Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shopping for a New Carseat

Lloyd's first ride in his spiffy seat... how tiny he was!
Well.. It's that time already.  Lloyd is a giant and he has succesfully reached the heigh limit recommendations on our infant seat.  Never did I think my baby would be so big as to outgrow his infant seat by 8 months old!  Since I did a lot of research and spoke to my certified installer when purchasing our Chicco Keyfit30, you know I did the same when looking for our convertible car seat.  It's hard to find good reviews, recommendations, and suggestions out there--there is just so much!  It is overwhelming.

The Britax are known for being super great and safe but after visiting Buy Buy Baby on Thursday and putting Lloyd in one, there was no way he'd reach the 2 years rear-facing that is recommended by the American Academy of Pediatrics and every safety expert on the planet.  On the side of the car seat it tells you that their head has to be an inch bellow the top of the seat rear facing; well his head already only had about 3-4 inches left between his huge noggin and the top.  So there went that plan since there is a good chance he'll grow 3 inches by 2 years (I mean seriously! Of course he'll grow that much).  Plus, my little chunk just looked squished in there--not to mention the Britax are known for being the physically widest seats on the market (not to mention the priciest) should we ever have to go three across in a vehicle.  AND the tether must be used when rear facing, which means it would go over his head. How much does that stink (and make it difficult to get him in and out).  Which is why a decent number of people would return the Britax convertibles after we installed them, it's annoying (like I mentioned previously).

Luckily I'd asked a good friend of mine (thanks Steph!) what her 2 year old is in and she'd recommended the Safety 1st Complete Air 65.  I had already done a lot of research and found out the Safety 1st are also highly recommended and positively reviewed.  But one of the reviews bluntly stated:
"The Complete Air is one of the tallest rear-facing seats on the market, so it’s a great candidate to consider if your child has a long torso."
Uh, have you met my son!! So I was tentatively sold before our Buy Buy Baby trip just based on ready a few reviews (some ladies 5 year old still was able to rear face! holy moly how wonderful!). But, like the Britax, I was tentative until I put Lloyd in it.  By this time the people at the store were looking at me weird for taking the seats down and strapping my drool-monster in them, but I didn't care.  Just on first glance that Safety 1st was the tallest seat they had. Already starting out good after seeing him squished in the Britax.  I put him in it, and he had TONS of room between his head and the top of the seat.    The side impact cushions were also really comfortable for Lloyd and look great for those times he falls asleep when his neck usually goes all catywompous.  Plus, the price-tag? HALF of the Britax.

Ironic that when we got home we also had a 15% off coupon to Babies R Us for the same seat waiting for us in the mail.  We'll be stopping back by tomorrow to snatch that bugger up for only $150.  Lloyd is too heavy to carry around in the infant seat now anyway (my back will split in half if I take that thing out with him in it), so it's time to get him into this sucker for both our sakes.  2 months of research and a great referal paid off, I'm super excited.

People really don't understand how important car seat safety is.  And it drives me absolutely nuts to see children who have far exceeded the weight and/or height limit of their seats, incorrectly installed seats, and (the biggest thing I see) children who are not correctly latched into their seats. According to (who we used to refer to at work):
  • In a study observing the misuse of 3,442 child restraint systems in six states, approximately 73% of seats showed at least one critical misuse.
  • 84% of child restraints showed critical misuses. Booster seat misuse was 41%.
  • The most common form of misuse for all child restraints included loose safety belt attachment to the child restraint and loose harness straps securing the child to the child restraint system.
I can tell you that after helping to install dozens of seats, probably 90% of the seats we uninstalled were not installed correctly, and 80% of the seats that were brought to us to "check" installation were not installed correctly.  Always have your seat inspected by a certified technician! Always always! It's free! And for all that is holy watch this video and put the chest clip under their armpits and pull the straps tight enough so you cannot pinch any slack!

Big Changes are Afoot

My sister, Caitlin, is married to an awesome man.  Love him, and he and Coach are like long-lost brothers.  The only crap thing: he's in the Army.  Which means they get to move around the world for the next 20 years.  Which is exciting in its weird way. Caitlin and I grew up in that life and so it never really intimidated her.  In fact, it's weird thinking that Coach and I will be in our house forever.... that we won't be moving every 3 years.  Stranger still, I've never lived in the same place longer than the 7 years we lived in Austin after my dad died.  I've lived in the metroplex on and off since 2002, we've been in this house 2 years, I was in my house in Watauga for 2 years before that, but it's incredible that my children will know this place as home.  That to them home will be a place, and not just your family.  

Growing up home was where our stuff was, where our family was.  It was never attached to a location.  Even know when people ask me "where I'm from" I get this weird look in my eyes because I am "from" no where.  My dad was from New Orleans/Louisiana, my mom from Houston, we lived in Austin the longest, but does that mean I'm from any of these places? Even when my mom sold our house in Austin where we'd lived for a long time, it still wasn't that big of a deal to me because it was family that made a place a home.  

Now I'm losing my family. My home.  To military moves, cross country adventures, and 20 years of military life.  Caitlin mentioned how she's struggling with it.  But on Sunday it finally hit me how sad I am that she'll be 2000 miles away in Washington state.  Right now she's 3 hours away.  I can see her really quickly if I wanted to.  But in the middle of March, it's kind of all over and official--she's a military wife and my only family is really far.  I already miss her so much.  

We talk all the time on the phone and that's great.  Skype is amazing.  But I'm going to miss her pregnancy (whenever that happens), miss her kids growing up, she'll miss Lloyd's growth and change, our future kiddo's.  There'll be no impromptu outdoor barbecue's like we've had for the past few years.  My home is leaving.  And now I have this new home, this new family.  But home is never a place, it's people.  It is also what you make of it I suppose--I just miss her already.  It's just her and I, the dynamic duo.  It makes it so much harder that neither of us have our mom to call when we need to feel better, or need advice, or need an ear.  

But there's exciting parts too. We'll visit them in exciting Fort Lewis, a part of the country I've never been to surprisingly, this summer.  I'm already pumped to visit them around the world.  Ohhhh times, they are a changin!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 32

Developments This Week:
  • Tooth number 5 came in and I believe tooth #6 has just broken through but I haven't had a chance to check today.  
  • He pulls himself up to sit from laying down with no assistance (and reaches for your hands when he is laying down and wants to get up), and will pull himself from sitting to standing too.  He's still trying to figure out how to do this with furniture, but it is incredible to watch him really work it out physically and in his little brain.
He also has a good bit of the motions down for crawling, and will even propel himself a few inches, but gets super pissed off really quickly when he can't get to you or whatever is in front of him. He's still faster at rolling but he's starting to get motivated to crawl.  And let me tell you, watching them try SO hard is such an awesome thing.  I love it! He gets so out of breath and is trying like a madman!  He is so close and it is really cool to see them try to take this huge leap right before your eyes!  I am so lucky to be able to watch him try and figure it out. I would not miss it for the world.  When he does something right I give him huge hugs and kisses.  Every time he pulls himself to stand he gets big cuddles, and he even hugs you back with really big baby smiles.  He knows it's a big deal.  He's starting to really love standing.

Which brings me to bath-time.  We'd transitioned to sitting him up in the bath because he hates laying down anywhere anymore since he can sit, but it's a pain in the tub kind of.  So he now gets in the shower with me and sits on the bottom while I hold him.  His favorite part? Slapping the shower doors and blowing raspberries to Coach on the other side and talking to him. Lloyd finds the glass doors awesome and he has so much fun in the shower.  It's more complicated trying to wash his hair (still haven't figured out how to do that so he doesn't hate me) but otherwise the shower is so much fun for both of us. You forget they're just tiny people until they are standing up and you can see every single one of their muscles working to balance themselves: little booties, little quads, little calf's, little toes.  I mean seriously, cutest thing ever!

He is getting so big! He is such an affectionate little guy. He gives everyone big hugs when he sees them.  He gives big baby slobber kisses sometimes too and he knows the kissy noise.  He seems less and less like a baby and more and more little a toddler.  It's amazing and kind of bittersweet.  But both Coach and I are looking forward to one day when he has a nightmare or something and can crawl into bed with us and sleep.  I don't know why, but sprawled out toddler appendages in our bed seems adorable to me.  I remember sleeping between my parents after a nightmare or being sick, and honestly we all slept in the same bed for a while after my dad died.  My moms bed was always a big place of comfort and warmth.  And cuddles. :)

Friday, January 20, 2012

First Foods: BLW

Baby Led Weaning has been a total success over here at Casa de Crocker.  3 meals a day, and every day he eats more and more.  And he loves meal time.  We've snapped some pretty cute photos of it and I thought I'd share.
Green beans and carrots
Butternut squash (his favorite) and pork (which he liked more than anticipated)
cantaloupe, didn't take him long to figure out how to clean the rind
avocado, one of his very favorites even if we have to strip him naked when he gets it. 
Can I just say how glad we are that we only make 1 meal for our whole family.  That he eats everything and anything you give him (well, except for broccoli), and he loves meal time.  There is no fighting over foods and no "choo-choo" sounds to try and get him to eat.  He has complete control over how much and how quickly he eats, and so yeah we spend a long time at the dinner table but I think that's a good thing  We catch up on our day, have family time, and eat slower.  Baby Led Weaning definitely is working for us, and although it's not for everyone--it is a great thing for our little guy.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 31

Developments This Week:
  • He figured out that banging toys together makes noise.  He just started doing this!
  • He is suuuuppper chatty.  But not only chatty, he changes the timber of his voice, looks at you for cues, etc.  So basically, we have no idea what he's trying to "tell us" but he's certainly trying to "say" something and "tell" you about things.  It's adorable.
He's starting to get really irritated when he is on his tummy and he cannot reach something. He'll stretch his whole body and pump his legs but hasn't started propping himself up to prepare for crawling.  

I love this blog asking the question if you kiss your baby on the mouth.  Lloyd is starting to understand kisses and likes to "nuzzle"/drool-all-over-you back.  It's damn adorable. Personally, I think little baby kisses are the best and I'm getting as many as I can.  Plus baby breath smells really cute--don't judge me. :)

31 Weeks? I mean that is crazy!!  I feel like I should start thinking about his birthday party already it's going that fast.  He is so fun to watch every day.  He's figuring different and new things out every single day at this point.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Mommy Diary: 7 Months Old

Holy beans, Lloyd is 7 months old! We've made it over half a year! It used to annoy me when people would say "it goes so fast" but now I get it.  He is not so slowly becoming a little boy before my eyes.  

I just keep thinking back to those first few weeks and how now they feel so far away.  But then it was like each day all I could do was survive; I couldn't imagine a time when things would start to feel "normal" or manageable again.  This is definitely a new normal, but I'm so happy.  I probably hold Lloyd a little too close, kiss him more than most, and watch him far too much--but if I learned anything last year it was that life is too short and I need to stop and cherish everything without rushing into the next moment.  I think I'm starting to get better at that and it's making me a more patient, more positive, better person.  It's definitely making me a better wife and mom.  

7 months big boy!  Keep those cuddles and snuggles coming.
ooohhh... grass!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Baby Friendly Waffles

So one of the many things I learned when reading Baby Led Weaning is you can pretty much feed a baby anything as long as you're conscious of what's in it and it's the right size.  Give or take.  Even bread, but the problem with all commercially available breads is the salt.  So you're not supposed to give them much because it can really harm their kidneys.  And "supposedly" salt is necessary in baking.  Only I've been eliminating it lately in my moms recipe's with no problems, and even some online baking recipes with unchanged results in the finished product.  

So Coach made he and I waffles this morning using a fancy mix we had, but a little bulb went off in my head: my mom's waffle recipe doesn't contain much salt. I could probably alter it and take out the oil and sugar too.  So we made up a batch of our "Baby Friendly Waffles"  and not only did they turn out the same (woah), they tasted pretty damn good and pretty close to the salted/sugared/fatty originals.  Blowing our tiny parental minds.  So here's our baby and kid friendly no salt, no sugar, no oil waffles:

1 3/4 cup of flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 c apple sauce (homemade or store bought, doesn't really matter)
1 banana (mashed)
3 eggs
1 1/2 c milk

Mix the dry ingredients and then add the wet.  I mashed the banana in while mixing with a whisk instead of pre-mashing.  I used a ripe/over-ripe banana so it was really soft. Cook, serve, and enjoy your kiddo stuffing their face with healthy waffles (and eat some yourself).

Friday, January 13, 2012

Giving Thanks #8

Should be titled: Giving Thanks: For Marrying The Right Man

You know you married the right man when they come home after working a 14 hour day, most of which out on the cold, and rocking the baby to sleep is the first and only think on their agenda. Boy am I lucky.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Restaurants On My List

I have a new list of restaurants I want to try in the DFW.  There are few big ones I've read about or want to try soon in general, but Tim Love put out this cool list of local foodie places in general that just added to the list for locals.

But I also want to go to this Twisted Root Burgers in Dallas after seeing their tasty foods on the Food Network.

And we were supposed to go to Ellerbe Fine Foods for our 1st anniversary but had to cancel when mom went into hospice, and sadly we still haven't made it.

I hate that there are so many tasty places locally that we haven't even heard about much less tried.  I really want one of those burgers!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 30

Developments This Week:
  • Just in a holding pattern for those teeth.  Lots of new foods though.
New Foods:
  • Spagetti Squash (loved, also got a little tomato in there with it and devoured the whole thing)
  • Oatmeal (with bananas as sweetener)
  • Tried Green Beans again (and ate them)
  • Cheerios and Rice Chex
Already our little boy eats better than a few adults we know  I don't know when they start dropping feedings, it depends from baby to baby, but he's definitely eating the most adult food at the evening feeding and has subsequently stopped eating as much at his post-bath/pre-bedtime feeding.  

Which leads me to another strange occurrence the past 3 nights: doesn't want me before bed. I used to feed him, he'd either go to sleep there or he'd fall asleep after I laid him in his crib post-feeding.  Now? Uh no, wants almost nothing to do with me after the bath, will eat a little bit but then cries a little and talks to Coach, who then picks him up, rocks him a little and gets him to bed  If I set him down, screaming ensues.  I think we're headed to a new bedtime routine including books and cuddles and less centered on breastfeeding. Which is good (ironic considering my Giving Thanks post yesterday and coming to terms with our nighttime schedule).  So we'll see, eh?  

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Giving Thanks #7

I haven't done a Giving Thanks post in a while and I have a big one that I've struggled with being thankful for. I'm thankful my son loves me so much, is instantly comforted by me, and will not go to sleep at night without me. I get to carry him to bed every night and kiss his sweet cheeks. I tried being upset about it because it meant Coach and I didn't get night-time dates, that I'm missing a really good friends wedding in New Orleans in 2 weeks, that I don't know when Coach and I will be able to take a 1-2 night "vacation" away from home. But then I think about how Lloyd has beautified and simplified my life, and how incredibly fast these last six and a half months have flown by. This time we get with our children as helpless little angels is so short. So if it means Coach and I take in matine films and lunch dates for a few months--I'm ok with that.

We are already so lucky to have a happy, healthy baby in our arms every day. I'll gladly sacrifice 7pm reservations to tuck my son in every night until it's boy cool any more. And even then, I'll still be sneaking in to kiss him goodnight.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2nd Anniversary

I never did get around to even saying what we did for our 2nd Wedding anniversary.  Lloyd still is not participating in date-night, aka he won't take his last feeding via bottle.  So we had to adapt.  We ended up going to a movie at Movie Tavern during the day the next week once Coach was out of school.  It wasn't fancy, but neither are we, and it was nice.  I wanted to see The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo so stinking bad, and to some that would not be the right movie for an anniversary, but it was a great movie and we enjoyed the afternoon out.  We don't traditionally do anything for our anniversary or valentines, but I usually try to make something for our "Love wall" in our bedroom--aka right above our bed the random assortment of frames, plaques, and various objects that mean something to us or symbolize something important.  So I whiped these up from ideas I got off pinterest. 
our dates: birth dates, day we met, day we were engaged, and wedding date
we can write on the frame, so far Coach has added some more entertaining reasons, but it's fun.
So far, best anniversary present is our beautiful family.  So yeah, we're lucky we found each other. :)

Friday, January 6, 2012

Mommy Diary: Lloyd's First Christmas

Coach and I decided months ago that we wouldn't be giving Lloyd any big presents.  But he still made out like a bandit, especially from Miece and Papa (Coach's parents).  We are so fortunate to have such generous family that this little boy has wanted for nothing.  He got a bunch of clothes (which we asked for since he's growing too fast for his cousin's to outgrow their hand-me-downs).  So we had almost no PJs that fit going into Christmas. But he got an amazing hand made toy chest from his grandparents and it is gorgeous. It's so large that I'm going to have to sew some kind of partition(s) for it and it won't fit in his room until we take the glider/rocker out, so right now it's holding his toys in the livingroom. 
our present from Aunt Caitlin and Uncle Jon, we haven't even put batteries in it he just likes playing with the balls.

Overall, a great holiday followed up by a great New Years in Oklahoma.  We could have done without the teething but hey, you win some you lose some. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Cloth Diapering -- 6 Months Later

sorry for the quality, I quickly snapped this while making dinner. :)
Who would have known that 6 months after trying out CDing with 8 BumGenius 4.0 One-Size diapers we tentatively tried to see if we would like--my skeptical husband would be sitting in front of the TV stuffing diapers with Lloyd "helping". And he's converting and praising CDing as much as I do. And it's not that big of a deal. We do a load of laundry every 2-3 days. We paid ourself back over 3 months ago for the 20 (of 2 brands: BumGenius and FuzziBunz) we bought and are now continuing to save hundreds of dollars, in addition to not adding unneeded waste to the landfill.

I never would have thought that I would be called a "crunchy" mamma  But as my sister pointed out last week, if by questioning popular thoughts on what we do and give our children and asking 'why' makes me a hippy--I'm a huge flower wearing, tie-dye wearing hippy.  It's funny that by researching why we do or give certain things to our children, and wanting the reasons to be based in fact and science rather than "because that's how it's done" or "because so-and-so did it that way" or "it's easier", I'm a hippy.  I guess hippy should also be linked to meaning a good parent.  Shouldn't we all want to know why, ask questions, want to be better informed?

Maybe if everyone asked "why", kids these days wouldn't be so screwed up, misbehaved, unmotivated ninny's.  But what do I know, right? I'm just some crunchy, hippy lady who doesn't know what she's talking about right?

Oh yeah, but this was about how awesome cloth diapers were for our family.  They are, they remain to be, and I'm relieved we took the chance and tried them out.  6 months of cute fluff on our babies soft tush makes me a proud mommy.  Yes that extra load of laundry every 2-3 days is an extra step in my already nuts life, but for us it works and it is a daily choice I never, ever regret. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Mommy Diary: Week 29

Developments This Week:
  • Tooth numbers 3 and 4 are in and those two center top teeth (#5 and #6) are causing him intense pain.
New Foods:
  • Cantaloupe (yes, found one that is so unbelievably ripe that the juice was running down his chin as he snarfed it down)
  • Egg (still hasn't eaten it but we keep offering it)
  • Chicken (likes to suck on the drumstick)
  • Pear (loved it)
I think I'm going to try asparagus and brussel sprouts up next.  He's still in love with all squash, pumpkin, and sweet potato.  I've also got oatmeal up on the breakfast front. I'm terrified to try yogurt or cheese what with him still not getting any dairy through me, but the pediatrician said he probably can handle it.  He can tolerate me having a little hard cheese now and again, so I have hope.  I just don't want to deal with inconsolable gas plus these teeth.

Speaking of which, I even took him to the pediatrician today because the screaming and ear rubbing was ridiculous the past few days, even we hadn't heard some of these screams of pure pain.  I thought--for sure--we had an ear infection. Nope.  But those top center teeth are right there, she could feel the ridges. Great.  I'm so ready for this to be over! I need a break! He doesn't stinking nap!  He is in so much pain it kills me and nothing at all helps.  Frozen banana soothes him, these awesome Mum-Mum crackers we've found he loves and will distract him temporarily, and that's about it. It's exhausting. And I generally feel like a blubbering failure when he just starts screaming, clawing his face, clawing my face, arching his whole body, and flailing from the pain.  And you hate to give them too much Advil or Tylenol, but it's the only thing that helps. Someone told me about these baltic amber teething necklaces but they sound so far fetched.  I don't know if I want to spend $20 on a gimmic.  

Who knows.  Ugh. So over teething! I'm ready to get my playful baby back!