Ten months! Time is flying!

My sweet little munchkin is growing up so fast. I cannot believe that 10 months ago we were in the hospital meeting her for the first time. Now she’s moving and grooving all over the place. I feel so blessed to be able to hold her every day and snuggle with her every night. Even though she’s still not sleeping through the night, I count my blessings that she’s happy, healthy, and loved by so many.

James and I were talking only two days ago about how we cannot believe it’s barely been a month since we took her plagiocephaly helmet off. It seems like so long ago. This is the first full month she has not had to wear it at all. I think it’s noticeable in her photos how much rounder her head looks, too. I’m still so glad we made that choice. You can read more about my reflections on the helmet if you’re interested, otherwise, scroll down and see how she’s grown!

 

Eight things to remember for baby’s first time at the pool

Summer’s here in Texas which means it is HOT! I mean, I debated baking cookies in my car today because it was so warm. I may have to try that one of these days, but not today. Anyways, with the weather warming up we have started taking Maddie to the pool. We’re lucky to have one within walking distance. It’s much easier to walk than carting around a baby and a car seat and possibly a stroller. Now that we’ve gone a few times I’ve scaled back the amount we bring with us and have listed for you the eight essential items you need to take with you. Want to keep your first trip to the pool with baby easy? Follow my list and pack light for a fun, safe trip to the pool with you little one.

8 things to remember for baby's first time at the pool

  1. Sunscreen
    This is probably the most obvious one, but this will definitely derail your trip if you leave it at home. Sunscreen is essential. Look for a high SPF and reapply it as much as every 15 minutes, especially if you and baby are super pale like our family. We use a non-baby sunscreen, but we haven’t had any issues with it. The ingredients are the exact same as the baby sunscreen and it cost less. Do your research before buying one, but know that some companies label the exact same sunscreen as baby sunscreen and then charge you more for it. Also – don’t forget to cover your baby’s head with sunscreen. The scalp directly faces the sun and is often forgotten about.
  2. Sunglasses
    The pool can be bright, especially with the sun overhead. Protect both your eyes and your little one’s eyes with a nice pair of sunglasses. We use a shaded toy so Maddie doesn’t always need the sunglasses, but we pop them on her when we take her out of the toy.
  3. Swim diapers
    Whoever invented these deserves a prize. They’re a little more difficult to get on to a baby because they’re a little sticker, but once they’re on you don’t have to worry about baby having an accident in the pool. Let me tell you, no one wants to be that mom who’s baby pooped in the pool so everyone has to get out while it’s cleaned. Having a good swim diaper is a life saver. Take a couple and a few wipes, in case you’ll have to change your baby, but these little things are absolutely a necessity.

    Baby first time at pool things to remember

  4. Safety equipment
    Depending on how you plan to swim, this can vary. We use the flotation device above for our baby. If she’s not in that then she’s being held by us. Some parents use life vests, and some buy swimwear with the life vest built into it. Whatever you prefer, be sure to bring along something to keep baby afloat. Our daughter LOVES the flotation toy we have. She can splash the water from in it and still see us, while being shaded from the bright sun overhead. Even if you feel as though your flotation device is secure, NEVER LEAVE A CHILD UNATTENDED in the pool. Maddie has tried to flip her toy a few times and if we had not been there, she might have. The number one piece of safety equipment when swimming with baby is your eyes. Be on the lookout, always!
  5. Towel
    At some point in time pool time has to end, and when it does you’ll need a towel. If you’re like me, I share a towel with the baby. Once I’m dry I’ll dry her off and leave the towel with her while putting back on a swim cover-up. It’s much easier than carrying around two bulky beach towels. If you’re driving you can’t leave the towel on the baby in the car seat, so then you can use it to keep your car seat dry. Can you survive the pool without a towel? Of course – but it’s not very fun to be dripping wet all the way home.
  6. Camera
    As I’ve stated before – I’m big on experiences and making memories. Baby’s first time at the pool is quite an experience so bring your camera. You never know what baby will think of the water. Our daughter is a little water baby, she absolutely LOVES splashing and playing and meeting other kids at the pool. The photos we took were adorable. But, they would have been just as adorable as if she hated it and made faces. Now we can always look back at the photos and remind her she loved the water when she was younger.

    Baby first time at pool things to remember

  7. Something to drink
    The pool water is not potable, and baby may get thirsty with all the playing around. Be sure to bring something to drink for them (and yourself). Maddie is old enough that we bring a sippy cup with some water. For younger babies you may need formula or breast milk. We do our best to keep Madison hydrated so she doesn’t overheat. On days when it’s high 90s or low 100s even in the pool it can be hot.
  8. Giggles!
    All babies learn best from watching others. If you’re afraid of the water you may teach you child to be afraid, too. Be sure to make your baby’s first time at the pool a fun one. Smile, giggle, and go slow. We played a lot of peek-a-boo around her swim toy to help her to feel comfortable. Once she was okay with the water we slowly dribbled a little into her hand and on her shoulders. We want her to grow up with a healthy fear of water, but also knowing that it can be incredibly fun to swim. Part of this is teaching both sides early on, we balance all of our safety equipment with fun and giggles!

Did I miss any other must-haves for your first time bringing the baby to the pool?

What do you pack when you’re taking your baby out?

Nine months?!? Where has the time gone?

My sweet baby girl is nine months old. She’s closer to nine and a half months, actually, I’ve been slow to post these. I look back on these and cannot believe how much she has GROWN! I mean, she was 7 pounds when she was born, she’s almost 20 pounds now! It’s crazy to think that she’s babbling, army crawling, and showing us her sweet personality already. She’s going to be a little mover and a shaker, I’m sure of it. I’m not even sure she’s going to fit on to the blankets in another three months. She’s getting too darn long.

In case you’re curious, I made all of these pics using the Baby Pics app. I highly recommend it. I even splurged and bought the full app. It’s the best $5 I’ve spent in a long time. My mom knitted the cream colored blanket and cross-stitched the ‘Twinkle twinkle’ blanket. My mom is super talented at knitting and cross stitch. I’ve never had the patience for either of them, but I’m so glad Maddie has a grandma who is into all of those things. Maybe Madison will end up with more patience than me and enjoy projects like that. I’d prefer to take the pictures and bake.

Do you like one picture best? Let me know which one! I have my favorite, but I’m not telling!

Our plagiocephaly journey: Reflections on the helmet

Plagiocephaly helmet reflectionsWhen we first started the plagiocephaly helmet it was difficult for us. I tried to decorate it and make it feel more ‘girly’ but honestly, it was not something I really wanted. Now that it’s been one month since the munchkin graduated from her plagiocephaly helmet it’s much easier to look back on and say it was worth it. This past month has given me plenty of time to reflect on how our plagiocephaly went. Here are my thoughts:

  1. The helmet is only half of what you need. The other half is a really good orthopedic specialist who understands plagiocephaly and how to fix a baby’s flat head. There is a limited amount of time for this to occur, so someone who wants to ‘wait and see’ may wait too long and then there won’t be anything you can do to fix it. We were very lucky to have a wonderful doctor who explained everything to us and what he was doing to make sure the helmet was fitted properly and her head grew appropriately.
  2. It was worth it. Yes, the 5 hour round trip drives for a thirty minute appointment seems outrageous, but I feel like it’s better to spend the time now rather than have a child who may never have a round head. Our specialist even joked that the helmet cost more than his first car (mine too!) but we do crazy things for our children.
  3. It takes commitment. We kept the helmet on for about 22 out of every 24 hours. It’s supposed to be on for 23 hours every day, but 22 hours fit our schedule better. I do not think it would have worked with much less than what we did. We occasionally took the helmet off for bathing, photos, and eating (who wants to clean spaghetti out of a helmet? Not me!), but other than that it stayed on. If you’re not going to be committed to keeping it on all the time don’t bother.
  4. I do not miss taking it off and putting it back on. I was terrible at this. My husband was much better at it than me. I’m guessing it feels similar to someone putting a motorcycle helmet on you. Not terrible, but certainly not super comfortable. It did not help that it made me feel super guilty all the time.
  5. It brought my husband and myself closer together. It was one of the first major decisions we made regarding our daughter and we supported each other in doing it. I cannot imagine doing this without my rock next to me. The fact that we both agreed upon this decision and lived through it together is something I am so glad to have done, even if it wasn’t the funnest at times.
  6. I will do anything for my daughter. She has me wrapped around her little finger. She smiles at me and I love it. She needs a helmet and I’ll buy it. I know I’ll tell her no a lot in the future, but this was something I was more than happy to say yes to. I mean, look at that face!

Madison without her plagiocephaly helmet. After treatment was complete.

 

 

Baby’s first trip to the zoo

It’s not often we have absolutely nothing to do over a weekend. Typically, our weekends are filled with catching up at work, going to events, seeing family or friends, cleaning, and trying to do a bazillion loads of laundry. This weekend was a different story. I managed to both clean and do a majority of the laundry throughout the week. Once Saturday hit, we really had no plans. We haven’t had that happen in so long that we honestly didn’t know what to do. So I suggested we take Madison to her first zoo trip. I cannot wait to continue to add more ‘firsts’ as Maddie grows and we watch her experience more of what life has to offer.

The zoo in Dodge City, Kansas is not a big one. You could probably manage to walk through the entire thing in 15-20 minutes, however, it’s hours of entertainment for a little kid. We anticipated being there for 30 minutes or so with a baby. I was hoping she’d be intrigued at the animals. Our first stop was to see the goats. Sometimes I laugh at what animals you can find at smaller zoos. I’ve seen a deer in a zoo in Emporia, Kansas before and I remembered thinking you didn’t need to be in a zoo to see a deer, they are all over the side of the road while you’re driving. But, I guess they’re the cool thing in small town zoos. I had the same thought about this goat. Goats are very common in the city and on farms around the town, but they’re in the zoo, too. I’m not sure Madison knew what to think of this goat. She stared at it, but did not want to get too close.

plagiocephaly baby first trip to zoo with daddy

We continued to walk around the zoo and showed her a bear, cougar, wolves, raccoon (weird animal to have in a zoo) and a buffalo. She showed absolutely no interest in any of them. She mostly looked confused every time we stopped. Almost as if she was wondering why our walk was taking so long. I did manage to snap a few selfies of us as a family on our first zoo trip together. I know it seems small, but I cannot wait until she’s old enough to truly have fun at the zoo. I have great memories of my parents taking my sister and me to the zoo when we were younger and I want Maddie to have the same memories as she grows.

When we got home we decided to make some vegetarian spaghetti. We often experiment with our sauces and put in extra ingredients to see if we like it better than the canned version. This time it didn’t turn out so well. We opted for a garden veggie Ragu and added in olives, balsamic vinegar and spinach. My husband really like it; to me it was okay, but nothing better than okay. Maddie didn’t know what to think. We’ve never let her feed herself before, but she enjoyed the experience. I knew it was going to make a mess, but since we really had no other plans I didn’t mind the extra laundry or giving baby a bath that night. She sure had fun. It’s the longest she’s ever sat in her high chair without getting fussy. When she smiles it makes us smile. She may drive me crazy sometimes, but I love our little munchkin and watching her experience new things is one of my greatest joys.

What things have you watched your child do for the first time?

Do you have great memories of the zoo with your family?

Easter and Spring Biscotti

When I was in college I took tons of photos of everything. Photos of scenery around the Savannah, GA area, photos of my family, photos of my friends, photos of random things I thought were neat or interesting. I’d go home, download the photos from my camera, save them to a CD (gotta love the early 2000’s) and never print them. I was notorious for not printing photos; I just didn’t see the point. Then Facebook and cell phone cameras came along and I took the photos and I posted them ALL online. I have Facebook albums, Flickr accounts, everything went online. I didn’t sort any of them, I just posted them online.

Then I got married and I slowly starting taking fewer and fewer photos. Instead of taking photos I wanted to enjoy the moments in real time with my husband. Do we have photos of what we’ve done? Absolutely! Do I walk by things and think it would be a great picture, but don’t whip out a camera to take one now? Yep, sure do. Do I delete pictures because either myself or my husband feel we don’t look very good in it? All the time.

Within the past year of having a baby I’ve begun taking more photos again. I don’t always print them, but I have actually been printing and putting them in an album. As of right now, it’s even up-to-date (gasp!). This is adulting done right. My new favorite thing to do once I’ve taken photos is to use a photo editor to update them. I’m currently obsessed with one called Baby Pics. It has so many options for typefaces, artwork, and filters. I love them all and can hardly decide which one looks better. Plus – having a cute little munchkin who looks adorable no matter what really helps, too.

With Easter being this weekend I set up a mini-photo shoot for our nearly eight month old. She really only has like a five minute attention span for photos, so I got everything ready, plopped her down in the set, and had my husband try to entertain her while I snapped some photos. I think they all turned out really well. My husband grabbed a few side shots of her smiling while I was trying to make her giggle. Isn’t she just the cutest? And I LOVE LOVE LOVE these filters. And the artwork with the bunny ears? If that isn’t adorable I don’t know what it. No – Baby Pics App is not sponsoring this post I just really enjoy it and wanted to share.

Which one of the photos is your favorite? I’m still deciding which ones to print and would love advice!

 

Once I finished taking photos I felt like baking. Easter to me is the perfect time to bake spring treats. It was a beautiful sunny day the day before Easter for us, but by Sunday it was chilly, gray, and rainy all day. To me, it was the perfect weekend, it gave us a wonderful day outside followed by a family day inside. What better way to enjoy a family day than by baking spring biscottis and enjoying it with some hot chocolate, snuggles, and watching (or teething on) Rogue One (yes, I took the dvd out before I gave it to her). I made the joke that if you are what you eat then my baby is a Jedi.

Maddie Rogue One baby

Anyways, I made spring biscotti by slightly altering my chocolate almond biscotti recipe. I absolutely love funfetti everything, so adding sprinkles made it so much more springy, and added a little joy to the top of the biscotti. Who doesn’t love sprinkles? Sprinkles are the baking equivalent of glitter. Some people love them, some hate them, I can’t get enough of either. Sparkles and sprinkles are my peeps. These came out deliciously ready for eating.

INGREDIENTS
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 tbsp cold butter
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs, lightly beaten

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combine sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Stir until combined.
  3. Add butter and vanilla. Stir until well combined. I did use my food processor this time and it worked like a charm.
  4. Add chocolate chips, sprinkles, and eggs. Mix until the entire dough is in one big ball. I had to use my hands to mix it correctly.
  5. Divide dough into two smaller balls and form into logs.
  6. Place two logs side by side on baking sheet. Sprinkle on extra sprinkles 🙂
  7. Flatten logs into the shape you want your biscotti to be in.
  8. Bake for 25 minutes and then remove for oven.
  9. Let biscotti cool for 5-10 minutes. You need the dough cool, but warm enough to not crumble when cut.
  10. Turn slices on side and return to oven for about 10 minutes. I prefer a harder biscotti so I left it in for 15 minutes.
  11. Remove when edges are barely browned.
  12. Let cool and enjoy.

Nutritional Information (1/13th of recipe): 178 calories, 4g protein, 27g carbs, 2g fiber, 12g sugar

birthday cake biscotti

Surviving the first baby illness

This past week our baby girl, Madison, got her for ear infection and it was a doozy. After arriving back from Colorado on Sunday evening we noticed her pulling on one ear. By the time I made it to the doctor for an appointment on Monday morning she had begun pulling on the other ear, too. The doctor confirmed my suspicions – she had a DOUBLE ear infection from the change in pressure between Colorado and Kansas. We were given medicine and told to take 4mL twice a day. The pharmacist questioned the amount the doctor prescribed, but the doctor said it would be fine. We were told make sure she takes it with food, because it will cause stomach issues. Boy were they right.

Fast forward to one hour after giving her the medicine and she threw up all over the carpet. My poor baby had never vomited that much, but we cleaned it up and put her to bed. She seemed fine the next morning after we gave her more meds, so we took her to daycare and went through the work day. When I went to pick her up after work the daycare said she had just finished cleaning up vomit. I felt bad, but was hoping that would be it. Nope, she wasn’t done yet. She continued to throw up all night and started diarrhea at the same time. Isn’t parenting fun, right?

By the next morning the poor tired kiddo hadn’t eaten or drank very much, so we went back to the doctor. She prescribed a much lower dosage of a different medication. This time she only needed 2mL once a day. I started to wonder if maybe the dosage of the first medication was the main issue. The doctor told me Maddie probably had gastroenteritis (i.e. a stomach virus), however, after one day of this all signs of vomiting and diarrhea ceased leading me to believe the first medication was the issue, not a stomach bug. Either way, the illness left me with a lot of firsts. First trip to the doctor for a sick baby. First time cleaning up baby vomit. First time doing multiple loads of laundry between the hours of midnight and 3am. First time wondering/googling symptoms of baby dehydration. First time wondering how such a tiny baby can have so much poop in her body. And first time feeling as though I deserve an award for surviving.

Yes, I’m a millennial and I admit it. I want an award for surviving all of those firsts. So, I made myself one. Maybe you need this award this week, too. Or maybe you’ve already survived all of these firsts and know what the feeling is like. No matter what happens I know I can face it. We’ve all got this motherhood thing down even when baby gets sick.

Anyone else helping their sick kiddo this week?