Friday, September 28, 2012

Gotta be a growth spurt

Giovanni is eating us out of house and home!  The other night at dinner, he just kept eating everything I put in front of him.  Veggies, rice, asparagus, bamboo shoots, red curry shrimp.  Devoured it all.  This morning at breakfast, he ate half a banana.  Then a handful of raspberries from our garden.  Then half a peach.  And he was still hungry, so I gave him canned peaches and pineapple.  I think we have a Very Hungry Caterpillar on our hands!

Monday, September 24, 2012

Saying Good-bye

This week was an exhausting one. (Yes, moreso than usual.)

After battling the past couple years with dementia and a recent stroke, Luciano's Grandma Edna passed away on September 12th. We spent two days with Grammy Jo, helping her around the house and driving her down to the funeral. Giovanni was a champ through the disruptions to his schedule and provided a ray of sunshine and joy to a somber celebration of her 95 years of life. Hope you're having fun playing cards with Grandpa Jake, Grandma!
We also finished our second course of oral antibiotics for Giovanni's ear infection. Daddy took him to the doctor on Friday to check and make sure that all was better. It wasn't, so he started a course of antibiotic injections. He had another one on Saturday morning and the final one this morning. Seeing as how he is still fussy and pulling on his ear, I am not optimistic. Looks like we could be heading for tubes. This is not surprising for a number of reasons. According to the doctor, it's becoming pretty common as the bugs become more resistant to antibiotics. Gio is also likely taking after his Godfather, who had tubes multiple times as a toddler. Everyone I've talked to about it says that it's really a day of discomfort for months of ear-infection-free happiness. Guess we'll see what happens.
Understandably, his ear infection has made my Little Man a bit grumpy this week.  He ranges from happy baby to mild discontent to completely inconsolable. Tylenol a few times a day has helped, but he's still not his normal, happy self. I convinced Luciano that we should just pick up meatballs, red sauce, and pasta for dinner last night. It really hit the spot. It even calmed my fussy baby boy.  Notice how quiet he is in the video.  Also, the massive amount of marinara all over his face, hands, tray, etc.  He LOVES pasta.

As the tracker on here reminds me, yesterday was Giovanni's 10-month birthday. This month was no exception to my rule about being horrible about getting monthly pictures. I tried to snap one this morning, but he was in his usual "got to go" mood. Here's the best I could do along with a few outtakes.

The best I could do
Got to GO!
Flash is not my friend.

Friday, September 21, 2012

What's for dinner?

This used to be the perpetual query in our house.  We both love to cook, but sometimes it's hard to motivate yourself after a long day at work.  It usually works out well because when one of us is not in the mood to cook, the other picks up the slack.  When I was pregnant, our routine got a little "off".  I was always tired in the first trimester.  (Sometimes, I would take a nap between work and dinner!)  It got to be a contest to see who could call the other one closest to 5pm to ask about dinner ideas.  More often than not, it ended in take-out.  It wasn't very economical or healthy.

Before Giovanni was born, we spent several weekends preparing and freezing meals for after he was born.  They have come in handy and some have been shared with other families with new little ones.  But they still require planning to thaw a day or two before baking.

While I was on maternity leave, I started following a few bargain websites for Moms.  One of them ran a promo for half-off a six-month subscription to a meal-planning service.  $15 for six months of meal plans and associated grocery lists?  If it prevented us from bringing home pizza even once, it had paid for itself!

Every Friday, I get an e-mail with five menus for the week and a bonus recipe.  It's a reminder to me to pick meals and make the grocery list.  I shop once a week and get everything I need.  Very few weeknight stops at the grocery store.  The recipes are delicious and usually not too time-consuming.  (We learned in Week 1 that we couldn't do all five menus in a week. Too many leftovers! I take them for lunch every day, but we still had more food than we needed right now.  Now we usually do 3-4 meals a week.)  Did I mention the meals taste AWESOME?!

I save the recipes every week.  Ones we really like get typed into my recipe card template and printed for the box.  I also keep a list now of dinner ideas (sorted by entrees, starch, and veggies).  When I eventually stop subscribing, I'll be able to keep putting together amazing meal plans.

Seven months in, I'm still a raving fan.  The business model is brilliant...I'm still jealous I didn't think of it!  It's called No More To Go.  The woman who runs it is named Stacey.  She is sweet and helpful.  At least three of my friends have also joined.  Maybe it's not perfect for everyone, but it has been a lifesaver to help make sure that we eat healthy meals that don't cost an arm and a leg!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Get a haircut... look like a girl!


This is what Gio and I heard the last couple times we've seen Nana (my Mom). I was a little hesitant because a friend had told me that she rushed into her son's first haircut and it was anti-climatic. She wished she had waited. Giovanni has always had a lot of hair. Like in this picture from when he was 8 days old.
Born with lots of hair!
This week, I decided it probably was time to do something about his unruly mane.  Following recommendations, I made an appointment at Just Kidding for Sunday. He did okay. He wasn't real wild about the cape and for about half of it, I had to stand near and comfort him. I was amazed at how quick the stylist was to get in and make the cuts between his moving. When we were done, I texted Nana a picture with the caption "Better?" She replied "NO, now he looks like a little boy instead of a baby." There's no pleasing some people!

So handsome!
After nearly 10 months, I feel like I mostly have the hang of this Mom thing. I can read his "poopin' face." I can usually tell when he needs to eat or nap. But sometimes I blow it. Like yesterday. After we got home from the haircut, I wanted to go run errands and Luciano wanted to mow the grass. I thought that Giovanni probably needed to go down for a nap, but it didn't fit well with our plans. So I took him shopping with me so Daddy could mow the yard. What a mistake! He fell asleep in the car and I had to wake him up when we got to the grocery store. I hoped that if I carried him in the Ergo, he would go back to sleep. No dice. When we finally got home, I whisked him back to the bedroom with a bottle in hopes of getting him to sleep. He was having none of it. He screamed. And screamed. I felt terrible. We fought with him for over an hour, trying to coax him to sleep. Finally, we gave up and let him suck on some frozen mango, thinking that his teeth were hurting him. I think he was really just hungry and over-tired. While dinner was in the oven, we went and played in the yard. He crawled over to the swing and started playing with it, so I put him in and started pushing him. While I ran in to check on dinner, he fell fast asleep in the swing. Silly Little Man!

Baby-proofing continued this week. I couldn't resist snapping this adorable picture before getting him out of Daddy's way. Of course, it took 5 tries to get one that showed his face and wasn't blurry. Anyone who's taken photos of children knows that quantity is required to get quality!

Off we go for another week.  It was REALLY hard to leave my sleeping sweeties this morning.  I just wanted to crawl back into bed and snuggle them all day.  I know it wouldn't work and as soon as I would have snuggled in with them, Giovanni would have been awake and ready to play.  I know in my heart that I could never be a stay-at-home-Mom.  But some days?  I'd like to take a mental health sick day.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We're in trouble...

Giovanni took his "official" first steps last night.  We knew it was only a matter of time with as much as he has been furniture surfing and practicing his free-standing.  I stood him in the living room last night and moved a couple feet back.  I then started coaxing him to "come to Mama" and he managed a couple stompy steps before falling down.  We repeated the experience with the same result...a few wobbly steps and a landing on the fluffy bum.  Let the baby-proofing continue!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Over the river and around the lake... Grandma & Grandpa's house we went.

Giovanni continues to improve his proficiency at crawling and furniture-surfing, extending his periods of free-standing to 20 seconds or more. He even picked up his foot and set it down in a slightly different spot this weekend. Does that count as a first step? The crawl is evolving from the zombie-crawl to a more traditional hands-and-knees crawl. (Zombie crawl was named by Luciano because Gio moves on his hands, right knee, and left foot...he looks off-balance and definitely like something out of a zombie movie!) Baby-proofing continues and we have to keep a closer eye on him around the house. Saturday morning, Giovanni was playing in the toy room, formerly known as the living room. Suddenly, we hear him babbling as he crawls down the hallway, back to the bedrooms where we are packing for the weekend. Guess he knows what he wants and how to get it!

Weekend activities included a trip to Chicago for Uncle Eric's Ghostbusters-themed 30th birthday party. Then we were off to Michigan to visit Great Grandma and Grandpa (Papa's parents) again. Predictably, they really enjoyed the older and more interactive version of their great-grandson.The visit with Grandma and Grandpa was a lot of fun. They are both still quick-witted and feisty as ever, even if their bodies are getting weaker. We tried to snap lots of photos and videos during the visit!  In this video, you can see the flash from Paparazzi Dad!

Sadly, Giovanni was not *quite* as charming as usual due to another ear infection setting in. Confirmed at the doctor this morning, complete with another antibiotic and orders to return in 10-14 days to confirm he's better. The best and worst part of his being sick is that sometimes, there is just nothing like Mama.

Nana and Papa spent Sunday night with us so Papa could set up yet another present for Gio...his very first swing set, made by Papa! He loves we can do it anytime we want!  Of course, after a long day of play and fighting an ear infection, he got a little tired. 

 We also had a breakthrough on baby sign language this week. We knew we wanted to use it to help with communication, we just didn't realize how hard it would be for us to be consistent about using it with him. For a few weeks now, I've been really disciplined about signing "all done" after we eat, then taking the tray away to signify that we're done.  The daycare has also been practicing "eat" "more" and "all done".  The other night, when Gio was done with his dinner, I asked if he was all done, making the sign. To my great pleasure, he put his hands in the air, opened and closed his fists, and said something resembling "all done". We both cheered for him. Sadly, we seem to be backsliding as his newest trick is that he can clap his hands, so he does this all the time! Ah, well...patience and perseverance. At least the clapping is FREAKING ADORABLE!!
Hard at play work!
His other surprise was that best friend Logan's Mommy Tara told us about a lady who was selling an activity table on Craig's List for $15.  Giovanni played with a couple while at Logan's house on Labor Day and he LOVED them.  So Mama drove up to West Bend on her way home from work to get it.  My extra driving and time away from Little Man was rewarded when he immediately lit up in a huge smile and started clapping when he saw it.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cloth Diapering Update

Giovanni is now 9 1/2 months old and the cloth diapering is still going strong in our house!  As expected, we've had to make a few modifications to our routine, but it's working.

  • We expanded our diaper supply during various promos.  We now have 31 diapers.  This allows me to wash every 2-3 days (usually Tuesday, Thursday, Sunday) and hang the diapers on the line while we're at work. 
  • We changed our diaper pail.  We're now coping with one PlanetWise diaper pail bag at home.  I was horrified to find one day that the FuzziBunz pails we had been using leaked through the zipper.  Nasty diaper-liquid dripping on the floor and discoloring our beautiful hardwood?  Ugh.  It makes me mad just thinking about it again.
  • We also exclusively use PlanetWise wet bags for daycare and on-the-go.  Again, the FuzziBunz tote just did not live up to expectations.  The zipper has repeatedly jumped its track and we're just fed up with putting it back on.
  • I bought a diaper sprayer.  I'm still averse to sticking my hands in the toilet and the $40 was more than worth it for me.  When we're travelling, Nana or Luciano usually rinse the diapers for me.  I recently heard a trick about using a squirt bottle as a portable diaper sprayer.  I'll have to give that a try.
  • As expected, we get by with fewer doublers.  Four is plenty.
  • We usually use fewer wipes now (less than 10 per load of diapers).  This is mostly because we now buy disposable wipes for daycare.  It just got to be too much of a hassle to chase the cloth wipes back and forth.
Overall, I'm still happy with our decision to cloth diaper our children and love sharing info and fluff with friends!

Of course, I have started thinking about potty training......

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

New resolution: Regular updates

My friend Sarah (Mom to an adorable 12-week-old) started a blog. She has a goal of updating it once a week. This seems like a good idea to me, so I'm going to endeavor to do the same. Because most of the fun stuff seems to happen on the weekends, I'm going to try posting on Mondays to make them a tiny bit less evil. Except today is Tuesday because of the holiday weekend. I'm calling it Faux Monday.

Anyways, we had a great weekend. It started Thursday night with our anniversary dinner. Tuesday was our official 3-year-anniversary, but Chef Zach didn't work that night, so we went out for dinner and dancing on Thursday. Delicious dinner at Harbor House followed by swing dancing with lots of old friends at the Down & Over. The evening ended at 10:30 with promises to come out dancing again soon. We had to get home to the new babysitter, 11-year-old neighbor girl Olivia. I was thrilled that she did a great job, even getting Giovanni back to sleep when he woke up. Yay for having a babysitter in the neighborhood...we're going on dates again!

Farm Friday as usual after work. I made my Caprese Bruschetta again. I really don't care for raw tomatoes, but there's something about them fresh from the garden combined with garlic, basil, olive oil, salt & pepper served over fresh mozzarella on garlic-rubbed toasted baguette that I can't get enough of. Everyone devoured it! The neighbor kids all had a blast playing with Giovanni, too.

Saturday, we went to the first Badger Football game of the season. We thought taking Giovanni to an early game would be a good test run to see how he does. The non-conference games tend to be less crowded. He did okay, but there was a lot of crying anytime the crowd got loud. Which happens a lot at Badger games. So we'll probably leave him home next time, but it was fun to take him once. We got to tailgate with the aforementioned Sarah et al before the game and had a great time. Got a great picture of three of the dads holding their baby boys. We've tailgated with this crowd for years and I joked about how the average age of our group has decreased significantly in the past few years as we all add kids to our families!
Dads Tailgating
Intent on watching the game
Jump Around!!
 Sunday we worked our BUTTS off around the house, cleaning and cooking in preparation for guests. My co-worker Steve came over with his wife Melanie and their 2-year-old Vincent for dinner and Dominion, a new card game they introduced us to. The boys had fun and we enjoyed great company and a really fun game. Definitely need to do that again! Also, during a quick trip to the grocery store in the afternoon, Giovanni got his first cookie from the bakery. We sure enjoyed that!

I can haz cookie!
cookie aftermath

Monday plans shifted a bit. Pizzas with the neighbors got cancelled. We got more laundry done (cloth diapers + diarrhea = more laundry!) and Luciano bottled 11 gallons of hard cider. Half of it was a new yeast strain he read about online...let's call it D47. The preliminary results are very promising. Usually we have to let it bottle-condition for another couple months. This stuff I drank that day! Yum! We also went to visit Giovanni's best friend Logan that evening. The boys had fun playing together until Gio grabbed Logan's face and they both melted into tears. It's a rough life, being 9-months-old! We also introduced Jay, Tara & Scott to Dominion. Fun times with great friends!

In other news last week, Giovanni was sent home from daycare on Monday with goopy eyes again. A trip to the doctor that afternoon confirmed that he had his first ear infection. A double antibiotic twice a day it is.  Also, we had our 9-month check-up on Wednesday.  Dr. is happy with how he's growing and developing.  21 lb (65th %ile) and 2.5 feet tall (85 %ile).  Tall and skinny...where does he get those genes?!

In news about Mama, I finished knitting my green knee socks this weekend. I took up knitting about two years ago and really enjoy it. I've made a bunch of things for myself, Giovanni, and countless friends' babies. I'll try to get a picture of the socks...I started them about a year ago and am happy to be done in time for fall. Now I just need the weather to turn more fall-like...