Friday, January 29, 2010

Mia's two month appointment

We finally got in for Mia's two month appt, even though she's 11 weeks and closer to three months. Apparently all the hip and happenin' Tacoma babes go to Union Ave Pediatrics because it's pretty hard to get an appt these days!

Our girl is 12 lb 7 oz (75th) and 23 inches (50th) with a "small head" according to the nurse (25th). :) She said that because Mia is already rolling and because her sister took her first steps at nine months, we can expect pretty early physical milestones from Mia too. Shoot--I was secretly hoping for a late walker this time so I can keep my baby a baby for as long as possible. A mom can dream, right? :) The nurse said that walking at nine months as Bianca did is pretty early, but not super early--she's seen babies walking at SIX OR SEVEN MONTHS. Sheesh. Those parents must really have their hands full.

The nurse also felt some swelling and bumpiness on her lower gums, and I've noticed lots of drooling. She said she expects that we might have some teeth poking through at her four month visit! Bianca cut her first two at five months--this is an instance where earlier is fine with me. The sooner they get they can get their teeth and be done with the whole teething business, the better.

It looks like the pedicatrian's office will be very supportive of the alternative vaccine schedule that I'm doing for Mia (from The Vaccine Book). I'm all for (most) vaccines and protecting our little ones and our communities from illness, but I was pretty horrified at the number of shots Bianca had to get at each well-baby visit--five at her one-year appointment! This schedule allows her to get fully vaccinated, but spreads the shots out a little more, with a few "shot only" nurse visits in between her well-baby checkups. Mia had one shot and one oral vaccine, and she was a champ. She squawked a bit at the shot but didn't really cry.

Mia has been to the ped office several times now with Bianca's visits and immunizations and whatnot, and they just love her and call her their little dolly. :) She's a very sweet and mellow baby. I'm amazed that I actually feel calmer and more organized with two kids than I did with one. We have our routines in place and everything is working for now. It took a few weeks, but I now have the kids both napping consistently for 2+ hours at the same time most afternoons and it is HEAVENLY and well worth the effort. Mia has a calming air about her and she's been like a little breath of fresh air in our household. We just love our little Mia bear. :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Play a Latte

Today we had a playdate at Gig Harbor's new Play a Latte coffee shop/indoor playground. This area needs more of these!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Three is the new two

OK moms, you know I'm right...threes are fun, but boy are they exhausting. They're still toddlers with limited self-control so they still have the tantrums, but they're bigger, louder, stronger, and smarter. Bianca is just learning so much and needs a lot of stimulation and is always asking WHY--I love her questions, but man do I get tired of the sound of my own voice!

I never expected a three-year-old to be so smart and inquisitive. A couple of her recent questions: Mama what's that black dot? (the period at the end of a sentence) Mama why does the sky move? (referring to the clouds moving in the wind) and Mama, can we go on an airplane to Mexico? (something we've never discussed!)

We've been doing a lot of talking about making good choices (letting me put her sister to sleep in peace is an example of a good choice) so I made her a chart to keep track. I'm hoping that it will help me to catch her being GOOD, instead of always scolding her for being bad. When she gets 10 stickers, she gets to choose something out of the "treasure box", which I stocked this week at Target and the dollar store. So far she loves it, and I like it too--even on a tough day (like Wednesday--as shown below, there weren't many good choices that day) I can look at the chart and see that there were a some good moments. :)

She likes to sit on any high surface--here it's Mia's hamper--and pretend like she's reading storytime to us. :) Funny, because when we actually GO to storytime at the Library, she's super squirmy, giggles with the kid next to her, asks me if we can leave, gets up to go and get a book, etc. etc. :)

Mia is so big now...I just moved her into her 3-6 month clothes. She loves her baby gym...I think she enjoys it even more than Bianca did. She's working on rolling back-to-front and I'm now remembering the roller coaster of physical milestones during the first year. It's so fun when they learn a new skill, but the weeks leading up to it when they practice incessantly and get really frustrated...not so much! Speaking of sleep, she's doing 8-9 hours at a stretch at night. It's awesome.

Rolling practice consists of rolling to her side (like this) and arching her head back as far as it will go, and then trying to rock onto her front. :) Lots of angry grunting involved. I have very strong, determined kids.

Sweet cheeks! I totally recognize this look from when B was a baby...the "Mom, the camera again? Seriously?" look. She's such a sweet little soul.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Adventures in sugar-free baking

My main New Year's resolution this year is to cut out sugar. I have a lot of reasons--mainly to clear up some persistent yeast and thrush issues in both Mia and myself, but also to just clean up my diet in general and kick-start my post-baby weight loss. I started a very strict no-sugar and no-yeast diet on Jan 1 and it's been surprisingly easy so far. I do miss bread, but I'm surviving. :) I'm doing one month of zero-sugar and I'll take it from there, but I'll probably be strictly limiting it at least as long as I'm breastfeeding.

Sugar I can give up, but I could never give up chocolate or baking (or brownies!) and Bianca loves to bake too. So I've been searching for good alternatives to my favorite recipes.

I've made a super healthy banana cookie recipe twice since New Years, and I'm so excited that I found it. Super easy, vegan, good source of fiber, and a great way to use up those bananas we always seem to have around. Bianca ate about five of these right away the first day I made them. Plus, with so few ingredients and no milk, sugar, or flour to spill or clean up, they're fast to make and clean up, even with preschooler "helping". :)

Banana cookies
3 mashed ripe bananas
2 cups rolled oats
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup raisins or chopped dates (or chocolate chips)
*Optional--2 tbsp applesauce or you can substitute applesauce for all or part of the oil

Mashing the bananas--for this I use my potato masher, of course.

Preheat oven to 350. Combine ingredients. Let the dough rest for 15-20 minutes, then scoop with a spoon onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes and cool on a rack.

Brownies with agave nectar
We always have agave nectar around--it's a low-glycemic sweetener that tastes like a cross between maple syrup and honey. We use it in place of syrup on our Saturday-morning pancakes. It can also replace sugar in recipes but I've never tried it. Since my go-to brownie recipe, the one I make all the time and know by heart, uses a full cup of refined white sugar, I needed to find something else. This recipe is similar, except without the sugar. I found it on this blog.
1/2 cup butter or butter substitute (I used Earth Balance buttery spread)
2/3 cup agave nectar
2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (I used white whole wheat)
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
Heat oven to 325. Grease an 8 or 9 inch square pan.
Melt butter in microwave.
Add all ingredients to bowl or blender.
Blend or mix until smooth. Add nuts if using.
Pour into pan and bake for 20 minutes.
Cool and serve.

They were very good, and Steve didn't guess that they were sugar-free (shhhh!). They'd be AWESOME with frosting, but I don't think I have the ingredients on hand for a sugar-free version, so I'll save that for another day.

After nearly two weeks of the diet, Mia's yeast diaper rash is completely gone, so that's motivation enough for me to keep going.

Who needs sugar with these two sweeties around? Bianca loves to hold Mia's hand--part of her ongoing effort to help Mia learn how to grab things. :) This morning she was just standing here like this holding Mia's hand while she was in the swing--she's not posing for a picture. Little goof.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Bianca three year appointment

Bianca had her three-year appointment today after much waiting and anticipation--she loves the doctor's office, probably because she's so healthy that doctor's visits are rare and she's never had a bad experience there. She also looooves attention, so that doesn't hurt. :)

She weighs 27.5 lbs and is 37 inches high. Average height but she's still a stringbean--her dr says we might consider giving her carnation instant breakfast in the am to see if we can get more weight on her. She's always been a tiny thing and a healthy eater so I'm not worried.

So far, her threes are proving to be a bit challenging with lots of whining and bossiness. Not just limited to her family members either--this morning she was looking out the window at a bird feeder she made yesterday, and yelling at a bird across the street--"BIRDY! COME HERE RIGHT NOW!!! EAT!!!!" Thankfully she's also off-the-charts cute and funny and sweet with her sister. Right now she's really into puzzles, art projects of all types, stickers, and baking. It's been so much fun to see her grow and I can't wait to see what the next year brings.

She's been trying to "teach" Mia about all sorts of things, including puzzles. Here she is trying and trying to get Mia to grab a puzzle piece. After a few minutes she announced "Mom, Mia doesn't know how to LEARN yet."
I also had the nurse do a weight check for Mia--she's 11 lbs 14 oz (Bianca was 11 lbs at 2 months).

Book club babies!

Mia Juliet met Abigial Kristine at book club on Thursday--here Kora (Abby's aunt) and I are doing a size comparison to see if they're about the same size since they were born 5 days apart. Seems pretty close! They're both wondering what's going on here. :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Hanging at home

With Steve's winter break over, it's back to the regular routine for all of us. We hung at home today and I caught some pics of the girls.

Mia is getting so big--she's definitely not a tiny newborn anymore and she's letting us know it! She's pretty laid-back, but also very smiley and expressive. She uses her voice a lot--Bianca keeps saying "she's talking!" I've started getting her bedtime and naptime routines in order and getting her day a bit more organized, which helps a lot when I'm juggling two kids and two bedtimes. She's eating every 3 hrs, taking 4 naps a day and going down around 8 and getting a 5-6 hour stretch--technically SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! I've heard of babies who sleep through at 8 weeks (according to my mom, I was one of them) but I NEVER thought I'd be the proud parent of one. This is such a different experience than the one we had with B. I won't go into detail about THAT experience because I don't want to scare anyone out of having kids. :) She's a great sleeper now, though.

She's so smiley!

Bianca nursing her baby while watching TV--just like mommy. :) However, I don't hold Mia quite like that. :) Bianca doesn't know exactly how nursing works (she nursed for a year but doesn't remember anything about it)--sometimes she nurses her baby on her belly button. Bianca's still rocking the Halloween t-shirt that's become her favorite. She loves that it has a spider on it.

Merry Christmas--Part 2

This Christmas was one of new traditions for us--for the first time, we spent Christmas morning at our own house as a family. It felt like my first year in the "mom" role because I was the one shopping for stocking stuffers and planning for Christmas breakfast (my first pan of cinnamon rolls--from scratch). It all went by too fast!

Bianca with one of her favorite gifts, her pony.

Our favorite Christmas gift!

Bianca with her stocking. She's in summer PJs because she declared the adorable flannel Christmas PJs that I bought her "too hot". Missing the infant days of dressing her however I wanted--those days are definitely over! :)

We spent the afternoon at Grandma's house in Lacey for more present opening. She got anothter stocking (we all did). Lucky ducks!

Kendra and Mia

One of B's favorite parts of the day was playing with their new kitty Valentino, who liked to hide under the tree and pounce out at her (you can see his little white paw here).

Playing with Sam in her new Bilibo from Kendra and Ty. She loves this thing--it can be a baby bed, a silly hat, a spinner, and any number of other things. She enjoys using it as a little chair.

What a fun day--but I needed a few days to recover! :)