Friday, August 29, 2008

A little problem with daycare

Actually it's a BIG problem...

I know I over react.
That said, I'm in tears just rehashing this in my brain. I had Katen on my mind all day yesterday. When I left her at daycare she was cranky so I told both ladies to call me if it continued. She's teeting and having a REALLY bad allergy day so I told them I'd rather deal with her than have her be cranky away from home. There were no calls, but I still thought about her and went to pick her up early.

When I got there I about fainted. I could hear her wailing the second I stepped out of my car. When I got into her room both daycare ladies were talking with other parents like nothing was going on. I went and picked her up out of her crib. Her lovey was soaked. She had blood on her face because she'd scratched herself in a few places and it was mixed with snot all over her chin, cheeks, nose, forehead and in her hair. She was a mess! I wiped her off and got her calmed down to just sobs and hiccups and then asked what was going on.

The lady said Pickle had been in her crib all afternoon because she just didn't know what she wanted. She didn't want to be held and she didn't want to play so they didn't know what to do with her. I asked why they didn't call me. Hadn't they remembered? She said "we don't really do that unless they're sick." Not even when I specifically asked them to? C'mon! Then I looked at her shedule and she hadn't been fed since 10:30am. It was 3:30! So not only was my kid hysterical for no good reason but she was starving.

This is not the first offense. I've spoken to them on two other occasions about leaving her in her crib to cry. I've also spoken to them on one other occasion and thought we'd agreed that they would not ever let her go longer than 4 hours without being fed. Previously there were two days where she'd gone 6 hours witout a bottle. At home, she's starving every three hours. Poor kid!

I feel trapped because I can't just quit my job to stay home with her. I also can't just transfer her to another daycare b/c it doesn't work like that. There are waiting lists everywhere. We're at the top of the waiting list at Daddy's office daycare and a child just has to move up or leave. However, we don't know how long that will take. They guessed it would be around the end of the year. That's too long for me to wait.

I spoke with the director this morning and she told me that "with 3 other children to deal with, Katen can't always be the top priority and if she's causing a "disturbance" sometimes the ladies have to make the call to let them cool off in their cribs." So... I guess they condone this kind of thing. That's. Just. Great. :(

I'm hunting around today for a new center and staying home with her. I don't know what else to do.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

I LAUGH in the face of Danger! Ha!

Pickle and I took a trip to visit family on Saturday. While she loves our cat, she's never encountered a small dog before, so I wasn't sure what she'd do when she met Indy, our family dog. Indy thought pickle was a fun toy and barked at her hoping she'd play (note the wagging tail). Check out Pickle's response to the barks...

(...and don't ask me why it comes out sideways. I changed it to upright in the editing program but it still insists on viewing sideways. Just tilt your head.)

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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Funky Pickle - Finger Foods - Why Organic

I ate at a restaurant called the Funky Pickle yesterday. I HAD to because it reminded me of Katen. Food was so-so and it lacked atmosphere but now I can say I ate at the funky pickle.

Speaking of food...

Pickle is showing me signs that she's ready for finger foods. She shows a lot of desire to feed herself and does pretty good with her pincer grasp. She's also an adventurous eater like Dad. The only thing she's wrinkled her nose at was a piece of watermelon that I gave her. She gobbles up peas, squash, avocado, and other yuckier veggies but she turns her nose up at watermelon. Huh? She'd even suck on a pickle if I'd let her.

Okay well I don't want to hold her back. We've been giving her puffs and freeze dried yogurt bites for a while now and she's doing great so I think we'll move on to tiny bits of soft food. I've been reading up (are you shocked?) and these are some of the things I'm going to try:

Banana – in small quantities. She's a little sensitive to banana
Avocado – we'll start slow
Cheese – Kraft makes cheese crumbles with no added growth hormones which are a great size
Rice puffs – similar to Krispies

And the messy ones...

I'll also steam some of the following so that she can try them:
Apples – steam on HIGH for 3 minutes
Peeled eggplant
Asparagus – I'll watch to make sure it doesn't cause extra “toots” – the kid can clear a room!
Carrots – cooked really mushy
broccoli – same deal with the toots
Sweet potato cubes – steam on HIGH for 5-7 minutes
New potato cubes
Whole Wheat Pasta
Rice balls
Chicken chunks
Garden Burgers

Most of the steamed produce will stay fresh 4-5 days in the refrigerator, or 2 months in the freezer.

And some combinations:
peas and carrots
fruit salad
cereal and banana
fruit and cottage cheese

I think I'll try pairing foods that tend to constipate with those that do the opposite. I'll also try to balanced out the nutritional values in the foods that I combine when possible so that they're more well rounded. (ie not too many carbs, balanced vitamins, etc)

I might also introduce cinnamon, nutmeg or ground ginger for a variety in flavors.

A fun thing I want to try is crushing graham crackers, cereals, puffs, or yogurt bites and then rolling some of the fruits or veggies in them. That sounds interesting! I think banana (which is slippery anyway) might be tasty rolled in ground up peach yogurt bites.

This could be fun!

Why Organic?
Some people have asked me why I chose organic produce over regular fruits and veggies. For me, it's just a personal preference. I like to limit the exposure to chemical pesticides, antibiotics and growth hormones if possible because a baby is more sensitive to toxins and hormones than adults are. Will it make a difference? Who knows, but it's an easy precaution to take and doesn't require extra work so why not? Plus have you tasted organic produce? Some it really does taste better.

If you're not totally on board with eating organic, you can also pick and choose. These are some of the items that tend to have higher chemical/hormone exposure:

meat/poultry/eggs/dairy products
bell peppers

These are some of the items that you could probably get away with not using organic:
sweet peas
sweet corn
(Lists created from info on

In the end you just do what you can with the resources you have, right? Truth be told, I do use frozen non-organic cherries in Pickle's diet. I pitted all of those cherries for her babyfood once and I'm not doing it again. Hello, I'd rather spend the time snuggling the kiddo. If they come out with frozen organic cherries then great! I'll use those. Until then, thank you Dole.

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Sunday, August 17, 2008

We have lift-off Houston!

Yep, she's crawling. The real way. Not combat crawling. In fact she's pretty fast and with it comes a fascination for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING she's not supposed to be in. Ha! I think most parents would yearn for the days when their baby would stay in one place but I'm happy to hit this milestone. Katen lives to do things herself and she's happier when she can get around and play with whatever she sees at the moment. She's quite the explorer, but happy baby = happy mommy!

She's also found that it's really fun to ride on mom and dad's shoulders. She just sits up there and giggles the whole time. We walked with her to the grocery store yesterday and she got a little cranky. She doesn't like being confined to a stroller, so I carried her home on my shoulders. Well fate would have it that she also had a full belly and puked in my hair, down the side of my face, on my shirt, and on my shorts. Just imagine baby spit dripping from your chin as you walk in 85 degree heat. Nice! Now I know better. :)

Katen is also doing really well with bigger chunks of food. A friend of ours generously gave us some of her fresh Colorado peaches, so I pureed most of them into babyfood, but saved one for myself. Yesterday morning I had it for breakfast and shared pieces with Katen. She was in heaven. Actually, so was I. They were really awesome peaches. (Thanks Erin!) It was cute to see the juice dripping off her chin as she made like a baby bird asking for more.

After that I mixed some blueberries into her mangoes for lunch, and today I microwaved 1/4 of an apple chopped into tiny bits to make it soft and she enjoyed that too. She's done well with cooked peas too but the skins seem to be a little harder to gum up. She's really an adventurous eater and takes a real interest in whatever mommy or daddy is eating. If you want to eat while she's present, you'd better have a snack handy for her too.

We're actually getting some better sleep these days too. Generally when a child learns a new skill they don't sleep well for a while but just this once it hasn't proved true. We've finally cut out that annoying 11:30/12:00 feeding and for the most part she's just up once to eat and then she goes back down fairly well. I've been letting her fuss but standing right by her with my hand on her back so she knows I've not left her. That's my compromise instead of letting her cry and leaving the room which seems to be a more popular way of sleep training. I've seen some pretty good progress as there have been times where she'll wake and put herself back to sleep. We're getting there!

It will be interesting to see how many crashes occur at our house going forward. I can tell Katen is anxious to walk because she tries to pull up to standing on anything she can get a hold of. My goal for this weekend is to baby proof everything. Just by letting her "play" this morning, I have a whole list of things we need to be aware of. She's a very curious girl!

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Last night of Music Together

I'm so sad that summer is coming to an end. It seems like winter is so long. Last night was our last session of Summer Music Together and as much as I've groaned and whined about going, Katen really is catching on and grooving with the music. She even figured out how the maracas work. FINALLY! I guess I'm going to sign up for the fall session now. It's good for her, right? Okay I like it a little. Not much but a little. Here are some pictures and video. The video gets boring so feel free to cut it off half way through. :)

This picture is of Katen and her friends Maya, Jacob, and Ella. Aren't they all just precious? Their moms and I are part of a group on "The Nest." There were other kids in the class. These were just our favorites. :)

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Fun in the Sun!

Sing it, Katen!

I took Katen to the aquatic center this weekend. She had a blast! On Saturday the weather was really nice. It was warm and in the lower 80's. Having never been there before, I was really happy to find that there was a HUGE area for little kids and a large shaded area for babies. I still get nervous about taking Katen in the sun even though she had sunscreen on. Daddy says I am over protective. Yep, probably. Oh well.

The other neat thing I saw was that a lot of kids were either wearing the 3/4 sleeve swim shirts and trunks like Katen's or they were wearing shirts over their suits to guard against the sun. I haven't been to a pool since probably high school, so that was definitely a change from back then when middle school girls slathered tanning oil all over themselves. ha!

It didn't take Katen long to get used to the water since it was shallow and pretty warm. She sat right down and started swishing her hands around in it. I think her favorite part was smiling at every single little kid that passed by though. She's such a friendly little peanut. Little kids seemed to be attracted to her too. One even wanted to take her down the baby slide. I explained that she wasn't quiiiite old enough yet. Cute!

I guess that once every hour everyone has to get out for 10 minutes so I took that time to teach the pickle how to feed herself. We had some Gerber puffs that become just sticky enough in wet hands. After about three tries she finally figured out that using her thumb and first finger yielded the best results. After that she got about 65% in her mouth without dropping them. The cutest part was when she started using her other hand to help shove the fingers holding the puff into her mouth. Team work!

Soon the whistles blew and we spent a little more time in the water before going she got hungry again. I gave her a bottle that I'd packed in her cooler and she was out like a light, so I packed up our stuff and called it a day.

On Sunday we went for brunch and then the pickle took a nap. Daddy was gone golfing for the afternoon so when she woke up I decided to take her back to the aquatic center. It was a little cooler on Sunday. Probably high 70's and gorgeous so the water was a little cooler and Katen wasn't as sure about it. She did get brave and try to scoot around the pool on her tummy though. It started out as a bear walk (on hands and feet with her bottom in the air) but soon she was splashing around like a little turtle on her belly. That is until some bigger kid ran by splashing her in the face. She wasn't traumatized (thank goodness) and didn't cry, but she was pretty ticked off. There weren't as many kids for her to watch on Sunday so we didn't stay as long but she still had a pretty good time. I don't know why I didn't think to bring her there sooner. We'll definitely go back.

P.S. look how curly her hair gets when it's warm. Just like Daddy's. :)

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Sunday, August 3, 2008

Baptism day

Katen had her Baptism today. She was absolutely fascinated with John who presided over the ceremony. I'll include the video below. I will only be keeping it up for a little while, because it gives too many details about our name, location, etc. It's about 8 minutes long so grab some popcorn.

Oh! and in case you're confused... John calls me "Heather" a couple of times during the ceremony. Heather is my sister. (Between the two of us, she's the more memorable one. Trust me.) He was just mixed up, bless his heart.

Before the ceremony even started, he called me Heather and Mike said, "Honey you'd better tell him that's not your name." I blew it off because pretty much everyone calls me Heather and I get tired of correcting them. I didn't think my name would be part of the ceremony. Guess I was wrong. It wasn't really a big deal to me though.

After the ceremony Katen showed off by trying to crawl in her oh-so-girly dress. It also made her break out in a rash so I promptly took it off and she was comfy in her cotton sundress for the rest of the day. At dinner I decided to try something fun and give her an actual pickle spear to suck on. I fully expected to see her wrinkle her nose. Of course in true Katen fashion..... she loved it! She wanted more. She was even ticked that I wouldn't let her finish it. (There's way too much salt in a pickle for her tiny digestive system.) Go figure!

Got your popcorn? Okay, here it goes...

(edit: Ask me for the video. I took it down since it uses our full names.)

Friday, August 1, 2008

Taking Pictures

Many of you family and friends have seen pictures that we've had taken of Katen. My plan is to have the pickle's 1,3,6,9, and 12 month pictures taken professionally. That leaves some gaps though and I learned very quickly that babies change in the blink of an eye. (and she's not too keen on having strangers take her picture.) So, we also do photo shoots at home.

Sometimes (on a good day) the sessions from home turn out better than the pro shots do. I think a lot of it is because Katen is more relaxed at home and I have the patience to wait for a good shot. At Katen's very first pro shoot she did great. She was one month old and amazingly was alert for the whole thing. The second pro shoot was quite the opposite. She was all smiles during the morning of the shoot but once we got her to the guy's house and set up on the backgrounds she stonewalled us. Not as single smile... until we buckled her into her carseat and began to leave. (What a turkey!) Pro shoot number three had potential but we had to wait 45 minutes to get in because they were running behind. You just can't ask a 6 month old to behave that long so those shots were not great either. Two smiles. I think that's all we got from the six month shoot. Fantastic.

In doing my own shoots there's definitely been a learning curve. Her two month pictures show my green-ness but they have endearing traits to them nonetheless. Four months was better. At five months I was getting closer yet. As I continue trying to get a little bit better, I've had to dig into the users manual of our camera and I've also gathered tips from others.

What tips can I share for more successful picture sessions at home? Let's see...
-Use natural light when possible
-Outside shade is your friend
-Fill the screen with the object you're shooting
-Try editing with PicniK for some fun enhancements
-Buy remnant fabric and use it for backgrounds – solids are better than busy patterns
-Learn the features of your camera and use them to your advantage
-Take a million pics to get 20 good ones ;)
-Use the ‘burst’ or ‘continuous shooting’ mode to get several consecutive shots at a time
-Frame your subject for a neat effect – try a window, fence, doorway, etc
-Try angling your camera – the pictures don't have to be exactly portrait or landscape
-Get down on the baby's level

And great tips from others...

From “DavezWife
-I used a sunny window with sheer white drapes, that looked nice.
-Textured blankets or fake fur make good backgrounds
-I turn off the flash and hold a naked lamp behind me, or above.
-I'm partial to photoscape for editing
-Use the macro feature on camera. You can make the nearest object sharp while the background blurs. (This is the F stop on regular cameras.) -My note: You can also fake that camera setting by using Picnic for editing.
-Weird noises get kid's attention more than just yoo-hoo'ing... bark, blow a whistle, sneeze loud... those get her to react more than "hi baby"

From “Wvagirl
-If you are using a point and shoot camera be sure to turn off that flash when possible. The flash can overpower your baby/subject especially indoors.

From Robin
-Change your perspective, to get a better shot, stand on a chair, lie on the ground.
-Don't take pictures of just happy subjects, crying babies photograph well, too, as well as pensive babies!
-Be sure to take pictures of parts of babies, too. Feet, hands, etc.
-Use perspective to your advantage. Get the favorite toy in the foreground, baby in the background.
-Bounce the flash off the ceiling sometimes!

From Pamela
-Be patient
-A great photo does not always have to be a calm, quiet baby
-Pay attention to shadows – watch your screen for shadows
-Use props...favorite toy, blanket, lovie
-Focus on just one part of the body, such as feet, hands, little belly button, tight shots of face but not the entire face, eyes

From Rachel
-Don't be afraid to get close up.
-Be creative with the focus
-Shoot on manual exposure, you'll get much better lighting than on auto

I'm sure I'll continue to learn even more tips and tricks as we go. My next challenge will probably be learning to get photos of a very high energy mobile baby!

If you want to have a little fun, click this link to see if you can pick
out the pro pics vs my pics.
(You probably can. Some of them are obvious, but humor me. I'm still learning.) I'll post the results in a couple of days. :)

1. 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.
7. 8.

9. 10.

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Mom makes tasty beans! Wanna see?

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