Monday, April 23, 2012

20 Months

Woah... typing the title for this post seriously caught me off guard for a minute. In 4 short months and 7 days my little boy will be 2! How did this happen?! Just last week he was wiggling in my tummy.... and just yesterday I was planning his first birthday!  And now it's already time to plan his second birthday?  Yikes.
The past couple weeks have really hit me that he's getting big. He's now more a "little boy" than a baby for sure. But I'm not sure how I feel about that...
Only a few hours old...
Almost 20 months old...
 The conversations I can have with Dax now are what I feel blows me away the most. We have amazing back and forth conversations where we both understand completely what one another is saying. He's putting together great sentences, words are really clear, and he knows how to work the tonation of his voice to show a question and emotion. If he doesn't know the name of something he'll pick it up and say, "this?" until he gets an answer from one of us. Most of the time when we're in the car I'll jsut turn the radio off and talk with him. There is nothing more amazing to me than listening to his thoughts.

Daxton has such a loving heart. I know a big thing for Daniel and I both is to raise kids that are compassionate and empathetic towards others... and so far, Dax seems to get it. He has such a tender heart. He doesn't like to see others sad or hurting whatsoever. He worries about others. Daniel and I can't play fight because Dax gets really concerned. The other day at Smashburger Dax was watching a baby at the table next to us when it started crying. He started looking very concerned and saying, "baby" over and over. I eventually had to hold him and calm him down until the baby stopped. Precious. 

"Discipline" is so far so good for us. It's a word I hate to use but can't think of one to use in it's place. I don't think of it as disciplining him.... it's more us redirecting him, understanding where he's coming from, and helping him learn the appropriate ways to act. This is a big, new, scary world for him so we have to teach him the right ways to handle situations, not just "discipline" him for responding in a way that makes sense for him.   His two big problems right now are hitting and fits.  His hitting is usually a way of trying to play more so than hitting to be mean, so we just change our facial expressions and let him know "that hurts" and he is super, super quick to try a different way of playing. You can see in his face that he gets it. The fits I know are completely age appropriate. I usually just try to give him words to describe his emotions, take him to a quiet place (if we're at home) where it's less stimulating, redirect him, or just verify his emotions and then walk away and go about my business (once he sees he's not getting a big dramatic reaction from me he stops) .

My little boy has become quite the daredevil! Anything fast or high, or dangerous is something right up his alley... yikes. Him and daddy laugh... but I get knots in my tummy!  It must be a boy thing!

He's really into writing and painting right now. He also loves cars, books (this has never changed), baby dolls, his broom, phones, and balls. His love for music and nature continue to blow me away. He's fascinated with trees and birds. Music in any form, whether it's songs on the radio, a toy, singing songs, or playing instruments, is his passion.

He's a great helper!! If he finds trash on the ground he picks it up and throws it away, he has started putting his own dishes away (in the sink) after eating, and LOVES helping with laundry. He gets so excited when he sees me gathering clothes and says "laundry" super loud and will either 1) Pick clothes up and put them in the basket, or 2) take clothes out of the basket and start dragging them to the door of our garage (where the washer and dryer are).  He helps put the clothes in the washer, move them to the dryer, and then take clothes out of the drying and put in the basket. Adorable.

Super excited teacher mommy here!  This little boy can identify a circle and square! I was just drawing with chalk outside one day (and working with two and three year olds my "doodles" just happen to be shapes) and he asked "this?"  I told him once and he has them down ever since! Me and Daniel still get a little amazed each time he tell us.

Sleep is great for the most part. He's going to bed at about 7is, sleeps until 6 or 6:30, and is taking one 2-3 hour nap during the day. He's still putting himself to sleep great in his big boy bed! He has also quit taking his binky during naps at daycare (YESSSSS!) Next step will be at night.... yikes! He's in the middle of getting teeth so I'm not sure when that will happen. He just got his bottom molars (he's finally up to 9 teeth) and one other is right on the brink of coming in. Because of this we've had some restlessness at night... I'll be glad when teething is completely done that's for sure.

Well that's where our little man is now! He's getting way too big, way too fast.... but the process is so much fun! Tods and twos are my favorite ages so I'm loving every minute of it!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Toddler Eats

So what happens when I have a random day off..... two blog post! yay!! 

I haven't blogged about food in quite awhile.... quite frankly because I felt like I was writing the same thing each time. To be completely honest, getting back into the routine of work had me in quite the food rut. Plus Dax's lack of teeth made food time not that exciting. But good news is now I'm settled into our new routine of work and Dax now has two sets of matching teeth (by that I mean teeth that match up on the top and bottom... molars on top and bottom, and middle teeth on top and bottom)  He still only has 9, working on 10, teeth so we're still a little limited but we're able to do a little more now. 

My main goal with Dax's food is that it's organic, has no high fructose corn syrup (I swear this stuff is a drug), low sugar (especially refined sugars), whole grain, and fresh/no processed (whenever possible). The one I have the hardest time with right now is the no processed one. With mine and Daniel's busy schedules it super hard to only do fresh stuff. But I do try to at least go organic with my processed food. Don't beat yourself up over it... it's tough to do everything right... just do what you can... and for now in our house... there has to be a bit of processed food. Moderation is key.

Here are some of the things that make up Dax's meals each day...

*Earths Best Organic Mini Blueberry Waffles
*Earths Best Organic French Toast Sticks
*Whole Grain english muffins (with an organic fruit spread or a bit of butter and cinnamon)
*365 (whole foods brand)  Morning multi-grain O's   (these are like cheerios but organic and mulitgrain... I like them SO much more than Cheerios) .... when we do these we mix in some berries as well.
*Earths Best Organic Baby Yogurt.  We have the Vanilla Prune flavor right now. The only real difference between baby yogurt and regular yogurt is that it's made with whole milk, had no refined sugars, and is infused with a few more vitamins.  Dax recently saw me put granola in mine and wanted some in his. Since granola is still a little hard for him I crunched up some of his morning O's and put them in there. He loved it and it added some good whole grains
*Organic Unsweetened Applesauce.  This is a good side with his waffles or french toast. He liked to dip them in it :)
* Berries: He has some sort of berry every morning with breakfast (unless he's having applesauce). We rotate between blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries. All are on the dirty dozen so we go organic with them whenever possible.
* Omelets. I don't have much time during the week to make an omelet so these are the occasional weekend thing. Add in a small dash of shredded cheese and veggie (spinach works nice).
*Toast. Whole grain bread (we use Natures Own 100%Whole Wheat bread. It has 14g of whole grain per slice and no high fructose corn syrup! I top it with the same things as I do with the english muffins

*Whole grain tortilla with low fast cheese. A toddler quesadilla.... Dax loves it.
* Grilled Cheese: On our whole grain bread of course and one piece of low fat cheese.
* Veggie Corn Dogs:  Dax still wont eat meat so this is our go to "meat" for him. They're Morning Star brand. Lots of good protein in these!
*Veggie Chicken Strips:  See above :)
* Spaghetti:  We use wheat pasta and organic sauce. Also if you get plain sauce and season it yourself you can cut back on the sodium drastically.
* Fruit: Dax has fruit with every meal. We mix it up between berries, mandarin oranges, watermelon, peaches, pineapple. We stick to the dirty dozen on these. And if you happen to get canned things (try to go fresh but I know it's hard) make sure you get some that aren't packed in syrup or "light syrup". Get the ones that are in their natural juice or water!!! 
* Veggies: We also do a veggie with each meal... but this is still a struggle for us. Dax has texture issues so a lot of veggies he won't eat unless they're pureed (he'll eat anything pureed). So we go with peas, carrots, green beans, and the occasional pureed veggie.  For our pea and green beans we go with frozen. We steam them all at once, put them in a freezer bag, freeze them flat, and break off what we need for each meal. Carrots we do the same thing but buy fresh.
* Annie's Whole Grain Shells and Cheddar. This is a "healthier" version of mac and cheese. We also mix it with veggies which Dax really loves (esp peas).
*Sweet Potato Fries: We use the Alexia Natural frozen kind.... delish!
* Earths best mini cheese pizza! These are made on whole grain bread and very yummy.

*Fresh fruits: berries, apple slices, watermelon, mango slices.
*Fiddlesticks: These are a processed snack that we throw in the diaper bag for when we're out and about. They're organic (Plum Organic Tots) and super easy for him to eat as a snack independently.
* Cheese sticks:  We buy a low fat, low sodium string cheese. Dax could live on these.... and so could I :)   We do a lot of cheese to get protein since he won't eat meat.... and he eats so much fruit that they balance each other out in the diaper area if you know what I mean ;)

*Trailmix:  I made Dax a trailmix yesterday and it went over really well. I mixed some of his Morning O's, dried strawberries and bananas (I bought at Whole foods), Pecans, Shredded Spoonfuls (organic cereal that's sort of like chex... again... these are seriously delicious!), and Annie's organic whole grain bunnies (they're just crackers in the shape of a bunny). I wanted to put some raisins in too but forgot to buy some.
*Raisins.... we go organic
*Kale Chips..... I actually just made these today. I love them so hopefully Dax will as well!

Well that sums up the majority of the things Dax eats. We are far from where we want to be with his food (especially his dinners and lunches) but we're getting there. And it will be much easier as he gets more teeth. We're hoping now that he can eat a little more we can all eat the same dinner more often instead of having separate things for him and us. What are some your little ones favorite things to eat??

Cruising with a Toddler

So I know it's much overdue.... but I'm finally getting around to doing that post I promised on cruising with a toddler....

So many people thought I was completely crazy when they found out I was taking Dax on the cruise with us... 18 month old .... on a big boat... yikes.  But there was absolutely no way I would go on a big family vacation without him. And that's the wonderful thing about cruises.... they're super family friendly. You can make them as wild and crazy as you'd like, or as calm and relaxing as you'd like.  Here are a few of my tips to make cruising with a toddler successful..

1. Take a stroller!
I went back and forth on this and boy am I glad I decided to take one! This trip would have been simply miserable without it. There were many times we just walked around the entire ship using that stroller. Dax loved going on his "ride"! It also made the boarding and debarking go 10x smoother than it would have went without it. I'm also glad I decided to bring ours instead of buying an umbrella stroller. You want to bring something that can fold up small (there's not a lot of extra space in your room for a big stroller), something light weight (for carrying it around in the sand or up and down stairs), and for me a big thing was having a stroller that would lay back (so Dax could sleep in it) and had a cover to protect him from the sun. I've talked before about how much I recommend this stroller so here's my plug again (I think I should get paid for this).

2. Safe space to run!
Toddlers are a big ball of energy.... and your rooms are barely big enough to sleep in so getting rid of a lot of energy in your room isn't really an option. Find a safe space for your toddler to do nothing but run and climb. For us, we found a deck on the side of the ship where there weren't many people were Dax could just run his little heart out. Also, the stairs. On the last day while waiting to be call to debark we climbed up and down between the 3rd and 6th floor about 5 times. I was exhausted, but somehow his little legs kept going. You may get some strange looks from people when they see you chasing a toddler on a deck or when you pass them 10 times going up and down the stairs. But you can always tell the moms who have had a toddler once in their life because they have this "Oh bless your heart, I can relate" look in their eye and for just a minute, you feel like a normal person again. You do what you gotta do!

3. Find an elevator and become BFF with it!
This "beep beep" as Dax called them became a part of the family. It's like magic... cranky baby... go ride the beep beep. And we didn't even have to ride it, he was perfectly content just watching it go up and down. Again, we may have got some crazy looks, but most people have been there so they relate!

4. Find an arcade!
Oh the arcade... a boys dream world. Apparently this fascination with arcades doesn't happen when a little boy turns 8 or 9.... they're born with it. Nature vs. nurture? Arcades are nature for sure.  He loved running around in this room, climbing up on all the games, and pushing any buttons he could find. Now I about went crazy being in a small, confined place with about 15 boys... but again... you do what you gotta do.

5. Bring dinner activities!
Formal dinners are a big deal on the cruise... and if you want to make it through one you have to have some fun things to keep your little one occupied, because boy can they be long. So in our bag we would have some special activities that I only got out at dinner time... the biggest success was playdough with Popsicle sticks. Always a winner for this boy.

6. Have a picnic!
So during our cruise we had two day's at shore. These mornings were busy mornings spent mostly out in the sun. By the time lunch rolled around Dax was usually starting to get fussy. Being hot and sleepy and most of the time locked in a stroller would make anyone fussy. So instead of going back on the ship and heading to the buffet or dining room... we opted for room service! Room service is completely free 24 hours on a cruise and this was always the best decision. Dax would get a grilled cheese, pickle, yogurt, and chips (which he wouldn't eat but they came with the sandwich), and I would get a grilled turkey and cheese, pickle, potato salad, and cheese cake. When we got back to the room from our day at shore I would call and place our order. While we waited we would get cleaned up and about 10 minutes after ordering our food would come. I just laid a towel out on the ground and we would sit together and have a picnic. We both enjoyed this SO much :)

7.  Last tip..... opt out of dinner.
Dax doesn't get to watch TV at home, I love Annie (and come to find out he does too), and it was just us watching the movie and having some great conversation over dinner. <3

Well I hope this was somewhat helpful! I know before we left for the cruise I search all over the Internet and read every blog and website I could find about cruising with a toddler to help me prepare. These made our life much easier.... so hopefully they help you as well!