Big Day for a Little Guy (And Something Else I’m Working On)

Baby Brother is rounding the corner to his half birthday, and in this house, that means he is able to start having some “solid” foods.

**I say “solids” because, let’s be real:  there is nothing solid about baby food.**

At about 2.5 times his birth weight, this guy has been better at gaining weight than his sisters were.  And at 5 1/2 months he was already sitting well unassisted.  Over the past couple of days, I offered him an empty spoon to see what he would do with it.

Of course he put it directly into his mouth.

Homeboy doesn’t play.

So this morning, just eleven days short of his sixth month, our little guy enjoyed some mashed avocado.

It’s too soon to tell whether he enjoyed it or not.  It seems each of our babies has made a face of disgust when tasting food other than breastmilk for the first time.

Starting solid foods brings a whole host of new things into the job of caring for baby:

  1.  You always have to make sure you have baby food on hand.  I have made all my babies’ foods except for the odd squeeze packet bought on a road trip here and there.  I intend to continue this trend by making and storing all of our own baby foods for Baby Brother.  This morning the girls helped me prep three different kinds of puree, and in addition to these I always have bananas and avocados on hand for easy mashed baby food.  I find once I get in the hang of making baby food, the process goes quickly, and I make purees in large enough batches that I have at least 10-20 1 Tbsp servings to put in the freezer.
  2. Babies who get solid foods need water.  This is pretty simple to take care of.  I had to grab a couple boy-colored sippy cups for Baby Brother.  Not that he couldn’t use the pink ones I had from the girls, but they had already been used for two kids.  The plastic spouts tend to wear from use, and if I’m buying new ones anyway, Little Guy can get blue.
  3. Solid foods in, solid poops out.  Now, this doesn’t happen immediately.  Thank.  Goodness.  But once solids become an established part of Little Guy’s diet in a few weeks, I will no longer be able to just toss his whole cloth diaper in the wash any longer.  I’ll have to actually put solid waste in the toilet, then put the diapers in their bin.  It’s not that painful of a process, but it does take an extra step.  An extra messstep.
  4. More laundry.  Is that even possible?  I’ll be washing more bibs, more of Little Guy’s clothes, more of my own clothes, plus a few more cloths that I use to wipe up spills.  It doesn’t sound like much, but in the course of a week, it can really add up.  I would say I am adding an extra load of laundry per week when I have a a baby eating baby foods.

Regardless of the extra work, introducing a baby to foods for the first time can be so exciting.  I’m thrilled to be doing this all over again, and I can’t wait to find out Baby Brother’s tastes.

In other, almost related news.  I have been working on a new project.  I am creating a downloadable menu plan that is both healthy (think whole foods) and inexpensive (about $50/week depending on how big your appetites are).  Having lived on one income for the vast majority of our marriage, our family is very accustomed to stretching a dollar in the grocery budget.  I have learned a few tricks along the way that I’d like to share about how to eat healthfully without breaking the bank.  Stay tuned for this menu plan to be available within the next two weeks!

Still Just a Momma of Two..

Hey there readers. I bring you some good news today: we have no food waste to report.  We have really had a good few weeks as far as good waste goes; I’m not sure if that has more to do with us using better strategies or us eating more food (ok, me eating more food) as the arrival of our youngest approaches.
In other positive news: both Beard and I are tackling our Christmas list head on. Since he spends more time on the internet than I do, Beard is taking care of the online shopping. I am so grateful to him for this since I get very distracted shopping online.
I, on the other hand, have started to tackle the kids on our list at a local children’s consignment shop. I find some awesome toys and adorable clothes for great deals there! It makes our Christmas budget go further.
(Of course I made sure with the parents involved that second hand gifts are acceptable.)
But my final piece of news today is frustrating: I am still pregnant. Despite contractions and regular doses of evening primrose oil, we have no second child in our arms yet. Only two weeks and two days left!

Thankful Afternoon

This week we had our ultrasound for Numero Dos (our affectionate nickname for our second baby still in utero).  When I say ultrasound I mean the ultrasound.  The 20-24 week ultrasound that can determine basic baby anatomy and, if you so choose to find out, the gender of your darling bundle of joy.

Our little bundle of joy is healthy and doing well and is, thankfully, still human.  We asked not to learn the gender of our new addition, and although I had mistakenly thought the baby’s kidneys were testes, we still are in the dark.

We had been through this ultrasound before with Bitsy Girl: first they scan the whole body, check the spine and extremities, then they move in to check internal organs.  Beard was in the room with me, trying to contain our squirming 13 month old daughter and still pay attention to the last glimpse of our second child we would probably get before he/she is born.

I will be honest it felt very routine, and I didn’t notice anything different.  That is until the ultrasound technician excused herself to get the midwife.  What seemed like 15 minutes later both the tech and the midwife returned to tell us that they found an anomaly on our baby’s ultrasound.  He/she has a normal left arm until about where the wrist would be, then there is nothing after that.  No wrist, no hand.

The ultrasound technician looked for other abnormalities that usually present themselves alongside this one like club foot or cleft palette.  Nothing else seemed wrong or out of place.

Of course that first day both Beard and I were in shock.  Our baby would have only one hand; he or she would be handicapped.  If we were honest, we both had to mourn the loss of this little baby’s hand.

Why?

Because we never want our child to have to mourn the loss of their hand.  We want them to live a full life and do whatever it is they want to do, regardless of their perceived handicap.  As Beard so aptly put it:  We don’t want to be the parents that look at their own child with pity in our eyes.  We want to look at all of our children with love and the knowledge of the great amount of potential they have.

It’s clear to both of us that God has some special plans for our little girl or guy growing in my belly.  Neither of us could venture a guess of what it might be, but we are both anticipating the day our child discovers what it is God has in store for him or her.  We hope he or she will do great things with what they’ve been given, just like Bitsy Girl and any other children we may have.

All of that being said, this afternoon I am thankful for several things I wanted to share:

  • Modern Technology:  which has allowed us to learn this thing about our unborn child and to prepare for it before he or she is even born.  We hope that by learning this early we will better be able to parent this child normally.
  • The Health of My Family:  this baby is perfectly healthy, and all of his or her organs are functioning.  Later that day Bitsy Girl had her 12 month check-up, and she is not only happy and personable, but healthy and growing well.  Beard has been fighting a cold, but generally is healthy and able to go to work everyday to provide.  And I have easy pregnancies (I know I’m making some of you very angry); other than being tired I generally have been feeling well enough to keep up with household duties in addition to chasing after the Bitsy Girl
  • A Sweet Beard:  Yes, sometimes I call my husband Sweet Beard.  In public.  But that’s because he is.  He keeps me level-headed when I need to be, and makes me take breaks when I don’t think I need them.  And he will always be my partner in life (and in crime ;-D ).
  • A Faithful and Forgiving God:  Without whom I would still be swimming in grief and guilt over such a small issue.

 

Thank you all for reading.  Until next time..

 

Beach Babes

For Memorial Day weekend Beard and I took Bitsy Girl to the nearest beach.  We had taken her to the Outer Banks last summer, but she was only about 8 weeks old and really couldn’t absorb what was going on around her.  This time we chose Smith Mountain Lake, a fairly local man made lake with tons of shoreline.  The Smith Mountain Lake State Park has a nice little beach, and since Beard never works Tuesdays, we thought that would be the best day to avoid crowds and help our little Girly enjoy the sand, sun and water.

Here are some highlights:

All ready to go, but hating me for making her wear hot pink flip flops.

Testing the sand.  Luckily the sand wasn’t too hot, otherwise I never would’ve gotten her to touch it.

Daddy is protecting her from the gross wet sand, but she’s loving the water.  I caught her mid-splash, actually.

She got pretty confident and wanted to stand on her own.  That’s my adventurous girly. 🙂

At the end of the day she was all smiles.  I think it was a good first experience at the beach for the little Bits.

While packing to take a baby to the beach for the very first time I had lots of things running through my head.  I’m a first time mom, remember.  I had visions of my daughter being carried away by an undertow (of which there aren’t any at this particular body of water) or her eating fistfuls of sand and ingesting some nasty garbage along with it.  I wanted to have everything we would need.

At the same time, I have minimalist tendancies, and I want to really only carry what I would find absolutely necessary.

So for those of you taking a trip to the beach soon with an infant or toddler, I’ve come up with a few things that really are essential to everyone having a good time:

  1. Sunblock.  I really like Coppertone, and I would never use less than SPF 50 on Bitsy Girl.  She is not a particularly pale baby by any means, but I don’t think I could live with myself if I let her get a sunburn.  While we’re talking about sunblock, might I remind you that proper sun protection includes a hat, some sweet shades, and maybe even a sun cover-up (big T-shirt).  I always bring a hat for the Bits, and if you have a more pale baby, a sun cover-up wouldn’t be a bad idea.
  2. Swim diapers.  If baby is going to be in the water at all, these work wonderfully.  They are a bit pricey, but they are most definitely worth the extra cash.  They don’t get puffy and soggy, and they hold in urine very well.  My friends tell me they don’t do a great job with solid wastes, but I have no personal experience to back that up.  We used Huggies Little Swimmers because that’s what our local grocery store carries.  I was amused by the little Minnie Mouse cartoons on them, and they did their job just fine.
  3. First aid supplies.  If you are going out with a baby or child it is always a good idea to have some bandages, antibacterial cream, water, and maybe peroxide on hand.  Since we were going to a State Park with a visitor center 20 feet from the water, we omitted this from our packing list.
  4. “Toys”.  Why in quotations?  Because anything can be a toy.  I grabbed a few of Bitsy Girls non-plush, non-battery-operated toys, then a few plastic cups and food storage containers.  At her age, she likes to fill up and dump cups with all sorts of things, including sand.   Beach toys do not need to be expensive, large, cumbersome, or unitaskers.  They can be anything that can be cleaned off and you don’t mind getting a bit wet and sandy.
  5. Towels.  You don’t need a million, just one or two.  Usually if it’s warm enough to go swimming, it’s warm enough to sit comfortably outside while wet.  Baby won’t be catching a cold from being wet, so don’t be obsessive about drying every inch of her.
  6. Water and snacks.  As a family, we never, never, never buy food “when we get there”.  Not only is it not usually in our budget, but food at concession stands isn’t really known for its nutrient content.  Of course we bring some treats along, like Goldfish, but I like to know what it is we’re putting in our bodies.  I also like to bring plenty of water; you never know what the water tastes like when you get there, and I will not by bottle water for $3 each.

You may notice a few things missing from this list that you normally bring to the beach.  Swimmies or a flotation device, perhaps.  Although those can be nice to have, I would hardly classify them as necessary.  If you hold your child the entire time they are in the water (which is not difficult due to water’s great buoyancy), you won’t need a flotation device.  And, of course, I would suggest you always hold your baby or toddler at all times when in the ocean, even if they are wearing a flotation device.  Currents and undertows can carry away a small floating child much more quickly than you think.

That pretty much covers it, folks.  Some things you could pile into one duffel bag is all you need to take your favorite little person (or people) to the beach.  I hope this post helps you to breath, relax, and enjoy the fun in the sun with family and friends.

 

My New Best Friends

So now you have it, folks.  Your one and only Domesticated Physicist has a bun in her oven; she’s in the family way; she’s going to have a baby.  Again.

And do you know what that means?  Pregnancy brings with it a whole host of fun and exciting peripheral symptoms, but the one that plagues me by far the most is, uhh, lack of movement.  So far in two pregnancies I haven’t been super nauseous, haven’t really vomited much, nor have I had a lot of the nasty sounding first trimester symptoms some women get.  But oh boy do I see a significant decrease in my digestive action.

Now, I fancy myself an amateur nutritionist, so I’ve looked up and studied some of the guidelines for all the stages of a woman’s life.  One of those fun things that always pops up is fiber.  (For more on fiber, please see my nutrition series.)

During pregnancy, a woman needs an extra few grams of fiber.  And while she is nursing, she’ll need still a few more.  Well, what if you are in both stages?  Bitsy girl wouldn’t give up breastfeeding if she had to trade her left leg, so I have no intention of forcing her to stop just yet.

(For the record, she is not yet 12 months old, and her and I had a deal that she’d breastfeed for a year; I can’t go back on a deal with my firstborn, now can I?)

From what I’ve read and learned, it seems that in order to maintain any sort of digestive regularity I’m going to have to consume a lot of fiber.  And by a lot, I mean a lot.

So these have become my new best friends:

On the left is a generic brand Metamucil, orange flavor.  Yum!  And the baggy is filled with golden flax seeds.  I’ve been putting these suckers in nearly everything, much to my husband’s dismay.  He hates picking them out of his teeth.  But he tolerates it because he’d be much worse off if he had a cranky wife!

Just thought I’d share some fun tidbits from the life of the DP household.  Thanks for stopping by!

Lunches with Daddy

Beard has been working for a local university since January, and our family has enjoyed so many benefits from his employment there.  The pay is pretty good, the benefits aren’t bad at all, and he works three and four day weeks.  We feel like we’ve been blessed beyond belief with our situation.  The only thing that can be a struggle with Beard’s job is the long work days.  He works 12 hour days (day shift, thankfully), and that can be not only stressful and tiring for him but for all of us.  As a tiny person, our Bitsy Girl usually doesn’t wake up before her daddy leaves at 6:30 in the morning, and often she is in bed before he gets home around 7:40 in the evening.

(Before you realize what I’ve just typed, know that I do acknowledge how ridiculously lucky we are that our baby girl will sleep a solid 12 hours at night; don’t be too jealous, but she gives us two solid naps lasting longer than an hour each day, as well.)

It may not seem like a big deal, but to Beard, who used to play Mr. Mom while I was working, not seeing our Bitsy Girl awake for three or four days at a time is rough.  In order to remedy this situation, we’ve come up with a fun solution:  lunch with Daddy.  Since Saturdays are usually the slowest days at Beard’s job, he is able to take a little bit of a longer lunch.  The Bits and I will either meet him in his office or somewhere out and about in town to just hang out, have fun, and spend time as a family.  I know Beard appreciates it, and I know Bitsy loves seeing her DaddyBeard.  I love watching them together; there really is nothing sexier than a man who is a confident and loving father. 😉

This past weekend we ran off to a park to enjoy some beautiful weather, and I just wanted to share a few pictures from our lunch.

Yes, they scream together.  It is pretty amusing.

Sometimes I have to remind myself that daddies play with babies differently than mommies do.

My daughter is a bit of a thrill seeker.  She’s about 6 3/4 feet in the air here (5 1/2 feet for Beard, plus another foot or so for the length of arm above his head).

Examining the park bench for creatures.

“Hey, Momma, what are you looking at??”

Thanks for letting me share.  Our little Bits always puts a smile on our faces, and we hope she puts a smile on yours!