Thursday, May 31, 2012

Our Wild Man!

Here are a couple of pictures and videos of some of Kellan's latest shenanigans!  He LOVES his exersaucer and sometimes gets a little crazy...

video

Every morning while I brush my teeth I put Kellan on the floor in his room (which is between our bedroom and bathroom, so he's maybe 4 feet away) and he usually sits on his giraffe mat and plays with a few toys that I keep in there.  Well lately he has become super mobile and has started to scoot laps around the nursery!  Here he has taken a package of cloths (some the hospital sent home with us that we never used) off of the bottom shelf of his changing table and has helped himself to one!

"I just really needed one mom"
Here he has over turned the trash can and has fished out a box lid!  Thank goodness he didn't find his dirty diapers appealing!  He was VERY mad at me for taking the box away.

Our baby the dumpster diver!
And finally here is a video of Kellan's latest babbling.  Sometimes he plays so quietly and other times he just has these babbling fits!

video

He grows and changes so much everyday.  Who knows what he will be into tomorrow!

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Williamsburg!

When I first met Michael I knew very little about Virginia.  The only knowledge I had was a one time road trip to the Virginia mountains.  I briefly visited the Natural Bridge, Roanoke, and Lexington.  I had never even been to central or eastern Virginia except for driving through it many times on 95 headed to and from Washington, D.C., New Jersey, New York, Philadelphia, and Delaware. 

Next month I will have lived in Virginia for 3 years!  In that time Michael and I have traveled all over the country and Tahiti. We have also taken several day and weekend trips around Virginia to the mountains in Harrisonburg, Charlottesville, Monticello, Staunton, Fort Royal, and Winchester; around D.C. in Georgetown, Arlington, and Fredericksburg; to the beach at Virginia Beach; to an oyster festival in Urbanna; up the Eastern Shore to Chincoteague, and historical towns like Smithfield, Jamestown, and Williamsburg. 

I have loved most of the places that we have visited but Williamsburg is one of my favorites.  Luckily it is only about an hour and a half away so we go frequently.  There are two ways that we can get there but I love when we take the ferry.  This past Sunday we decided to head there for the day and take Kellan on his first ferry ride! 
 
Kellan and Daddy on the ferry

Mommy and Kellan...look at that belly poking out!

Mommy and Kellan looking out at Jamestown
 
Our ferry
As soon as we got off the ferry we headed to Carrot Tree Kitchens, a restaurant that we have been wanting to try for a while.  It is a bakery that has wonderful desserts but also serves unique lunch options.  The building itself is also unique because it once was an old motel.




BBQ sandwich with spinach orzo pasta and a turkey, cranberry, and blue cheese wrap with red skin potato salad

Kellan chewing on an enormous carrot slice!
And of course we had to get something from the bakery!  Red velvet cupcake with cream cheese icing and chocolate on chocolate :)
After leaving Carrot Tree we headed to the outlets.  Kellan needed some new pj's since his little feet are pushing out of his footie pajamas.  Michael and I hit our usual favorites: J Crew, Banana Republic, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger but this time we added a few extra stores to the list!  In fact, MOST of our time was spent in Children's Place, Carters, and Osh Kosh!  And Kellan not only got 6 new pj sets but also 3 new sets of overalls and 2 summer outfits (this is in addition to the entire summer wardrobe we bought him the last time we were in Williamsburg!).  He is definitely a spoiled little boy and he doesn't even know it yet!  We must have been doing some serious shopping because I didn't take a single picture!

After all of this shopping we headed to one of our favorite restaurants in Williamsburg, Food for Thought.  We have eaten here several times and it has always been delicious.  Out of all of our trips to Williamsburg we have eaten as some not so good restaurants too.  At Seafare Seafood Restaurant, the food was ok but they charge for every drink refill!  Marino's Italian Restaurant was just REALLY not good and Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse and Sushi Bar they charge extra for rice!...at a hibachi restaurant!  We had never heard of such a thing and we have had much better food at other Japanese steakhouses. 

Waiting for our table...a man told Kellan that he liked his Republican elephant shirt


My half eaten mango chicken and cilantro lime chicken with squash casserole and mashed potatoes

Michael's salmon was gone when I went to take the picture so here are our strawberry and blueberry crepes for dessert!

They have lots of inspirational quotes on the walls, this is my favorite
This was another great dinner and a fun trip to Williamsburg...hopefully we will be back soon!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Feeding Kellan

So here comes the long awaited post on why I've chosen to feed Kellan the way that I have...with Michael's support of course!  There are very few decisions that we've made on subjects pertaining to Kellan that haven't been heavily researched or reviewed and his food has been no exception.  I knew the norm was to begin solids around 4 months but the more I researched the more sources I found that strongly suggested to wait until 6 months.  Waiting until 6 months significantly decreases the chance of babies having an allergic reaction to something they've eaten due to an immature digestive system.  Allergic reactions can be a rash, eczema, vomiting, diarrhea, or even trouble breathing.  Waiting also allows babies time to better develop the ability to chew, swallow, and sit up.  No matter when you start solids the most important thing is that breast milk/formula is still baby's main form of nutrition at 4 months or 6 months so they should still be nursing or drinking the same amount of formula. No solid food can match the nutrition from these liquid sources for babies at this age.


I tried to wait as long as I could to start solids with Kellan.  He was showing all of the readiness signs like showing interest in our food, sitting up with support, and wanting to nurse more often.  I still held off until a few weeks in a row he stopped sleeping through the night.  Kellan has always been a good sleeper and I knew it was time to start solids when he started waking up several times a night. 

These are the books that I've read to help me make decisions about Kellan's food.  I highly recommend all 3 and have gotten a lot from each of them.  Who knew there was so much to learn about baby food?!
Great recipes and detailed preparation, storing, freezing, and nutritional information.


This book has basic information about everything food related: health, equipment, nutrition, schedules, foods, preparation...it is a baby food encyclopedia!

This has been my main resource.  It tells you step by step when to introduce certain foods and how to prepare them.  It has a strong emphasis on SUPER foods (foods with the most nutrition) and discourages CRAP foods (foods with little to no nutritional value)

My main resources has been Super Nutrition for Babies.  To give it to you in a nutshell it strongly discourages feeding baby anything processed (crackers, teething biscuits, cereal, juice, etc).  Its argument is that these foods provide little to no nutritional value so why bother feeding it to your baby?  It highly encourages foods that provide the most nutrition such as organic fruits and vegetables, liver, animal fats, and soup stocks made from pasture fed, organically raised animals.

My whole reasoning for making Kellan's food originally was so that I would know exactly what was going into his food.  When you look at the ingredients in jar baby food some just say water and the fruit or vegetable....but you have no idea how much water.  Some say absorbic acid, thickeners, and citric acid.  When I look up citric acid it says it is a naturally occurring preservative.  How natural can it be if its being added to a food to make it last longer?  I don't want any of those things in Kellan's food.  I guess the bottom line is I don't think store bought baby food is harmful but I definitely don't think it is the best.  Michael and I have been trying to grocery shop healthier and make better food choices for ourselves when we cook at home so we for sure want to do what is healthiest for Kellan.

Take for instance when I make sweet potato for Kellan, I put a sweet potato in the oven bake it for 30-45 minutes, take it out, let it cool, scrape out the inside and I add a little breast milk to make it creamier.  That's it.  No water to thin it out, nothing.  And it tastes like...a sweet potato.  Have you ever tasted jar baby food?  It doesn't really have much flavor probably because it has been watered down. Which means the nutrient content has also been watered down.  If I want to give Kellan banana, I cut it into fourths, mash up 1/4, add a little milk and there is his meal.  That HAS to be better than a jar of soupy banana mixed with water!


I have tons of homemade baby food stocked up in our freezer!

Now most people will agree that making baby food is better than store bought baby food but where I lose most people are the types of foods we've been feeding Kellan.  Actually I've even heard some people say well I ate jar baby food and cereal and I turned out ok.  While this is true, I want better for Kellan in all other aspects of his life so why settle for "good enough" when it comes to his food?   Here are the foods he's had up to 7 months and the reasoning behind adding them to his diet.  All of this information comes from Super Nutrition for Babies.

Why I skipped Cereal: Every one's argument is that cereal is needed because it is iron fortified.  Grains that make up cereal have virtually no nutritional value and are not easily digested by young babies.    Iron is a MAJOR necessity for brain development in babies but there are two types:  heme and nonheme.  Nonheme iron sources are plant sources and fortified food sources like cereal.  This type of iron is not easily absorbed by the body and only about 4% can be absorbed no matter how much of it you eat.  So why give Kellan something that has iron unnaturally added?  Why not go straight to the natural animal source?  So that's what we've done.

Soft Boiled Egg Yolk:  Eggs are usually avoided until the first year because they are considered a highly allergenic food.  The egg white is the part that causes allergic reactions so the yolk is safe to feed to babies younger than a year.  Eggs contain vitamins, minerals, amino acids and healthy cholesterol.  One thing I've learned through my research is that babies need a high fat (although HEALTHY fats) diet for sufficient brain development.  They actually NEED cholesterol as long as it comes from healthy sources.  Eggs are perfect for this.  Kellan has 1 soft boiled egg yolk mixed in his breakfast vegetable every other day.


Taken from www.thehealthyskeptic.org

Liver:  THIS is the food that people really have the hardest time with me feeding Kellan.  When I first started reading Super Nutrition for Babies I thought hmmm...maybe I can just skip the liver but the more I read the more I decided it is definitely a food that must be added to his diet.  Liver blows other food sources out of the water when it comes to nutritional value.  Not only does it have loads of the heme iron ( 37-40% of it readily absorbed by the body) but it also has many other important vitamins and minerals that a developing body needs including zinc, another mineral critical to brain development.

I kept telling Michael that we needed a beef liver from a grass fed, pasture raised cow.  So we got one from Whole Foods...when I saw that HUGE chunk of well...LIVER...I felt a little nauseous.  I thought now here I have talked about this liver for a month or more and I'm not going to be able to touch the thing.  Thankfully Michael pulled out his knife and cut it into small chunks for me and we froze them.  Now whenever I need it, I pull out a little chunk, grate it or mince it (very easy while its frozen) and saute it for a couple of minutes.  Iron is so packed with vitamins and minerals babies can actually get too much of it.  So before you feel sorry for poor little Kellan being forced to eat his liver listen to how little he actually gets.  I put one TEASPOON of grated cooked liver in his breakfast vegetable every other day.  That's it.  That little teaspoon is all that he needs and he never even knows he's eaten it.  Not only that but its the natural, easy to absorb iron that his growing little brain needs!

Liver chunks...you have to lay them flat to freeze otherwise they stick together. One chunk is enough for about 3 days.
 Beef and Chicken Broth: I take soup bones, marrow bones, or a whole chicken (all found at Whole Foods) and let them simmer in the crock pot filled with water for 24-72 hours to make homemade beef or chicken broth.  The broth contains so many minerals that are also the easily absorbable kind because they are from natural animal sources.  This is what I cook all of Kellan's vegetables in...so much better than adding water!  The broth can be stored in the refrigerator for a while but I mostly freeze it into small portions and pop them out as I need.


My first experience with a whole chicken...


Lamb:  Another great source of heme iron.  I cook it in the crock pot for several hours in the beef broth until it falls off the bone.  Then I puree it and it can also be frozen into small servings.  Kellan loves it!

Bananas:  Have natural enzymes (amylase) making them easy to digest.  Best of all they require virtually no preparation.  Just mash it up!  When I have too many and they are going to go bad before I can use them, I slice them up and freeze the slices on a plate. Once frozen you can store them in a bag.  When I need them I just take 4 or 5 slices out and it takes them a few minutes to thaw to mash.

Avocado:  A healthy fat and contains the enzyme lipase. This was Kellan's first food and he ADORES it!  All you need is a ripe avocado, scoop out the inside and mash.  You can also add a little breast milk to soften.  Kellan loves it mixed with banana.

Cantaloupe, Mango, and Papaya:  Most fruits and vegetables do not contain enzymes making them more difficult for baby to digest. Tropical fruits however are loaded with enzymes allowing them to be easily digested.  Best of all they don't have to be cooked and all can be pureed and frozen.  Kellan LOVES cantaloupe and papaya.  The mango had to grow on him but he loves it now especially mixed with banana.

Frozen papaya and rutabaga portions in the Baby Bullet freezer container
Carrots, Parsnips, and Rutabaga:  The nutrients inside of vegetables are more easily absorbed when they are eaten along with a fat.  I cook these vegetables in the beef or chicken broth.  The vegetables soak up the minerals from the broth which makes them even more nutritious.  Once they are soft, I puree them and store them in the refrigerator or freeze them in small portions. 


Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash:  These are high in beta-carotene and in order to get the most from their minerals and antioxidants they also need to be eaten with a fat.  I bake them in the oven and then add no salt organic butter or coconut oil before serving.  Both can also be frozen.


I love my Baby Bullet!
 Why I skip juice:  Juice has absolutely no nutritional value.  That is reason enough to skip it but here are a few more:  Babies can get full from too much juice and not want nutrient rich foods.  Juice highly increases risks for tooth decay even before they have teeth! The sugar in juice reduces the effectiveness of the immune system, even 100% juice sources.  Juice is a source of lead even in organic sources.  And excessive juice can cause diarrhea and upset stomach.  So for Baby Kellan, all he gets is breast milk and a sip or two of water while he's eating and he's just as happy as can be. 

The main thing to remember is that babies do not know what they are missing unless you introduce it to them.  Right now Kellan is a healthy eater because we are teaching him good habits.  I plan to stick with it for as long as we can.  One day when he is older he will definitely try M&M's, cookies, cake, and I will introduce him to the joys of sweet tea!  But when those are things that I know that I should cut back on why in the world would I give them to a growing baby that needs all the nourishment it can get?  Again, he doesn't know any better...he is equally interested in trying to eat mommy's salad, the leg of the coffee table, lint, his baby food and drink daddy's soda...that doesn't mean I'm going to give all of those to him!  I'm the parent and right now he depends on me to make the best choices for him...not what's cute or what I think I would want to eat because no matter how much I'd love to, I shouldn't have chocolate cake for breakfast!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Weekend Recap!

 We had another busy weekend celebrating, relaxing, and of course...eating!  Friday night we took Grandma Gigi out to eat for a belated Mother's Day dinner at Riptides.  Michael and I had been here one other time before and it is delicious.  If you love seafood you should go check it out!  We had the best oysters any of us had ever had...Hog Island Oysters.




When we got home it was time for a story and then bed!!  Kellan loves a good story but does that second picture look like a little boy ready for sleep?  Why is mommy tired but Kellan looks like he's just getting cranked up?!

He's very into "Fire Truck"


Saturday night Daddy kept Kellan so that mommy could go out for dinner and a movie at Cinebistro for Ansley's birthday!   We went to see The Five Year Engagement. 
It was a really funny movie with an ultimately sweet story but I think I'm getting old because I couldn't get past how terrible the language was and I could have really done without some of the parts.  I don't mind some things but this was a little overkill in my opinion and didn't add to the movie.  However Cinebistro was VERY nice and I will definitely come back to watch another movie.  The most important thing to remember is to get there 30 minutes before your movie so that you can order dinner.  The wait staff brings it to you and you can eat during the movie.  We got crab dip with breadsticks and popcorn chicken.

Emily and Ansley the birthday girl!

Leasa and I with our breadsticks :)
On Sunday we had my Book Club meeting at our house.  Our numbers were a little lower than usual but we still had a great time discussing the book, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime by Mark Haddon.  I love our group and we always have the best discussions at our meetings.


Leasa, Evelyn, me and Lary Ann
I love to try out new recipes and here are a couple from pinterest that I used for our snacks!  Oreo Peanut Butter dip with fruit and pretzels, you can find the recipe here.  Strawberry Shortcake Cookies, you can find the recipe here.
And the snacks!
 What a great weekend spent with friends and family!  Can't wait to see what next weekend has in store for us!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Kellan is 7 Months Old!


Kellan turned 7 months on Sunday, May 20 and luckily there is no doctor's checkup this month!  That means no shots!  Unfortunately that means Michael and I have to weigh him and measure him to get his monthly stats the best that we can so I'm not sure how acurate they are but here is what we got:

Height: 28 1/2 inches long
Weight: 20 pounds
Head Circumference: 18 inches

A few more statistics for this month:

Sleeping: Kellan's bed time is still 8:30-9 pm. He typically will wake once between 4:00-5, nurse, and then sleeps until 7:30 am when he's up for the day. He is going through a spell now where he is waking up an extra time or two.  I usually turn him back over onto his back, give him back his pacifier (he really doesn't care very much about his pacifier but it does help him get to sleep) and tuck his blanket around him.  If that doesn't work I rock him for a few minutes and he goes right back to sleep.  We're not sure if its teething or just him trying to get comfortable and moving all over his crib that's waking him up.   I am still sticking to the feed-wake-sleep schedule and he usually needs a nap after being awake for 2 hours in the morning and 2 1/2 to 3 hours in the afternoon.  Any longer than that and he starts to get cranky.  He doesn't usually need a nap in the late afternoon/early evening as long as he has taken good naps earlier in the day.

Eating: I'm still making all of Kellan's food and I have to say I really enjoy it.  He is a great eater and has even started eating mango which he did not like before.  He still eats twice a day (morning and early evening). In addition to the foods he's already had, now he's also tried canteloupe, parsnips, and homemade chicken soup

Drinking: Kellan is exclusively breastfed and nurses every 3-3 1/2 hours.  He actually drank from a sippy cup for the first time this month!  Well he's had a sippy cup before but this was the first time that he drank from it and didn't spit the water back out!



Clothes: Kellan can still wear a few 6 month clothes but is mostly in 6-9 months and 9 months.  We even have an outfit or two that is size 12 months that he can wear.  He is in size 3 diapers.

Milestones: 1. He can sit unsupported for even longer lengths of time.  Now when he does fall over he doesn't usually get upset.

2. Kellan is still babbling and squealing but he's not screaming like he used to, instead he has started growling.  He has added some new sounds to his vocabulary...ba, blah, and its official...he says da-da-da ALL THE TIME!  

3. Kellan has outgrown his indoor swing.  Actually he can still fit in it, he just grabs the bird mobile and it makes this awful clacking noise!  I'm afraid he's either going to break it or pull himself out of it so inside swing time is no more!


4.  We have added pack-n-play time to our schedule.  One reason is because this is where he sleeps when we visit my parents and we want him to be familiar and comfortable with it.  Another reason is to work on playing independently and focusing on one or two toys at at time (I switch the toys out everyday).  It really has been teaching him to play with the toys that he usually ignores.

Have I mentioned that his hair has gotten out of control?!

6. He is still crazy over the television and stares at any one he can find.  He also finds digital camera, iPad, cell phone, and digital picture frame screens equally as fascinating.  He was in awe at Best Buy this week!

7. Everything he can get his hands on immediately goes to his mouth and he still loves a good tag!  His latest favorite toys are the ones that light up and sing like his glow worm, a bumble bee that talks to him and plays music, his bunny that sings Jesus Loves Me (I don't know what he likes more, the song or chewing on his ears), but his favorite toy that he is absolutely crazy about right now is..his BRUSH!  It has a short, fat handle with raised big rubber bumps that he loves to chew on.  I'm guessing the soft bristles feel good on his gums because he chews on that side too.  Brushing his hair is now an adventure because he cries until we give his brush back!


9. Kellan still isn't crawling yet but he is getting more and more mobile.  In a span of a few minutes he will move from one side of his blanket to the other, off the blanket and back on again.  When I leave the room I half expect him to be creeping along behind me.

10. He can finally touch the floor in his walker but hasn't learned to manuever it quite yet.  He can make himself go backwards but he looks like he's not quite sure what's happening.

11. We used to feed Kellan in his bouncer seat because it slightly reclines.  He couldn't sit up long enough or well enough to feed him in his high chair.  Now we have officially moved into the high chair.  He does such a good job keeping his hands out of the way when we feed him and really doesn't make that big of a mess.


12. I'm working on teaching Kellan basic signs.  When we're feeding him we've started teaching him the sign for "please." I'll have to update you next month on his progress.

Here are a few pictures from our 7 month photo shoot...

Now presenting...Kellan!




This was going on for most of the photo session! *sigh*



Where are you going?