September 29, 2010

My precious, incredible little girl. Today, you are 9 months old. You are only 3 months away from turning one. How is that possible when it still feels like yesterday I was meeting you for the first time? You never cease to amaze me. Every day, you learn something new or do something even cuter than the day before. Time is flying by, but daddy and I are enjoying every minute that we get to spend with you.

You had your 8 month checkup last month. You are 20 lbs and 27 inches long. It's nice to see you growing so well! The doctor said you looked great and was impressed at how well you can crawl and pull up on everything. The only little blips were your eyes and teeth. We knew from the last appointment that you will need to see an eye doctor. It's nothing major or urgent, we just need to keep an eye on your eyes! Also, your pearly whites are coming in crooked. If they stay that way, then we'll take you to the dentist. But otherwise, you are an amazing and healthy little girl!

You are still in size 3 diapers and wearing mostly 12 month clothing. Some 6-12 month shirts fit okay but you will outgrow them soon!

What you are up to now:
Crawling. I wasn't sure you were going to get it, but once you did, you took off! You are so fast and you have learned to get everywhere and into everything. Child-proofing is an on-going thing in this house.

Pulling up on everything. You pull up on the sofa, the coffee table, your crib, your highchair, your excersaucer. Once you are standing, you "walk" along the items. It's only a matter of time before you are walking by yourself!

Eating more solids and less formula. Your appetite for milk had dropped. You still have 6 oz bottles, but only about 4 a day, spanning from 3-4 1/2 hours in between each. But, you get 2 whole meals and snacks, and I'm going to be adding a lunch in there soon. You also have table foods when you can have what we're having. Teeny bites of pasta and chicken and rice. You love rice! You tryed cheerios for the first time today and you were definitely a fan. You also get water with your meals and you've mastered the sippy cup.

We have finally gotten a routine set and mommy is a lot less crazy now! You get a bath, a book and a bottle right before bedtime. We start around 7:30 and you are in bed by 8:30 and down for the night. You wake up in the mornings, starting around 7 but you always go back to sleep and you don't get up for good until 8:30/9ish. You have your morning bottle and get breakfast about an hour or so later. Nap time is 12/12:30, after your next bottle. You can sleep anywhere from 1 hour to 3 hours. Which is such a nice break for mommy. I get to have lunch and clean and blog without stopping every 5 seconds! You take another bottle after your nap, then playtime. Then it's dinner time! You hang out in your highchair and I feed you Gerber's while I cook then we all sit at the table and eat. If we're having pasta or rice, I put a little food on your high chair and let you feed yourself. After some cleaning and more playtime, it's time for bath and bed again!

Your such a happy baby. And, so smart! You can wave "bye bye" and give "high fives", although you pick and choose when you want to do it. You babble all the time, but no real words have come out yet. You pretend to be shy around people, but I think you really like the attention! And, when you are not happy, you show that! Temper tantrums are coming out. But, you laugh alot more than you cry! Your new laugh is really weird. It's almost like you are gasping for air, but you are laughing. Sometimes, you can be really weird L-bug!

Other than that, you are the same happy baby, just getting a little older every day!

I love you and I am so proud to be your mommy. Keep being amazing!

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Homemade Applesauce.

September 27, 2010

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My wonderful daddy taught me how to make homemade applesauce the other week after we went apple-picking. Me, being the lover of cooking and baking, couldn't wait to try it! I don't personally like applesauce, I think the texture throws me off. Like, pudding. I don't like eating weird textures...

Anyways, M and L like applesauce and I love cooking for them so last night after dinner I made a batch of applesauce. Mmm, it's so Fall-ish to have the kitchen smell like fresh apples!

M was my taste-tester last night to make sure the applesauce was sweet enough. After a little extra sugar, he said it was very good! L was my taste-tester this morning. I fed her some this morning for breakfast and she seemed to really like it! I left the texture a little chunky for her, but she will get used to that.

Since I love to share goodness, here's the recipe!
Makes about 4-6 servings.
4-6 apples peeled, cored and cut into small chunks
 I used a mixture of sweet apples and tart apples. I think whatever you have on hand is fine. If you are making a large batch, use more apples.
4-6 tablespoons sugar
1/4-1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Peel the apples and slice them into small chunks. The smaller they are, the faster they will cook. Toss them into a large pot and add enough water to cover them. Cook them on medium-high heat until they cook down to mush.
Drain the apples, toss them back into the pot and mash them down with a fork. Add the sugar (I would start with 4 tbsp and taste, then go from there) and cinnamon (don't overdo the cinnamon!) and mix it all up.
Then just refridgerate it. It should be good for about a week.

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Mamarazzi Monday - When Lia Feeds Herself.

You get this...

We still feed L her Gerbers, but if we are eating something that she can have, then we let her have it. Last night, I made arroz con gandules and chicken for dinner so I gave L some rice and tiny pieces of chicken on her tray and let her feed herself. She's getting better at it but it's still a messy process!

She managed to get rice EVERYWHERE. There's also the random food stain on her forehead. Oh, and of course, the red drool that comes after eating red dog food. Because, yes, she decided to try it out yesterday and see how it tasted. I don't think she was thrilled after we had to sweep her mouth a couple times to fish it out. But by that time, she had swallowed it.

The adventures of a crawling baby...

Mamarazzi Monday
Link up @ Household6Diva.
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Hello Fall.

September 23, 2010

It's officially the 1st day of Fall. Although, I don't think Mother Nature got the memo on that here in New York. The weather has been up and down. One day is a gorgeous, chilly day that screams Fall. The next (like yesterday) is a warm 80 degrees.

What ever happened to the weather actually matching the season?

I've waited until mid-September but now it's officially time to break out the Fall decor. Last year, I couldn't wait. This year? I've been a little preoccupied. But, I finally feel like I'm getting a handle on motherhood and routines. It's time to welcome the holidays with open arms!

The best part of this year? L gets to experience all of it for the first time. She's already been apple picking and hung out with some pumpkins and LOVED it. I found her a Halloween costume. She's going to be an adorable fairy. I'm not really big on the store costumes. Every store seems to carry the same things done slightly differently. I like to be more original. But, I figured I wouldn't be the best DIY-er in the Halloween costume department. I would put it off and find myself last minute without a costume for my babe. So, while I was in the mall last week, I found this costume and thought it was the best I've seen so far. Some of the baby costumes are really cute but L won't really be a baby. She'll be a whopping 10 months old at Halloween time. So, a fairy it is!

Since we moved into a larger home a few months ago, what little holiday decor I had stashed away is looking like less and less. And, whatever Halloween decor that didn't get destroyed by rain or the landscapers last year is very little. Since we don't have the extra in our budget for me to go crazy in Target, stashing the cart with all the amazing decor they keep in stock, I am thinking up other ways to stay festive and in budget! At least, until those pretty red clearance stickers come out.

There's always DIY projects...

And, I read over here that dollar stores are stocking up in some things that are worth checking out!

Either way, I am beyond excited that Fall is here. There's nothing better than curling up in bed on a chilly day with some hot chocolate and watching my favorite movies (You've Got Mail and When Harry Met Sally).

Do you have any great DIY projects or decor tips?

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September 22, 2010

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Being a mom has been THE most amazing thing I have done. In my short 24 years, nothing comes close to carrying a child, watching her come into this world and then spending every second of the day nurturing her and watching her grow.

It's an amazing thing. Amazing - I just can't say it enough.

Before L was born, I thought I was going to be the perfect parent and any bad habit I had would just go away because I was going to be her mother. Where exactly was my head at?! But once I stopped beating myself up over things and just told myself  "look if you want it to change, then you have to change it" things have gotten better.

I used to be horrible at routines and doing things when they needed to get one. And with a child, you need to do that more than ever. It's the difference in a long, cranky day and a better day. Just this past week, I got myself sticking to a cleaning routine that doesn't leave me feeling overwhelmed during the weekend when the house looks like a tornado hit it. No, it isn't always fun to clean every day and no, I don't always want to do it but it's what works.

And naps? They were non-existent once L hit about 4-5 months old. She was outgrowing her swing, wanting nothing much to do with it. Eventually, she was learned how to sit up and lean out of it. Bedtime consisted of her screaming as soon as we put her down. I dreaded it. Just these past few weeks has that been changing. I almost don't want to write it. I don't want the good stuff to end. But, it was something I struggled with and beat myself up about and hopefully, it can help another new mom.

L always slept in the crib as a baby. I would rock her every night and rub her head until she drifted off. As she got older, that changed. We never set a bedtime or a nap time. We went with the flow. She doesn't like to be rocked now. But, laying her down in the crib awake wasn't much of an option either. M had the breakthrough with nap when he was on vacation for a week. It didn't always go smoothly after that, but it was better. Last week when I was on my own, I tryed my best to stay on her routine. For a few days, it worked. Some days, I had to run errands in the morning that ran through her nap time. And then, my parents came for a visit and we had long days full of fun! When I only see them a few times a year, there is no time for routines and schedules!

I battled with letting L cry it out. I hate hearing her cry, but I also didn't want the neighbors hearing her cries through the wall at night.  The walls are really thin and if I can hear them all. day. long then I know they can hear L. After many tearful nights (for both of us) and a few struggles with nap time, things just started to fall into place. The past two nights M has layed her down for bed, she has cryed for a minute or two and then she has slept through the night! Naps this week have been great. Yesterday and today she woke up within the first hour crying but I left her and she fell back asleep. She has now taken 2-4 hour naps every day this week. I figured out today that when she wakes up crying within the first hour, she isn't done napping. When she's done napping, she wakes up and I just hear her move around or bang on her toy.

I feel like motherhood has just gotten even more amazing now that I don't beat myself up over my baby not napping or going to bed easily. I am sure there will be more bumps in the road but it's now becoming a little easier. I don't dread the times I have to put her down in her crib. And, that's a huge relief.

Now, I can really focus on everything else my beautiful girl does. Like just now, I turned around to check on her and she was standing between the sofa and coffee table holding on to each one. When she saw me looking at her, she just crinkled her nose and laughed at me. It's still shocking to me to see this little girl who once needed everything done for her growing independent.

And every time she crinkles that teeny little nose of her and smiles at me, my heart melts.

Being a parent is hard. It's frustrating. We beat ourselves up over anything and everything we did wrong or didn't do at all. We compare ourselves to other parents. But all we can really do is be the best parent we know how to be.

Being a mom has made me the happiest I have been. I have a handsome, incredibly supportive husband and a beautiful, healthy + happy baby girl.

Whenever I feel like I am doubting myself or my mothering abilities, I will just think of my beautiful family and those smiles that come with the crinkly nose and know that we're all doing great and it's going to be okay.
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September 20, 2010

My parents came to visit this weekend. We had tons of fun visiting Maskers Orchard. We set Lia down in her first pumpkin patch and let her pick some apples. She had a blast and was so worn out by the end of the day!

I think Lia is going to love Fall just as much as her momma does.

Go link up your own Mamarazzi Monday post over at Sarah@MainLineMoms.
Mamarazzi Monday
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A Fresh Week.

September 13, 2010

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It's Monday. The start of a brand new week.  Another chance to get my routine sticking.

I've got my week off to a great start. I have actually crossed off all the items on my to-do list. Okay, there is one left. Make a grocery list. But I'm mostly done with it. I just have to plan some meals for next week and see what I need for them. Still, pretty impressive, I think.

Being that it's just L and me this week (M is away on business), I figured I should really try to stick to my planned out routine. I figured out that the only way I can clean the house and get things done is to make a schedule and split all the cleaning up between the week days.

Mondays - Bathrooms, laundry and collect all the trash.
Tuesdays - Bedrooms and vacuum upstairs.
Wednesdays - Living room, dining room, and sweep/mop downstairs.
Thursdays - Laundry.

I clean the kitchen every day and I try to give each room a quick pickup at the end of the day. So far, I've only done good with cleaning the kitchen every day and attempting to pick up some. But, I'm determined to get this routine going.

I got alot done today. It makes me feel inspired. It's hard to clean with an 8 month old who likes to crawl everywhere and get into everything. She gets clingy at the most inopportune times. BUT, I'm trying. I'm motivated to succeed.

Today, I cleaned all three bathrooms, straightened up our bedroom, washed, folded and put away three loads of laundry, picked up the living room and moved the sofas around, cleaned the kitchen and washed all of the dirty dishes, washed all of L's bottles, cleaned the fridge out and started my grocery list, took out all the trash and ran an errand.

Whew, I'm tired. Satisfied and happy, but tired.

I only wish I would have been as successful with L's nap. Putting her down for naps and at night has become so difficult. I don't know why she freaks out when I lay her down. Even if I rock her to sleep and then lay her down, as soon as her head touches the mattress she's up crying. I pray and pray to keep my patience and be given the strength to get her to bed. My guess is that she just doesn't want me to leave her. I am hoping it gets better but all I can do is remain calm and keep trying.

Otherwise, L is a great baby. She is even taking teething like a champ. One tooth has popped through. Crooked, though. Has anyone else had their babies first tooth come in crooked? Her other bottom tooth is working on popping through! It's so exciting to see her grow and change. Before long, she'll be turning one!

It's the start of a beautiful week. All my favorite TV shows are starting this week and next week (Hello, Gossip Girl + One Tree Hill + Grey's Anatomy) M will be back on Friday and my parents will be here on Thursday. L hasn't seen her grandparents since June so we are very excited! Now, I'm off to a friends house to catch up.

Happy Monday. Whatever is left of it!
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8 months old.

September 10, 2010

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Oh, how they grow so fast.

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It's Friday! It's a perfect crisp Fall-ish day and I'm in love. Does it get much better? I'm planning on soaking up all the moments I can with my loves this weekend for M will be gone next week for work. Tonight, I'm going to cook my babe a delicious dinner (spaghetti + meat sauce, garlic bread), pick up a bit and relax.

Have an amazing, inspiring weekend!
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September 7, 2010

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Here is L's 8 month letter. Better late than never, right?

In my experience this past week, when the baby gets a cold, the momma gets sick twice and the daddy takes a week off of work and you throw 2 holidays in the mix (my birthday, of course it's a holiday!, and labor day) you get a momma that feels very disorganized and out of sorts, a messy house, an empty fridge and no blog posts.

But I had a GREAT birthday (I'll do a post later once I get the pictures from a friend) and we had a great Labor Day weekend. Most importantly, we had an amazing week having M home with us. We took care of some errands and took a fun trip to the zoo. We lazed and grazed and we did not do any of the DIY projects I had in mind. But we soaked up our time with him. It's more often that we don't see him for a week so it was so nice to have him for a week.

I'm trying to get myself on the right path for September. Back to eating right, making meal plans, organizing my day, my life. Getting Lia into routines (with a huge help from M). And, enjoying every moment of Fall and the holidays and Lia's last baby-hood days. I'll post more on that sort of subject later, once I get my head unjumbled and back to the usual day to day-ness.

Now, I know you are dying to hear all about L as an 8 month old! At the moment, she's sitting beside me, bouncing on her butt and screaming at me.

Okay, now that I have picked up the screaming babe, covered her in kisses, fed her breakfast and she's settled in the floor with Nick Jr, a slew of toys, and M's box of video games she prefers over her toys I'll get back to telling you all about our 8 month old.

Her 8 month checkup isn't until next week so we'll guess on the stats, again. She's at least 20 lbs. This babe likes to eat! I've no idea on the height, but I know she's grown a couple inches. It's getting chilly (on some days) here so I pulled out her bigger Fall/Winter clothes we stocked up on last year. Before she was born, Old Navy was having an extra 50% off clearance sale and things were cheap. It's a good thing I bought them so cheap, she's outgrown some of them! I put a sweatshirt-type dress on her Saturday - it's really too short.

I think just about everything has changed about L. Except her beautiful smile and happy attitude. She is always getting into something and learning something new. Her new thing is to pull all of the baskets out of the coffee table and TV stand and empty the contents out. She's also grown attached to Toby's toys, especially the tennis ball. It's cute watching those two play with that tennis ball together. Let's hope what they say about a dogs mouth being really clean is true.

We moved her mattress down a few weeks ago and she likes to wake us up by standing up and shaking the rails! She can pull herself up to stand. She'll take steps as long as she is holding on to something or someone. She is an amazing crawler. She's on the move and she follows me almost everywhere I go. Even the bathroom.

She still loves bath time. As soon as she gets in her little tub and grabs a toy, she noms down on it and gives me the biggest grin. Her grin is about to get brighter, too. She's got two teeth cutting through. One has a tiny piece broken through the skin and the other is still cutting. She does great with teething, so far. I just didn't realize it took so long for a tooth to cut through.

She still hasn't said words besides the elusive "dada" we have yet to hear again, but she babbles. Alot. She loves to clap too. Yesterday, M and I were playing Just Dance on the Wii. L sat in the floor clapping to the music! It was too cute. If I wasn't too busy kicking M's butt in the game I would have recorded her!

And kids. She LOVES kids. If she spots a kid, her eyes sparkle and she breaks out that adorable smile of hers. I am hoping I can meet some moms with kids her age so she can play and socialize with them. She plays with my friends' kids but I want to see what she does with a baby her age. Anyone live close enough to be interested?!

She's drinking 6 oz bottles, anywhere between every 3 - 4 1/2 hours. She's eating solids for breakfast and dinner, but I think I'm going to add a lunch soon. She gets a snack during the day, too. Yogurt, whole fruits, Puffs. She LOVES the Gerber Puffs and Yogurt Melts. She is learning to pick them up with her fingers, but they don't usually make them to her mouth yet. They get stuck on her fingers or she drops them and Toby comes around to eat them. I usually give them to her and she breaks out in another huge grin. We try working in more "table foods" so she can learn the different textures and figure out how to mash foods with her jaws. She recently tryed (well, she sort of stole it from my friend) a peach. She went crazy over it. She shoved the halved peach in her mouth and went to town. She loves snacking on chunks of banannas too. I don't think we have found a food she doesn't like yet. She is doing good about eating her cereal in the mornings now and she'll even take green veggies at night with dinner!

As far as nap routines go, I bow down to M! Since he was home last week, he amazingly got L taking naps. In. Her. Crib! With me, when I put her down in her crib for a nap she stands up, shakes the rails and crys so hard she can't breath. She just won't settle down for me. She sees me more than anyone else and she's gotten to that clingy stage. She doesn't want me too far away from her unless she doesn't know I am around. Naps just weren't working for us. Then, M comes and saves the day for us! She'll go down anywhere between 12 and 1:30 and sleep for at least an hour. Yesterday, I think it was like 2 - 2 1/2 hours. It is nice. Nice to know that for at least an hour I have a quiet house. And, the more amazing thing is that she'll let me put her down. Knock on wood, because I don't want to ruin it but I rocked her while I watching the 12 o'clock news and put her down in her crib at 12:15. She's still there! I know I am no good at it, but I love the idea of a nice day with a routine. It helps me stay on track of things and organized. I suck at it but I need it. I need it to be a better mother and a better wife. Heck, I need it to be a better me.

And, I think that sums her up. It's crazy how fast she grows, but I feel as if she was always at this stage. Do you other mamas feel that way sometimes? I feel like I have always been her mama and she has always been this crazy, silly, loves to laugh and clap little girl who has stolen my heart.

This is her "Mommy, I didn't do it face. Blame it on Toby!"

Toby isn't so sure about that!
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