Monday, January 31, 2011

Favorite Foods

We have some new favorites at our house!

She didn't like bananas mashed or cut into little pieces, but she likes to take a bit off the banana like a big girl!  We hold it for her and she will take little bites off of it.  She usually eats half a banana, but she has been known to eat the whole thing!  She prefers them when they are super-ripe, like you would probably think to throw it out.  So if you have some older bananas, pass them our way!  Her Grancy says that a banan is a meal in itself.

She loves Cheerios!  We are trying to teach her to say Os, but no luck so far.  Mom made this darling little container for them with her name embroidered on it!

Greek yogurt with blueberry puree was about the only thing I could get her to really eat for a while.  She just fell in love with it. 

Sunday, January 30, 2011

What other moms think

Just a warning, this post sort of rambles and may be more for my own benefit. 

Last Sunday, we went to a class to learn about parenting an older baby.  I arranged for mom to come with us since she spends a lot of time with Sarah Graves and I wanted us to all be on the same page.  There were two other couples attending the class.  One family has an eighteen-month old boy and the other has an almost two-year old boy.  At one point during the class, the question was asked whether we had any tips we would share that helped us get our little ones to sleep.  I am always happy to share what I have read and learned along the way, so I volunteered information on how we sleep trained Sarah Graves.  Like me, mom was more than willing to share what we researched and learned.  The conversation that followed is still nagging at me over a week later. 

Clearly, I hit a nerve with my information because one mom immediately went to crying (I mean bawling, here) and the other mom quickly followed suit.  I could tell I had offended all of them by mentioning that we used the cry it out approach.  At first, I was embarrassed because I felt like I had done something wrong by using this method of parenting.  So, I tried to explain how we didn't arrive at that as our first approach and we tried many other ways, but they didn't seem to work.  I mentioned how she really has never cried for any period of time and she has certainly never been left for hours. 

These families use more of an attachment parenting approach so they co-sleep with their babies and don't believe in doing things like putting them in a crib in their own room.  I understand the idea of attachment parenting and I was willing to let Sarah Graves co-sleep, but there wasn't much sleep happening when she stayed in our bed.  As these families talked a bit about their kids it became obvious that co-sleeping isn't working so great for them either.  In fact, one mom described her son as punching and kicking her while he nurses during the night and that she sleeps for maybe four hours each night.  Maybe she doesn't mind functioning on sleep deprivation for months and months, but I couldn't have handled it.  Judging by her quick emotional outburst, she isn't doing it very well. 

So that makes me wonder, why did these people feel they could be so put off by my effort to help my child learn to put herself to sleep and me get a decent night's sleep, when clearly their method is not working so great?  Sarah Graves learning to go to sleep on her own has been the biggest blessing and it has made a huge difference in her personality.  I think she cried more before we started using the cry it out method than she has since.  Just because you are trying to console an over-tired baby doesn't mean that they aren't miserable.  Now naps and bedtime are a painless process for us all and we get more time to really enjoy being with her instead of dreading what we are going to do when it is time for a nap. 

I don't think that attachment parenting is a bad way to go.  I think every child is different and every family has to find what works for them.  Don't judge me and I won't judge you.

I was hoping that posting about this would help me let go of my irritation at the situation.  I wanted so badly to let these people know that I love my baby so intensely and I have managed to work full-time and do so many wonderful and time consuming things in order to give her the very best.  Who are they to assume that just because I work and used a method of sleep training, I don't feel just as passionate about my child as I am sure they do theirs?  There, I think that helped.  Thanks for providing me with that therapeutic outlet for my feelings. 
The part of the class focused on setting limits and such was really fabulous and I will post more about that some other time. 

Saturday in the Park

Yesterday was a gorgeous day in Atlanta with sunshine and temperatures in the 60's.  We, along with everyone else in this area, decided to head to the park.  Since Sarah Graves learned to walk, it has been too cold to get outside to play.  I was anxious for her to have a chance to walk around in some open space and to feel the sun on her face again.  The Red, White, and Blue park (I think it has a more official name, but that is what everyone calls it) is right down the street from our house and right next to our church. 

I'm not sure that she loved it quite as much as we hoped she would.  She wasn't unhappy at all, she just wasn't all smiles and giggles about it the way I had hoped.  She definitely loved seeing the other kids and she wasn't the least bit afraid to try out the climbing type structure and slide they have.  It was really too big for her, but she gave it her all and climbed through it with me right behind her.  I don't think she loved the slide too much, but she went down a few times.  
She definitely enjoyed the freedom to walk around. 

Swinging got some smiles from her!

I can't believe she is so big!  Where did those long legs come from?


Having fun with Daddy! 

We are looking forward to going back as the weather gets nicer and she gets bigger.  Many more fun Saturdays at the park in our future!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Birthday Party - Part 4

I feel so fortunate that so many people came to Sarah Graves' party.  Here are pictures of people from her party. 
Libby and baby Emily were visiting Atlanta for another party and were so kind to come to ours as well.  I never dreamed they would come down from North Caroline, but it was great to have them there since we went through our pregnancies together and I feel like we know Emily from her blog!


Our friend Natalie and her husband Chris came with baby Mia.  Mia and Sarah Graves are old friends since Lovey keeps Mia sometimes when Natalie works.

Aunt Nay came and we sure are greatful for all of her help getting the food ready for the party.  She was also great and caught a lot of the pictures!

My friend Sarah came, and I so appreciate her making the effort to hang out with me now that I have a baby and my social life is much different. 

Grandaddy flew in just to be at Sarah Graves' party.  We were thrilled that he and Granny B could make it.  (Sarah Graves has him wrapped around her finger, just a little :) )

Here SG is hanging out chatting with Aunt Nay and Granny B.  She is such a good hostess like that!

She and Lovey chatted with baby Emily and Libby, too!

After her party she decided she needed some real food and Granny B was happy to feed her. What does a birthday girl eat for dinner?  Green beans, chicken, and quinoa.  Then, she spotted the plate of cupcakes and signed for "more" and "food" until I gave her one.  She ate it all...again! 

We were sad when Granny B and Grandaddy had to leave the next day.  Our visits are just never long enough. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Birthday Party - Part 3

Sarah Graves received many nice gifts for her birthday.  Some were practical and some were fun, but they were all cute!  We didn't get pictures of everything, but here are some that we took.
Lovey and Pops gave her this fun plate to celebrate her birthday.  It will be a special keepsake for years to come.

Sarah Graves was excited about her presents!

We gave her a cozy coupe!  These have really come along way since I was a kid.  Now there is a "floorboard" for when they are really little so their feet don't drag.  She looks like she's in a parade when we push her around the house in it!  She leans back and grins!


We also gave her Duplos.  Daddy is going to play with them for now and when she figures them out, he'll give her a turn :)

Family friends, the Fredettes, gave her a darling dress with this matching headband.  I never thought she would leave a headband on, but she walked around with it on for quite a while.  Sometimes it was on her forehead more like a flapper!

Our friends, the Waites, gave her several books.  This one is called an indestructible book meant for babies.  It's soft, but they claim that it will withstand chewing and tugging and all sorts of wear that babies put on books. 


She also got lift-the-flap books.  These are her favorite kind of book.

She was curious about all her things!

All sorts of fun, new toys to check out.

Grancy gave her this ride-on train that plays all sorts of music and has different things to work her motor skills.  It's right up SG's alley!

My friend Sarah came and brought her these sing-ama-jigs.  They make sounds when you press their belly and you can keep pressing and they make a song.  They are funny for adults and kids!

She also received some dresses, a doll that giggles, a Leap Frog farm for the refrigerator that sings and let's you match animals, all sorts of books, money for her savings, gift card for spring clothes, and a cute set of building blocks that make a princess castle.  We are so appreciative that everyone thought of our sweet girl and the special day that she made her arrival!  Everything was going so fast that we just didn't get pictures of it all.  I have to say thanks to my sister for having the wherewithall to pick up the camera and snap most of these!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Birthday Party - Part 2

Mom had the idea that instead of a bib, we should do an apron for her to eat her cake in.  So, Mom embroidered this cute apron for her that said Happy Birthday Sarah Graves with the cupcake with one candle.  It was really cute, but SG was much too distracted to pose for a photo.  The apron was also genius for keeping the cupcake crumbs out of her lap!



I didn't think about practicing blowing out candles with her.  She knows how to blow on her food when it's hot, but I think this made any sense to her. 
She did really well while everyone sang to her and stared at her. I was a little concerned that she might get upset, but she just looked around and took it all in. 
At first, the cupcake was a little bit of a mystery to her.  All it took was me helping her get a dab of icing in her mouth and she understood exactly what that cupcake was for! 




She sat there and munched and munched on her cupcake.  She ate some ice cream with it, too and thought it was all delicious.  Eventually, it was all gone and there were just some crumbs left behind in her chair! 

She loved it so much that later that evening she saw a plate of cupcakes on the counter and began giving her signs for more and food!  She ate that second cupcake right up!  We now have the leftover cupcakes tucked away out of sight! 



Bab Shot!






This outfit is one of the sweet things that Ms. Margaret Ann made for her.
She was thrilled to have found a balloon leftover from her party floating around. The simple joys when you're one!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Birthday Party - Part 1

Yesterday we had Sarah Graves' Birthday party and it was a good time.  I decided to break the pictures up into separate posts.  Aaron has some video, too, so we will try to get that up soon. 
I made her cake and although it took a little time, it was so yummy.  I made the frosting using the recipe that my mom used on our cakes when I was young and it tasted sooo good.  A little more work than frosting from the store, but really yummy.  I bought a pan for making cupcake shaped cakes, so that simplified things.

I made regular sized cupcakes, too.  These were decorated by using cake tattoos.  I came across them in Michael's.  They are made by Duff, the guy from Ace of Cakes on Food TV, and they are basically edible paper printed with cute designs.  You can cut them out for cupcakes or they come in a long strip that can be wrapped around a round cake.  They were an easy way to give our cupcakes cute design!


Iced sugar cookies are something that I really enjoy doing.  I always envision doing these beautiful cookies and once I start, I remember that it's harder than I think it is.  This time, I was extremely patient when I made my icing and I let it get very stiff, which made it easier to do the outline.  Then, I was very patient adding only a teaspoon of water at a time to make it thin enough to do the fill.  I think this was my prettiest looking batch, ever!  I was really proud that I managed to do her monogram on the cookies.  I figure if I start practicing now, I might be decent at them by the time she has school parties!

Aaron took care of the crepe paper and balloons.  He brought home tons of balloons! 


Jeanne' made this darling "skirt" for the high chair.  It gives our every day high chair such a fairty tale like flair.  It was the perfect throne for our princess at her party.

I kept the menu pretty simple for an afternoon party.  In addition to the cake, cupcakes, and cookies, we made these brie bites that were addictive, pigs in a puff pastry blanket, assorted cheeses and fruit. 

It was quite tasty, if I do say so myself.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Baby Shots: A Year in Review

Our world was made so wonderful when Sarah Graves made her arrival.  Taking a baby shot of her each week has been a great way to watch her grow.  Here they are all together.

Happy 1st Birthday!

One year ago today our baby took her first breath and changed our lives forever.  The past two days I have been remembering how I felt a year ago.  I was uncomfortable, tired, and anxious to meet my baby.  I will never forget going for accupunture; coming home and Aaron making me walk for what felt like hours; having dinner at home with Mom and Dad; and finally after a short nap, waking up to organized contractions.  Mom stayed up with me and we watched Steven Segal - Lawman while I sat on the birth ball and rocked on my hands and knees getting through each contraction.  I had never watched that show before and I don't think I have seen it since, but it is forever in my memory of that night.  We woke Aaron up after the contractions lasted longer and came closer together.  It wasn't long after that we left for the hospital.  It was very hard work getting her into this world, but nothing could have been more worth it! 
I will always remember seeing her laying under what we called the burger warmer in the labor and delivery room all stretched out and looking so peaceful.  I couldn't believe that beautiful baby was actually mine.  My biggest dream had finally come true.


Here she is today smiling on her Birthday! 


If you look closely in this one, you can see some of her new teeth coming in on her lower jaw.   

News Release on Breastfeeding

This was released today from the Surgeon General regarding breastfeeding and I have to say that it is encouraging and I hope it will bring about changes.  One statistic provided in here is that only 13% of babies are exclusively breastfed after 6 months.  I had no idea that the number was that small. 

One of the things that she describes in here is how important support is.  I definitely believe that is true.  I was fortunate enough to birth in a hospital with caregivers who support breastfeeding, I have a husband who has supported it, my Mom breastfed her babies, and I have an employer who supports it.  That makes a huge difference!

Also note that she estimates we could save $13 billion dollars a year in health care and other costs if 90% of babies were breastfed until 6 months old.  Om, that could make a huge difference, not to mention how much individual families would save not buying formula!

News Release


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Contact: OASH Press Office

(202) 205-0143

Everyone Can Help Make Breastfeeding Easier, Surgeon General Says in “Call to Action”

Benjamin cites health benefits, offers steps for families, clinicians and employers

WASHINGTON, DC, Jan. 20, 2011 - Surgeon General Regina M. Benjamin today issued a “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding,” outlining steps that can be taken to remove some of the obstacles faced by women who want to breastfeed their babies.

“Many barriers exist for mothers who want to breastfeed,” Dr. Benjamin said. “They shouldn’t have to go it alone. Whether you’re a clinician, a family member, a friend, or an employer, you can play an important part in helping mothers who want to breastfeed.”

“Of course, the decision to breastfeed is a personal one,” she added, “no mother should be made to feel guilty if she cannot or chooses not to breastfeed.”

While 75 percent of U.S. babies start out breastfeeding, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says, only 13 percent are exclusively breastfed at the end of six months. The rates are particularly low among African-American infants.

Many mothers who attempt to breastfeed say several factors impede their efforts, such as a lack of support at home; absence of family members who have experience with breastfeeding; a lack of breastfeeding information from health care clinicians; a lack of time and privacy to breastfeed or express milk at the workplace; and an inability to connect with other breastfeeding mothers in their communities.

Dr. Benjamin’s “Call to Action” identifies ways that families, communities, employers and health care professionals can improve breastfeeding rates and increase support for breastfeeding:

•Communities should expand and improve programs that provide mother-to-mother support and peer counseling.

•Health care systems should ensure that maternity care practices provide education and counseling on breastfeeding. Hospitals should become more “baby-friendly,” by taking steps like those recommended by the UNICEF/WHO’s Baby-Friendly Hospital Initiative.

•Clinicians should ensure that they are trained to properly care for breastfeeding mothers and babies. They should promote breastfeeding to their pregnant patients and make sure that mothers receive the best advice on how to breastfeed.

•Employers should work toward establishing paid maternity leave and high-quality lactation support programs. Employers should expand the use of programs that allow nursing mothers to have their babies close by so they can feed them during the day. They should also provide women with break time and private space to express breast milk.

•Families should give mothers the support and encouragement they need to breastfeed.

Family members can help mother’s prepare for breastfeeding and support their continued breastfeeding, including after her return to work or school.

According to the “Call to Action,” breastfeeding protects babies from infections and illnesses that include diarrhea, ear infections, and pneumonia. Breastfed babies are also less likely to develop asthma, and those who are breastfed for six months are less likely to become obese. Mothers themselves who breastfeed have a decreased risk of breast and ovarian cancers.

A study published last year in the journal Pediatrics estimated that the nation would save $13 billion per year in health care and other costs if 90 percent of U.S. babies were exclusively breastfed for six months. Dr. Benjamin added that, by providing accommodations for nursing mothers, employers can reduce their company’s health care costs and lower their absenteeism and turnover rates.

“I believe that we as a nation are beginning to see a shift in how we think and talk about breastfeeding,” said Dr. Benjamin. “With this ‘Call to Action,’ I am urging everyone to help make breastfeeding easier.”

To order printed copies of the Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Support Breastfeeding” and other materials, please call 1-800-CDC-INFO or email cdcinfo@cdc.gov and reference the publication title.

For more information on breastfeeding, go to www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding or www.womenshealth.gov/breastfeeding/. To speak with a breastfeeding counselor call 1-800-994-9662 Monday through Friday, 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM ET.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Presents!


This darling puzzle set arrived yesterday from Gramma!  There is a Mama, Papa, and baby bear and each has different facial expressions and different outfits that you can put together. 
Sarah Graves' first order of business was to begin tasting all the pieces!  Hopefully, she'll learn to put them back together soon!\

This package with books arrived from Aunt Lex.  These are some cute books and they are made more special because she included a note with each one telling Sarah Graves the special meaning for that book.  I am excited because the set of Little Golden books includes The Poky Little Puppy and Tawny, Scrawny Lion
We didn't let her start tasting these books.  I'm sure she would love to get a hold of the spines on these and begin chewing!