Happy Valentine’s Day

This year I have two sweethearts to celebrate for Valentine’s Day. Last year at this time we went on a mini baby-moon Day-cation and now I get to celebrate the love I have for my little boy.

Don’t worry Luke won’t be left out. As usual I will be making berry pie. For more see:  Valentine’s Pie and  pie remix

We will also the next weekend cash in on a Christmas present from NaiNai and Papa: movie gift card with babysitting included.

Whether it’s friends, family, or a significant other, hope you all get to spend Valentine’s with someone you care about.

Zachary: 8 Months

Zach is a totally different little boy than he was at Christmas! It feels like I blinked and we are already well on our way to walking and toddler life.

Zachariah was dedicated on January 14th during our Sunday church service. We were blessed to have both sets of grandparents and one pair of great-grand parents stand with us.

The church prayed over Zachary and Luke and I promised, along with the help of the family present, to guide Zach’s spiritual growth. It was a great weekend celebrating Zachary and spending time together as a family.

This month Zachary is eating more efficiently, which means less on the floor for the dog. He likes bread and noodles, and will eat bananas and avocado with his fingers. He still likes applesauce and has added peanut butter, blueberries, and some shredded meat occasionally to his diet. Zach will also “eat” grapes and cuties by sucking out the juice then spitting the rest out.

After family visited for his dedication, Zachary expanded his babbling. He has been working on more complex combination of sounds and adding “g” to his vocabulary. But his favorite this month has be “dada” and “nana” (which we think means “mama

Zach has become a confident sitter, he can reach for and play with toys while still keeping balance and is beginning to rock on all fours; he will be crawling on his knees soon. He is also teething again, working on those top two front teeth. We are ready this time with applesauce popsicles, drool bandanas, and frozen teething rings.

He is also sleeping through the night (mostly) and in his own room, minus the occasional cough, and mom and dad are learning to as well. Ok mostly Mom. Speaking of mom, Zach has been more mommy focused; reaching for me and away from other people, showing a preference. He is crawling to me for cuddles or nursing and will pull on my pant legs and kick to say “up” or “nana”.

Zach has been enjoying all his Christmas toys and first encountered “sharing” with a friend during his first playdate, which was with a little boy a year older than him.

One Christmas item Zach got was a door-way bouncer. He is warming up to it he will lean one way or another and use his feet to spin the bouncer to face a different direction.

Since it has been such a mild winter, Zach and I have been enjoying walks on the property discovering moss, ferns, pine needles, and dry tall wild grass. Zach is thankful for his fleece jacket from NaiNai, his bear beanie hat from Grandma, and for overalls as he explores the great outdoors.

Also new this month: Zach is loving bath time in the big bathtub. He is learning to play with water: kicking and splashing and chewing on rubber duckies and frogs. We are still learning we have to stay seated in the bath. Zachary found Kira’s water bowl, which looks similar steel bowls he plays with in the living room, but with water in it. Fortunately, he didn’t drink, just soaked his clothes.

Sorry the 8 month pictures may be a little blurry. Zach did not want to sit still for a photo shoot. He thought he’drather eat or try to take the sticker off than when wear it.

It’s been one long month adjusting back after the holidays, but Zach is doing well and we are both ready for more adventures out and making new friends.

 

 

Zachary: 7 Months

Zach turned 7 months on New Year’s Eve. He spent the day traveling home from Grandma and Grandpa’s lake-house and went to bed at home three hours before midnight.

Zach went to his first Christmas party in Holiday PJs at our Young Family group where we sang carols together. Then at the MOPs party the next day he made his first ornament: a snowman made out of his thumb print.

He also saw the Borst Park lights from his car seat and stayed with a babysitter for the first time so his parents could enjoy a holiday date to see the newest Star Wars movie.

Zachary enjoyed going with us to pick out our Christmas tree from Jensen Family Tree Farm. There was such a great selection of trees it was hard to choose one! We could tell it was time to cut one down because Zach was cold and ready for a nap.

Zachary now has two shiny bottom teeth. The first came in slowly starting at Thanksgiving, the second came much faster through Christmas. Both holiday dinners ended in applesauce popsicles to sooth a sore mouth. Now the teeth have evened out and has a cute toothy grin.

With the help of his new teeth, he has also discovered finger foods. Cheerios and puff cereal are good, he also likes noodles, but his favorite is cheese. He will eat green beans but still prefers his fruits and vegetables in their pureed form

Zach has become a very efficient scooter and is working on a full crawl, getting up on his knees then pushing off with his feet. He is determined to explore everything he is not supposed to, especially the outlets. It was a daily battle to keep Zach away from the Christmas light plug in. Even after turning him around and giving him a toy, he will go right back for the same plug. He now has found ALL of the outlets in the living room.

Zach’s language skills have also expanded. We are have heard him mimic several words he hears often including:   “dada” “mama” “water” and “up” and “kira”. He will say these words  but not always in connection with the person or object.

Zachary spent his first Holiday season visiting family. At both families he had Christmas present opening sessions all to himself, in the afternoons, after his morning nap.

His favorite thing about Christmas presents were the bows and tissue paper, which we had to keep him from eating, along with NaiNai and Papa’s tinsel from their tree. He enjoyed his presents a little too, but our little extrovert mostly liked spending time with everyone.  Bedtime routine was a bit of a challenge, he didn’t want to miss out on the fun!

After we got back from our travels, Zach decided to start off the new year in big-boy crib. He is now settling nicely in his own bedroom for naps and bedtime.

Hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.

 

 

 

 

Favorite Things

As the holiday chaos hits full swing I am receiving almost daily packages of ordered Christmas presents. I’m sure the post person, UPS and FedEx drivers are getting tired of my long driveway, gated yards, and over-protective “guard-dog”.

Anywhere you go you see advertisements for everything you could possible want for Christmas. Before half of December has finished, you can easily be up to your ears in Cheery Christmas deals. No matter how hard you resist, you feel yourself pulled in by sales and stretching that holiday budget.

The advertisements this year are all about how to make my baby’s Christmas “magical”. In order for that to happen  I need to buy the newest educational toys. I need to pay for photos of my child in a Santa hat in front of a Christmas tree. And I need to take my son to see Santa. Oh and I need to buy him holiday PJ’s and  . . .the list continues. The pressure is: they only have a first Christmas once.

As I open one of many brown boxes, I see the excitement in both my son and dog’s eyes.

But it’s not for the gift inside.

Our dog loves the plastic air insulators. With supervision, she enjoys popping them with her teeth and throwing them up in the air. (When the air is gone we throw them away).

And my son? He has discovered the joy of a cardboard box. It is great to sit in, play peek-a-boo with, push or throw around the floor, it makes a great drum and if big enough (with mom or dad’s help) it can be a nice car or space ship.

A cardboard box and packaging: my family’s favorite things.

It’s a refreshing reminder this holiday season that we do not really need all that much.

I saw posted on Facebook this week “Buy Presents Be Present”.

It’s easy for me to get so preoccupied by preparing for tomorrow that I miss out on the festivities today.

This ‘Baby’s First Christmas’ needs to be more about the memories we make than the tree, outings, outfits, or presents.

Being present in the holiday moment right in front of me; it is the best gift I can offer my family this holiday,

. . .that and maybe a few more cardboard boxes.

Zachary: 6 Months

Zachary is now 6 months old! Half a year has gone by with this little ball of curious energy-it’s hard to believe it!

This month Zach went to see his Aunt Stina and Uncle Matt in Walla Walla. He liked spending time with their dog Pepper, who loves kids, and wasn’t quite sure of their cat Alice. Zach also enjoyed listening to his Aunt, Uncle, and even Mom, play the piano.

He had a great Thanksgiving weekend with his NaiNai and Papa (Luke’s parents) and his great-grandma Coulombe. He decided to stick to applesauce and pumpkin for thanksgiving dinner. For more on our Thanksgiving see (Thanksgiving Leftovers ).

Zachary also went on his first Christmas outing: Zoolights at the Oregon Zoo. This was Zach’s first time to the zoo and to see Christmas lights. He loved all the people, the bright lights, and seeing bats, seals, and elephants.

Zach can sit for a good amount of time unassisted but we rarely see this happen: he’s always on the go. The days of staying on his blanket are over. He is scooting: using an army crawl and pushing off with his feet to launch forward determined to explore every object on the rug.

Zachary also started a new game, possibly after watching a game of catch with the dog. He will throw one of his smaller toys then case after it and throw it again. As you can guess we are buying baby gates now.

He likes to explore everyday objects like measuring cups, cooking spoons, hangers, and most recently, Christmas cookie tins, and hit them against counters and floors to hear the noises they make. He also likes to drop or throw objects to see how far they will go or how long it will take for someone to pick them up.

Zach now has realized that peek-a-boo is a game and laughs and smiles. He figured it out quickly then initiated a game with NaiNai in the car, hiding his head behind the car seat and popping out with a big grin.

He has been interacting more with Kira grabbing her ears, paws, whiskers, and even chewing on her tail. Kira has handled it all with grace like a good furry big-sister. If she gets fed up, she just moves away.

Zach is now in 6-9 month PJ’s, is sitting nice and tall in his highchair, and now has a very full head of blonde hair.

Hope you all have had a good November and we are excited to soon share with you about Zach’s first Winter Holiday Season.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

For Zach’s first Thanksgiving we were at his NaiNai and Papa’s house (Luke’s parents place).  We enjoyed a quiet peaceful weekend of puzzles, games, cooking, baking, of course eating and spending time together.

For Thanksgiving meal we tried giving Zachary sweet potato and mashed potato mixed with very ground up beef but it was too rough on his gums. Because he is teething badly he settled instead on applesauce, which has become his favorite food. He did enjoy dessert of pumpkin banana though.

I also made probably my best gluten free, organic, alternative sugar apple pie so far.  I was frustrated by having to piece-work the top together so I covered it with maple leaf cut-outs. It turned out looking pretty great.

I had even more leftover pie crust which I then turned into shortbread cookies by adding a little agave and cinnamon. These little cookies went over well with tea in the afternoons.

We came home with a ton of leftover mash potatoes, gravy and turkey to use up. So I thought: what do to with all the Thanksgiving leftovers?

I decided to make a freezer meal I call: Shepherd’s Turkey Pot Pie.

I bought cheap tin foil pie pans then defrosted peas and carrots.

I cooked the peas and carrots with a little garlic and pepper. Then put in the turkey meat and gravy. And ta da! Pot Pie filling.

I put down a bottom layer of pie crust which, is not necessary for true Shepherd’s pie.

Then once the pot pie filling cooled I put it in the tins, then covered the whole thing with leftover mashed potatoes. The mashed potatoes needed to be re-whipped with a little cream to thin it out.

Last of all I covered them each in foil and plastic wrap and into the freezer they went.

Now I have four easy ready-made dinners for those crazy days before and after the winter holidays.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Now anyone have suggestions on what to do with a ton of leftover cranberry sauce?