Thursday, June 28, 2012

What Happiness Looks Like

The 3 of us went to Richmond tonight to do a little last minute grocery shopping before we go on vacation next week.  Making all of Kellan's food is all wonderful until it involves planning a week's worth of meals...and then getting it there on a plane!  We will take some things with us frozen in a little soft sided cooler but I will have to buy some things there too.  I'm sure I'll do a post about how all of this goes...not to mention it will be our first week long vacation and Kellan's first plane ride! 

Anyway we went to Sticky Rice for dinner in Carytown and then made a stop at Sweet Frog's for dessert.  I know you're disappointed but there will be no food pictures.  It was all delicious and I highly recommend Sticky Rice if you like sushi and Sweet Frogs if you've never tried their many flavors of yogurt and even more choices of toppings. 

We had a great night but the best part happened while we were sitting on a bench outside of Sticky Rice waiting on our table.  This is a video of what happiness looks like.  From now on if I have a bad day or feel down for whatever reason, I'm going to watch this and I'm sure my mood will be turned around.  I hope you get half as much enjoyment out of it as we have!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Kellan Grizzard, Party of One

I received so many emails from people that were also researching introducing solids and making their own baby food!  It was really surprising how many people out there are looking for better ways to feed their babies.  Thank you to everyone who supports and encourages us for the hard work we're putting into making Kellan's food.   Here is a link to an interview with the authors of the book that I'm using as a resource for Kellan's diet.  I thought this may be helpful for anyone that is interested in learning more.

*All information in this post comes from the book Super Nutrition for Babies: The Right Way to Feed Your Baby for Optimal Health
Kellan has added some new foods to his menu since he is moving into the 8-10 months age group.

Dark Meat Chicken:  Dark meat has more iron and more fat than white meat...both of what a growing baby needs!  I cooked two whole chicken legs (thighs and all) in the crock pot for about 6 hours.  It was extremely moist and falling off the bone.  I picked the meat out and blended it up in the Baby Bullet adding the broth as needed.  Of course Kellan loves it!

Beef: I can't remember what piece of meat this was.  It came from some part of the leg, Michael told me, and it still had the bone which makes it even better for cooking in the crock pot.  I cooked it for approximately 6 hours too and it was so tender I could mash it with a fork!. I put it in the Baby Bullet and blended it up.  Beef is also high in iron.

Apricots:  I cooked these over low heat with a little bit of coconut oil until they were very soft and could be mashed.  Apricots are high in iron and Vitamin A but since it is from a plant it is the non heme form of iron (not as much can be absorbed by the body) so it can not replace meat in a baby's diet.  The first time Kellan tried these he was not so sure about them.  He ate almost all of them before he started blowing them everywhere so I'm not sure if he got tired of the taste or he decided that he didn't like them anymore.

Cauliflower:  I cut an organic head of cauliflower into small pieces, including stems, and boil them in water for 30 minutes until they are soft enough to mash.   You want to keep the water that you cooked them in with the cauliflower when you mash it or puree it in a blender.  Nutrients can cook out into the water when you boil foods so you want to keep those in your mixture.  Cauliflower is considered a cancer fighter and contains the B vitamin biotin.  Kellan LOVES it!

Broccoli:  Broccoli is cooked pretty much the same way as cauliflower but I cut as much of the stems off as I can when I cut the head into small pieces.  I also boil the broccoli pieces for 30 minutes in water.  Be careful to keep an eye on it when it is cooking because mine absorbed A LOT of water.  You don't want all of the water to cook out and cause it to burn.  After the broccoli is soft enough to mash I put it and the cooking water into the Baby Bullet to puree.  Broccoli is also considered to be a cancer fighter.  It contains vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and chromium which aids the action of insulin causing it to help fight diabetes.  Kellan really enjoys broccoli and I have frozen several servings of it combined with cauliflower and on its own.

Broccoli and cauliflower blended together

Yogurt:  Cultured milk is a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals, and probiotics.  It also helps the body to absorb calcium, boosts the immune system, aids in digestion, and helps prevent constipation, thrush, and some diaper rashes.  This book recommends yogurt that is made with 100% whole milk and unflavored.  Babies need the fat in whole milk and flavored yogurts usually also contain added sugar.  Yo Baby Simply Plain is the only brand that I could find that met this criteria.  Kellan absolutely loves it and I usually serve it to him along with a fruit.  He has had yogurt with mango, canteloupe, papaya, peaches, and by itself.

Zucchini:  Zucchini is loaded with antioxidants and nutrients and is so easy to prepare.  I start by peeling them, cutting them into small pieces, and boiling them in beef or chicken broth until soft.  You do not need to really add very much liquid because when they cook down they are juicy on their own.  Kellan really likes zucchini. 

Zucchini, Celery*, Parsnips:  The book suggested this combination of vegetables so I decided to try it out.  I peeled the parsnips and zucchini and cut all vegetables into small pieces.  Then I boiled them together in beef or chicken broth for 25 minutes until soft.  I then put them in the Baby Bullet to blend until smooth.  I have to say that poor little Kellan was not a fan of this combination.  It was actually strange to watch because he kept opening his mouth for more but every time we would put a spoonful in his mouth he would gag.  He didn't turn his head, spit it out, or spew it everywhere like he usually does when he doesn't like something.  We will maybe try it again later but I'm not going to push it when there are so many other good foods that he loves.

*Make sure if you are using celery you buy organic.  Celery is number one on the list of foods with high pesticide residue.

Peaches:  Peaches are another food that is high on the list of foods with pesticide residue so if at all possible buy organic.  We had a hard time finding organic peaches until recently so I'm assuming they are seasonal.  We found them at Whole Foods and at Ellwood Thompson's Local Market in Richmond.  I peeled, removed the pit, and chopped the peaches into small pieces.  Then I sauteed them in a tablespoon or two of coconut oil on low heat until soft.  And last, I blend them until smooth.  Kellan adores peaches.  When I say adores, I mean he bounces up and down in his seat with his mouth open and flaps his arms.  He goes crazy and cries when they are gone.

Finger Foods:  I mentioned in an earlier post that I had started giving Kellan finger foods so that he can work on feeding himself.  I started off with homemade pear gummies and up to now we have tried small pieces of ripe avocado, banana, and cooked carrot.  A lot still fall on the floor but more and more are making it to his mouth.  Here is a video so you can check out his newest strategies...

New Schedule

I also mentioned in his 8 month post that his feeding schedule has changed slightly.  This is approximately what his schedule looks like now, the times really depend on what time he wakes up and how his naps fall during the day:

9-9:30 Finger foods (This week he has been eating half of an avocado and a half banana)
12-12:30  Lunch (This is when I introduce a new food for 3-4 days in a row.  I do this so that if he has an upset stomach or an allergic reaction I can trace it back to the source.  This week he has been eating the new food along with a familiar food.)
5:30-6 Dinner (At this time Kellan always has a meat and we either serve it with a fruit or a vegetable.)

New Products

Since we have been adding more and more foods to Kellan's diet and all of them all are either meats or produce I have to do a lot of preparing and freezing at one time so that the food doesn't spoil before Kellan has had a chance to eat it.  Add to that we are driving an hour to get to grocery store that carries organic fruits and vegetables which causes us to stock up on everything at once.  Although I would like to say that the Food Lion here in Emporia has recently started carrying organic cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, and bananas!  Its not much but its a start and we will definitely be buying all of them! 

Preparing several different foods at one time is not the problem.   The difficult part comes in when you have to freeze all of it.  Before I only had these 2 freezer trays that came with my Baby Bullet.

They are made out of silicone and are super flexible which makes it easy to pop out each serving.  I do not like the lids because they do not secure very well to the top and sometimes come lose in the freezer.  They still work very well and I highly recommend the whole Baby Bullet system.
We founds these little freezer containers at Wal Mart and they are made by Annabel Karmel, the author of lots of baby food recipe books.  Pros:  They work really well as individual servings when you are on the go.  All you have to do is take one or two out of the freezer and carry them with you.  Now the cons: I do not like them because the lids do not secure very well and the different sizes are a little weird.  I would rather them be the same size but they are still useful as they are.  Also they are made out of plastic so you can not pop the servings out for storage in plastic bags.
These are made by Dr. Brown and can be used as either individual serving containers on the go or you can pop them out and store in freezer bags.  They are also made out of silicone for easy removal.  The set of 6 comes with a freezer tray to keep them all level while they are in the freezer.  I used a piece of tape on the lid to label the contents.  These containers have been very useful.
This freezer tray is also made by Annabel Karmel and is made out of silicone to make it easy to pop out each portion for storage in freezer bags.  I like this tray a lot because the lid fits on the tray a little better.

Friday, June 22, 2012

Kellan's Traveling Clothes

Kellan has acquired quite the wardrobe just from family bringing him back shirts and clothes from places they have been.  Here he is modeling his clothes from everyone's travels!

My outfit from the North Carolina Aquarium from Michael's cousin Chase :)
This picture was taken several months ago with his friend Austyn.  He wore his JMU shirt from Michael's cousin Stephanie to his playdate with Levi, Mason, Wyatt, and Austyn.  Just look at how much he's changed since then!

Onsie from Papa Mike's Canada trip right before Kellan was born...he can finally wear it!

Grocery shopping in his Biltmore Estate t-shirt from Mimi

This is an extra special shirt because Michael and I bought it on our honeymoon in Tahiti  We bought it for our nephew Owen (who is almost 3 now!) and it was in a bag of hand-me-downs that my sister gave us!  So Kellan can wear a shirt that mommy and daddy bought before he was even thought of!  He had just finished eating avocado so the shirt is a little dirty...

This one we are still waiting to grow into, its just a little bit too big.  Its from Papa Mike's trip to the Bahamas.  When he left on the trip Kellan wasn't eating solids yet because I was really trying to hold out until he was 6 months old.  This is what Papa Mike thought of that...

This picture was taken right before bed...look at those sleepy eyes.  I can't wait to take Kellan on his first big vacation to Anna Maria Island in Florida in one week!  We will have to get him an outfit while we're there!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Kellan is 8 Months Old!

Kellan turned 8 months on Wednesday, June 20 and still no more shots until next month!  Of course that also means that I have to wrestle with this little wiggly fella to get his measurements...we will see how accurate we are at his 9 month check up.  I didn't get any change this month other than gaining one extra pound (but who knows how accurate I was last month?!).

Height: 28 1/2 inches long
Weight: 21 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 3:00-4, nurse (which I am ok with in order to keep my milk supply up), and then sleeps until 7:30 am.  He used to nurse and then be up for the day.  Now after he nurses he usually falls back to sleep and will wake up around 8:30 sometimes 9:30! 

He is still waking up an extra time or two during the night.  I usually turn him over onto his back, give him his pacifier, cover him up, or if those don't work every now and then I rock him for a minute or two to calm him down and then put him back in his crib.  I think this has caused him to get on a routine of waking up so lately I've been letting him cry.  Each night has gotten a little better and after a couple of nights of crying it out he is back to waking up just once to nurse.  We are continuing with 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 fussy and whiny. 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.  He continues to be a great eater.  He is now eating three times a day.  Around 9:00-9:30 he has a finger food "snack".  So far he has fed himself homemade pear gummies and cut up avocado pieces.  He has gotten really good at feeding himself although quite a bit still gets dropped on the floor.  Around 12:00 he has lunch which is when I introduce a new food for 4 days in a row (this is in case he has an allergic reaction or upset stomach I can trace it back to the new food).  Around 5:30-6:00 he has dinner which always includes a meat and either a fruit or a vegetable.  In addition to the foods he's already had, now he's also tried cauliflower, zucchini, apricots, broccoli, beef and chicken.   He loves all of them except the apricots but we will keep working on it. 
Broccoli face :)

Drinking: Kellan is exclusively breastfed and nurses every 3-3 1/2 hours. He has gotten pretty good at drinking water out of a sippy cup and we have bought him several different kinds to try out.  He only gets the sippy cups during meals.

Clothes: Kellan can still wear a few 9 month clothes but is moving into 12 months.  Michael even put a pair of 18 month pajamas on him last night that were only slightly big.  We have a growing boy!  He isn't so much chubby (except for those chunky thighs) but really tall.  Which Michael and I both are tall so how could he be anything else?  He is in size 3 diapers but I put a size 4 on him at night to prevent leaking.


1. He can sit unsupported completely by himself. 

2. Kellan is still babbling all the time.  I can't make out his gibberish but it is going constantly (there is still lots of da! da! da!).  When we are at a restaurant or the grocery store he lets out the highest pitched loudest squeals and screams.  He's not mad or upset, these just seem to be places where he chooses to let it all hang out!

3. We have retired the bouncer seat and the Bumbo.  He was bending over and almost turning himself over in the bouncer seat and was sliding out of the Bumbo.

4. We continue to have pack-n-play time in our daily routine. Now that he is more mobile he doesn't enjoy it as much as he used to but sometimes I need somewhere to put him for a few minutes so that he can't get into anything.

5. Speaking of being mobile, Kellan is everywhere!  He isn't crawling but he pulls himself with his arms and pushes with one leg.  He follows us wherever we go and is into everything!  He particularly loves to dig in his book and toy baskets, the magazine baskets, and grabs any kind of papers or cords he can get his hands on.  He loves to follow the vacuum around while I'm using it.

Just thumbing though the real estate pages...
6.  Kellan still loves tags and lately he's been going after my dish towels that are hanging in the kitchen because of their tags.  He hasn't really been interested in his toys because he is scooting after everything else he can find (that are not toys).  When we go places we always take his Taggie and recently his Jesus Loves Me Bunny.  He smiles whenever I hand it to him.  He still loves to chew on his brush and loves to take several books out of his book basket and drag them all over the room.

10. Kellan is all over the place in his walker!  He can get all over the living room, down the hall, and has even started trying to scoot himself into the back bedrooms if one of us is back there.  He will take things off the coffee table, has knocked over a plant stand (luckily I took the plant off beforehand), turned an entire wine rack over (nothing broke but it sure scared him), and there have been several things that I have moved to higher ground before he tries to attack them!

11. I mentioned already that we have started finger foods and that he has gotten pretty good at feeding himself.  He is still working on getting better at controlling his hands and fingers because there is a lot of squooshing and dropping going on.  It takes him a couple of tries sometimes but he can get those pieces in his mouth!

Feeding himself avocado
12. The sign language has been a big failure.  I know the problem is me because I'm not being consistent enough.  Hopefully we can work on that some more this month.  We're still working on "please" and I have also shown him "more" and "thank you."  I don't think it helps that Daddy tries to help and he tends to make up his own signs.

13.  We have also officially retired the baby bath tub.  Kellan has moved into the regular tub 100% of the time.  I'm so excited because he has had a basket full of bath toys that he hasn't been able to play with until now!

14.  Last but not least, he still loves the television...

Here are a few pictures from our 8 month photo shoot...I was worried that these pictures were not going to happen because someone kept trying to eat their sticker...

Daddy's method of distraction
I use the Boppy in these monthly photos for a size reference but now he's getting so big Michael says it looks like an inner tube :)

I think my daddy might be crazy...

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Afternoon in Richmond...

Three years ago Michael went to the doctor for a sore throat that had been bothering him for as long as he could remember.  He had just assumed that it was sinus drainage and he finally decided that it was time to figure out what he needed to do to correct the problem.  His family doctor referred him to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor.  Michael says as soon as Dr. Armstrong, the ENT doctor, put the scope down his throat and he saw the lump that was on the back of his tongue on the video screen, he knew it was more than just sinus trouble.  Dr. Armstrong wanted to remove the tumor immediately, and although he told Michael it would be sent off for testing, he really didn't think it was going to be anything to worry about.  Not long after, Michael went in for surgery and had the tumor removed.  Several days later the test results came in and it actually turned out to be cancer.  Michael ended up having a second surgery, in order to remove a wider margin around where the tumor had been, to ensure that Dr. Armstrong had removed all of the cancerous tissue.  This was also sent off for testing and thankfully all results came back cancer free. 

The first year after surgery Michael had to go back to the ENT for monthly check ups to keep an eye on the surgical site and make sure everything was healing well.  The second year he had to go for check ups every other month and this year he has been going every 3 months. Right before Kellan was born he had his tonsils removed due to lots of infections and sore throats that he continued to have.  All of that tissue was also sent off for testing and also came back cancer free.  The rest of this year he will have check ups every 3 months but next year he can start going every 6 months.   We have been very blessed that his surgeries and cancer scare didn't turn out to be any more serious than they were and are so thankful that God was and continues to watch over our family.

Since his ENT is in Richmond, whenever he has a doctor's appointment we spend the rest of the day shopping and going out to dinner before we head home.  Yesterday afternoon Michael had a check up so Kellan and I came along to make a day out of it.  After another good report at the doctor's office we knew we were going to make a Whole Foods trip (of course) and eat dinner somewhere (did you have any doubt?) but the rest of the time was unplanned.

Waiting on daddy at the doctor...mommy had to save me from a little boy that kept wanting to rub my hair...
First we had a quick lunch at O'Charley's.  Is there anything better than unlimited baked potato soup, salad, and yeast rolls?  Nope, we don't think so either.

They won't let me eat their food so I just have to take matters into my own hands...
Next we headed to Target to get our little growing weed a new car seat since his feet are starting to hang over the edge of his infant carrier. We decided to go with the Graco My Ride 65.  With this seat he can still ride rear-facing until 40 pounds and then we can turn it around so he can face forward until he's 65 pounds.  I want to keep him rear-facing for as long as possible and hopefully get the most use out of this car seat before we have to buy yet another one!

After Target we had mentioned going to the Virginia Holocaust Museum but when we looked it up online it was closing at 5 and we didn't think we would have enough time to get all the way through it.  We decided to save it for another day and instead we drove around downtown and eventually ended up back at Carytown.  Of course we had to make a little trip to Carytown Cupcakes at their new location right on Cary Street.

We each picked out two cupcakes to take with us.  Michael got a strawberry and Georgia Peach.  I got a strawberry and a Peanut Butter Oreo.
Kellan trying out the chairs outside of Carytown Cupcakes.
We stopped in Frapple, a new yogurt shop in Carytown.  We didn't get any yogurt, we just wanted to see how it was different from Sweet Frogs which is another yogurt shop right beside it!  They look the same as far as we can see.  They both have different flavored yogurts to choose from with lots of toppings.   We'll have to go back and try it out sometime.

Kellan and I at Frapple
These painted dogs were all over Richmond.  This one was in front of Weezie's Kitchen in Carytown.  I recently bought a Groupon deal for dinner there...I can't wait to try it!
After Carytown we decided to drive around and look at some of the historic neighborhoods near downtown.  There were two historical houses, Agecroft and the Wilton House Museum, that you can tour, right in the middle of a neighborhood.  We will have to go back because I definitely want to see the inside of these houses.  I originally wanted to teach high school history before I switched to elementary education and I was a history major in college so Richmond is the perfect city for me...there are historical sites everywhere.  We have already been to Maymont Park and toured the house there, the Museum of the Confederacy, and walked around Brown's Island but there are so many other places to see.  Michael also drove me around the campus of the University of Richmond since I had never seen it.  We also drove by the very popular and well known "Aunt Pam's House" but it didn't look like anyone was home. :)  Here are a few things I still want to do in Richmond one day soon.

1.  Virginia Holocaust Museum
2.  Wilton House Museum
3.  Agecroft Hall
4.  Museum of Edgar Alan Poe
5.  Science Museum
6.  Art Museum
7.  Walk around the Capital Grounds and 6th Street Market
8.  The Civil War Museum
9.  Children's Museum (when Kellan gets a little older)

I am sure I will add more things but this is a good start.  We go to Richmond all the time but its usually just to eat and shop!  We need to start making better use of our time. 

Next we went to Ellwood Thompson's Local Market to see what their organic produce selection was like.  I was very impressed!  They actually have a bigger organic selection than Whole Foods.  We got quite a few new vegetables and fruits for Kellan to try. 

Dog outside of Ellwood Thompson's Market...Kellan clutching his Easter Bunny :)
Next stop was Whole Foods to get the things that Ellwood's didn't have.  Look what we found there...

After finishing up at Whole Foods we headed to P.F. Changs for dinner.  I won't bore you with our meal because we got the same thing we got the last time we were yummy!  If you are interested you can check out that post here.  After dinner we headed home with our Great Wall of Chocolate to go because we were actually too full to even take a bite!  I admit I had a couple of bites before I went to bed :)
Daddy and Kellan waiting on our table...he just couldn't hold his eyes open any longer
Our little doodle turned 8 months today so hopefully I can get his monthly pictures up here tomorrow!