Thursday, May 27, 2010

A Prize for Mattie

This is a project I worked on tonight after both girls were in bed.


I have seen these things before, and have thought how nice it would be to have one. We are very often in situations where we carry crayons and a coloring book with us as an activity to keep Mattie busy...to church, to weddings, to restaurants...basically anywhere you need a child to sit still and act nice. These twistable crayons are great, but they will NOT stay in the package, and I always end up with a bunch of them floating around the bottom of my purse. So, I thought I would try to make my own crayon roll out of some scrap fabric instead of buying a pricier one online, and I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. And now Mattie has a prize waiting on her when she wakes up in the morning. What a great way to start the day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Adventures in Baby Food Making

Since Presley has been eating solid foods, I have been experimenting with making some of her baby food.  I started out with just a few things, and now am making most of the food she eats at home, with a few exceptions. 
 
This was not something I ever did when Mattie was a baby, in fact it never even occurred to me to do it.  Everything she ate came out of a jar, and we progressed through the stage 1, stage 2, and stage 3 foods, right up until she was eating the Gerber Graduates meals.  But with Presley, after I had done some reading and internet searching, I thought I would try my hand at this, and I have found it to be a great thing for several reasons. 
 
1. It’s a lot cheaper than buying all jarred baby food.   I haven’t actually done the math, but I know I’m saving money. 
 
2. When I make it for her, I can control how thick, chunky, or pureed her food is instead of letting Gerber do that for me.  Right now, she’s eating fairly “chunky” fruits and veggies, chunkier than the stage 2 jarred foods, and I feel like she’ll progress to table food a lot quicker than Mattie did.  I can also mix things up how I want them, and combine things in different ways than Gerber does. 
 
3.  I am not a person who strives to eat organically, and I am certainly not a food snob.  All in all, I don’t think there’s much wrong with jarred baby food, and looking at labels, it’s just veggies and water until you start getting into some of the stage 3 stuff and then they start adding in the preservatives, etc..  I still buy some of it to have on hand,  and I still send it to the baby sitter for the meals Presley eats there.  There are some things, like prunes, that I still buy jarred because I think it’s easier than making it.  But I can say I do feel good about what I’m doing for Pres and I do hope I am providing her some nutritional benefits.  I have never sampled baby food as an adult, but supposedly the flavors are pretty dull and bland, and feeding babies “real” foods is much more flavorful to them and develops their palette more. 
 
So, with all that said, I wanted to document my process a little bit  in case anyone was interested, and to prove to some people who I think don’t believe me when I say I make baby food(cough*angela*cough).
 
There are several different things that I’ve been making, and they’re all prepared different ways, but last night, I was working on sweet peas and green beans, which are both steamed, so that’s what I photographed.
 
I don’t have a steamer basket, and I couldn’t find one at Wal-Mart, so I’ve been using this strainer basket and it’s worked great for me.  I buy frozen sweet peas and green beans, and steam them like this for a while…both of these went for about 30 minutes to get them good and soft.
I bought this little Black & Decker mini food processor at WM for $10 and it was worth every penny.  I have used it just about every day for the past few months, and it’s simple to use and cleans easily too.  It is pretty noisy, but I think all of them are.  So, after the veggies steam until soft, I throw them in the processer and let them go until they’re the consistency I want.  I left these pretty chunky this time. 
 
Then, I portion them out for freezing using ice cube trays.  I got these for around $1 each at WM too.   I cover this with saran wrap and then stick in the freezer overnight.

The next day, I transfer the frozen cubes to freezer bags and write what it is and the date on the bag. 
And then transfer it to the freezer with all the other stuff.
And that’s it.  The steaming takes a while, but it’s not something you tend to the whole time, so all in all, this whole process took me about 10 minutes, and this made about 16 servings of peas and 12 servings of green beans.  Both bags of frozen veggies were around $2 each.  Gerber baby food is around $1.25 for two tubs.  So, I’m saving some dough! 
 
I have been buying several different frozen fruits, like the peaches and blueberries in the picture, which are also around $2.00-$3.00 a bag, and I just defrost and chop those as needed instead of doing big batches.  Sweet Potatoes are easy because I just bake them, puree and freeze, and two potatoes makes a ton.  I buy bananas, pears, and avocado fresh and use those daily as needed.
 
What I try to do is pick out what Presley will eat the next day the night before, put the frozen stuff on a plate, and stick it in the fridge so it can defrost over night and be ready the next day when I need it.     Within the next month, I’m going to start adding in some meats, and trying some “casserole” type things for her. 
 
Hope that wasn’t too boring! 

Sunday, May 23, 2010

A Cage Built for Two

When you have two rambunctious monkeys that cannot stay out from underfoot, even though one of them is pretty immobile, and you need a way to keep them contained so you can get your floors cleaned...this is what you do:
Use the baby bed as a cage for them. Believe it or not, this THRILLED Mattie...anytime she thinks she's doing something that's kind of "against the rules", she's on board. And Presley didn't know quite what to think of Sister being in her bed, but they had a big time for about 30 minutes. I will definitely be using this trick again!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Lucky Mama

I really don’t know what I did
To earn the privilege
Of being this girl’s mama
But I’m so glad I am!!
Seriously, the cuteness is killing me. 
I want to make wallpaper out of these pictures. 
I’m pretty crazy about this girl too, who worked as my assistant to get these great Presley pictures.  Nobody gets smiles from PK like Mattie. 
Please note not only her overalls, but also her daddy’s in the background.  This was a yard work day, and she is her daddy’s girl…right down to wanting to dress like him when she’s “helping” him.    Love it!!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Seven Months

These monthly photo sessions are getting harder and harder.

Because someone won’t leave the sign alone.

That someone likes to grab it and chew it, and crinkle it up, so that even when you get it away, it’s looks like a dog has had it.

And when you take the mangled, wet sign away, it makes that someone very angry.

So, in full disclosure, the above pictures were taken on the actual seven month birthday as the sign says.  The ones below were taken last night on the 14th, and we had a much better photo session.  Lots more smiles…see:

So, you sweet thing, what are you up to at seven months?

-Lots of smiling, lots of giggling, lots of “talking”, LOTS of personality, and happy, happy, happy.  You light up our house, precious girl! 

-Still no “mama”, but you did recently add “ba ba ba” to your range of sounds your making, so it HAS to be close! 

-You are not crawling yet, and really not even close on it.  Which is fine for this mama who is not quite ready to baby proof again! 

-You still like your bouncy seat sometimes, and you like your exersaucer, but I think it’s been about two weeks since we’ve used the swing, and you’ve just never cared for the bumbo seat.  So, we’re about to start moving some of this baby gear back to the attic. 

-You roll very easily now, like it was never a big deal at all, and you enjoy being on your tummy more now.  Lots of practicing on raising up, but no getting on your knees yet.

-You are a champion sleeper…if it were an Olympic event for babies, you would win a gold medal.  After dropping your evening nap about a month ago, you are now sleeping about 7:30pm to 6:30am, and I’m having to wake you up most mornings at that time.  On Saturdays, you’ve slept as late as 8:00 before…Mattie NEVER slept that late as a baby.  And you’re taking two long naps a day…one morning and one afternoon.  What a life!

-Still crazy about Sister.  And she’s still crazy over you.

-You are *thisclose* to sitting up on your own.  You only need a little support (note my foot in the picture below) to not fall. 

-And you finally cut your first tooth on Mother’s Day!  Bottom left tooth.  You were such a trooper through dance recital weekend, and never gave any indication that you were dealing with a tooth breakthrough.  Such a sweetie!  I’m gonna miss the sweet gummy grin!

-Still a good eater, eating three meals in the highchair a day, and taking four bottles.  Tried avocado for the first time this week, and loved it!  Also eating graham crackers and banana chunks…starting to feed self some.

-19lbs 14oz at last appointment, which was nearly a month ago, so I’m guessing you’re easily over the 20lb mark by now. 

-Size 3 daytime diaper, Size 4 nighttime diaper, and wearing a range of clothes sizes, but mostly 9mos stuff.  

We’ve come a long way in seven months!

One day old in top pic, Seven months old in bottom pic

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Best Friends

These two have been best buds since the very beginning:

(Baby Mackenzie and Baby Mattie at around 4 and 6 months old)
And they still are:

(Big Girl Mackenzie and Big Girl Mattie at 4 years old)

And I hope it always stays that way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mess Maker

Presley had her first graham cracker last night...she liked it, and got about half in her and the other half all over her. At one point she took her gooey, sticky hands and rubbed them ALL in her hair, so we had quite the mess to clean up, but she was very pleased with herself.

I know Mattie did these normal "baby" things like smear food all over herself at this age, but it's so much funnier to me with Presley because I now have Mattie at my side at all times reacting to everything with such enthusiasm. Mattie was freaking out over this mess in such a hilarious way..."PWESLEY!! LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE!! We will NEVER get you all clean!!"....she was saying all this while cracking up laughing. Which made me crack up laughing. Which might not have been my reaction to such a mess without Mattie by my side. I couldn't ask for a better little sidekick than her.

Here's a pic of my mess-maker:





Monday, May 10, 2010

A Star is Born

Mattie has been begging to take dance lessons since she was two years old, and this fall she was finally old enough to start taking. I was hesitant to start anything new this fall since we were going to have a new baby, but I knew Mattie's heart would be broken, so we went ahead with it. And Matthew and I, and my parents, broke our necks to get her there every single week, even when we had a newborn in the house...not easy, but we did it. I think she only missed two classes this whole year.

Over the past nine months, we have asked Mattie every week what she learned in dance, or to show us some of her recital dance, and she never would. She is happy to make up her own dances to show us, but for some reason, she wouldn't ever show us her recital dances, so we were really not sure what to expect when recital came. I had no idea if she even knew her dances at all. I told her more than once that recital was going to be where she earned the privelege of taking dance next year...if she got on stage and just stood there, we would not be going to the hassle of taking dance next year.

Well, she has earned her dancing shoes for another year. We were SO PROUD of our girl! She danced her little heart out and I could not wipe the smile off my face all weekend. She did know her dances pretty well, and she gave it her all. Mattie can be very shy at times, but there was no trace of that on stage. I took her to rehersal on Wednesday of last week, and every day after she asked me "Mom, when do I get to get back on that stage?!". I think I may have a performer on my hands.

Angela took these videos with her point and shoot camera, so the quality isn't the greatest, but I'm SO thankful to have these...thanks, Ang, for being the crazy lady to go down front to video.

This is her tap dance from Saturday night, and probably her better performance. Remember, these are three and four year olds, so the coordination is lacking, but the cuteness isn't. Mattie is front row middle in both videos. Also, please note how she holds her pose longer than anybody at the end of the dance...that cracked me up!

video

This is the ballet performance from Sunday. She spotted Ang filming before she started...notice she waves at her about midway through.

video

I am so glad dance is over for the year, but I'm so glad Mattie did it. I was a very proud Mama, and recital weekend was actually a lot of fun, and not near the hassle I had been dreading. She is glad for the summer break, but already looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Smitten

I use that word a lot when I'm asked how Mattie feels about her new baby sister. It's the best way to describe what has been nothing short of watching her fall in love with Presley over the last six months. And the feeling is mutual...Presley adores her big sister, and I have no doubts that just as soon as she can walk, she will make every step Mattie makes.

Things I've heard around my house lately, from Mattie of course:

"Pwesley has the most beautiful specks in her blue eyes" (while laying in the floor with sister and commenting on her eye color)
"Awww, Pwesley, don't cry, your sistuh's right here" (I hear this alot, Mattie is convinced anytime Presley cries, it's because she wants her)
"Mommy! Pwesley is reaching for me!! She LOVES me!" (it was true, Pres has started reaching for people she loves and sister is at the top of the list)
"Mommy! Pwes Pwes is loving on my feet! She's chewing my toes! Mommy, she's chewing my toes!" (followed by me screaming "Get your feet out of your sisters mouth!")

I'm not delusional enough to think that they will always feel this way about each other. I know there is a time coming very soon that there will be fights over baby dolls, and barbies, and even clothes, most likely. But for now, I'm basking in it, soaking it up, and taking lots of pictures of it, so that when they are 13 and 16, I can show them this picture to prove that there was a time when they made goo goo eyes at each other in the bath tub.