Sunday, March 31, 2013

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! I hope you all have a wonderful day.

The Easter Bunny visited our house late last night and dropped off some nice loot for Harry.


Along with an entire basket full of new summer clothes (just what every little boy wants!) Harry got some sidewalk chalk, bubbles and a Little Tykes drum. The Easter Bunny tried to get him a puppet too, but unfortunately he couldn't track down a good one.

The candy is mostly for mom and dad :). We'll let Harry have a taste of the Peeps and chocolate bunny, it is Easter after all. His plastic eggs are filled with freeze dried peas, mixed with a few jelly beans.

Ant and I were shocked to discover the Easter Bunny got us something as well, new mirrors for our hallway!


I've recently been on a quest to update our condo. When we first moved in together we didn't have much money to decorate the place so a lot of what I did was DIY. Don't get me wrong, I love DIY, but some of my projects were blatantly cheap money savers. Here's what used to be on the wall:


I got five of these frames for dirt cheap, I think I paid $25 total. Over the next few months I'd like to update one per month with something a little nicer. We'll see how that pans out.

And if you're interested in seeing how Harry's first haircut went, be sure to stop by tomorrow morning! I posted a preview on Instagram if you're interested.

I hope everyone enjoys the holiday!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring Centerpiece


I always like having a centerpiece on our dining room table. I made our current one two and a half years ago, so it was time for an update. I was inspired to make a new spring-inspired centerpiece after seeing all the cute Easter decor at Hobby Lobby recently. After some debating, I settled on a nest design which was pretty easy to create, and very inexpensive! The entire project cost me $10 since I had some of the supplies already (the cake stand I put the nest on was an additional $10 at HomeGoods, but I plan on using it for other things as well).

Here's my list of supplies.
  • Small grapevine wreath
  • 9 paper mache eggs
  • White acrylic paint
  • Mod Podge
  • Springy fabric (I bought a third of a yard since the repeat on the fabric I chose was so large, but you could get away with less if the pattern is small)



I got this adorable fabric at JoAnn Fabrics
As I said, these are super simple to make and I'm sure you can figure out the directions from the above supplies list, but here's a quick rundown of how I created the centerpiece. 
  • Paint the paper mache eggs white. You want the eggs to match the background color of your fabric. You could obviously choose any color, but white will be the easiest to match.
  • Cut out designs from your fabric. Cut as close to the design as possible. The smaller the pieces of fabric are, the easier it will be to handle in the next step. If you don't want to use fabric, you can also use tissue paper or paper napkins. I initially thought of using scrapbook paper, but even the thin kind is too thick to work well.
  • Glue fabric pieces on to eggs with Mod Podge. You'll want to cover the eggs in the Mod Podge to make an even finish. After they dry you can spray them with a sealer if you want, but it's not necessary. 
  • Once eggs are dry arrange them in the wreath on your table and enjoy your pretty new centerpiece!



Wednesday, March 27, 2013

90 Day Weight Loss Challenge

Hi, everyone! This is my first post from my new computer! Ant ended up finding a great deal on a Samsung laptop at Best Buy the other day. Not the brand I had planned on going with, but the computer has decent reviews and the deal was too good to pass up. Windows 8 is even more confusing than I had anticipated though, it's so much different than any of the other Windows systems.

Now to the topic at hand... health and weight loss. I'm sure it comes as no surprise when I say I'd like to loose a little weight. I've been thinking about different ways to shed some pounds recently when I had the opportunity to partner with Creative Bioscience for their 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge. After researching the company and their products, I was game!

Of the many products Creative Bioscience offers, I feel like the Green Coffee Bean Pure Extract is the best fit for me. I like that it's all natural and has been known to lower blood pressure in users. Our local NBC news recently did a story on the effects of green coffee bean extract on weight loss which further piqued my interest in trying it.


According to the company you don't have to change your lifestyle in any way to see results with the Green Coffee Bean Pure Extract. Sounds so easy! The website states that a recent study resulted in an average of 17 pounds lost over 12 weeks. However, I'd like to maximize my results and get healthier in general, so I do plan on doing some extra work.

The first thing I plan on doing is adding more exercise to my daily routine. With spring finally on the way here in Chicago I'm excited to use our new stroller regularly for walks around the neighborhood with Harry. Nothing too strenuous but it's better than sitting at home. Our On Demand TV service also offers different workout videos I like to do when I can find the time.

As far as eating healthier goes, I need to cut out my evening snacking. That's my downfall. I eat healthy throughout the day but as soon as 9pm rolls around, my junk food cravings kick in. I know I probably won't be 100%, but I know I can curb some of the snacking and substitute more healthy choices.

I don't have any particular weight loss goal in mind for this challenge. I'd just like to see the number on the scale go down! Envisioning a number feels like I'm setting myself up for failure. If I loose 5 pounds, great. If I loose 10 pounds, even better. And if I only loose 1 pound, so be it.

Does the 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge sound like something you'd be interested in doing? Creative Bioscience is looking for other bloggers to participate. You can click here for more information and an opportunity to apply for the program.

Disclaimer: Creative Bioscience is providing me with the Green Coffee Bean Pure Extract free to use in exchange for my participation in the 90 Day Weight Loss Challenge and blogging about my progress. 

Monday, March 25, 2013

Famous Formula Feeders

celebrities who use baby formula


The decision to formula feed a baby is usually a tough decision for mothers. It makes it even worse when the media and celebrities encourage and brag about how wonderful and amazing breastfeeding is. "Breast is best" gets shoved down our throats.

Well, for many mothers, including myself, breast wasn't best. Due to the medications I was on during labor and his NICU stay, my milk never really came in. It was devastating to me, but life went on and Harry thrived on his formula.

I thought it might be helpful to compile a list of celebrities who have fed their babies formula. I know I would have loved to read something like this that first month since it shows that people who appear to be perfect are in fact, human like all of us.

Jennifer Lopez
In 2008 J-Lo got quite a bit of flack for coming out and saying she formula fed her twins, Max and Emme, from birth. Her reasoning was because her mother formula fed her and since she turned out fine, it would be fine for her babies. A lot of people thought she was misinformed with that information, but I say more power to her! She did what she felt was best for her babies, and they are now happy and healthy five year olds.

Beyonce
With Bey's crazy lifestyle it's no wonder she only breastfed Blue Ivy for 10 weeks before switching to formula. In this article she's quoted as saying she loved the experience, so it's kind of surprising that she switched so soon, but I'm in no place to judge. She did what was right for her family at the time.

Kristin Cavallari
This one's a bit of a head scratcher. According to this article, Kristin breastfed her son Camden for six months. She grew tired of it and decided to wean. No problem there. However, instead of regular baby formula, she gives Cam some "goat's milk concoction." She doesn't specify what exactly that is, but regular animal milk can be hard on little tummies, and isn't recommended as a main source of nutrition.

Molly Simms
Didn't think babies could be born with teeth? Well, Molly Simms' baby Brooks was! She told Anderson Cooper she breastfed him for three months before proudly calling it quits.

Brooke Shields
In what was possibly a formula industry first, Brooke Shields signed on as a spokesperson for Bright Beginnings formula back in 2003. The ad quoted the actress as using the formula with her daughter Rowan. I also found this press release, which states she breastfed and supplemented with the formula, partly due to her battle with postpartum depression. See the ad here.

Giuliana Rancic
This one could be cheating since Giuliana and Bill had little Eddie Duke via a surrogate, but it's been difficult finding celebrities that have admitted to formula feeding. Here's a link to a sweet video the couple took of feeding Duke his first bottle, just after he was born.

That's all I could find, although I'm sure there are many more celebrities who have made the decision to use formula for one reason or another. I just wish they didn't feel the need to be so secretive about it. Being a mom is tough work, and we should all be celebrated regardless of the way we feed our babies!

Check out the Fearless Formula Feeder blog for some awesome information and support!

Do you know any other formula feeding celebrities? Let us know in the comments! Discussion is welcome, but comments degrading someone's choice to use formula will not be tolerated. Please be respectful!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Look Who's Talking!

Yesterday I took a quick video of Harry saying some of the words he's picked up. Remember, he's only been talking for a week!



He usually says "daddy" really clearly, but he would only say "dada" on camera. Nautrally. But I think he's doing an amazing job so far. The video cuts off weird at the end because my phone ran out of memory.

Yesterday was mine and Ant's 7th dating anniversary. I can't believe we've been together for so long! A few weeks ago I was cleaning out our kitchen and got rid of a few of the vases he's gotten me over the years that came with various floral arrangements. Our kitchen is small and I needed the space for something else. He took this to mean I didn't want any more flowers. As if! I love getting flowers :). So, I ended up picking out a pretty bouquet at Trader Joe's yesterday to signify our love.


Pretty!

Along with a quick trip to TJ's and Chicago Prime we made our way to Fry's to look at new computers. I mentioned a while back that mine is on it's last leg. It had a total meltdown Thursday night and took me no less than 5 hours to get it to reboot- the screen was flashing FATAL ERROR! Laptops seem to have a shelf life of two years, and I've had mine for over three. It's treated me well, but it's definitely time for a new one.

We didn't purchase a computer yesterday, but we got some good information about what's out there on the market right now. The ones I'm looking at have Windows 8, which is crazy different from Windows 7. Does anyone have it? I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on the system!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Words and Diapers


Yesterday I took Harry to Hobby Lobby without thinking about it, yay! He's been so fussy lately. I knew I couldn't handle him at home and I had to return something, so off we went. We were gone for a good two hours! I think we're going to go out again today, too. I'm working on a springy centerpiece for our kitchen table and I need to get some more supplies to finish the project.


Words
Harry has only been "talking" for a few short days, but I already have an update. As I mentioned on Sunday his first word was "ni ni" (night night). He hasn't said it since then, but he's added three more words to his arsenal:  "daddy," "hi" and "goo" (good). What a quick learner! The cutest word is daddy, he says it so clearly.

He only says the words when I ask him to, but I'm pretty confident he knows what them mean and they aren't just babbles to him.


Diapers
I promised an update to our cloth diaper situation earlier this month. Ugh. This isn't something I ever wanted to have to write, but we've been exclusively in disposables for over a month now.

Sometime in January our washing machine broke. It completely stopped spinning. At first I just thought it was affecting the spin cycle at the end of the wash and all the diapers came out soaking wet and took forever to air dry. Not an ideal situation, but it worked. So I thought. After a few washes I realized they weren't getting clean, so I started doing the heavy duty wash cycle and washing less diapers per load. Didn't make a difference, the diapers were coming out nearly as dirty as they were going in. Ewww!

Washing the cloth diapers would cost more per week in our building's machines than disposables, so that's why we switched back. Saving money was one of our main factors in using cloth diapers in the first place. At this point I'm not sure what we're going to do. We tried fixing the machine as soon as we discovered the problem but that didn't work, so we'd have to get a whole new machine. We need to go over the expenses and our finances a bit to see where we stand and what would work best. If we end up sticking with the disposables, I'll probably sell a good portion of my stash.

And happy first day of spring! I hope it's nice and warm where you are. Here in Chicago the high for today is a balmy 24 degrees! This has seriously been one of the longest winters I can remember. I am so sick of the cold and snow. By this time last year we'd already had a few 80 degree days and the leaves were coming in nicely. We're supposed to get close to 40 degrees on Friday, so I pray that's the beginning of the end of winter for us.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Bloglovin'

Good Monday morning!

Some of you might have heard about Google's decision to discontinue Google Reader (read more here). With the announced change, a lot of blog readers are turning to Bloglovin' as their new reader of choice. If you'd like to follow me on Bloglovin', here's a link:

Follow on Bloglovin

I've gained quite a few followers on Bloglovin' in the last few days, so thank you!

Sunday Funday
Yesterday morning we were all up early and went to breakfast at Bread & Butter, a local cafe down the road. We drive by it all the time but yesterday was our first visit to the restaurant. We were impressed! All our food was so good. They even serve chicken sausage, a huge plus for us since we don't eat red meat. Our waitress was so friendly as well, I wish I remembered her name because she was awesome!

After Harry went to bed last night I ran over to Walgreens to pick up a newspaper. I had watched a couple episodes of Extreme Couponing earlier in the afternoon and felt inspired to clip more coupons. As I mentioned in this post, I get all my coupons online. The crazy couponers on the show use newspaper coupons as their main coupon source.

I was able to find quite a few great coupons. I also flipped through the Target circular and have a "game plan" for our weekly shopping trip on Friday (free 12 pack of Diet Pepsi with the purchase of 3 12 packs!).


(Picture from Instagram. I'm @LinzTAW if you want to follow me!)

I think we might sign up for a Sunday subscription to get the weekly coupon inserts. The price of the subscription would pay for itself in one shopping trip!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

First Words


It was an exciting day around here yesterday. Our new pillow top mattress pad arrived, and let me tell you, it's awesome! Ant and I have both been complaining about our mattress lately, so instead of buying a new one we thought we'd try and salvage it with a new pad. I slept great last night!

I also took some time to clean and organize our storage unit, which is conveniently located down the hall in our building. I had some stuff I wanted to put in there, but it was already full. I managed to combine four boxes of stuff in to one and threw out a bunch of crap I hadn't touched since moving here two and a half years ago.

Around dinner time we made our way up to the Salvation Army and picked up a little hutch for our dining room. I plan on painting it yellow at some point this spring. We also went to Home Depot to check out their selection of indoor plants. I want to put a few succulents on the hutch. HD had an okay selection, but I decided to wait to purchase any until I finish the project. If you're from the area and know a good place to get succulents, please let me know!

Buuuut, the most exciting thing to happen yesterday... Harry's first word! Woohoo! Around 2 o'clock yesterday Ant decided to take a nap. So as he was getting ready to go to the bedroom he turned to Harry and said, "Night night!" Usually Harry will do his sign for sleep and wave bye bye. But yesterday Harry looked at his daddy and said "ni ni!" OMG! 

He said it once at bedtime last night, too. So holy smokes, he's talking!!!!!! Kind of :). 

I almost forgot... Happy St. Patrick's Day! I'm not brave enough to attempt a themed photo shoot with a 16 month old, so here's a vintage picture of Harry from last year. 


Thursday, March 14, 2013

Out and About

I keep telling myself I am going to start taking Harry out more. I've mentioned it before, but he really loves it. It doesn't matter where we go, the change of scenery is fun for him. Anything is better than home apparently. But, some crazy mix of depression and anxiety prevents me from taking him out as often as I'd like. Feelings of not being able to handle the situation and being judged and called a crappy mom take over when I think about taking him somewhere alone. I hate it. He deserves to go out more often. So, I'm working on it-- especially since I have something awesome coming up in April/May (details to come!). I'll always have to work on it I'm afraid. 

Yesterday I managed to psych myself up enough to take Harry out alone for the first time in quite a while. I had been wanting to try out our new stroller and an easy trip to the mall fit the bill. Ant suggested we take the long way to the mall since baby boy usually falls asleep during car rides. Bad idea. Or good idea, depending on how you look at it. The long way took us right past Hobby Lobby, so of course I had to pop in ;). 

We spent 45 minutes in Hobby Lobby and I picked up some stuff for a few different projects I've been wanting to work on. 

After the craft store we made it to the mall. Holy cow, I love our new stroller! Here are some Instagrams of Harry riding in style. 



The new stroller is a Chicco Liteway, and it rocks! It's a bagillion times easier to fold up than our other stroller. The one minor issue I noticed is the buckle releases are hidden underneath the crotch strap, so it was kind of a pain to get him out of the stroller. I'm sure it'll get easier the more I use it though. 

Our first  stop at the mall was to Auntie Anne's. I was craving some of their cinnamon sugar pretzel sticks. As I enjoyed my treat, Harry had one too-- gluten free animal crackers. (Side note, Harry's tummy problems have all cleared up after a week and a half gluten free. We're going to start reintroducing gluten soon and go from there. If the problems come back, we'll talk with our doctor. To get tested he does need to have gluten in his system.)

After our snacks we made our way over to the Rainforest Cafe. They have animatronic animals outside the restaurant I thought Harry would like. He really enjoyed the fake snake but was memorized by the live fish inside the gift shop. 

We walked by Yu Kids Island and I kid you not, Harry pointed to it and smiled like he remembered going there before. It was pretty cute. Our last stop of the day was to Gymboree, where I picked up a cute summer outfit to put in Harry's Easter basket. 

So that was our little outing yesterday. Nothing amazing or out of the ordinary. But little things like that make him so happy. He's a total people watcher and smiles and waves at kids where ever we go. I need to get over myself and take him out more. Obviously.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Extended Rear Facing


In the United States, all babies under the age of one are required to be placed in a rear facing car seat. The law for when you can turn your child forward facing is one year and 20 pounds. Notice, it is and not or. So...
  • If your baby is 11 months and weighs 22 pounds, you CAN NOT legally turn them forward facing
  • If your baby is 13 months and weighs 19 pounds, you CAN NOT legally turn them forward facing
By Harry's first birthday he was big enough to forward face, but we have decided to keep him rear facing for as long as possible. I know every family is different and ERF might not be right for everyone, but I encourage all parents to do their research before forward facing their car seats. 

Here are a few facts about extended rear facing. 
  • Current AAP (American Academy of Pediatrics) recommendations are to rear face until age two, or until the child outgrows the car seat's rear facing limits (head reaches one inch below the top of the seat or weighs between 35-50 pounds- depending on the seat).
  • Age is a better determination of when a baby can be turned forward facing even though car seat manufacturers go by weight. A baby turned forward too soon (even if they meet the weight requirements) could suffer internal decapitation in a crash because their spines aren't mature enough yet.
  • Rear facing is 500% safer... 500%!!!
But what about baby's feet? Won't it be uncomfortable?

Absolutely not! You can see in the above picture, taken when Harry was about 14 months old, his feet were just starting to touch the seat. As Harry grows, he'll just pull his knees up towards his chest, or cross them. Not a big deal at all. Besides, didn't you usually sit cross-legged as a kid? It's super comfortable for them! 

I've seen a lot of parents hesitant to keep their babies rear facing because of leg space and the possibility of broken legs in a crash. To that I ask, would you rather have a broken leg or a broken neck?

The 500% safer statistic sealed the deal for me as far as rear facing goes. My goal is to keep him rear facing until he's 27-28 months, but since he's so tall we might not make it that long. Either way, I don't see us turning him around before his second birthday.

If you've already forward faced your toddler, you can switch them back! As long as they still fit within the specifications of your car seat of course. Rear facing is, in my opinion, one of the best things you can do for your children. Its never too late!

For more information, check out The Car Seat Lady! It's one of the best car seat sites I've found.

Regardless of if you forward face or rear face your toddler, please, please, please buckle your children in correctly! Remember, there is only ONE correct way to use your car seat! See my other car seat related posts:

Car Seat Safety 
#Carseat

Disclaimer: I am not a CPST, but I have done a lot of car seat safety research. Please read your car seat's manual for proper installation and usage. 

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Lemons and Backwards Crawling

Happy Tuesday!

Just popping in for a minute this morning to share a couple recent videos of Harry.

The first is a video of him eating a lemon for the first time. Not the reaction I expected, but a fun memory to have none the less.


The next video is of his new favorite thing, backwards crawling! What a weird habit to pick up, but he loves it!



Have a great day!

Monday, March 11, 2013

All About Nail Stamping

Nail art is really popular right now, as you probably know. I'm not artistic enough to do a freehand design, but I am a huge fan of nail stamping. I found out about nail stamping on accident a couple of years ago. I was watching a craft tutorial on YouTube and the vlogger had stamped nails. She briefly made mention of them at the beginning of the video, so I Googled the technique and bought a starter kit.

I did it a few times and then forgot about it. And then after Harry was born I hardly ever painted my nails. Hand washing bottles twice a day was torture on my hands and the nail polish never lasted more than a couple days. But now that Harry's older I'm starting to get back in to nail polish, and nail stamping.

If you're interested in trying nail stamping for yourself, here's a quick break down of everything you'll need.

how to nail stamp

  • Stuff you probably have lying around your house: nail polish remover, Q-tips and paper towels.
  • Nail plates. I have a few from Konad (the inventors of nail stamping) and recently purchased a set from Cheeky Beauty. The Cheeky plates are so inexpensive compared to the Konad ones and work just as well in my opinion. Here's a close up of some of my plates.
  • Scraper and stamper. I have this set from Konad
  • Special nail polish. I really like the Konad nail polish, I have it in white and black. Some nail stampers will say the special nail polish isn't necessary, but I've gotten much better results when I've used it. This nail polish is thicker and slower drying than regular polishes.
Nail stamping is a pretty easy process. Here's how it's done.

  1. Using special nail polish, paint over chosen design on stamping plate.
  2. Take nail scraper and scrape away excess polish over design.
  3. Press nail stamper over plate to pick up the design.
  4. Stamp on to your nails (sorry I couldn't get a picture of me doing it)
Here's the finished look! Ant picked out the design and I used Essie's Mink Muffs as the base color.


Here are some nail stamping tips!
  • Make sure you clean off the plate, stamper and scraper in between each nail with a Q-tip dipped in nail polish remover. If the plates aren't clean the lines of the design won't be as crisp and you risk loosing some of it when you go to pick it up with the stamper.
  • Work fast! Even though the special nail polish is slow drying, it'll still dry within a minute or so because the layer on the plate is so thin.
  • If you don't have a scraper, an old credit card will do the job. 
  • When stamping, don't put the stamp straight down on your nail. Start on one side of your nail and gently roll the stamp towards the other side.
Any other nail stampers out there?

Friday, March 8, 2013

16 Months Old

Harry turned 16 months old yesterday!

3/7/13

Weight: He was 22 pounds on the dot at his doctor's appointment last month, so he's probably gained a a few ounces since then.

Height: Close to 33 inches.


Diaper Size: Size 4 disposables. I intend on doing a blog post soon about our cloth diaper situation.


Clothing Size: 12-18 month clothes, size 5 shoes.


Eating:  This week we're trying a gluten-free diet for Harry. He's been having some tummy issues for nearly a month. The diarrhea he had while he was sick hasn't gone away. I'll spare the details, but it was pretty distinct looking, so after Googling it I found that a lot of kids with similar looking poop ended up being allergic to gluten. Harry's been on the diet for  four days now and I feel like it's starting to improve. I think it might be time to start looking for an allergist. 


Sleeping: I can't believe I'm going to say this... I kind of love cosleeping now. Even though he hops out of bed quietly in the morning instead of waking me up like he used to. I've been sleeping very lightly for the past few days because of this, which has left me extremely tired. But I still kind of love it :). He typically sleeps from about 8:30pm-8:30am and has one nap a day.


Teeth: Still 12, no new ones this month.


Communication: Still just babbling, but he's gotta be close to his first actual word. He'll say "ya" sometimes when I ask him questions, but I'm not entirely convinced it's anything more than a babble yet. 


Here are some outtakes from yesterday :)




Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Baby Sign Language



Baby sign language has been such a blessing for us. With Harry still not talking at 16 months, it is his primary mode of communication for now. I bought a book on baby signs when I was pregnant, but I'll be honest, I only thumbed through it once.

Teaching Harry has been really easy. We started with one sign when he was 13.5 months old. Many parents start teaching sign language even earlier, around 5-6 months. To teach him we would do the sign every time we said the word, and repeated it 3-4 times to help him make the connection.

I don't remember exactly how long it took for the light bulb to go off, but it wasn't long. Two weeks? Maybe three. It was really incredible watching him sign for the first time.

Here are the signs we've taught Harry so far.

More/Food/Hungry

The first sign Harry learned. "More" is signed by tapping all 10 fingers together (video example here). However, Harry took some creative liberties and has changed it to a sideways time out sign. Whatever works, right? At first I tried to get him to do it correctly, but I quickly realized it doesn't matter. He knows what it means. We know what it means. No harm done.

He's also expanded the meaning of the sign. Instead of signaling "more," he uses the sign to indicate when he's hungry. When he was learning we would use it after he'd finish eating to see if he wanted any more. He took that to mean food in general. So basically, this is a totally made up sign. He does it anytime he'd like something to eat.

Milk/Juice

The second sign we worked on was "milk," which looks like you're milking a cow (video example here). Harry picked this sign up a little quicker than "more/food." We use this sign to symbolize anything in a sippy cup. So either milk or water- which we call juice. It's all very confusing to an outsider, but Harry understands and does the sign perfectly.

Sleep/Night Night

Another sign Harry altered. He picked up "sleep" really fast (we call it "night night"), which is made by lying your head on your hands like a pillow (video example here). Harry's version involves him putting one hand up to his ear. Hey, it's a little easier!

He also knows that waving means "hi" and does that often. We're currently working on "book," "I love you" and "thank you." Book will be easy for him to learn, he'll be doing it within a few days I'm sure. He's pretty much mastered I love you, but will only do it if I do it first. I think he thinks of it like a thumbs up-type gesture rather than sign language, so he doesn't have the meaning down yet. Regardless, my heart completely melts every time he does it. And thank you might be a lost cause for the time being. We've been doing it for a while and he's never done it back. Sticking to things and actions he understands already is probably the best way to go.

So, if you're thinking about teaching your baby sign language, I can't recommend it enough! Before we taught Harry he didn't have a way of communicating with us, and now he does. My advice is to just take it slow and don't stress about it. Baby will get it sooner or later. Just use the signs often and make them big and exaggerated.

Here's a video I shot of Harry doing some signs.



Check out babysignlangnage.com- it's an awesome resource! 

If you've had any experience with baby sign language, I'd love to hear about how it worked for you. Let me know in the comments!! 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Snow Day

We kind of dropped the ball this year on getting Harry a snowsuit. I didn't really think about it since we haven't had much snow this winter. We were in Carter's last week and saw that all their snowsuits were on mega clearance and picked up one in size 24 months thinking he can wear it next year.

Yesterday morning we got the bright idea to see if it fit him now. The coat was much too big, but the snow pants weren't terrible once we hiked them up as much as possible and stuffed the excess fabric into his Mickey Mouse jacket. After Harry was properly bundled up we took him out to the lawn to see what he thought of the snow.

The snow was blowing pretty hard so we only stayed out for 10 minutes but Harry got a kick out of the snow. He wasn't really able to walk in it (there's at least 5 inches on the ground right now) but he had a fun time crawling all over the place.






Now we just need to make sure he doesn't grow too much between now and next winter so he can wear the snowsuit again!

After our little snow party we headed out to Hickory River Smokehouse for lunch-- we had another Groupon burning a hole in our pockets. I got the turkey meal with potato salad and apple sauce. The only thing I didn't like about the meal was the barbecue sauce. I'm not normally a fan of it to begin with, but I thought their's tasted a little strange. The meat was incredibly moist and flavorful though, I'm thinking it might make it on to our plates on Thanksgiving this year.

I'll leave you with some more pictures of Harry the Ham, my new nickname for him. He is exploding with personality these days, and I can't get enough! He is so friendly and is smiling and laughing 90% of the time now. It's so much fun!!




Friday, March 1, 2013

DuPage Children's Museum

It's been an interesting week around here. After I published my blog post on Monday things went downhill for Ant. He came down with some sort of stomach virus and was out of commission until Wednesday. Thankfully I never ended up getting as sick as the boys did so I could keep the household running. I felt a little rundown on Monday, but that was the extent of it for me.

By yesterday morning we were all feeling great and ready for an adventure we'd been planning all month, a trip to Naperville for the DuPage Children's Museum!


I have been looking forward to taking Harry to the museum since before he was born. It was a pretty special event for me because I remember going there when I was a kid! We debated waiting until he was a bit older to go but when a Groupon for the museum popped up a few months ago we decided to go for it.

For the most part Harry enjoyed the museum. A lot of the exhibits are geared towards older kids, but there was more than enough to keep him busy for nearly two hours. Here are some pictures from our visit.

His favorite room at the museum was the percussion room. What little boy doesn't like to bang on things and make loud noises?




His second favorite was the giant Light Bright. It's hard to tell in the pictures, but the exhibit is lit with black lights and the sticks glow neon.



One display we thought he'd really get a kick out of was the water and bubbles. He liked them, but wasn't overly fond of them like he was the drums.


LOL at Dad's face! :)





If you're in the area, definitely check out the DuPage Children's Museum if you haven't yet! Babies of all ages can find things to do, but most of the museum is geared towards 18 months and up.

After the museum we treated ourselves to some decadence at Cookie Dough Creations.


Cookie Dough Creations is pretty intense. They sell cookie dough like ice cream! It's egg free so it's safe to eat. They also sell ice cream and cookies. I went traditional with my treat and just got a scoop of chocolate chip cookie dough while Ant went crazy with a DIY ice cream sandwich made of Zanzibar dark chocolate and two different types of cookies.



It's so yummy, but definitely a once-every-five-years type of indulgence! We got home around five o'clock and hung around for a half hour before heading up to Schaumburg for dinner. Ever since we tried Bahama Breeze back in January we've been dying to go back. We were starving when we got to the restaurant so we split the warm goat cheese dip to go along with our cocktails (Pain Killer for Ant and a margarita for me). Entrees included a turkey burger for Ant and the Wood-Grilled Chicken Breast for me. Ant liked his fine but mine was out-of-this-world amazing! I chose the lighter portion option, and it was plenty big for me and Harry to share.

After dinner we quickly stopped by Babies R Us. We've been wanting to get a new stroller for a while and finally took the plunge last night. We went with the Chicco Liteway stroller. Our original stroller is fine, but it's just so huge and hard to fold up. I wanted something lightweight, with a canopy and sturdy enough to last us a long time. I think we found it with the one we purchased. I want to try it out soon so I'll probably take Harry to the mall since the snow and cold don't seem to be going anywhere.

Today's plan is to veg out. We usually do our grocery shopping Friday mornings because of Ant's work schedule, but since he's off again today we'll probably schelp around for a few hours and save the shopping for later.

Happy Friday!
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