Saturday, October 23, 2010

Barrett - Ten months old

Dear Barrett

This 10th month of you life has been pure amazement. It is so much fun to watch you become such a little boy. You are such a little character and have your own little personality. I love seeing the world through your eyes. You are still crawling around everywhere with no fear. You pull yourself up on your knees and to standing. Sometimes you'll even hold on with one hand. You crawl over things now and crawl with such determination - if Payton is in your way, you just keep on going head-first into him and he has to jump out of your way. You race all around, to grab things, to stick your hand in Payton's water bowl and splash the water, to chase balls. It's amazing to watch you throw a ball, with such aim, and chase after it. And you love to throw the ball to Payton and giggle with delight when you two play together.

And speaking of balls, you said your first word on your 10 month birthday! It was ball, said so charmingly as "ba." It's hard to tell when you're actually speaking versus babbling but you say it so clearly when we show you a ball so I know it's no fluke or babbling, you definitely know what you're saying. So exciting! Now if we can only turn that "mamamama" into actually meaning me, we're all set!

You are a little rascal sometimes - you have discovered the joys of the pantry and refrigerator and we have to watch those curious little fingers as they try to grab things. You love to pull the dishtowel down and pull open the oven drawer. You are often caught trying to steal food off the other kid's trays at daycare - you get up on your knees and sneak those little fingers to their cheerios and the kids yelp with annoyance but I can't help but laugh.

You have tried all kinds of new food - cornbread, raw apples, graham crackers, muffins, pumpkin pancakes, casseroles and soups. You are a carb-aholic like your mommy. You still love milk though and I don't see that changing anytime soon.

Everything is such a discovery. You discovered the joys of playing with your tongue this month and are constantly running it over your teeth. You want to grab everything and touch it to see what it is. Yet, even though you are a man on the go, you are still wanting to be held and cuddled. As much as you love crawling and exploring, you prefer to be held and carried by us. You reach out those arms to be picked up and get so excited to be in our arms. I think my arms are getting stronger every day from carrying around my not-so-little baby boy.

We got out your fall clothes and you have recently had a growth spurt, I think. Your legs seem so much longer in the last few weeks and you are firmly in the 9month and up clothes. But even the 9 month stuff is starting to get small - your 9 month pajamas are barely long enough anymore so it's time to go shopping for some fleecy 12 month jammies.

Some of the most exciting news of all, however, is that you are finally sleeping past 6am! Within a week or two's time, you changed from waking up consistently around 5:15-5:30 to sleeping until 6, sometimes even past 7. It is wonderful for me. And you continue to go to sleep every night with rarely a peep.

It is so much fun to be your parents and we love seeing the world through your eyes. So much even more fun is ahead, I know!


Thursday, October 21, 2010

The monster at the end of this book

One of my favorite books when I was little was called "The Monster at the End of this Book." As Amazon says, furry Grover begs you not to keep turning the page, for fear of the monster that is at the end of the book. Yet, you keep turning, with rising suspense as you get closer and closer to the climax ending, enjoying every page turn with building anticipation. Grover is begging you not to turn the page, constructing brick walls to try to stop you but you keep doing it anyway, giggling your way to the end (*Spoiler alert* - the monster is really Grover himself. Hope I didn't ruin this book for anyone!)

That's how I feel about my little one's babyhood. I am trying to hold on with all my might to keep him from turning older and he keeps on going, with a big smile on his face, crawling off to the next milestone. Silly Mommy! I wish I could put up a brick wall to keep time still for just a few extra weeks. His first birthday is a mere 2 months away and I can barely believe it's nearly here.

He's transitioned into the bigger kid room at daycare - still considered infants, but the kids that are mobile, the crawlers and walkers. He was starting to be a bully to the littlest babies - stealing pacifiers and pushing their bouncer seats along the floor - little bully Barrett! In his new room, I set him down and he's off to explore the new toys and new sights, with barely a look back. He pulls himself up and stands at his little music table and looks like such a big boy, I can barely recall when he was that 7lb baby with no teeth and dark hair in snuggly newborn pajamas and teeny diapers. Now he barely lays still for diaper changes and wants to flip over and crawl away, leaving me to try to keep up. He feeds himself and crunches cheerios in his teeth and gets annoyed when I get my hands in his way. I can barely believe that this little blond boy is the same one we brought home from the hospital and is going on a year. I see the next 18 years in a flash forward and wish I could somehow block the passage of time from going too fast! Too bad brick walls won't keep out the inevitable!

My little man at his music table

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The cutest pumpkin in the patch

This past weekend we went to a nearby pumpkin patch to pick out our annual pumpkins. My goal is to actually carve them this year... last year they sat on our porch until December when we eventually tossed them out. They are nice decor for the fall of course, but will be more fun turned into jack o'lanterns next week!

The weather was gorgeous. It might have been a little too bright for B who inherited his parents' sensitive blue eyes. Hence all the pictures of him amidst the pumpkins are of the top of his head. Oh well!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Tim and I talk constantly of the idea of selling our house and winter coats and moving south, to Texas, Florida or the Carolinas. What a life we could have - no more snow shoveling, no more scraping ice off windshields, no more windburnt cheeks and runny noses and chapped hands. We dream of sitting outside on a patio in January, drinking coffee and wearing sunglasses. We dream of weekends laying on sandy beaches and splashing in waves. We dream of daquiris and sunscreen and grilling out all winter long.

But the reality is that we're Midwesterners. We brave the ice and snow through the winter for the payoff of the other 3 seasons (which tend to make up only half the year, here in Chicago!) And the best of all these seasons - fall.

Oh how I love fall. Trees turning from green to red, yellow and orange. Pumpkin spice Hershey kisses. The smell of the cooler, crisper air. Colorful mums blooming. Lazy Sunday afternoons in front of a football game. Hooded sweatshirts and warm mugs of apple cider. You can feel the excitement in the air. It's as though the world is trying to squeeze in the final few weekends of joy and energy before winter hibernation begins.

So in honor of fall approaching and our lack of family pictures, we decided to venture out the other weekend to finally get some pictures. Our friend Jen graciously agreed to act as photographer for us and I am glad that we finally got some family photos. I find that we get so caught up in our day-to-day lives and forget to grab the camera and capture these moments together. We are going to try to be better about it though!

I love fall!!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Barrett - Nine months old

Dear Barrett

As usual, I am writing this letter late. Oh well! I have enjoyed you soo much this past month. You have become so much a part of my life that I cannot imagine life without you. Yes, it is so much more difficult to run errands and keep up around the house with a baby underfoot, planning around naptime and bedtime, but my life is so much better these days with you in it.

You are learning to feed yourself and get better every single day! We are still trying purees but you are definitely showing less interest in them and much more interest in feeding yourself. You love to much on cheerios and are working at getting them into your mouth yourself. Those little hands are getting more and more of a workout these days!

You have really developed into such a curious little thing. I watch you and see something catch your attention and you're off like a light to go get it. You love power cords, shoes, and Payton's water bowl. We have to always remember to pick up his dishes because the second you're on the ground, you love to race over to the bowl to stick your hands in them. Then you look up and me with a smile on your face and your hand in the bowl - like you KNOW you're not supposed to do it and are just smiling at me with a mischievous look. I can't get annoyed with you though because it's really cute!

You make me want to be a better mommy. I have surprised myself with how patient I am with you. While I have various virtues, patience isn't one of them. But with you, I'll sit there at your highchair and feed you for 30 minutes, while you decide whether you're going to open your mouth or not. I don't mind things taking longer or you insisting on being carried on walks, because I love being with you and anytime with you makes me happy.

The other day you were near the door at daycare. I caught your attention through the glass and your entire face lit up with such an enormous smile. You came crawling to the window, anxious to see me, and put your palms on the glass against mine. You love to be held and when I'm cooking in the kitchen or in front of the mirror drying my hair, I often feel little tugs on my pants and see a little face looking up at me, wanting to be picked up. And of course, I can never resist!

I can't believe you are 9 months and will be a year so soon! You are such a sweet little thing and bring so much joy to our lives!!


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Baby food 2

I have made what will likely be the final round of baby food purees. We've started eating real food - toast, cheerios, cubes of fruit. So I think we're getting ready to transition to real solids. But in the meantime, I made a few purees to have on hand for dinner during the week. Here's what I made this weekend:

Trio of Root Vegetables
1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
1 1/4 cup potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup parsnips, peeled and chopped

Put the vegetables in a saucepan and just cover with boiling water. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until tender.
Blend to desired consistency.

Spinach, potato, parsnip and leek puree
2 T butter
1 1/2 cups leeks, white part only, sliced
1 1/2 cups potatoes, peeled and chopped
3/4 cup parsnips, peeled and chopped
1 cup boiling water
3 cups fresh or 1/3 cup frozen spinach
1/3 cup grated cheddar cheese

Melt the butter in saucepan, add the leeks and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the potatoes and parsnips, saute for 1 minute and cover with boiling water. Cover and simmer 12 minutes.
Add the fresh spinach leaves, if using, and continue to cook for 3-4 minutes. If using frozen, cook separately, then drain the mix with potatoes, leeks and parsnips. Drain the vegetables.
Blend vegetables together with about 3 T of cooking liquid and cheese. Puree to desired consistency.

Chicken with Mashed Potato and Carrot
1 3/4 cups potato, peeled and shopped
1 1/2 cup carrots, peeled and chopped
3 oz chicken, cut into chunks
1 cup chicken broth (I used water)
2T butter
3 T milk

Put potato and carrot into saucepan, pour over some boiling water, then cover and cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until veg are tender. Meanwhile, poach the chicken in the broth for 6-8 minutes or until cooked through.
Drain the carrots and potato and mash together with the butter and milk. Chop the chicken into small pieces and serve with mashed potato and carrot.

Chicken with Sweet Potato and Apple
1T butter
1/3 cup onion, chopped
4 oz chicken breast, chopped
1 apple, peeled and chopped
1 sweet potato, peeled and chopped
1 cup chicken broth (I used water)

Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the onion and saute 2-3 minutes. Add the chicken and saute until it turns opaque. Add the apple, sweet potato, and broth. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes. Puree to desired consistency.

So there you have it! I can't give the verdict on any of these, since B hasn't tried them yet, but from the smells and the small tastes I took, they are delicious!

I was so nervous to start food at the beginning but it turned out to be kind of fun and really easy! I am nervous though to start the real finger food and still try to get him the healthy food he needs. It's tough, because we get home around 6pm and I try to get him dinner immediately. Defrosting from the freezer is a piece of cake. But trying to whip up real dinner is going to be much more challenging.