Thursday, March 31, 2011

book enthusiast

Hendrix comes from a family of readers.  Both his parents really love to read and so do his grandparents, so I naturally assumed that he would love to read as well.  

To encourage a love for literacy; we began reading to Hendrix when he was still in the womb, he started attending baby storytime at the library at just three weeks old, and we gave him a pretty good start on his book collection.  
His first book was a soft book that he mostly just chewed on, but we carried it around in his diaper bag pretty religiously.  We continued reading him stories daily and let him try eating the corners of the books, hoping that he would eventually have an interest in looking at the pictures and try turning the pages.   

Now at six months old, I think he actually is starting to understand what reading a book is all about!

He likes to turn the pages himself, though more often than not he 'bops' himself in the nose with the cardboard page.

He is learning how to lift the flaps...

 ....loves the pages with textures to touch and feel....

...and also the books that have parts that you can pull out. Those must be for eating!

He got this really cool recordable book for Valentine's Day from his Grandma, and all four of his grandparents read it to him on the recording.  We love to get it out and listen to it together.  

As you can see he looks around for them as he hears their voices, and he smiles alot!  It jumps a little bit in the movie because of the way I am holding it in front of him and trying to record it with my camera.  When he is sitting on my lap and I am holding it steady, the book reads just perfectly.  What a fun and treasured gift!

In fact, many of the books that he plays with were gifts from various friends and family members, and we love thinking about them as we read.  It will be cool to tell him someday about when and where each book was acquired.   I think the Easter bunny plans to bring him a basket full of books this year!

Monday, March 28, 2011

our 'super baby food' adventure

So Hendrix's first encounter with solid foods was boxed rice and oatmeal cereals from the grocery store.   We spent the extra couple bucks to buy organic, and felt pretty good about what we were feeding him.

Next he started eating some vegetables.  These were all steamed by me from fresh and then pureed and frozen into portion sized ice cube trays (this makes loading his diaper bag for the day very easy as I just throw a few cubes in a few bowls with lids).  He took a particular liking to squash and sweet potatoes, and was not a huge fan of peas or green beans.

Then we moved on to fruits.  He really loved the apples and pears, but refuses still both bananas and avocados.  I bought him some baby yogurt to try, which he loved, but when I read that sugar was one of the ingredients I questioned whether it was really a good choice for such young and impressionable taste-buds.

As I was starting to research when he could be allowed to try various new foods, and planning my next big baby food making day, I spoke with a fellow mom friend who passed along her tips in the form of a book that she let me borrow.  She prefaced the loan by telling me that this book has some pretty radical ideas on what to feed your baby, but the tips about fruits and vegetables were especially helpful for her.  

Being the enthusiastic mom that I am, I read the book, Super Baby Food, rather thoroughly and decided to try some of those crazy ideas.  

Homemade Yogurt
Like I already mentioned, Hendrix really likes yogurt, so i thought it was worth a shot.  It seemed easy enough.  

All that is needed is; milk, a thermometer and a bacterial culture source.

First you scald the milk to kill the bacteria.  You can use any kind of milk to make yogurt, but whole milk is what is best for little guys so that is what I used.  The recipe said to use a quart (4 cups) of milk, and that using a stainless steel or glass pan would be best for not affecting the taste.  

Scalding means to heat until almost boiling which is when small bubbles form around the edges, this occurs around 180 degrees and I used my candy thermometer to ensure that it got hot enough (as recommended by the author).

Once it reaches the target temperature you should remove it from the heat and let it cool down to the incubation temperature.  Apparently the perfect temperature for the bacteria to grow is 112 degrees, but it really just needs to be somewhere in between 90 and 120 degrees.  I let mine cool on the counter and kept checking the temp on my thermometer.  It took about an hour. 

Next you add the "starter" or friendly bacterial culture.  One way you can do this is by adding store-bought yogurt (2 tablespoons to each quart of milk), another way is by adding freeze-dried bacterial culture from a natural foods store (sold like yeast), or eventually using some of your homemade batch for the next batch.  If you use store-bought (which is what I did), just make sure that you use plain yogurt, and that it says on the label that it contains live and active cultures.

The yogurt that you add should be room temperature so it doesn't drastically change the temperature of your milk as you stir it in.

Lastly, you just cover it and let it incubate for 4-12 hours until it thickens to the consistency of yogurt.  I set mine in a water bath in my crockpot on the warm setting overnight and it was ready in the morning.  

It was a bit tart and was not sweet at all.  I don't think that it tastes very yummy all by itself (but then again I am used to the sweet, fruity yogurt that I usually buy at the store), but when I mixed it with some peaches it was pretty good.  Hendrix really likes it and that is what matters!

Rice Cereal
While I was waiting for my yogurt to incubate I decided to whip up some cereal.  The book also discusses the health benefits of feeding your children super porridge, and recommends a cereal made with a variety of whole and natural grains. 

Just like with other baby foods, it warns to introduce the grains individually before mixing them together to ensure that your child doesn't have an allergic reaction.  They recommend starting with brown rice, and then moving on to steel cut oats, millet, barley, etc. 

I blended 1 cup of rice in my blender for two minutes until it turned into a very fine powder. 

I added it to 4 cups of boiling water, stirring it in with a whisk, and then simmered it for 10 minutes. 

That made two dozen mini-muffin sized portions that I put in the freezer covered with saran wrap.  My freezer is really filling up with food for my little man....

Wonder how long this will last?

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My super cool dude

Hendrix likes his new shades.

He loved trying them out at the park this afternoon.  ;)

When are we going back, Mom?

Hendrix's 6 month Pictures

Wow I have been a little slow in getting Hendrix's six month pictures posted (since he will be seven months here in about a week.  oops!)

As you can see, he was all smiles and a lot of fun!

I can't get over how grown up he looks in some of these poses...

but then those itty bitty toes remind me that he is still my sweet lil' baby boy!

Our photographer, Lora, does an absolutely awesome job with her photos!  We love her!

I imagine that you can see why I have such a hard time picking just a few favorite shots when there are so many fabulous ones!  This is why I like to order photobooks to capture all the fun from the session.  If you want to see the full rundown of pics, take a look.  

And if you missed his 3 month photos or 1 month photos you can still check them out. 

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Scrapbookin' Day

I just got my first Stampin' Up order and am thrilled to try out these awesome new stamps!

I have not gotten nearly as far on Hendrix's scrapbook yet as I would like, 

and since we have a relatively free weekend (no house painting, no out of town traveling), I think I might try to put in some good hours of work on it!

Coffee - check
Sleeping baby - check

Memory making, here I come!

Friday, March 25, 2011

I am officially one of 'those' moms

I have been dreaming about being a mom since I was a little girl playing with my dolls.  Then it continued as I was a big sister helping out with the 'real' babies.  I started getting paid to baby-sit for other people's kids around age 11, and made a career out of it after college as I became a full-time nanny. 

All of those experiences gave me invaluable knowledge about caring for children and helped me to form some ideas about what I thought I would do with my own kiddos.  As I watched other people parent, I observed lots of tips and skills that I admired and knew I would want to try to replicate.  I also looked around me and saw things that other parents did that I thought I would never do.  Never is definitely too strong of a word to use in this lifetime.  
  • I said I would never be one of those moms that wants to stay at home with her kids.  I saw my mom do it, and while I admired her so much for it, I thought that I was a career woman.  Now I take my son to work with me (awesome deal), and am looking for ways to pursue other forms of income so i can eventually stay home. 
  • I didn't think I would be one of those moms that takes her kids to the movies.  Seriously, why would anyone want to take their kids everywhere with them?  Wouldn't a nice quiet date night be awesome?  Sure, but I have a hard time leaving him with someone else (I'm trying to get better at this.....I really am!) and I am too cheap to pay a baby-sitter.  At least he goes to bed early and we have plenty of alone time then ;)
  • I didn't ever think I would be one of those moms that wants to feed her baby only natural or organic foods.  No, I am even crazier than that.  Just to make sure that I know what he is eating is wholesome, I am making pretty much all of it.  I even started making his rice cereal last night (from whole grain brown just throw it in the blender before boiling it, and it turns out just like the boxed cereal you buy in the baby grocery isle), and made my first attempt at homemade yogurt.  I know, I am pretty radical.  lol

  • I didn't think I would be one of those moms that gets so comfortable with baby bodily fluids that I would walk around with spitup on me and not feel the need to change my shirt (what's the point?)  Oh and don't worry, I have resorted to using my sleeve to wipe my son's nose in a pinch.  Pretty gross, huh?
  • I swore that I would never be one of those moms that brings her baby to bed with her  (no offense meant to anyone that practices co-sleeping, it just isn't the right fit for us).  In our family usually everyone gets the best sleep when they are all in their own beds; but there are those nights (usually when sickness is involved) when if I didn't bring Hendrix to bed with me, I wouldn't get any sleep. 

  • I said I would not be one of those moms that buys more clothes for her child than he/she could possibly wear before outgrowing them. Well I like to shop.  And everything miniature is just so. darn. cute.  ;)
  • I said that I would refuse to talk to my kids in "babytalk".  It would be much better to teach them to talk like big kids........but he smiles and laughs when I get down on his level and imitate him.  It's way worth it to be a goober!
  • I never intended to be one of those  moms that decides to cloth diaper her baby.  Why would I want to carry poopy diapers around in my diaper bag all day?  Gross!  Well, I love my fuzzibunz ;)
  • I honestly didn't think I would ever want to own a minivan.  I assumed that it would probably happen at some point if we have a few kids......but after our first one?  really?  Now I can't imagine ever wanting to downsize.  
  • I had no idea how many pictures I was going to take of my child.  Professional photos every three months, and snapshots most definitely daily.  I have had to purchase an external hard drive for all my photos of Hendrix.  He is changing so quickly and I just want to document everything!  By the way, at just six months old, he already recognizes the camera and seems to know how to pose and smile.  So funny!
  • I was certain that I wouldn't be one of those moms that just stops going to the gym and 'lets herself go'.  I wanted to be a hot momma!  Well, let's just face it, there are parts of your body that will never be the same after going through pregnancy and delivery.  And secondly, who finds the time for the gym with a full-time job and a baby?  I think I have too many hobbies for in my spare time.  ;)  I am looking forward to nicer weather so those stroller walks can help me tone up a little.....
  • And finally, I told myself that I would not be one of those moms that talked about her kids all the time.  I was going to have my own life still, and I was going to be interesting enough in my own right to have other things to talk about.  lol  What I didn't know was that being a mom consumes you.  He is the only thing really worth talking about.  And you know what?  I am okay with that.
I guess I am just one of those moms.