Sunday, June 29, 2008
Later that afternoon, we loaded Katen into the car and headed downtown to the Art Festival. She fell asleep in the car so I put her in her moby and carried her with me though the streets. We saw some neat art and also some really weird things. One guy scuplted action hero animals which was different. Something we'd not seen before. Our annual favorite though is the guy who makes these art pieces out of metal. It's called Kinetic Sculpture and is one of those things where you drop the ball in and it sets off a series of events. Hard to explain but here's the guy's website. They're pretty neat! http://www.zachmann.com/index.htm We didn't end up buying anything (We rarely do) but it was a really nice day to be out.
Sunday we had a repeat. I ran to the grocery store to grab some things for dinner and when I came back Katen was throwing a fit. I went to pick Katen up and gave Mike a hard time for farting. I jokingly told him I'd cry too if I was subjected to that smell. I took Katen into the living room but it smelled there too... and in the kitchen... and wait. It wasn't Daddy, it was Katen.
Another blow out. This time when I unsnapped her onesie it wasn't flowing out the leg part. It had gone up her back. I'm not talking just a little bit either. It looked like an explosion up her back, clear up to her shoulders. Out of desperation I just threw the onesie away and hosed Katen off in the Kitchen sink with the sprayer. She was a good sport thank goodness because it could have gotten really ugly. ...and I owe Mike an apology. It wasn't his fart. ...this time. ;)
Once again, like father like daughter.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Click on the word to see how we sign "Milk."
Why am I teaching Katen Sign Language?
1. First and foremost, it's something that Katen and I can do together. As a working mother I want to make the most of my time with her and this helps us to interact with eachother in a meaningful way.
Say the word as you sign and emphasize it. Don’t think signing means a lifetime of silence. Actually, it is the opposite. Parents who sign find that they talk more with their child. Talk directly to your child. Speak clearly and emphasize the word or words you are signing so that your baby gets the connection between the word and the sign and the action or concept. That three-way connection is important to developing your communication.
...and Here are some of the resources that I'm using in case anyone else wants to give it a shot:
BabyCenter - another chat resource
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
1. I'm trying to move toward a more natural, chemical-reduced living
2. I haven't met a brand name wipe yet that agreed with Katen's bottom.
The two big scary chemicals found in baby wipes are propylene glycol and parabens. Propylene Glycol is a made from natural gas and is used as a humectant. Parabens are synthetic preservatives. Some research has indicated that there may be cancer correlation (certainly not causation which is an entirely different thing) and estrogen effects from these. So... better safe than sorry I always say. Honestly, if you don’t need to expose yourself or your kids to them, why should you?
So I've been trying to use more "natural" cleaners, soaps, etc. However, I also found it interesting that even natural varieties aren’t always the best option. Some research shows lavender and tea tree oil to have estrogenic properties. Ug! I kind of wonder why a baby wipe needs all of this stuff in it anyway. Most pediatricians will tell you that just warm water and a washcloth is a better alternative to wipes anyway because of baby’s sensitive skin.
So - with that said, I set out to make my own. The first batch seemed to go okay.
I bought Viva paper towels and tried sawing them in half with a bread knife. All that really did is crate confetti. Then I tried a very sharp chef's knife. That worked okay. I later got a great recommendation to just use an electric knife. Yeah why didn't I think of that? So I added my water, oil, and California Baby wash (chemical free) to the mix and placed them in a carefully selected air tight container. Seven days later.... they molded. GREAT! Now we're growing organic penicillin. (kidding) Next time I'm not using our gross tap water.
Back to the drawing board. I did a little extra research (can you tell I love to research? It's an obsession.) and now, I have a formula that I think is great and a container that works perfectly.
The Best Darn Homemade Baby Wipes Ever (too much?)
64 oz. Snapware Container
Viva Paper Towels
Dr. Bronner’s Unscented Baby Mild Pure Castille Soap or Burt's Bees baby bubble bath
(You could use California Baby bodywash too as long as you watch out for tea tree oil and lavendar in their "calming" line.)
Burt’s Bees Apricot Baby Oil
(It's worthy of noting that you need to be careful with burts bees products if you have a raging lanolin allergy like I do. Don't find out the hard way. The oil does include lanolin. I've actually made two batches. One with and one without the oil in case baby or I have a reaction.)
1. Buy a Snapware Container (the clear plastic kind with a white snap lid). Found mine at Target. Wash out the container at first and in between uses with a mild soap or toss in the dish washer. The containers are #1 PET plastic, so they are recyclable almost anywhere and BPA Free. (dont' get me started)
2. Buy a big pack of Viva Paper Towels in the Big Roll size. Saw the roll of towels in half. This is the most time consuming part and will really depend on how sharp your knife is. Think of it as a quick arm workout. After the roll is completely in half, pinch the cardboard core at both ends and squeeze it together and wiggle it until you can pull the core out.
3. Fill the Snapware container with about 2 cups of boiled or purified water. (If it's not purified/boiled it will mold.) You may need more or less based on whether your wipes turn out a little too dry or wet. Add one or two tablespoons of the castille soap and about one tablespoon of the apricot oil. Shake it up to mix it.
4. Carefully drizzle a little of the soap, oil, and water mixture on your paper towel half roll to soften it and make it more flexible. If it is not moist enough, it will be super hard to get it into the container opening.
5. Push the paper towel half roll into the container keeping the center hole intact (where the core came from). It may get all bunched up, but you can straighten it out once it’s all in there. Turn the container in all directions so the water mixture soaks in completely.
6. Pull the wipes from the center and you will have pop-up wipes with no chemicals in a sealed container with an easy to open lid (that only takes one hand to open)! Put some in a ziploc bag or reusable wipe container when you travel.
That's it. I get kind of a kick out of using my own wipes. I guess that's the most joy one can get from changing diapers, right?
16lbs, 3oz - 50th percentile
26 1/4 inches tall - 75th percentile!!! wow!
Head circumference is 17 in - 50th percentile
Lots of people say she has a big head, but she's normal. :)
The pediatrician says she's right on target for milestones - laughing, smiling, rolling, practicing crawling, sitting, eating solids, and sleeping.
She said that Katen is just not going to require a lot of sleep. She's a curious child and a go getter and probably will never require much sleep. She also believes that Katen truly is hungry every three hours at night (which I can tell also by the way she wolfs down a bottle like they're going out of style). This is happening because Katen drinks only 4oz at a time instead of the typical 8oz other kids her age are taking down. She drinks less to manage the reflux. The pediatrician also increased our Zantac dose and said to continue with Zirtec (antihistamine) as needed before bed.
Katen was a good sport when she got her DTaP shot and Rotovirus serum. On the regular schedule Katen would also get the Hep B and Polio vaccine but we've chosen to delay both until 1 year. Her next poke will be at 9 mos and it's just a finger prick to check hemoglobin. Maaaaybe we can stay out of the pediatrician's office until then. Let's hope.
After her appointment, Katen got to visit Mommy's office and then have lunch with Grandma Deb. Then it was back to daycare for a while.
Monday, June 23, 2008
She's also rediscovered her voice and has been "singing" to us. Especially when she's tired she'll babble on and on. I heard her having a conversation with the monkeys on her Jumparoo this morning as I got ready for work. It sounded pretty intense!
We're working on the next level of motor skills too. I gave Katen a sippy cup during our play time this morning just to see what she would do with it. Much to my surprise, after showing her how to get it in her mouth, she caught the hang of it. She's still a little akward using both hands together and still bonks herself on the head with it if she gets one hand free, but she gets the concept and can get the nipple part to her mouth. She's also good at passing it from hand to hand but really needs both to ease it into her mouth. Such a smart cookie! (Of course I'm not biased...)
Saturday, June 21, 2008
It was a very busy day today. Katen and I started off the early morning by going out for breakfast. A friend had told us about this great little bakery nearby that makes specialty muffins. Oh wow! They were sooo good. We got a cherry cheesecake muffin for Daddy, a strawberry cheesecake muffin for Mommy, and Katen picked out a Pumpkin spice muffin with cream cheese frosting on top. Nice choice! Mommy and Daddy ended up splitting it. :) We're definitely going back! Especially since Katen has turned mommy into a morning person.
After muffins, a bottle, a nap, and tons of sunscreen, we all set out for the zoo. Katen had a blast looking at the "Big Kitty" (aka the tiger), the sealions,
and the elephants. Katen wanted to share this picture from her point of view. (Note the adorable pudgy toes we're sporting!)
On the way home it was time for another nap, and then after a few stops at Lowe's and the grocery store, we headed off to a BBQ.
Katen had a good time being passed from person to person for a while. Some of the people at the BBQ hadn't met her yet and others just missed her I guess. :) Amazingly, she decided not to be scared of strangers for a change, so it worked out okay.
Even the little kids got in on the action. Our friend Abby reminded me that I promised her she could hold Katen tonight at daddy's football game last Wednesday. Isn't she a doll!?
...and Cadence and her Daddy gave Katen some love as well. She's practicing for her little brother who is due any day now.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Katen really seems to love the apples and she's still a fan of the Gerber organic peas. I've been trying to keep her food organic to be a little "greener" and to reduce her exposure to chemicals. I'm hoping to get some great fruits and veggies at the farmers market this summer so that I can make more. It's really pretty easy and much cheaper. I've been using Ziploc microwave steam bags to steam the fruits and veggies. That makes the skins slip right off and then I plop everything into the food processor. Viola, babyfood!
I treated myself to a brownie today. It had cream cheese frosting. My Favorite!!! I took two bites and then realized ...one of the sprinkles does not look like the others.
A closer look... Yes, the mosquitos are really bad this year. Really. Bad.
When I told Katen about it, this was her response.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
How Preemie Moms Are Chosen (Adapted from Erma Bombeck) Did you ever wonder how the mothers of premature babies are chosen? Somehow, I visualize God hovering over Earth, selecting his instruments for propagation with great care and deliberation. As he observes, he instructs his angels to take notes in a giant ledger. "Beth Armstrong, son. Patron Saint, Matthew. Marjorie Forrest, daughter. Patron Saint, Celia. Carrie Rutledge, twins. Patron Saint ... give her Gerard. He's used to profanity." Finally, he passes a name to an angel and smiles. "Give her a preemie." The angel is curious. "Why this one, God? She's so happy." "Exactly," smiles God. "Could I give a premature baby a mother who knows no laughter? That would be cruel." "But does she have the patience?" asks the angel. "I don't want her to have too much patience, or she'll drown in a sea of self-pity and despair. Once the shock and resentment wear off, she'll handle it. I watched her today. She has that sense of self and independence so rare and so necessary in a mother. You see, the child I'm going to give her has a world of its own. She has to make it live in her world, and that's not going to be easy." "But Lord, I don't think she even believes in you." God smiles. "No matter, I can fix that. This one is perfect. She has just the right amount of selfishness." The angel gasps, "Selfishness?! Is that a virtue?" God nods. "If she can't separate herself from the child occasionally, she will never survive. Yes, here is a woman whom I will bless with a child less than perfect. She doesn't know it yet, but she is to be envied. She will never take for granted a spoken word. She will never consider a step ordinary. When her child says 'mama' for the first time, she will be witness to a miracle and know it. I will permit her to see clearly the things I see – ignorance, cruelty, prejudice – and allow her to rise above them. She will never be alone. I will be at her side every minute of every day of her life because she is doing my work as surely as she is here by my side." "And what about her Patron Saint?" asks the angel, his pen poised in the air. God smiles. "A mirror will suffice."
Monday, June 16, 2008
Here's one that I definitely must learn. It's from the movie Dumbo and it's called Baby Mine.
Baby mine, don't you cry
Baby mine, dry your eyes
Rest your head close to my heart
Never to part, baby of mine
Little one when you play
Don't you mind what you say
Let those eyes sparkle and shine
Never a tear, baby of mine
If they knew sweet little you
They'd end up loving you too
All those same people who scold you
What they'd give just for
The right to hold you
From your head to your toes
You're not much, goodness knows
But you're so precious to me
Cute as can be, baby of mine
Here's the one that I've worn out. It's called "Snuggle Puppy" except my version goes:
Oooh snuggle baby of mine
everything about you is especially fine.
I love who you are,
and I love what you do,
Oooh snuggly Katen,
I love you!
A fellow Nest Member sent me information on this CD. It's called Blink by Plummer and I really like the songs. Check it out:
The weekend started off with a bang... or a gush. One of the levys downtown broke and water flooded the bridge and surrounding area. (I'll post some pictures at the end of this entry.) Typical for Friday the 13th, right? My place of work is just far enough away from the action that we were not evacuated, but everyone in a 3 block radius or inside the flood plain were. I wasn't there anyway though.
I was at home planning for our garage sale. We had some great help with the sale. Two ladies that I know from the Des Moines Nest board ( an online forum that we belong to) brought their little girls to play with Katen. They were all so well behaved and had a lot of fun! Another "Nestie" who is expecting her first child in December helped as well. Katen tried to amaze her with her great "raspberry blowing" skills and flashed some of her best toothless grins. The weather was beautiful and in the end we didn't make a ton of money but it was nice to be rid of some of our junk! The rest will go to a local charity called freestore.org and the clothes will go to Goodwill. ...once I get the energy to take them there. Garage sales are a lot of work!
Mike spent the morning of Father's day golfing with two of his high school friends and my Dad. It rained briefly but they had nice weather for the most part. Katen and I spent the morning running errands, cleaning up the house, and making food for the Father's day BBQ we were hosting in the evening. She was such a trooper while I strolled her though Target and she gave me a good hour to do housework while she played in her Fisher Price Jumperoo. (The BEST invention for a 5 month old ever!). I figured out that if I put her jumperoo by the patio door so she could look outside and also turned on the Roomba (one of those automated vaccumes), she had plenty to keep her flea sized attention span satisfied. (And I got the living room floor clean!)
Later in the day Katen helped me husk corn while riding in her baby Bjorn carrier. The was really interested in the bumpy, sticky texture of the corn and tried to put some of the silk in her mouth. Everything must be tasted, you know. It's fun to see her the little gears in her head turn as she experiences new things. Her mind amazes me.
What did Daddy get for Father's Day? He got a new battery powered hedge trimmer and weed eater combo. I know it sounds like we're putting him to work, but that's what he wanted. Honestly, the man can have any yard toy he wants as long as he does the yard work. That's not a job that I miss and he's doing a really good job. I remember a beautiful spring day when Mike and I cleaned up the yard from the winter as Katen rode in her Moby wrap with me. That was the last time Katen and I mowed. Apparently the sound and the motion is soothing to a baby though. She fell asleep if I remember correctly. However, putting her to sleep is still not good enough reason to try it again. It gets hot with the baby stuck to your front, wrapped in jersey knit fabric. I'll reserve that fun for the Farmer's Market.
As promised, more pictures of the flooding...
Those of you who live in my hometown know that the second picture is of the lower Red Rock Lake camping ground. The picture is of the check-in booth which is generally high and dry. Water from Sailorville Reservoir flows downstream into Red Rock Lake and causes domino effect flooding as it travels.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
After the appointment, Katen and I ran to the store to find the zyrtec (which is newly sold over the counter and apparently back ordered due to increased demand) and then had a fun afternoon playing together.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
According to their website...
To enter fill out the ENTRY FORM and upload your photo along with a description (under fifty words) of why you love your photo and feel that it demonstrates the special relationship you have together. Your photo can be funny, silly, cute or whatever you think will be a winner
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Here's an excerpt from the local news:
"June 10, 2008--Officials are starting to take more drastic measures to protect the metro from flooding. Floodwaters are expected to top Saylorville Lake's emergency spillway tonight, sending a surge of water into Des Moines.
Officials with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers say they'll start lowering the crest gates sometime tonight. Once that happens, twice the amount of water will flow out of Saylorville. The Corps says it will then take about 12 hours for the water to reach downtown Des Moines.
To prepare for expected flooding downtown, city officials are stepping up preparations. First, they're closing bridges on the Des Moines River in downtown Des Moines. Barricades were put up at Walnut Street Bridge at 2:00 p.m. The Locust Street, Grand Avenue and Court Avenue bridges will close at 6:00 p.m. The hope is that closing the bridges will prevent water from flowing into downtown.
City crews are trying to fill everywhere water could break through, no matter how small, and sandbag walls are being built to keep the river in the channel. Further upriver, the brand new Polk County office building that stands where the old Euclid Target stood, is being emptied. Employees for Polk County Veterans Affairs, Juvenile Courts, and the Sheriff's Department have taken out everything from brand new furniture to brand new vending machines. They're being transferred to other county buildings, as is all their paperwork."
So... do we build an Arc? Katen loves water. ...and animals!
Monday, June 9, 2008
Saturday, June 7, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
In other news, Katen is having a lot of fun rolling from back to belly and back again. When I put her down to change her diaper she always has to show off and roll. Oh she's going to be fun when she's mobile. I can just tell. She's also strong enough to push up on those arms now and just tonight she got her legs under her so I think it won't be long before she figures out how to crawl. I really think she's quite intelligent for her age. I may be biased.
Our food of the week is prunes. Katen's not crazy about prunes. They produced our first "yucky" face so far but she will eat them.
Another funny thing she's been doing is when we're out of the room or not paying attention she'll do a quick "ack!" and smile to get our attention. We'll call "ack!" back and she'll repeat herself giggling the whole time. It's a fun game I guess. ...and pretty darn cute.
She's also started smiling when she sees the cat and when she recognizes her bedtime song that I sing to her. How sweet! The cat couldn't care less about her and tries to avoid Katen's reaching arms in general. Swiffer does enjoy supervising baths though. She gets pretty ticked if we lock her out of the bathroom.
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