Saturday, October 30, 2010

baby's first halloween

Today was a great day. G went back to sleep at 4:30 ON HIS OWN until 6:45, with the help of Mr. Squishy the seahorse. We had chocolate-chip pancakes. G was in a great mood except one meltdown which resulted in a nap, but he napped great all day. We went to the zoo for an hour and a half because G actually fell asleep right after we took pictures. Lots of pictures were made of G's Halloween costumes.

All in all, rather good, I'd say.

Since we'd never pass up the chance to dress our baby up in costumes, we did three separate Halloween outfits. Why? Because that's how we roll. Here are my favorite shots in all their cuteness. I really can't stand how cute he is sometimes - makes my heart melt.

The first set was taken at the zoo. The costume was given by my mum. It was entirely too big for him, but that just added to the adorable factor. And yes, he's in front of the actual meerkat exhibit. He was really complacent during this, but mainly, he nommed on his costume.

He was rather in awe of things around us, people and such, so it was difficult to get him to look at the camera.

The only shot where he looked at me. Silly baby! Let mama see your face.

 After the zoo, we came home and ate and napped. Well, he napped. Later that afternoon, we went into the front yard for a little more dress-up. We'd bought him a pirate outfit for our annual pirate party, but hadn't taken many photos of him in it.


I dare you to take away my sword.

Give me your booty or I will cut you! (Yes, he's really holding the sword and pointing it at the camera.)

 After that, it was time for the Katamari hat. Now, Katamari Damacy is a series of video games where you control a little dude who rolls a ball around. The ball picks up anything it touches, gradually building into a larger ball. It sounds like the most boring game in the world, but I assure you it's extremely addicting. The little person you control looks like this.
My friend Stacey made me a hat for G before he was born. I'd been waiting to put it on him when he could sit up a bit better. It's seriously the most awesome hat in the world (and also tasty). Observe.

What is this thing on my head, Mama? 

Are you sure it doesn't look funny? Does it really make me look cute?

Yay, I'm cute!

Hey, Daddy, I'm cute!

I want to be the Katamari Damacy prince when I grow up.

30 days of truth: it all started with that book

Because I can.

I've jumped on board the 30 Days of Truth meme in an effort to talk a bit more about my self, not just G. Some of these will be really difficult to discuss, and a lot of them will be real downers, so I've chosen one that's more positive for my first foray.

You can find the complete 30 Days list in the links at the top of the blog. I'll link each day to the corresponding blog entry.

Here goes.

Day 17: A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

It all started with a book, really. Though it was more like four books stuck together in one set. They sat on the top shelf of the living room in the double-wide trailer where I grew up, above the small fish tank. There weren't many books on that shelf, mostly other odds and ends like an old cigarette container or a metal sailboat.

The Lord of the Rings by J. R. Tolkien is a series that has been sensationalize by the movies. But I first met those stories as a little girl who would stare up at them where they were too high to grab. They belonged to my father, who is someone I've never seen read much, and he wouldn't let me read them. Now, this was quite devastating to a girl who would read anything and everything, especially at the age of ten or eleven. I would read the backs of cereal boxes and shampoo bottles with relish. My dad said I was too young, and so I waited.

Finally, when I was about eleven, he gave me the copies, an old 1960s set in gold, and let me read them. I read them through, and read them again. And read them again. I read them so much that some of the covers fell off. My parents took them away and wouldn't let me read them for a while, but they eventually gave them back and I read them again. I was seriously addicted. I hadn't read anything like it.

Up until the point, I hadn't written much of anything except a few stories for school. The thought of writing had seriously not crossed my mind. But I was so entangled with The Lord of the Rings that when they ended, I didn't want them to end. So I created my own continuation of the story. Yes, the first thing I wrote was LotR fanfiction, though I didn't know what fanfiction was back in the very early 90s. I liked my story so much that a few chapters in I decided to cut out the LotR characters and make it my own. Thus my first novel, The Great Awakening, was born. It really was awful, but it was my first book, and I love it dearly for that. I still have the first few chapters written out on wide-ruled paper in my large childish hand.

There were other careers I wanted as a kid - astronaut, elementary school teacher, marine biologist - but writer overcame all of them. Because of these four books, I majored in English and got a master's degree in creative writing. These books shaped the rest of my life. Without them, I wouldn't be who I am today. I wouldn't have the same likes and dislikes, the same life goals, the same wants. I wouldn't be a blogger, I wouldn't have met most of the people I know now, I wouldn't have my current job.

That set of The Lord of the Rings now sits on my own self. We have a whole collection of Tolkien books, including many sets of LotR alone. One day I hope to entice my son to read them. "Not yet, Grayson," I'll tell him when he's little. "Get a little bit older and they're all yours."

Friday, October 29, 2010

new delicious toy

So I's bought me a new lens for my dslr. I've had this thing for almost a year, and I hate to admit it, but I've only begun to learn what all those settings mean in the past month or so. In my learning, I discovered that my camera can't do what I want it to do when taking pictures of G (shock, I know). Mainly, it's my own fault for not figuring this stuff out sooner. And I have a looong way to go before I take anything mostly decent.

However, the lens I just bought will help. Yes, I bought a new lens. It's pretty and I luvs it. It's a Nikon 35mm f/1.8 AF-S to go with my Nikon d3000.

When it arrived, I pulled it out and immediately gave it a try. The light wasn't great at all, but it still yielded pretty good results.

Yesss, my precioussssss. I likess it.

G liked not having a flash in his eyes. He tolerated the camera for longer than usual.

 Even at night with a flash it was pretty.

So I'm way happy with it. Tomorrow we're taking G to the zoo to snap photos of him in his Halloween costume (s). I can't wait to see how those turn out. Woo boom shanka.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

going dairy-free: breaky

Breakfast can be a difficult meal to figure out if you've had to go dairy-free. Suddenly, you can't have milk for cereal or cheese for your eggs. I rotate among a few foods, including a couple that are actually made instead of from a box. Keep in mind that I'm not focused on being the most healthy of eaters right now, so I'm not exactly giving those kind of options.

Pancakes are my favorite. Bisquick makes a mean pancake. It may not be the fanciest option for pancake out there, but it's fast and it works. Plus, Bisquick mix is dairy-free. You have to add milk, and I've added both vanilla almond milk and vanilla rice milk. The almost milk adds a stronger flavor than the rice, but both work well. I personally love to mix semi-sweet chocolate chips into mine. Ghiradelli's semi-sweets are dairy-free but manufactured on equipment that also manufacture dairy products; G's never had a reaction to these chocolate chips (and I've eaten a lot of pancakes) so I've found these options to be fine. You can also add anything else you like, such as blueberries, nuts, etc.

I'll also make French toast. Arnold's breads are all dairy-free, that I've found: wheat, Italian white, and potato. The white works well for French toast, better than my old bread!  I break four eggs into a bowl. Add a dash of vanilla extract. Add an eight of a cup or so of vanilla almond or rice milk. Heat up a skillet and melt some Earth's Balance buttery spread. We also sprinkle cinnamon onto each side of the bread right before putting it on the skillet. Sprinkle a little powered sugar on top after they're done. These were awesome a few days ago.

Homemade breads can also be a great breakfast option. Zucchini and banana are my current favorites, and many recipes call for no dairy.

I love me some Poptarts. The cherry ones are dairy-free.

Many trail mix bars are a good option, except for chocolate ones. Nature's Valley trail mix fruit and nut bars are my current favorite.

You can, of course, have eggs with no cheese. Eggs kind of make me want to barf ever since I had G, but you can add all sorts of toppings to them to make some cheese-less tasty.

Most cereals are okay as well. I've dropped out of eating cereal for the most part because I just don't like the flavor of them mixed with almond or rice milk. I haven't tried the various kinds of soy milk out there because many babies allergic to milk proteins are also allergic to soy, so I try to limit my in-take of soy products.

That's about all I eat for breakfast. I'm sure there are other options, but this works for me. Next time I'll focus on my favorite desserts. Tasties are a difficult thing to figure out if you're dairy-free, but there are actually a few really good options out there if you're a chocolate lover like me.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

move, baby, move

G is becoming increasingly frustrated by his lack of mobility. He wants to do all these bigger baby things, but just simply can't. But yet he knows that he can do them with assistance, so he'll often fuss until we help him out. It would be too cute if my arms and back weren't so sore from holding up the chub chub that is my baby.

Standing: G's been standing without support pretty much since the day after his two-month doctor's appointment. The pedi was testing him out developmentally and we were amazed at the fact he could stand so well. We asked her about it and she had no problem with us helping him stand all the time. Since we started, it's become one of G's favorite things to do. If nothing else will calm him down, standing often will. He just gets this look of delight on his face.

Sitting: In the past week or so, G has realized that lifting his head foward = sitting up. He does this any time he's reclining back. On our laps. In the car seat (really disturbing). In the bathtub. He'll lift up his legs like he's putting himself in a sitting position and lift up his head and shoulders. We took a pic of him in the bath because it's really just too funny to see. He looks so silly with his head and feet in the air. But he'll hold like that for almost the entire bath time. Abs of steel my baby has.

I'd help him learn how to sit up more. But anytime I try to help him practice, such as putting him on the floor with a pillow behind him, he stiffens his legs and tries to stand. I guess he'll just sit when he's ready to. Or when he wants to. Such as in the bathtub.

Rolling: G can roll from belly to back and has for a month or so. Sometimes he forgets that he can, especially when he's pissed about tummy time. He's trying to roll from back to belly by arching his back and digging in his heels, but I think it'll be a while before he accomplishes that.

Crawling: So not going to happen anytime soon. Maybe he'll just skip it. I think he'd rather because he hates being on his tummy so much. After about five minutes, he totally freaks. He'll flop around on his belly like a fish. And forget it if he tries to put a hand in his mouth while on his tummy and then falls over. He hates that.

Yesterday, he scooted himself off his mat by a couple of feet while we were in the kitchen eating. He's getting great at digging those heels in. So maybe I'll have a kid who can sit and stand and scoot around on his back. But not crawl. Because that's so being a baby.

wordless wednesday: flashback to week two

Sunday, October 24, 2010

open and say "AHHHH!"

At our four-month appointment, our pediatrician gave us the go-ahead to start Grayson on rice cereal. We haven't been in a rush, though. I know the current recommendation for breastfed babies to start solids is six months, and even though we'd been getting comments that maybe it was about time, we just didn't feel ready. G had barely begun to take interest in what we were eating, mainly just watching us more intently. He certainly wasn't showing any signs that he actually wanted to eat our food. Nor did he seem dissatisfied with only boob (really, my kid dissatisfied with boob? pssh!) like he wanted more or something.

So we waited and waited, and figured since he's turning five months next week, we'd go ahead and give it a try. I don't want to give him much rice cereal anyway because I know it can cause constipation and what-not. Plus, it's kinda gross. But it's a tradition first food, so why not?

G will sit fine in his highchair, though he's not a huge fan. I thought he was in a pretty good mood, but he started fussing pretty quickly in the chair, so I guess not. That probably didn't help matters. I mixed up the stuff (so gross) with a little breast milk, dipped the spoon in it, and shoved it in his mouth. He stopped fussing real quick, as he does whenever something goes into his mouth (except for pacifiers, as you well know that he hates).

So I tried some stuff actually on the spoon. That didn't go too well.

We wiped his mouth pretty quickly, so there aren't any pics of the mess. Needless to say, I'm certain he didn't actually swallow any of it. That little tongue pushed out every bit of that rice cereal, accompanied by the appropriate faces. I think we'll give it a rest and try again in a few weeks.

This is what I think of your attempts to make me eat something other than boob. Bleh!

He looks rather toddler-ish in the photo above, doesn't he? My little baby is growing so fast!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Grayson says...

Grayson says, I like my exersaucer. Mommy doesn't let me in it very often, only ten minutes at a time. But I like to stare at the stuff on it and sometimes I'll even try to grab them. Mommy gets really excited whenever I feel like doing it, which is really weird. She gets excited about the most random things.

Today, I mainly wanted to look around and at Mommy, even though she had that big black camera out again. I made a few faces but she didn't take the hint. Or maybe I frowned because I bit my hand too hard. I forget.

 But then Mum did something funny so I grinned instead. She keeps trying to make me baby belly giggle, but I like to screech right now. Or try to talk with fingers in my mouth. That's fun too.

 I like to stick my right thumb in my mouth, especially around bedtime, but mostly I chew on my left fingers. They get all slobbery and Mommy wipes them a lot (SO ANNOYING). I drool. It's what babies do, yo.

One of my favorite things to do right now is to try out my face. I make it do all sorts of things - it's amazing! I smile a lot, but who knew I could stretch my smile out this much? I look like I'm roaring - roar!

upside down naptime

G's naps are hit and miss. Some days, like day before yesterday, he naps beautifully. He slept 10 hours at night and had 2-3 one-hour naps plus a two-hour afternoon nap. During the afternoon nap, he kept trying to roll onto his back. I did my best to maneuver him into a decent back laying position without waking him up, but he just wasn't cooperating. I did manage to snap a web cam photo of him on the Boppy pillow. He was laying almost sideways in it with his head nearly upside down. The photo really doesn't do the pose justice.

Of course, yesterday he didn't want to nap at all. He was in a fantastic mood until the evening despite the lack of solid napping. Today, he took a three hour nap. What a weirdo. This child has been crazy this week. He's decided he wants to work on several milestones all at once.

He's deliberately grasping things for the first time.

He can sit up just by holding your fingers.

He's grabbing things and pulling them into your mouth, including hands and my hair.

He's trying out all the consonants of the English language. Over and over. Very loudly.

He's doing his best to baby belly giggle. It's almost there. Mostly, right now, it's just screeching.

His reflux has been horrible the past three days, but I think it's because he's so active. He really does not sit still for very long, except when he's hanging out with his head upside down as he tries to watch the TV.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

dairy-free: what to avoid

When I was told I needed to drop all dairy from my diet, including any "hidden" dairy, the first thing I did was hopped online to research what I couldn't eat. There are many sites out there that are extremely helpful, and I'll post some links to those later on. What I found to be most immediately helpful was a list of ingredients to avoid.

Some of these ingredients are pretty obvious.
  • milk (duh)
  • butter
  • condensed milk
  • milk fat
  • skim milk
  • whey
  • evaporated milk
  • buttermilk
  • sour cream
  • cottage cheese
  • cheese
  • cream cheese
  • lactose
  • half and half
  • curds
  • nougat
Really, if it sounds like it's milk-based, you have to stay away from it. Some companies are great about putting allergens in bold in their ingredient list. Some will even list them below the ingredients in bold in a separate list. But others make you search for the allergens among a mixture of other stuff. Others still will list other allergens such as wheat and nuts, but then forget to list milk, even though butter or some such is in the ingredient list.

So the obvious ingredients can be easy to avoid. However, more hidden forms of dairy make eating dairy-free much more difficult. Casein (and other forms such as sodium caseinate and calcium caseinate) is pure milk protein, which is exactly what you want to avoid. It often shows up in high-protein foods like energy bars or protein powders. However, it can also appear in deli meats, cheeses, and other random foods.

Honestly, you have to read the labels of everything you buy. I've found milk in most breads and many kinds of deli meats, sauces, cookies, prepacked meals, and candy.

You can find more information about what foods to avoid at Kellymom and The Fussy Baby Site.

Next time, I'll start posting about what I DO eat on a daily basis. Because, really, if you're going dairy-free, you still gotta eat, right? And if you're a cheese and milk lover like me, it can be difficult to keep from going crazy.

    Monday, October 18, 2010

    happy 33rd to the hubs!

    The hubs celebrated still being older than me by...

    not changing any (okay, many) diapers

    working out in the back yard cutting down little trees (what he wanted. seriously.)

    taking G to the zoo for some father/son bonding (where G had a giant poop. ah-ha.)

    eating chocolate cupcakes with vanilla frosting (which were dairy-free! yay!)

    getting Titans tickets for December (from me and G)

    working on a cabinet he's building in the garage (he's weird like that)

    eating at our favorite Mexican restaurant (mmm, margaritas)

    now staying up late and watching the Titans game (I'm up for another hour - that's all I've promised!)

    All in all, a rather nice birthday, methinks. And yes, Grayson's wearing a "My Dad Rocks" onesie. We're generally against mum and dad stuff on kiddie clothing, but this one seemed appropriate for the day. Showing some daddy love.

    In G news, he was really working on the baby belly giggle today. Not quite there, but almost. So cute.

    going dairy-free

    When G was about six weeks old, he was diagnosed with a milk protein allergy. Keep in mind that this is way different from a lactose allergy, which is extremely rare in babies. Milk protein allergies mean he's allergic to the proteins of the dairy I eat that then get into my breastmilk.

    He had a good number of the usual symptoms of a milk protein allergy.
    • fussiness
    • lots of spitting up
    • green and/or mucous and/or blood in stool
    • not sleeping well
    • lots of boogies
    The pedi did a test on his poop (gross, I know) that revealed he did indeed have blood in it. It's so heartbreaking to think about, but at least we were grateful to find out what was wrong. After I cut dairy for a couple of weeks, I tried reintroducing it again. Back came his problems almost immediately, so we were then sure of the allergy.

    Of course, this meant I had to go dairy free and I loooove dairy. I love ice cream and pizza and cheeseburgers. And chocolate. And cookies. And lasagna. I could go on and on. I wasn't too amused by the idea that I had to go without, but the alternative was putting him on a highly expensive formula and giving up breastfeeding. No way, said I.

    (Plus, I think G would freak if he didn't get boob.)

    All in all, cutting out dairy cold turkey has been difficult. I have to read the labels of everything in the grocery store. There are the obvious products that have diary, and then there are the not so obvious, like deli meats. Seriously.

    I figured I'd use the blog as a platform for helping out other mamas who have discovered they must go dairy-free for their little cuddlebugs. The hardest part is just figuring out what to eat! I'll post my foods of choice, as well as some of my favorite recipes.

    I know it's only temporary. And as soon as I wean, I'm gaining like 10 pounds off Five Guys double cheeseburgers with mushrooms and Cajun fries alone.

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    off to the zoo wit ya

    We love our local zoo. It's rather small, only taking a few hours to go through the whole of it. But for $55 we get a year-long pass for the three of us. Plus, since it's only five minutes up the road, it becomes our park of choice. Not only do we get the benefit of seeing animals, it also gives us a wonderful place to wheel G out and about. There's a large playground for when he gets bigger, and they do yearly events and such for kids.

    Right now they're doing a Halloween thing. They had booths set up where you could earn treats, a hay ride, spooky maze, and other stuff that I can't wait to share with G when he's older. There's a lot I can't wait to do with him once he's big enough to run around.

    Like usual, he was asleep by the time we got there, being at the beginning of his nap time. But the gibbons were wide awake and staking their territorial claim by being very loud. G woke up, eyes huge, wondering what the crap those noises were. So he spent most of our trek through the zoo awake this time.

    He rather likes the Asian part of the zoo, where we decided to spend most of time. There's lots of bamboo to look at, especially when it arches over the path. And he goes rather nuts for anything that hangs overhead. He kept going wide-eyed at the bamboo, but refused to stay like that long enough for me to get a pic. Here he just looks content.

    After we walked around a bit, we headed to the big grassy area on the way to the elephants. It's a fantastic place to take pictures. Dave hoisted G up in the air. Every time he did, G let out a big "heh" and had a huge grin on his face. We just doubled over with laughter. What a funny baby.

    G can be so serious, staying off into the distance like he's just soaking everything up and storing it away for life.

    And then he does something so freakin' funny, like turning his head to the side and trying to lick the edge of his hoodie. Oh yeah, I'm reminded, you're a baby, not a one-year-old whose wanting to stand all day long (seriously, he does).

    You, my baby boy, are just too cute for words.

    Wednesday, October 13, 2010

    wherefore art thou, paci love?

     Youuu, mama, shall suffer my wrath if you try to shove that in my mouth.
    We discovered Grayson's love of the paci when he was two weeks old. We told our pedi at his regular doc appointment of our struggles with our fussy son. Nothing will placate him, we wailed. All he wants is boob! Our pedi (who is awesome) calmly put her hand into a glove and gave G her finger to suck on. He instantly calmed. It was amazing - the heavens opened up and angels sung; that's how amazing it was. She assured us that since he had such a strong suck - "whoa" was kind of her first response - we shouldn't worry about nipple confusion.

    We got him a paci that day and didn't look back. Finally, our little baby seemed much happier. And my nips were happier too. We could rock him for naps, just pop that paci in and he'd fall asleep on our chests. This all worked fantastically until he was about three and a half months old, when he just up and decided one day that he was DONE.

    I mean, absolutely DONE. He spit out that paci and has refused it ever since. For the last three weeks.

    Oh, and about that same time he rediscovered his love of the boob. I mean, he'd loved it before. He's the kind of baby who, once I lay him down on the Boppy, grabs my shirt and yanks himself into my boob before I can even get my shirt down. But now the boob is about all that will calm him down sometimes.

    At first we thought that he was having a growth spurt and just wanted to nurse more often. But then a week turned into two weeks turned into three... a three week growth spurt? This seems unlikely. Then we thought it might be teething, but the pedi said there weren't any signs on his gums, so that's a no-go. I really think he's just realized the boob is way better than a cold, rubbery pacifier, and he knows that he can get it eventually. Of course, this has caused all sorts of problems, namely it makes it difficult for the hubby to get him to nap. It also means that when G wakes up early from a nap, he immediately starts rooting for a nipple to get back to sleep. I think eventually we might have to do a bit of sleep training just 1) other people can get him to nap, and 2) my nips don't get so sore from constantly placating a babe. Plus, he already has spit-up problems and the extra feeding isn't helping.

    I decided yesterday to pull out the three kinds of pacifiers we own to see if he'd accept any. Pretty much, he haaates them. He spits them out like crazy and makes the most awful of faces. They even make him gag. I have no idea what's up with that.

    First, we tried the nuk. Haha, mama, you're funny if you think I'm gonna keep that in my mouth.

    What is THAT? That tastes yucky! Why are you holding in my mouth even though I'm trying to push it out with my tongue? Take it out take it out.
    Gaaag. That was gross!

    So then we tried this platex paci, which he used to sometimes enjoy. That wasn't any better.
    I don't like this any better, mum. P-tew!

    Wait, what are you getting now? Not the dreaded soothie paci? Not the paci I used to loooove and nommed on all the time? Why do you think I'd want something I use to cherish, woman?
    Nooo, mama, don't want iiiitt.
    I'm gonna push it out with my tongue.
    See? You can't get it past my tongue of awesome strength.
    Haven't you given up yet? You're not going to win. You know I can hold out as long as it takes to get boob again.
    Neener neener pumpkin eater. Had a paci and couldn't feed... 'em. I think I win this fight, mama.
    Now, give me the boob, woman of the boobs! I demand iiiittt. I command you with my eyeballs of doom. DOOM.
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