Saturday, October 27, 2012

Growing and Changing

On one hand, I feel like I have a ton to say about how Benjamin is doing, on the other, his 10 month birthday is only days away and I am going to use all my good material here. But, its more important than it get recorded than me having a cool 10m post, so here it goes.

It is just incredible how fast he changes! A lot of it is in ways that are hard to describe. More perceptive. More interactive. More interested. More engaged.

He has learned to point. I think really just within the last 24 hours or so. He does it all the time now. Things he wants. Things he wants to know about. Things that are interesting.

He tries to say words. I think he tries to say Kitty. It comes out "gi". He has the Mama and dada sounds down, but we have yet to confirm if he is applying them to us. His auntie K thinks that he was trying to repeat after her when she was saying "thank you" repetitively the other night.

Actually the Thank You game is something else I wanted to note! A week ago (Sunday) we had dinner at my parents and Auntie K was playing with him. She gave him her pink rubber bracelet (like a Livestrong bracelet), and then asked for it back. When he put it back in her open hands, she said "Thank YoU!!" very animatedly and then handed it back to him and said "Thank You" when he took it. They did this for a good 15 minutes, him babbling the whole time. It was pretty cute. Well, since then he wants to hand you EVERYTHING. Toys, bits he finds on the floor, his dinner. You name it, he wants to play the Thank You game with it!

He can stand for a whole 10 "holy craps" (about 10 seconds) now. That is the record at least. He climbs stairs like a pro... but tends to totally throw himself off the top. Tonight he did it once and DH was not paying attention and he really fell and bumped his head. No permanent damage, and maybe that will give him a clue to not do that anymore. He wants to walk pretty badly. We had his little friend over here today who is turning 1 tomorrow, and he was walking all over. Benjamin was trying to imitate big time. Benjamin has also taken to climbing the dog (using her fur to pull up, she is such a good dog!), and trying to tackle the cats. About two nights ago was his first full out tackle attempt on our big gray cat Gandalf. Benjamin totally "wrapped him up" so to speak, hahaha! It was crazy how he just through himself! Benjamin has tried a couple more times without any more success, now that Gandalf knows what is going to happen. Gandalf is also a very good cog (dog-like cat), who puts up with the baby quite well.

We went out to dinner tonight. I realized we have not been in a restaurant since AT LEAST early September... and it might actually have been August. It was a while. Last time we went to a restaurant Benjamin's solids were still somewhat tentative, where as now they are well entrenched. We had a ball at the restaurant tonight!! Benjamin was cheerful and playful. When the food came, he ate well and did not make a mess (ok. Not to much of a mess). He had bits from everyone - burger, bun, bacon, fry, sweet potato fry, celery, peas, carrot, and a pickle. He took awhile to eat, but he did not throw anything really. He dropped the celery om accident, and started to drop some burger pieces at the end (playing) but DH stopped him. And then he signed "all done" which we have been working on, I took him to the bathroom and washed his hands, and he was cheerful while we got ready to leave. It was really great!

Sleep. His sleep has been better. Of the past 10 nights, 7 of them have been good. One of those 7 was great. We have not intentionally changed anything really, except implementing the dual wielding method. We are probably in a lull between teething and growthspurts etc, but I can hope it will stick, can't I? "Dual Wielding" is a video game term when your character is capable of holding two weapons, one in each hand .Well, we have taken to giving Benjamin two pacifiers when we put him to sleep - one in his mouth, one in his hand. He occasionally, sleepily, trades them. It works really well for putting him down. In the past, sometimes when you laid him down already asleep he would fuss, roll over and sit up. If you hand him the second pacifier just when you put him down, he does not fuss, or roll over, or sit up. He stays asleep, or goes back to sleep. It works great for putting him back to sleep when he wakes up. Sometimes he finds the second pacifier on his own, other times he does sit up or fuss, but if you go and give him the second pacifier and lay him back down he goes back to sleep. We have even used it to put him to sleep a couple of times, laying in bed with him and letting him dual wield until he drifts off. I was hoping to wean him off the pacifier at a year, but I am pretty sure it is more important to us to get his sleep habits good first, so I have a feeling that deadline will get pushed out a bit. haha.

Benjamin's day care sent home two paintings he did in the past couple of weeks. We have a plate rail all the way around our dining room, so I bought some cheap frames and stuck them up there. I figure we can trade out art pieces in the frame as he makes more, and save the old ones somewhere else not on display. Anyways, whenever you are holding Benjamin walking through the Dining Room now he sees the paintings and he reaches for them. If you take one down he wants to touch it all over. I think he remembers that he made them/they are his, or maybe things he will be able to paint more. I want to try painting with him at home since he seems to like it so much. I intend to carve pumpkin with him sometime in the next couple of days.... but there are so many things I intend to do and I am running out of time!! Oh dear.

I think that is all. He is just amazing to us, and we love him very much!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

High and .. (Low?)

My message board does a thing every Sunday night/Monday morning, where we report what the high and low of our weekend was. It is often at this time that I realize how good (or how bad) my weekend was. This weekend was a big time winner!! I could not choose a high, because we did so many fun things, and I struggled to come up with a low. Here is my weekend: 

Friday Night: We went out to my parents house for Pizza with them and my little sis. Pizza was good. Company was good. Benjamin ate well, played well, and went to sleep on the car ride home. He slept decently for him! (meaning up every 2-3 hrs to eat, and not hard to put down). (I know I should night wean... but for now if nursing at night means not fighting to put him down, I am gonna do it!)

Swimming Lesson - We went to Benjamin's 5th swim lesson. He did not get grumpy during it as he sometimes does. We floated on a kick board. We floated on a noodle. We splashed a little. We back floated. We went underwater twice. Benjamin loves the pool version of "wheels on the bus", it always makes him smile. 
Boo at the Zoo - We stuck his shark costume on Benjamin and headed for the zoo. He got to "trick or treat" a little. He was pretty ambivalent about a lot of it, but the whole trip was worth it based on his reaction to the Lion and then the Tiger. The tiger was pacing and came really close to the glass for him. It was cool and he was fascinated. He also enjoyed the chocolate I gave him on the walk back to our car!!
OSU Football  - We got back from the zoo just in time to see OSU make a great comeback to beat Purdue! Go Buckeyes!
Nap: DH said he wanted to take a family nap. I said it was up to Benjamin. Benjamin agreed with the idea and we all slept away the afternoon.
Dinner and a Movie: We went to the grocery store as a family and got dinner and rented a movie. Benjamin was a lot of fun to play with in the evening and went to bed at his normal time so DH and I could watch Dark Shadows, which was weird but entertaining. Benjamin, once again, slept decently. 

A Stroll: Benjamin slept in until almost 8, so we all got up together as a family instead of me sleeping in after them. We went for a really long morning walk with the dog. (We were going to try and get donuts, but as DH predicted, the local bakery was closed), but it was such a nice walk, and Benjamin was super talkative during it. 
Breakfast: When we got back to the house, after a quick grocery run, I made scrambled omelet for us and we ate breakfast as a family, then had a fun play time. Benjamin was really into reading a book, gave it a lot of attention. It is a $1 Crayola book about colors. It just is a board book with pictures on each page of things of a certain color. He kept flipping between the "green" page and the cover, and I eventually realized he was recognizing that the same picture was in both places (a frog). It was so cool!
Sister Sister: My little sister came over and we enjoyed some time planning next weeks Halloween party. Mainly menu, because we are food obsessed!
Football: We watched the Vikings game. Benjamin enjoyed our Touchdown dance. Then Benjamin decided to climb the stairs and it was adorable. He is getting big! 
Trail Ride: I headed out to my parents house before the game ended to ride with my mom. It was a lot of fun!
Family Time: When the ride was over my family started showing up - DH brought Bry guy, my brother and his wife, and my BIL all arrived. We enjoyed watching Benjamin walk around pushing a train my mom dragged out, crawl around, climb on stuff. We ate yummy brats and tasty apple cake, and just generally enjoyed each others company! Benjamin fell asleep on the way home and transitioned easily into his crib, where he is sleeping now. 

See? Pretty good weekend. I struggled to come up with a low. The first possible low I thought up was "no productivity"... we did nothing productive in terms of house work or unpacking etc. However, I think the weekend was still well spent. Then I remembered the real low. We (probably me...) left the freezer door open overnight Saturday to Sunday. We had to throw out a lot of food and about a 1/3 of my breast milk stash. Sad :( 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

To Do, To Do

Sometimes we get in a good groove of getting needed daily and weekly activities done. Other times we fail at them miserably. We are not naturally clean or organized people! Lately we have been out of the daily groove. We have fallen out of the habit of spending a bit of time cleaning up each night, vacuuming frequently, keeping up with laundry, packing lunches, getting groceries every Sunday, etc. Oh dearie me, it can feel like so much!How to get back on track?

Additionally, I must admit that not only are we not done unpacking, but that all progress that direction has stopped entirely, and in fact my husband even admitted defeat, telling a friend we don't see often that we were "as settled as we will get". I don't like that mind set at all! We have boxes that need unpacked still, and loads of projects, large and small, before I will consider us settled. I have flirted with having a house warming, but I don't feel like we have the house ready! Maybe we will wait and have a "one year anniversary" party next summer instead... we will see. How to get back on track and making progress?

Good question.

I have tried to "get organized" so many times. It was a massively failed New Years resolution a couple of years ago, plus an ongoing attempt without strict goals. The failed attempts have taught me one thing. Getting organized is an ongoing, drawn out, and very slow process. It cannot happen overnight. If you do manage to get organized quickly, you will likely fail at staying organized, which is the real challenge. You have to change habits, try and fail, take three steps forward and two steps back. I am not organized, but I am more organized than I was 6 months ago, so there is progress. So, two keys I guess. Baby steps and perseverance.

This week, we got a white board to keep on the fridge and list "to buy" type things on. Next time I am making a shopping trip I can actually know what we need instead of saying "I know there were a few items..." and then forgetting at least half of them. Its a small step, but its a step forward. Another small step - while my house is still quite cluttered, I have managed to make space and keep clear enough of the "banquet" in our Dining Room to display a beautiful quilted fall decoration my MIL gave me in September, and accent it with mini gourds that were also a gift. Small steps.

As for perseverance, that is the part where, despite the fact the past two weeks have been a wash, and we are out of all of our good habits, that we are going to regroup and go again starting tomorrow. Try to get back in those good habits. Maybe they will stick this time. Maybe at least one will stick. If not, we can always try again.

The bigger projects - unpacking and getting the house settled, require more thought. Any ideas?

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Gone Red

So... it has been on my 30x30 list, and it was under the section "because I have been meaning to".... so I finally dyed my hair red. We had some sister bonding time last weekend and did it. It turned out OK, but because of the type of dye I used, it did not turn out like I wanted. It was extremely uneven - dark read at the top, orange red at the tips, and hardly red at all on the back/underneath part. See below. Also, see a boy and his spoon (that wooden spoon is his favorite toy these days!!)

So I knew I wanted to re-dye it with a better dye to even it out and hopefully get a shade I liked throughout. Today my little sis came over again and we dyed it again and I am much happier with the results! Here they are:

I will probably only wear it like this for 4-6 weeks, depending on what happens, then I will probably dye it back to brown. I am too lazy to keep up with dyeing it when the roots show! Guess I can check it off my list finally!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Work from Home

There is a program at my work where you can work from home one day a week.  I was finally approved to start it this week. (They had to document that I could meet all of my productivity and quality standards). Today was my first day working from home (I was lucky to be assigned Friday!) The conclusion, as I suspected, is it pretty much rocks!

Great things about working from home:
- I can greatly shorten my morning routine, because I am not leaving the house all day. (No packing lunch, no packing pumping stuff, etc etc etc)
- Therefore I can sleep in a bit
- No commute. I do still take Benjamin to daycare, but its only a couple blocks (if it was not getting cold I could/would walk him there!)
- Even with the sleeping in a bit and such, I have time to make myself a nice breakfast and clean the kitchen up a bit before I need to log in at 8am.
- No Workplace Drama! - When frustrating things happen they don't seem as bad from across the internet.
- I can play my music etc outloud instead of wearing headphones.
- I have a window "office" with a wonderful view of colorful leaves and natural light.
- I can pump while I work, so I don't have to use an altered break schedule like I do in the office. Meaning...
- I get a real lunch!!
- I can walk the dog at lunch!
- I can eat whatever suits me at lunch without spending extra money.
- I can keep the laundry running on my breaks.
- The pets are happy to have me around, even though I don't pay them attention.
- I am JUST as productive as in the office, so my employer is getting what they deserve still!!

Despite all of these pluses, I don't think I would want to do this full time! I like the social aspect of the office and it is easier to communicate with coworkers in person. In an ideal world, I could get some sort of half and half schedule, like three days from home, two in the office. This is not going to happen, but I will continue to cherish my one day working from home. It will get even better as I get my home work environment more settled. I will have Fridays working from home through December, then in January it will switch to Mondays, then in March to Tuesdays, etc.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

9 Months Old!!

I pulled up the 8 month post to see what was different from a month ago... Looking at the pictures, I cannot believe how long ago that photo shoot seems!! It is definitely too cool now for an outdoor photo shoot (at least without jackets!!)

We celebrated Benjamin's 9 month birthday with a family get together at my parents house. Pizza party! For dessert, a delicious Pumpkin Bread Pudding. Benjamin was kinda moody, he was cutting a tooth, so it was hard to get a good picture. But this is what we did get!!

Food: It is probably obvious from above, solids are going well! His favorite food is already Pizza... that might make us bad parents!! We hardly think about how we give him his food any more (like what size the pieces are or anything), because he manages it. He has the chewing thing down, even without grinding teeth! He also likes chicken. He loved Autumn Shepards Pie and my Mom's beef stew. And, of course, he likes pumpkin bread pudding and pretty much anything sweet!! Sometimes he does reduce breast milk because he has eaten solids well. He is eating less breast milk at daycare as well. It is nerve wracking thinking about letting my supply diminish, but that is just how it works!!

Mobility He crawls very fast. He pulls up. He stands (as shown in my last post). I am sure it will be standing a lot and walking soon enough. but not quite yet. He has not shown any interest in the stairs, despite successfully climbing them (2 steps) shortly after starting crawling.

Play: He has way more concentration. He plays with toys more like toys, and he listens more when you read books. I consider "Moo, Baa, La La La" to be his favorite. He loves the way I make the animal noises. Yesterday he was playing peekaboo, where he was going behind the bathroom door, and then coming back out to surprise us. Adorable! He would crawl behind it, then we would say "where is Benjamin? Where did he go?" then he would come back out laughing his head out and we would exclaim "There's Benjamin!!!" It was so fun! He rolls his trucks all over the place. He loves the wooden spoon we keep in his play box. He hits the floor with it, or chews on it, or hits an overturned bowl with it. He goes after the dog water bowl and laughs with delight when we chase him down and pick him up. He likes to chase the cats, the black one, Nox, does not run (she plays possum, not so affective). My older sis gave him a tennis ball, and we roll that around with him. We also have an acorn squash in his toy box.... he likes to lift it up! Build those little muscles!

Speech: He continues to pick up sounds. He babbles a lot more now when he is playing. We noticed though that he "talks" the most when he is eating!!!

Sleep: No real consistent change. Some nights are better, some are worse. I have been using DHs help more often. I need to start night weaning, but it is easier said then done.

Health: He has actually been pretty healthy! KNOCK ON WOOD big time! (Especially since DH is sick today...). He does have eczema, as suggested a month ago. He now can only get 2 baths a week (and one of them is always Saturday after his swim lessons). We got a new lotion (Renew from Melaleuca) which seems to be really great, but he still acts like he has an itchy chest whenever you take his shirt off. Poor baby!! He had his 9m appointment today. He weights 20lbs 11 oz (60th percentile) and is 28.5 inches tall (50th percentile). Although... I am not so confident in their measurement for the height! He looked all turtle necked to me!! I would give him another half inch. LOL. His head is still big... 75th percentile!! He has three confirmed teeth  and I would not be surprised if its four after today, or by tomorrow morning. Over the weekend he cut the top left canine, and the right is coming soon after the left.

Other: As mentioned, he is in swim lessons! We have had four now, and have another three left. He likes them for the most part, though the timing is off because he always is ready for a nap and meal right when they end (which means he is sometimes grumpy). I swear, the first phrase he really understood and responded to months and months ago was "kick kick kick!!" in the bathtub, so that comes in handy in the pool! His eyes are really grey now! We will see if they keep going, three months until they are "set" (not that that is a hard and fast rule).  I think thats it.. though I reserve the right to post again when I have forgotten something.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


I owe you all a 9month update, but I am waiting until we get Benjamin's stats from the doctor on Tuesday.

In the meantime, he is starting to really stand on his own! Today he stood up for a whole six "holy crap!"s from DH. LOL. I tried to get a good picture of him standing - he was doing it in the middle of the room using DH to push up off of, but none of the pics are great. You can get the general idea though!! (the last one is not a standing pic, he is just cute!)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Yeah, More of me Waxing Poetically about the Seasons...

There are fall days that remind you summer is ending - tinged leaves, a crispness in the air, apple cider and bright sunshine. Then there are fall days that remind you that winter is coming. Today was the latter. Not just crisp, but actually cold, so that you wish you had remembered your gloves.  Very windy, leaves and dust blowing around. Flat, gray, and cloudy.

Driving home from work, my scenic overlook showed a lake covered in white caps, with water that was surprisingly blue given the cloud cover - the kind of blue that reminds you of why we use that color to denote cold.  Quite different from the mirror calm pastel lake from my previous posts!

I love the early days of fall, but I also love these days. They make me feel alive.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Little Boy

Today when I went to pick up Benjamin, I slipped into the door without announcing myself so I could watch him play for a minute or two. I have been doing this since it was mentioned at my parenting group last month. Usually it only takes him a minute or two to see me, because he is crawling around or pulling up - climbing, playing peekaboo with the caregiver, etc. Today, though, was different. Today when I walked in he was with two other babies, sitting around a box full of nesting blocks. He was concentrating so much on the blocks! I could see his little brain working, deciding what to do with them, putting them into the box, taking them out of the box, seeing what blocks the other two had. He was not looking up at all! I have noticed him concentrating more at home lately too, but with so much distraction (cats... us, lol), I had not seen this level of intensity. It was pretty cool! I did not want to interrupt him. But after several minutes I had to. I said "Hi Benjamin!" relatively quietly. He looked up. I thought he was going to get upset and want to keep playing. But no, despite his grown up concentrating, he is still Momma's little boy! After a second of realization, he totally dropped the blocks and made a bee-line for me, straight over the block bin!! It was adorable and heart-warming.

Somehow, when I was putting him in the car seat a few minutes later, he seemed so much more a little boy and less a baby - having seen him concentrate like that, the little gears turning, and seeing his conscious decision of what to do when I arrived. I am sure there have been many moments that I could have felt this, but today was when it struck me. My baby is still a baby, but he is rapidly headed towards little boy.