18 July 2012

Nerd in the World: Month 9

I fully realize that this photo doesn't have a monthly sticker…BUT I rarely take photos of Baby Nerd sleeping, and this shot makes me want to gobble her up!

Also sans sticker, and very much unedited…*sigh* It's hilarious, though, that she's so wrapped up in chewing on her soft mirror that she's totally ignoring me.

Unedited image, BUT we have a sticker! Whenever I placed it on her belly, she tried to eat it.

Age: 9 months
Weight: 18 lbs. 12 oz.
Length: 28.5 in
What can she do now?
  • a third tooth popped up on her bottom gums
  • takes actual bites out of food
  • uses a sippy cup with little to no assistance
  • cruising EVERYWHERE!!!
  • takes steps across an open floor with assistance
  • can pet Mojo very gently
  • can find her baby out of a line-up of toys when asked where it is
  • tilt her head to the side just to be cute (I'm pretty sure this is practice for when she's in trouble
  • tap or pat surfaces on command
  • separation anxiety has set in…this one's no fun

    Celebrations from the past month:
    Let's make this one really fast, since I'm almost a month behind--AGAIN:

    • Mallory survived her first non-family, not-the-regular-babysitter babysitting. My hairdresser, Tanya, and her partner, Leslie, watched Mal while Michael worked and I went consignment shopping. These ladies were so good to her!
    • I canned, like, everything I could get my hands on. There are so many jars on our kitchen counter, I can't get to the canister of all purpose flour.
    • My very first student from my first public education job turned 16. This makes me feel old.
    • Had lunch with Laurel and his girlfriend, Kristin. They were up from Florida, and we went to our usual hibachi restaurant for lunch. Mal tried her first fried rice...and liked it.
    • Baby Nerd saw her first fireworks…and hated it.

    A Mother's Thoughts:
    See Month 10. I hope to have it done sometime before she turns one...

    12 July 2012

    Baby Bites: Edamame and Alphabets

    As many of my friends have seen in Facebook and Instagram posts, I make most of Baby Nerd's foods. Not because I think she's too good for the stuff from the grocery store. She definitely eats those and loves most of them. And Lord knows if there's a baby food sale, I'm all over it. But making Baby Nerd's food satisfies me on so many levels. It's almost always cheaper than the jarred food, especially when some of our ingredients come from our own garden. It's a heck of a lot easier than I expected it to be. But most importantly, I simply love the idea of my child eating something made by my hands. Flashbacks to childhood comfort foods, anyone? ;)

    And since my husband and I have developed a passion for cooking and enjoying fresh, healthy varieties of food, we have made it a goal of ours to introduce unique tastes at an early age. I don't want the Nerd to be the kind of child who will only eat chicken nuggets and French fries (although, our efforts may blow up in our faces one day...sure hope not). I just want her to be willing to try new things and always eat with meals with us. This mommy won't be keeping a back-up bag of Bagel Bites in the freezer when the kids refuse to eat Mommy's homemade pasta sauce over a bowl of angel hair.

    So here's an easy recipe that Baby Nerd ate with great enthusiasm tonight. She's almost 9 months old, and she's already eating something I didn't try until I was in my 20's.

    Chicken broth
    Frozen edamame (shelled--I used half of a bag)
    Alphabet pasta
    Fresh chopped basil (dried will work, too--we just happen to grow it behind our kitchen)
    Olive oil

    In a small sauce pan, pour roughly a cup of broth and dilute with 1/2 cup water. This will help reduce the sodium content. I also swirl in some olive oil at this point. Bring to a boil and add edamame. I added enough to have the liquid level about a half inch above the edamame. Allow to cook for several minutes. When they are al dente, add the alphabet pasta. I eyeballed it, putting in enough that I figured would absorb the rest of the liquid. If the pasta soaks up the broth before its done cooking, just add a little more water. Toss in the basil as you're taking the mix off the stove. Using a fork, mash through the mix to help the edamame split into halves (if your baby is younger--older babies and toddlers can handle whole edamame). Scoop into baby food containers (or 4-ounce freezer safe containers). Serve warm if doing so immediately. Store in freezer and carefully thaw in fridge before serving for future meals.

    Hope your baby enjoys this meal as much as Baby Nerd! Post comments below if you give it a shot. Thanks for checking out this recipe. ;)

    10 July 2012

    Nerd in the World: Month 8

    8 month party in the front yard with her favorite frog.

    "Is this another one of those stickers?"

    "It sure tastes good!"

    Trying frog legs for the first time.

    Age: 8 months (yeah, I took these photos 3 weeks ago…so very late...)
    Weight: ~19 lbs.
    Length: ~28 in.
    What can she do now?
    • she "talks" all the time now: "mama", "dada", and "yaya" (no "Mojo" just yet)
    • her pinching grasp is just about perfect
    • pulls up onto furniture and people
    • cruises along furniture
    • can turn around in a seated position
    • can lower herself to sitting from a standing position
    • follows a finger when pointing out objects
    • bounces when excited or happy
    • awaits Mojo's arrival when she hears his collar jingle from another room
    • pushes your hand away when you try to tickle her belly
    • stick her arm out in an attempt to wave

      Celebrations from the past month:
      • April is married! My friend and (now former) co-worker, April, married her sweetheart, Justin, in a beautiful outdoor wedding at the Brasstown Valley Resort. The ceremony made for a great excuse for our family to get away for the weekend, although the cabin we stayed in was a more fitting abode for spiders and the snake that crawled up through the vent in the bathroom. Because Mallory had just started using "mama" the night before the wedding, she practiced saying it all throughout the ceremony. I'm sure when April and Justin sit down to watch their wedding video for the first time, they'll hear Mal drowning out the preacher with her first word.
      Mr. and Mrs. Beck at their sunset ceremony.
      • Mal and Patrick play again. Now that they are sitting up, pulling up, and babbling, they make play dates way more interesting. Katy and I joke that we get them together so they can teach each other skills the other one hasn't yet mastered. But really, we're grooming them for their future together as Mr. and Mrs. ;)

      Snack time for babies.
      • Michael's cousin is married. We drove to Dublin for the ceremony. It was great seeing and catching up with Michael's family especially since we live so far from most of them. When the 2:00 in the afternoon OUTDOOR wedding ran late, we were slathering sunscreen on Mallory's face. Just say no to baby sunburn! Congrats to the new couple, Jessica and Aaron, on their nuptials.
      Enjoying the wind in her face and a little Daddy time.
      • Baby Ava came to visit. On Father's Day, our friends Lila and Charles brought their almost-4-month-old daughter for a lunch meant as a send-off since they were moving only a few days later. They had been living in Georgia while Lila pursued her doctorate degree at UGA in chemistry. So when she got the call to teach at a college in their home state of Alabama, we knew we had to see them one last time and cuddle with their little one. Mallory isn't used to being the older baby. She reached out for Ava and held her hand.

      Girlfriends in the making.

      A (Teacher) Mother's Thoughts:
      This is usually the time in summer where I start to think, "I have to go back to work soon…where did my summer go?" It's usually a combination of feeling both dread (no more days at the pool!) and excitement (I get to meet my new students!). And I know I said I would apply for a parapro position, keeping me in the education loop and providing me with the kind of schedule I crave. But I haven't applied anywhere. Not. One. School. I did make an effort to physically walk my body into the local city school academy to inquire about a position, but the woman working in the office told me the system wasn't hiring. *insert my surprised face here* When I went to the central office for the system to make sure the woman wasn't just trying to keep "outsiders" out, no one would talk to me. Several people walked by--and even said hello--but I was never acknowledged. Perhaps if I had been dying for a job, I would have been more aggressive in manner, demanding that someone notice me and offer me insight to the application process. But a para position (after benefits, furloughs, and taxes) would only earn me about $6K per year, if that. A stab to my pride…and to my master's degree. Heck, it's less than what I made as a para 8 years ago, and that's not accounting for babysitting and gas! So with some very possible changes coming up in our humble abode, I figure I can make at least that amount (but hopefully more) working from home with a much more flexible schedule. I may get antsy some days being at home, but at least I spend most of my time with my little girl. And there are no papers to grade or state tests to worry about. It's time for this momma to get out of her comfort zone and try something new. Hoping and praying that I can make it happen.

      And, no, I'm not telling…yet. If I can hone a few skills and iron some things out, I may make an announcement in a month or two. Until then, may the photos of Baby Nerd elicit a giggle or two. The girl is a hoot!

      She was tickled when Mommy laid on the blanket next to her.

      Happy baby.

      Here's the reason I put myself in the grass next to my girl.


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