Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Top Teeth?

As I mentioned in a previous blog entry, it appears Griffin is about to cut his first teeth...on the TOP! I guess it's quite rare for a baby to cut teeth on the top prior to teeth on the bottom, but it is becoming more and more clear that those little buggers are making their way through his sore little gums. I have been trying to get a good shot of what it looks like for the past few days, but to no avail...until today! I've been using little bits of time here and there to take Griffin's 6 month pictures to send out to family, and I accidentally got a great shot of his little toofers!
Here it is:

Clearly, Griffin was not enjoying his photoshoot... HhmmjustlikehisdadHhmm

Sunday, June 27, 2010

6 Months

It's hard to believe, but our boy is 6 months old today! Although I can't seem to remember what life was like before he was born, the time really has flown by. He hasn't had his 6 month visit with the pediatrician yet, but I weighed him using our scale at home. It's difficult to get an accurate reading with our cheap-o dial scale, but he's over 20 pounds and over 29 inches! 6 short months ago, he came into the world at 8 pounds 14 ounces and 22 inches. More than double his birthweight and off the charts for height, we've got one big boy on our hands.
(Click on the picture below to enlarge it.)
Ready to hit the hay:
Cutest 6 month old ever:
Yesterday, I noticed that he has two bumps that look like teeth getting ready to come in on the top. My pediatrician said that every single baby she's ever had as a patient but one had their two bottom teeth come in first. It appears Griffin may be her 2nd baby to get top teeth first! I tried and tried to get a decent picture of these impending little "toofers" (as I call them), but this is all I could come up with. Turns out, a 6 month old doesn't stay still for a picture while you push up their upper lip...
It's hard to imagine what my life would be like without my sweet Griffin in it. Being his mother is so fulfilling and rewarding; I know that I know that I've stepped into the role that God prepared for me before I was even a twinkle in my mother's eye. It hasn't been all roses and bubble, warm, happy feelings, but the joys, rewards, and goods far, far outweigh the sleepless nights, the stressful, fussy days, the postpartum hormone rollercoaster, the stretch marks, the 20 lbs. that seems to just want to hang on just in case there's a famine or another ice age and I must still produce milk for Griffin, the sad, melted candle looking belly that was once my much doted on baby bump, the pain of labor, the days where I'm overwhelmed by how far I fall short as a mother. His great, big smile makes all those things worth it all.

There's a song by Rita Springer that I listened to non-stop in the weeks and months before Griffin was born; it is called "Worth It." It about the pain and joy found in following Jesus in this life is going to be worth it all at the sight of His face in heaven; however, the lyrics can be perfectly transposed into all the pain and struggle of becoming a mother in labor and of being a mother is worth it all at the sight of your child's face. 6 months ago today, as I labored and prayed and suffered through all the pains of childbirth, I thought of this song over and over. It reminded me that it really was going to be worth it all. It reminded me that the pain of labor was the intended and natural test of perseverance I needed to overcome in order to become a mother...the very same gauntlet that the first of all women had to endure to bear her children, I had to endure to bear mine. And, sure enough, at the sight of Griffin's face, it was all worth it. Just like anything that is valuable and rewarding and especially like being a follower of Christ here on Earth, there is something about the pain and suffering that makes the end result more rewarding. Sure, labor hurt...bad. Sure, going on very little sleep for a very extended period of time is rough. Absolutely, my body has spent 6 months trying to recover from pregnancy and delivery...trying being the key word. Yes, I question my maternal instinct, judgment and competence as a mom, and spiritual "fitness" as a mother almost every day. But, like being a follower of Christ, motherhood is a journey of many, many highs that are made even higher by all the many, many lows. Praise God for contrasts in life like these; for if everything were neither too low, nor too high, we would live very dull, bland lives indeed. The past 6 months of being a mother has been the second greatest struggle of my life (second only to being a follower of Christ), but the past 6 months of being a mother has also been the second greatest joy of my life.

Tomorrow, I plan to post what new things Griffin has been up to this past month, along with some new videos. I remember my dad saying to me, "Can I just give you a pill so you don't have to grow up, and you can stay the same as you are now?" Thinking he was just trying to be sweet, I would give him a hug and go on my merry little way, but now I understand. Almost daily, I look at Griffin and get all teary-eyed realizing how quickly it all goes by. I don't miss the past stages too much, and I don't yearn for the future stages too much... I just want him to stay just like he is every single day! I'm sure you mothers (and fathers!) will understand this. So, as I said to Griffin today, on his 6 month birthday, "Can I just give you a pill so you don't have to grow up, and you can stay the same as you are now?"

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Nephew & Cousin

This week, we made the trip down to Auburn, Alabama to meet our new (and first!) nephew, Henry! He is such a sweetie pie, complete with a full head of thick, dark hair. Born at 10 lbs 10 oz, Griffin's new (and first) cousin is bound to be a big boy just like Griffin. They should make a great pair as they grow up together, and we're looking forward to them playing and getting into trouble together...but not too much trouble :)
Griffin meeting his cousin for the first time:
Griffin with his Uncle Bubba:
Griffin and Henry:
Meet Henry:

Griffin, after his first bath in the sink at his Uncle Hank and Aunt Anna's house:

Our little family:
3 Generations of men:
Griffin loves his Grandaddy and his Uncle Hank:
Proud grandparents with their grandchildren:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Hibachi Style Chicken, Zucchini, Squash, & Onions

Since summer weather began here in the Palmetto state, I really cannot get enough of zucchini and squash. So, I've been coming up with all kinds of ways to use them in meals. Day-to-day life is a bit crazy here in the Thompson household ever since Griffin was born, and I really don't get a chance to fix dinner until after he is in bed by 7pm. Needless to say, I'm STARVING by the time 7 rolls around, and I don't have a lot of patience to make meals that take a long time to prepare. Here is a meal I put together last night using zucchini and squash that is a super quick fix to get that meal into your belly as quickly as possible.

1/2 bag (=1 lb) frozen chicken tenderloins (defrost in microwave 10 min)
2 zucchini
2 yellow squash(es?)
1 onion (I like to use vidalia)
1-2 T cooking oil (vegetable, canola, safflower, whatever)
1-2 T soy sauce (We get the low sodium version)
Black Pepper
(Optional and DELICIOUS: a drizzle of Panda Express sauce or teriyaki sauce)
2 bags 90 second Uncle Ben's brown rice***
1 egg

Defrost chicken 10 min. & cut into bit-sized pieces while warming oil in wok or big frying pan. Put chicken in wok. Wash & cut up zucchini (cut into long strips), squash (cut into circles or half circles), and onions (long strips) while chicken is cooking. Add veggies to wok when chicken is cooked. Drizzle soy sauce and let cook while you cook bags of rice. Take cooked rice and pour into a skillet with a smidge of oil and an egg. Cook until egg is mixed in with rice and fully cooked. I'm not sure exactly how long it takes for the veggies to soften. I guess it sort of depends on how crunchy you like them! I think I cooked them about 10 minutes or so...The key is to let them cook until the water that comes out of them while cooking is mostly cooked off. Soggy, wet veggies are no way to go; so, let that water cook off. Near the end, add the Panda Express sauce (if you're using it...and I HIGHLY recommend it. It adds so much flavor), teriyaki sauce, or more soy sauce and black pepper to taste. Put a pile on your "fried rice," and there you have it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Mr. Pouty Face

Our son has officially figured out how to manipulate us. He regularly practices and utilizes this pouty face to get a reaction out of us:

Here is a video of him pulling out all the stops:

Could this be any cuter?

5 Months

On the 27th of May, Griffin turned 5 months old. Each month birthday is bittersweet for me... My little newborn baby isn't quite so new anymore, yet he is becoming more and more fun each day, with his developing personality, physical abilities, and...well...i must say he keeps getting cuter and cuter! This past month, Griffin has:
1. conquered rolling over from back to front to the right (he's still working on the left & front to back rolling)
2. begun clinging a bit more to me when I hold him, which makes it a bit easier to lug around all 18+ lbs. of him!
3. started eating solid foods (rice cereal+breastmilk, bananas, avocados, and sweet potatoes)
4. started including more consonant sounds in his baby talk (some b's, d's, g's, and raspberry sounds...lots of "ah-gookkss")
5. grown into his exersaucer a bit more and has figured out how to play with most of the toys (especially the buttons that make animal noises and music, the spinning wheels, and the chewy starfish). He can turn himself around and stand with much more balance control and stability (=no more blankets stuffed down in the seat to hold him up)
6. started recognizing and responding enthusiastically to certain signs (We started using sign language with him about 3 weeks ago). Signs he CLEARLY recognizes: milk, up, diaper change, up, eat, more, all done. Signs we currently use with him regularly: eat, drink, milk, more, cereal, banana, all done, up, diaper change, change clothes, bath, sleep, bed, yes, mama, papa.
7. begun to pull himself into a balancing sitting position in the high chair...mainly in attempt to lean forward with an open mouth to dive at the spoon hahah, but nevertheless...
8. continued to love standing while you hold his hands or waist
9. started splashing in the tub
10. started screeching and screaming when he gets excited. Also, when excited, he tends to make an "o" with his lips, open his eyes wide, and start kicking and flailing his arms around! So cute!
11. started passing an item from one hand to the other. He did this for the first time TODAY, actually!
12. begun to get scared by certain people, loud noises, and scary sounds. These things induce severe pouting and, sometimes, all-out crying.
13. started to pout when he is tired or upset. That bottom lip just melts your heart! Pictures to follow... :)
14. started to sleep 10-13 hours at a time through the night (PRAISE THE LORD!) This has not been the case for the past 4-5 days or so, as he has been waking at 4-5 for a feeding; however, since the introduction of solid foods, those nights have been the exception and not the rule.
15. started sleep training using Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child as my guide. It has been very, very challenging, but extremely worth it. I've learned that it is much better to protect your child's sleep times and have a family that is getting adequate rest than going and doing whenever and having a family that is tired, cranky, and short-fused. Griffin is learning how to fall asleep, self-soothe, and take regular naps that last longer than an hour. It's a process and definitely not one that is easy or quick. You have to be dedicated and consistent, and the Lord is really teaching me and using this for my sanctification because I am anything but consistent in my own life. I suppose the extra motivation of Griffin's well-being is helping me to stay the course on this one...but I have a feeling it has more to do with the grace of God and the support of my wonderful, attentive, helpful husband.
16. started sleeping UNSWADDLED! It was definitely time as he had outgrown every swaddler known to man, and he could break out of the most intense swaddle I could come up with. Not only that, but he was starting to try to roll over in his swaddle. Well, we couldn't have that! So, it's been two difficult weeks of Griffin having to learn how to sleep and stay asleep with his arms free. He tends to disturb himself quite frequently by pulling out or messing with his nuk, clawing his face, and trying to roll over constantly (which, if he succeeds will cause him to scream until he flipped back over since he will not allow himself to fall asleep on his belly).
17. started really, truly examining people and the environment. He's been very observant since he was born, but it seems as though his vision has matured and he is seeing everything for the very first time all over again! Things he has spent hours of his life staring at are intriguing anew!
18. started stroking my face, hair, hands, and chest as I rock him before naps and bedtime. This is one of the mama times I treasure the most in my day with him.
19. started belly laughing more frequently with tickling, funny noises/words/phrases/voices/faces. The most common time for these giggly spells is during his massage before bedtime.

Baby Food NINJA!

Since Griffin has embarked on his solid food venture, he has successfully and eagerly added rice cereal, bananas, avocado, and, most recently, sweet potato to his repertoire. Rice cereal, bananas and avocado are easily mashed up with a fork, one serving at a time; however, sweet potatoes involve a bit more preparation. In an attempt to 1) save money and, more importantly, 2) provide the healthiest, purest food for Griffin that I am able to, I've decided to venture into the world of making his baby food at home from fresh fruits, veggies, etc.

Being completely unfamiliar with the world of preparing and storing baby food, Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron has been an invaluable resource. Thank you, thank you Aunt Mary for recommending it! Another invaluable tool has been the Ninja Master Prep food processor and blender. This thing is A-MAZING. Veggies you would typically be forced to press through a metal strainer to remove strands and chunks after processing are perfectly smooth, strandless, and chunkless after being pureed in the Ninja. I must say, my Ninja is my friend. A great big thank you to my friend and fellow baby-food-makin-mama, Shari McWilliams for recommending the Ninja to me!

These are photos of my first attempt at sweet potatoes. I must say, I was only successful because of the recommendations of my Aunt Mary and my friend Shari! I can see how making baby food would be a total headache without the right tools.