Christmas Praise Night

Every year our church has a Christmas Praise night where members of the church family sing Christmas carols, read the Nativity story or perform Christmas songs. At the end of the night, we all stand around the church with candles as we sing Christmas songs.

This year, Phil, Tommy and I read “Twas the Night Before Christmas.” Here’s a picture:

You can’t see it here, but Tommy was trying SO HARD to eat the book πŸ˜› Or maybe he was truly captivated by the pictures…

Probably not.

Anyway it was a lot of fun and I hope to make it a tradition, at least until he’s too embarassed by his parents to go up on stage in front of the church.

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Five for Friday

Because every one else is doing it, I figured hey, why not jump on the fun bandwagon πŸ™‚

Plus, I’ve been a poor excuse for a blogger lately and this gives me something to actually write about.

1) Is it seriously Christmas next week? Hmm. Well good thing hubby dearest is the one wrapping presents.

Also, I wrap like an eight-year-old, so I’m glad I have a husband who likes to be absolutely precise on stuff like that.

2) So, at 6 months old, Thomas is in 12 month clothes because he is ginormo-baby. I did not realize this when I bought the outfit below for his first birthday.

Actually, only the shirt is part of the outfit. The pants that came with it were shorts and since it’s the middle of December in Ohio, that wasn’t going to work. Ah well. At least he has a cute shirt. And I get all excited seeing his name on it even though it’s because it’s a Thomas the Tank Engine shirt.

(And yes, Thomas the Tank is another nickname I have for him, because he is, well, a tank!)

3) Phil, a.k.a. the hubby, has been working from home half the week. Long story short, our dog has diabetes and has had to go to the vet every other day to get his sugar checked. I am very thankful he has a job that lets him do this because trying to juggle a squirmy 6 month old and a stubborn 25 pound dog would have been a NIGHTMARE.

4) Thomas is not a fan of avocado. He’s done well with everything else we’ve tried him on, but avocado is a disaster. He eats about half a tablespoon but gives me the stink eye the entire time before he just pulls back and cries.

I am determined to make sure though he doesn’t become one of those kids that only eats hot dogs and mac and cheese. I hope this doesn’t backfire πŸ˜›

5) This past week, my critique group met for a story planning session. Basically, we talk about our stories and ask (or beg) for help in places where we get stuck. Normally I get all nervous talking about my writing in front of others, but this helped tremendously. Now I am no longer completely lost.

Also, a friend from the group told me yesterday that after I left (had to leave early, being a momma and all) they all talked about how much they loved my writing and how I needed more confidence in it. That made me smile πŸ™‚

Ok that’s it for me this week. πŸ™‚

Roll, Baby, Roll!

Gone are the days of the stationary baby.

I used to be able to leave Thomas on the floor for a minute while I ran to the bathroom. No longer.

He can’t crawl yet, but boy that kid can roll! I put him on his blanket and within 10 seconds he’s off it and halfway to the dining room. When he has his floor time, I have floor time too, because I have to chase him before he rolls into a wall, a table leg, the dog’s behind…(that last one happened last night. Seriously, inches from the dog’s butt).

I’m thankful for that exersaucer because at least I can put him in that and sit on the couch or take a bathroom break without worrying about what he’ll roll into while I’m gone for that brief moment.

I guess that’s just a taste of what’s to come. πŸ˜›

Happy Half Birthday!

Thomas turned six months yesterday. Amazing how fast time goes. It seriously seems like just yesterday I was pregnant with him.

Anyway, here’s a little video of him. Apologies for the shaky camera-work, he still hasn’t mastered sitting up and not flinging himself backwards with all of his strength πŸ˜›

As Grandpa used to say: “Oy Vey.”

There are no other words.

It’s only the second day of December and things are falling apart. First, I get word from my mom that hospice is being called in for my grandma. She’s been in the nursing home for three years now since her stroke and now she has a slow bleed on the brain. No one’s exactly sure how long she has, but in six months it’s certain she’ll be up in Heaven with Grandpa.

I can’t say I’m surprised. I had a feeling when we went up over Thanksgiving and she took me aside in one of her rare moments of cognizance and told me how she hopes Tommy will become a “strong, handsome, well behaved gentleman.” After I left I bawled.

As I started to come to terms with it, another issue arose at home: my special needs dog was diagnosed with diabetes.

The poor thing has canine dwarfism–something that one vet said is a “once in a career” thing. He’s only three yet he acts like a senior dog because of all the issues they have. His hind legs don’t work well anymore (he stumbles up the steps to go outside), he has little to no energy most days, his belly is bloated because he doesn’t exercise…and recently the poor thing was drinking two full bowls of water a day (when he’s only 22 pounds) and thus having accidents because he had to pee every 30 minutes.

Now he’s stuck at the vet for the weekend because his blood sugar was so high, they have to regulate it. And on Monday, they get to tell me how to give him insulin.

That’s just wonderful.

And of course there’s other family issues going on with my sis-in-law and her crazy and abusive ex-husband who’s going to trial (that story is too long to get into). I just hope that has a good outcome in the end.

Looks like 2011 is going out with a bang…and not the good kind.

Oy vey.

Favorite Things for Little Ones (Birth to Six Months)

I know there are about a zillion of these top ten lists for baby online so why not make it a zillion and one.

#1 on my list: The Fisher-Price Ocean Wonders Seahorse. Since the day we brought Thomas home, this has been a part of his bedtime routine. And now, it’s part of his nap routine too. It plays classical music with ocean sounds for about five minutes, then fades out. You can adjust the volume or turn it off altogether. Thomas is normally asleep within one cycle (sometimes two) of the seahorse. And I’ll admit I’ve started dozing myself listening to it.

#2: Fisher Price Rock-N-Play Sleeper. Yes another item from Fisher Price. πŸ™‚ I loved this. Since our bed is way too small to co-sleep, this was a great option. We set it up right alongside the bed so I could reach Thomas easily. It’s also a great height for rocking while you’re in bed.Β  It folds up easily too and the padding washes easily. My small issue with it was the backing–it’s a little hard on baby’s head but I stuffed a sheet behind it and voila! Problem solved. Thomas has long since outgrown it (at about 3 months–he was a big baby) but it’s good for those first months and quite affordable too.

#3: The Bumbo chair. Love, love, LOVE this. My little guy loves to sit in it and as he still needs a bit of support, thisΒ  helps him do that and keeps him securely in place.Β  There are a variety of colors (we have the aqua one) and even a tray to attach to it (sold separately).

#4: Gerber First Essentials Bottles (both the 5 oz and 9 oz). These are probably the most inexpensive bottles on the market however, they are extremely well made. I’ve been formula feeding since the first week and these bottles have served us well, from the small 5 ounce ones to the 9 ounce ones we use now. You can buy different nipples for them as well (slow, medium and fast flow) which has been very handy since a few of them have been chewed up by the cats. They aren’t fancy (not nearly as complicated as Dr. Brown’s from what I’ve heard) and if your baby has reflux issues they may not be the best choice but they worked well for us. I love that I don’t have to spend $15 on 3 bottles. These are also sold separately at Wal-Mart for a little less than $2.

#5: Sassy Five Piece Rattle Set. These have been Tommy’s favorite toys since he was first able to reach and grab. The round rattle and the telephone one have been his first favorites. Recently, he’s taken a liking to the clown face/mirror rattle too. They rattles have great color contrast for baby’s eyes as well as different textures for their little hands.

#6: Fisher Price Precious Planet Whale Tub. Lightweight and versatile. It supposedly fits over a sink (haven’t tried) as well as in a bathtub. We’ve just always bathed Thomas in his room (we use a smaller tub to transfer the water over). There’s also a toy bar that can entertain the little one. There’s no hammock for newborns, but a little ledge and soft back on the whale to rest him on (while supporting him of course). Thomas is almost at the stage where the ledge can be removed and he can sit in the bigger tub part. I know most use the kitchen sink but this is a nice little thing to have if you don’t want to wash your little one in the same place your dishes are done.

#7:Β  Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney.Β  This has been Tommy’s bedtime story since birth. I could gush about this book all day but you’ll have to read the reviews for yourself. πŸ™‚

 

 

#8: Tiny Love 3-in-one Mobile.Β  If you want a mobile but don’t want to spend over $40 for one, this is it. It’s also unique in that it’s portable. You can clip it to baby’s stroller, attach to their pack-and-play or even hang from the car seat handle. This has made long trips a little more bearable for the little guy as he sits there and watches the little animals move above.Β  The animals’ bellies also have high contrast black and white patterns for developing eyes too. You can also turn the music off if you just want the animals to move instead. (Saves mom and dad’s sanity on those car trips).It may not be the highest quality materials but considering a mobile has a life span of 6-8 months,Β  I think it does its job.

#9: Moby wrap. I’ll admit, I didn’t use this as much as I could have. But I did use it quite extensively the first three months (until little guy’s weight became too much for my back to bear). I do like it but it can be a bit cumbersome, especially if you’re short–you have to make sure the remaining cloth ties high enough so you don’t trip! I think my husband had better luck with this than I did. However I do recommend it. It does have a bit of a learning curve but once you get it down, it’s pretty easy.

#10: Graco Pack ‘N Play. Of course no list can be complete without the pack n play. We’ve only used this a few times so far, but boy, it’s been amazing when we have. This is one of the simpler ones–we didn’t need a fancy one–and it’s done its job well. It folds up easy and sets up even easier. I’m sure I’ll use it even more once the little guy becomes more mobile, but this is highly recommended item for anyone who’s expecting.

Anyway, I could go on and on about other things I love for the little guy but these are my top items. I’m sure once he gets closer to a year, the items will change (hence the title of birth to six months) but these are ones I’ll definitely use again with another little one in a few years.

Crying it Out

I know many parents are firmly against the “cry it out” method on the basis that it causes emotional scars and whatnot. Personally, I don’t agree with that logic (even though the famous Dr. Sears would disagree with me…but I disagree with a lot of his advice. Anyway…). My parents used this method on me and I have no emotional scars from it. In fact, I think I have a darn good relationship with them–maybe better than what most people my age have with their parents–so this emotional scarring logic makes no sense to me πŸ˜› Anyway, moving on…

I think the method is something you have to approach carefully. It doesn’t work for every baby. Nor should you use this method one one who is younger than 4 months old. I think there’s also some misconceptions about it. Some think that you let your baby scream bloody murder until he stops. Actually, that’s not how it works at all. This article on BabyCenter really helps clarify some of the misconceptions. According to the Ferber method, you start gradually. You leave for three minutes the first time and then come back in and pat your baby’s back, telling him or her it’s OK. The time is gradually increased over days.

 

For us, we haven’t had to use this method at night. We’ve been blessed so far in that Thomas knows his bedtime routine (bath, bottle, book, bed) and generally puts himself to sleep within one cycle of the musical seahorse. There have been some nights where he’s fussed a bit going to sleep and I’ve done the method and he’s generally out within 15 to 20 minutes for the whole night.

However, I am trying this now with his naps. He is one tough cookie when it comes to getting him to take one; he fussses and squirms like none other when he gets sleepy. He also doesn’t sleep much longer than 30-40 minutes per nap. (I will take the short naps since he sleeps 11 hours every night). But four times a day, it’s a struggle. He used to sleep in his bouncer but he’s at an age now at almost 6 months to be sleeping in his crib. And the crying starts.

We started transitioning to the crib this weekend at my parents’ house because there was just too much activity to sleep in his bouncer in the living room. It’s been difficult. The first few times, no matter how much I tried holding, rocking, shushing, he squirmed and fought harder than ever. So the day after Thanksgiving I decided to just let him cry it out, since he was already doing that anyway. I patted his back, then disappeared for a few minutes while he fussed. So far, it seems this is what it takes to get him to finally fall asleep. He fusses and cries, squirms and turns over in his crib about a dozen times, and then finally zonks out.

Anyway, I’ve only been trying this a few days now, so it’s yet to be determined if this will ultimately work for us. I am certain that Thomas is just going to be one of those children that fights the nap with everything he has,Β  but if letting him fuss a bit to get him to sleep is what it takes, I’m all for it.

First Thanksgiving

We visited my parents (who live 3 hours away) and they’ve gotten to catch up with my little guy.

We’ve also found out how just how much my dad, a.k.a. “PapPaw” makes him laugh (apologies for the shaky camera; my sister was laughing while she took the video :P)

Anyway, here are some pictures from this weekend:

1st turkey leg! (And no he didn't really eat it)

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving this year with your family and friends too! Now the countdown ’til Christmas….

Cold Weather Season is Here…

…because I just refuse to say the dreaded “w” word.

I should be used to it by now. I’ve lived my 27 years north of the Mason Dixon Line, specifically inΒ  Northeastern Ohio, where we were often the brunt of Lake Erie’s wrath. Now that I’ve moved a little further south, albeit in the same state, the snow isn’t quite as bad…

Only here, we get more ice storms than snow. And I think that’s infinitely worse.

Ah well. Guess I can’t escape it unless I move to Florida, land of the sun and old people πŸ˜›

Anyway, now that it’s here, I’m finding that I really should have bought Tommy a winter coat, like yesterday. But I’m picky–for awhile all I could find were those enormous bunting suits that I’m pretty sure would make Tommy look like a mini version of Ralphie’s little brother from the Christmas Story in his car seat. Actually, I don’t even think my kid would fit in his car seat with one of those monstrosities, so I decided I would wait until I could find an actual little coat for him and hope that he grew enough to fit into one (the mini-coats go as small as 12M from what I could find).

Thankfully I was blessed with a big boy, who, at 5 months, is on the verge of outgrowing his 9M clothes. I think now is the time to go and pick up a coat for him before it gets to be in the single digits.

Any particular brands out there that you would suggest?