Monday, November 25, 2013

Ten Months!

Ten months goes by fast when you're having fun! Maleah turned ten months old this past Friday, and... obviously I'm a little behind getting her monthly update completed!

I think she's at least 19 pounds and is still about 28 inches tall.
6:45/7 ~ wake up, 6 oz bottle, get ready for the day
8:15/8:30 ~ breakfast (yogurt) and sippy cup of water
10:15 ~ 6 oz bottle
10/10:30 ~ nap
12:15/12:30 ~ lunch (fruit/vegetable) and sippy cup of water
1:30/2 ~ 6 oz bottle
2:30 ~ nap
5:30/6 ~ dinner (table food) with sippy cup of water
7 ~ bath, 6 oz bottle, bed time

...or something like that!
We are transitioning into table food this month. For the past couple of weeks, we've tried to give her mostly table foods as we eat dinner. Some nights, I give her pick-up foods and other nights I spoon-feed her, just depending on what we're having. Lately she's had rice & broccoli, spaghetti, roasted zucchini, chicken tenders & cheese, tacos, and poppy seed chicken, and a Thanksgiving dinner! I have tried to let her eat table foods here and there for the past few months, so it seems to come rather easily to her to chew the food. She's also great about refusing food when her mouth is full, so I don't worry too much about her stuffing her face!!! We are going slow, though, since table food is yet another "unknown" (how much, what she likes/doesn't like, change of schedule, etc.) so we're doing it in stages - stage 1 is table food at dinner, stage 2 is table food at lunch, stage 3 is table food at breakfast. The hardest part for us is learning how to have things that are either easy to make or things that freeze well, since I really don't like to buy a lot of the packaged foods. If you have some great easy go-to toddler meals, PLEASE SHARE!

Activity & Development
The biggest change that has happened recently is the addition of a third tooth (front left)! I finally felt it pop through her gums Sunday evening after what seemed like YEARS of teething symptoms (okay, weeks is more accurate). Maleah is not a fussy teether, thank goodness! I wouldn't have known she was even teething if it hadn't been for the massive amounts of drool she has been collecting on her shirts. A fourth tooth (front right) is also right at the skin and should pop through any day now.

I think Maleah will start standing on her own this month, but I am not sure about seeing the first steps too terribly soon. Over the weekend, she stood independently a few times for 5-10 seconds. She REALLY likes to crawl. That is A-O-K with me!

Maleah has said and UNDERSTOOD her first word. "Bye!" She finally gets why/when we say it and, of course, she waves like crazy.

Now that she's ten months, we are going to start weaning her from the pacifier. Or at least we're going to try! Now that she is cutting more teeth, I really don't think she needs to sleep with it at night much longer. At six months, we started to limit the paci to only nap/bed times (with the occassional use when she's really fussy, teething, or bored and we've run out of other options...). That worked beautifully - she didn't really "need" it aside from those times. So, now I have to figure out how to take it from her at night. I think my first approach will be to let her fall alseep with it, but to go in and remove it from her mouth after she's out. But, I'll leave it in the crib so she can grab it if she wakes up and wants it. If I see that she leaves it out most of the night, that'll make things a lot easier. But, if she continues to wake up with it in her mouth, well... then I'll need to think of what to do next.

For honesty's sake, I think I should reiterate that Maleah DOES NOT sleep 12 hours EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. She is not a baby robot. She mostly sleeps 11-12 hours without any issues, but usually once a week (sometimes more), she will cry out in the night and Blake and I may go in there to give her a hidden paci (crammed between the mattress and bumper, usually) or pat her back... and some nights, like this past Tuesday night (at 2:30 a.m.), she requires some rocking back to sleep. :) That night, in fact, we had to let her "cry it out" to get back to sleep. I rocked her, fed her, patted her, checked her diaper - even brought her to our bed! NOTHING worked - she kept wanting to play or look around rather than go back to sleep. She cried for about five minutes when we put her back in the crib and then she passed out! So, I just wanted to put that out there - she mostly gets good, sound, lengthy sleep. But, she's still a baby and still causes some sleepless nights from time to time. Usually those instances coincide with teething, sickness, or a runaway paci. And sometimes it's just because she's a baby. And some mornings, she also wakes up REALLY early and that's another story entirely!!! Anyway.... I just wanted to clear that up!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Christmas Craze

Like most new parents, Blake and I are wondering how to go about "doing" this whole Christmas thing. We've been discussing Christmas traditions long before Maleah ever came along and now it's time to start putting those things into practice. We have made some thoughtful decisions that I hope help teach our children that celebrating Christmas means celebrating Christ. But, don't just read! Share what you're doing, too. I want to hear others' ideas on shifting the focus off of consumerism and back onto the hope of Christ.

Disclaimer: I'm not judging anyone. Let's just get that out there, okay?

First things first: Blake and I will be the weirdos who don't "do" Santa for our kids. Working in elementary schools totally ruined the whole Santa thing for me. I hated talking (read: lying) to kids about how someone could possibly travel the world in one night, how he could fit down the chimney, and how the Santa's in the malls are just his "helpers". I just hated it. Essentially, we have no problem with the story of the real Saint Nicholas or even about letting our children enjoy the character of Santa Claus. Heck, we already have plans to take her to get her picture made with the jolly old elf! I'm cool with that. I just don't want to get caught up in the lies and stories and all that. Oh, and I especially don't want to play the "bad kids get coal" game because let's face it - the bad kids usually get the best gifts. Santa won't be used as a bribe for good behavior and we won't be writing wish lists to him. I hope my kids won't need therapy for this.

Gifts are my love language, so this is what I struggle with most at Christmas. I love to give and to receive. We hope to teach our children that Christmas is a time for giving to others and enjoying what others have given us. I love the "something they want/need/wear/read" thing going around, and we've decided to base our gifts around that. While I can't promise we'll stop at just four presents, we will definitely give our children an assortment of those types of things. We want to avoid the onslaught of random toys that will only hold their attention for a millisecond. That's what grandparents are for, right? :)

Blake and I do exchange gifts, but we set a very modest budget because we usually get money as a gift from our families. Last year, we went shopping together with that money and it was so much fun! We bought some things we had been wanting to better organize our apartment, and we each got something "fun" for ourselves. We loved it!

As far as giving goes, we really want to place an emphasis on enjoying giving to others. We want to do some sort of charitable giving that involves our children each year. I'm sure the means we'll use will change as our children grow, but one idea Blake had that I love is that we have our kids give away items (in good condition) they no longer use/need before Christmas. I love this because I hate keeping things we no longer use/need and it teaches them how to sacrifice for the sake of others. I also like the idea of giving them money to spend as they see fit for those in need.

I've never really intentionally celebrated Advent at home and I'm really excited about what we're doing this year! My mom is crocheting 25 mini stockings for me to turn into a garland and use as our Advent calendar. This year we'll follow a guide of 25 Scriptures to read each day before Christmas (I'll put the passages in the little stockings). In the future, we'll do more kid-friendly activities that really involve them in the waiting.

I am also looking forward to having our own Advent wreath that we can light each night at dinner. I'll post a picture once I've made it, but my plan is to buy five white pillar candles, pink and purple ribbon (I already have white), and some burlap. I'll wrap purple ribbon around three candles, pink around one, white around another, put them in a circle with a candle in the middle and use the burlap as the "wreath". Easy, inexpensive, and usable!

The Tree
I love the Christmas tree. I also love ornaments. Two years ago, I spent over $100 on ornaments in one day. Yup. Obviously this is a habit I need to get control of FAST! My ornament plan is as follows:
1. Each family member gets one new ornament each year.
2. We make a family ornament each year.
PERIOD, KATIE. PERIOD. (This is gonna be hard. They're so sparkly!!!)

Other Traditions
I love getting new PJ's on Christmas Eve, so I'd like to continue that in our family. Blake and I would like to try to give the PJ's and read the Christmas story before bed on Christmas Eve while drinking hot chocolate. So special! (I am obsessed with hot chocolate, FYI. It WILL be a part of Christmas.)

Before opening presents on Christmas day, I would love for us to light the final Advent candle and spend some time together as a family. Maybe we have breakfast and sing a few carols, read some Scripture, and pray for others before rushing into the living room. I'm really not sure how this will play out since it will still be a few years before Maleah understands what is happening. So, if you have some ideas about how to avoid the OHMYGOSHITSCHRISTMASMORNINGANDTHEREAREPRESENTS mania, please share!!!

That's about all I've got at this point. I'm reading Treasuring God in Our Traditions by Noel Piper and I must say, it is a beautifully written story. I am a person who LOVES traditions and I want to pass those things along to our children and grandchildren, while helping them understand that we do those things because they help us focus on Christ. Please share some of your holiday traditions that help keep the Christmas Craze at a minimum at your house!!