June 25, 2011

Favorite Items Part 2 (Baby Edition)

Who wants a bazillion baby items laying around? It's worth it to get a few nice things so you don't end up with tons of stuff all over the place. Here are a few more of my favorites:

The Maya Wrap
Anna is quite particular about her carrier. She really loves this one, and so do I. Besides the yummy fabric and colors (mine is olive green), it's super easy to put on (literally just slip on and off, barely need to adjust it) and it's very comfy and secure. It has a nifty little pocket in the tail and is supposedly very easy to nurse in (I haven't tried). I use it interchangeably with the Moby- I use the Maya when I need to get something done (easier to move around in), want to put on something quick and not have to wrap it, or if I need to get it on in the car or parking lot and don't want long yards of fabric on the ground. I use the Moby when I will be wearing it for an extended period of time and/or walking (it distributes the weight better around the waist and back). The Maya is also cooler than the Moby so it works better on hot days (baby isn't pressed up against you as much).
Pampers Swaddlers
No, all diapers are not created equal. We have some cloth diapers we are waiting to use but until Anna can fit into them (and until she stops going through 16 diapers a day), I've found IMO the superior diaper of the pack. I've tried Kroger 's, Target, Luvs, Huggies, Pampers, etc. and more or less they work the same EXCEPT Pampers Swaddlers (must be the Swaddlers, not the Baby Dry) which have this extra meshey layer that keeps everything from running around. Even Ben will comment when he's on diaper duty, "Man, do we have any more of those Pampers?" When the boys notice a difference, you know there's something to it ;)

The City Mini Single Stroller by Baby Jogger
Don't be fooled, this is not a jogging stroller. It's an everyday stroller. We picked this one out as our one and only stroller once Anna outgrew the newborn snap 'n' go style because 1) We didn't want a bazillion strollers for different purposes, we wanted one-fits-all 2) IMO it works better than the leading expensive strollers like Peg Perego, Bugaboo, etc. but costs about half to one third as much (who wants to pay $500 for a stroller?) 3) Special features- it has by far the best sun canopy and little windows so you can see the baby, an amazing turning radius that takes the touch of one finger to maneuver, it collapses so easily and is not as heavy as others, and I love that it reclines so if baby falls asleep you can give her a little impromptu nap 4) It can go anywhere- street, beach, etc.

Lullaby Music
I love these CDs I received at my baby shower! Upon first listen I thought they were a little cheesy, but after a few go-rounds I fell in love! And seriously, they are songs meant for little one but they minister to my heart, too :) 

Homemedics Soundspa Lullaby
Ok, I know this thing looks weird but it has been really helpful. A coworker gave it to me and said it was the best thing ever, especially if you have a small apartment and/or light sleeper. It's a noisemaker with several white noise sounds or simple lullabies. You can set it to a timer of 15, 30, or 60 minutes, and it works really well. The volume is great and it's sturdy. And get this- it can also project slow moving images on the ceiling or wall that apparently toddlers and older babies are mesmerized by. My friend swears it puts her son to sleep- haven't tried it because they would probably make Anna go bonkers at this point. We take this with us whenever we travel to drown out the noise.


I know, I know, you must be thinking, "Two posts in one weekend? What is going on in that household?" I do believe this is a personal record of mine.

Three Months





Anna is three months old!
I don't know exactly how much she weighs because there isn't a three month wellness visit, but I'm guessing she weighs around 9 1/2 pounds. She has definitley gained some more cute baby chub in her face, arms, and legs.

She can grab onto objects now and hold them, bringing them up and into her mouth. She appears to have started teething evidenced by drooling and gnawing on any and every of Mama's body parts- shoulder, arm, finger, face.

She is still very particular about eating and does not like to be patient for the food to come. She HATES her carseat and carriding with a passion.

She is still quite alert, interactive, and dramatic, loves to be outside, has the cutest baby smile ever, and now she makes tons of noises. She squeals, coos, and laughs in delight. She no longer likes her swing, she prefers 24/7 interaction (which unfortunately can't happen), but she will obligingly play by herself pretty well- looking at a bright colored patchwork quilt is currently her favorite activity.

She falls asleep much more easily, but is still a light sleeper and has trouble transitioning to the next sleep cycle. She only takes short naps in her crib- longer ones if in the sling or Moby. To compromise between her getting good sleep and not getting too used to being carried while napping, I try to put her down for a morning and evening nap in her crib (which usually only lasts 30-45 minutes) and then let her take her afternoon nap in the Moby (she will stay asleep for 2-2.5 hours this way and I enjoy it as she will only be an itty baby for so long!).

Her eyes look like they are changing from blue-gray to dark hazel. We figured she would either have brown eyes (like me) or hazel eyes (like Ben and my mom). Time will tell.

She is still quite a baldy up front, except for fine baby hair, but still has the balding-man patchiness in the back :)

Anna you are quite a handful, but we love you to death!

Some favorite pics of month 3:









June 20, 2011

DIY of the day

 I found this project on my friend Sarah's Pinterest and thought it would be great for our household, where the question Ben and I both find ourselves asking frequently is, "What's for dinner?" Now that question will never go unanswered.



Very simple- I took a 12x12 frame and a piece of scrapbook paper. Then I put sticker letters on the outside of the glass, and voila! You can write with erasable markers and wipe them off to change the menu. You can  switch out the paper easily to change it up.

June 13, 2011

Thoughts?

Food for thought (and opinions solicited) as I ponder the idea of future discipline ... many conservative Christian churches that promote you aren't disciplining your children biblically if you don't spank them, cite the scripture in Proverbs 13:24 and similar verses in 29:15 and 22:15: "Spare the rod, spoil the child." When I became a Christian, I always thought, surely there is more foundation for this principle than this verse. I had always been told, "beware any doctrine based solely in Proverbs!" So now that I have a baby, I decided to investigate for myself, because I wasn't sure if ''the rod' was supposed to be taken literally as spanking. I looked up other mentions of the 'rod' in scripture. From what I read, the term 'rod' seemed to be more of a varying image of discipline... discipline that God doles out in a way that is individual to each person and their heart (the Israelites, Paul, and Peter are not all disciplined the same way). "Your rod and your staff they comfort me" is written in Psalm 23.  Proverbs also says "a whip for the donkey and a rod for the fool." In 1 Corinthians 4:21  Paul says, "What do you prefer? Shall I come to you with a rod of discipline, or shall I come in love and with a gentle spirit?" (Note the difference between the new testament and the old testament verses regarding the use of the rod). From what I found, the term 'rod' seemed to be representative of discipline or rebuke (something God deems essential). My question is, is this discipline solely defined by corporal punishment? While it seems many Christians accept without question that the bible endorses corporal punishment and is the 'biblical way' of discipline, I have yet to see that laid out in scripture (It's not that I'm against corporal punishment- though I don't know if Ben and I will use this as our primary form of discipline- it's just that I don't think I buy the belief that you aren't raising your kids biblically if you choose not to spank). Isn't it more likely that each child may respond better to different types of discipline, depending on their type of action and, more importantly, the underlying heart condition behind it? When I then stumbled across the well-known Dr. Sears' commentary on the verses in Proverbs regarding the rod, it affirmed (for me) a lot of what I had found:

"At first reading, these passages might seem to support spanking. But this is not the only way to interpret them. The term rod is used throughout the Bible in connection with the sheperd's staff: "Your rod and your staff, they comfort me" (Psalms 23:4). The shepherd's staff is, in fact, used to guide wandering sheep along the right path, not to hit sheep who stray. So a compassionate reader could interpret the Bible as saying that parents must lead and guide their children but not harm them. This teaching is developed beautifully in the book A Shepherd Looks at Psalm, 23, by Philip Keller. Finally, note that references to the "rod" are found primarily in the Old Testament. In the New Testament, Christ preaches compassion, love, and understanding, as does Paul. We would hope that all parents, hearing teachers warn about sparing the rod remember Paul's words in 1 Corinthians: 'Shall I come to you with a rod, or in love and the spirit of gentleness?'"

If anyone has any clarifying thoughts for me or if I'm missing something, feel free to leave a comment or message me! I would love to hear others' take on it!

I've also been pondering some of these issues, partly because I'm not sure if this type would work with our daughter Anna... as most typical baby suggestions don't work with her! A lot of my friends have followed a specific type of method/book for strict scheduling, feeding, sleeping, crying it out, etc. for their infants. For many of them, it worked fine. While I attempted some of those things in part (others just didn't sit right with me), they didn't really work for us. Anna is still not on a complete schedule and though she sleeps pretty well at night and is growing well, she has a very high-needs temperament (pretty much exactly like the link description- otherwise described as "alert," "intense," "curious," "interactive," "attitude," "demanding"). At first I kept telling myself, "If you were a better parent, she would be more predictable and she wouldn't be needy or high-maintenance." Especially since she's our first child, it's easy to think it's your fault she's not like all the other babies... you know, the ones who sleep all the time, you have to wake up to feed (Anna prefers to scream bloody murder), the ones who fall asleep in their carseats and pretty much black out while Mom does her errands (Anna will either wake up intensely in her carseat to see everything around her refusing to nap, or scream). She is so particular with her feeding style, I would not be breastfeeding right now if I had put her on a "every 3 hour " feeding schedule. Nope, she would go on strike and refuse to nurse at all! She prefers to eat ALL the time.  Recently, I've realized that that condemnation because Anna is not as predictable as I would like is not from God. She is just the way God created her! While she can be a demanding little one to care for, she also has this adorable personality and joy. She may not be the prototype "good" baby that people describe (and what exactly is a "good" baby anyway? "Good" according to who? :) God creates ingrained temperaments different in each infant-that doesn't necessarily make some "good" and others "not good". Perhaps some babies simply need more, have different needs, and know how to make those needs known! During her delivery, I remember Anna's heart rate drop, her traumatic emergency birth, the placental condition we realized I had (that often ends in stillbirth), and her tiny preemie-size birthweight, and I rejoice that she made it here alive, a miracle! I remember the first night we brought her home and how unsettled, overstimulated, and scared she was- the hospital staff told us she would probably have a difficult time adjusting (it now makes perfect sense to Ben and I why God told us to resign from my job to take care of Anna... only he knew how she would be!). I've decided that instead of being worried that I'm doing something wrong because Anna is not the prototype good baby (and I can't boast about how she never cries and falls asleep on cue), I am going to focus on simply loving and enjoying the joy that she is and all that is different about her...(thank you to this story which was very helpful). I like this principle from another mother:

"I believe there is room for many different styles of parenting within our culture and throughout all cultures in history. We are to follow Jesus, not methods. Jesus is life. Everything else suffocates life."

One of the reasons why I love to read this mother's blog so much. She lives and breathes this, and throws off everything else- fear, the expectations of others, others' opinions, man's religous standards.

And eventually we will get in more of a routine... :).... I have faith!

June 8, 2011

Movie Recommendation

A family friendly movie recommendation!




(I was pleasantly surprised by the acting, and to find that the actress playing the mother was the talented and beautiful Kimberly Elise from one of my favorite movies, Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

Based on the book (which I also recommend):





June 4, 2011

What's For Dinner

White-bean-stuffed portobellos with lemon and garlic green beans- a new recipe that Ben and I considered a hit. First, I love that it uses portobello caps in place of a meat as the main course. I don't really enjoy cooking meat (and am not too skilled at it), so this was a great non-meat dish. I was waiting for portobellos to be on sale and hit the jackpot this week. I purchased two packs of 2 mushroom caps for 1.79 each. Recipe came from my favorite, Everyday Food magazine!



Ingredients:

4 large portobello mushrooms, stems discarded
1 tsp grated lemon zest, plus 2 T and 1 tsp lemon juice
3 T olive oil
coarse salt and ground pepper
2 minced garlic cloves
2 cans of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
2 thick slices of crusty bread, crusts removed
2 ounces feta cheese (about half a container)
half a pack of baby spinach
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves (I used ground thyme and just thirded the amount)

1. Preheat oven to 400. Place mushrooms, stems side down, on a rimmed baking dish. In a small bowl, whisk together 2 T each lemon juice and olive oil. Brush mushrooms with mixture; season with salt and pepper. Roast mushrooms until tender and beginning to release their juices (about 15 minutes). Flip mushrooms and drain juices. Increase oven to 450.

2. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high. Add half the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant. Add beans, 1 tsp thyme and 1/4 c. water. Season with salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally, until liquid is almost evaported, about 3 minutes.

3. In a blender or food processor, pulse bread until coarse crumbs form. Add 1 tsp oil and 1 tsp thyme; pulse to combine. Top each mushroom with bean mixtures divided between them. Divide breadcrumbs and feta cheese and top bean mixture. Return to oven and bake until breadcrumbs are golden brown, 5 minutes.

4. In a large skillet, heat 1 tsp oil over medium-high. Add remaining garlic and cook, 30 seconds. Gradually add the spinach and toss until wilted. Season with salt and pepper. Add lemon zest and 1 tsp lemon juice and toss to combine. Serve spinach alongside mushrooms.

Voila!


And of course, here's Ben entertaining the Anna Bean while I cook. Note the dog bite scar on his right forearm. You can read about that lovely incident here.




And lunch tomorrow...


June 2, 2011

Just can't get the Words out...

Anna and her friend. The beginning of many conversations.

video