Saturday, September 25, 2010

Homemade Baby Food 101

Since before Brenna was even born, I've wanted to try my hand at making her some baby food. I didn't really get started on that before we were ready to start solids, so we've been using Gerber individual Stage 1 foods and it's gone really well. So far, she's had mashed avocado (obviously, "homemade"), squash, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, and green beans. She's liked everything so far and hasn't really seemed to love or hate the process.

So, last weekend when I went to the grocery store I picked up some squash and sweet potatoes to see what I could do. I baked the sweet potatoes today and put my little mini food processor to good use. I pureed them with water to a consistency that was a little thicker than the stage 1 foods we've been buying, but was still really, really runny. I got enough to freeze two ice trays full and keep a few servings in the fridge for today and tomorrow. I was so proud of myself. Yes, my kitchen was a wreck (while our dishwasher is out of commission). Yes, my little food processor was about to start smoking. Yes, it took forever. But, I was so excited to have finally taken on this task I'd planned for so long.

After I nursed her for her 4:45 feeding, we sat down to try some. I even added a little cinnamon to it, because I read today that it's an okay idea to add a little spice to baby's foods to give them new food experiences. Below, you'll see how our first meal of homemade baby food went!

Yes, she's gagging and making horrible faces. She hated it. She kept opening her mouth, but she made these horrible faces every single time. I think it might have been the texture, but I'm not sure. I finally mixed it with a little bit of carrots and she tolerated a little more. I was bummed, but I just had to laugh. Maybe I'll try again, but I doubt my expectations will be as high as they were today.
Homemade baby food attempt #1 - total fail.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

6 Month Stats

Brenna went for her 6 month well visit on Friday (at 6 1/2 months old). She had to get four shots (the usual, plus a flu shot), along with her oral Rotovirus vaccine. She didn't like them, of course, but did well (as usual). She did run a little fever yesterday, but a little Motrin helped clear it right up!

Here are her stats for 6 1/2 months

Weight - 15 pounds, 12 ounces (with a full belly - she had just eaten!) - 36th percentile
Height - 26.25 inches - 60th percentile
Head - 17 inches - 64th percentile

She's right on track and meeting all her milestones ahead of or right on schedule. It's a joy to be her parents and we are loving every single minute of it. Her next appointment is in a month for the rest of her flu shot - and then no more check-ups until 9 months. That's a weird one for me - because then she will have been out of me as long as she was in me. That is, of course, if we schedule her appointment one week late! ;)

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Labor Day in our Nation's Capital

We spent Labor Day weekend in Washington, D.C. with my mom, my sister, and my cousin. My mom and sister had never been and Sissy (my cousin, don't ask about the nickname) hadn't been in many years. So, we packed up and got ready to play tour guides. And I think we did a pretty good job. We enjoyed a great deal (with parking!) at a hotel only 2 blocks from a Metro stop. We did a TON of walking, but had a great time and saw a ton of things in one full day and two half days. I absolutely love DC and enjoyed finally being able to see it with my family, instead of with seventy 7th graders and grumpy chaperones - HA!
Brenna started the trip by sitting in a high chair for the first time at Panera Bread in Manassas.
Our first stop was Arlington National Cemetery.
Brenna rode a Metro for the first time. My mom, sister, and cousin had their first ride on a subway, too.
We saw Ford's Theater - a new experience, even for me!
the room where Lincoln died.
our family outside the American History museum
This picture is only for Merritt. No other meaning.
Michelle Obama's Inagural Dress

Holy Hannah, what a Buffalo! (The animal, not my hubby).
I got to see Julia Child's kitchen - SO FUN!
6 months and 1 day old!

We showed them all the war memorials. I didn't realize how badly I wrapped Brenna on my sister until I saw this picture. Oops.

WWII Memorial with the Lincoln Memorial in the background.
We saw these kids dancing in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Cool picture of diversity if you ask me!

Figure I can hang this with my Taj Mahal picture. Now I just need to go to Pisa.
Our hotel was really close to Chinatown.
Ready to sleep before the Hokies played the next day.
Brenna wasn't too impressed by the capitol.
Mommy looks so cool in her headphones.
Not the cutest pose, huh?
We finally made it to DC together!

Brenna decided sleep was more important than checking out the White House.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Where were you?

September 11, 2001

I was a student at Roanoke College. It was my sophomore year, but since I was a transfer (a bad choice that I don't care to talk about) I had to take a mainly freshman English writing class. I, of course, was running late and went to the computer lab to print out a paper or something. While it was printing, I got online and saw some headline somewhere about a plane crash in NYC. I think I then checked out but it must have just happened and I think most people were assuming it was just a tragic accident. I took off to class and a few other people were talking about it in class but nobody really knew much yet. My professor let us go early and I headed back to my dorm.

Of course, we had our TV on the news channels all day and as the news of the other attacks were reported, I remember having a hard time believing that it was actually a terror attack. I just remember being in shock. However, I was so thankful that I didn't know anybody actually involved in any of the locations. My roommate and other people in our quad weren't so lucky. Since RC has lots and lots of people from the northern US, it seemed a lot of people were more directly affected. My roommate had lots of family who commuted in to NYC and worked at the World Trade Center. Luckily they all were unhurt, but she did know a few people who lost family and/or friends. The room next to us had a girl whose dad worked at the Pentagon and she couldn't reach him for quite awhile - but he was safe. Her roommate's brother had just gotten his pilot's license and was going up in flight for the first time that day. He was safe, too. Across the quad a girl's dad was one of the heads of security for President Bush. He was safe, too. And there were many others who personally knew people affected.

We had a prayer vigil that night and I remember just sitting around the quad with my friends and talking. It was a sad day and I just wanted to be at home with my family. I think I went home that next weekend - but I may have gone home the next day because they cancelled class for a day or two because so many of people needed to get home and check on their families.

I'm thankful that I still feel safe at my house, even though we all saw how vulnerable we can be 9 years ago. I'm thankul for the military men and women who protect this safety. And I'm thankful for their families who give up each day so they can protect me and my fmily. And I think we should all be thankful to those men and women on Flight 93 that were brave enough to protect us from what could have been a much worse attack on our country's government and capital. It's my prayer that Brenna will never know an attack of that magnitude in her lifetime.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I'd Rather...

Today I spent my day hugging other people's kids.
I'd rather be at home hugging my own.

Today I spent my day worrying about who ordered pizza and who ordered salad.
I'd rather be at home making baby food for my baby.

Today I cheered when my 3rd graders all got a 100 on their multiplication quiz.
I'd rather be at home cheering on my almost-crawling baby.

Today I read Freckle Juice with a bunch of inattentive third graders.
I'd rather be at home reading Dr. Seuss books with my girl.

Today I bandaged up other people's kid's boo-boos.
I'd rather be at home with my teething baby, even when she's screaming.

Today I told 3rd graders all about the SOL tests.
I'd rather not have to worry about those tests for 8 years - when Brenna is a 3rd grader.

Today I drove as fast as I could on 460East to get home to my girl.
I'd rather be frolicking around town with my baby in tow.

Today I researched math games and activities about odd and even numbers.
I'd rather be at home researching baby toys and exercises.

Today I spent time with 2 of my best friends, but we were all ill.
I'd rather be able to enjoy their company without the stress of a job we don't love right now.

Today I felt jealous of my friends who get to stay home with their babies.
I'd rather be emailing or calling them to ask advice about being a stay at home mama.

Today I had to find a quiet room with no windows in a school full of kids to pump.
I'd rather be at home snuggling and nursing my Brenna.

Today I had to listen to kids complain and not follow directions 99% of the time.
I'd rather be looking at a baby who smiles at me and reaches for me and never complains (yet!).

It's my blog.....and I'll cry if I want to.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

6 Months Old (My Baby's Half Birthday!)

Dear Brenna,

You are half of a year old. That's impossible for me to believe, but it's true. If we're being honest (and let's always try to be, okay?) you are really 6 months and 3 days old. Yep, I'm late. But I have a good excuse this time. We spent your half birthday (and the next 2 days) in Washington, D.C. with Nanie, Aunt Mal, and Sissy. And Internet was expensive at the hotel, so that's why you're getting a 3 day late letter. I'm pretty sure you're okay with that, right?

Anyway, we had a great trip but I'll have to wait and write about that in your 7 month old letter since it was technically after your 6 month mark. So, instead, let's talk about your sixth month.

This month you started going to a babysitter since Mommy went back to work. It's been hard on me, but you seem to not mind a bit. You seem to really like playing with Liam and his mama Kate during the day, and I hope you will continue being such a good baby. I miss you terribly during the day. I described it to Daddy as my heart "throbbing" for you during the day. Everyone says it gets easier, but I know I'll never miss you less than I do right now. I don't want to miss anything with you. Teaching is a fun job - but not as fun as being your mama. Not even close.

You're growing and changing so much, Brenna. You are an expert at sitting up now and you are SO, SO close to crawling. You can easily get on all fours - now you just have to figure out that you can move your hands and arms. I think it will be VERY soon. It's exciting and scary at the same time. I'm not sure what to do with a mobile baby. Except baby gates - I know we need more baby gates. Oh, the joys of a 3 story house and a baby. You also rolled over from your belly to your back finally this month. I still think it's funny that you rolled the harder way first and so early. You also LOVE to pull up on things that are at about a foot and a half height. You're really good at it and so strong. I'm amazed at how strong you can be in such a little body.

You're still wearing 0-3 month clothes but I think we'll be able to move into 3-6 pretty consistently soon. You actually wore a newborn onesie the other day and just today you wore the same onesie that you wore to church for the first time when you were 17 days old. You look so big to me, but I guess you're still pretty little! I'm okay with that since you're growing and gaining weight just fine. I can't wait until your appointment next week to hear all your stats. I can, however, wait for the shots. I hate it for you, baby girl. You're about to move up to size 2 disposable diapers and you still wear your size small cloth diapers almost all the time. I think you're almost ready for the mediums. Can you believe it? You're also still a wonderful sleeper - going down about 8:15 or 8:30 at night and sleeping until we (usually) have to help you wake up about 6:40 for breakfast before going to Kate's. You take 2 naps for her and usually one more short one for us at night. You're such an easy baby, Brenna. It makes us worry about having more babies - What if we get a bad sleeper next time?

On Saturday, August 28, one week shy of your 6 month mark, Daddy and I fed you your first solid food - avocado. You weren't too impressed but you didn't seem to mind, either. You've had squash and carrots baby food since then and it seems to be growing on you. We enjoy watching you try to help feed yourself (or are you just playing with the spoon?) and getting all messy. I bet you're going to love food! You're still nursing 3 times a day with 2 bottles during the week and then nursing 5 times a day on the weekends. Keep it up little Sprout, you're doing great!

This month you got to go to Richmond, VA to see your Uncle Brandan and to see Lisa and Kevin White get married. That wrapped up your four-wedding summer. You always stole the show from the bride and groom - but this bride and groom love you to death and enjoyed spending time with you on their special day. Oh, and guess what! You get to be IN a wedding next summer. Your cousin Carrie has asked us if you can be her flower girl in June. I cannot wait to see how precious you will look. You'll probably be WALKING by then Brenna. Can you believe how fast time is flying? You also got to go to Daddy's 10 year high school reunion and meet some of his friends. In the blink of an eye it will be YOUR ten year reunion.

Your personality is emerging more and more and you are such a happy, lovable, expressive baby. You love to smile at us when we make silly faces at you and you talk up a storm when you get going. Oh, I love your baby sounds. You have some important things to say and I can't wait to hear them all! Until then, I'll try to record your baby talk in my mind so I can always go back to this time when you are so innocent and fun. You're such a joy to be around.

This has been the best half-0f-a-year in my life. It's such a pleasure to be your Mommy and I love our little family. We're off toward your first birthday and I can't wait to see what's around the corner for us.

I love you, my little Sprout.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Lots of WOW! Moments

It's been a big week or two at our house. Brenna is growing and changing by leaps and bounds every single day. Just within the last 3 weeks she has rolled over from the belly to her back (yes, this is the harder way and yes, she did the other way over 2 months ago. Go figure!), perfected the art of sitting for long periods of time, learned to pull up unassisted on furniture (or anything else at the particularly perect height), gotten on all fours and rocked back and forth, started reaching for us consistently and very excitedly, cried for me when I left her in the church nursery (which, in turn, meant she got to go to church with me - I'm a softie!), slept on her side and belly for the first time, and.....drumroll please.....EATEN SOLID FOOD! A month ago we had a baby. Now, it seems, our baby is turning into a big girl right before our very eyes! I've even got some photo/video proof of all these big milestones for our girl. Unfortunately, blogger is being stupid, so I'll have to upload them later. For now, there are bathrooms to clean during naptime.

Oh, and Mommy had a milestone too. I just tried on pretty much all the pants I was wearing when I got pregnant with Brenna and they ALL fit. I'm still not down to prepregnancy weight, but my pants fit. Shirts are a different story - but I have a feeling that'll be the way it'll be for the rest of my life. Pregnancy just does something to your body. But trading a better body for this pulling up, sitting up, jabbering, food-eating miracle that lived in my body? No way!