Thursday, October 28, 2010

My Favorite Things

"raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens..."
The Sound of Music=great movie.  I love everything about it, the songs, the storyline, the characters, the setting, etc. etc.  We were able to visit Salzburg, Austria, the setting of The Sound of Music as well as the real life home of the actual von Trapp family, on our Study Tour to Western Europe a couple years ago, and we saw where some of the scenes were shot!  So fun. 
(Here is a picture of us Sound of Music fans in Salzburg, posing right where Maria and the children danced!)

However, we did not see the location of the scene where Maria and the children sing my favorite Sound of Music song:  "My Favorite Things."
This song in combination with my tendency to feel very passionately about the things I like prompted me to begin an indefinite series of posts concerning my favorite things!  There is no particular order or organization of any kind to this ongoing list (unless otherwise specified in future posts, of course). 

Target unscented baby wipes - They are fantastic and so, so much better than any other brand I've tried.

World Market unfiltered apple juice - Unbelievably good.
Dr. Bronner's Peppermint Liquid Soap - Oh. My.  Goodness.  This is the best body wash (which also doubles for shaving "cream") ever.  It is invigorating and smells heavenly.  Oliver and I both use it (because it isn't a super feminine or super masculine smell) and LOVE it.  There's no need to buy two body washes and two shaving creams....That's 4 products in 1!
Boots No7 High Shine Lip Gloss, Flirt - The perfect shade (for all seasons), the perfect transparency, the perfect texture.  I got this on super clearance at CVS once (less than $1.00), and I LOVE IT!
Camelbak Water Bottle - It's BPA free, has a straw system (no more trying to walk, run, and bike whilst tipping your head back for a drink), comes in great colors, leak-proof (can throw in your purse/diaper bag and go), helps me to drink the amount of water I need to, and is environmentally friendly!
The boy is awake!  More later!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Pumpkin Patch

This past Sunday, our little family ignored the fact that it was 80+ degrees and went out to the pumpkin patch.  I have such fond memories of pumpkin patches, tree farms, apple orchards, and the like from when I was a child, and I get all sentimental about sharing these experiences with my boy from here on out.  What a blessing! 
Of course, we had to get the traditional hay bale with the surrounding pumpkins shot:
We got SO THIRSTY (did I mention it was 80+ degrees?!), and Oliver let Griffin taste his Diet Mt. Dew:
We also got to meet a tractor named Oliver!  hahah:
Griffin got to try his hand at farming:
They also had a petting zoo, which was so much fun!  They had a couple deer, and this particular one treated our limbs like salt licks:
Griffin and his new friend, the deer:
Watching the hay ride tractor drive by:
They had quite the set-up for the goats in the petting zoo, and this one kept getting in head-butting fights with the others:
Peering over the edge:
This petting zoo had a few animals that probably shouldn't be included in any petting zoo....geese and an emu?!  Really?  We did absolutely no "petting" of these biters:
10 months old, and more wonderful than ever!
It was quite a challenge to get this shot:
And the separate holes thing was next to impossible:
My boys:
Our family all ready for Fall.  No, we did not buy a $25 pumpkin there.  We went to a stand down the street from this pumpkin patch and got a great big pumpkin and a little pumpkin for $7 :)
Checking out the strange looking new veggie:
He like the stems:
A couple videos of the petting zoo portion of our pumpkin patch experience:

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Obsessed with Papa

From about 7 months until 9 months, Griffin was going through quite a bit of attachment and separation anxiety with me, his mama.  It seemed as though a majority of the time, Griffin would crawl toward me/climb up on me whining whenever he saw me.  Many times, this was heartwarming and sweet; many other times, this was completely exhausting.  I knew it was just a phase.  Who might return!  But for now, his obsession with me has been replaced with an obsession with Oliver, although this "papa obsession" doesn't involve any whining or crying (YAY!).  I absolutely love seeing my boy so in love with my husband.  I mean, I obviously fell in love with Oliver, and it's so neat to watch my son light up around him.  I suppose he always lit up with his papa, but it has intensified to where he definitely prefers Oliver to me.  And, you know, it's a bit of a relief after the past few months!  Some examples of this new obsession:  When I come to get him after a nap, he smiles and gets excited....but then waits and will sort of pout if Oliver doesn't come in after me.  When I'm holding him and Oliver comes into the room, he'll start kicking and laughing and lean for his papa.  When I'm feeding him and Oliver is in the house, he is constantly searching for him and waiting to see him.  He gets very upset if Oliver is not home and he sees a picture or video of him.  There are many, many more examples, but here are a few videos of Griffin and his papa.

I love how Griffin's two obsessions collide in this next video (books and Oliver).  He can't decide if he wants to read his book or go after Oliver when he comes in the door...So, he decides to try to bring his book with him.  The book is quickly forgotten :)


I am quite confident that everyone out there who has recently purchased a bag of SunChips has noticed a change in their packaging, and it.iS.louD.  Real loud.  Conversations-must-stop-because-you-are-reaching-in-for-a-chip loud.  People-cannot-help-but-comment-on-the-loudness-of-the-bag-every-single-time-they-open,-close,-or-see-a-bag loud.  I know, I know...They are doing a great thing by making an effort to be more environmentally conscious.  Yes, yes...I do love the fact that these bags are not only biodegradable, but they are also 100% compostable.  So, "yay!" for SunChips and for our planet, but "boo!" for every individual's SunChip experience from here on out.  Some sacrifices are worth making.  Here are a couple of videos of Griffin's latest discovery of the crazy loud SunChips bag.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Congaree Nat'l Park

A week ago, we [FINALLY!] visited South Carolina's one and only National Park.  It happens to only be 45 minutes from home, and it's definitely worth the trip!  They have loads of different trails, and we chose the boardwalk loop so we could use the stroller.  I posted the pictures on my Facebook page, but here are a couple of short videos of Griffin acting as our trail guide :)
(He had a bit of a bumpy ride, and I think he liked humming so he could hear the bumps' effect on his voice.)

Monday, October 11, 2010

Griffin and Magnolia

Occasionally, Griffin becomes interested in the cats.  It's cute.

A Boy and His Books

One early childhood trait that Oliver and I share is a great love for books.  Our parents have shared with us how, even as babies, we each loved flipping through the pages, looking at and touching the pictures, and "reading" out loud in our garbled baby talk.  Oliver even slept with his books in his crib!  His mom had to set limits on just how many he brought in there with him.  Each of us would sit there for long stretches at a time, totally engrossed in our books. 

Well, Griffin in truly our son.  We've been reading to him daily since he was a wee newborn, and as soon as he was able to sit up and hold a book, he's been in love with them.  I have to really keep my eye on him because he's still in the chewing phase and has quite a few teeth.  More than a few books have fallen victim to those little teeth.  So, books really don't stand a chance unless he's not in the chewing mood or if it's made out of plastic.  Anyway, he loves to sit there, just like his mama and papa, and turn the pages, touch the pictures, and "read" out loud in baby talk.  It's so cute.  Here are a couple of book-related videos:

Sea Turtle

Friday, October 8, 2010

3 Girls and Their 3 Boys

So, I was thinking back to the days when Shari, Anna and I looked like this:
And then like this:
And in no time, our 3 blonde headed, blue eyed boys were out in the world (Owen and Sullivan about 4 mos, Griffin 1 week):

And 4 months later, we snapped a picture of the 3 of them together again:
And the weeks and months absolutely flew by, and us 3 girls and our 3 boys are still great friends (Owen and Sullivan 1 year, Griffin 9 mos):
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Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baby Food Making System

Recently, I did a post called "Why Homemade Baby Food?," and I thought I would follow that up with a quick summary of the steps involved in making your baby's food at home to show just how easy it is!  This post is just to illustrate the process for one vegetable.  Cooking times and methods vary for the different vegetables and fruits (before 8 months), and there are other things (whole grain porridge/cereal, for example) that are involved in a healthy, balanced diet.  Pretty much all of these details can be found in Ruth Yaron's book, Super Baby Food.  Another great (and FREE!) resource is

The other night, I photographed the steps in making kale into baby food.  Kale is a green (like collard greens) that is considered to be a super veggie, jam-packed with good stuff.  I buy it, pre-washed and pre-cut, in bags like this:
First, steam the bag of kale in a big pot for 5-7 minutes.  Steaming is the cooking method that retains the maximum amount of nutrients.
Next, puree in a blender or food processor, adding the water from the pot that you used to steam the kale.  We got the Ninja Master Prep at Walmart (they also sell it at Target and Bed, Bath and Beyond), and we LOVE, LOVE it.  Unlike many other blenders and food processors, we don't have to strain the puree afterwards.  The Ninja purees pretty much everything perfectly.  Also, it's easy to take apart and clean.  It comes with a pitcher size like in the following photo, and it also comes with a smaller blending container  with its own blades!
After pureeing, either spoon or pour the puree into ice cube trays.  One bag of kale makes about 2 ice cube trays.
Before putting the ice cube trays in the freezer, cover the tray(s) with either freezer aluminum foil or, my personal favorite, Glad Press-n-Seal.  The great thing about Glad Press-n-Seal is that the width of the wrap is the perfect width of the ice cube tray, so you only need a little bit!  Make sure to label the foil/plastic with the name of the vegetable/fruit and the date you made it.  You would be surprised at how hard it is to remember what is what when you have 5 trays of veggies in your freezer.

The food cubes need time to thoroughly freeze solid in the ice cube trays (4-5 hours).  Once they're frozen, take the trays out of the freezer and let them sit on the counter for a few minutes to make it a bit easier to pop the food cubes out of the trays.  While the trays are sitting there, get out 1 plastic freezer bag per tray and label each with the name of the fruit/veggie and the date you made them (which should be on the plastic wrap/freezer foil).  Pop the food cubes out the ice cube trays, and put them into their respective freezer bags.  I like the Hefty bags that have the sliding plastic tabs because they're super easy to open and close.

Put these labeled bags of food cubes into the freezer, and you're done!  When it comes time for meals,  you take out as many food cubes your baby will eat and thaw them in the microwave -or- you can think ahead and take out as many food cubes as you'll need for the next day to thaw overnight in the fridge.  You can use the food cube method for homemade baby cereals/porridges made from whole grains, yogurt, and all kinds of different foods.  The freezer is a wonderful thing!  In order to keep your freezer baggies from falling out onto the floor every time you open the freezer door (once your baby has a varied diet, you'll find you have A TON of different baggies to contend with), you can get some sort of shelf or drawer system.  I found a two-tiered wire basket drawer system at Walmart for $7, and it is worth every, single penny:

Hope this helps those of you with questions about the general system.  I know I've said it a million times on this blog, but Super Baby Food by Ruth Yaron is ESSENTIAL...and not just for if you want to go all the way and make your own baby food.  It's great for figuring out what your baby/child needs for a healthy, balanced diet and different recipes, household ideas, ways to choose, prepare, store, and cook different fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy products, etc. etc. etc.  It's invaluable.
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Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What a Week!

What a week this has been! It started out well, and we had a guest over for the weekend, our dear friends' pup, Abner. I must say, Abner and Griffin had a blast together. Abner definitely got a few yummy licks of the leftovers on Griffin's face every now and then :)

Sunday night, our sweet boy awoke with a fever of 103, and thus, a nasty little virus began its attack. The jury is out as to whether or not Oliver and I will contract this beloved [heavy sarcasm intended] new house guest. We've definitely been loading up on our Vitamin C, hoping our immune systems will do their job; however, my heart just absolutely breaks as I watch my poor baby suffer. The fever has been fluctuating between 103 and about 99 since Sunday night, and other lovely [sarcasm again] symptoms have since reared their ugly heads...runny nose, watery eyes, and a horrid, croupy sounding hack with accompanying phlegm. After talking with our pediatrician over the phone, we brought him in for her to take a closer look. As of this afternoon, his ears, nose, throat, and chest are all looking good, and this is just a virus that must run its course. As comforting as it was to know that this virus is nothing out of the ordinary, it still does not spare Griffin the symptoms. Yesterday seemed a bit better, and he was able to crawl around a bit, getting into his usual daily "task" of pulling all his books off his shelf on our bookshelf... He loves to pull each one down and give it a good look-over before moving on to the next book. So cute. The caption of this picture should be, "What was that mom? Did you tell me to keep pulling all the books down? I couldn't quite hear you." Haha.
Today was substantially worse than the day before, with the onset of the croupy cough and choking on phlegm. Griffin was not able to play or crawl around at all, so we made a classic sick day out of it, complete with non-stop kid movies and curling up on the couch together. I suppose the silver lining of sick days with a baby is loads of cuddle time, and I could not be more pleased with that part of it. Nevertheless, I broke down in tears many times over the past few days, wishing I could do something to take Griffin's suffering away. It has made me contemplate how the Lord must feel as He looks at the suffering of all of His children. And not just the physical suffering... And yet He SENT His Son to Earth as a man, to live and then die to save His children. These past few days have helped me relate, if even just in a tiny, little way, to the desire God has in watching his children, suffering unto death with sin, and wanting to take that suffering upon Himself to spare them. I am so thankful to have such a Father.
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