Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Kate: 6 month old milestones

Just before the new year Kate hit half a year! Life is so good.

All of her rolls have starting posing a problem by causing rashes. We clean the out really well but she sweats in all of those rolls and it has proved to be quite the task to keep up with her rolly body.

Speaking of rolling, Kate finally rolled this month! Dec 11 she rolled from back to tummy. On Christmas day she rolled from tummy to back (that "easier" way took her longer). It was a few days later that she began consecutive rolls. Now we put her down and she's halfway across the room in under a minute. She loves being able to get around.

The first week in December Kate found her voice. Previously she only blew raspberries. Now, she squeals and screeches, particularly during sacrament meeting.

We introduced solids this month. She has loved everything so far (sweet potatoes, bananas, green beans, peas, avocado, apples) but wasn't found of pears.

In addition to suffering from sweaty rolls, Kate has pretty dry skin. It's gotten much worse with the cold weather. It makes me so sad when I'm lotioning her to feel rough patches. We're going to start putting Vaseline on the worst spots at night to try and heal them up.

She's a very happy baby. She smiles and talks to people all day long. Sometimes it almost sounds like she says "hi".

We only half swaddle her now. She has one arm out, one arm in. Our hope is to be down with it by 7 months... sheesh!


Weight: 17 pounds 2 oz (66%, down from 73%)
Height: 26.5 inches (71%, up from 37%... but before that it was 75% so 4 months must have been a bad measurement)
Head: 16.56 inches (42%, down from 65%)

Monday, December 29, 2014

Christmas Recap

Christmas Eve was a wonderful evening. We went to the Brallier's for dinner and since my parents were in town they joined us. How often do you get your kids and both sets of grandparents in the same room?! It was lovely, but I forgot to get my camera out. And boy, do I regret it. I planned on getting a picture of Kate & her TWO namesakes, but the evening got away from me. Darn.

Kathryn Brallier made quite the spread for our buffet style dinner. I was stuffed to the brim. I ate four pretzel rolls that night. Four. That delicious scent and the taste of the rolls is still fresh in my mind. Hands down, my favorite part of dinner. A close second was the spinach artichoke dip. We got so spoiled. My belly ached by the end of the meal. 

Afterward we had a talent show. Vince & I did some acrobatics, Ron & Kath sang and played a musical number, my dad read some passages from A Christmas Carol (Charles Dickens is a fantastic author), and Grandma performed Casey at the Bat. A nice game afterward and the evening was through.

Christmas morning was perfect too. When Vince woke up he got to empty out his stocking. Santa fills the stockings, you know. He played with some new toys and waited until Paul made French Toast for breakfast. I believe this will become a tradition for us; Children opening stockings one by one until everyone is awake and ready for family breakfast. Perhaps when they're all old enough we'll wait for breakfast until after presents, but only time will tell.

My parents had a busy morning. First Christmas with the Burt's, breakfast, and then over to our place for Christmas round #2. One of the first gifts Vincent opened was an alphabet leap frog computer. I'm surprised we got him to put it down long enough to open the rest of his presents. As the day went on he wouldn't put down his computer or take off the hat that Grandma Brailler made for him. Lucky little boy.

Kate is still too young for Christmas, though she did enjoy ripping some wrapping paper and drooling on her new sensory ball set. She got some cuddle time with Nana during presents though, and that was special. 

It was also great fun for me to have my parents in town. Holidays can be so hectic and expensive that travel often isn't an option. I'm grateful that my parents left their cozy home to visit with the Utah family. It was a merry Christmas for all of us.

  Don't take my picture, Mom.
I'll give you a candy cane.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Resolutions: 2015

The past week or so I've been pondering the goals I want to set for the upcoming year. It's been tough deciding how I want to go about it in 2015. I've decided that I don't want to do quite so many year-long goals. Rather, I want to focus on some monthly goals. Naturally, I'll still have resolutions that will last 365 days, but I feel like setting a goal one month at a time will really allow me to give it my all instead of being torn into 50 directions at once.

Long Term Resolutions:

-Read the Book of Mormon from start to finish by the end of the year
-Read material for weekly Sunday School & Relief Society lessons and discuss with Paul
-Attend the Temple 12 times in 2015
-Lose 17 (!) pounds by Kate's 1st birthday-- this will get me to my pre-pregnancy weight from Vincent
-Try 12 new recipes
-Create and stay within a budget
-Crochet, sew, repurpose, and read something

I tried to aim my monthly goals to aid me in accomplishing my yearly goals.

January: Fast Food Fast: A month of home-cooked meals
I'm hoping to start the new year off right. Our fast food fast will be a great kick starter for multiple goals: losing weight, making new recipes and staying within a budget. Phew. This one will be tough.

February: Social Media Cleanse: Facebook/Instagram/Pinterest once a day for less than 30 minutes
I waste copious amounts of time sifting through social media all throughout the day. I think it's great to blog, keep up with friends and get crafty ideas, but I spend too much time perusing and not enough time doing. Limiting my time on these sites will free me up to read scriptures, track the budget, go to the temple, craft and exercise.

March: Lazy Man Iron Man: Swim 2.4 miles, Bike 112 miles, Run 26.2 miles
I did this last year when I was pregnant with Kate. I felt like I was exercising during every spare moment! The running was a little too tough with my huge prego belly so I used the elliptical to get my mileage in. This year I'm set on doing some legitimate running.

April: Spring Cleaning: Throw away/donate three garbage bags of clutter, wash walls, odd jobs, etc.
Paul will be finishing up his Master's this Spring, which leads to the possibility of us moving here or there for a new job. A deep cleaning and removal of junk always feels good, but it will be a little more necessary to prepare us to uproot and relocate our family.

May: Muscle Mania: Lifting weights and actually using all of those machines at the gym...
I walk in the rec doors and head straight for my beloved stair master or walk into a zumba class. I've forsaken the elliptical and haven't picked up a weight in who knows how long. Being toned is where it's at, and I'm not going to get there no matter how many stairs I climb.

June: Budget Review & Evaluation
This will be our first year really trying to stick with a budget. I want to do a mid-year review to see if we need to change any allocations and determine if our tracking system suits our needs. I'd also love to see if we can underspend during the half of the year.

July: Outdoor Extravaganza: Swim/splash pad, bike, concerts at the park, hike, camp(?), picnic, play!!
I generally have the mindset that getting sweaty is the worst thing in the world. It keeps me indoors too much during the hot months. Kate will be a year old and I want to get out with her and Vince and this Summer. I'm just going to plan on being a sweaty mess the entire month. So if you see me, just remember that I'm making memories instead of doing make-up this month.

August: Run a 10K race
It makes me nervous to set a goal like this. I ran both track and cross country in high school. Since the glory days, I haven't done much running. However, with the Lazy Man Iron Man in March, I should have a good excuse to get back into it. A 5K doesn't seem consequential enough to get me training, so I'm upping the ante to 6.2 miles.

September: Scripture Reading Marathon: Two additional hours devoted to scripture study each week
Either I will be well on my way to finishing the Book of Mormon, or I will need some serious help. Either way, this month will help me complete that goal, as well as prepare for General Conference the following month.

October: Day of the Dead: Family History Emphasis
Spend 1 or more hours on family history each week. The main goal is to find and take a family name to the temple and complete all of the work for that person.

November: No Sweets November
A former roommate of mine did this last year. Paul and I attempted to do it in December but it was just a little too much to ask us to throw away hand delivered goodies from neighbors and friends. I think doing it in November will be a much better way to prepare for the holidays.

December: A Homemade Christmas
This Christmas I've made an effort to use what we have to create and make presents for the kiddos. I've had so much fun that I want to do it again. Not only is it enjoyable, but it's also cost friendly.

Monday, December 22, 2014


My parents are in town for the holidays. Kate is in heaven. Vince is in heaven. Okay, we're all in heaven. Really though, it's nice to have them here for this special time of year. I look forward to having them come over Christmas morning to watch the kids open presents. The holidays aren't for busy activities. Rather, they're best spent sitting in a room with those people you love most. Doing puzzles, watching football, listening to music, making (and eating) cookies & fudge, chatting and enjoying the glimmer from the lights on the Christmas tree. So yes, I am most certainly in heaven.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Birthday Freebies

I am a sucker for birthday freebies. Especially when it comes to free food.

In years past, I've taken part in lots of birthday deals. But back in my younger days I would get suckered in by the BOGO and "free appetizer" deals. Getting an item free is great, but paying for the rest is not so great. So this year we made a pact to only cash in on the absolutely free, no purchase necessary, zero dollars out of pocket, FREE food.

And now I'm here to share with you our list of free birthday foodies.

 1. Baskin Robbins: We typically pass on paying beaucoup bucks on specialty ice cream. That's part of what makes this free scoop of one of BR's 31 flavors so exciting

2. Del Taco: Just for being born you can get a free premium shake. Complete with little strawberry bits that will get stuck in your straw and a fluffy whipped cream on top. The hubs usually steals this one from me. (Also available in chocolate and vanilla)

3. Red Robin: This bad boy will get you a free burger (or chicken sandwich) and bottomless frites for frizzle.

4. Which Wich: A free small (7") wich of your choice. This year I went with a club and traded in my usual Dijon mustard for honey mustard. It was a birthday treat for sure.

5. Pita Pit: We are regulars at Pita Pit, so I was to the moon when I got a birthday deal for an entirely free pita. I love that they don't charge extra for items like avocado, artichokes and feta cheese.

6. Denny's: This puppy requires no prior sign up, obnoxious e-mails or printed coupons. Go in ON your birthday and feast upon their Grand Slam. Make sure you have your ID though! They'll ask for it when you check out.

7. Noodles & Company: A free bowl of drool worthy carbs! There are so many tasty options, but my current fav is the Japanese Pan Noodles.

8. Rubio's: Up to $7 in free food. I scored a Burrito Especial free of charge. Woot woot! I don't like fish, but it you do there are tons of other seafood options for you.

9. Dickey's Barbeque Pit: A free Big Barbeque Sandwich. If you live in Provo you can pick up this deal when you get your Rubio's! They're in the same parking lot. Delish.

10. Sonic: We didn't cash in on this treat because there were too many others that trumped it. But ON your birthday they offer a free tater tots or slush.

11. Firehouse Subs: Also didn't partake of this goodness because you can only eat so much food on your actual birthday. This is similar to Denny's where you don't need to sign up for anything. Just show them your ID and you're golden for a free sub.

12. Mimi's Cafe: Free desert- no purchase necessary! The coupon also says that it must be dine-in, but we were able to get this one to-go last year without a problem.

13. Rita's: This Italian ice/custard will take you to heaven. Especially since it won't cost you a dime. Dang, it's good to be born!

 The only place we stooped and forked over cash was at Tucanos. One free churrasco with the purchase of another. Worth it, because it's a $25 savings if you dine in for dinner.

 The list isn't enormous, but it is cost effective and delicious.  If you're aware of any deals I missed inform me pronto. Oh, and no need to thank me.

A Birthday Post

I've recently discovered a mother's birthday dilemma. Birthdays are supposed to be a somewhat special event; a unique day compared to the other 364 days of the year. My attitude toward birthdays has been pretty nonchalant, as my parents kept them quite simple in our family. We would choose where we wanted to go to dinner and we would receive handwritten birthday letters. No presents once we were 12. (What is it with my parents and being 12 years old?)

But I digress. As my birthday neared, Paul questioned me about birthday ideas, gifts, and other fun festivities. I insisted time and time again that I didn't want anything. Finally my 25th birthday rolled around. I woke up to breakfast in bed, which was lovely, but then the day unrolled like any other... because I'm a mother. I did dishes, swept and cleaned up after children, dealt with a daughter that didn't want to nap and had to hold down the homestead.

I found myself disappointed. It was my birthday, for Pete's sake! I didn't want anything, but at the same time I did. I wanted a reprieve. A break from the mundane daily tasks I do each day. But as a mother, there are certain things I won't ever stop doing. (Like laundry, why is there always more laundry??)

And thus we find a mother's birthday dilemma. The desire for a special day while still balancing the responsibilities of everyday life. The easy solution is to grow up and get over it because, let's face it, that's life. But a prettier sounding solution it to accept the ordinary and embrace the little things. It's all in the details. If we don't accept the mundane, we get caught up in life and miss the beauty of the those small, yet significant, moments.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Here comes Santa Claus

Vincent was not thrilled about meeting Mr. Claus. In fact, when we opened the door he stopped dead in his tracks and ceased to function. Petrified, if you will. Kate, on the other hand, was as good as could be. She seemed pretty happy to be given a candy cane to hold on to. 

Vincent's reaction was a bit shocking to me. He is the friendliest boy I know; he hugs complete strangers. We had talked about seeing Santa multiple times throughout the day and he was genuinely excited to meet him. I guess it was all talk because happy he was not. After he got his candy cane he refused to speak or look at Kris Kringle. He was a good sport and instead of crying he just clamed up when placed on Santa's lap.

Maybe next year?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

5 month old schedule

I regret not keeping a record of Vincent's schedules and routines. Although I do a whole lot less research on where Kate should be at 5 months, I still rack my brain trying to remember what Vincent was doing at this age.

When I need a helping hand with short naps, baby's sleep needs, number of naps, lengths of nap, suggest wake time, etc. I go to these sources:

Troublesome Tots
Baby Sleep Schedule
On Becoming Baby Wise
Baby Sleep- What is Normal

So for your own comparison, but mostly for my future haggard self after baby 3+, here's Kate's 5 month sleep and eating schedule:

0830-0900: Kate wakes up and eats, then plays until naptime (play mat, exersaucer, tummy time, reading books, go for walk, practice standing, sing songs, get squished by big brother, etc.)
1100: Swaddle, white noise, & paci. Sing a song and put Kate down, falls asleep by self
1300: Kate wakes up from nap and eats
1500: Down for 2nd nap
1700: Wakes up, nurse
1800: Feed Kate small portion of solid food (purees)
1830: On T, Th, Sat give bath
1915-1930: Nurse, put to bed
2300: Dream feed

Of course, she has many off days where she takes shorter naps or get tired early and veers from the schedule. We are in the process of transitioning to two naps, as shown above. When she takes three naps her days look like this:

0830-0900: Kate wakes up and eats, then plays until nap time
1100: 1st nap: Swaddle, white noise, & paci. Sing a song and put Kate down, falls asleep by self.
1230: Kate wakes up "early" from nap and eats between now and 1300
1430: 2nd nap
1600: Wakes up"early"
1630-1700: If showing signs of hunger I'll nurse her before the 4 hour mark but I like to wait until 1700 if happy
1800: 3rd nap
1900: If not already awake, wake Kate so she won't stay up too late
1930: Feed Kate small portion of solid food (purees)
1945: On T, Th, Sat give bath
2015-2030: Nurse, put to bed
2300: Dream feed

The second schedule is a little more typical for us right now. I'm happier than a monkey with a banana when she has a two nap day, but she's happy either way.

She is starting to take an even shorter 2nd nap. Instead of 1.5-2 hours she's having days where the nap only lasts 45 minutes. She had this problem when she was 3-4 months old. We extended her schedule from a 3 hour to a 4 hour routine, which fixed her napping issues. Now that it's happening again I'm adding solid foods to her diet in case she's waking up from hunger. It's also possible that she needs to start extending her daytime wake periods.

Wouldn't it be nice if babies could talk to us and tell us what they need? Or better yet, if we could read their minds. I'll keep dreaming. Until then, we'll continue to do what every parent does: change her schedule around multiple times and when she finally gets it right give ourselves undue credit. 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

5 month old milestones

Kate seems to be taking her milestones out of order. Here she is at 5 months, still not rolling over. Vince rolled at 2.5 months! I did a little research and found that some babies don't roll until 6 months. This gave me a sense of relief. But in reality, I'm not too concerned. Why? Because she has good muscle tone and is making good advances with other milestones. Every website that says "each baby is different" really isn't kidding. The differences between Kate & Vincent's infancy is unbelievable.

Although she's not a roller, she's turning into a sitter. When I see her sitting it gives me a pang of sadness and utter delight. How is she growing up so fast? I just want to keep this squishy baby forever. But then... it's so exciting to see her grow, learn and reach milestones.

 In addition to sitting Kate does the following:

-Blows raspberries non-stop
-Whimpers like a little puppy dog
-While on her tummy, pushes her chest off the ground
-Sleeps 13 hours at night (8 pm til 9 am, with a dream feed at 11 pm)
-Takes 2-3 naps averaging 1-2 hours in length
-Puts self to sleep (frequently require a pacifier but occasionally calms down without one)
-Nurses every 3.5 to 4 hours (5x a day including dream feed)
-Turns in circles while on her tummy
-Inches forward while on her tummy
-Grabs absolutely everything
-Reaches for toys that are too far away and scoots/turns to get them
-Still sleeps swaddled for naps
-Coos, giggles, laughs
-Sticks her legs straight up in the air and plays with feet
-While on her back, rolls all the way onto her side (if that darn arm weren't there to stop her she'd be rolling!)
-Splashes and loves bathtime
-Cries when parents leave the room
-Has no teeth but drools like a dog
-Exclusively breastfed
-Stands for less than 60 seconds with someone holding her (she doesn't like to support her weight with her legs, she used to just crumple into a heap but has recently improved with a little extra practice)
-Spits up heinous amounts of milk but is happy and continues to grow 

Throw back to when Vince was 5 months old too.

Monday, December 1, 2014

December Diet

I've been slowly, but steadily, losing this baby weight. It's exciting that I'm having significantly better weight loss success this time around. But then that holiday happened. The one where we count our blessings and shove our faces full of delicious carb-laden food. Not only did it halt my weight loss, it reversed it. This is no bueno, my friends. 

As with all healthy lifestyle changes I suggest to Paul, I preface it with "I have a bad idea". This time around the "bad idea" is to say no to sweets until Christmas day. The 25th of December will be a glutenous day indeed. But until then, no Christmas cookies, no birthday cake, no candy canes, no truffles, no nothing. Well, that last one is a lie. I will get a slice of pumpkin pie for my birthday. Also, we've given ourselves a little leeway with one or two mugs of hot chocolate a week.

I'm dreading my holiday work party and our ward Christmas party. All of those delectable goodies staring me in the face. Paul will help me make it through the ward party unscathed, so it's really the work party I'm worried about. Luckily, saying no is easier than saying just one. Because who really stops at just one?

So if you see me with a Christmas cookie, slap it out of my hand and then slap me in the face.