Friday, April 18

Stay Home or Work.

As we are preparing to move back to Ohio {which I guess this is my official announcement, ha}, we are also faced with the BIG decision of whether or not I will work. I have so many mixed feelings about this. I have been VERY lucky that the past two years I've been able to work privately for a family {but still within a school setting}. I am a "private" intervention specialist at a preparatory school {and I coach cheerleading which took about 15-20 hours a week}.  I LOVE what I'm doing, but it's not technically a "real" job. I'm not paid by the school, I don't have benefits, no classroom or personal space. The school has really embraced my position and have treated me as if I'm a "real" teacher. They've even sent multiple families my way, to see if I'd be willing to take on another student.

Since having Sullivan I work 3 days a week {4 hours a day}. We don't pay for child care, because we have a wonderful friend who watches baby once a week. We have some other great women who are willing to occasionally watch her, and then Jeff keeps her one or two days. It has been such a blessing to have help when family isn't near by.

So the reasons we are even considering the idea of me working are strictly financial and planning for the future. I should mention that we want to have at least three kids, but REALLY want four. Plus we would love to adopt {at least one child}. If I could work for the next 3 years or so, it would really help us to "get ahead" and really prepare for our future goals and children. We definitely DON'T want me to work when we have multiple children, and in 3 years or so Jeff will be more established in his new career. So working for a few years when we only have one or two kids might be really helpful.

I wasn't even considering job searching or the idea of working until I had SEVERAL {possible} opportunities come my way. One of the jobs offers more flexibility {while still being full time} than a teaching career would. I can't bare the thought of Sullivan spending 40 hours a week with anyone else. Best case scenario, I would get off work by 4, by the time we got home and settled it'd probably be 5, and her bedtime routine starts at 7:15. That's MAYBE 20 hours with her Monday-Friday.

I know myself and I know that I will struggle with feelings of jealousy and bitterness towards whoever got the gift of spending so much time with her everyday. I would pick her up and THEY would be the one telling ME what her schedule is, what she liked, etc. I don't think I could handle it.

I may be wrong, I have NO prior experience in this area! ha. So if ANY has some insight PLEASE share. Right now I am leaning towards wanting to work {again temporarily, like three years}.

Hello... who WOULDN'T want to spend all day with this girl. {These are two moments I would have missed had I been at work}. 

Wednesday, April 16

Baby Food Making Essentials.

1. Mumi & Bubi Trays: These trays are awesome. They were an investment, but the company compares the purchase of the trays to a week of purchasing store bought baby food. The main things I wanted when looking for trays to freeze our baby food was that they were BPA free, had lids, wouldn't take up A LOT of space, and each "cube" size was 1 oz... VIOLA, these are perfect. This kit comes with two trays and two lids. When stacked they are 3in tall. Each tray holds 21oz. of baby food {thats 42oz total}. I really like these. Now, ice cube trays are another option, but I decided against it for various reasons. Plus these have a 1 year warranty, always an added bonus.

2. Food Processor: We had this 4 cup food processor for 3.5 years now, and I've used it once! So I was super excited to bust this bad boy out. Now these are sold in ALL kinds of cute colors {I'm kind of bummed I missed that boat}. You could use ANY blender or food processor you already have. Personally, I am not into the "baby bullet" type stuff, I feel like it's just extra expenses and kind of gimmicky.

3. Boon Squirt Spoon: This isn't to help MAKE food, but just another fun AND helpful product to add to feeding time. You put the food in the squeeze handle, and then you do just that... squeeze. It dispenses {squirts} food into the spoon. It also comes with a cute little cover for the spoon. This will be great for on the go feeding because it eliminates the need for a bowl! And check out the cute colors.

4. mOmma Straw Cup: Another straw cup, and it's SUPER cute {always a motivator for me}. The Playtex training cups I bought are fine, but you have to suck really hard on the straw to get a drink {Sullivan still hasn't learned}. This cup is much easier to drink from. Plus it has the two handles so it's great for her to hold and control, and of course it's spill proof.

5. Organic Frozen/Fresh Produce: There are MANY reasons why I am choosing to only give Sullivan organic foods. I will mostly be using organic frozen veggies and fruit, because studies have shown frozen produce is equally as good as fresh produce {in some cases BETTER, whaaaat?} I have to sites listed below, and both have great information specifically about baby food. Both sites {and many more} 100% agree that organic is the BEST for babies. If "regular" produce is used it has chemicals and pesticides from the growing processes. Organic removes all that.

How I decided to make our baby food: 
1. The other day I went to the baby isle at the grocery, I looked at baby foods and read the ingredient list. It was WILD all the crap that was listed! I have bought some store bought baby foods and under ingredients all it should say {all I want it to say} is ORGANIC PEAS or ORGANIC WHATEVER. nothing else should be listed/is necessary. When you make your own baby food... you know EXACTLY what's in it.
3. Fresh {no idea how long store-bought baby food has been sitting on the shelves/manufacturers}
2. Money saver {one jar or pouch of organic baby food at my grocery is $1.39 for 3.5oz, I made 14oz for $2.89}
3. Better for the environment {no jars/pouches}
4. NO waste {when you open a jar/pouch of baby food, it has to be thrown out within 48 hours, with homemade you can prepare a little at a time}

1. Time {which really is minimal}
2. Learning/researching how to prepare {I get nervous I'm doing it wrong, causing added stress}
3. Less convenient than grabbing a jar {duh}

Making baby food really is THIS simple. It took me less than 20 minutes to make 42oz. of baby food and only $6 {for three different kinds- I will post specific pictures and "recipes" later}. 
To start I researched as much as I could about what foods to start with. An interesting mindset to have when starting solids is that our goal of giving foods/solids isn't to supplement or stop babies from nursing or taking formula, it's to introduce babies to AS MANY different foods as possible before their first birthday {check out this video, my pediatrician recommended this site, and it's all research based and a doctor's perspective}. I personally decided to start with veggies. Babies don't have preference at this point, every taste is a new experience, and they can't possibly know what they do and don't like BUT introducing fruits first {because of the natural sugars and sweetness} could make babies prefer fruits to veggies {just a thought}. I read On Becoming Baby Wise: Book II and did A LOT of research on Wholesome Baby Food and Dr.

If you have any questions, advice, or fun recipes please share!

Monday, April 7

Starting Cereal Essentials.

We started giving Sullivan baby cereal Thursday, it's been so fun... but also ANOTHER learning curve in the world of baby raising. I felt like she was ready, she started waking some at night and she's become super interested in watching US eating.

1. Wakey Wakey Baby Cereal- The brand is Ella's Kitchen from Target. I get really great coupons from Target, because I joined their "baby club". The one I used was $3 off a purchase of $10 of Ella's Kitchen products. It's all organic and natural, plus reasonably priced. It got good reviews from other moms as well. I tasted it and it's actually pretty good.

2. Munchkin White Hot Spoons: I don't really care about the "safety" feature, I just thought they were good colors and simple. The rubber tips are nice, and not super curved, so it's easy to get the food out. I wasn't a huge fan of the bright, plastic utensils. Plus they are pretty cheap. Dishwasher safe.

3. Aden + Anais Burp Bib: I love all their products. I bought these and have been using as burp cloths since Sullivan was born. You can drape them around babies neck and there's a snap in the back to secure and it becomes a bib! I'm all about minimizing, so I love the dual purpose. And boy is a bib necessary, she gets super messy... something I'm going to need to cope with as we venture into eating solids.
4.  PBK Gingham Bowls: So cute. They have grips on the bottom so the bowls won't slide around. They are BPA free, and the perfect kid size. Dishwasher safe, but NOT recommended for the microwave, which is a slight down side. They are perfect for now though.

5. Playtex Training Cups: We aren't really using these much but just putting a little water and letting Sullivan play around with it. I read that 2 oz. of water a day is OK for babies. I also read that straw cups are better than sippy/tilt cups. Apparently straw cups are easier to learn, it eliminates the "tipping" step. With a sippy cup you have to hold, tilt, suck, and swallow. With a straw cup you just have to hold, suck, and swallow {no tilt/tipping}. It made good sense to me. I also read that you want to introduce a cup by 8 months old.

The weird thing has been her poop frequency has drastically decreased, and the consistency has also changed. I know rice cereals can cause constipation, and the cereal we have has both brown rice and whole grains. She's only pooped TWICE in 4 days, which before she was going FOUR times a day. I've stopped giving it to her twice a day, and am trying just in mornings. I'm nervous because its hard to diagnose a baby being constipated, because some can go 8-10 days without, and that's considered normal. It's so confusing to me! I don't know if I should stop completely and try again in a few weeks {when she's the recommended 6 months}.

If anyone has any advice or feedback by all means, share your experience!

I have some more fun products I've ordered/found for food making and feeding, and am excited to use them and post!

Saturday, April 5

Easter Preparations.

My newest craft and holiday garland for Easter! The glitter "Happy Easter" garland is from Pottery Barn Kids, found here. The patterned bunny garland is inspired from this, that is now sold out. When I saw it I REEEALLY wanted it, but I also could NOT spend $50 total on Easter garland. It looked simple enough, so I made it!

Supplies: cute spring paper, twine, cotton balls, needle, glue, and scissors.

The hardest part was making a stencil of the bunny. I traced them onto the paper and cut out. I used 10 bunnies (2 of each pattern). I measured the twine, and decided how spaced out the bunnies needed to be. I used the needle and went through the front of one ear, and up the back of the next, then add a knot to secure. At the end I took one cotton ball and pulled apart and fluffed up, to make the cute little cotton tail. A dot of hot glue for the tail and your done. And it literally cost less than $1, compared to the $26 price tag at PBK. And maybe 30 minutes of my life.

Five Months Old.

Sullivan turned 5 months on March 30th. 

At five months old....
As of March 10th you became a roller, then took a 2 week break, but it has become your favorite! You can roll from your back to your tummy, but haven't figured out the other way yet. You laugh so hard at things, it's the cutest ever! You weigh 13.3 pounds and we found out your head is in the 2nd percentile {little head like mom}! You still sleep well at night. The corner of your first tooth is starting to come in {bottom left}. You got sick for the first time on your 5 month birthday, throwing up and really weak. We were worried but you were such a champ. When mama works and you get a bottle, you hold it all by yourself! You reach and grab for things all the time, and you especially love electronics {phones and the tv remote}. 
We love you soo so much Sullie Girl. Xo

These pictures are a little blurry, and the shadowing is weird.