Friday, January 30, 2015

Marshall: 8 Months

Happy eight month birthday, Marshall!

This month was another CRAZY one! Last month I said you had kind of slowed down a little with huge developmental leaps, but you certainly made up for it this month. I practically ran out of room on your little milestones board.

It says:
  • 12/25 First Christmas
  • 12/27 "G" sound (we don't document every sound you make, but this one was particularly new and clear)
  • 12/29 Sat up in crib on your own
  • 12/30 First earthquake!
  • 1/5 Crawled AND pushed up to sitting on your own (plus we dropped the crib one level)
  • 1/14 Waved in the mirror (but you haven't done it since...)
Now you lift your arms up if we reach to pick you up; you give kisses (hit or miss, but a lot of times we can ask for a kiss with our cheek near you and you'll plant a big, slobbery kiss on us!); you learned your name and respond by looking at us when we call you; and you know who Scout is (we can ask, "Where's Scout?" and you'll look around and stop when you see him).

Talk about a lot of development! 

We also enjoyed some fun family adventures this month, including your first swim lesson (technically on the day you turned eight months old, but whatever),

going to the aquarium for the first time, going on the swings for the first time (you LOVE it!),

signing up for classes at My Gym,

and riding in the cart at the store!

It's so much fun to introduce you to new experiences and to watch you discover the world. You love looking at trees and birds when we go outside, and you almost always seem calm and content when we go outside or out to run errands. You're not a huge fan of getting into your car seat, but once you're there you will usually stay pretty calm on the ride. Also, now that you sit in the stroller without the car seat you have a better view of our surroundings on walks and jogs. I still love wearing you in the Ergo because we're close enough so I can chat with you, whereas when you're in the stroller we can't talk much, but I try to mix it up for you.

The other big step this month was FOOD!

It took us a little while to figure out the best way to feed you, because we tried baby-led weaning and it didn't work for us at first, so we switched to purees. I just used the immersion blender to mix up whatever we were eating. Now we've found a nice happy medium where we give you some purees, but we also give you some finger foods to let you feed yourself, such as cooked peas, banana, avocado (sliced with the skin still on so you can grip it), cooked pasta, scrambled eggs, meat, and small pieces of fruits or vegetables that are cooked until soft enough for you. 

You seem to really enjoy food, but there are times when you're not particularly excited about being in your high chair, especially when you're done eating. But you still look super cute, even when you're mad.

Some other fun facts:

You've just graduated up to size FOUR diapers! We use Honest Company or Seventh Generation.

You don't have a doctor's appointment this month, so we have no idea how much you weigh or how tall you are, but my extremely scientific measurement method (standing on the scale with you and then standing on the scale without you) says you weigh about 21.6 pounds. Hefty little guy!

Also, I tried to get your traditional giraffe photo, but after about twenty minutes of wrestling with you I decided to let you choose your own pose. (Now I understand why all my friends post month-by-month photos of their babies sitting up instead of lying down.)

 Now that you're crawling, you seem to love exploring the house. It took a few weeks for you to discover that all the rooms connect and that you can decide the room in which you want to play, and now I'm following you all day.  We baby-proofed a little (outlet covers...I think that's it), but mostly we just keep an eye on what you're doing and steer you away from cords and the litter box.

You can also pull yourself up onto your knees! (This table almost fell over on you several times, so we took the legs off for now until you are more steady.) You get up there and then seem to realize you aren't ready to get to your feet yet, so you continue crawling.

You also hang out in your Exersaucer for a few minutes at a time, which allows me a few minutes in the kitchen or a chance to run to the bathroom without worrying that you'll eat Scout's food or crawl into his litter box (both things you have attempted in the last half hour). 

This month has been a blast because I feel like I can have real conversations with you now. While you don't say any intelligible words, you do babble and chatter quite a bit, showing signs of understanding the flow of conversation, and I am starting to see some signs that you understand some of our words. I've always talked to you throughout the day, but now it seems like maybe you're listening or that at least you enjoy hearing me more. You definitely know Daddy, Scout, Marshall, and Mommy (I'm not convinced of Mommy but Daddy thinks you know it).

Things that make you laugh or smile most: Swings, eating (technically not a smile, but you grunt and clearly indicate that you want more!), seeing Daddy come home, watching us try to get you to learn something new (so watching us clap, wave, try to get you to say words, dance, etc.), crawling toward pretty much anything (you see what you want and smile the whole way there!), looking in the mirror (when you discovered you could crawl to the full-length mirror doors you just about exploded with excitement!), Scout, and being held facing out while walking.

Things you're less than thrilled about: being in your high chair when you're done eating, getting your diaper changed (I'm bummed because diaper changes used to be SO much fun--you used to love them!), Mommy leaving the room (sometimes), naps, getting into your car seat, being bombarded by unfamiliar people when you aren't ready, and being tired.

As for sleep: Eh, we've had much better months. This month felt like a step backwards, but we're assuming things will get back on track eventually. For a while you slept through (7ish to about 5:30), but now you're all over the place, sometimes even waking up multiple times a night. Hopefully it's just because of all these big milestones and you'll be back to sleeping well soon.

You are developing such a personality now, and we are having a wonderful time seeing you grow and show us who you are. Some things I've noticed about you at this young age: You are not one to cuddle. You certainly love being near us and don't mind being held, but you aren't going to snuggle or sit still when you can look around or crawl toward something. I've actually always noticed that you are pretty independent, so I'm curious to see how that trait continues to develop. Also, you're generally a very happy boy. You smile a lot and don't fuss too much, for which we are thankful. You've started showing excitement by panting heavily and squealing, which is hilarious! Oh, and physical bumps/falls (or even shots!) barely phase you--you cry for about five seconds and move right along. What a trooper!

Since we have started taking you to some classes with other kids, we've noticed how you approach new situations with lots of noise and people: You hang back a bit, content to be on your own to look around and take it all in. After five or ten minutes you start to approach people or toys, and within 20-30 minutes you're much more relaxed and enjoying yourself. I usually just sit near you and let you do your thing. It's so much fun to watch you handle new experiences.

Marshall, you are funny, independent, curious, energetic, adventurous, and talkative. We are having so much fun getting to know you and can't wait to see what this month holds for all of us. We love you!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Lots of Photos of Marshall and Some Photos of Food

I mean, let's just call a spade a spade, right? 

Terry caught this moment where both of our four-legged creatures found themselves side by side. My heart just about exploded when I found it on his phone.

Saturday was awesome. Terry had a football practice for his work's flag football league, so Marshall and I joined him at the park. Hanging out with that kid on the swings might just be the greatest thing I've ever experienced. But I also let him crawl around in the grass for the first time, and it turned out to be wet grass, so that was fun.

Marshall took a long snooze on me in the Ergo, and we wandered up a long path in Manhattan Beach. I loved the scenery so much that I barely noticed the extra 21 pounds on me.

Then we met up with Terry for lunch at Simmzy's, one of our favorite places to grab a burger. Since it was brunch time, we split the burger and also ordered a pulled pork egg burrito. SO GOOD. And then Marshall decided he's going to drink water out of glasses now.

Sunday Terry and I got a chance for a little day date, which was nice, but honestly I was completely exhausted and could barely enjoy it. Marshall's sleep has been less than consistent lately, so I was beat! Thankfully we still managed to enjoy the afternoon and ran a few errands after lunch, so it wasn't a total loss. 

I concocted this pretty delightful salad on Sunday night: kale, butternut squash (roasted), black beans, leftover beer can chicken, pepperjack cheese, homemade guacamole, Greek yogurt, and tomatoes. YUM.

I have no idea what happened yesterday. I'm sure it was great. But tonight we took a family jog at the park (3 miles! Our longest of the month--only 5 miles to go before the end of the month!), and we let Marshall hang out in the swings for a few minutes.

He giggles the entire time.

I made dinner while the boys hung out in Marshall's room, and then I got some new mommy and Marshall photos.
Those legs!

Tonight's meal: whole wheat crepes with ricotta and wilted spinach plus roasted Brussels sprouts and butternut squash on the side. And some Frank Family chardonnay, which is always a treat!

And now it's time for bed! My parents will be in town for the rest of the week, and I can't wait for them to see all Marshall's new skills--crawling, pulling up to his knees, and lots of chatter!

Oh, and just for fun: 10 Things I Actually Do When the Baby Sleeps (describes me exactly).

What's been your best meal lately? I'm going to go with the crepes. Perfect mix of flavors!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Tupperware and Cardboard Boxes

I missed my blog post last night because I needed to get to bed early, and I'm so glad I made that choice. Marshall has been up every morning around 3 or 4 am this week, and it's been at least an hour getting him back to sleep each time. Last night I went to bed by 10 and told myself that if he woke up at 4 and wouldn't go back to sleep I would just roll with it and get up then.

Sure enough, he did wake up at 4, and I was dead tired, but I felt a lot less grumpy about it because I had told myself I'd likely be getting up then anyway. That way, if he went back to sleep (which he did!), great, but if he didn't, I would just have a few more hours of being awake. Lucky for me, he snoozed next to me for another hour or so before getting up at 6. Much more manageable (although my husband, who got to deal with my zombie self and brought me tea in bed after changing Marshall, may call my bluff).

After some tea and watching Marshall wave his Taggies blanket like a madman for twenty minutes (what? isn't that how you start your morning?), I felt downright chipper. I e-mailed Terry and told him I'm going to be positive today--no complaining, no matter what comes my way. It's so easy to whine about a lot of aspects of my day, and I find myself taking that route too often. Instead I'm going to look for the good and ignore the inconvenient.

So backing up a little bit, yesterday was a good day, even if I wasn't feeling super positive. Marshall and I enjoyed a productive morning, complete with Tupperware fun

 and then attended a class at Gymboree. I really loved our My Gym experience, but I thought I should check out Gymboree just for the sake of comparison (both sites offer a free first class). We enjoyed the class--bubbles, parachute waving, crawling up a ramp, lots of singing, puppets, and an awesome teacher--but I liked the vibe a lot better at My Gym, so we're going to stick with that one.

This is Marshall's "I'm checking things out before I dive in" face. One pointed foot and one flexed.

Later in the afternoon, we met up with Terry for another run. I am really loving how much this little running challenge has motivated us. 20 miles in 25 days isn't horribly ambitious for some people, but after taking such a long time off running (at least nine months?) I am feeling the burn. And honestly on days like yesterday I would normally just forget it and opt for a rest day or at-home workout (which, lately, is more like 15 minutes of whatever exercises I feel like doing that moment).  But as it was we knew we needed to get a run in, so we met up at the beach and completed about three miles, two of which were jogging. 

So now we have completed a total of 11 miles running; we have 10 days left and 9 miles more to go. We're only running two or two and a half miles each time, and veeeery slowly, mostly because of me. I knew pregnancy and the C-section would change my body, but I had no idea how much. I think I've mentioned it before, but the biggest obstacle is pain/weakness in my lower abs and hip flexors. Naturally, they must be super weak because I avoided core exercise during pregnancy and gave myself lots of time to recover from the surgery. But rebuilding those muscles is tough, mentally and physically. It's frustrating to remind myself that I need to take it slow and easy for a while until I feel stronger. I need more time to warm my body up, and my body gets tired much more quickly than it used to, so our runs end up being shorter. Thankfully Terry is patient and will run ahead a bit and come back for me when I need to walk. I think the important thing for now is continuing to take it slow, walking when I need to, and incorporating some safe core exercises (planks, crunches on the stability ball) to build up my lower ab and hip flexor strength. 

Well that was a hell of a tangent. On to today: 

We enjoyed a stroll through Target again, and Marshall's getting more comfortable in the cart.

He held on for dear life in that thing, which was adorable. He looks so little in the cart!

Marshall and I went to the park again, but this time I snagged an acai bowl and enjoyed it while we looked at the seagulls. 

Marshall had a few spoonfuls of lentil soup, which I had packed for him. The whole thing was delightfully messy, mostly because he was more interested in the birds than in getting the spoon to his mouth.

This seagull was a bully. He threatened any other seagull who came near us and stared at me the entire time. Terry said perhaps he was protecting us, and I suppose I should have thought the same thing in the spirit of being positive.

When we got home a special package had arrived: our video monitor!!! We chose a Dropcam at the recommendation of a few other parent friends, and it looks like a pretty awesome setup already (engineer husband had it ready to go about ten minutes after he got home). Marshall was much more interested in exploring his first cardboard box. 

Scout was pissed. Cardboard boxes are normally his thing. Poor little kitten. (See him in the background?)

Tomorrow Marshall and I are attending an infant library event (I have no idea what to expect, but I feel like finger puppets might be involved) and then he has his first swim class. But I think I'm most excited about a little girls' night out action (aka dinner with Jenn at 6:30, home by 8). It'll be my first night out without Marshall or Terry since the little guy was born. Speaking of which, Marshall turns 8 months tomorrow, and I'll have his little 8-month update on the blog next week.

Anyone else have these running issues post-pregnancy or post-C-section? Tips?

Do you hold on to your Target cart for dear life, too?

Any fun plans this weekend? Aside from my girls' night, we are planning to hang out at the park on Saturday and get a run in at some point. 

Have a wonderful, fun weekend!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Trying Something New

What a fun day we had today! Terry took the bus to work (believe it or not, that's fun for him), and Marshall and I had plans to meet him for lunch. But first, we headed out to a new-to-us experience: My Gym!

I mentioned earlier this month that one of my big goals this year is to expand Marshall's world through various opportunities to interact with other kids. Today's class was a huge hit and is certainly encouraging me to check out more like it. The class was 50 minutes of singing, guided movement, free play, swings, and plenty of interaction with other babies Marshall's age.

(I didn't take any photos because I didn't want to be that creepy new mom taking photos. I'll be that mom next time.)

Honestly, I was a little nervous about how Marshall would respond to a room full of adults and babies and music and movement. One major downside of my staying home with him this year is that he doesn't get to experience these types of organized play situations very often. And lately he has shown signs of stranger anxiety, especially around men, as well as overstimulation when he's in a busy environment. But today he did great! He seemed a little bewildered at first, but once we got into the "warm up" and movement he was all smiles. Honestly, I doubt he would have noticed if I had just disappeared!

I think we're going to sign up for the classes--they have a program where you can attend one class plus one free play or one additional class each week--so that Marshall can enjoy some regular interaction with these kids. Plus, this Friday Marshall and Terry will take their first swim class together! We're really on a roll with this New Year's resolution.

After our class, we met up with Terry for lunch--his company is still contracting with a different food truck each week--and enjoyed some fun fusion cuisine. Then Terry headed back into work while Marshall and I ran a few errands, and we eventually picked him up on our way home. The whole thing might become a new Tuesday routine for us, and I'm excited about it! Sometimes having no schedule all week can get a little tedious, so I'm thrilled to have some structure now.

Tonight for dinner I made lentil vegetable soup, another Ina recipe. It was amazing. Would you believe that before this week I had never had lentils OR leeks? Granted, I barely tasted the leeks tonight but they are essentially giant green onions, and apparently they taste like sweeter onions. They were obviously quite mild because I couldn't pick out their flavor in the soup. Lentils, though, are a new favorite around here! I love the texture! Marshall gets to try some tomorrow night!

Speaking of which, just for fun, here's a list of what Marshall has tried (either on its own or in a mix/puree):

  • chicken broth
  • chicken
  • onion
  • butternut squash
  • broccoli
  • peas
  • sweet potato
  • oats
  • pear
  • apple/applesauce
  • banana
  • potato
  • avocado
  • plain noodles
  • tomato
  • blackberries
Our pediatrician has recommended waiting on dairy, but I'm looking forward to introducing Marshall to more fun foods like yogurt, plus a lot of baked goods that contain dairy like pancakes and banana bread. Terry and I don't have any allergies, and there aren't many allergies in our families, so we're hoping those won't be an issue for the little guy.

Other fun facts from the week:

We went to the park yesterday for a short walk and to look at the birds in the pond. Marshall was completely engrossed in watching them, and I enjoyed about thirty minutes of quiet time with my little buddy.

Last night I was actually kind of dreading dinner, because it was just a clean-out-the-fridge-of-leftovers night. But I baked up a sweet potato and topped it with sauteed spinach, black beans, pepperjack cheese, shredded chicken, and Greek yogurt. Delicious.

And this happened yesterday:

Thankfully he hasn't pulled himself to standing yet. I'm still getting used to him crawling!

What's something new you've tried lately? I've heard that trying new things can keep your memory sharp and can be good for your overall health. I guess it's good I attended an infant gymnastics class and tried two new foods this week. Wild, I am.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Clean Floors, an Aquarium, and 11 Miles to Go

Ahhh another great weekend! I hope yours was awesome. We enjoyed a lovely mix of busy and relaxed. 

On Friday, since Terry had the day off (he works a 9/80 schedule where he works 80 hours over nine days instead of ten, so he gets every other Friday off), we decided to head to Long Beach for Family Fun Day! But first, inspiration and motivation struck simultaneously, which almost never happens, so I cleaned our floors. We're talking vacuum, Swiffer, and then hands-and-knees scrubbing. Our floor has never looked cleaner! 

Naturally, Marshall has already spat up on it about five times since then. 

We headed to Yardhouse in Long Beach for lunch. Here's how a lot of meals have been ending lately:
Marshall is teething, so he likes to gnaw on the spoon when he eats, which is fine until we ask for the spoon back to feed him more food. Luckily, he's also starting to eat some finger foods, so those cause less drama. 

Then it was time for the Aquarium of the Pacific!

We discovered that an aquarium is an excellent spot for an infant. Marshall was able to get up close to the glass to look at the fish, and they swam right up to the glass to get a look at him, too!
 We thought about taking Marshall to the zoo, but I think we need to wait a while for that. With an aquarium, there's more movement, bright colors, and guaranteed "action," whereas zoo animals might be a lot more mellow and might hang back in their bigger habitats.

Anyway, Marshall was totally into looking at all the exhibits, especially the bright tropical ones!

Oh, and he also loved looking at the young ladies next to him in this photo:

My two favorite exhibits:

It was a nice afternoon without feeling too rushed, and we're lucky to have the aquarium fairly close (20 minutes away). On the way home Marshall dozed off, and we wanted him to get a good nap, so we drove out to the cliffs and listened to Harry Potter while watching the sunset. Not a terrible way to spend an hour.

Most of Saturday centered around a trip to Downtown LA for a memorial service for a family friend. It turned out to be a beautiful day and a lovely service. We also grabbed lunch at Philippe the Original, a famous French dip restaurant.

Today we took our morning super slow--banana pancakes, banana bread, whole wheat bread in the bread maker, laundry, and crawling around everywhere were all involved--and then we headed back to the aforementioned cliffs for some exercise. We ran 2.5 miles (update on our 20 miles in January challenge: we have finished 9 miles--11 to go--and we have about 12 days left!) and then continued walking while Marshall napped in the stroller. It was his first time napping in the stroller without the infant car seat! Crazy.

We hit up Trader Joe's on the way home (I've discovered a new TJ's that I loooooooove and today--Sunday--it wasn't crowded at all!) for groceries. Our meal plan this week includes:

And now it's time to curl up with some Seinfeld before bed! Hope your week gets off to a great start!

Do you prefer aquariums or zoos? I think I'm more of an aquarium person now that I've seen Marshall's reaction to the fish!