Wednesday, February 26, 2014

7 months

What a fun stage this is! Lucas is really able to entertain himself with playing now, and it's so fun to watch him as he explores new skills and toys.

Eating solid foods has been the biggest change this month. So far, we've tried sweet potatoes, avocado, banana, peas, apples, and zucchini. Sweet potatoes and apples have been hands down his favorites. He hasn't liked anything green so far (kids must be genetically engineered this way) but he will keep trying things for several bites even if he doesn't like the taste.

He is sitting up without any support now and seems to prefer that over any other position now that he has mastered it. He loves sitting with a few toys around him that he can play with.

He had his first snow day this month. Actually, it mostly turned into ice. My mom happened to be here during the craziness which was good because Andy got stuck on the interstate for 10 hrs and never made it home that day!

Lucas watching Bear watching the snow

He started using his high chair this month. He also started using a jumper which he loves. I usually keep it in the kitchen and it keeps him entertained while I cook or clean up.


As I said last month, we had gotten to a rocky place with sleeping! Now that we have been a little more settled at our house, Lucas is getting into a more set sleep schedule and that really seems to me helping things. He typically takes a short (about an hour) morning nap and then a long (around 3 hours) afternoon nap. It is really nice to have that long stretch in the afternoon to get things done--and at least be able to take a shower!--but sometimes we have to fight to make it happen.

We have had to have a couple of cry it out moments for naps. For us, it kind of happened naturally. Lucas would get to the point where he was so tired and no matter what I did--nursing, rocking, cuddling, swaddling--he wouldn't go to sleep. So I started laying him down and letting him fuss a bit and he would go to sleep and take a really good nap.

We have almost broken the swaddle! After finding Lucas rolled over on his stomach while swaddled, I was determined to get him transitioned out of it. At some of your advice, I started leaving one arm out of the swaddle during nap time. Lucas did pretty well with it. After about a week of trying it during nap time, we started doing it a night. The first night or two there were a few more wake ups but after that he slept just fine. This week, we started leaving both arms out at nap time, and last night we left both arms out all night. He didn't wake up even once! He is actually on a streak now and has slept the last 4 nights with no wake ups. Now that he has his arms out, he is really liking to roll on his stomach to sleep.

Lucas and Bear have started getting much more interested in each other...

I have started toying with the idea of taking the paci away. Lucas hasn't been that interested in it lately. In fact, when he's upset it often makes him even more upset if you try to put the paci in his mouth. He still uses it some but he plays with it and chews on the side of it more than anything else. I am wondering if it would be easier to take it away now instead of him getting more attached to it later on and then it being hard to take away.

This month has definitely had its difficult and frustrating moments, but it has also been so fun and rewarding (especially in the sleep department).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Before & After: Living & Dining rooms

As promised, I am finally putting together some before and after posts on the house. It's been fun looking back through all the pictures and seeing the progress we've made--even though it still seems like there's a lot to do! We're still slowly settling in and finishing small projects: doggy door install; stripping, sanding, and painting interior doors; kitchen backsplash; and the never ending touch up painting!

To start off, here are some before, during, and after pics of the living room and dining room. The "afters" are pre-move-in because I knew it would be a while before we were settled enough to show those pictures!

Living room before...

*There were 5 sconces in the living room that we cleaned up and actually put in the stairwell and upstairs hallway. We were 1 short to be able to use them above the fireplace, so we replaced them with some new ones.

During reno...

And after...

Eventually, we plan to redo the tile on the hearth in front of the fireplace, but we're living with it for now.

Dining room before...


Remember this wall? There was such a bad leak, the studs had completely deteriorated.

Wall patched!

And after...

As you can see, we didn't do anything to the layout with the living room & dining room. The main work here consisted of tearing out the old plaster, replacing rotten studs, new wiring, insulation & sheetrock, and finally, refinishing the floors.

We've come a long way!

More "Before & After"s to come! Stay tuned...

Monday, February 10, 2014

First foods

Now that we have internet again and are somewhat settled at the new house, I am trying to get back into the groove of blogging. I have plans to do some "before and after" posts on the house which is why I haven't posted any pics of the house in its mostly completed state. I say "mostly completed" because we still have several small projects to finish, but I guess that's just about always the case with home ownership.

As I said in my last post, 6 months has been the exciting mark when we decided to start giving Lucas solid foods (if you can really call purees "solid"). We started with sweet potato and have also done avocado, bananas, and peas. It's hilarious watching him try all the new flavors. Sweet potatoes were hands down his favorite. Avocado and peas are tied for least favorite. He makes the funniest faces when he doesn't like his food, but will often keep trying it like he hopes that it will somehow get better.

So far, I have made all of our baby food. I didn't really set out with that intention, but it's been the easiest/healthiest/most economical route for us so far. Since he eats the same thing for several days and eats such small amounts, it's pretty easy to make one batch and have it last for the several days he first tries it and sometimes have leftovers to stash in the freezer.

Example of how it works for us so far (as I'm sure it will be an evolving process)...

Sweet Peas Baby Food Style

I started with a bag of frozen Cascadian Farm Organic Sweet Peas ($2.50 at Publix even when not on sale). My rule of thumb for buying organic so far has been "if he eats the peel or skin, I buy organic". Not overly scientific, but the limited research I have done seems to support this.

Steam peas in boiling water on the stove according to package instructions and drain. *Reserve the cooking liquid if you want to use that to thin out the puree. I usually thin ours with breastmilk, so I discard the cooking liquid.

Place peas into food processing agent of choice. I have a Ninja, which I love. It's great for chopping, purees, smoothies, etc.

My sous chef, looking on as he snacks on his fingers

Puree until smooth. I usually pulse, add a little breastmilk and repeat until I get the desired consistency.

I tried to pick the most appetizing-looking food for the blog...

When I'm done preparing the food, I separate it into small containers for 2-3 individual meals, then freeze the rest.

I like using an ice cube tray for freezing because the portion size is perfect for Lucas right now. I let it freeze for a few hours, then pop the cubes out and put them in a freezer bag or container.

When he's ready to eat, I just pop a cube in the microwave for 20-30 seconds and it's ready for him to eat. *Always make sure to stir the puree well and test the temperature before feeding to your baby as the microwave can cause "hot spots" in the food and you definitely don't want to burn your baby!

Taste testing...

Lucas's verdict on sweet peas: Not a fan.

I got 8 servings out of that one bag of peas, so that works out to about $0.31 per serving.

I've gotten a lot of baby food ideas from this book that my sister passed on to me. Of course, you can always find out just about everything you need to know on the internet.

Always make sure you have clean hands, utensils, and work space when making your baby's food. 

Sweet potatoes and apples required cooking and mashing, similar to the peas. Avocado and banana were easiest because we just mashed up a little bit right before he ate it. I did try processing the banana with the Ninja at first, but it turned straight into a frothy liquid that was too runny. You learn as you go!