Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Adventures in Babyproofing

Babyproofing is in full swing. A new TV stand was purchased to keep Conor away from the wires and whatnot ("Stop, it will hurt your body if you're electrocuted", we keep telling him so as to avoid the self esteem bashing "No!") He now has a fascination with opening the drawer on the new TV stand, and subsequently trying to smash his fingers. We need a solution that won't allow it to open at all, unlike the traditional drawer locks. Daycare has these awesome ones that only unlatch with the aid of a magnetic knob. They're called Tot Locks. Sounds awesome, right?

Tot Locks are evil. We may not be the most handy people on Earth, but come on! I really don't feel like I should need a degree in engineering to install these. We managed to install one (sort of, best not open and close that drawer too much.) At this point I think it's better to just tape the other drawer shut.

Up next - a gate at the bottom of the stairs. Stairs with an extra wide opening and curved newel post. I am not looking forward to this; we may just move instead.

Monday, April 26, 2010

10 months!!!

No smiles this month - being 10 months old is serious business people!

Conor is 10 months old today! In the past few weeks, his gross motor skills have really taken off. Just before Easter, he started getting up on all fours consistently and rocking. In the past couple days he has crawled one or two steps forward before falling. He is able to stand while holding onto something, and can get from his stomach onto his knees, then into a sitting position. He's also climbed onto the first stair - he could probably go higher if we let him. Time for gates! His favorite place to practice moving is in his crib.

It's so hard to believe his first birthday is only two months away. We've already started planning his party - we can't wait!

Age 10 months
Weight haven't weighed him in a while, probably 22-23 lbs.
Length not sure, probably ~30"
Size 9 month tops, 12 month+ pants
Eyes Pretty baby blues :)
Hair Second haircut this month
Teeth 5! Another one just cut through on the bottom.
Sleeping Continuing to improve. Usually up once a night but goes right back down. Naps are usually good, too.
Eating 4-5 bottles a day (breastmilk (reintroduced most dairy, no problems so far) and some formula (Alimentum)), plus 3 meals of cereal, fruit and/or veggie purees, and finger foods. New foods include pasta, tomato sauce, asparagus, veggie burger, cheese, yogurt, Life cereal, and oatmeal cookie (just a taste.)
Movement SO close to crawling - has taken a few "steps". Pulls up to his knees and almost to standing. Can stand while holding onto something but without our support.
Milestones standing
Outings Martian Marathon, art showing at Cafe Marie, Matthaei Botanical Gardens, lots of walks, Toarmina's Pizza
Favorite toys/activities Music table, crab, books, balls, eye glasses, shakers
Words/sounds Constantly talking, lots of sounds and combinations of sounds, growling, gargling
Memorable moments Easter trip to Texas, meeting cousin Clara

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Baby Foodie - Pasta Baked with San Marzano Tomatoes and Mozzarella Cheese

Conor loves tomato sauce! His first experience with it, he ended up sucking the sauce off and tossing the noodles to Otis! He enjoys pizza crust with sauce as well. I decided to make a large batch of basic tomato sauce to use and freeze. I kept it simple, just a mild flavor. It was super simple and makes putting together a baby friendly meal quick and easy.

(and in other news Conor’s dairy allergy seems to have subsided somewhat! Bring on the cheese!)

Easy Tomato Sauce (adapted from ButterYum)
**This makes a HUGE batch of sauce. If your food processor is on the smaller side, process it in two or more batches. Cut the recipe if you don't want leftovers.**

2-28 oz. cans San Marzano peeled whole tomatoes
2 Tbsp. olive oil
small sweet onion, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
2-6 oz. cans tomato paste (he picked out the can last week)
1/4 c. chopped basil

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent and just starting to brown, about 10-12 min. Add garlic and cook 1-2 min. longer. Add tomato paste, cook 5-8 min. longer, stirring frequently.
Add San Marzano tomatoes to food processor, process until smooth. Add onion/garlic/tomato paste mix and basil and process until smooth. Reserve 2 c sauce for baked pasta, freeze leftovers.

Sauce in baby glass bowl from the set Amy found.

For baked pasta,
16 oz. pasta (like maccherono, ziti or penne)
2 c. tomato sauce
2 c. mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 Tbsp. Italian seasoning

Cook pasta al dente in boiling water according to package directions.
Toss cheese with Italian seasoning. Layer ½ sauce (1 c.), pasta, remaining sauce (1 c.) and cheese in a casserole dish.
Cook 25-30 min. until cheese is melted and bubbly and starting to brown.
Cool and cut into bite size pieces for baby.
Leftovers freeze beautifully!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Baby Foodie

Conor has been eating more and more “real” food. He does very well with a variety of tastes and textures. He is increasingly self feeding so I'm starting to plan our meals with him in mind. Knowing he will be eating what I prepare makes me more conscientious of the ingredients I use. Though I am known to serve him a Wagon Wheel or 10 from time to time, I feel guilty giving him a lot of crap food. It’s great motivation to cook the way I want to, but often do not.

As a result, Conor is going to be quite the Baby Foodie – experiencing a variety of foods, developing an appreciation for flavors and textures and enjoying good food made from quality ingredients. I am going to document the different things he tries and share the recipes I use, which hopefully will be made with a reasonable amount of good ingredients and not be too cumbersome.

Conor sources ingredients at Plum Market.

It is also my hope that he will eventually learn to appreciate where his food comes from – I envision backyard vegetable gardens, trips to pick strawberries and apples, tours of Guernsey Farms dairy, visits to the farmer’s market, and classes at Zingerman’s Bakehouse (maybe even summer Farm camp???).

Stay tuned for Conor's adventures as a Baby Foodie!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Big Boy(a guest blog by Conor)

Hello blog readers, Conorman here. I thought you might enjoy some pictures of my day yesterday. Here I am hanging out at school in my big boy clothes.

Here I am just checking my email and making some phone calls.

What else have I been up to? Oh, not much, just some STANDING AT MY MUSIC TABLE ALL BY MYSELF for a LONG time!!!!!

All the single babies...

Conor attracts the pretty women babies. See how he plays it cool and pretends he's not interested?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


Tim's first (only?) clothing purchase for Conor:

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Life at 9 months

Inspired by Blair at The Heir to Blair, I thought it might be neat to write out what our typical weekday is like. I already have a hard time remembering what life was like just a few months ago before I started back to work.

5:15am The alarm goes off. Tim gets up to shower and feed the dogs and cats.

5:45am I wake up and shower/dress quickly - warp speed for me. I'm ready by 6:15, earlier if I don't wash my hair (ewww).

6:00am Tim wakes Conor up. Conor very rarely wakes up on his own before this. He gets a fresh diaper, clean clothes, zorbits, the works. Conor is usually in a pretty good mood by the time he's fully awake.

6:15am Tim feeds Conor is Zantastic Fruit (bananas or mango mixed with Zantac) while I finish getting ready.

6:20am I (attempt to) nurse. Lately this is short and sweet. Then we play while Tim finishes getting ready.

6:35am I start the car to let it warm up and load up the bags - purse, Gretchen's House tote, grocery bag of pump parts, and a cooler tote with bottles. Thankfully the days of scraping ice and snow seem to be behind us for the season.

6:45am Tim helps me load Conor up and we're off. It's still dark out. Conor doesn't usually sleep on the drive anymore but is very well behaved.

7:15am We arrive at daycare. The sun is just coming up. I get him settled in his classroom and we play together for a few minutes. He's usually the first one there, although sometimes Peyton arrives about the same time. I fill out his daily form, put away his bag and bottles, and say goodbye :( Separation anxiety hasn't hit yet and Conor doesn't seem at all upset when I leave.

7:40am I arrive at work. The beauty of this schedule is that it usually gets me to work right in time to score one of the last spots in the closest parking structure.

10:00am I take my first pump break, which lasts 15-20 minutes. I cut down last week to two pumps during the workday but surprisingly my output is the same or better than with three. Go figure.

11:30am Lunch - usually I'm too lazy and/or tired to bring something so I hit up the cafeteria.

2:00pm I take my second pump break. Between these two breaks, I am working nonstop and definitely do not spend any time doing personal business on the computer. At all.

4:10pm I'm outta there.

4:25pm I arrive at daycare to pick up ConorMan. Sometimes he's napping but usually playing. I gather his discarded clothing and look over his daily notes to see how well he ate and slept, and chat with Erin and Sandra about his day.

5:15pm We arrive home. If Conor falls asleep in the car I sometimes take the scenic route home to let him finish his nap (usually a quickie.) We play with the dogs and dada, offer to nurse or a bottle if he hasn't eaten in a while. With the recent nice weather, we've gone to the park to swing a few times.

6:00pm Tim starts Conor's dinner while I start cooking ours, or I start with Conor while Tim picks up carryout. Conor's dinner is usually more Zantastic Fruit, and some combination of cereal, fruit or vegetable puree, one or two of his finger foods, plus lots of puffs and Cheerios. Conor enjoys sitting at the table so dinner usually lasts 30-45 minutes.

6:45pm We play for a few minutes, and Conor usually motors around the living room.

7:00pm The bedtime routine starts. Every other night I give Conor a bath, which he almost always enjoys. Tim changes his diaper and puts on his jammies. Conor doesn't like getting his jammies on so much. We have to dress him now in his crib because he tries to roll off the changing table.

7:15pm Tim helps Conor turn off the fan light. I give him a bottle of formula. If he's still awake after the bottle, we read 2-3 short books, turn off the lamp, and sing several rounds of "You are My Sunshine". More often than not, I can then lay him down and he will put himself to sleep quietly. He's usually down by 7:30pm.

7:30pm Tim usually unloads and reloads the dishwasher and hand washes the bottle and pump parts while I'm putting Conor down. I finish getting the bottles and parts ready for the next day.

8:00pm Me time. Sewing, internet, TV, laundry/cleaning if needed, shopping if absolutely necessary.

9:30pm One more pump before bed. I gather clothes for the next day for myself and Conor. Then it's jammies, teeth brushing, and in bed between 10-10:30pm.

3:00am On a good night, Conor only wakes up once to nurse, usually sometime between 2 and 4, then goes right back to sleep. On a bad night he's up several times and it's difficult to get him to go back down and stay down. We seem to be on a roll of more good nights than bad lately.

5:15am Starts all over again...

It might be neat to do this every so often. I wonder what our life will be like in another 9 months???

Friday, April 9, 2010

Then and Now

November 2004

April 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Photo Editing

I downloaded the Lightroom 3 Beta recently and started tinkering with it. Here is yesterday's 365 picture, SOOC (straight out of camera):

Yikes! I almost always keep my camera in manual mode to force myself to learn about exposure - aperture, shutter speed, ISO and whatnot. Last night's photo was taken quickly in our bedroom before Conor went to bed. Poor lighting, hastiness, and inexperience made for a not so great picture - white balance and exposure are off, and it's noisy due to the high ISO. I'm sure photography types would cringe.

But it's a cute snapshot of Conorman, so I opened it up in Lightroom to see what I could do to improve it. I have no experience with this program and am learning on the fly. I adjusted the white balance to Auto (somehow it was set to Custom and I forgot to change it back.) That helped a lot. Then I went to town. I'm sure I overedited it, but it was fun playing with all the sliders. Hopefully by the end of the 365 Project I will have learned much more and improved a lot so can look back and laugh at this. Here's my workflow from Lightroom:

Exposure (-0.33)
Clarity (+15)
Vibrance (+15)
Fill Light (+10)
Black Clipping (+2)
Contrast (+5)
Temperature (-45)
Sharpening (+8)
Edge Masking (+23)
Saturation (+7)
Fill Light (+12)

The final product:

Not perfect, but much improved and I'm happy with it!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Easter Trip to Texas in Pictures

Conor traveled to Texas for Easter! He had a great visit; here are some highlights:

He enjoyed motoring around Mimi and Grampy's house. He played a lot with Cousin Madeline.
He made a new doggie friend, too. Cooper was equally enamored with Conor.
He did a lot of practicing getting up on his knees, trying to crawl.
He also met his sweet new cousin Clara (exactly 1 month old here).
It's too bad Madeline is so shy (1 picture of 13 million jumping off the stool.)
Madeline gave us a concert (that's her setlist by Uncle Jason.)
Monday we went to the Dallas Arboretum for Dallas Blooms. Conor was not so happy about this at first ("I don't like pink flowers!!!")
But wait! There's grass!!!
Madeline reassured Conor everything was okay.
He really liked the grass.
Conor and mama. ("Let me down, more grass!!")

The only bad part of the trip was that it was much too short :( We can't wait to see Mimi and Grampy at Conorman's first birthday party!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cloth Diaper Update

We're going on two weeks of cloth diapering at night and it's going great! We've had some minor leak issues to work out, but it seems like triple stuffing (adding an extra hemp liner) works pretty well. We've only had one overnight poop, which actually wasn't that bad to deal with. The extra laundry is manageable thus far, and I'd like to gradually build our "stash" of diapers to use for nights and weekends. We can also bring him to school in a cloth diaper and they will put him in one to come home - awesome!

One drawback is expense - they're $15-$20 a pop, and to do it full time we'd need a couple dozen diapers, plus extra liners - ouch! We have eight right now, I'd like to get a few more and I think we'd be set for a while. We're using both Bum Genius One Size and Thirsties Duo Diapers - two different kinds of "one size pocket" diapers. Basically the outer cover has an adjustable rise to grow with him, so we theoretically won't have to buy any more diapers until he's potty trained! There's a pocket inside the cover where you stuff 2-3 absorbent liners, made from hemp, cotton, fleece, or microfiber for example. The whole shebang goes on just like a regular diaper and fastens with velcro or snaps.

There's a giveaway going on over at Hormonal Imbalances - a chance to win 5 more Thirsties Duo diapers! How sweet would that be???