August 31, 2011

Mid-Week Minute: Foooood!

I've got a few food suggestions for you today, because, well, I love talking about food. And I love getting suggestions for new foods and recipes to try so I'm just going to go ahead and assume you do too. 

First, we'll start off with something for the wee ones. Don't freak out... it's tofu. And yes, I'm serious. Tofu is not just for hippies and it's not gross. It's made out of soybean-milk curds (which, OK, does sound a little gross) but it is highly versatile and basically takes on the flavors of whatever it's cooked with. Most importantly, it's a great source of calcium, iron, and protein. And possibly just as important (especially if you're needing to get something in your baby's hungry mouth like ASAP) it doesn't have to be cooked and this "recipe" is super quick. So here ya go: Take a couple handfuls of Multigrain Cheerios and crush them in a ziploc bag (you'll want them to be close to a powder). Cut off a one-inch slice from the block of tofu and cut that into one-inch cubes (you can also get pre-cubed tofu for even more convenience). Add the tofu cubes to the bag of crushed Cheerios, shake to coat, and voila! Lunch! Wilder eats this for lunch (along with other things) every single day. He can't get enough of it. The cubes are easy to pick up, easy for toothless gums to chew, and the Cheerios add a great flavor. You could also coat them with wheat germ or whatever else you think would taste good. Go on, try it, you know you're curious!
Next I have a couple of low-calorie snack recommendations for the grown-ups. I first read about Fig Newtons Fruit Thins on my friend Annalee's blog and decided to try them. Y'all, they are SO delicious!! And best of all, you can eat three of them and only be 140 calories in the hole. Three may not sound like much but they are a really good-sized cookie. I got them in the Blueberry/Brown Sugar flavor but they also come in Cranberry/Citrus Oat, Chocolate/Raspberry, and Fig/Honey. They will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth without making you feel guilty.
My other snack recommendation is Pretzel Crisps by Snack Factory. Oh my word. Need something crunchy? Don't turn to the greasy potato chips! These come in an almost 1-lb. bag for around $4 and only have 110 calories for 11 crisps. They are flat too so you can top them with cheese, meat, or whatever you fancy. They come in a bunch of delicious flavors: Garlic Parmesan, Sesame, Buffalo Wing, Original, and my personal favorite - Everything (like an Everything Bagel, mmm). Look at us, snacking all healthy and stuff!
Last but not least is possibly the easiest dinner recipe in the history of mankind. I came up with this by accident and it's now a weekly staple in our house. 
BBQ Chicken Sandwiches
4 chicken breasts
Kickin' Chicken seasoning
(or any kind of spicy seasoning blend)
Your favorite BBQ sauce
1 medium onion cut into about 1-inch pieces
Hamburger buns
Season chicken breasts with Kickin' Chicken and salt/pepper. Put in a crockpot with the chopped onion and add a generous amount of BBQ sauce. Cook on High for 1-2 hours and then turn to Low for 2-4 hours, depending on what you have time for (or if you're going to have them cooking while you're at work just cook on low all day). Toward the end of your cooking time, shred the chicken breasts (they should pretty much just fall apart by that point). Mix in more BBQ sauce if needed. Serve on hamburger buns and top with coleslaw. Easy freakin' peasy. 
The combination of the spicy chicken and the cool coleslaw is SO delish and dinner really can't get much easier to prepare... unless you're having tofu cubes ;)

Alright y'all, Wilder's waking up from his nap so that's it for now. Let me know if you try any of it and how it works out for you! See you back here on Friday for Wilder's Week 40 update.

August 28, 2011

A Letter to My Son

My precious Wilder,

How can I express to you how much I love you? Cliches like "I would do anything for you" and "You are my world," although true, only seem to water down the sentiment. And it's such a huge, powerful, all-encompassing sentiment that I want the expression of it to be crystal clear. Is it even possible for a parent to convey the enormity of their love to a child? Is it possible for a child to understand the depth of his parents' love until he has dived all the way in to a love for his own child? I really doubt it but it's certainly worth a try... 
I miss you after I put you to bed at night. I have to resist the temptation to come wake you up to play and cuddle. I can't wait to wake up in the morning so I can be your mom some more. I can't get enough of kissing your chubby cheeks, your chin, the top of your head, your little hands, your sweet baby toes. Just thinking about you makes me smile and hearing you laugh brings happy tears to my eyes. Watching you grow every day is the greatest privilege and being your mom is the best job I will ever have. 
From the first moment I saw your red, squishy face wailing away, my heart no longer belonged to me and I knew my life would never again be lived for myself or my own purposes. No longer would I think about what I wanted or needed. You were suddenly, in that moment and always, what mattered most in my world. 

Everything I do now is for you. I love your daddy, well because I just do, but also because I want to show you how to love someone. I've made friends, even though I prefer being anti-social, because I want to show you how to be a friend. I exercise and make healthy meals, even though I really like sitting on the couch and eating ice cream, because I want you to make healthy choices and take care of yourself. I treat people kindly and with respect, although they don't always make it easy, because I want you to do the same. We travel back to the South multiple times a year, even though it's a lot of work and we can't easily afford it, because I want you to know your family and your roots. I take a million pictures and blog about your life, not only because I want to remember every single detail, but because I want to show you how important you are to me. I do all of these things and more without a second thought because they will make your life better and because you deserve the best of me. 
I am so proud of you and you could never do anything to diminish my love for you. I want you to always know that as you grow up and I promise to do everything I can to assure you of that. My love for you is who I am now and I wouldn't change that for anything. You are a priceless treasure to me. I feel so truly blessed to be your mom and I promise to do my very best in that role because I love you. I love you, Wilder Roman, with my whole heart. 


August 26, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Thirty-Nine

Nope. This weekly picture format is not
much better seeing as how this is the
best picture I could get and he kept
threatening to dive headfirst out of the
chair. I have one more idea up my sleeve
to try next week and if it doesn't work...
well, I just don't know. I'm taking
suggestions people! How do you get a
crazy, active 9-month-old to sit nicely
and smile for a picture?? Or am I the crazy
one for expecting that to happen?
I had a good thing going... so, of course, I had to go and mess it up. Wilder has been on a great schedule for the last probably 4 or 5 months. He takes one nap in the morning and another around noon and then we have the whole afternoon free to run errands, go on play dates, etc. Well, that's all shot to pieces now and it has been fairly miserable around our house this week. (I use "miserable" in relative terms because, no matter what, Wilder makes me so happy and I always have fun with him; but yeah, other than the fun parts, it's been what I would call miserable.) It all started when I decided to over-book this week. 

We've had a doctor's appointment and a visit from Amber and Henry planned for this week for a while now, which would have been fine until I decided last week, apparently in a moment of insanity, to also sign Wilder up for swim classes at the Y... during his morning nap time no less. I guess I was thinking he loves the water so much that he wouldn't care about being tired once we were there and he would just nap afterwards when we got home. The first assumption was correct because we all know the boy would rather be in the water than anywhere else. The second assumption couldn't have been more wrong. It also didn't help that he's finally learned to pull himself up in his crib but hasn't learned to sit back down yet. I'm not going to rehash everything we've been through but let's just say he has fought every nap, we've been in and out of his room laying him back down more times than I can count, and I feel like I'm flashing back to his newborn days when I was up every couple of hours with him at night. It's true that if they don't nap well during the day, they don't sleep well at night. Schedules are great and I wouldn't raise a baby without one but, Lord help you, if you get thrown off of it. With all that said, you'll please forgive me if this post is substandard. I'M EXHAUSTED!
I don't need no stinkin' nap!
Looking past all the sleeplessness and frustration, this week has been pretty great. I'm still not sure what took him so long, but Wilder is pulling up all over the place now. He is so proud of himself and he just looks like such a big boy doing it. 
He will use anything he can to 
pull up, including the dogs
(again, Rider = saint)
Our coffee table will now be devoid of all
decorative items for the foreseeable future
On Monday we went on a playdate with our friends Rachel and Lexi at a really nice park up the street that we actually hadn't been to yet. We had fun watching the babies play in the sand and on the playground. I love San Diego for many reasons and the multitude of parks is a big one. I'm trying to decide on a park to have Wilder's first birthday party at and this was a definite contender.
Wilder enjoyed another mouthful of sand
 The playground was sooo cute!
Tuesday was our first swim class. It was right when he was supposed to go down for a nap so he was a little gruff at first but he warmed up to it quickly and seemed to really enjoy it. He was the youngest one there but he did so good kicking his legs and using his arms. He loved to watch the other little kids doing the same thing too. On the other side of the pool there was a senior water aerobics class going on. I think they probably schedule the two classes at the same time because the older people loved watching the babies swimming :) I don't have any pictures from the class but I'll try to get some next week.

On Wednesday we had Wilder's 9-month doctor's appointment. I can't believe it's already been 3 months since his last appointment! He was quite a handful this time because, of course, his appointment was scheduled at the time he should have been having his second nap that day. I just really couldn't win this week. He was so good and happy for the doctor but he was all over the place while we were waiting -- pulling at all the instrument cords that were hanging from the wall, crawling back and forth all over the exam table, and tearing up as much paper as he could. He loves paper and he was in heaven sitting on that exam table with basically a whole roll of it at his disposal.
Watching the cars go by outside the window
The nurse had to re-measure him three times because he kept squirming and throwing off her markers so I'm not sure we ended up with the right height but it really couldn't be helped. Like I said, he was being quite a handful. At least he didn't pee on the doctor this time though. I don't think I wrote about that after his 6-month appointment because I was so mortified, but yeah, that happened. Anyway, his official stats at 9 months are 21 pounds (60th percentile) and 28 1/4 inches long (50th percentile). We both love his doctor -- she is so sweet. He clapped for her and said dada and she was very impressed :) At the end she said "OK, we'll see you back here at one year" and I almost had a heart attack. He can't be this close to one year old! 

Wilder randomly started clapping this week. Paul and I have both been trying to teach him for months and months but if there's one thing I've learned about babies it's that they won't do something until they want to. Anyway, I was feeding him dinner one night and he just started doing it so I started doing it too and saying "Yayyy! Clap clap clap!" trying to encourage him. It is SO cute!! The more he's done it this week I've started noticing a pattern: He claps when he's done or ready to be done with something, like "OK people, let's wrap it up!" He's such a character :) Here are a couple videos. The first is a really short clip of the first time he did it at dinner and the second is him doing it in the bathtub that night.
Wilder napped horribly on Wednesday so he was up every three hours that night. I was so tired Thursday morning that I made Paul take him to his swim class. Paul wasn't thrilled at first about the thought of going and singing silly songs with all the mommies but he came back talking about how fun it was and saying he would take him next week too. Wilder loves swimming with Paul so I know he had a good time too.

Thursday afternoon Amber and Henry drove down from La Habra to go to the zoo with us. We spent 5 hours walking around and seeing all the major exhibits. Amber's pregnant with Baby #2 (yay!) and I don't know how she made it that whole time but she was a trooper and we had such a good time spending the afternoon with them. Henry is so cute -- he kept calling everything "puppy." The meerkats were "puppy," the monkeys were "puppy," etc. I was so proud of how good Wilder was all afternoon. He never complained and just went with the flow even though that was a long time for him to be in the stroller. He really loves watching people and there were plenty of them there so I think he was content doing that. 
Look at this HUGE lion sleeping, like right there!
Henry playing at the Polar Bear exhibit
 Love these guys!
Wilder only got one nap during the day yesterday and was SO tired after the zoo so last night was awful. The worst since he was a newborn. He woke up at 10:30 and for two and a half hours we laid him down from standing, rocked him, fed him, changed him, gave him Tylenol, and tried everything we could think of to get him back to sleep. Finally we had done everything we could and we just had to lay in bed listening/watching him on the monitor as he rolled around in the crib crying, dozing off, crying, dozing off, crying, dozing off over and over. I was supposed to go on my birthday shopping trip this morning but was so tired that I decided to postpone it. After all that, Wilder was in an exceptionally happy mood all day so it kind of made up for the nightmare that was last night. It's so fun to play with him now that he's so busy.
We got him this walker/toy from
Target and he is obsessed with it!
It's the first toy that he's actually
excited about and will play with 
over and over.
 This smile makes up for all
the sleeplessness :)
 Perusing his library
The toy again. Seriously, it's cheap (Circo
brand) and it makes all kinds of different 
sounds and plays lots of different 
songs -- highly recommended! 
 Sweet happy boy :)
We want to wish my dad, Wilder's Granddaddy, a very Happy Birthday this weekend! He's such a good, funny, strong man and we all adore him. We wish we could see him more often and be there to celebrate his birthday with him! We love you, Daddy!
Alright, that's it for this week. Here are a few more cute pictures...

Supervising the dog park from the BabyBjorn
Eating fish sticks for dinner
 Getting a kiss from Posey
 Being entertained by his daddy at dinner
 Clapping, haha :)
 Playing in the waiting room at the
doctor's office
Y'all have a good weekend!

August 20, 2011

Life of Wilder: Week Thirty-Eight

Seriously, this is the best picture I could
get this week so that's it. These weekly 
pictures have become a thorn in my side ever 
since I began this dumb new format.
Next week I will come up with a better
way since, for some reason, this way
prevents him from 
a) smiling,
b) looking at the camera, or
c) staying put.
Yesterday was my birthday so that's why this post is a day late. It started out not so promising because I was not (and still am not) very excited about turning 28 (ugh!) and also because apparently Wilder's teeth have something against me. He was teething on Mother's Day and he was teething again for my birthday. He woke up at 1:00 AM Friday morning and wouldn't go back to sleep until 2:30 then he woke up all cranky a few hours later and didn't want to nap either. But the day actually ended up being one of the best birthdays I've had in a while. And compared to last year's, which I spent working with morning all-day sickness and then in a birth class, it was awesome! Wilder's mood vastly improved in the afternoon (unfortunately not until after I took his weekly picture) and he and Paul walked down the street and got my birthday cards and some delicious cupcakes from HeavenSent Desserts. Paul is notorious for picking out the silliest cards for special occasions (remember my Mother's Day card which I'm sure said some very nice things?) and this time was no different:
He let Wilder pick out his own card so he gave me a nice, sensible Snoopy card with the sweetest message that made me cry.
The cupcakes were sooo delicious! I won't tell you how many of them I ate, but since it was my birthday you can just assume all of them.
For lunch we picked up sandwiches from our favorite deli and went to Balboa Park for a picnic. It was so relaxing and fun to spend time together just laying on a blanket in the shade and not worrying about anything else we needed to be doing.
After lunch we went to the zoo and had a good time showing Paul all the cool stuff we've discovered the last few times we've gone without him. We spent a couple of hours there and were exhausted when we left but it was such a fun afternoon. 
Look at Wilder kicked back in his
stroller. He loves propping his leg
up on the tray, haha :)
When we got home I got to open presents that had come in the mail from family and Paul gave me an afternoon next week of shopping all by myself while he watches Wilder. Whoohoo! Later we Skyped with my brother and his wife and Wilder got to show them his scooting skills. After Wilder went to bed, Paul picked us up Chipotle for dinner and we watched a movie. It was a simple, perfect day and I felt so special and loved, even though I'm an old fart now. ;)
Wilder discovered the simple joy of bubble wrap
Speaking of birthdays, last Saturday Wilder and I went to the first birthday party of one of his little friends. It was Elmo-themed and although Wilder was one of the youngest kids there he had a fantastic time playing in the sandbox and watching the other little kids play.
Wilder still doesn't watch TV so 
he had no idea who Elmo was but
he loved pulling on his fur. I think
he thought he was just a big red dog.
Playing in the sandbox
Sand doesn't taste as good as one might think
He was fascinated by the balloons
And thought it was hilarious to continually 
hit me in the head with them
The good thing about birthday parties
is that they wear a little booger out
On Tuesday we went to the playground at Balboa Park for a playdate with a friend from my moms group. Wilder had a great time swinging and going down the slide (with my help of course). 
Just a-swingin' and a-thumb-suckin' y'all
Playing on the slide
I love watching him interact with his little friends
We've also gone to the Y a lot this week. As you may have read on Tuesday we had an awful experience at the childcare that night but I was determined we weren't going to quit going. I decided we should just try a different approach, so the next day we tried letting Paul carry him in there and drop him off. I thought it might be too upsetting for him to go from his mama to a stranger in a strange place and my instinct seems to have been correct because, ever since Paul has been taking him, we've come back to find him sitting happily in an exersaucer like he'd forgotten we even existed. Of course as soon as he sees us he remembers that he's supposed to be upset and starts crying but I can definitely handle a few seconds of tears when I'm there to comfort him instead of half an hour of wailing when I'm gone. So, hooray! It looks like I may get the chance to shed these last few prego-pounds after all; although, darnit, now I won't have an excuse to get off the elliptical after 15 minutes. 

We've also taken him in the pool a few times this week. This has been the first chance Paul's had to swim with him. Wilder loves having his daddy in the water with him and Paul loves it too. Grana sent Wilder a floatie suit this week so we tried it out for the first time the other day. Even though it zips halfway up the back it's a little difficult almost impossible to get on and off of him. Let's just say chubby baby + wet spandex = one hilarious situation (until you realize that scissors might have to be involved in the removal of the garment). 
The rest of the week has been spent in what has become the usual manner, which is us trying to keep Wilder from seriously maiming himself in new and exciting ways. It seems like he's finally bored with exploring the main open floor of the house and has now branched out to discovering uncharted territory...
Rider was in his way so he decided to climb over her.
Bless her heart, that dog is a saint on this earth.
We also finally had to lower his crib this week because we heard a ruckus coming from his room during naptime and walked in to find this...
Caught in the act!
Although it doesn't seem to have helped much because he still managed to pull his monitor off the wall somehow. What are we going to do with this child??
He's still loving his books...
Sometimes a little too much...
Foods he's loving this week are tofu bites and black beans...
But NOT grapefruit. Sorry to post all of these but there's almost nothing funnier than a sour baby face...
He's also still loving his doggies...
...which brings me to what I know you've all been eagerly anticipating reading about -- his first word, which is... surprise, surprise... "dog"! Ever since he was born I've said "dog" or "doggie" to him whenever the dogs are around. The other day I carried him into the living room after one of his naps and when he saw the dogs he said "dog, dog" very excitedly over and over. He says it like "doh-g" (kinda sounds like Homer Simpson, haha) and every once in a while he'll say "doh-gee." 

One of my proudest moments came the other day when we were walking at the dog park with Ashley and Lorelai and I was telling Ashley about him saying it. I'm not sure she believed me at first but when he heard me say the word he started kicking his legs and pretty much yelling "Doh-g! Doh-g! Doh-g!" and we had to pause the conversation for like 5 minutes until he got it out of his system. We were both cracking up and I could tell she was impressed, haha :) 

I've been trying all week to get a video of him saying it and this is the best I could do. A couple of things to notice about this video: 1) He's surrounded by dogs as he is pretty much all day every day so it's really no wonder that was his first word. 2) Posey is retarded. She's standing outside the front door like she's locked out of the house but she just doesn't remember that she went out through the back door which is still open and through which she could easily come back inside. Poor Posey. If it weren't for her helper dog, Rider, I don't know how she would make it through life in general. (Although every helper dog needs a break sometimes -- as you'll notice Rider is making no move to remind poor dumb Posey how to get back in.) Anyway, enjoy the video (and turn your volume up because it's a little hard to hear him)...
Here's another video of me trying to get him to say it. He says it a couple of times right at the beginning but then his natural turdiness comes out and he quits cooperating. Enjoy a fine sampling of the new shriek he's been doing lately. You're going to want to turn your volume down for this one...
Am I a little disappointed that he said "dog before "mama"? I'd be lying if I said I wasn't, especially after I had a dream the other night that he said it and then woke to find it wasn't true. BUT, he's getting closer. Now when I say "mama" to him, he doesn't say everything he can think of that sounds nothing like "mama," he actually seems to be trying. So far, he's managed to get out "blah-blah," which does sound sort of similar so I'll take it. We'll get there one of these days!

Anyway, I guess that's all for this week. Here are a few more cute pictures...
Bored at dinner with the grownups
It will be a miracle if our Roku, xBox, 
and DVR survive his childhood
My child cannot and will not sit
in a highchair like a normal human
being. He now insists on both slouching
and propping his feet up on his tray.
Helping Mama go refill water bottles
Alright guys, have a wonderful rest of the weekend!