Thursday, January 31, 2013

12(ish) Months Later

We are getting things packed up slowly but surely. I don't really care how quickly we have to be out, I refuse to throw things into boxes at random. We are still doing a "trash, giveaway, sell, store, keep with us" sort as we pack and it feels good. Moving is always a chance to purge and de-clutter. Our last day for moving is Sunday so we plan to have everything but the bed and our necessities out by Saturday night. We have a lot to do still but are well on our way! It doesn't help very much that Ayden likes to unpack as we pack but we have had some help with keeping him occupied from friends and family in the evenings. Moving with a toddler is very interesting to say the least.

Tooth number 8 popped through overnight and once I noticed it everything made sense. Ayden has been going through a biting stage while nursing over the past few weeks and then last night he wanted to nurse and nurse all night long. He usually nurses for a bit and then rolls away for a few hours. Last night he was wanting to pacify all night long. Nights like that make my hips hurt and obviously keep me from sleeping comfortably for most of the night. From what I have gathered after talking with some other co-sleeping mamas, I have gotten pretty lucky in the sleep department (never thought I'd hear myself say that!). It seems as though many co-sleeping babies spend every night the way Ayden spent last night but for us, on a normal night, I am able to sleep in whatever position I want for a majority of the night. Well tonight is a new night and now that the tooth has made it's appearance we are hoping that the biting and pacifying will subside.

Last night David and I were talking about how we were feeling emotionally now that we are 12+ months postpartum. For the longest time, we'd see another couple with a newborn and our first thought would be, "Better them than us!" Ayden was an exhausting newborn and those scars ran deep for a long time. Now, a year later, seeing a newborn or hearing about a new pregnancy still does not make us ache for it to be us but it does make is feel nostalgic and happy that we will someday do it all again. We are still very much enjoying Ayden being our only baby and are still very much on board with spacing or kids out.

During the same conversation we talked about some of the lessons that we learned and what we would do the same or differently next time around. Birth order is so interesting to me because a first born gets all of the excitement and attention of being the first (and only for a while) but in the same light they are total guinea pigs. I will love experiencing pregnancy again, love having a tiny, squeaky newborn again and I will love having a do over of sorts where I get to put the lessons that Ayden has taught me into practice. My parents caution me with how many pictures and videos that I take, saying that there's very little chance that I will have the time or energy to do any of it for subsequent children. I just figure if it is something that you really want, you make it happen. If I don't do the same thing I will probably do something of the equivalent in a different way. By the time we do have another baby we will be living a completely different life and will most likely be pretty different people too. Who knows what the future holds and that is what makes it all so fun and exciting!

What big lessons did your first child help you learn? How did you do things differently the next go around?


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

What's New?

Now that Ayden has surpassed the 1 year milestone, the shift in development has been interesting and was almost immediate. During the first year, every few months you have this huge event to work towards and look forward to: holding their little heads up, pushing up, sitting up, crawling, pulling to stand and walking; cooing to babbling, smiling to laughing. You witness so many firsts during the first year and they are such big changes that everyone around would notice. Once they reach the year mark, give or take a couple of weeks, things take a slight shift. The new developments are smaller, fine tuning types of changes. For instance, Ayden used to just walk around randomly babbling his foreign language but now he does it while he points to specific things in the environment, holds a phone up to his ear or turns the pages in a book. He still does it at random sometimes but he seems to be understanding the context for talking. He has also started holding whatever hurts after he falls. If he hits his lip or his ear his hand goes immediately to hold it while he cries his big crocodile tears. He is also listening when we say, "Ah ah, no thank you" and chooses to walk away where before he would look at us then go back to whatever he was doing with a big smile on his face. It seems as though the 1 year milestone brings with it a light bulb that really has transformed our baby into a little boy.

In other news, we had our first choking scare today. Ayden was sitting next to me on the floor at the studio and I had given him a small bite of chicken. I was rounding up everything for the diaper bag so we could head home and all the sudden he leaned forward with his hands on my leg as he made half a cough sound. Then he went silent and started to turn red. It took two finger sweeps to find the chicken and a couple of strong back pats to get him to take a big deep breath. Then he started crying because I'm sure it scared him as much as me. I was shaking and my heart kept pounding for a good 10 minutes afterward. It was the worst thing ever and I am so glad I knew what to do and didn't hesitate to do it.

Have you had any scary parenting moments? What did you do?


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What About Ayden?

Frozen blueberries sure are messy!
When people first learn about our strict dietary lifestyle, they often ask if we expect Ayden to follow suit.  The short answer is, "Of course we do" but we realize that things are a bit more complicated than that. With food being a primary reinforcer (something we actually need to survive), it is really easy for unhealthy food relationships to form and even haunt one for their entire life and we definitely don't want this to happen to Ayden if we can help it.  Though we want to keep food a non-issue in an attempt to prevent some sort of fixation on the "bad" foods, we also still want to maintain some sort of balance.  Sugar and food addiction is no joke and as our current obesity epidemic will prove, the majority of Americans suffer from it.  David and I both suffered from it before making our lifestyle changes and also experienced being overweight during our childhoods.  Yes, the McDonald's we were eating at the time tasted good but the other kids poking fun (in David's case) or my being a dancer and therefore being acutely aware of how my body was not ideal, had a much longer lasting effect on our psyches. Though we don't want to place such a huge significance on certain foods that it will inevitably draw Ayden to them, we also absolutely refuse to feed him junk or artificial foods that are one ingredient different from straight up plastic (margarine for instance) which our bodies have no idea how to process properly.  Why do we do it to ourselves??

What is our plan?  We will let him make the first move.  Until he seems aware and actually asks us about it, he will eat as we do 100% of the time.  Why in the world would we give our child candy over raisins if he knows no different?  Just because it tastes good? So do raisins.  There is absolutely no argument that anyone can give that would convince us that it is necessary to give him anything but clean, whole foods at this point in his little life.  Once he becomes aware, we will take each situation as it comes.  We will talk openly about our choices, will lead by example and then let him make a few choices of his own all while helping him listen to his body along the way.  Our hope is that we can help him learn to identify the effects of how foods make him feel, physically and mentally.

Overall, we are realistic.  We realize we are raising a child in a country where the taste and social aspects of food far outweigh the toll that fake ingredients and sugar addiction have on our bodies.  There will be no escaping the classroom cupcakes and birthday pizza parties.  Lucky for us, we have a few years before we have to deal with it and once the time comes, we will do our best to give him the tools necessary to make the choices that he feels are the best for him.

Call us crazy for having the lifestyle that we do but now that we have lived on both sides of the track, we are not going back.  If the way I eat alone is what keeps me leaner than I was when I was in high school and dancing every night of the week then I am convinced it is what is right for me.  Some day Ayden will be all grown up and will be making his own food choices and all we can do in the meantime is fuel his little developing body with the best and hope he learns a lot along the way.  Isn't that all we can ever hope about anything for our children?

Napping while we work on packing up the house.


Monday, January 28, 2013

Easier Every Time

Ayden had his 12 month checkup today.

Look who's back on the charts!
Not that it matter but, 29" (10th %ile) and 17.25lbs (30 %ile)
Grow, Little Man, Grow!!  :)
Every time we go I think back to his 2 month well baby visit and his first round of shots. It was agonizing for all of us and we even questioned whether or not we would continue vaccinating him. But now, 10 months later, our boy smiled at and flirted with the nurse as she weighed and measured him. He only cried for a minute or two, knew exactly who was to blame (that nurse felt so bad when Ayden screamed and looked right at him), and we calmly comforted him as it passed as quickly as it started. He babbled and showed off his walking, which his doctor called "precocious" and tried to blow the ear-checking thingie out like a candle.

My handsome boys waiting (a LONG time) for the doctor to come in.
Watching out the window while a train passes.
Other than the visit taking so long, it was overall a great experience. Our pediatrician is open minded about and supportive of our dietary restrictions and desire for a staggered/delayed vaccination schedule. He never plants seeds of worry about Ayden's small size and is always so complimentary of the skills he does exhibit.

The rest of the day was filled with taking care of moving details. I took all of my summer clothes to my parents house, helped them clear out our closet and put the clothes in their new home. I got their truck key (because my dad brought the truck to his party then took the keys home with him) and then I stopped by the post office to get our new PO box and filled out a change of address form. I also already mailed off all the thank you cards for Ayden's birthday gifts which is a major first for me. I have never sat down the night of an event and written thank you cards but I just knew everything would get lost in the shuffle. I have to admit it felt good and just may become a new habit! After the doctor came home for dinner then took another load of stuff to David's parents house because they have so generously offered space in their attic.

It was a long, busy and exhausting day but we have to keep on trucking. We will rest when we are done!


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Calling All Party Animals!

Hat tutorial
Well despite the fact that Ayden totally skipped his morning nap, his party was a great success today!

Best way to work without Ayden undecorating the house.
We made his cake (with WHITE icing), which he did not eat or smash,


Purchased animals in the favor section of a local party store
conventional cupcakes that looked like lions for our non-paleo guests,

Inspiration Pin
a veggie tray, bacon wrapped dates, cauliflower pizza bites, guacamole deviled eggs, chips and salsa and hot apple cider.

The funny thing is that everyone ate the Paleo cake and we had to send the lion cupcakes home with people. I thought nobody would want our cake but I suppose curiosity is a strong motivator. The best part was that everyone liked it! My mom came early to help with the food, David put streamers all around and David's parents took the animal print balloons that I got on amazon and had them filled with helium so the party really was a group effort.

We played the slideshow of Ayden's monthly owl shots on the TV

and Ayden even barely tolerated the cute felt hat that I made him while he successfully blew out his candle all by himself on the first try.

Sweet, sleepy boy

Even without a nap he was happy to be center of attention while he showed off all of his animal noises and clapped for everyone, including himself. He actually seemed excited about every gift and helped tear off wrapping and tissue paper.

The favors:
stickers, bubbles, wodden animal to color + markers, little animal figures
Once it was all over and all of our guests had left he asked for me to pick him up and immediately signed that he wanted to nurse. I took him up to his room, changed him and he was immediately asleep. I am so proud of our little boy for being such a good sport. It made it all the more fun to know he was enjoying himself too. You could say that a lot of what I planned and what we did was for me or for us but seeing him enjoy all of the balloons and animals all around made me feel like it really was all for him. It is true that he would't have missed it if it wasn't there but you could really say that about anything in life. I feel like it was the kind of party Goldilocks would have approved of, not too big, not too small, but just right. Everything was put together with love and with our sweet, animal lover in mind. I think if Ayden could have asked for a party theme, it would have been animals of some sort, whether it be pets, farm or the wild that we chose. Next year he really will request his own party which will be so fun!

Now that the party is over it is time to switch gears. I am so very happy that we had the party here at Ayden's first home but now it is time to start a new chapter in our crazy, wonderful lives. This next week will be filled with packing and moving and all kinds of exhausting stuff of the like. Wish us luck!


Saturday, January 26, 2013

Party Prep

Today we set aside all moving preparations and worked all day on party prep. We got all the food as ready as we could a day ahead, got the favors ready and even ran a couple of errands. All we have left to do tomorrow, party wise, is ice the cake and cupcakes, make the avocado/egg mixture for the avocado deviled eggs and just set out the rest. David's parents are coming a little early and shall be assigned helium and decorations duty. My mom is coming early too and I think I'll put her to work on the eggs while I decorate the cake and cupcakes. David will be on cleaning duty since we did not get around to dusting and vacuuming today. I can't imagine the work that parents put into huge birthday parties because even our small one has taken a lot of prep. I suppose this is when ordering pizzas could come in handy. Too bad pizza places haven't joined in the Paleo movement and started putting cheese-less coconut flour or cauliflower crust pizzas on their menus. Needless to say with the sale of our house thrown into the mix, there are a few projects and details that I wanted done for Ayden's party that I just had to let go of because 1) I can only do so much and 2) Ayden isn't going to remember any of it anyway.

Ayden is getting to bed super late tonight because he had a really late afternoon nap. He has started playing this super cute head shaking game with me before he goes to sleep. He'll nurse all he can on one side and when he is done he sits up, pats his head and then shakes it. Then he waits because it is my turn to shake my head which he thinks is hilarious. We'll go back and forth for a little while until he is ready to nurse on the other side. Sometimes he nurses to sleep, other times he empties that side too and then lays draped over me while he falls asleep. I love how snuggly he is becoming when he is sleepy. He will lay his head down on my shoulder or will fall asleep on me without having to nurse. I love that just my holding him is starting to provide the same soothing comfort that nursing always has. Don't get me wrong, he still loves nursing, but it is apparent that it is not all he needs anymore. It is all pretty sweet and, as always, I am soaking up and enjoying every moment of it.

Friday, January 25, 2013

From Milk To Table Food

TWO hour nap during errands today!
That's snow on the parking lot behind him.
Amazing how little snow days mean to me these days...
Going into this motherhood thing, I had a lot of knowledge to get me started. Between my education (a degree in Interdisciplinary Early Childhood Education), experience (nannying, working in child care and teaching) and witnessing my sisters go through it all with my 4 nephews and niece I new what to expect in a lot of areas. There are a few things, though ,that they don't teach you in school or people don't really talk in depth about. At least, not the people in my life. Sleep and nighttime parenting is one of those things. I feel like it is truly something you can only learn first hand. I definitely took notes during this first go around and have things I will do differently next time. Another thing I had to learn a lot about on my own was introducing and transitioning to solid foods. When? How? How much? Do you keep breast/bottle feeding? How much milk vs food? These are all questions I needed answers to and I have friends who have asked me the same questions. Here is what I have learned through my pre-baby research and through my experience along the way:

The first thing I would like to mention is that I will be referring to all food other than breast milk/formula as "solids." I will also take this opportunity to clarify that Baby Led Weaning (BLW) is still a very gradual weaning process. It is a self-feeding method that lets the baby control how much food they take in at their own pace.

When? A lot of people will give different answers to this. The general rule for introducing solids is waiting until your baby is 6 months old. Some doctors will tell parents to start giving rice cereal at 4 months. I, personally see all kinds of wrong with that (processed rice has very little nutritional value and 4 month olds cannot sit up on their own just to name a couple of concerns) but parents reserve the right to make their own decisions there. The rules I followed before introducing solid food to Ayden were 1) he could sit up on his own, 2) he had great hand/mouth coordination, 3) he became SUPER interested in our food and it also helped that his first two teeth came through around the 6 month mark.

How? We chose BLW but many families go the purées or "baby food" route. In the beginning of the journey to solids a baby's main source of nutrition needs to still come from breast milk or formula up until they are 1 year old. Because of this, I would make sure that I would breastfeed Ayden before every meal. I was worried that if i didn't, he could possibly fill up on solids and not get an adequate caloric intake of milk. Some people still are careful to introduce just one food at a time so they can keep an eye out for allergic reactions. That is not the BLW way so we did not worry about that since neither David nor I have a family history of food allergies. Since we chose BLW, we just gave him pieces of whatever we were eating. At first we cut food into 2 inch strips (1 inch for holding and 1 inch for nibbling). As he got older and his fine motor skills more coordinated, we started cutting everything into bite-size pieces. He is still really good at biting off small bites of food we share with him, though (banana, carrot sticks, etc). I cannot stress the level of skill BLW provides babies. Ayden NEVER stuffs his mouth too full or takes bites too big. He is an old pro at the eating thing. Now if we could just get him to stop dropping every other piece he picks up on the floor...

How Much? We totally let him lead the way since we use BLW. We start out with a small amount on his tray and as long as he is eating, we keep filing it. If he starts playing or throws it all on the floor we do not force him to finish the last little bite. I would say a child on purées would signal they are done at some point but it is difficult not to want to encourage that last little bite from the jar. Try to listen to your baby. If she "tells" you she is done, let her be done. The "clean your plate" mentality is not a healthy one and is probably partly to blame for our obesity epidemic. Ayden learning the sign for "All done" really helps us out in this situation. We do have a rule though, that him signing all done gets the food taken away but we don't let him down until one of us is finished eating too. We like the idea of everyone in the family hanging out around the table together for a bit each night.

Do you keep breast/bottle feeding? How much milk vs food? I have kind of already touched on the last three questions listed above about still feeding milk/formula and how much milk vs food. As I mentioned previously, a child needs to be on breast milk or formula for their entire first year. The idea for most, in our country anyway, is that you start introducing solids at 6 months old and then over the course of the next 6 months the ratio slowly shifts from more milk and a little food to a little milk and mostly food until the milk is phased out all together, usually around 1 year old. This is when whole cow's milk is typically introduced and encouraged to be continued until your child turns 2. Since our house is dairy free, I hope to nurse Ayden until he is 2 so he will continue to consume human milk instead of cow's milk. 1 year down and 1 more to go.

I hope this helps any parents out there who had similar questions about this very important milestone in your baby's, or future baby's life. Food and nourishment is so important and I was surprised about how little I knew about it all, even with all of my prior kid-related knowledge. If you have any further questions please leave them in the comments below. I am obviously not a professional but am always happy to share how we do things so it can be used as a point of reference.

What was something you knew very little about going into parenthood?


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Any Time Anywhere

I was exhausted today. I have stayed up later than my boys for a while not so I can have some me time but because we have so much going on right now, Ayden's bedtime is later, David is going to bed later so he can get more done so, of course, I am staying up later too. It worked out perfectly when Ayden was sleeping until 8 or sometimes even 9 but now he seems to be waking up at 7:30 no matter what time we put him to bed. He's back to taking two naps a day for the most part but me staying up until 12 or 1 am, getting broken sleep and then waking up with Ayden at 7:30 has not been feeling too good.

We had our house inspected this morning as part of the selling process and we had to be out of the house from 8:30 am to 12 pm. Since today was story time, grocery and errand day, I stayed up late cleaning up a few messes for the inspection, rounding up everything I needed for my errands and working on a couple of projects for Ayden's birthday party.

The thing is, by the time we got out of bed, ran around getting ready and out of the house my eyes felt like they were dry and puffy and I did not feel like myself. I so wanted today to be a day where I joined Ayden for his morning nap but we couldn't go home. Ayden and I shared some bacon, scrambled eggs and fruit from the Whole Foods hot bar and got the grocery shopping done first thing.

Breakfast date with my little love!
Ayden asked to nurse a couple of times during story time so I decided to nurse him in the car before running my errands. He started to fall asleep right away so I decided, why not join him? We were parked in a not so busy section of the parking lot so I locked the car doors, leaned back the seat, propped my feet up and totally took a 20 minute nap in my car, in the parking lot. What? Doesn't everybody do that? All I have to say is that it was just what I needed for a little pep in my step. I felt soooo much better for the rest of the day. I did exchange a couple of my errands for said nap but that's what tomorrow is for, right? If you want a nap during the day as a mother, the "sleep when the baby sleeps" rule still applies so I listened to my body and complied. I suppose I need to make some of my own schedule changes until Ayden changes his again.

I used our dehydrator for the second time tonight. It will be making us kale, sweet potato and zucchini ships all night long. I am excited to start leaning more about dehydrating. I see fruit leathers, macaroons and lots of veggie chips in our near future! I am also excited about using it to preserve some of the food from our garden this season. I was even reading about how you can dehydrate shredded zucchini and use it as something crunchy on a salad. Goodbye crouton craving! :)

Have you ever had one of those days where you feel so tired that you would be willing to sleep ANYWHERE? I remember walking by a rumpled pile of T-shirts on a shelf at Michaels when I was in my first trimester of pregnancy and seriously thinking it looked like the perfect place to curl up for a nap. Funny what exhaustion can do to you. Share your stories below!

Here are a few clips from our day:


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Mr. Babbles

Our new favorite game:
Dropping anything and everything down from upstairs.
Ayden has developed the cutest new babble. It involves his tongue and the back of his throat and sounds like he is carrying on a conversation in some foreign language.  The funniest part is that if we make similar sounds he responds with his babble like we really did say something to which he is replying in his language. He does it in the car, while he is playing by himself and when he is flipping through books. It is almost like he is pretending to read the stories.

If you've been following me for a while then you know that I never like to rush Ayden's development along because I would keep him a baby forever if I could, but I will admit that I'm pretty excited that we will actually start to hear what is on Ayden's mind during this second year. I can imagine that the day he says "I love you" is going to be pretty much the best day ever :).


Tuesday, January 22, 2013


We sold our house today! It is still sinking in and the kicker is that we have to be out and ready to handover the keys by February 4th. The next two weeks will be filled with party prep and packing and loosing our minds a little bit. My parents have been so kind as to take us in for a while so we can pay off our remaining debt and save for the house we hope to build this Fall.

We are feeling some anxiety and it is all bitter sweet but we are holding onto the sentiment that home is where the heart is and that we will find happiness wherever we are as long as we are together.

We are excited to be moving out to the farm so that Ayden can explore all of the twigs and insects he can find and maybe even eat a little dirt :). Fresh air and rolling fields make for a better playing environment than privacy fences and traffic, that's for sure!

In the meantime, while David and I begin to feel the stress of all of the ensuing events, Ayden is his merry little self. He is babbling away and totally oblivious to the big changes he will be experiencing. There aren't many things I can brag about with Ayden in the sleep department but one thing I love about him is that he will fall asleep anywhere as long as I am there with him. At least that won't be a transition to dread!

David and Ayden hung out together while I had dinner with an old friend. It was nice to catch up and though I totally felt like I had forgotten something all night, it was nice to be off the clock for a couple of hours. Now, Ayden is in bed and David and I are taking some time to veg out and decompress by watching an episode of Vampire Diaries before we get sucked into a party prepping, house packing, baby wrangling vortex. And then we have to decide on our next step... Wish us luck so we can make it through this with sanities in tact!

Now I shall leave you with a peek-a-boo clip that is sure to make you smile.


Monday, January 21, 2013

One Year

We made it!

12 months
11 months, 10 months, 9 months, 8 months, 7 months,
6 months, 5 months, 4 months, 3 months, 2 months, 1 month
One year of growing:

One year of smiles:

One year of cuddles:

One year of milestones:

One year of firsts:

One year of baby wearing:

One year of cloth diapering:

One year of breastfeeding:

One year of watching my husband flourish into an amazing father and an even better husband:
We have so much to be proud of and grateful for in our lives.  I set out on this journey to write a post a day for Ayden's first year of life.  At first it was just for documentation purposes but it has become so much more than that to me now.  On this blog I have journaled my way through the most challenging and wonderful year of my life.  I have written about the ups and downs and have candidly discussed my deepest thoughts and emotions during the start of the greatest role I will ever fill. All of you readers out there have offered support, advice and have even let me know that I have helped you in some way too.  Through this blog I have found a community and I have grown to cherish it deeply.  David has been here all along the way too.  He reads and edits every post as well as offering support and encouragement for everything that I do.  We are a team in all that we do and together we have made this incredible little family.
Our sweet baby celebrated his first birthday today and though there were some moments that were a little sad as we realized that our baby really is growing up, we really had such an amazing day.  All day long Ayden got to lead the way.  We ate his favorite foods and went to see David for lunch.  He got to see both sets of grandparents and got to blow out his candle and eat a cupcake (still Paleo, of course, and with white icing this time, haha).  This past year has been so amazing all thanks to this little guy:

Yay for self timers :)

Happy birthday, Ayden Matthew!  We love you so much!!!!!


Sunday, January 20, 2013

Photo Fail

We have had Ayden's 1 year photo shoot on our calendars for today for months so when our realtor texted last night to see if we could do a showing today we decided that we'd just do both. Since the showing wasn't until 2:30, we decided we could get the photo shoot done in the morning and still have plenty of time to whip the house into showing shape. We just had our last showing a few days ago so there really isn't too much to be done. Well it is 12:30 and I am putting Ayden down for his nap. We made it through his photo shoot with only a couple of arguments to report and overall we got some great shots.

unedited sneak peek
(to replicate this one)
unedited sneak peek
(to compare with this one)
unedited sneak peek
unedited sneak peek
Then there are the cake smashing pictures. I made him a chocolate Paleo cupcake and we let him go at it. He really wasn't too interested in eating it but was mesmerized by how it felt as he squished it through his fingers. He took a couple of bites but mostly just smooshed and smeared it around. As David was looking back through the pictures while I gave Ayden his second bath for the day he said, "Ya know... It kind of looks like he's eating the contents of his diaper." I took one look and all I could do was laugh! It really did and everything about the pictures was pretty hilarious, the facial expressions, the smearing and the clumps. I. Died.

This one is not too bad...
Oh my...
Photography lesson for the day: When photographing a cake smashing session, use white icing... Yet another lesson that seems so obvious in hindsight.

We got some really great shots and we will have another chance to take some more cake eating pictures at his birthday party next weekend and I'm pretty sure this experience helped me make up my mind about which icing I'll be putting on his cake.