Tuesday, December 18, 2012

3 Month Update

My little boy is 3 months old.  I can hardly believe how fast the past 3 months have gone by and how much Sawyer has changed since we brought him home.  He is starting to develop his little personality and he is going to be a charmer.


Size
We didn't have a 3 month check with the pediatrician so I don't have official height and weight.  According to our scale at home he weighs right around 15 lbs and is 25 inches long.  He's definitely into size 2 diapers and has moved into 3-6 month (Gerber and Gymboree) and 6 month (Carters) clothes.  I'm sad that I've had to put away all the 3 month stuff but its also fun to have a whole new set of clothes to dress him in :-)



Developmental Milestones
Smiles are much more frequent and in response to seeing things he likes - especially Mommy.  He had now found his hands and they are in his mouth a lot.  He tends to favor left vs right so we are thinking he might be a lefty.  This may give my dad hope that he will become a left handed relief pitcher, preferably for the Cardinals.

His head control is really good and he can sit upright with support and is starting to put more weight through his legs.  He still isn't a fan of tummy time but lasts longer and is able to hold his head up for quite a while.

Eating
At 15 lbs, its safe to say he is eating well.  He screams most when he's hungry and can go from perfectly content to hungry in a finger snap.

Sleeping
We are making good progress in the sleep department.  He's given us a couple of 6 or 7 hour stretches.  We've started a bed time routine of bath or lotion rub down with lotion that is the same scent as his bath wash, eating, reading a story and then rocking.  Some days he's out right around 8 when we start, other days he refuses to sleep until 9 ot 9:30.  He usually sleeps until at least 2 and sometimes will go to 4 or 5, and then will sleep again until 7:30 or 8.  Then he's up for a feeding, awake for an hour or so and then naps for 1.5 to 2 hours.  He may take a short nap after his late morning feed and usually is down for a 2-3 hour nap in the afternoon starting between 2 and 3.  If only mommy would go to bed at 9 when he goes to bed we would be well rested but that usually doesn't happen.

Likes/Dislikes
He still loves the wubbanub and his fuzzy blanket.  He's happiest in the mornings when he first gets us and we get lots of smiles.  He's starting to like facing out to be able to look around more.  He usually fusses when he's over stimulated or hungry.

I look forward to watching his personality continue to develop and starting to interact more.  I think he will get good a peek-a-boo soon!





 
 
Crazy Hair after a bath
 
Love this!
 
Meeting Santa
 
 
My favorite boys
 
 


Monday, December 17, 2012

Cranberry Bliss Bars :: Hey, That's Pin-Tastic!

Hi Friends!  Today I'm linking up with AP over at I Love You More Than Carrots for her blog series Hey, That's Pin-Tastic!

i love you more than carrots


I, like most, can spend hours perusing Pinterest for many things.  I tend to look most at Recipes and have pinned a lot to "My Inner Julia Child" board.  However, I've tried many recipes only to find that they aren't nearly as good as the pinner once touted. Case in point - tried some chocolate chip cookies that the pin stated were the best cookies ever.  They were terrible.  I made Andrew take them to work and leave them anonymously in the break room so that no one would know that I made them.  Lesson learned:  never deviate from the original Nestle Tollhouse recipe.

*does anyone else automatically think of Friends when they hear Nestle Tollhouse?

So, I've now created a Board called "Tried and True" recipes where I will pin the recipes that I have actually made that are good.

The first recipe on my board?  Cranberry Bliss Bars.  One of the best parts about Christmas is a) Starbucks red Christmas Cups and b) the recurrence of the Cranberry Bliss Bar.  A latte and a bliss bar are a fantastic combo.  Living in Seattle where there is a Starbucks on almost every corner, I can indulge whenever I have a craving.  So when I saw this clone recipe for the bliss bar, I was intrigued and had to try.  And what did I find?  They are phenomenal and very close to the original product. 

Good news - cheaper to make at home then buy a bar for $2.95 at Starbucks.

Bad news - you have an entire pan at home that you might just eat in 48 hours.

 
 
Cranberry Bliss Bar Clone Recipe
(From Todd Wilbur, Top Secret Recipes Unlocked)
 
Ingredients
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1 1/4 cups packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 Tbsp. minced crystallized ginger
3/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
4 oz. white chocolate, cut into chunks
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
 
Frosting
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup chopped sweetened dried cranberries
1 tsp. vanilla extract
4 tsp. lemon juice
Drizzled Icing
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. milk
2 tsp. vegetable shortening
 
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Make cake by beating the butter and brown sugar together with an electric mixer until smooth. Add the eggs, ginger, vanilla, and salt and beat well. Gradually mix in the flour and baking powder until smooth. Mix the chopped dried cranberries and white chocolate chunks into the batter by hand. Pour the batter into a buttered 9 x 13-inch baking pan. Use a spatula to spread the batter evenly across the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the cake is lightly browned on top. Allow the cake to cool.
Make the frosting by combining the softened cream cheese, powdered sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in a medium bowl with an electric mixer until smooth. When the cake has cooled, use a spatula to spread the frosting over the top of the cake.Sprinkle 1/4 cup of chopped dried cranberries over the frosting on the cake.
Make the drizzled icing by whisking together powdered sugar, milk, and shortening. Drizzle this icing over the cranberries in a sweeping motion with a squirt bottle or fill a small plastic storage bag with the icing and cut off the tip of one corner.
 Cover the cake and let it chill out in the fridge for a couple hours, then slice the cake lengthwise (the long way) through the middle. Slice the cake across the width three times, making a total of eight rectangular slices. Slice each of those rectangles diagonally creating 16 triangular slices.
 
Notes:  I found I had to bake the cake part an extra 10 minutes to get it done in the middle.  That may be my oven but just something to be aware of.  Also, I think you could probably skip the drizzle - it doesn't have much taste and mine wasn't thick enough to really make a difference in how they looked.
 
 
I found this was quite easy.  I made them to put on Christmas cookie plates for the neighbors.  Andrew and I ended up eating half the pan before I got around to making said Christmas plates. 
 
Happy baking friends!  Stay tuned for Sawyers 3 month update coming tomorrow!
 
 


Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The gift of giving

Several blogs that I follow are doing give-aways right now - some are for cash, some are for stuff.  But my friend Elizabeth is doing a get and give away.  She's giving away several items as well as giving $100 to the charity of the winner's choice.

While I hope to win (and promoting this on my blog gets me an additional entry), I also thought this would be a good opportunity to share with you all one of our favorite organizations.  If I win, this is where my donation will go.

Intermountain Childrens Home

Most of you who don't know my dad have likely never heard of this organization.  It is a home and school for children who have suffered from severe emotion, physical, or sexual abuse.  Many of these children have been in the foster system or may have been removed from their homes.  Most have experienced things that are unimaginable and that no human should ever experience, much less a child.  They are unable to form healthy relationships with adults, unable to trust others and therefore have severe emotional disturbances and behaviors.

Intermountain provides a unique solution.  Many children become residents of the school for anywhere from 15-24 months.  They are treated by an inter-disciplinary approach that includes pschiatrists, psycholgists, therapists, special education teachers and nurses.  They live in cottages where there are primary male and female counselors that live with them as well as other children.  Their first objective is to help the children feel emotionally and physically safe as well as begin to learn what healthy relationships are like.  Eventually the goal is for the children to return to their families or have a successful foster placement and be able to express their feelings and form relationships in a healthy way.

My dad tells the story of a little girl who had been severely sexually abused at age 5 and she didn't know how to have a non sexual relationship with an adult man.  At Intermountain, she had a male counselor that she had to live and work with. They encourage the kids to be able to hold hands with the counselors as they walk around the facility.  She was too afraid at first so she held on to the back of his shirt until she felt comfortable enough to hold his hand.

Its a truly amazing organization that helps children from all over the country.  I can't even begin to do justice describing all that it does, but if you want more info I can direct you to the right people.  I am so proud of my dad for making this his passion and his service as President of the Board of Directors over the past couple of years.  Andrew and I love to support Intermountain on a regular basis but also give in honor of people as gifts for birthdays, anniversaries and Christmas. 

Do you have someone who you are struggling to find a gift for?  Maybe someone who already has everything?  Think about donating to a charity in their honor.  And if you don't have a charity of choice, consider Intermountain.  I have toured the facility, met kids who are enrolled there, conversed with members of the organization and board.  Everyone who is involved with this place is truly passionate about the mission and vision.  They are doing great things in the lives of kids. 

Friday, December 7, 2012

Christmas Wish List

If you haven't seen this concept, its all over Pinterest.  Its the 4 things wish list - something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read.  Its a great concept for kids to avoid the obsession with getting a lot of gifts.  I had a really hard time creating a list for family this year.  I really don't need more stuff.  I have my perfect little boy and that is all I need.  Andrew and I are terrible in the fact that if we want something we usually buy it.  If its too expensive to buy now, we save and that would usually mean its too expensive for someone else to buy for us. 

I hope to implement this wish list with Sawyer when he gets older.

Today I'm linking up with E over at E, Myself and I to share my wishlist.


Sapphire is Sawyer's birthstone so I'd really like something to commemorate his birth.  A necklace is probably more practical since I use my hands so much with work but I designed my own ring on the Shane Company website and kind of fell in love with it....Andrew, if you are reading this, take a ginormous hint.  I would accept this as a birth-mas (birthday and Christmas combo) gift and not make you sleep on the couch.

What's on your wish list?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Deck the Halls....

Deck the Halls....at the Halls. 

Okay, pun over.

We got the house decorated for Christmas over the weekend.  I'm a minimalist when it comes to decor.  I hate froo froo, I don't like trinkets, and I can't stand clutter in my normal decor and that also rings true for my Christmas decor.  I try and keep things simple and uncomplicated and avoid busyness.

When I was a kid, it was an event to decorate.  I was always so excited to see all the ornaments - I had some favorite Hallmark ones (which I still hope to get from my mom one of these days) and others that I made when I was a kid.  I always liked looking at my "Baby's First Christmas" ornaments and Sawyer got his first ornament this year.



My family would decorate the tree and listen to Reba McIntire and Dolly Parton Christmas albums. My mom would stress about remembering which ornaments went in which boxes so she could put them all back (I totally understand this now.  You can't remember how things were packed since you only get them out once a year).  My dad would sit back and tell us where to put ornaments to keep the tree balanced.  It was always a fun time.

I figure this is the last year for a little while that our tree will be "safe" from tiny human hands and little boys trying to climb it so I tried to enjoy the process a little more.  Since Andrew and I were married, I've been trying to collect ornaments from the places that we travelled so that we remember those times and start our own collection of ornaments.

The final product

This year we travelled to Hawaii and Montana on our vacations and I got ornaments in both places but I cannot for the life of me find my Hawaii ornaments.  Its driving me crazy!  In the midst of all my nesting and organizing this summer I have no idea where I put them.  But here are some others

Flyfishing Moose from Glacier
parachuting moose from our trip to Victoria last summer


Starbucks Christmas cup - classic Seattle and one of my favorites.
Of course our tree would not be complete without a Hokie Santa

My new favorite Montana ornament - got it in Whitefish this summer
One of our first ornaments the year we got married.

 
 
 



A practice photo of Charlie - planning to replace him with Sawyer with the tree in the background

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Anticipation

Its easy to say that this year was a year of anticipation for us.  We learned early in the year that we were pregnant and spent the majority of it anticipating the birth of our beautiful boy. 

Looking back, I'm not sure that I enjoyed the excitement of the anticipation as much as I should have.  By September because of the physical discomfort and stress of preparing for baby I was ready to be done.  I'm not sure I really took the time to marvel at the process that was taking place in my body, the creation of this little person who is now my Sawyer.

In our modern world we've lost the art of anticipating.  We live in an instant gratification world - we want something and we want it now.  We get upset when our smart phones are being slow and we can't log on to facebook - I mean the message has to go to space and back and we can't wait two seconds.  We get frustrated when someone doesn't respond to our email right away.  We get mad when our flights are delayed.  People, you are flying through the air at hundreds of miles per hour.  That is amazing!  Remember the days of not having the internet in your pocket...or even the internet at all.  When you had to use the yellow pages to find a business phone number or actually call someone or look at a map to get directions.  Remember when people wrote letters?  You had to wait TWO WHOLE WEEKS for someone to get your letter and respond and send one back

*okay, I'll be honest.  I wasn't much of a letter writer and by the time I got to high school and college, email had taken over.  But I'm sure some of you remember right?

Advent has started.  We are eagerly anticipating the birth of our Savior.  Can you imagine how Mary felt in the last days of her pregnancy?  Was she caught up in her swollen ankles and having to pee every 5 minutes or did she enjoy the wait, knowing that the little boy in her belly would be the Messiah.  Did she spend her quiet moments in conversation with our Lord who was also in her belly?  Was she fearful or peaceful?  Excited or terrifed?

“The days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will fulfill the good promise I made to the people of Israel and Judah.” “In those days and at that time I will make a righteous Branch sprout from David’s line; he will do what is just and right in the land. In those days Judah will be saved and Jerusalem will live in safety. This is the name by which it will be called: The LORD Our Righteous Savior.” Jeremiah 33:14–16

In the past few Christmas seasons, my time has been focused more on buying gifts, attending parties, attempting to bake, decorating the house, preparing for travel all while working 40+ hours per week.  Honestly, it hasn't been focused at all on the anticipation of Christmas morning, enjoying time with God, focusing on the birth of Jesus.  Its a blur of 3 weeks and then its over, to be forgotten again until the next December.

I'm hopeful that this year is different.  I'm not working full time this year (at least not in an office).  As a mother, I feel a little closer connection to what Mary must have been feeling.  I want my son to someday understand the true meaning of this season and that will start with how I choose to focus my time.  Yes, I have gotten the tree up and we've broken out the Christmas lights.  Yes, I hope to do some holiday baking (and actually have some time to bake).  Yes, we will go to a Christmas party or two.  But I hope to enjoy the season.  I hope to spend more time reading my bible and focusing on my relationship with Christ.  I want to enjoy Christmas morning, enjoy getting gifts for my friends and family, and enjoy the anticipation of the wait.  I hope you do too.  After all, we are waiting for God's most precious gift to us.



*our pastor showed the following video in church last Sunday.  I thought it was adorable and often how I feel about giving gifts....


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Growth spurt

Well, we had our first full on growth spurt this week.  I'm sure that he's gone through them before (the kid is growing like a weed!) but I never had the "have to eat every 2 hours and super fussy" to this point.

Then we had a Tuesday.  Every 2 hours, almost on the dot, Sawyer would full on scream his little lungs out.  At first I tried changing his diaper, rocking, swaying, dancing, making faces, and every other thing I could think of until I would feed him.  After the 3rd cycle of this I figured out that he just wanted to eat.  And eat.  And eat some more.  But he would go from happy and smiling to full on screaming in the snap of a finger.  Fortunately, the two hour feeds didn't persist into the night - he slept his normal 3-4 hour stretches.

Along with the growth spurt came a lot of poop.  Seriously it was poop-a-palooza.  At our parent baby class, he had 3 poop filled diapers in 2 hours.  I've never seen so many poop filled diapers from this little boy.  This also meant multiple outfit changes.  Size 1 diapers are starting to get a little snug and don't hold it all.  Its a good thing we are moving up to size 2s! 

He hugs his Wubbanub while he sleeps
 


This was his "I'm so proud of how much I just pooped" look