Thursday, February 27, 2014

Sister is 8 Months Old!



This precious Angle is 8 months old! Such a fun age! She is sweeter than sweet y'all!  I don't know if an easier baby exists, which means I am doomed for her toddler years. 

She is such a big girl , but still feels so skinny compared to peebs when he was her age. She consistently weighs 2 lbs less than he did at each Dr. Visit.  Her feet are so tiny I don't know how they will ever hold her up when it is time to walk!




She still has hair ( yay) and the pedi gave me a prescription for her cradle cap recently. I do not know why he has been holding out on me as Peebs STILL has some left. Must be some genetic deal but it drives me crazy! The prescription has dramatically improved the situation.

She is also getting dry skin bumps on her knees and forearms which he said are excema related and to slather it in aquaphor and only bathe her every few days to avoid drying out her skin.



STATS:

Weight: 21 lbs 9 oz.
Length: 28"
Head: 44.2cm
Clothes: 12 months is a good but tight fit so 18months any day now. 
Sleep: 6:30 pm- 6:30 am. 
Naps: Sporadic! sometimes 3 shorts naps and sometimes 2 long ones. 


Teeth: She finally has her 2 bottom teeth breaking through. you can only see the tops of the teeth so they are barely through the skin.

Food: I am really nervous about transitioning to solids with her. I feel like Fenn's eating issues are our fault, because we fed him baby food too long, were so worried about him choking and just didn't know what we were doing in general. I never knew how complicated feeding could be and that all those texture and development issues were at play, but BOY have I learned a lot from him! 
With Sister our goal is not just hat she eat healthy, but also eat WHAT we EAT.  I don't want to fix 47 different meals for everyone! Everywhere we go, I always have to keep in mind that Fenn likely won't eat anything there and I have to always carry food for him and endure the silent judgment of others ( or not so silent advice and suggestions) about what I should do or give him. It's maddening. Traveling and going anywhere would be easier if everyone could and would just eat anything. 
So ... I say all of that to say, This time around we are going with Baby led weaning, which is a really confusing term in my opinion, but basically means, you offer them regular food at 6 months or so and let them choose what they eat and feed themselves. Sister is in no way interested in feeding herself, I don't even know if she can, but she is happy to eat food off our plate. I also read somewhere that since she does not have any teeth, just make sure that I can mash the food between my thumb and fore finger and that means it is OK for her to chew with her gum.  I still give her purees, but also offer her food from my plate with every meal, even with spices etc. She really enjoyed sweet potato fries that I made that were sprinkled with chili powder, lime juice and salt. When she has more teeth, it will be all table food and no purees. I don't worry so much bout how MUCH she eats since she is still nursing.
Another thing we started as a NY resolution is actually sitting at the dining room table for supper every  night. We never did that in the past because Erik and I didn't want to eat supper so early , but after lots of life experience and reading we decided it was best and it has been great. We all have supper together at 5pm at the table. This will get the kids used to sitting at a table for meals without getting restless and acting terrible ( practicing for eating in restaurants together, something that causes me great anxiety). Since we started this we have seen a real improvement with Fenn in his table manners and how much he eats.  No one is required to EAT anything, but they must sit at the table and visit, which generally turns into eating. HA

I also learned recently about how prolonged sippy cup usage can cause problems with speech. I had no idea. Also straw cups are great for speech. I mean obvi Fenn is too old for a sippy cup, but I love the idea of letting him have a drink in the car without the anxiety of him spilling it everywhere and just had not thought too much about the whole thing till I read this blog of an SLP. She is full of good info, and does baby led weaning . Click here to read.


Milestones:
  • Clapping. She loves to clap and does it all day.
  • Trying to Wave. She has learned a lot from our most recent trip because all of that riding public transportation , people always waved and talked to her so makes this crazy face of concentration and tries to wave back.
  • She has been rolling over for a while but just started rolling over in her bed. Fenn never did that. like ever. so it scares me!
  • Sitting up pretty steady these days. I still put pillows behind her but she for the most part is good!

She loves her brother, and is always smiling at him and watching him. She also loves the dogs! She keeps trying to pull Ralphie's furs, but he is a good chap and lets me teach her how to pet without getting upset. Floss stays out of the way! ha 

She has had another ear infection, so that now makes 2. She picked up a germ 2 weeks ago , the doctor said it was similar to RSV. Lots of snot, a nasty sounding cough every now and then, weak eyes, fussy, Fever, and then an ear infection. She has been on antibiotic for 10 days. She does NOT like any types of medicine. Fenn would gobble up whatever we gave him and she cries through out he entire process :(

Challenges of having 2 kids:

Everything is still going well. Maybe the hardest part os when they are both popping off at the same time, while the dogs are barking and the TV is blaring.. that makes me crazy! ha and I am much busier. Eating in restaurants is harder with both of them, because generally someone needs me for something and I can't get to my own food. Over all though, it's all good and really fun, and funny. Lots of funny these days.



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fenn is 3.5 Years Old!





STATS:

Weight: 42lbs
Height: 40.5"
Clothes Size: 5T
Shoe Size: 12
Bedtime: 7pm SHARP till 6:30am
Naps: NO more naps :( so we have " quiet time" in his room and I give him the iPad so that he doesn't fall asleep. If he naps he will be up till midnight
Eating:
He is doing much better with eating these days but it still requires lots of work. He still loves noodles and buffalo pretzels. He will now eat some deli meat, cheese, apple sauce, Sweet potato mash packs, crackers. He will try various veggies nuts etc but won't voluntarily eat more than one piece a meal.



Being 31/2 is no joke! Fenn is really blowing my mind lately. ( and making me laugh, and for the 1st time really ever, making me raise my voice more than I care to). 

He is so smart these days, with his shapes and letters and writing, and memorizing things. He can count to about 46 last I checked. He knows how to count and recognize some money. He knows his right from left, the months of the year, some days of the week, LOTS of songs and random information. Lately he has been telling me random things in spanish, like sentences, and if I answer he will answer me back , in spanish! So weird. It was especially funny when he got in trouble for being sassy in English and so he decided to be sassy in spanish like that would be OK.  I think he learned this stuff at school in the enrichment class. 

He is keenly aware of all of our habits and ways. As my Nonie says " He keeps this house going" If the oven beeps he is telling you food is ready, if sister makes a noise he is telling me what she needs and why. If the fridge is beeping he is hollering to me that the fridge door is open. If I am not drinking coffee right when I wake up, he is asking me where is my coffee. 
Tonight I told him " Thanks for throwing that stuff away buddy" 
he said " just doing my job mom mom, just doing my job " Hilarious!

He recently had a " Donuts with Dad" breakfast at school and the paper he made for Erik was hilarious. He listed Erik's age as 2, favorite food as " salad" and favorite TV show as " football".  He gave him this framed picture below and we put it on Erik's night stand. Later we noticed that Fenn had relocated it to the built ins in the Living room next to other framed pictures.



I think this is his season for mimicking. Generally I think that is supposed to start at 3 but seems to be really hitting home for him now. He has been mimicking all sorts of interesting behavior like some of Erik's expressions and saying " WHAT THE HECK" with the same inflections. 

We just spent a week with my brother ,and for the last few days of the trip and several days after I noticed fenn spitting everywhere, CONSTANTLY. I wondered what was going on and why in the world he was suddenly obsessed with spitting. He was even spitting into a cup n the plane ride home.  THEN I caught him shoving tiny bits of balled up paper in his mouth and it hit me, he was mimicking my brother dipping!  gross! But also funny. He had really been paying attention to him I guess, because he has mad skills now! ha



We had a couple of good months but He is back to getting into trouble at school randomly. I can't quite crack the code for what brings that out, other than to just guess maybe it is related to too much sugar, or lack of sleep or both. Post Disney World he has been on a rampage!


His current interest are :
- anything to do with letters & numbers. He loves counting, trying to read and write. 
- The Radio City Rockettes and all Christmas Music
- Still really into Frosty the Snowman. He prays for him at night and sings about him during the day.
- Henry Hugglemonster on Disney Junior., Lady & The Tramp Movie & The Discovery Channel.
- dress up clothes
- his play cash register , playing grocery store and playing postman where he delivers packages to me repeatedly
- still likes art projects 
- Helping me cook , or in general helping Erik or I do any kind of job. He likes to stay busy! 


Funny things he says : 

-  Lately any time you ask him why he did or said something , he will say " Because it's Wednesday!" or he will say " Nuffing" ( nothing) He pretty much will answer any question with " Because it's wednesday" and he gets IRATE if Erik tries to tell him it is not Wednesday but Monday or whatever day.
-  He asked me this morning if " he could have some water from my booty" ( he was referring to sister nursing) I told him that was a boobie not a booty and that only people with no teeth got to do that. He seemed satisfied with that answer.
- He has picked up some new phrases from school " It's not my fault" and " but its not fair" he says in the right context although I am not convinced he really knows what he is saying. 
He has learned some serious pouting/sassy body language lately and will stomp his feet, fold his arms up and poke out his lips and if he is really mad he will shout out " Hiiiiiiiiii-YA" ( like a karate saying) which KILLS me. I can't stop laughing about it. He is not allowed to sass back to us when we have reprimanded him and this morning after a chat with me he whimpered " i really want to say hi-ya"  HA so I let him yell it out. 



Discipline:

He has picked up a really sassy mouth lately. He will cover his ears or try and cover my mouth when he doesn't want to hear something, and sometimes will also say " Mom mom no more talking to me OKAY?!" 
Very annoying and disrespectful!
He also says " I NOT" to things when we tell him what to do when he doesn't want to do it.
He had been really fighting bedtime but lately is doing better. I found a printable nighttime routine online and told him it was a map for bedtime with instructions ( he likes maps and instructions( recipes) ) and that got him really excited. 
Now I let him put a check mark next to each item on the sheet as he completes it, and he is so happy to go along with it all. 



Big Brother:
still loving his sister but def having some jealousy issues. He does lots of baby type behavior ( noises, back to eating those baby food pouches, asking me to hold him, wanting to be rocked, laying on her mat batting at the toys LOL). 
I love watching him try to teach her things and explain things to her. Too cute and sweet. Trying to soak that in before she is messing with his toys and he is swatting her.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Budgeting for 2014 : Beginning The Cash Envelopes



Last year was so huge for us on learning how to budget and sticking to it. It was difficult at first but soon became actually easier because it forced me to plan ahead and do things in a timely fashion, like anticipating birthdays and gifts and purchasing and wrapping them ahead of time instead of rushing out last minute before a party.
Anyway, it was good and overall made a huge difference in our yearly spending, saving and tithing. I am super proud of us!!!

     So in 2014 I wanted to stick with the plan, and step it up a notch by starting to use cash envelopes. The whole concept seemed overwhelming and undesirable at first because I never carry cash, and it would take some real planning and thinking to implement. Now that I am in the thick of it and have a system in place I really like it, and oddly have money left instead of less so I guess what they say about spending cash is true! 




Step 1.)

The first step was to figure out which transactions would be debited and which were cash. I chose envelopes for things like groceries,entertainment, misc, kids, etc and then things like bills are debited. ( gas is also debit card purchase bc paying cash for gas is a huge pain, especially if you have kids with you).

Step 2.)

The next issue I had was worrying about having cash on me, what if I lost it etc so I broke up our budget into 4ths and replenish envelopes every Friday.  The way my wallet is set up,  I can easily take out an envelope before leaving the house instead of carrying it all around and worrying about it. 

Step 3.)
Record Keeping.  I contemplated writing down where the money went like a transactions log but decided ultimately that was redundant. If all the money in the " grocery" envelope was gone then obvi I spent it on groceries so no need to record every detail. I am so tired of reconciling check books and also entering into budget software every day. It was too time consuming when I had a bajillion debit transactions and now that we only have a few debit transactions I can enter every 2 weeks or so very easily.

Step 4.) So what do you do about ordering things online? So glad you asked! ha I have an envelope in the back labeled " Deposit" which is where I put cash that I owe the bank account for online shopping. So if I order something from zulily, then I take that amount out of the "kids" envelope and stick it in the "Deposit" envelope.


So far this is really working for us and I love it. like LOVE it. It was complicated to set it up but it simplified things so much once I got it going. 



FAQ : 

- Last year I read Dave Ramsey Books to help understand and figure out how to properly budget, like what percentage to spend in certain categories and also what to save and why. It was very motivational.  I used the Dave Ramsey gazelle software and my debit card. 

This year I am using Cash Envelopes. The pictures you see are :

I will admit that for some reason, I felt kinda awkward paying with cash for the 1st week. I don't know why, but I just felt silly.  I had to remind myself that there was nothing to be embarrassed about using real, actual money. Cash ain't just for Gangstas! 

Also FYI : After year 1 on the budget, I realized that I did not plan enough for Christmas shopping last year. This year I am now buying a gift card each month to set aside and use for gifts next year ( like for teachers and such). 


This idea was adapted from THIS blog post! 





Thursday, February 6, 2014

Disney Trip 2014

We had a great time in Orlando visiting grandparents and Disney! I feel like everyone always says sooooo much about Disney that it can be overwhelming so I am just gonna throw out a few bullet points and summarize! 

This was our 1st real travel experience as a family of 4. Def takes more work and planning but was totally doable and enjoyable. The biggest melt down moments were in the airport on our way home ( trying to get luggage and kids and car when it was 19 degrees outside and were still dressed for Florida weather) and usually at the end of each day on the way back to  house from the Disney parks, sister would be about an hour or 2 past her bedtime and get fussy or SCREAM in her car seat. Can't say that I blame her. 

Fenn absolutely LOVED the whole travel experience. Airports are awesome to him! Planes, moving sidewalks, trams, baggage claim, indoor playground, bathrooms with those loud hand dryers etc.  We brought and checked both car seats. In the future I will probably rent car seats as those were a pain to deal with. I also packed way too much crap for the plane ride. I had visions of Fenn's 1st flight when we flew to Arizona for the AU championship game and he blew out his diaper 3 times in a row ruining all the extra outfits I had for him! ha  Next flight I will take: cup with lid for Fenn, diaper changing stuff, hand sanitizer, nursing shawl, snacks, and iPad mini and it will all be in a backpack. the end. 


 He loved this fountain in the Orlando Airport.
 Visiting Granpa & Gloria and meeting all their people. We had a great time over there!  Sister napped like a champ at  their house and just did everything she was supposed to!
 I had these cool planning sheets from one of the DIS boards that I loved.

Our favorite meal while there was the Breakfast at Crystal Palace. 

 Cinderella Sister
 Fenn & Tubby ( Erik's grandmother)
 Ying and Yang ! ( Fenn & Cousin Will) They loved hanging out together

I thought this picture of them holding hands and walking with my mom was so sweet... and hilarious because my mom is wearing a super hero backpack!

  This picture is a nice summary of the chaos! We went to Disney with my mom, Brother, SIL, and nephew. A HUGE Thank you to my parents who paid for our family bonding experience! It was super fun. I especially loved spending time with my Bro and SIL since we never see them for longer than 2 hours at a time. We even got to all go to dinner together while Bebe babysat our wild boys! My SIL Jade is 6 mos pregnant so she was a real trooper during all this walking!



Family pic on day 1! It was cold but still great. Sister stayed in that Ergo all day errr day! I even walked around while nursing her in that thing.  Every missed work out since her birth in June was totally compensated for on this trip of walking 12 hours a day with 20+ pounds strapped to me all day!
 My Dudes:


Summary:
  • We had a great time, but the more peeps you add to Disney the harder it is to get around and do everything. Even just the added Sister to this trip compared to last year's trip changed things significantly.
  •  We generally rent a house off property to save money on this trip but in future years we will stay on property for a variety of reasons. Magic Bands being a big part of that. and Transportation. Last year driving to the park was no big deal, but this year with a baby who had been a really good sport all day, that extra 30mins-1hr time of leaving was rough. ( our house was 3 miles from Disney Gate, but still have to get to parking lot, ride tram to gates, then ride boat or monorail to the actual park. It is pretty time consuming)
  • I do not think we will ever be the people who go to Disney for a week. I don't know that we should ever do more than 3 days at parks in one trip. 12 hour days are hard on parents and hard on kids. I loved that we had some off days to visit the grands. That might change as kids get older but for now, 3 days is perfect!
  • I think that having reservations in at least one restaurant each day is a must. I loved the breakfast at Crystal Palace and wish we had done that every day, or an early dinner at about 5ish. That time to rest and recharge is nice if you want to stay all day till 8 or 10pm!
  • Animal Kingdom was awesome. It was like being in a different country. The food at this park was better than the others and its as very pretty , scenic and fun. Awesome roller coasters too. I underestimated how much we would like AK! ( I almost punched a guys teeth out there for snatching our chair from our table at lunch, but that's another story) ha
  • We did the memory maker pass and it was not worth it for us. There were 1 or 2 days we rarely even saw any photographers, and it was def not convenient to stop and have everyone pose on the way to here or there. In the end we had 18 pictures on that pass ( that includes the ride pics) so we paid $150 for 18 pictures..  You can do cool things on the website like adding graphics  though ( see picture above)
  • This year, since we flew I rented a stroller and baby gear down there. I used a site called " A Baby's Best Friend" where you can log on and rent everything under the sun. They will deliver it and pick it up no matter where you stay basically and that was very nice and convenient.  Next time I plan to bring our own stroller and not need other gear. So it was a  good experience, and super easy, but I will cut that expense from our next trip.
  • I think the 4D movie experiences are incredible! The Mickey's philharmonic at Magic Kingdom and The Bug's Life one at Animal Kingdom are amazing. Sit close to the front.
  • Fenn rode his 1st roller coaster ever this year and HE LOVED IT. I  was so worried that maybe we were not making the best decision with that, and as soon as it started going he burst out laughing and stuck his arms in the air like all the teens on the ride were doing. It was SUPER cute and then Erik and I started laughing. It was a great moment and was cool to have family there this year to watch sister so that we could do stuff like this together. ( it was thunder mountain at MK)
  • I never knew before, but there is a special hat shop in beginning area of Magic Kingdom next to Tony's restaurant that sells all sorts of mickey type hats and they will monogram for you right there on the spot. If you plan to buy one of those hats, go there!




I feel like I am leaving out 100's of details but I really needed to blog this before I forgot about it, and also I think the brevity might be appreciated when it comes to Disney Talk.  Just for sake of reference Fenn is 3.5 years old and sister 7 months at the time of this trip!


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