Lock 'em Up

S took the day off today to work on a project that just can't wait 'til the weekend.

We're knee-deep in baby gates, cabinet locks, outlet protectors and general where on earth are we going to put all this stuff.
When do babies learn, "no"?

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Tuesday Treats: Chocolate Chip Cake

We were at my parents' cabin this weekend and S requested blueberry cake for breakfast. So I made it for him, using up all the frozen blueberries in the freezer. Then he requested it again the next day. But it was gone. So I told him I'd make him a special treat, and out of the oven popped this chocolate chip cake.

As S says, it's like a giant chocolate chip cookie. The mini chocolate chips make it very chocolatey. You could probably get by with just one cup of mini chips, if you're not a super chocolate fan. Otherwise, keep it at two and have a big glass of milk handy to wash it all down.

Chocolate Chip Cake

6 T butter @ room temp
3/4 c. sugar
1 egg
1/2 t. vanilla
2 c. flour
2 t. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. milk
2 c. mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees (350 if you're using a glass pan)
Grease and flour an 8" square pan

1. In a small bowl, toss chocolate chips with ~2T of the flour

2. In a second bowl sift together dry ingredients

3. In a stand mixer with a paddle attachment cream together butter and sugar. Add egg and vanilla, beating until fluffy

4. Add dry ingredients alternating with the milk in two additions

5. Fold in the chips until just combined.

6. Pour into the prepared pan

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes


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Happy Birthday, S!

I'm working as fast as I can today so I can have time to make a birthday cake for S this afternoon! Baby M says he'd like me to make a blueberry cake with blueberries on top and a side of blueberries. Sorry, little buddy, I think we may have to go with ice cream instead....

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Eight Months Down

Maddox turned 8 months old yesterday and all of a sudden we’re playing a whole new game over here. He started crawling on Monday. Now I know why people baby-proof before babies become mobile. Oops.

We spent his entire eighth month in Maine at Mamie and PawPaw’s house. Daddy came to visit for a couple weeks and it was clear that Baby M remembered him when we picked him up at the bus station. Baby M was all smiles!

Baby M really started to consume his food this month as opposed to just testing it out. And he’s eating A LOT of it. He developed his pincher grip mid-month and has been obsessed with picking up pieces of food of all sizes ever since. He’s also quite adept at just scooping up fistfuls of food and chowing down. It’s kind of nuts.

This month some of his new foods include: blueberries, oatmeal without a spoon (just using his hands), sweet potatoes, steak, blueberries, red peppers, strawberries, blueberries, anything and everything spicy, puffs with salsa, French toast, blueberries, salmon, blueberry pancakes, baked oatmeal, blueberries, rice, mozzarella cheese, blueberries, mangos, breakfast sausage with the casing removed, blueberries, lobster, waffles, cherries up the wazoo and blueberries. He’s currently obsessed with blueberries. I’ve been bleaching diaper inserts. ‘Nuff said.
the blueberry pancake aftermath

We share one meal of solid food a day together at breakfast, about an hour after he nurses in the morning. He eats so much food, it boggles my mind. It’s SO MUCH!

Went out for lunch dates together twice and Baby M sat in the restaurant highchair for the first time. He did great playing with his toys while we waited for his food and then nibbling on treats while we ate – the lemon from my lobster roll was a big hit!

Nursing is going well. We’ve started to listen to classical music when nursing before bed, it’s nice and calming for both of us. For a few days he dropped from five nursing sessions down to three, which scared me a bit since I thought my supply would take a big hit. But he went back to four or five quickly. I think I’m making a little less milk, but we stopped giving him an extra 2oz bottle before bed at night, so I’m able to freeze an extra 6oz bag each day.

I also nursed in a moving car while Baby M was strapped into his car seat earlier this month. I felt like some kind of boobie superhero.

Baby M slept late until nearly 8 am the entire time daddy was visiting. But the day after daddy left, he was awake early again. We nurse in my bed in the morning, and several times he’s fallen back to sleep with me. It’s pretty cozy.

We set a new nighttime record with a 13.25 hour sleep this month. I think we’ll be hard-pressed to break this record. And we really don’t need to since our average 12 hours a night is pretty awesome. The boy plays hard and sleeps hard, a perfect balance!

We lost power one night and the house was eerily quiet. I heard Baby M stir a little when his white noise machine shut off, but he didn’t wake up. He also didn’t wake up when the white noise machine came back on. Whew!

Naps are generally 1.5 hours long to-the-minute twice a day. However, he did take a few really long naps, which I think coincided with a growth spurt.

Baby M doesn’t fall to sleep nursing anymore and since we dropped the extra 2oz bottle that he used to get before bed, he’s almost always going down awake. He rolls around and practices crawling a lot in his crib before settling in. It’s pretty cute, he drags his lovey, L.E.Phant, across the crib with him, back and forth, as he plays with his toys and tests out all his pacis. Sometimes I’ll go in to say hello and tell him to settle down, but he always gives me a look like he’s surprised to see me as if I’m interrupting a really fun party. So I usually just watch from the monitor and announce, “he’s getting cozy,” when he slows down and starts to bring LE to his face.

Baby M learned to do the low-crawl this month. It took nearly three weeks from when he was up on all fours rocking back and forth to pulling himself along the floor on his tummy. He did a lot of planks, down dogs and pushups to build up his strength. Have you seen a baby do a down dog? It’s pretty funny! He’s big into standing now too, but doesn’t know not to let go yet. If we hold his hands, he’ll walk.

Last month he learned to sit, this month he learned to get himself into a sitting position on his own. He likes to do it when he’s alone in his crib, during the party when he thinks no one is watching.

We went blueberry picking three times this month!
Baby M ate his weight in blueberries while we picked and every morning since. I squeeze the berries just a touch to break the skins before I give them to him; I often can’t squeeze fast enough and the little guy slaps his tray as if he’s saying, “hurry up, mummy!” The first time we went picking, I made the mistake of freezing all our berries. Each subsequent time I’ve tried to keep plenty in the fridge to fill the bottomless pit that is Baby M’s tummy.

The love for swimming that began last month continues. It’s just pure joy when he’s in the water.  He went in the water at two waterfalls – one we all went swimming and the other he just dipped his toes. He also went swimming in a lake with mommy.

He played in the sand and thought it was so fun to have sand between his toes! Not surprisingly, when we watched Olympics together, he loved the synchronized swimmers the most.

Along with all the swimming, Baby M discovered splashing this month. He splashes in his bucket, the pool, the sink, wherever, the messier the better.
He also thinks it’s funny when PawPaw dives into the pool and makes a big splash, and when mommy splashes him. At one pool play date he was splashing and squealing so much at the other little boy jumping into the pool I thought he was going to bounce right out of my arms! When we walk outside toward the pool, he bounces in my arms and kicks his legs as if he’s trying to get me to toss him into the pool. Not yet, little buddy.

Baby M is totally enthralled with other kids. At our second parade of the summer he stayed up hours past bedtime and was in perfectly good humor playing with all the other kids (or at least watching them and was particularly enthralled with the 4 year old girl with the sparkly shirt who "helped" put his PJs on.) He was so happy and excited by everything! In addition to the kids, he also thought the music was fun, he bounced to the beat. He did not like the fire trucks. At all.

Baby M is also very into the dogs right now. Leo the puppy started to come with Baby M’s nanny during the day. Baby M thinks he’s hilarious! And at barely two pounds, he’s the perfect size for M.

We took our first boat ride with Baby M when daddy was visiting. Baby M just wanted to nurse most of the time we were moving and then fell asleep on my lap. Nursing was a bit of a challenge with the giant life vest on him!
We had an island picnic and he was very into the rocks. Eating the rocks. He also enjoyed dipping his toes in the ocean and reaching down to grab the seaweed.

We did a little hiking this month too with Baby M in the Ergo. He’s tried out the back carry with Mamie, PawPaw, daddy and mommy and likes being able to see everything, although when I’m alone, it’s much easier to get him into the front. During one of our hikes we got POURED on when a rain storm sneaked up on us!

Baby M had his first ride in a shopping cart! We were at a WalMart in the middle of nowhere buying some Snapple on the way to Mamie and PawPaw’s cabin. I thought we’d just test it out since he’s such a good sitter and it was a hit. He liked being able to look around at all the interesting food.

We’ve had repeat performances at WholeFoods and Target. At WholeFoods he shrieked and squealed and laughed his way through the store as he played with a package of crackers that made a hilarious crinkling noise.

As you can see, he’s also grown quite a bit of strawberry blond hair. When asked what he did this summer, Baby M can respond, "I grew hair." And ate blueberries.

Baby M became super vocal this month. Sometimes it sounds like we have a dozen babies here. And when he’s in the pool…I can only imagine what the neighbors think! He whispers “pawpaw” when he sees his PawPaw. I think it’s safe to say it was his first “word.” He also says says mamama and has started to make a baba noise. The mama is more of a distress call and he seems to do it while looking directly at me. Who knows if he’s doing it with any intention yet.

He makes a loud noise like he’s clearing his throat that I think is his trying to mimic our laughing.  We do it right back and he does it more and smiles huge smiles. It’s hilarious.

He’s also started to wave when we wave at him. Waving bye-bye is on our list of things to learn in month nine.

We increased the rise in his BumGenius diapers this month, the Velcro tabs overlap again now. The snaps still have one row of snaps visible in the center. At night he wears size 3 disposables.

As of eight months he is 27.5” long and weighs 16.7lbs – approximately the 25th and 15th percentiles respectively. He has zero teeth.

Happy 8 months! We’re entering a whole new ballgame with this crawling business, I’m not ready!

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Obsessed with Dye

I recently discovered Dylon fabric dye and I'm kind of obsessed. All my previous attempts to dye things with Rit dye were sitting on a shelf in a closet - several purple onesies that were supposed to be navy blue - until, on a whim, I bought a few packets of Dylon.
Oh my goodness, this stuff is so wonder! The colors! So intense. Maybe I was doing something wrong with the other brand, but I'm not going back. With colors like china blue, bahama blue, sunflower yellow and flamingo pink, they make me want to dye everything.
Like pink onesies to applique and have on hand for gifts and yellow onesies to embroider with navy blue "N's" for football season. And china blue onesies 'cause they look so pretty with my baby's eyes.
I've got a new obsession with dying. The good kind. Anyone else?

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The Un-Built-Ins, this is Big

Now that you all know baby M and I have been off in paradise for the summer while S sweats it out at home, it’s high time I share what’s waiting for us when we return.

Seriously, y'all these things have been in our dining room since a few days before baby M and I left for Maine in June! I snapped these photos just before mayhem hit. And by mayhem I mean I put all our worldly possessions in the dining room before cramming them all in the car. Travelling light is so 1990’s.

I made a conscious decision not to fill our new un-built-ins with our serving ware, china, little ceramic birds, dog cookies, whatever before leaving. See, I hate leaving Maine at the end of the summer. It’s like ripping off the biggest, stickiest, most painful bandaid to say goodbye to my family, friends and the little paradise we call “the farm.” So having something fun to return to makes the exit more bearable. Last year it was the nursery. This year it’s these massive beauties!

Massive. They are so huge. We measured about 50 times before giving the specs to Joe, thankfully. They fit the area next to the dining room window like a glove. A well fitting glove.

Each unit is two pieces. They had to be, otherwise they'd be too heavy to lift and too large to get through the front door. As it is, they're too heavy for me to lift with S. Even so, we're going to secure them to the wall, lest the monkey tries to scale them once he starts walking tomorrow. He'd have to be wearing a backpack weighing 150lbs to topple them, but you never know, a backpack full of law books weighs 150 easily. And baby M might skip right past board books.

The glass panes in the top doors are tempered glass, a safety measure we hope we never test. The doors are all on sliders to save the floor space that swinging doors require. The shelves are all adjustable. I love the pull hardware.
Joe even thought to put leveling feet on the bottom of the legs. Thank goodness he did. There's nothing level about our house.
The best part of our un-built-ins is that they can move with us and we don’t have to leave them with the house whenever we end up moving again. We cannot get so lucky as to not have to move twice. It doesn't happen like that.

We are so impressed with the quality of the construction. Joe from Northwood Customs is an artist. Amazing. I’m drawing plans for our next custom furniture request….

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Seven Months Down

I thought month six was eventful with the start of baby led weaning and our tossing the swaddle. But month six has nothing on month seven!

We started off month seven with daddy, but he left for a shorter trip just a couple days into the month. Then just ten days into month seven, momma packed up the car, Mamie Jayne showed up and we took off to Maine for the summer! We left just as every corner of the country was hit with a heat wave…except Maine. The weather has been glorious!

Our big adventure took 14 hours and we did the drive all in one day. We stopped a few times for pit-stops and twice for picnics – once for lunch and once for dinner. At the dinner stop we set up our picnic blanket in a grassy area of a Target parking lot. We did as much of our evening routine as possible, pj’s nursing and all.

Baby M was an awesome traveler. We had one adult and Feeney in the back seat and we’d pull out a new toy every few minutes. He slept a lot, played a lot and sang a lot. There was barely any fussing at all and once we reached Mamie and PawPaw’s house, baby M went straight to sleep in his Maine nursery and slept through the whole night.

While in Maine, we went to Mamie and PawPaw’s mountain cabin. Baby M proved to be a superstar traveler once again. We did the drive alone and he cried a little during the drive so I stopped to nurse in a WalMart parking lot before continuing on to the mountains. We went a second time near the end of the month and took his 7 month photos on the couch at the cabin. Baby M loves new places, everything is so interesting and so fun!

Baby M moved into a big baby crib this month! He looks so small in his big crib as compared to his cradle, but I know that won’t last. Even though he curls up in one corner of the crib to sleep, he loves all the extra space he has to play when he wakes up. With so much room to roll around and move, baby M has started to sleep on his belly.

We give baby M his lovey, L.E.Phant at night now instead of just during naps. He holds onto her all night long, dragging her around the crib as he rolls around and cozying up with her just before drifting off to sleep.

Just before baby M turned 6 months old he suddenly stopped taking micro naps and started to nap for an hour or more at a time. This month we saw the start of two long naps daily. He usually starts to get sleepy for his morning nap two hours after waking up. We read a story and rock together until he’s drowsy and then he’ll sleep for 1 – 1.5 hours, a couple times for over two hours. He gets tired for an afternoon nap three hours after waking up from his morning nap. This month I usually nursed him to sleep for his afternoon nap. They lasted anywhere from an hour to two hours long.

The night before we left for Maine, baby M had his last bath in his blue bucket.
He’s starting to be able to stand up while he’s in it and it’s unstable when he stands, so we decided not to pack it. Mamie bought him a larger bucket for Maine, but it was a disaster the first time we tried it because he couldn’t sit yet! I bought him an 11 gallon flexible garden tote and it worked a little better because I could hold him in a seated position a little more easily. However, we discovered that the shower works best of all, and he loves it!

The whole gluten sensitivity threw me through a loop at the beginning of the month. But we slowly got back on track and baby M has been gaining confidence with his eating as I have with my gluten-free cooking. He’s tried a whole bunch of fruits and veggies, including cantaloupe, watermelon, bananas (no peel-handle anymore!) pancakes, waffles and his favorite, puffs with hummus. He likes his foods super flavorful and spicy! He doesn’t have a pincher grip yet so everything is in big pieces.

He likes it when I dip his puffs in hummus and place them in his mouth like a little bird. He’s absolutely obsessed with Greek yogurt, but because I let him guide the spoon into his mouth, it’s very, very messy.
Breastfeeding is going really well, which is so nice after our rocky start. I think we're going to keep it up until he self-weans, even if that means we're Time Magazine cover material. Ask me how I feel about that next summer though. If he’s even a little bit hungry and spots momma, he freaks out and start to fuss. He makes a “mmmmm” sound that might be “momma,” “milkies,” or just  “mmmm give me some food NOW.” Who knows. Kind of funny, he insists on having his milkies immediately following any water event be it swimming, bath or shower. Again, ask me how funny I think that is in a year ;)

At the beginning of the month, S and I took a day off from work and went to the tall ships in Baltimore. Baby M watched from his stroller. He’s a big fan of boats.

We have a new nanny in Maine for the summer. She showed up on her first day having only met my parents. She gave baby M a huge smile, said, “hi little buddy” and he smiled back. They’ve been best buddies ever since. They spend their time playing on his outdoor blanket under a tree by the pool, going on walks, practicing crawling and playing the piano. We have quite the little baby Mozart.

Every afternoon when the nanny heads home for the day, baby M, Mamie, PawPaw and I go for swims in the pool. M is absolutely obsessed with water. He kicks his legs like a froggy and squeals with delight. He does not care how cold the water is, he would stay in kick, kick, kicking all day long if we let him!
He has a little float that he sits in after he does a dozen froggy kick laps back and forth. I use his float as a kickboard and do my own laps while pushing him.
He’s even been swimming in the chilly mountain lakes! The first time we took him he liked the feeling of the sand between his toes, then he started to jump and did a nose dive toward the water. He jumped and squealed until we brought him in for a swim.
Baby M had a few pool parties with friends this month. None of the other babies were as in love with water as baby M! He loves the water so much, we bought him his own special beach towel. He's going to wear it threadbare in one summer.

On the mobile front, baby M is a champ at rolling and is getting really good at pushups. Near the end of the month he got up on his knees then down then pushups then down, then knees and back and forth in his crib as we watched on the video monitor. He does his pony hops where he pushes along on the back of his head when he really wants to get somewhere fast and has started to try pony hops on his forehead.

We went to our local 4th of July parade and it was a huge hit! Baby M danced to the beat of the bands and of the yodeler, how funny is that?

Our 4th of July included L.L.Bean's 100th anniversary celebration. We had books signed by one of our favorite authors, Chris Van Dusen, nursed in an L.L.Bean’s fitting room, ate lobster rolls in the park and then went to a Rick Charette concert where baby M bounced to the beat of the music for the entire concert. This boy likes his tunes!
Our 4th celebration was topped off with an amazing fireworks display. It started long after baby M’s bedtime, so I snuck into his room, transferred him to his car seat, drove to the fireworks, put his seat in the BOB, walked to our spot and watched the entire fireworks without M waking up at all. He didn’t even wake up when the fire truck passed by us, sirens on!

We celebrated S’s first father’s day!

For Father's Day we went to Nola & Grandpa’s house for brunch, baby M wore his new I heart dad shirt. We had baked French toast and berries and gave baby M the tiniest bite. Unfortunately later in the afternoon he was very sick again, which led our pediatrician to think he has a gluten allergy, which I mentioned last month. Thankfully after a few hours of vomiting and a long nap, baby M was up and at ‘em again and ready for a trip to S’s parents’ house on the Bay, without his vomit covered I heart dad onesie, unfortunately.

Baby M loves to stand on his changing table after we change his diaper and reach for the ribbons hanging from his elephant mobile. It’s like he’s suddenly discovered that there’s something very cool hanging above him. He also likes to grab for toys on the bookshelf next to his changing table in his Maine nursery. We keep it stocked with diaper-changing distractions.

M had his last day at daycare for the summer. We said goodbye to Alex, Cici, Avery and Sophie, all of whom will be starting preschool soon. When baby M returns to daycare in the fall there will be a whole new batch of kids and he won’t be the only baby anymore. It makes me sad.

I'm pretty sure he said “hi” to PawPaw a few times when pawpaw said hi to him. Says mmmm a lot and it comes out as momma when he’s crying or upset. I definitely think I heard a mama a couple times. I definitely have no idea if there was any intention.

On July 5 baby M SAT on his own! It was sudden: just like that, he sat.
He was wobbly for a few days, but gradually got much more steady. It’s very cool to be able to sit him down, although I still usually lay him down so he doesn’t bop his head if he falls over.

Baby M grew hair this month! It’s strawberry blonde; he looks like his momma.

When he’s really interested in something he tilts his head all the way to one side like he’s trying to look at it vertically.

BumGenius diapers are still on the smallest rise with the velcro tabs touching or with one row of snaps between the tabs. He's still wearing Charlie Banana size small diaps too. At night we used size 2 disposables until we ran out near the end of the month when I bought size 3 since we only use one a day and each package lasts a long time. No height and weight stats as we were lucky enough to not have a single trip to the pediatrician for any reason this month.
 Happy seven months, I can't believe how far we've come so quickly!

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Baby Led Wednesday: Blueberries

I was hesitant to try blueberries. They just seemed so small when compared to other foods, except for maybe puffs. And since puffs dissolve in the mouth and berries do not, I saw them as kind of difficult to eat. Silly me for denying baby M his favorite food for all these weeks.

It started with one berry slightly crushed between my fingers just so the skin breaks and it's more of a berry disk than at round berry. I put it on his tray and he grabbed it with his whole hand and somehow managed to smush it into his mouth.

Three dozen berry-disks later, I cut him off. And I've been doing the same every morning for a week now.

It may just be coincidence, but baby M all of a sudden developed his pincher grip this week. He picked up a blueberry between his thumb and forefinger and stuck it in his mouth. Just like that, a major milestone all thanks to delicious blueberries. Yum.

Yesterday we did blueberry pancakes for breakfast (made with Bob's gluten free mix). Huge hit.
Huge mess.

Nothing a little shampoo to the face and OxyClean to the bib can't fix!

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