regardless of if your son is circumcised, proper washing is important. Amputating a portion of the penis for a slight UTI reduction is seems absurd when males contracting UTIs is rare. Again in this instance circumcision is a “cure” looking for its “disease”. 

But doesn’t it help prevent HIV? (http://www.futuremedicine.com/doi/full/10.2217/17469600.2.3.193) The journal of AIDS has actually published a paper doubting the use of circumcision as an HIV reducer. The study that resulted in all of the press has been found to be questionable and flawed. Even if that study did have accurate results, it found circumcision to only be effective in reducing the risk of transmission of HIV from an infected female to an unaffected male and it was less effective than condom use. Real world studies actually show opposite results. Even in Africa the countries with higher percentage of circumcised men have higher rates of HIV. The United States has higher rates of circumcision than Europe and also higher rates of STDs. Circumcision has also been shown to increase the infection risk for women. I plan to teach proper sexual health and condom usage instead of body alteration.


The final consideration I made when making my decision happened after actually watching a circumcision procedure performed on a newborn. This is one of the most heart wrenching things I have ever seen. I did not want my son out of my arms after birth let alone strapped down while undergoing surgery with no anesthesia in a room far away from me. 

Regardless of what you decide, please take the time to thoroughly research circumcision before making your decision. If you can’t stomach watching a clip of the procedure then perhaps your baby can’t stomach the actual procedure. Throughout this post I’ve cited a few resources and paths for further information but there is much more information out there.

Friday, October 29, 2010

To cut or not to cut?

Okay so if you read my blog you know I alternate between family update type posts and then posts on my opinions and views on raising children. This is one of the latter.

Before becoming a mom, there were lots of things I never thought I would have to research and consider. Top on that list is the act of circumcision. Most people my age grew up with circumcision being the norm. Due to my blended family background, however, that wasn’t the case for me. I changed lots of diapers on my intact brothers and also on the circumcised ones. It really wasn’t a big deal that they were different and I never remember even questioning it.  

If you asked me before pregnancy if my son would be circumcised, I probably would have admitted I hadn’t really thought about it. That fact alone is the reason I first started researching the act. Hubby and I aren’t ones to do something, especially as serious as altering the body of our newborn, without making an informed decision. I think so many things in this world would be much better if everyone took the time to research what actions they were taking instead of just doing something because that’s how it’s usually done. Here are some of the key reasons we decided to keep our son intact.

1.)    No national medical association in the world recommends or advocates routine newborn circumcision. In fact, in 1999 the American Academy of Pediatrics released a statement saying that existing data was not sufficient to recommend routine newborn male circumcision.

2.)    Circumcision began as a religious ceremony, was then promoted as a medical procedure to reduce masturbation, and has since morphed into cosmetic procedure. Many other have said this before but circumcision is a “cure” looking for its “disease”.

3.)    Circumcision actually amputates an organ, the prepuce, which is one of the most sensitive and nerve laden areas.  It protects the head of the penis and is important in sexual pleasure for both males and females.

4.)    The trauma of circumcision and being removed from mother after birth can negatively impact the breastfeeding reationship. 

5.)    It is painful. Circumcision actually alters the brain and the effects are visible on MRIs. This sounds strange but the intense pain and trauma has a visible effect on the newborn brain.  http://www.circumcision.org/brain.htm and http://www.circumcision.org/response.htm
 
….stay tuned for part two – Circumcision Myths

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Croup

Well, he had a very healthy first year but picked a doozey of a date to get sick for the first time. Literally, the night before his 1st birthday party!! For something quite common, Croup sure is scary!! Nolan sounds like a barking seal who can't breathe. Most of the day he is okay, active, and happy. He might cough once or twice but for the most part until he "talks" you can't tell anything is wrong. When he nurses, he gets winded a bit easily.

Night is a whole different story. He turns into a very sick baby who can barely breathe. He wheezes with each breathe and continually does the seal bark sound. I spent most of last night holding him and trying to get him to sleep. The Doc says it is basically a viral cold and we just have to wait it out. We have a cool mist humidifier going and tried breathing some from the fridge/freezer too. I hope tonight goes better.

Tomorrow morning at ~6am it will be one year since my water broke and Nolan started his giant descent into the world! I can't believe I have a one year old!!!  Where has my tiny baby gone?


Thursday, October 21, 2010

October

October is probably my favorite month of the year. The Holidays are coming, the weather has finally cooled off...well not so much here in Florida, and it's BIRTHDAY month. Not only my very own birthday but now my darling little boy's. While it is something to look forward to, as a mom it's also sad as the passing of time seems way too quick. Here are just a few of our celebrations I have to look forward to this month.

October 6 - My birthday!!
October 8 - My second birthday. When we were in our early years together, Tim wrongly stated that my birthday was the 8th numerous times. I now joke that it's my second birthday and I need two gifts from him!
October 23 - Nolan's birthday bash
October 25 - Nolan's bithday! (The big Numero Uno) and the day on which I will have been successfully breastfeeding for one whole year.
October 27 - Tim and I will have been together for 10... yep TEN... years! A few days later on Nov. 4th we celebrate the official anniversary while toasting to our 4th Wedding Anniversary!

It's a busy month and almost over!

Friday, October 15, 2010

On Babywise

I've had this blog written for a few weeks but held off publishing because it always seems to be controversial. Well again today I saw this book being touted as the bible for new moms so I couldn't hold off anymore!!

Every mother chooses to raise her baby differently but there is one catch phrase that makes me cringe every time I hear it. If you are an new mom, or old mom, and getting advice to check out Babywise to magically solve all your parenting issues...RUN!

The Babywise book, a secular version of the growing Kids God's Way series, is written by a pastor and co-authored by a pediatrician. Marketed as supported by the medical community, unsuspecting parents often believe they are doing what is best for their baby by following the information within.

Now I know my own philosophies won't be followed by all or even accepted by all but this specific book and baby training initiative has actually been deemed harmful by the AAP and goes against recommendations made by AAP, La Leche League, WHO, and other reputable organizations. It also goes against a mother's natural instinct. If my baby is crying, I comfort them. If my baby is hungry, I feed them. Biologically speaking it does not promote healthy lactation and does not account for differing bodies and milk production in mothers.

Basically Babywise promotes placing babies as young as newborns on a strict schedule for feeding, sleeping, and awake time. The "Parent Directed Feeding" is said to lead to babies sleeping through the night at 3-8 weeks and simplicity for parents. Concepts such as "infant management" and allowing a newborn to cry because it "should" be sleeping and isn't time to eat are barbaric. Even proponents of the "Cry-it-out" Ferber method of getting a baby to sleep do not recommend beginning sleep training until 3-4 months of age.

If you choose to purchase this book, please do so knowing that it has been linked to failure to thrive in infants and breastmilk supply issues in mothers. As with anything, you should do your own research!

Want more info?
American Association of Pediatrics - http://aapnews.aappublications.org/cgi/content/abstract/14/4/21
http://www.drmomma.org/2009/12/babywise-linked-to-babies-dehydration.html
http://www.ezzo.info/doctors-on-babywise.html

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Even cuter bums!

So if you've been reading this blog at all or know me, you've certainly heard that we cloth diaper Nolan. I made the decision very early in my pregnancy and stuck with it. I've never bought a disposable diaperand love to have the opportunity to talk to any and all moms and expecting moms about cloth! In the beginning. I spent hours scouring websites trying to figure out why there were so many types and which would work best for me. A lot of it comes down to pure preference but... there are some tried and tested favorites out there! I go into detail on the different types of cloth diapers, benefits in general, and even how best to put on the old fashioned kind in archived posts if you're interested.

Today is my "bare bones if you only have five minutes to decide which type of cloth diaper to use recommendation" post. The BumGenius brand makes great staple diapers that will last, holds in messes well, are affordable, easily available, and today got even more adorable!! If you find out it's not your favorite later on the resale value is also high. I prefer the 4.0 pocket one-size diapers and the Flip (even more economical) line.

Today BumGenius released information on their new designer line which features prints versus solid color diapers!! The prints are available in the new 4.0 version which has velcro or snaps, you pick.


They are available for pre-order now and will be shipping in mid-November. Maybe a birthday treat for myself is in order!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Fun with Food

Nolan is at a difficult age food wise. He isn't a fan of baby food purees but can't yet feed himself well. He will flat out refuse most of my homemade purees and takes some of the store bought ones if he is in the mood. Because of this, I've been trying to make meals for myself that he can just  have part of. I got sick of steamed veggies every meal so I've been searching for ideas! Yesterday at the grocery store I stocked up and had a few new recipes in mind.

I spent Nolan's nap making turkey and vegetable meatballs and veggie noodles. I had a bunch of previously made and frozen baby purees but with him rejecting those I wanted to put them to good use.



The turkey meatballs were simple. I took plain lean ground turkey and mixed in an array of pureed veggies (sweet potatoes, zucchini, peas, green beans, and spinach). Some of the meatballs had oatmeal flakes for stability and some did not. Once I figure out which he eats best, I'll know for next time. They were then simply baked until brown and frozen for easy preparation.
For the noodles, I used whole wheat flour, a single egg, and the rest of the veggies mix above. I made it into normal noodle dough and used our great pasta machine to roll out. After boiling all the noodles, I froze small portions separately for easy prep time later on. 

Nolan tried the first helping at lunch today and it was a hit!! Nice and simple and I know exactly what ingredients are in everything!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Great finds

This was definitely a week of great deals for Nolan!! I bought his birthday present (yep a whole month early) because Toys R Us had awesome coupons on just the item I wanted. It'll be a surprise to everyone reading this until his birthday or until I breakdown and start using his gift early...probably the latter!

Besides that find, I went to our favorite thrift store and got the Busy Gears I blogged about earlier and a Melissa and Doug wooden farm puzzle. For just a simple puzzle, those things are crazy expensive new but we only paid $1! 


This morning was a bi-annual consignment sale for baby items. Nol and I headed over there and braved the crowds. I couldn't bring myself to scour the racks upon racks of clothing because they usually seem over priced and I can buy new at Carter's outlet with coupons for the same price! We did, however, find a few toys! Those are the fun things anyways, right?

For a whole $4 we got three wooden cars! These are great and are made in Finland (not China for once!). They roll easily over the carpet in the playroom!

The blocks on the smaller vehicle come off and are perfect for a teething boy!
 

Our final great deal of the week was a table top bead maze. Nolan plays with one of these at the library and has enjoyed having his very own so far. I sat him in his high chair and it was perfect entertainment. This was a whooping $3 and is brand new looking!


Well, now I need to get off the computer and go straighten up all those toys lying the floor!!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Doggy Fun

I'm working on giving Nolan free time out in the main part of the house. We've been super cautious up until now because of all the hazards - biting bird, hardwood and ceramic tile floors, dog hair regardless of how often I sweep, and the 3 beasts themselves. He loves it though and now that he can walk and is a speed demon at crawling he is a little less helpless. Here are a few pics of his fun today.
Kahn did great even though Nolan stole his favorite toy (and in case you're wondering I had just washed it).

Kaya isn't too sure what to think when Nol decides to scream and crawl at high speed towards her.

Lainey stayed conveniently out of reach on the couch!

...and yep as you see in the pics I moved his playgym out here out of his play area and out of commission for a little while to give myself a few minutes without having to grab him off the top or fear he was gonna fall and crack his head.