New Found [Talking] Skills!

Well, it’s been quite a break! I started a new job last summer, and I finished up my masters In December so I didn’t quite have the motivation to blog this past fall. But lately, I’ve been finding myself thinking often about you all. About those interested in life with Sky! Oh, well, I hope you missed me 🙂

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Here’s the little butt in all his 20 month glory! As cute as ever and growing so fast!

I was inspired to write this post because lately he has FINALLY decided he wants to say more than Mommy, Dada, doooogggg (yes, with that many O’s) and nana (as in banana but also works for his Nana). It’s like all of a sudden, his brain has CLICKED, and he says a new word every couple of days! It just amazes me everyday to see him learn and grow and so quickly!

We try to talk to him often and use as many words as we can. We talk him through steps as we do them and try and give specific instructions inundated with adjectives and adverbs. We ask him to repeat after us quite often but normally he just says, “dis” if it’s a new word for him.

But then… one day he repeated after me and straight up said, “ba’ pack!” Ummm excuse me, cutie pants??? When did you learn to say backpack?? Then the next day he said “diaper” and “bath” the following! All in a matter of a couple of days, he added 3 words to his spoken vocabulary!

I feel like we’re about to have a talker on our hands, ladies and gentlemen! And I know some of you are going to say I shouldn’t encourage it because one day I’ll want him to stop talking, but until that point I’ll continue to think it’s pretty darn cute!

I’d love to hear the first words of your little ones or the cute words that you were like, “How did you even learn that??” Leave some comments 🙂

Hope to be writing more often! Love you all!

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Surprising Signs of Teething

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Before I was a mom I knew a few signs of teething. I knew if your baby was abnormally cranky or really drooly he would probably be popping out a tooth soon. If he was chewing on everything and wanting cold foods, there was a likely hood of a tooth. I even knew that ear infections and fevers were likely symptoms of teething as well. But just yesterday I found out some surprising symptoms of teething.

I thought Sky was sick or that he was just warm from over heating, but these symptoms of teething are surprisingly common among kids.

The symptoms are:

– Runny Nose
– Red Cheeks
– Diaper Rash
– Decreased Appetite

I love learning new stuff every day! And knowing that these are only the side effects of the 3 teeth Sky is getting on top makes me feel a lot better for sure!

Here are some things we’ve done to help with the teething pain:

1. Amber teething necklace – We think this works pretty well! But Sky is just pretty chill too haha.

2. Refrigerated Teething Rings – When no other toy will do to soothe his sore gums this is what we go to!

3. Applesauce – We’ve found that once Sky started eating solids that applesauce seemed to help as well.

4. Baby Tylenol – When he sounds like he’s super in pain and nothing will calm him down we give him an appropriate amount for his weight.

Share your teething stories both good and bad!

What do the books you read say about you?

Today as I was driving to work, I listened to a lecture for one of my Information Technology and Business classes I am taking this semester. The lecture was about making the most of your MBA. The speaker, Wendy Calvin, brought up an interesting point that I thought I would share with you all.

She said books and magazines you read reflect your interests and passions, and those interests should influence your career decisions. The books say a lot about who you are as a person and who you want to be.

So basically she's saying…

The books you read show you who you want to be and what you want to do “when you grow up.”

Specifically in the realm of business, Ms. Calvin believes what books you read should influence career decisions because only what you spend the most time doing and thinking about will truly motivate you into being “great” at what you do. If you've ever read Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell you know what I'm talking about…10,000 hours are needed to become an expert at something so you probably want to have a passion for it.

You may be good with math and have a degree in engineering but perhaps you love reading entrepreneurship and management books, so maybe you should run your own company instead of being an engineer? Maybe you have a MBA but you always read about outdoor activities and hiking, so you will use that MBA to be involved with or run a high adventure program? If you receive both The Economist and Business weekly, what do you spend more time reading?

Based on her comment, I thought I would list what books I have been reading recently. What do you think these books say about me and my passions? Is her opinion correct?

In this case, I think my books truly represent my stage in life: motherhood. They reflect my yearning to be a Godly mother and wife. I think both marriage and motherhood are amazing callings that you can take a whole life improving upon and learning new things, and still have more to learn. I think both callings will truly make more of an impact than any “job” I will ever have, which is why I take time out of my busy schedule to prioritize and read these types of books! I think these books are pretty representative of my interests and passions, especially Hunger Games!!!

Tell me the past 5 books you've read. Do the books/magazines you read reflect your passions? Should these passions be the career you pursue? Looking forward to your thoughts and feedback!

Books in progress on Kindle:

(And I just took a screen shot of the covers…I really am at least half way through most of these books)

1. Raising Godly Tomatoes: Not actually about tomatoes.

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2. Sacred Marriage: What if God designed marriages to make us holy more than to make us happy?

20140226-083930.jpg3. Growing Your Blog While Managing Your Home: Always need some good advice!

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4. Your Grocery Budget Toolbox: My inspiration and motivation for my grocery budget assessments,

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5. Hunger Games Trilogy: Just for fun and because I had to know what happened in the 3rd book after the movies came out.20140226-084004.jpg

And as an added bonus. My favorite book from 2013.

Desperate: Hope for the Mom Who Needs to Breathe

Comforting. Life changing. Life-giving!

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My thoughts on Mayim’s article about Sleep Training

Recently a friend of mine posted an article on baby sleep patterns that I thought was really interesting. It talked about the pressures we have in modern society to force our babies to be on a schedule for sleeping from a young age (younger than 6 months).

I will have to caveat this post the same way the article did! I don’t want to start any mama drama. I just want to give an example of what sleep and attachment parenting has looked like for us! I know that everyone is different. That being said, here are a few thoughts.

The article talks about attachment parenting which I originally read about in Dr. Sears’ book The Baby Book, as well as other places. Attachment parenting often supports breast feeding, co-sleeping, bed-sharing, and baby wearing just to name a few. We practiced co-sleeping his first month or two, and I try to wear him as much as possible!

I love that this article says it is completely NORMAL for your newborn to wake up every couple of hours during the night. Sky woke up every 3-4 hours during the night until after 2 months! Then he continued to wake up at least once a night until about 5 months old. He’s just finally starting to almost sleep through the night if you like to wake up at 530 haha. It works for me though as a working mom since I have to get up for work at 530 anyway! Jokes on you, Sky!

Another point I loved about the article was the advice to “Stop looking at the clock.” That is such good advice but also so hard to follow! I am definitely a planner. I like to know exactly when Sky eats at day care, how many ounces, and how many/how long his naps were. When we first started breastfeeding, I would watch the clock to make sure he ate for 10 minutes on each side even if it took an hour of him snacking! I am definitely a clock watcher. But what I love about the article is that it recommends to turn the clock off! Trust your motherly instincts and the signs your baby gives you. It takes the pressure off so much!

This kinda leads to my next topic. Babies are given this awesome signal to notify you that they need something – it’s called crying! I love that right now, if Sky is crying there is probably a reason that I can help with. This goes the same for the middle of the night. If he wakes up in the middle there is probably something he needs, even if it is just soothing from his pacifer.

Big Sky turns 6 months on Sunday, so as we enter into a new stage of infant-hood I look forward to expecting new patterns of sleep from him and new wants. As well as new ways to cope with his new needs. But I completely agree with the article that I think it is natural for the baby to wake up before 6 months and that you should respond to his crying if he cries at night! I just can’t bear to let him cry it out just yet 😦

Anyway, I think that’s all for now! Enjoy this cute pic of Sky in his Jammie’s!

To see the full article, go here!

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Sky’s First Solid Foods

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When you first get pregnant you do lots of research on pregnancy and birth. Then all of a sudden you realize you should probably research some about breast feeding, diaper changing, baby sleep, and more. Well, we are finally on to a new stage in the baby world that needed research: solid foods!

Many people have asked why we haven’t started solids before this! The American Academy of Pediatrics generally recommends you exclusively breastfeed until 6 months, but they also recommend you check for some telltale signs to see if your baby is ready for solid food.

1. Head control – is your child considered a supportive sitter? Does he/she have pretty steady head control? This is necessary when starting solids so they don’t choke on their food accidentally.

2. 4 months old – baby should be at least 4 months old so that their digestive system is mature enough. Sky is 5.5 months old!

3. Interested? Does your baby show interest when you are eating your food? Do they follow your fork to your mouth and seem like they want to try what you try? I know Sky stared intently at the dinner table the last couple of days before we started solids!

4. How hungry? Does your baby always seem hungry even when you nurse him every 2-3 hours? Feeding solids may help satisfy your baby’s hunger. Sky wasn’t necessarily acting starving, so this one didn’t apply for us.

5. Tongue thrust reflex – Does your baby still automatically push food out of his mouth? This might show your baby is not ready for solids! When we give Sky his Vitamin D drops we could assess this reflex.

After you assess all of these criteria and decide yes, I think my baby is ready for solids, what do you feed them? How much? How often?

We decided to go with sweet potatoes as the first food because it is supposed to be easy on a baby’s digestive system as well as is rich in vitamins and minerals! Other great options are volcanos, bananas, butternut squash, and carrots. You can also go the traditional method of rice or oats as a first food. The latter two are also helpful for thickening the puréed vegetable and fruits!

Overall, Sky liked sweet potatoes and took to them easily! He opened his mouth almost from the beginning begging for more! Our second food was banana. He LOVES bananas. He ate half a banana on his first night only 4 nights after starting solids!

Even though I have enjoyed how easy it is to breast feed since we don’t have to prepare anything for the most part (I do have to prepare bottles for while I’m at work), I am still super excited to feed Sky solids.

We are going to aim for one meal a day until about 7 months and then start to transition to 2 meals a day. Around 9 months we will then transition to 3!  We’ll see if we stick to this schedule (nothing is exact of course).  The nice thing about this age is that the babies still get most of their nutrition from breast milk or formula so you can’t mess up their diet too badly at this point! It’s just practice!

Anyway, just thought I would share our adventures with baby food so far! I must say, the one thing we are not excited about is the transition baby poop. Lol. Eww gross. It’s been so bad already. And since we are doing cloth diapers we have to WASH those diapers! Yikes! Haha. Anyway, hope ya’ll have a good night 🙂 Might finish my first Advent post tonight too.

10 Tips for Successful Holiday Cooking

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I’ve been prepping and getting ready for Thanksgiving mentally for a few weeks now. It is daunting for me to think about feeding 7 mouths on such a big holiday! Tom’s parents are in town and my brother-in-law and sister-in-law are in town with their son, Levi. I made my list and checked it twice (wrong holiday I know), and I think that we are almost ready for the big feast! Ironically I forgot to put toilet paper on the list so we did have to make a run to the store last night. Haha. Anyway, as I’ve been getting ready I’ve been thinking of all of the cooking tips I’ve been researching online, as well as, lessons I’ve already learned from this year. I hope these same tips help you!

10. Brine. Brine. Brine. Want the moistest juiciest turkey in town? Brine it overnight in water with kosher salt! Don’t forget to keep it in the fridge.

9. Ice water. Making deviled eggs? After they finish boiling, put them in a bowl of ice water! This will make the whole de-shelling process much easier. Works like a charm for me! Oh, and don’t forget to drink some of that ice water too. Gotta stay hydrated while you are slaving over the stove. Better yet? Stay hydrated with a glass of Beaujolais Noveau wine, which is only available around Thanksgiving every year.

8. Don’t freeze ahead. You can freeze bread dough but it’s not preferred because you basically have to let the dough rise twice. And that’s provided you didn’t kill the yeast when you put the dough in the freezer. (I accidently did this because I misread some directions… oops). Thankfully the bread still turned out fine! Freezing does save freezer space if you need it!

7. Do freeze ahead. It is better to freeze cookie dough (vs bread dough) because it will be less sticky when you roll it out! And it has a nicer texture after baked (or at least I think so).

6. Fresh is better. Fresh spices, fresh flour, fresh yeast. fresh baking powder and baking soda. All of these things will make your food and house smell and taste delicious.

5. Make ahead as much as possible. I’ve already touched on this a little bit but you should spread out the prep work as much as possible. Make the bread, cookies, pie crust, dry parts of stuffing, deviled eggs, etc. the couple days before the big day that way you can minimize your time stressing on the day you are supposed to be giving thanks for all of your blessings. If you plan ahead there will be more time for family, Macy’s day parade, and football!

4. Take risks. Always read through ALL of the directions so you don’t forget a key step. I tend to forget key steps because Im so excited to be cooking, that I have to re-do something or start over. But don’t be afraid to take a risk on a recipe. Go big or go home!

3. Adapt and overcome. Adjust for altitude (http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipe/high-altitude-baking.html). Adjust for serving size. Adjust for preferences.

2. Know your limits and ask for help. If you simply aren’t good at something ask for help! There’s bound to be someone willing and able to taste test that cookie dough for you.

1. Relax and enjoy. Don’t worry about making mistakes. No need to stress about baking the perfect pie or finding the perfect Pinterest recipe. Your family will appreciate all the hard work you put in. Enjoy spending time with your family and appreciating what you do have, even if it doesn’t seem like much. There is always someone out there in a worse predicament than you. Trust that God will provide your daily bread and thank him for doing it every day so far! Plus, you know that if the turkey fryer spills and catches everything on fire, there’s always a Boston Market right down the road.

Good luck everyone on your cooking adventures. Wish me luck too please 🙂 God Bless you all. I am thankful for each and everyone one of you that reads this blog whether you know me or not.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Learning WordPress – Picture Galleries

I’ve beeng trying to learn a little more about WordPress as I go. One or two things a week just to try and keep things classy.  Today, I learned about making galleries! Now isn’t this sweet???  All I had to do start a new post, go to “Add Media”, upload the photos I wanted, and then press “Create Gallery.” You can choose to do it in “tile” form like above or in “circles” like below.  Or you also have a couple of other options like squares and slide show. Simple. Love it.

No better way to practice/show-off my new found skill then to add some pictures from our trip to Texas back in October.  Wish I could claim these pictures but most of them were taken by my dad on his nice new Canon camera.  Anyway, time to go learn some other new things on learn.wordpress.com before small group tonight!

Night all!