Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Father's Day

Nick finished up his semester just in time to celebrate Father's Day.  We spent Sunday just hanging around the house eating, lounging and getting odd jobs done.  I've mentioned Nick's recent facination with food on a stick and I decided to base an entire day's worth of food around this obsession.  It all started with presents...

Ben and Madelyn decided Nick would love a hose reel for the garden hose, a new hose nozzle and some stainless steel skewers (that I had to use for our cooking activities)
Breakfast was pretty basic - just skewered some fruit, a dollop of Cool Whip and a leftover crepe from dinner the night before.  That's right - I made crepes.  Easier than I thought it would be.

After breakfast, we started the relaxing portion of the day.  Nick finally got to use the hammock I got for his birthday over a year ago!

Madelyn decided to hang with Dad for awhile.

Then it was lunch time.  I found a cool recipe for BLTs - skewer style.  They were pretty tasty.  The grilled bread was definitely my favorite!

After lunch it was time to clean the house.  And yes, I stayed in jammies all day.  That's what Sundays are for. 

Nick and Ben worked on a Lego shelving project in the garage.

Then it was dinner time.  In honor of my Grandpa, we made Shrimp Boil kebabs.  The picture was taken after we pulled everything off the skewers.  It was by far the best meal of the day!

Hope you all had a great Father's Day!

Madelyn's Seventh Month

And the changes just keep coming!  I swear I can't keep up with this girl - she is just getting smarter and more physical day in and day out.  She had even more big accomplishments this month!

Teeth - two of 'em to be exact!  Within three days of each other.  We made it through with minimal fussing and really the only reason I knew it was coming was because Madelyn couldn't keep her fist out of her mouth.  The first one popped through and I thought, that was easy.  Out of nowhere the next one popped through.  Wow!  Didn't see that coming.  She seems to love her new chompers as it has made eating a lot more enjoyable which brings me to my next subject....

Solids - Miss. Madelyn L-O-V-E-S solid foods.  I'm trying to get beyond the mess factor and let her eat more often throughout the day but ugh the girl loves to create new rockin' hair styles with peaches, sweet potatoes, avocados, you name it.  Also - note to new cloth diaper mamas out there - solid foods stain diapers on the outside!  A couple of our beloved Fuzzibunz have permanent stains on them and that makes me sad.  Still no stains on the inside though!  Since I hope to sell the diapers one day, we had to adjust our strategy.  Our new method involves a naked baby, bumbo seat and plain old prefold diaper sans cover.  The warm weather helps here and so far it is working.

Breastfeeding - this is getting more challenging since Madelyn is so easily distracted.  She's always been a fast eater but we're talking 2-3 minutes per side (if I can even get her to eat off both sides).  And if there is someone else in the room or the TV is on, forget about it.  She's only nursing 4-5 times a day and once at night.  Her stats keep going up so I guess she's getting what she needs.  The chompers have been a bit of an issue.  Yup - she bit me.  And my reflexes smacked her little mouth.  Now relax, she didn't even cry and really I would call it more of a tap.  She actually pulled off and stared at me as if to say, "what - not a fan?"  Since that incident she's been kind enough to gently "test bite" as if she's seeing whether or not she'll get away with it and I just pull her off at that time.

Diapers - my chunky monkey is getting to the end of her size small Fuzzibunz and I hadn't really planned beyond that stage.  I really like our current diapering system so I want to continue but I'm now scrambling to get some mediums into our rotation before her current diapers start cutting off circulation in her baby thighs.  My price point is $10.00 or less per diaper.  I am also going to try a few of the one size diapers since I figure the bulkiness won't be as much of an issue at this stage.  I've also started line drying the diapers and am always amazed at the power of the sun.  It had gotten every.single.stain out her diapers.  It also has gotten stains out of some of her clothes that sadly were recipients of blowouts here and there.  And there is nothing cuter than a bunch of diapers on the line.  Love it!  I was also pleased to see that the sun got out old stains as well.  I was concerned about drying the diapers all winter and then trying to sun them but it hasn't been an issue.

Rockin' and Rollin' - She's not crawling yet but man alive is she close!  She rolls everywhere and has recently started getting up on her hands and knees and rocking back and forth.  She has also mastered crawling backwards which works well until she backs herself into a corner, literally and then freaks out until you move her back to her starting position.  Wash, rinse, repeat.  Madelyn has had a couple face plants into the floor when she's tried to move forward but she keeps trying.  I feel bad for her because she's clearly getting frusterated at not being able to move yet but I also am slightly dreading the day she figures it out since we will be chasing her from that point on.

Toys - Madelyn has started to get interested in her toys and there are some real front runners.  She loves Sophie and her Nuby teether for chomping on.  She loves pulling the blocks out of her sorter and I love asking her to find the "green circle" in the pile as if she understands what I'm even talking about.  She also loves any toy that makes noise and will squeal while she reaches out to hug it.  She also loves books!  Anytime I sit down to read with her she starts jabbering and flailing her arms around like a crazy woman.  We had to invest in some cloth books since as soon as the story ends, she wants to eat the book.

Classes - I started taking classes with Madelyn when she was about two months old.  Ann Arbor has a great program called First Steps that offers tons of different classes for babies from birth to age five.  We started with the Baby & Me Together class which was about 25 minutes of massage, songs and activities.  The rest of the time was discussion for the moms which was my real reason for signing up.  That and it was nice to have a reason to leave the house.  We took that class twice since the next one up was Wiggle Worms and she wasn't quite there yet.  This summer we are trying Music Together.  I've already been playing the CD for a few weeks and the songs are pretty cute. 

Madelyn has also started taking swim lessons!  She is a natural in the water and loves every minute of it.  I'm so glad I started taking her as early as I did because she is much more relaxed than the older kids in the class.  For example, at one point we work on getting the kids used to going underwater.  The method for Madelyn includes singing Ring Around the Rosy and at the completion of her song I blow into her face which causes her to hold her breath.  I then ease her under and pull her back up.  She is startled when she comes back to the surface but quickly goes back to whatever she was doing before she went under.  Not one tear or sign of fear or discomfort.  There is a little boy, I assume is around 18 months.  Same method but after the fact, he is crying for a good 10 minutes.  There is also a 3 year old in the class and her mom spends 5-10 minutes trying to convince her to even try.  Madelyn knowing how to swim in extremely important to me and I really believe if she grows up in the water we can hopefully skip any fears of the water.

Carseat - We upgraded to her convertible carseat!  After many, many, many hours of research, discussion and opinion gathering we decided on the Britax Advocate 70 CS.  It was not a cheap carseat by any means but I was able to score it for $150 less than retail by combining a sale with a coupon code which made the pricetag a bit easier to swallow.  At the end of the day it came down to this - Madelyn can't be in the center of my car as per the manual plus I can't use the LATCH system in the center seat either.  As a result, side impact protection was a biggie for me.  The difference between the Advocate and other Britax models comes down to these plastic bumper type things on the outside of the carseat.  It cost an extra $40.00 or so but it is supposed to serve as some protection for other backseat passengers.  If we could spend a little extra money but provide some protection for Ben, it seemed like a no brainer.  Hopefully we never need to be glad we "splurged" on her carseat but I rest a little easier knowing we've done what we can to ensure she is safe.

Lastly, we found out Madelyn's next BFF is going to be a Miss. Lily Eaton due sometime in October!!!

And now I leave you with this...a little glimpse into what our house sounds like these days....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Letters to Madelyn


I made a promise to myself and to you while I was still pregnant to not compare milestones.  I vowed to not become one of those moms that obsesses over whether or not her baby is hitting developmental points at all the right times.  I knew you would learn each of these things in your own time and didn't want the added pressure of making sure you were the "star of the class" so to speak.

That being said, here we are seven months later and I just took my first peek at "where you should be".  And baby girl - your mama is so proud of you! 

People have been telling your Dad and I from day one that you are ahead of the curve.  I tried not to read too much into it since I figured people are obviously going to compliment babies.  However, as time kept going on and it continued to happen I got a little curious.  Finally, a trip to the pediatrician was all it took to send me to the milestone charts.  We were sitting in the office and you were sitting on the table during the exam.  Your doctor was so impressed with how straight you were sitting and that you continued to sit that well for a good thirty minutes.  She guessed that by the time we go back for your nine month appointment you would be walking!  Walking!?!?  I couldn't resist any longer and I had to check out how awesome you really are.

Here's what I found for seven months:
Beginning skills - sitting without support and pulling objects to you.  You've got that under control.
Emerging skills - rocks on all fours and jabbers.  I think this video speaks for itself.
And we all know you've been a jabber jaws for quite some time now.
Finally this is where I became a believer.
Advanced skills - waves goodbye and bangs objects together.  You do both of these!!  I was a skeptic when it came to the waving but you have done it enough times at the absolute most appropriate time that I am convinced you know what you're doing.

So there you have it - you are already head of the class and you're only seven months old.  I am one proud mama!!

Love you,

Friday, June 17, 2011

Taste of Ann Arbor

As I mentioned previously, I am on a quest to try everything Ann Arbor has to offer this summer.  While I was scouring the internet looking for family friendly events, I discovered that Taste of Ann Arbor was coming up.  Yay!  Nick, Madelyn and I headed downtown around noon on Sunday afternoon.  Molly met us about an hour later and we taste tested our way down Main Street.  It was stinkin' hot so we ducked into Mongolian and Arbor Brewing Company for a beer and a cool down. 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ben and Madelyn Conquer Ann Arbor

The last day of school is tomorrow.  That makes Monday the first day I parent both chitlins all day long all by my lonesome.  In a quest to figure out how to spend our summer days, I realized there is so much Ann Arbor has to offer that we need to discover.  After our first day of exploring, Ben and I discussed the need to try out all kinds of new activities all summer long.  I also mentally noted my need to blog all these activities all summer long.  Here's how we kicked off summer(ish):
Miss. Madelyn and Ben started swim lessons!  I was able to find simultaneous classes on Saturday mornings.  It makes life a little chaotic at the end of class since Ben has to get himself dressed while Madelyn and I get ready in the ladies locker room.  I don't want Ben waiting for us longer than necessary but bathing and dressing a mobile six month old in a timely fashion is a serious challenge.  Nick will be done with classes this Saturday (yay!) and can take care of Ben but until then we are making it work.

After swim class we decided it was time for lunch. 

I had stumbled upon Mark's Carts one night and decided we had to try it ASAP.  Ann Arbor has street meat, folks!  We did the whole food truck dining when we visited the brother-in-law in San Francisco and it went over well with Ben so I was excited to try it again with him.  The nice part is that the trucks are all set up in a patio-type area with various seating options.

Ben and I checked out the different options and decided to try Debajo del Sol.  Ben opted for Chorizo Corn Dogs and I got the Pulled Pork Paella.  The paella was decent but the corn dogs were out of this world delicious!  The best part - Madelyn was so wiped out from swimming she spent the entire time we were there  doing this:

Chorizo Corn Dogs

Pulled Pork Paella

After lunch, we decided to hit up the Farmer's Market so I could pick up our eggs and lettuce for the week.  On our way, we hit a roadblock and discovered a festival going on in full force - music, vendors, food and people.  We parked and decided to check it out.

We walked through and made it to the Farmer's Market - got our goodies and headed back.

On the way back, Ben managed to score a balloon.
All in all the day was a major success!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

When Uncles Dress Baby Girls....

....this is what happens.

Yes, she's wearing her bathing suit.  Uncle Caleb wondered why the fabric felt so stretchy.

**I am thinking about a regular installment on here titled "When the men in Madelyn's life dress her"