Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas! From my family to yours!

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Saturday, December 15, 2012

11 Months

11 months

My baby is only a baby for one more month! Yikes! Where has the time gone?

We've been busy with the holiday season, which is so much more fun with Connor to share it with :).

Connor still weighs about the same and since we were so busy on the 15th with getting Ken a "new" car and packing for Chicago, I forgot to measure his height. (He was in an accident with the truck involving airbags... everyone was ok but the insurance company decided to total it. He found a great little car that is newer than the truck ('08 vs. '02), lower in mileage, and better on gas. )

Connor has recently started actually clapping and will clap for himself, it's too cute! No official new words being used but he definitely seems to have "mama" and "dada" down now and lots of babbling. Several teeth seem to be on the verge of breaking the gums any day.

Connor and I spent Thanksgiving with our good friends, since Ken had to work. We had a great time and were so blessed to have such amazing people in our lives.

Then I worked like crazy to try and get everything done for Christmas (Christmas pj's, stockings, gifts, etc) while Connor enjoyed making lots of messes around the house.

Here are a few photo highlights from this past month...

Connor loves pushing things around so he was happy to push Grady around on Thanksgiving!

Connor pushing Grady

I had two photo sessions I took pictures for Thanksgiving weekend and Connor was the perfect little assistant, hanging out in the Ergo on my back. I love that I can take him with me if I need to :).

Cutest Photo Assistant

Our little town has a Christmas lights parade with Santa lighting up the downtown area and the big tree... of course we had to go! Connor seemed to wonder why we were out after dark since that rarely happens, lol.
Why are we out past dark, Mom?

We had a playdate with Aedan at our house. The boys had fun in Connor's ball pit and playing with his Laugh & Learn Table.

Aedan & Connor

Connor LOVES our animals and they are really great with him, even the cat! Here they are batting at each other.
Connor & Tallulah

More Christmas festivities! We went to the annual Christmas in the Park down at the waterfront (which is free!) and met the Grinch and Buddy the Elf. It was super crowded and the line for Santa was super long, so we didn't see Santa. I think it will be more fun for Connor when he's a bit older... he wasn't having it that day, but he did enjoy getting to see Grady and Charlotte.

Connor and me with the Grinch

Did I mention how much Connor loves his puppies? And how much they love him? He actually growls back at them when they play growl, it's so funny. He has taken to wrestling with Zoe and constantly wants to tackle her and climb over her from one side to the other and back again. She of course just lays there and lets him... such a good girl!

Connor & Zoe

Liby doesn't lay around long enough to get climbed on as often but they do like to play tug of war on occasion!
Connor & Liby

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

10 Months

Ten Months

Only 2 more months to plan Connor's first birthday! And I still have so much to do for the holidays, ahh!!

We went for his 2nd flu shot and recheck of his iron levels, which are still low. The nurse said to keep taking my prenatals and try to get him to eat iron-rich foods...easier said than done. Connor isn't much for spoon-feeding so eating iron-fortified baby cereal doesn't happen with any regularity and when he does it's only a few spoonfuls so it's not going to help his iron levels. He does like finger foods and is pretty good about feeding himself, but he still doesn't eat that much (and prefers nursing) and since we have to go slow with the introduction of new foods due to allergies, it's quite challenging. I'm going to be calling his doctor (since we didn't see her, just a nurse) to see if we need to get a blood test to confirm his levels and maybe go on a supplement to bring his levels up.

While we were there, Connor got weighed (with clothes) and is now 20 lbs 9 oz! I'm sure there's an ounce or two to knock off that for clothing, but that's a pound more than last month so he definitely had a growth spurt, which is also why I have had to pack up the rest of the 12 months clothes and he's in 18 months now.

Connor is walking everywhere now and finds news things to get into and make a mess of daily! He's walking more than crawling now and is probably just as fast at walking so he prefers it over crawling at this point. His second bottom front tooth popped through a couple weeks ago.

About a week before Ken came home, he started saying "dadadada" and was mostly indiscriminately saying "dada". While Ken was home on leave, he seemed to start saying "mama" and "dada" a little more discriminately, but isn't quite consistent yet. He has started doing a little bit of a wave and will give me a high-five sometimes too.

He loves his daddy and had so much fun playing with him. We were so busy for the two weeks Ken was home and it went by too fast. Luckily he'll get to be home for Christmas!

Here are some other things that happened this month....

Connor and I met up with friends for the annual Scarecrow Stroll downtown.

Scarecrow Stroll

Ken made it home just in time to be the Man in the Yellow hat for Halloween! (See full family picture on my Halloween/Homecoming post.)

Happy Halloween!

Connor had lots of fun hanging with Daddy and they finally were able to wear their matching Bears jerseys together :).
My favorite Bears fans!
We had Connor's baptism right after Ken got home and my mom was able to come. We are very thankful for everyone who was able to make it and to Emily who took pictures for us!

Connor's Baptism
 Connor's best friend, Grady, turned one and had a mustache bash! Here's a picture of me with them both... can you believe this was almost what would have been if we hadn't lost Connor's twin??? Yikes!

Happy Birthday Grady!

Then we had our own little early Thanksgiving meal since Ken has to work on Thanksgiving. Connor had his first taste of turkey and mashed potatoes and he loved them! He also finally figured out how to drink from a sippy cup thanks to the Tupperware sippy cups I recently bought, though I still have to help him tip it up to get water out of it since I only put a little in the cup.

 And then before Ken went back we went to the park. Connor and I had been to the park a few times but I wanted to save his first ride in a swing and first time down a slide for when Ken was home, since he missed out on so many other firsts. He was not too thrilled with the park that day.. we went after his afternoon nap and I think he was a little tired. He was hanging on for dear life int he swing and looked at me like "please help and get me out of this thing!"

Add caption

I think that's about it for now... more pictures are up on my Shutterfly site!

Sunday, November 18, 2012


Connor's first Halloween was filled with extra excitement as we picked up Ken from the ship! It was a busy, crazy day and we were so happy to finally have him home again. We took Connor around to just the neighbors this year since he won't be eating any treats. I had already made Connor's monkey costume and my banana tree costume ahead of time and when we found out Ken would be home for Halloween (kinda last minute), I whipped together a Man in the Yellow Hat (from Curious George) costume in a hurry and made Ken wear it. Not my best work, but it did the trick!

Happy Halloween!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

9 months

9 months!
(would not be still)

I want to stand Mommy!

Connor is 9 months old and boy has he been busy this month! Official weight is 19 lbs 8 oz... not gaining much these days with all the moving he's doing! Length was off at the doctor's office, he wasn't wanting to stretch out his leg for the nurse and the measurement she wrote down was 28.75" which is only half an inch more than what he was at his 6 month appointment and I know that's not right seeing as we're already retiring some of his 12 month clothes due to length. So I remeasured at home and triple checked it and got 30 inches, which makes much more sense. And he did really well with the finger prick to check his iron levels and only cried a second with the flu shot. His iron was slghly under what they want to see (by .6) so I'm going back on my prenatals in hopes that the extra iron in them doesn't upset his tummy like before (which was why I went off them). If so, I'll take a regular multivitamin so there's not too much extra iron. The NP said that was probably the reason so they'll recheck him in a month when we go back for his 2nd flu shot. We also discussed seeing an allergist at 1 year because of his food issues and now with the rash on his face that we can't seem to get rid of.

One of his bottom teeth finally broke all the way through (took forever), but we're still waiting on the other one. Lots of babbling, but no real words yet (other than a handful of "mamas" that I'm not sure are real yet). Crawling everywhere and getting into everything. And just last week, he took his first steps! He gets better with each day and takes a few more steps at a time but still likes holding my hand since he can go faster that way. He loves making messes and getting into things. Most days it seems the dog's water bowl is his favorite! Speaking of water, we have graduated into the big tub as he was climbing out of the infant/toddler tub. Guess we didn't make it to the toddler stage with it, lol.

Other happenings from this month...

We had new visitors! Ken's sister and her boyfriend came to visit us for a few days.  They were a HUGE help while they were here. It was still warm so we fit in a trip to the beach too.

Steph, Connor and me

Connor experienced his first garage sale and Grady even came to hang out while his mom and I tried selling our stuff! I sold quite a bit and made a decent amount of money, which is always good.

This past weekend we went to a farm nearby that has a corn maze and fun activities for kids, as well as pumpkins! It will be great when he gets a little older but we enjoyed walking in the corn maze and picking out a pumpkin.

These next several months are going to get even more busy with the holidays and then Connor's birthday! I need to get planning soon!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

8 months

8 months!

Time for Connor's 8 month update! Our at home measurements are 19.4 lbs, 29.5 inches. Either weight is off from being a home measurement or there was no weight gain this month which I would venture to say is because he is always on the move! It didn't take long for Connor to get the hang of crawling and now he's all over the place and into everything, which makes it even harder to get stuff done around the house. Oh well, I can have a clean house when he moves out, lol. He his also pulling up on everything and anything, including walls, the dogs, and my legs! He cruises whenever he can and likes opening and closing cabinets and drawers. It's a good thing Ken baby-proofed all of that before he left so the only stuff he can get into is ok, although I still supervise of course. He has a push toy that he now pulls up on and pushes it around the house, squealing with delight that he is walking without having to hold my hands, although he still likes to do that a lot too.

Look, Mama, I'm a big boy!

Pulling up and getting into everything!

Then, just the other day, clear as can be, Connor said "mama" twice! I'm not sure if he really meant it, but he said it! He was fussing for me to pick him up, so maybe??? He's also cutting his first teeth and they are taking forever! It's the bottom front two. Thankfully with his amber necklace, I haven't had to give him any tylenol/motrin for it, but when it seems really bad and the amber isn't quite cutting it, I'll give him a teething tablet for some frozen purees in a mesh feeder. Speaking of foods... we are still slow going because of reactions and having to wait for eczema/diaper rashes to clear and then waiting 3-5 days before starting something new. He also doesn't seem all that into it just yet and I'm lucky to get him to eat a few spoonfuls a day. Good thing food before one is just for fun! I also found out that Ken reacted to orange foods as a baby as well, so we're steering clear of those until after a year which was about when Ken grew out of them. And avocado is somehow related to bananas, which Connor reacted to through my breast milk, so that explains why he reacted to that. My father-in-law is allergic to raw bananas so it's possible Connor might be too.

We had a little bit quieter of a month this time, which I think we both needed. We still kept busy with things around the house and getting out and visiting with friends now and then. We've been taking walks almost every night and the weather has just been beautiful... I love fall! My mom and step-dad came to visit over Labor Day and Connor finally got to meet Grandpa Danny. They were a HUGE help when they were here and got a few more things off of my to-do list. Thank you, thank you!

Hey, Grandma, that tickles!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Chocolate Balsamic Strawberry Cupcakes

Ok, so I'm not very good at coming up with names for my recipes, maybe I'll get better as time goes on...

I wanted to make cupcakes for a neighborhood get together and since I don't have the time to make a lot from scratch since having Connor, I resort to using box mixes. There's nothing wrong with this, except that I typically get the urge to make it into a little more than your basic baked good. I pulled out a gluten-free chocolate cake mix and decided I would use the strawberries that needed eating. At first I was just going to add strawberries to the mix and bake them in the cupcake, but then I decided that a balsamic strawberry filling would be way better! So here's my recipe for chocolate cupcakes filled with balsamic strawberries and topped with vanilla frosting and a little decoration.


chocolate cake mix (I used Betty Crocker's Gluten-Free mix) and ingredients called for (substitute coconut oil for the butter)

2 cups chopped strawberries
2 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp cornstarch

your favorite vanilla frosting (I used Betty Crocker's Rich & Creamy Vanilla as I have yet to try making dairy-free frosting)
6 strawberries, halved
melted chocolate


1. Bake cupcakes according to the package directions. Allow to cool completely.

2. While cupcakes are baking, combine the filling ingredients in a small saucepan on medium heat. You will want to dissolve the cornstarch in to water before adding it to the mix to prevent lumping.

3. Stir frequently and cook until the mixture starts to bubble and thicken, then simmer about 5-10 minutes and it should thicken even more. Remove from heat and cool (it should continue to thicken as it cools).

4. Using an apple corer, create a hole in the middle of each cupcake for the filling.

5. Fill each cupcake with the cooled strawberry filling. It's ok to slightly overfill as you will be covering them with frosting.

6. Frost the cupcakes, top each with a strawberry half, and drizzle with melted chocolate. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Tale of the Traveling Baby

The second weekend in August was my friend/college roomate's wedding and I really wanted to be there for it. Plus, it had been 2 years since my last visit to Ohio. The original plan was that I would drive, taking two days to get there and back. My mom talked me out of that plan and insisted flying would be safer with it being just Connor and me. I finally agreed and bought a plane ticket and reserved a rental car. After the short road trip with Connor in July, I was thankful I decided to fly, but still nervous that Connor would scream/fuss the whole plane ride. When I booked my flights, I chose early morning times since that's when Connor is less likely to be fussy. I did have a connection in Atlanta and prayed everything would go well getting to the next plane.

So we get up bright and early that Wednesday before the wedding to head to the airport for our flight. I had managed to cram everything, including some cloth diapers, in my large rolling suitcase (with 4 swivel wheels) and a carry on. The diaper bag would be my personal item and I would gate check the stroller and car seat. Luckily Connor still fits in his infant seat, even though I've already moved him into a convertible seat, so that was the one I would take since it snaps into the stroller. I don't think I would have managed to get from the car to the ticket counter by myself if it were't for my set up. I carried Connor in the Ergo, put the diaper bag in the bottom of the stroller, the car seat snapped on the stroller and the gate check bags for them and my carryon sat on top of the car seat. I then pushed the stroller with one hand and the suitcase with the other. That was one heck of a workout! I got us checked in and found out my suitcase was 7 lbs over the 50 lbs limit... I could either pay $90 (!!!!) extra to check it as is or transfer stuff over to my already too heavy carry on. I'm by myself with a baby... so I chose to just pay and figure something out for the return flight. Ouch! Then it was off to security. I was so glad they have a special line that included those traveling with strollers. The security people were very nice and even helpful with getting my stuff all up on the line and didn't make me feel rushed at all. I even was allowed to wear Connor through security, I just had to get my hands tested for explosive material.... haha, like I would even have time for that! After that went so smoothly, I was feeling a little better about this whole flying alone with a baby thing. I still wasn't sure about how I would get the car seat and stroller into the gate check bags and get them down the ramp (while Connor is in the Ergo and carrying the diaper bag and carryon) but I figured I would drag them if I had too. Turns out there was another mom with a young baby who was also on my flight and she helped me get everything into the bags and down the ramp during pre-boarding (something else I was thankful for!) as she had a seat for her baby and was bringing the carseat aboard and had an extra hand. We got on the plane and found our seats and I prayed we'd get nice people beside us. Luckily we did have two very nice people sitting beside us... good thing too because as everyone was boarding, Connor (being overtired and probably overwhelmed at this point) started SCREAMING and nothing I did was helping. I did eventually get him to nurse and he fell asleep just before we taxied to the runway. This was when one of my last minute decisions before leaving the house that morning came in handy... I had grabbed one of my scarves (not the winter kind but the accessory kind) and it worked perfectly to cover me enough while Connor was nursing without actually covering Connor (which he won't let me do anymore anyways). I had hoped he's sleep the whole flight but he ended up waking up just as we reached cruising altitude. Luckily our first leg was short. I pulled out a new toy (Eric Carle ladybug) that I had bought after reading someone's tips on traveling with small children (bring along a new toy)... it worked for a little while and he really likes that new toy, but he fussed again on our initial decent and I finally got him to nurse while we made the final decent so his ears wouldn't get too messed up. We made it! Now I had to get us to our connection. This was when I was glad I had the set up I did. It didn't take too long to get everything out of the gate check bags and all piled up and ready to be pushed across the airport. We made it in plenty of time for me to change Connor's diaper before we boarded. The second last minute decision I had made that morning was to grab a couple of cloth diapers to have him wear on the planes... so thankful I did this because I found quite the poopy diaper when I changed him between flights and it likely would not have stayed in the diaper if he were in disposable. I'm not sure when he actually pooped but it was probably part of why he was so fussy on the first flight. The second flight was better than the first. One of the gentlemen from first class carried my carry-on aboard and even stowed it for me in the over-head bin! The middle seat was empty the whole flight which gave us some extra room which was nice. He still fussed a little but not as much as the first flight and did sleep for part of it. He may have slept longer but the beverage cart ended up parking itself right next to us, gee thanks. Overall, it went much better than I expected and I was SO thankful for the kind & helpful people who helped me along the first part of our trip.

I actually liked the rental car I got this time, a Ford Fusion, and if I were to buy a small car, this would be at the top of the list.

It was a busy trip and we tried to visit with as many people as we could without making it too overwhelming. I enjoyed getting to spend time with my sisters and even got to see my nieces briefly. We also met up with some of my cousins from my dad's side of the family that I haven't seen in many years and it was nice to see them and meet their kiddos too! I missed getting to see one of my best friends from high school because we were running late and then the rental car alerted me to low tire pressure and by the time I found a tire gauge and filled the tires, it put us too far behind and we missed each other (insert sad face here). I did get to show Connor the duck pond I used to go to sometimes as a kid that was right across the street from my elementary school (not that he'll remember it, lol). Connor did great at the wedding and it was so nice to see my college friends. I was super thankful that one of my sisters came with me to help out too. On our last day in town, we went to the zoo I grew up with and it was fun to see Connor actually watching some of the animals.

I wasn't as nervous about our trip home, but it was earlier and this time I had two suitcases to get to the ticket counter. There was no way I was paying another $90 for a heavy bag so I bought Connor his own suitcase at Target while we were there. It was carryon size with a long handle and four spinning wheels so I figured I would just put that one and my big one back to back and roll them together. We dropped off the rental and I managed to get across the parking lot and almost inside the rental car building that I had to pass through to get to the shuttle that would take us to the airport (yes, if you get a rental car at the Cleveland airport, they are all in their own building off the airport property). I was attempting to get everything onto the curb when a lady from Hertz who was outside taking a break, saw me and offered to help. Then she decided there was no way I should take a shuttle and that she would have someone drive me over to the airport. OMG, THANK YOU!! This wasn't even the rental company I rented my car with (Budget) and she was going to have someone take us to the airport! So we got to the airport and the gentleman who drove us over made sure to tell the Delta agents that I would need help with my luggage. We got checked in and through security just fine and had some time to play before boarding the plane. As I sat on the plane, I wondered if I would maybe run into someone I knew since I hadn't run into anyone by accident during my stay, but then thought, no probably not. Connor was doing well while everyone boarded and next thing I know, I look up and who is walking down the isle of the plane? My friend who just got married and her husband leaving on their honeymoon! And where are they sitting? In the row right behind us!!! How crazy is that? She was so excited to see us since she didn't get to visit with us much at the wedding (we had to leave early and hey, it was her wedding day!) and she felt bad that we had come all that way. So what does she do? Asks her new husband to switch seats with me so she and I could chat on the flight to Atlanta. He of course agrees and we get to talk the whole time and catch up a little. I'm still amazed how that happened. Once in Atlanta, they helped me to the tram and then we parted ways as they headed for Mexico and Connor and I headed home. He did pretty well on our trip home with just a little fussing here and there. He seemed so happy once we got back to our car (which I managed to get all the luggage and what not all the way to the parking lot on my own... quite a workout!). He even let out a squeal of laughter as we pulled into the garage and was thrilled when we got inside the house.

Ok so based on my experience of traveling alone, by air, with a baby... here is my list of tips...

Airplane Tips

  1. Wear your baby through security and the airport: it's easy, frees up your hands, and gives them that sense of security in a new/strange place.
  2. If baby is still in an infant seat that works with a travel system, gate check the infant seat and stroller so you can use them to help you get your things to the plane.
  3. Use gate check bags for your carseat and stroller if you don't want them getting scuffed up or dirty.
  4. Make sure baby is sucking on something during takeoff and landing (landing is more important than takeoff). Connor doesn't take a pacifier so I nursed him on takeoff and landing.
  5. If you are breastfeeding and want to be discreet without having to cover baby's head, use a scarf (put on backwards, crossed behind your neck and draped back to the front). I wore a nursing tank that doesn't cover anything so this was a huge help for me. 
  6. If you can manage to have just the diaper bag as your carryon and your purse as a personal item, do it. I couldn't so I had a duffle bag for my carryon (purse inside) and the diaper bag was my personal item. 
  7. Bring a new toy for the plane ride. Make sure it's interesting and interactive so it keeps baby entertained (at least for a little while!).
  8. Bring something to read for yourself in case baby sleeps the whole flight (an e-reader would be easiest).
  9. If you use cloth diapers at home, use them on the plane too, they'll contain the messes better IMO.
  10. If you can't pack everything into one rolling suitcase (make sure it has four swivel wheels), then make sure your second suitcase has a long handle and four swivel wheels or will attach to the bigger one.
Other Travel Tips
  1. Try to stick with baby's daily routine as much as you can (notice I said routine, not schedule... be flexible). Expect crankiness when naps or bedtime are missed/delayed.
  2. Some babies (especially high-need babies) may be more clingy on a trip around people he doesn't see often and in a new place so make sure you offer him reassurance that he needs to know that he's still safe.
  3. If you use cloth diapers at home, use cloth on your trip if you have access to a washer/dryer... your baby's bum will thank you :).
  4. If you're renting a car, double check to make sure all the tires have enough air in them... apparently they don't check this when refueling. You might even want to check the fluid levels too.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aromatherapy Heat Wrap Covers

Here are the heat wrap covers I made! I am finally finishing this post even though I made these several months ago... it's been a busy summer!

Here's what I did for my 9" x 13" heat wraps.... (sorry I didn't take pictures along the way)

Two-Piece Cover

16.5" x 11" piece of fleece
15" x 11" piece of flannel for the accent/back side
9" strip of 3/4" velcro.

Hem  (1/2") the one of the short ends of each piece of fabric to give them a finished edge.

Sew the hook piece of velcro to the wrong side of the fleece at the finished edge. Sew the loop piece of velcro to the right side of the flannel at the finished edge.

Sew right sides together using 1/2" seam, leaving the end that doesn't meet up open. Turn right-side out and baste the edges together.

Insert heat wrap and secure velcro. That's it!

One-Piece Cover

30 1/2" x 11" piece of flannel
9" strip of 3/4" velcro

Hem (1/2") the short ends to give them a finished edge.

Sew the hook piece of velcro to the wrong side of one end at the finished edge and the loop piece of velcro to the right side of the other end at the finished edge.

Fold the right sides together, leaving the end  with the hook piece of velcro hanging off by an inch for the flap. Sew together using 1/2" seam and turn right-side out. Baste edges together.

Insert heat wrap and secure velcro. Done!

I hope these directions were simple to follow, I know it'd be better with pictures, perhaps I'll be able to update this post after I make another heat wrap cover and take pictures along the way. Happy sewing!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

7 months

Another busy month has flown by and Connor is 7 months old! He is now about 19.4 lbs and 29 inches (at home measurements). It's getting harder to get him to hold still for pictures, lol.

7 months!

We started solids and boy has that been a challenge. Because of Connor's issues with some of the foods I have eaten, we have to introduce foods one at a time and wait 3-5 days before starting a new food. Of course, if he reacts to a food, we stop immediately and then have to wait for his reactions (usually involving eczema and a diaper rash) to clear so we'll know if the next food is safe or not. First, we tried oatmeal, but I could barely get him to eat it. So after 3 days of trying, I decided to move on to the good stuff. Squash seemed like a safe first food and is low on the allergy list, so we started with the jarred variety. I noticed a little eczema but it had been hot and figured it was just the heat irritating it... until day 4 when I roasted a nice butternut squash and let Connor feed himself (which he loved) and then noticed that not only had the eczema gotten slowly worse, but it was now on his face (for the first time) and was now accompanied by a diaper rash and stuffy nose. Squash? Really?! So even though he seemed to be enjoying the squash... we had to stop and wait for everything to clear. My LLL leader said her son went through a phase where he reacted to anything orange so hopefully he just grows out of this and isn't really allergic to squash. So once his skin was clear, we went to pears. Thankfully, no reaction to pears, but he doesn't seem to like them all that much either. So next we tried avocado. He loves squishing the food between his fingers and getting to feed himself. I'm not sure how much he liked the avocado but he did eat some and didn't see to completely hate it. We only tried it one day though because we were on vacation and he ended up reacting to the butter on my steak at the wedding we went to... so now I have to wait for that to clear his system before we can try more avocado or something new. Well at least I know he's still allergic/sensitive to dairy since I'm supposed to try it every couple of months to see if he's grown out of it yet. Poor kid. Well it could be worse... so we'll keep on trying and hope he grows out of his sensitivities and doesn't stay allergic to anything, but if he does, we'll manage that too.



No more pears!

Connor got to meet his Grandpa Tank at the end of July as he was passing through town.

Connor & Grandpa

Connor is going to be in the 2013 calendar for Brown Fertility, the clinic who helped us conceive him. He did a great job at the photo shoot and I got the file of my favorite picture and will get an 8x10 of the one they choose for the calendar. If only there was more work in the area and my agent wasn't so far, I might sign him up and get his college fund going!

In the area of motor skills... Connor has been trying to get moving all month. He started the month with lunging forward to reach for toys, then picking up one of his hands while on his hands and knees to grab toys, all while getting himself back up to a sitting position. This meant when I put him in his toy area while I make a meal or grab the laundry, he was not always where I last put him! He could make his way around his play area and not fuss because he couldn't reach a toy. Towards the end of the month, he started getting a little forward motion, but not much, and then he'd sit himself back up. While on our trip though, he made more progress and by the time we got home, we was crawling! He doesn't go too far yet, maybe a couple of feet, but each day he goes a little further and gets better at it. He can be fast though if he's after the dogs, the cat, their toys, or a black cord, lol. My days are getting a whole lot busier! He's also started to try puling up on things and has managed a couple of times. He still likes to grab my hands and hold on while walking around "chasing" the dogs, but he still needs me for balance so it might be a while before he's actually walking... he still hasn't started cruising furniture yet...

Oops, wrong way!

I've noticed more babbling lately too, especially "bababa" or "dadada" sounds and occasionally when he fusses it sounds like he's saying "mama" but I don't think he really means it yet. He loves to squeal and scream and recently seems to give me an angry scream if I don't come get him right away when he needs something. I've only just started exposing him a little to some basic signs that he'll be able to do eventually to help him communicate. I really need to be better about doing them more and making sure to figure out all the signs I want to teach him that will help with early communication.

And to finish out our month, Connor took his first plane ride. We went to visit family and go to my friend/college roommate's wedding. I'm going to do a separate post about the trip, but overall it went well and we had a good time.

1st Plane Ride!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Farmer's Market Breakfast Bake

Ok, so I actually made this for dinner but it is more of a breakfast food. This recipe arose from the need for a quick, easy meal that I could whip up with what I had in the house. This would be a great breakfast to make after a visit to the farmer's market. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!


Canola oil spray
16 oz package frozen hash browns
10 oz package frozen cut spinach, thawed & drained (use paper towels to soak the water out)
6 eggs
1/2 cup milk substitute (I used coconut milk drink, you can use regular milk if you don't need to be dairy free)
1 lb. gluten-free breakfast sausage (I used Jimmy Dean's maple pork sausage)
2 cups of chopped vegetables (I used bell peppers)
salt & pepper


Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with canola oil spray.

Spray a medium skillet (or add 1 tbsp of canola oil) and brown the sausage over medium heat, breaking into small crumbles, until cooked through.

Beat the eggs and milk substitute together in a small bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste, set aside.

Spread the hash browns on the bottom of the dish, making sure to break apart any chunks. Then layer the cooked sausage, spinach, and chopped veggies. Poor egg mixture over the top.

Bake for 45-50 minutes, until it's bubbly and the eggs are set.

Serves 6

Friday, July 27, 2012

Recipes, Sewing, Crafting, and More!

So I've decided to expand my blog a little and start sharing some of my recipe creations, some of my favorite recipes, as well as sewing and crafting projects here and there. I love to cook, bake, sew, craft, paint, etc, so why not? Especially since I am gluten-free and now dairy & nut-free due to Connor's sensitivities and I know how hard it was when I first started these changes to find recipes and figure out what to eat. Now I'm at the point where I can adjust recipes I love to meet my current dietary restrictions and I want to share them for those who might be restricted in their diets too. Plus I know several friends and family members who ask me for my recipes so this will be a good place to share some. I will still be updating here and there about things going on in my life and with my sweet little boy, so no worries if you enjoy those posts. I hope you enjoy the recipes and projects as much as I do!

High Need Baby

I had never heard this term before having Connor. Some thought maybe he was a little colicky when he was younger but I discovered he was, in fact, just a high need baby (well and is sensitive to dairy so I cut that out which lessened his fussiness). Some may use the term "fussy baby" but I usually just tell people that he's high maintenance like his mother. Once I understood this, I was able to make adjustments and things are getting better.

Dr. Sears describes 12 features of a high need baby: intense, hyperactive, draining, feeds frequently, demanding, awakens frequently, unsatisfied, unpredictable, super sensitive, can't be put down,  not a self-soother, and separation sensitive. Connor fits most of these. Yes it's often draining, especially with Ken deployed, and sometimes I worry I might get burned out. I am truly thankful for my friends and family who have been there to give me little breaks here and there. Not that I feel the need to get away, but just to have my arms free temporarily to get a few things done that I can't do while holding a baby. In fact, I get a little anxious when I'm away from Connor and all I can think about is getting back to him. I'm sure this is an instinct thing, we're not designed to leave our babies behind as this would have certainly spelled danger long ago. Though some mommas and babies can get used to the temporary separations and still be happy as this is no longer a danger today's modern world. I'm just speaking for how I feel and how Connor acts. I'm also very thankful for my Ergo; he's happy being held close to me and I can do a few things around the house. If he happens to get hungry, no problem, we are pretty good at nursing in the Ergo and have nursed many times in public or around others and no one can tell he's nursing with the hood up. This carrier has seriously been a life-saver! Now that he's starting to become mobile, he doesn't want to be held all the time as much as when he was littler, but he still wants to be held a lot. When he's down on the floor playing, he's getting a little better at playing by himself for short periods of time (maybe 10-15 minutes if I'm lucky) but would usually rather I play with him or help him practice his walking and chasing the dogs around the house.

High need babies, like Connor, just need more of everything and are persistent when asking for these things. I find that on days when I'm not too busy trying to get something done and I respond quickly to his fussing, he actually fusses less and is much happier. I'm trying to find a balance so that I can get things done that I need to do as well as meeting Connor's needs. We're getting better at this but I know we'll always have room for improvement. It's only me right now and one person can only do so much. I would love if I had someone to come play with him for just an hour a day and it would free me up to be able to do a few things... like cleaning the bathrooms. These rooms suffer the most as I can't clean them with Connor in the Ergo or sling or even with him playing in the room because I don't want him breathing in the chemicals (even the earth-friendly ones). But I know that this won't last forever, and eventually he'll be able to play by himself long enough for me to clean the bathrooms, or finish a sewing project, or whatever else I need to do that day. So for now, we get by and I don't stress about the things I can't get done or the backyard that looks awful because I can't get out there to weed it. It will look better next year. Right now, Connor needs me and I know that meeting his needs shows him that he can trust me and that is so important right now.

So yes, I have a fussy, high needs, high maintenance baby, who still wakes up a lot at night, nurses often throughout the day, and wants to be held and be with me most of the time....but I love him and wouldn't trade him for the world! 

Thursday, July 26, 2012

S'mores Brownies

I came across this recipe on foodnetwork.com years ago and never got around to trying it... I had saved it to my recipe box and forgot about it. Then once I discovered Pinterest, I went back to all those recipes I had saved and pinned them so now I have them all in one place and will remember where to look for new recipes I want to try! (Can you tell I love Pinterest?) Well, now that I am gluten-free and also need to by dairy-free and nut-free for a while, I needed to modify the recipe accordingly and here is what I did:


6 tbsp vegan buttery sticks, melted (I used earth balance)
1 1/2 cups crushed gluten-free graham cracker crumbs (I used kinnikinnik s'moreables)
2 tbsp sugar
pinch salt

Gluten-free brownie mix (I used Betty Crocker's but I also like the Gluten Free Pantry one)
ingredients called for in the brownie mix - substitute coconut oil for the butter most of the mixes call for

4 cups larges marshmallows


Preheat the oven to 325F. Spray an 8x8 baking dish/pan (I used glass) with canola oil and line with parchment paper.

CRUST: Use some of the melted buttery sticks to lightly coat the parchment paper and then mixed the rest of it with the crumbs, sugar and salt in a medium bowl. Press the crumb mixture evenly over the bottom of the pan. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.

BROWNIE: While the crust is baking, make the brownies according to the package directions (substituting coconut oil for the butter). Poor over crust and bake according to package directions.

TOPPING: When brownies are done, take them out of the oven and move the top rack to about 6 inches from the broiler and set the broiler to low (I put my custom broiler at the 350F). Layer the marshmallows across the top and toast under the broiler until golden, about 2 minutes. (Keep your eye on them the whole time don't walk away!) Cool on a rack.

Now I let mine cool in the pan and cut them the next day but it was a bit of a pain. I oiled a knife to cut through the marshmallows and then cut through the brownie and crust, re-oiling the knife often. Everything else was pretty easy! The original recipes has you lining the pan with foil but that has never worked well for me... the parchment paper worked out well. 

*This recipe was adapted from www.foodnetwork.com (link to the actual recipe can be found in the first paragraph of this blog post).