5/30/2016

About Baby's First Birthday


We celebrated Jacob's birthday on Saturday, 5/28.
We had BBQ and went with a red,white, and blue theme. 



Even his cake was red, white, and blue!
(I might have cried when I picked it up at the bakery!)


He definitely liked it!


Jacob received a lot of gifts on his birthday. His favorites have been the V-Tech Sit to Stand Alphabet Train and Leap Frog Scout. He really loves the going for rides in the Radio Flyer wagon from his grandma and grandpa and splashing in the pool that we got him!

I got a present, too. Two of my best friends from Florida surprised me and flew in for Jacob's birthday. Previously, neither one thought she'd be able to get the weekend off. Somehow, they made it work and made my day! I'm so happy that they finally got to meet our little guy!

It's hard to believe he is a year old. It went by so fast.


We've had so much fun this past year, watching him grow and change. The year just flew by. 
Crazy to think that's how the rest of is going to go! He really does look like a little boy now.


And he sure was exhausted after his party!


This is going to be my last About a Boy post.
 I always said I'd only blog for baby's first year, and then I'd turn my writing focus elsewhere. 
So check out www.jessica-goodwin.com to see what I'm up to! 


5/26/2016

About a Quilt

I wrote a post for Baby Gaga on ways to recycle and upcycle baby items. One of the ideas really caught my eye: using leftover baby onesies to make a quilt! So I decided to try it.

By try it, I mean find someone else to do it for me.

On Etsy, I discovered SweeTeeQuiltsTN - I sent a few messages to the owner, bought the largest quilt she would make, and sent off Jacob's onesies, PJs, and receiving blankets. I specified that I wanted a gray back and navy blue trim. In a few weeks, we got our finished quilt back!

I'm amazed that it only took a few weeks to make this!


I LOVE IT!




5/18/2016

About Accidents

A few weeks ago, on a Saturday morning, we had gotten up and done breakfast, just like we always did. My husband was in the kitchen and Jacob and I were in the living room. He pulled up on the coffee table, like he always does, except his hands slipped, and down he went...

Smacking his face right on the edge of the coffee table. Right in front of me. A few feet away.

He started to cry, and I rushed to him and scooped him up. I hugged him and bounced him up and down and shushed him and in just a few seconds, the tears stopped... And then when he opened his mouth, blood came gushing out.

My husband and I were both shocked at the amount of blood that came out. I usually do okay in emergencies, but I was sickened when I thought of Jacob's two brand new bottom teeth. What if he smacked them? Or bit his lip or his tongue? What if he messed up the teeth that were trying to cut through on the top?! 

I grabbed a washcloth and soaked it in cold water while my husband called the doctor's office. At 7:58 am on a Saturday, they must have just turned off their answering service because he actually got to talk to someone.  I had Jacob suck on the washcloth and it seemed like the blood was coming from somewhere up top. It stopped bleeding by the time my husband got off the phone. The doctor told us to head over.

We stuck some booties on Jacob and got him out to the car. By the time we got him all buckled up, he was kicking his feet, smiling, and laughing. I was sitting in the backseat crying and trying to calm down.

At the doctor's office, Jacob was just fine. The doctor came in and looked in his mouth with a tongue depressor and said that he had just split his lip, and that it had already stopped bleeding. Both the doctor and the nurse told us that any facial injuries tend to bleed and gush a lot - which is definitely what happened, and what had us so freaked out. We were told to stick to soft solid foods for the rest of the day.

And he was fine. No more blood. No swelling or bruises or anything. Teeth were fine.

We were definitely more shaken up than him.

And the worst part? Now that he's starting walking - that won't be the last time it happens.

Any of you have any scary baby experiences? How'd you handle it?


5/16/2016

About Birthday Party Planning


Some time after emerging from the postpartum fog that is adjusting to life with a newborn, I joined an online group for moms in my area. I introduced myself and read the posts for awhile, hoping it would be the type of thing where I could eventually get up the nerve to type out a message and maybe make some new mom friends. ("Sticking the kid in the stroller and going for a walk. Anybody want to meet me at Starbucks?")  Except I forget that, I live in a fairly affluent 'burb of Washington, D.C. and the moms seemed more interested in nanny shares and barre classes.

Other moms would post things like: "Looking for a new stylist who can work with my super thick hair. Suggestions?"  And I happily responded with the name of my girl at the salon I go to in the mall... Only to see that people were suggesting these crazy stylists who have done Michelle Obama's hair and have worked New York Fashion Week. Same thing with mani-pedis. I was glad to toss out the name of the shopping center nail salon that I go to, only to have all the other ladies suggest day spa after day spa.

A lot of the posts and discussions aren't really my cup of tea...  I don't need an au pair recommendation. My kid isn't ready for tae kwan do, lacrosse, or Suzuki music lessons. (If you're wondering WTF that last one is, I had to Google it myself.) but reading them has been helpful at times. Thanks to that group, I've learned a little about daycare and dentists and found a great pumpkin patch to go to for Halloween!

The posts that really threw me for a loop, though, were the ones where moms discussed birthday party preparations. When I first joined the group, I was shocked to see someone ask for "suggestions for venues for a first birthday party." Wait. What? A venue? Are you planning your kid's first birthday or their wedding? I thought people just had baby birthday parties at their house. But no... 

There were suggestions for parties at baby gyms and The National Zoo. A few moms suggested restaurants. One even said they had their kid's first birthday at one of those Japanese steakhouses where they cook in front of you and fling shrimp at your head. Another mom shared, in great detail, her experience of RENTING OUT HALF A BALLROOM AT A HOTEL. For their kid's first birthday. (AND they had an open bar.)

Then they started talking about themes and caterers and photographers and vegan bakeries. For a birthday party. For someone so young they wouldn't remember any of it.

I kept my lips zipped and fought back the urge to ask if these ladies were all joking (or nuts, or rich, or all of the above?) for going so crazy over a baby's birthday party, but figured, whatever, to each their own, they can celebrate their babies' birthdays however they want.

My baby was going to get the free smash cake from the bakery at Harris Teeter (Look into it!) and we'd just have people over and hang out in the backyard. There wouldn't be a theme, because who knows if he likes dinosaurs or trucks or turtles or ducks or...?!?! He's a baby, and right now, it kind of seems like he likes everything. I imagine he'll like whatever we end up doing for his birthday, and I know he'll love smashing his hands into his sugar-loaded, dairy-laden, gluten-filled cake, even if we don't rent out a private dining room at The Palm for him.

But now that we've fast-forwarded a few months, and Jacob's first birthday is right around the corner,. I started actually giving his birthday some thought. It went a little something like this: 

We just remodeled our patio, so we could do his party outside. And if we're doing it outside, maybe we can barbecue. Oh, hey, his birthday is right around Memorial Day. We can do it that weekend. Oooh... Memorial Day. Red, white, and blue! When I order his free smash cake, I'll see if they can decorate with red, white, and blue frosting. OH!  I'll get red, white, and blue paper plates and napkins and forks, too. Let me just look on Amazon and see what... Oh! Look at that! They have all kinds of patriotic party supplies. Oh, streamers! And wire garland! And red, white, and blue paper straws! HOW FUN!

What the hell was wrong with me? Only it didn't stop there. Because, Pinterest:

Oh my goodness, look at these ideas for a patriotic birthday picnic. Layered red, white, and blue fruit punch. Pinning that! Oh, look at the picture of the kid in the crib with all of the balloons. Gotta do that and take pictures. Oh. Red, white, and blue sangria? Screw the punch. Who's going to drink punch, anyway? Oooh, they painted mason jars to look like American flags to hold silverware. Cute, but I'm not going to all that trouble. I wonder if I can just find something like that on Amazon. Probably. Amazon has everything. Oh my goodness, look at that, they have their kid fingerpainting and then when you peel the stickers off the canvas it spells their name!!! Pin, pin, pin! Doing that!

I swore to my husband that I wouldn't go nuts. But since we started talking about it and planning it, we are now both so excited that our son's first birthday is almost here. How the heck is that possible? A whole year has gone by already?! The kid has teeth! He's on the move! He makes us laugh every day. And the most important thing... We've managed to keep him alive! He survived. And we did, too!

So, I'm starting to get it. Jacob won't remember who's there, or what presents he gets, or what snacks we had. He won't even remember the flavor of his cake. But WE will. As parents, we have a lot to celebrate. We have an awesome kid. His first year has been full of love, excitement, laughter, and a whole bunch of amazing memories. He's happy and healthy. And we're so happy to have him in our lives. So celebrating his first birthday is a big deal. And so what if I've gone a little nuts? (I did order personalized M&M party favors for the guests.) We're celebrating our first year as parents, too. So, happy birthday, kid!

Check out my Baby Gaga post about first birthday party ideas!



5/10/2016

About Walking

We have a walker!


About Naptime

Naptime has shifted. Again.

Back when he was really little, when we did three naps a day, Jacob would always do a bottle when he woke up and then pass right back out in the bed with me. It was fine before he was rolling and crawling all over, because he didn't move, and in our king sized bed, I wasn't worried about him going anywhere. So we'd cuddle in bed for like another two hours. It was great.

Then one day, that stopped. Jacob stayed up all through that nap. Just like that, he went from three naps to two, all on his own.

For awhile, he did his naps downstairs with me on the couch. I'd hold him and snuggle until he fell asleep, and then I'd cuddle with him until he woke up again. Which meant I didn't do much except for sit on the couch and watch Dawson's Creek reruns.

When I started writing, I decided he needed to go in the pack and play. He eventually took to napping in the pack and play just fine, and he'd be just a few feet away while I was working.

Then I decided it was time he napped in the crib. I'd hold him for a little while until he finally fell asleep, and then plop him in the crib. That all worked fine for awhile, but he was getting so big...

So I'd stand up and hold him, and rock him, and sway, until his head drooped onto my shoulder and I knew he was asleep. Into the crib he went.

And then, one day, while we were standing and swaying, he lifted his head up, and pointed to the crib. I laid him down in the crib and he curled up on his side, like he was going to sleep right then. Then he rolled onto his back, opened his eyes, and waved at me. THEN he rolled back over, and went to sleep. It was like he waved goodbye or good night to me. So... He doesn't really need to be held anymore. Good for him.

Sad for me. :(

Review: Laboos Bamboo Dinner Set


In March, I was super excited to receive a free bamboo dining set from Laboos in exchange for my opinion/review. 

I received the panda plate, spoon, and fork. They are adorable! 

Jacob is just starting to try to use utensils so the lightweight bamboo spoon and fork are perfect! The plate... I wasn't so sure that would hold up if he flung it off the highchair, so I'll save it until he's a little older.

The only problem with this dining set - after a couple of falls off the highchair tray, the edge of the spoon chipped and splintered. I was disappointed and threw it away, because I could see where the crack continued along the bowl of the spoon. Still have the fork, though! 

5/08/2016

About Mother's Day


I had the best first Mother's Day!

I was showered with presents from my boys. I got a pair of Tieks, (LOVE THESE SHOES!) a book,  (Wine makes Mommy Clever) two bouquets of flowers, a picture frame, and Jacob and I got matching "Our First Mother's Day" shirts, which we wore to brunch! 



4/27/2016

About Time

Where has the time gone? It's been awhile since I posted. I've been so busy writing for sites like Baby Gaga, Mommy Effect, and Scary Mommy, that I haven't written much for myself lately!

Jacob is getting closer and closer to walking every day. He cruises like crazy around the living room hanging onto all the furniture. He has taken several steps while holding one or both of my hands, and has attempted as many as four steps all by himself. Thankfully every time he falls, he falls TOWARDS me or goes straight down on his butt.

Jacob is 11 months old now and finally, FINALLY has his two bottom teeth. Now we're working on the top two. I have a feeling they're pretty close.

He eats everything he can get his hands on. Right now he's loving blueberries. And peanut butter. He's getting really tired of being fed with a spoon and prefers to do it himself. Meals have gotten messier, but I love that he's so independent!

We're planning his first birthday party for Memorial Day weekend. Hard to believe a year is just around the corner! Can't wait to share pictures of his first birthday party!

3/29/2016

About Baby Food - do you know what your little one is really eating?

I recently wrote a story for the Atlanta Journal Constitution about baby food. When I started the story, I was going to write about how the Happy Family company recently became the first company to sell baby food in clear pouches so that you can see what you're buying. After doing some research, my story changed. Baby food: Is what you see really what you get?

I was shocked to learn that companies like Plum Organics and Gerber use fillers like apple puree and apple sauce in their food. For example, the first ingredient in the Plum Organics Raspberry Spinach and Greek Yogurt pouch is apple puree! I (naively!) assumed that since it was Raspberry Spinach and Greek Yogurt that those were the ingredients.

I usually make Jacob's baby food, but sometimes I switch to store-bought pouches, either to give him new flavors and spices that I don't know how to mess with, or to give him purees that have a better, smoother texture than what I can make at home. (I worried about stuff like small seeds in fruits and husks on corn.) But the thing is, if I make his food, I'll write on the container "squash, peas, and carrots" because that's what I put in there.  If I buy squash, peas, and carrots from a baby food company at the store, I expect it to just be squash, peas, and carrots.

That's not the case with some companies. Now, I know if I had just taken a second to flip the pouch over and read the ingredients, I would know that. And trust me, I'll be doing that any time I buy baby food pouches in the future.

What really stinks about this is that, since starting solid foods, Jacob's had a couple bouts of constipation. After doing some reading online, I learned that the biggest culprits for baby constipation are the ABCs - apples, bananas, and cereal (or carrots) so I decided to try avoiding those, or at least limiting them, and offering Jacob new stuff.

The problem is, most of the new stuff that I gave him from a pouch contained apples anyway, even though it wasn't the name of the food on the pouch. (Like the Raspberry Spinach and Greek Yogurt.) So I was trying to avoid giving him apples, by giving him new flavors in store-bought pouches, and because I didn't read the labels, gave him apples anyway.

I will definitely be more careful about what I buy in the future. And I'm definitely going to keep making my own baby food!


3/17/2016

About Being Fearless

Fearless.

That's #BabyGoodwin in a nutshell.

Fearless, or maybe crazy.

He's been crawling since before Christmas, and now he's everywhere. Up the stairs. Cruising from the couch to the coffee table to the end table. Lunging from one table to the next.


We got him a walker. The first few days he wasn't a big fan. He would roll himself backwards, which freaked him out. And then, like everything else, once he got going - he's been moving. It's crazy. I think the walker has inspired him to be even more adventurous than he already was.


He crawled from my husband's lap onto the coffee table. He grabbed the top drawer handle in the kitchen and planted his foot on the bottom drawer handle to start climbing. Crazy kid.

We've baby proofed as much as we can. Our baby gates just arrived from Amazon so we can put them at the top and bottom of the stairs.

I have a feeling he'll be walking pretty soon...

and I'M FREAKING OUT.



3/02/2016

Shop Shout-Outs

I wanted to take a minute and spread the word on some of the mama artists, entrepreneurs, and business ladies that I've been lucky enough to become acquainted with!

A friend of ours does personalization and embroidery. She's made a onesie, bib, stroller blanket, and Easter basket for Jacob. Check out Babbalucci!



I purchased a teething necklace from Little Teether and Jacob loves it. They are now selling their products on Amazon! (But if you order from the Etsy shop, the packaging is so cute and thoughtful!)


I also got Jacob a "Lenny" doll from Jessica Dolls. They are so freaking cute!


I recently won two giveaways on Instagram and received a bunch of cool stuff from the following shops:

Stellamamma (teething necklace)

 
Dream Owl Druzy (earrings)

Heather's Homemade Essentials (teething and calm baby oils)

Parker & Co. Baby  (Puff Addict t-shirt)


My Little Earthlings (body butter)

Earth Meets Water (soy candle)



Owl You Need is Scrub (body scrub, body butter, bath salts)

Iris Rose & Co (bib and paci clip)



2/23/2016

About Baby's First Cold

The other night, as we were getting ready for bed, I asked my husband if he thought Jacob looked all right. Something in his eyes didn't seem right, like he was extra tired or something.

That night, Jacob tossed and turned in his sleep and cried out a few times. Upon going to check on him, I heard that his breathing was noisy like his nose was stuffed up.

The following morning confirmed it - he was sick. The good news? We made it almost 9 months before his first cold! The bad news? My husband and I woke up with the same symptoms! Stuffy/runny nose, scratchy throat, no fever.

It's so sad listening to him trying to drink his bottle with a stuffy nose. We've tried saline mist and the bulb, cranked his humidifier up as high as it will go, lowered the heat in his room, and have steamed u the bathroom so we could play in "the sauna." 

It's been a few days and he seems to be doing better. I'm just wondering what other tried and true methods you mamas use for when your babies are sick. Any suggestions? 

2/09/2016

About a Boy and His Dog

Yodi came into my life in 2002. He was the pick of the litter, and I pretty much picked him out when he was 2 weeks old. His owner brought out the puppies in his litter for us to meet one at a time, in the order that they were born. Since he had been the first in the litter, he was the first puppy that I met. He sat happily on my chest while I met, pet, and handled all of his brothers and sisters.


When Yodi was 9 months old, he was attacked by my parents' neighbor's pit bull. What we went through was devastating, but after having blood transfusions, skin grafts, and an amputation - he bounced back as good as new. Yodi was a "tripawd" for pretty much his whole life.

In 2012, when I moved from Florida to Virginia, Yodi stayed behind with my parents. I wasn't sure that he would do well in the cold up north, plus my husband's townhouse had open stairs and two cats. I wasn't sure how a three-legged dog would handle any of that. As much as I hated to be without Yodi, I figured it was for the best, and I hoped that he would enjoy spending his "retirement years" with my parents in their big house and big backyard.

Just recently, my parents decided to move back to Pennsylvania where we're all from. Since they were moving north again anyway, we decided it was time for Yodi to come and live with me. I wasn't sure how it would work with two cats and a baby, but we have a bigger split-level house with entry to the outside downstairs, so I figured Yodi could just be a downstairs dog. He and the cats didn't really get along - any time a cat saw or heard Yodi, they'd bolt. But thankfully, we never had any problems.

I was just glad to have my dog with me again.
And in the short time that they had together, Yodi and Jacob seemed to love each other.


Yodi was always by Jacob's side. He was curious about diaper changes, food time in the high chair, and naptime in the pack 'n play. He liked to give Jacob kisses and didn't seem to mind when Jacob would pet him or grab an ear or a handful of fur.


But Yodi wasn't doing well. At over thirteen years old, it was painfully obvious to me that he had slowed down a lot. After a few trips to the vet it was determined that Yodi would need most of his teeth removed, but the vet heard a heart murmur so a trip to the cardiologist was in order. The cardiologist said he should be fine with the dental surgery, but of course, there are still risks involved with any surgery, especially with a senior dog. I wasn't sure that I wanted to put Yodi through all that. In addition to those issues, Yodi also seemed to be suffering from what the vet described as canine cognitive dysfunction - basically, the doggie version of Alzheimer's. He would sleep all day, was shaky and tired, didn't like to be left alone, and would sometimes throw up or have accidents in the house. Sometimes he'd have difficulty trying to get to his feet, like his back legs weren't working properly. I watched him wobble, stumble, and fall numerous times.

Because he didn't like to be left alone, I ended up spending a few weeks sleeping on a mattress downstairs with him. Just like old times, we'd cuddle under the covers. It had been years since I'd been able to cuddle with Yodi in bed because he'd no longer been able to jump on and off the bed.

But I was afraid. I hated seeing him so worn down, and possibly in pain. I talked with the vet, my husband, and several close friends and family members. I worried and cried about it over and over again until I finally decided that it was time to put him to rest. I knew that saying goodbye would be hard, but it was also so hard to watch him struggle every day.

The vet reassured me that saying goodbye was the most selfless act of love that I could do for Yodi. It was the hardest thing I've ever had to do, but I know that it was the right thing. I held Yodi in my arms the whole time and thanked him for being such a good dog.

I'm just so happy that my baby got to meet my fur baby, even if it was only for a little while.




1/27/2016

About Sleep Regression/Teething/Tummy Trouble

We were super lucky that #BabyGoodwin was one of those kids who kind of figured out sleeping through the night all on his own. I'd read blog posts and books about night training, several people suggested BabyWise, and I figured at some point, we were going to have to get strict about our nighttime schedule... And then Jacob started sleeping through the night all by himself without any of that. (I'll never forget the first morning that he slept all the way until 6 o'clock - I barely slept at all that night!)

 Recently, however, he's had some issues with making a lot of noise and sometimes even waking up and crying at night. Sometimes multiple times. He's had tummy issues in the past - the kid hardly ever burped. I think now that he's moving around and so active, it's better. (And he burps much more easily!) The ped suggested putting Colief drops in his bottles, and that definitely seemed to stop any daytime issues. For awhile, we didn't have any nighttime issues, either.

 And he's definitely teething, so of course that can cause problems at night.

 And this all began around 7 months, which can kind of be sleep regression territory. We totally missed the 4-month sleep regression. Never noticed much of a difference in his sleep at that point. But this... WOOOOOOOOO.

 For awhile, he was just kind of a noisy sleeper. We'd hear him toss and turn and occasionally whack the side of the crib. (Not on the monitor or anything - his room is just right across the hall.) He woke us up, but didn't seem like he woke himself up.

Then for awhile he started waking up at 1 a.m. almost on the dot, several nights in a row. And not just, like, "Hey, I'm awake, come pat my butt so I can go back to sleep" waking up. Like full on, suddenly screaming and crying and waking up. We tried giving him Tylenol and/or teething tablets. My husband would mostly just sit up with him and rock him until he finally went back to sleep.

This sucks for two reasons. 1 - our kiddo who was previously sleeping through the night has all of a sudden started waking up and 2 - we have no idea how to figure out the cause.

I read somewhere that overfeeding could be a common cause for tummy trouble at night so we gradually did away with his before bed bottle. He used to get 4 oz, and then we whittled that down to 2, and then one night, he didn't get one. Slept just fine. We also adjusted his solid food schedule to make sure his evening meal came a little later to keep his belly full. Maybe it helped? He didn't seem to have any problem doing away with his before-bed bottle. He falls asleep just fine without it. It's the staying asleep that's the issue.

 If he's teething, there's not really much we can do except continue to give meds at night if he seems to need them. 

I don't think he's hungry - he's been getting plenty of formula and 3 solid meals a day. But it's still happening. He's still waking up. Not necessarily always screaming and crying. Some nights are way better than others. I just wish we knew what caused it so we could help our little guy out. Have you ever had to deal with a sleep regression or any other problems that have caused changes in the way your baby sleeps? What did you do about it? I'd love suggestions!!!

1/18/2016

About the Pack 'n Play: NOW I GET IT

Awhile back, I wrote a post on the pack 'n play because I wasn't exactly sure what to use it for.

We'd initially used it as our downstairs changing area and it was our place to stash all of our diapers, wipes, lotions, etc. But as #BabyGoodwin got too big for the changing pad and started rolling over, I wasn't sure what else to use the pack 'n play for.

I know some people say they put their kids in there for naps, but it doesn't exactly seem like the cushiest, most comfortable place to sleep. And why would I stick #BabyGoodwin in there to play when he's got all kinds of room on the floor?

And then he started crawling.
And going from his belly to sitting.
And pulling himself up onto his feet.

So, yeah. I get it. Now I know what the heck to do with it.

I can't take my eyes off of him for a second these days, so he goes in there for a little bit so I can get things done (pee, fold laundry) without having to worry about him bumping his head as he crawls through the coffee table.

And naps? He has this baby-to-toddler rocking chair that he used to do almost all of his naps in. Until he got mobile! Then all of a sudden, he started trying to roll over in his chair - and nearly managed to do it a few times, despite being properly strapped in!

So I've tried his naps in the pack 'n play, too - and he doesn't mind like I thought he would.

The pack 'n play has become a lifesaver.

What lifesaver baby products do you love?



A photo posted by Jessica (@goodwinjess) on

1/07/2016

Review: Badger Balm Night Night Balm


We don't know if it's the teething or if it's a sleep regression or him learning to crawl or just a phase or what, but lately Jacob has been a really restless sleeper. He doesn't really have a problem going to bed, and it's not often that he wakes up at night, but he moves around and makes SO MUCH NOISE in his sleep.

I know a lot of people suggest including baby massage as part of your bedtime routine. I decided to give it a try, and as usual, turned to Amazon to look for a product that might be able to help us out.

I came across Badger Night Night Balm and decided to order it. 

It comes in a tin as pictured and is a sort of waxy paste - not too oily, not thick either. You rub your fingers around to soften it up. I do that a few times and rub it on Jacob's chest before bed.

It smells really good - lemon balm and chamomile to help with anxiety and stress. I love the smell. Ingredients are all organic.

Product description from Amazon:
Night-Night Balm is a natural Sleep Balm specifically designed with children in mind, to help ease younger minds into the magical realm of the sleep world. For this special kid-friendly formula, we chose essential oils that are known to be especially beneficial for children, helping them unwind naturally after a busy day of learning and growing. Chamomile helps children to be calm and unwind from nighttime activities. Lavender helps children to relax and feel soothed, while Sandalwood instills a feeling of reverence. A safe and natural sleep aid for children (and it works for moms and dads, too)! The perfect addition to any bedtime ritual.

Jacob seems to like it. When I lift up his shirt and start rubbing his fingers in the tin, he's all smiles!

Jacob has been sleeping a little better these days, too! Now if only these teeth would just come in!

1/02/2016

About: Jacob's 6-month check-up

Much to our surprise, at his 6 month check-up, Jacob (only!) weighed in at 19 lbs 6 oz. I ought for sure he'd be 22! He is also 28.5 inches long - which means when he grows another three inches, he'll be exactly half as tall as I am!

The doctor gave us the go-ahead for him to eat EVERYTHING, adding some yogurt in at 8 months, (just a few weeks away!) and moving to 3 solid meals a day plus 24 ounces of formula. I'm still making all of his food, but there are some fruits and veggies that I'd rather buy pre-packaged to make sure they get to the right consistency (corn, raspberries and strawberries - anything I might not be able to purée well with my food processor). That's okay, though - he's still getting a lot of fresh, homemade food.

Here's what he's been eating:
Cereal - rice, oatmeal, wheat
Avocados, butternut squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, carrots, peas, green beans, spinach, apples, pears, blueberries, peaches, apricots, prunes, bananas, watermelon, chicken, turkey, cinnamon (on fruits) and cumin (on avocado).

I've also started doing a lot of flavor combos - peas and carrots, spinach and banana, pear and zucchini, sweet potato and chicken - he eats it all!

Some of the store-bought foods that I've gotten include flavors like: corn, kiwi, raspberry, cranberry, mango, chick pea, and beans.

He's getting way better at crawling, so baby-proofing has begun! Thank goodness for Roving Cove stick-on foam edges. He loves crawling into, under, and through the coffee and end tables and I've seen him bump his head and nose on the foam edges without hardly noticing! We put together his walker today. Right now, he can push up onto his feet, and will definitely put one foot in front of the other, but he's still wobbly and unsteady. The doctor told us that he'll probably be an early walker because of his good gross motor skills. Yayyy!!!! (I think.)

Questions for you:
What foods does your baby love? And hate?
How old was your baby when he/she started walking?

12/28/2015

MOMent: Happy New Year!

I'm not big on New Year's Reolutions but this year, I have a few goals and things I want to work on... Drinking more water, eating better, managing my time more wisely, and hopefully, finishing my next writing project over the winter! I don't feel like my resolutions are any different than goals I set for myself throughout the year, but hopefully 2016 is the year I do a better job of sticking with them.

Some other things I'd like to work on:
- making sure I get out more
- making sure I put the damn phone down!
- remembering this:


I found this great graphic that gives you ideas for how to work on yourself every month. It starts with drinking more water, and since that was already one of my goals anyway, I'm going to give this a try and do something little each month!


Some fellow awesome blogger friends are also interested in setting goals and working to improve  themselves in the new year! New Year, New Momma is about achieving your goals and becoming a better you. It’s creating a community of support for those that want to start the new year on the right foot. Visit Momma Wants Java for details on a fun Instagram challenge and use #newyearnewmomma to connect with others on their own journey. Follow me on Instagram!




12/26/2015

Merry Christmas!

We had such a great Christmas. It was Jacob's first Christmas, so both sets of grandparents were here. We went to Christmas Eve Carols by Candlelight at the National Cathedral and Jacob was an angel. Slept the whole time! (We drove through the Bull Run Festival of Lights and he slept through that too.) He had a great time tearing open presents (eating the paper!) and we had a lot of fun.

Merry Christmas to you and yours! 


12/14/2015

About Jacob's Busy Weekend

On Saturday, we had a holiday party at our house. I ran out to the store to buy a few things and when I got home, Jacob was crying. Tears running down his face and everything. My husband said he cried the whole time I was gone. But did he miss me? Nope.

I took him upstairs to his room to put him down for a nap, and that's when I saw it. HIS FIRST TOOTH! FINALLY! The poor kid has been teething forever. Top left.

I was worried that he'd be a mess with 40 people about to show up for the party, but he was a total trooper. 

Then, on Sunday, I was wrapping some Christmas presents and had Jacob on the floor with me. He got on his knees and raised his butt in the air, which he's done before. This time, he actually pushed up so that his arms were straight, too. That was a first. He rocked forward and back a few times, and then he was off! He started crawling, just like that!

So... First tooth and crawling! Two milestones in one weekend!

12/01/2015

About Black Friday

I wrote a post for Mommy Effect about our Black Friday tradition. (Check it out!)

My husband and I returned to Snickers Gap tree farm for the fourth year in a row, this time with Jacob in his stroller! This year we cut down two Christmas trees, one for upstairs and one for downstairs.






11/16/2015

About Rolling Over

Jacob has now pretty much mastered the art of rolling over. He started rolling at 3 months, but it seemed like for awhile he forgot how to roll from his stomach to his back. Not a big deal, because he's learned to love spending time on his belly and even sleeps like that a lot. He's finally gotten the hang of rolling from back to stomach. And then stomach to back. And then back to stomach. If we put him on the floor, he will roll until he runs out of room. He hasn't figured out how to crawl yet (he does this weird scoot where he will scrunch his butt up in the air, throw his weight sideways, and then pull himself forward a little) but I think he would roll all over the house if we'd let hm.

The only problem is - he's so obsessed with rolling that he does it all the time. And he's doing it in his crib. It used to be that I worried about him turning himself in circles. Then I worried about him ending up on his stomach and getting stuck. Now he tosses and turns so much that he ends up all over the crib! I can hear him rolling around across the hall. Even though we have (breathable mesh) bumpers up on the crib, he's still gotten his hands and feet out of the crib slaysppts - above the bumpers. And the don't really do much to cushion the blow if he rolls over and smacks his arm, or worse, his head, off of the side of the crib.

Is this just a phase? He figured out a new thing so he wants to do it all the time? Any tips or suggestions on how to deal with it?

11/04/2015

About Homemade Baby Food

Awhile back, a friend told me she was making all of her baby's food from scratch. Sounded like a whole lot of work to me. I figured that I was fed whatever came out of a jar, and I turned out okay, so Jacob would be too.

But since I decided to stay home with him, I started thinking that maybe making his baby food could be my little side project. I love cooking, and I thought this could be fun! I turned to Pinterest for some ideas.

Making sweet potato puree: 1. Steam sweet potato chunks (I used frozen!) 2. Rinse with cold water to stop cooking and drain well. 3. Puree in food processor. 4. Store in freezer safe containers. Love these ones by OXO!
Turns out, making baby food isn't so hard! If you have a food processor, you're pretty much good to go! You can use fresh or frozen veggies. Cook the veggies, puree them up, store them in freezer safe containers, and you're done! Some people like to portion off baby food in ice cube trays or baby food/breastmilk storage trays that look like ice cube trays. Then you can just pop out a cube of food when it's time for baby to eat! They also make all kinds of different storage containers!


Over a couple days, I made 30 oz. of baby food! Sweet potatoes, butternut squash, applesauce, green beans, and bananas! 
Although I started him on rice cereal and oatmeal a few weeks before his appointment, we waited for Jacob's 4 month check-up on October 30th (he's actually now 5 months!) to talk with the doctor about starting solids and make sure she approved.

However... I noticed that when we would eat in front of Jacob, he would watch the spoon or fork go down into the food and then up to our mouths. Once, when I was eating my yogurt and granola in front of him, he sat there watching me and opening and closing his mouth! I decided to see what happened if I offered him an empty baby spoon - he opened his mouth right up and closed it around the spoon like he was eating invisible food! I even put a little bit of formula on the spoon and he slurped it right off!

I read somewhere that if a baby is 13 pounds or more, can sit and hold their head up, and will accept a spoon, that they may be ready for cereal. So I decided to give it a try. I fed Jacob rice cereal mixed with formula (from a bowl, not in his bottle) in the morning after his first bottle for a few weeks before I switched to oatmeal. (Same thing, in a bowl, after his first bottle.) He did great with both cereals. I started with half a tablespoon of each and gradually worked up to giving him a whole tablespoon.

Some peds, like ours, say a baby can start food at 4 months. Others (like my friend's ped) suggest you wait until 6 months. Definitely check with your doctor first! Our ped gave us the go-ahead: Jacob is 18 pounds, sits up great in his high chair, and takes a spoon in his mouth with no problem - sometimes he even grabs the spoon and tries to move it to his mouth. (I guess I don't feed him fast enough?!) And because we'd already had such great success with the cereal, she didn't think there would be an issue.


After he finishes his food, I always give Jacob the spoon to play with. It gives him something to mess around with while I clean up the dishes wipe down his tray!

There's some debate about giving baby super sweet, fruity foods first. Some people think that if you do that, they'll develop a sweet tooth and prefer fruits to vegetables. Makes sense to me. So I started with butternut squash, and Jacob loved it! I gave him a little bit of oatmeal and a little bit of squash. Sometimes I gave him a spoonful of each, sometimes I mixed it together. After three days, I gave him some avocado with his oatmeal, and again, he scarfed it down! I'm pretty sure this kid is going to eat everything! When we finish up the avocado, I'll give him some bananas, and then maybe I'll switch to green beans. I know eventually we'll find something that he doesn't like, but so far, he's gobbled up everything.

It's important to me that Jacob tries a lot of different foods. I was a super picky eater as a kid, but I love food now, so I hope that he grows up willing to try all different kinds of fruits and veggies!

Check out my Baby Food Recipe board on Pinterest! Baby food is SUPER EASY to make! Try it and let me know how it goes!

I bought a bag of frozen sweet potatoes for $1.99 and got more than 12 oz. of baby food!
So I saved a little money, anyway!

10/30/2015

About Our Big Baby!

Jacob had his 4 month check-up today. (Even though he's technically 5 months.)

He weighed 18 pounds and was about 27 inches long!

No wonder we had a problem with footie PJs. He's in 9 or 12 month clothes now!

10/27/2015

10/26/2015

About Halloween

Jacob was a little monkey for his first Halloween!


We went to Boo at the Zoo at the National Zoo. I wrote a post about it for Mommy Effect. http://mommyeffect.com/halloween-fun-boo-at-the-zoo/

For Halloween night, we sat in the driveway with our monkey and passed out candy. No trick or treating this year!  



10/23/2015

About Sleeping Positions

Ever since Jacob learned how to roll over, he's been spending a lot of time on his tummy. The only problem is, it's like all of a sudden, he forgot how to roll from his tummy to his back. Not really a big deal - I'm sure he'll get it eventually, except that he keeps rolling over on his tummy in his crib at night.

Sometimes he wakes up all pissed off because he can't get back over and we have to go in and flip him over, only to get back in bed and look at him on the monitor and see that he's back on his belly again.

Other times, he seems perfectly content to sleep on his stomach, but when we look at him, his face is smooshed into the mattress or his arm is flung over his face, covering his nose and his mouth.

We were going into his room and flipping him onto his back, but since he just keeps rolling onto his tummy anyway, we started trying to turn his head or move his arms so that we know he can breathe. It's just the weirdest thing.

Last night he slept great - slept on his stomach most of the night and never made a sound or woke up once. But Tommy and I both got up like three times each to make sure his face wasn't covered and that he was still breathing.

Hello, baby... I can't believe you don't know this, but breathing is kind of important!!!

I know you're supposed to put babies down on their back to sleep, and we still do, but what are we supposed to do until he can roll over both ways? Any suggestions?

10/16/2015

About Screen Time

The American Academy of Pediatrics recently announced that they are considering changes to their screen time guidelines. Previously, the AAP was against all screen time for children under two years of age. The AAP says that “In a world where ‘screen time’ is becoming simply ‘time,’ our policies must evolve or become obsolete." Their new guidelines won't be released until sometime in 2016, but people have already been talking about them, saying that the AAP has finally gotten with the program. Others (myself included at first!) feel like it almost sounds like the AAP is just copping out, as if to say, people are doing it anyway, so what difference does it make what we say?

The AAP says that their new guidelines will stress quality over quantity; also, they continue to suggest supervising your children and technology, staying involved, and integrating tech-free activities in your child's daily playtime. Here's what the AAP's website currently says about media and childrenSounds like common sense to me.

My husband and I already came to an agreement shortly after Jacob was born, and long before the news of the AAP's revision of their screen time guidelines. We're keeping technology out of his hands for as long as possible! We've seen how the flickering light from the television will catch his attention. If I go to take a picture of him, he will reach out and grab for my iPhone. (And usually just try to put it in his mouth.) But it's scary to see that technology already has that kind of effect on a kid so little!

I know that there are lots of great techie toys and educational apps out there that will greatly benefit Jacob someday. I know kids can learn a lot if given the right tools and the time to explore. So Jacob will use them... someday. But I also want our son to be a kid and use his imagination. To read and draw and play with Legos. To color the driveway with chalk and to blow bubbles. To play catch in the backyard. To stand in the kitchen and learn how to bake with his dad. To go to one of the many parks in our neighborhood and swing on the swings. To cover the dining room table with sheets and blankets to make it into a cave or a fort. 

You know... like we did when we were kids.

What do you think? Comment below!

10/15/2015

MOMent: It's official! I'm a SAHM!

It's official. I'll be taking time off from work to be a SAHM.

I'm so excited that we are able to do this. I am so glad to be able to spend so much time with Jacob. He's grown and changed so much over the past few months, that I hate to think about what I might be missing!

I'm trying to keep busy (translation: if I have a spare minute or two) by writing. I'm working on a book, and I've written posts for Mommy Effect and Scary Mommy. Check them out below!

The Secret About Hand Me Downs

No Such Thing as a Fairy-Tale Romance

The Lazy Mama's Guide to a  Laid-Back Fall Happy Hour

Daddy's First Day Back To Work

Making New Mom Friends is Harder Than I Thought

If you're reading this, and you're a SAHM, how do you spend your day? Comment below!

10/11/2015

About Starting Cereal

Our pediatrician gives the ok to start food at 4 months so we decided to let Jacob try some single grain rice cereal. I've noticed recently that he'll stare at us when we eat and thought maybe he might like to try something different.

I've messed around and put formula on a spoon a couple times for him to see how he reacted to having the spoon pushed in his mouth - he's been ok with it every time. He also sits up ok in his high chair so I thought it would be ok.



From the first spoonful, it was clear that he loved it, even though he was quiet. He had no problem with the spoon in his mouth and tried to grab for it and stick it in his mouth - I guess we weren't feeding him fast enough!


When we tried again the second day, he did even better. He had a big smile on his face when he saw me coming towards him with the bowl and spoon. He smiled and babbled the whole time he ate... so he got a little messier, but he didn't seem to mind too much!


10/10/2015

About Farm Day

We took Jacob to Falls Church Farm Day today. We just wanted to get him outside and walk around and figured it might be a good place to take pictures. We got a bunch! He got to ride a pony and pet a duck, too!

My favorite picture is the black and white one. The farmhouse in the park had a swing hanging from an old farm scale so we stuck Jacob in it. We were trying to get Jacob to smile, but I love the expression on his face in that photo!

I just have to remember to take his bib off when we pose him for pictures next time!