Sunday, October 28, 2012

One Year

One year ago today, our beautiful baby girl joined the world. 
Joanna Rose is so full of smiles. We smile and laugh with her every day. 
We couldn't have asked for a better baby - she is a perfect fit to our family. 

A Family Portrait 
(Forgive my I Love Lucy costume. My forethought forgot
that we were taking a family portrait sans costume.)

Her birthday cake was love at first bite.

A bushel of babies in the backyard for my baby's birthday!

Look at all of the people that love our little girl. We are so blessed.

In lieu of decorations, we printed photos of her that we will soon put into actual 
non-digital albums that people can hold in their hands. 

Her 1 year visit to the doctor is this week so we'll end out the stats soon. For now, I'm guestimating she's (at least) 25 pounds. She is crawling faster than ever but not walking. Yet. We are enjoying these final moments of having a child that doesn't walk (or run).

Her stats are still in the 98th percentile! She is 25lbs 1oz, 30+ inches tall, and her head is 18 1/3 inches around. Doc said they'll be able to predict her height when she's around 2 years old. I'm not in a hurry to find out how quickly she'll tower over me.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Punkin' Pickin'

Our little family had its first Fall family outing double date! Our dear friends live 2 hours away from us so we planned our funtivities around Jeter Farm as a halfway point.

After delicious Mexican food in Roanoke, we parked in a dusty cornfield and paraded our children toward the giant orange orbs of fun. The place was crawling with kids, strollers, and a few dogs. We quickly learned that the actual hay ride to the actual pumpkin patch was actually $7 per person - yea. We skipped the hayride and posed our children by a pile of pumpkins so we could get the same effect. 

After the farm, we journeyed to a Wine Festival. Contrary to popular belief, two small children under the age of one pose an imminent threat to the enjoyment of winos. We were turned away at the door without a refund of our $60 tickets. After Jeff scalped our tickets to other attendees, we spent our money at a pub. 

I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate Fall. Good friends, good food, and cute kids.

The day before the farm, Joanna went to her first half-time show! 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Baby Led Weaning

Baby Led Weaning is a different approach to introducing one's child to solid food. For more information, the website Baby Led Weaning is a great resource. (When they use the term "weaning", they mean it in the British sense of "adding secondary foods" as opposed to the American meaning of "put that boob away and give your kid a bottle".)

As you know, I am "crunchy peanut butter." I look into crunchy things (i.e.: cloth diapers, amber teething necklaces, natural remedies, etc) and I take what works and leave out the rest. When I first learned about baby led weaning, I thought it was for the super hippies that had gardens instead of lawns. I didn't give it a second thought for several months.

A brief history: I EBF (exclusively breast fed) for one month then put her on formula because my boobs broke. Joanna started solids at 4 months old and cut her first tooth at 4.5 months. She loved chunky purees and she ate nearly anything we shoved into her mouth. We felt like we didn't need to do baby led weaning, so we didn't.

Fast forward 7 months and Joanna is very interested in anything we eat. After attending a Motherhood Collective Cafe meeting about baby led weaning, I noticed she devoured every sample that was distributed. From black beans to blueberries to large slices of strawberries - she played with them, took bites, and wanted more. When we got home, I began giving her actual "whole" food items instead of pureeing or cutting into small swallowable pieces. I immediately noticed that she was having more fun and I was doing a lot less work.

We started with a peeled pear so she could taste it immediately instead of messing with the skin. You would have thought she was eating bananas again for the first time - she LOVED it. We then gave her an apple with only a section that was peeled. She ate from both peeled and non peeled sections. Next was a red pepper - holy Moses does she love those things. We then gave her some shredded chicken. She wasn't a huge fan but she did like playing with it.

Tiny little bite marks
  • But what about choking? Her gag reflex has prevented her from choking on food. She learned quickly to bring bigger pieces back to the front of her mouth and chew a few more times.  I also stay in the room and either eat with her or do other things in the kitchen. 
  • Isn't it really messy? She's a kid - of course its messy. Bananas are far messier when given to a child whole than when fed with a spoon. Apples and pears are much cleaner and it takes her more time to eat it. I would rather have a few more moments of cleaning than put in an extra 10-15 minutes of prepping (peeling, chopping, steaming, pureeing, etc). 
  • Do you buy organic? Nope. Organic food is too expensive for our budget. However, we try to buy local as often as possible. Sometimes its organic, sometimes it isn't. I didn't grow up with organic and I turned out pretty well. 
  • But my kid doesn't have teeth yet - I don't want to do it until they have teeth. You can start baby led weaning right away - even if they don't have teeth. We started late as a result of our skepticism. If you do some research and talk to some folks that do it, you'll be able to make a well informed decision about it for your family. 

As we approach the switch from formula to milk, I am very glad I made the switch from purees to "whole" foods. It is much easier and much more fun for both of us. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day

Today is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day. It felt weird to say "Happy Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day!" so instead I told fellow moms, "I'm praying for you today as we honor our babies in Heaven."
Our candle for our angel baby

What else can you say besides "it really sucks"?

When I was searching for graphics and information for this post, I stumbled upon a really great resource. It's a site called Faces of Loss. It's a place where women can share their stories, find real-life advice from women who have been there, and connect with others through a pen pal program. I'm also reminded of organizations like Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep and the amazing works they do.

I am comforted by scriptures and comforted by the prayers of others. I'm comforted by others' stories. I'm comforted by my husband's hugs and gentle words. I'm comforted by the laughs of my silly almost one year old daughter. Our healing continues and it will be complete when we meet our baby.

Until then, I will continue to share our story. I will continue to hug others that share similar experiences. I will continue to love my daughter and raise her to be a happy, healthy, and charitable human being. I will continue to live a full life.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Nuby Review and Giveaway: Oral Massager and Toothbrush

Joanna's first tooth emerged from her head at around 4.5 months. We were using an amber teething necklace and it helped a great deal with her symptoms. When it came to actually brushing her teeth, we didn't really start until she had 4 teeth as a 6 month old. Now that she has 8 teeth, I brush her teeth at least once a day (but strive for twice.)

Joanna LOVES having her teeth brushed! I mime brushing my own teeth with the Nuby toothbrush, she laughs, I brush her top teeth, she laughs, I mime brushing my teeth, she laughs, I brush her bottom teeth, she laughs, I brush her tongue, she bites me, I scream, she laughs, and we all go about our day. I wanted to get a photo of her giggles but it requires an additional arm. 

The Nuby oral massager and tooth brush has what I wanted in our original toothbrush - a case. I can throw it into our diaper bag and keep it clean. I can put it into our medicine box and it stays sanitary. I can always find it because it stays in the case. The toothbrush and oral massager fit easily onto our index fingers and is a simple design. It's easy to use, effective, and convenient. We don't use the oral massager but I know of many parents that do. Its ideal for teething babes and soothes their sore gums. 

And you can have one, too! Enter this giveaway to win your very own Nuby Oral Massager and Toothbrush (with carrying case!).