Thursday, June 27, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

Better do the last one, before the next one sneaks up on me!

June 16-22

Sunday:  Father's Day snuggles with Dada.  Mr. G took the babe for some Daddy-Daughter time, so I made a little hat for a friend.  Monday:  Stalking the UPS man!  Sidewalk chalk has become a HUGE hit around here.  Riding to Daddy's softball game in the new Foonf!  Tuesday:  Ruby chasing Patty (at the end of the hall way down there with a yoga ball), yelling "Ball!  Ball!".  Look Ma, no hands.  Wednesday:  Ruby & I went in search of solid colored onesies and ended up having a little shopping spree (under $40, we got a 3pc jammie set, a 2pc jammie set, 2 skirts, a shirt, three onesies, and 8 hair clips).  The small one gets super needy, right when it's time for me to make dinner. =(

Thursday:  Trying to tell me that her mouth hurts.  While picking up some dog food, we found the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen...  Little Miss No Hands.  She gets up like this and just starts dancing!  Friday:  Ruby "asked" to get in the Jumperoo, then proceeded to eat the animals.  Yay, the park re-opened, so we can swing again!  They put in this toy fire engine thingy that Ruby was pretty into.  Saturday:  We were super busy (so of course, I didn't take many pics).  Rehydrating at the Kate Quinn Organics warehouse sale.  Reading One Fish, Two Fish to me.  First injury.  Mr. G was out of town for the night, and before he left, I joked that we'd probably end up having our first ER visit while he was gone.  This obviously didn't need the ER, but sure enough, she pinched her finger in the laundry room door!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

The Great Car Seat Hunt

There's something you should know about me.  I am an obsessive researcher.  I like to think it's because I like to learn, but when I want to know more about something or need help making a choice in something that I am interested in, I dive in.  WAY in.

Which means that I have spent literally months researching which convertible car seat to get for Ruby.

And finally (finally!) it is here!!!  (p.s. sorry for the crappy iPhone pics... and for Ruby's grump-face, poor kid was in teething hell that day)

Pale-baby says, "Open that box, Mama!"

We ended up choosing the Clek Foonf for her, and I am pretty much in love with it.  I'm pretty sure Ruby is too!

But why did it take me months to make a choice?

Well, for one thing, I am really indecisive.  Especially when it comes to the safety of my girl!  And for another, well, there's no one "best" car seat out there, and on the contrary, there are actually a lot of great seats.  Which means, even though I love the Foonf, that doesn't mean it's the best seat for anyone else necessarily.

So, how did we end up deciding to drop a boatload of cash on this pretty little seat?  I started with my list of criteria:

1.) Will allow Ruby to rear-face for a long, long time.
2.) Will fit Ruby well and install nicely in my car.
3.) User friendly for Mr. G.

"Grandma, I want to get IN this thing!!!"

It was a short list!  At first.  Number two on that list was a given.  The "best" car seat is one that fits your child/car, and that you can use correctly every time you drive.  Which kind of leads to #3.  Mr. G is not great at using car seats.  I pretty much check his harnessing job every time I can, and often have to correct it.  And that's in our Chicco Keyfit, which is one of the most user-friendly seats out there!  So I knew I needed a seat that I could feel comfortable with his ability to use.  Because (and this is such a scary statistic) 80% of car seats are used incorrectly.

That means that if you are reading this, chances are great that your car seat is being used incorrectly, whether it's the install, how your child is harnessed, expired/outgrown, or aftermarket products being used in your car/with your seat that have not been crash tested.

This is the part where I BEG you, I IMPLORE you to please please please please please make an appointment to have your seat checked by a certified child passenger safety technician.  And do so every time you get a new seat or car.  I had Ruby's infant seat checked, and have an appointment to get her Foonf checked this weekend, too.  Every mama & daddy out there wants their child to be safe.  Unfortunately, we don't know what we don't know.  And the only way we can find out, is to seek out the experts who do know.  If you're not sure where to get a seat check, click here to find a tech near you.  Our hospital puts on free car seat clinics, so that may be an option for you.

Also of note:  Many people have heard to go to your local fire or police station for a check.  This is only ok if they have a tech, and the tech is the person who checks!  Often they will want to help you (since they're so used to helping people in general), but have no idea what they're doing really.  I know this firsthand because Mr. G was a firefighter for a long time, and as I mentioned above, he really has no clue about car seats!

"Whoa, check out the view up here!"

Finally, I need to mention #1 on my list of criteria.  You will notice that even though Ruby is over one year (and likely now over 20lbs.), she is still rear-facing in her seat.  And actually, my goal is to have her facing that way until four years of age.  Not mainstream, I know.  But 500% safer than facing forward.  I for sure want my baby girl 500% safer!  I could go on and on about extended rear facing (ERF), but instead, I'm going to let this video speak for me.  Please watch it.  It could save your child's life.

Isn't the difference in the crash tests incredible???

I had a mama friend ask me about ERF, so I showed her the video.  Just like with me, that really stuck with her.  Her son will now be rear-facing for a long time. =)

Now, lucky for me, there are a lot of seats that met my initial list of criteria.  But, of course, as I delved deeper into the world of car seat safety (I now have the app, and am totally addicted), I discovered I wanted/needed to add to my list.

This here's my other baby:

Full of Swedish goodness and safety, but it turns out, can sometimes not play nice with car seats!  Because of advanced air bags, and a whiplash protection system, I cannot have a child restraint (or anything actually) touching the front seats.  Which meant that I needed to find a seat that would rear-face with enough room to not touch the seats in front.

I also discovered that I really wanted some sort of rebound control in my seat.  Rebound control increases the "ride down" time in a crash, which basically means less of the crash forces are going to be absorbed by her little body.  Good.

Except, usually this means the seats use a rear tether for rebound control.  Which is great, unless you have my car!  Apparently, Volvo does not even want a tether touching the front seats (which is usually where you anchor one).  Which meant that I needed a seat that had either an anti-rebound bar, bolsters, or shape.  Which led me to either the Clek Foonf, Chicco Nextfit, Graco Myride, The First Years True Fit Premier or the Peg Perego convertible.

All great seats.  What tipped me in favor of the Foonf was it's ability to meet ALL of my criteria, plus extras like the "green" factor (Greenguard certified fabrics, and total recyclability), it's narrowness for if/when we have another child(ren), it's awesome technology as a forward facing seat when that time comes (it has crumple zones much like a car), made in North America, Clek's good reputation, and most minorly, aesthetics.  Because once all the safety stuff is covered, who doesn't like a good looking seat? ;)  You can read more about it on Clek's website here (and Clek didn't pay me for a review or anything, I just like the seat).  It is sadly a very expensive seat, but thanks to a well-timed bonus for Mr. G, we were able to afford it, and I feel really good about Ruby's new ride!

Phew.  You'd think I'd be exhausted after all that research, right?  

I'm not though.  In fact, I'm kind of dreaming up ways to convince Mr. G we need a different seat for his car, too.  I think I might be car seat obsessed.  Hey, I told you I dive WAY in, right? ;)  Maybe I should become a tech...

Anyway, we've had several drives in the seat now, and I love it just as much (or more) than I thought I would.  It sits up high on a base for rear facing, which means Ruby can see out the windows now!  She loves that!  It is SUPER easy to use, was a piece of cake to install with the seat belt in the center of my car (no LATCH there), she doesn't get all sweaty in it like she did in her Chicco, and the best part?  Ruby doesn't cry in the car anymore.  Ok, so I'm sure she will again at some point, but she's gone from a baby who always cries in her car seat, to a contented girl.  Which makes a contented mama.  

Kinda kicking myself for not getting it sooner!  Oh, well!

Monday, June 17, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

June 9-15

Sunday:  Looking at pictures (of herself) on Auntie Ting's phone while at breakfast.  Impromptu hike = first back carry in the Beco!  Aaaaand I think we'll call it a success.  Too bad she slept through our black bear cub sighting (we saw three little bears!).  Monday:  Heading in to do a big Target shop.  Getting ready for an afternoon stroll.  Daddy had an early enough softball game for Ruby to be able to go watch.  Tuesday:  Who needs crib bumpers, anyway?  We discovered yet another play area at the hospital, this time on 5-Blue.  Ruby pulled down this pillow and pretended to go ni-night.  She actually sat up before I got the phone out, so I said, "Hey!  Do that again!" and she did!

Wednesday:  Trying to wear Mama's glasses.  Lovin' on her cloth diapers.  And hugging the dog (she was in a very huggy mood that day).  Thursday:  The only pic I took, and it's one of her throwing her food off of her tray...  Friday:  Got Ruby's one year old handprint back, and was trying to decide how to hang it with her 5 week one (look at the difference!).  I went to a Dr. appointment and came home to find a baby in just a shirt and diaper, getting into everything.  Saturday:  Trying to mooch some Cheerios (even though she'd just eaten).  Iced coffee with coffee cubes!  Party girl, striking a pose (we were at a suprise 39.5 birthday party for Mr. G's friend - 39.5 because his wife knew she'd never be able to surprise him on his actual 40th!).

Friday, June 14, 2013

Calendar Girl - Thirteen Months

This girl...

She is killing me with the cutes.  

When she was little(er), she was cute just in appearance.  But now she's also cute in behavior.  I mean, look at that picture?  She did that on her own.  And this:

And she does things like share her food with us (adorable), hug her stuffed animals, and even us sometimes(!), and loves on her doggie.  Thirteen months is the best age yet.

The biggest change this month has been Ruby's physical developments.  Girl can MOVE now!  I wrote a lot about that here, but basically she's gone from being a sitting duck, to a girl that can pull herself up, sit on her own, and most excitingly, crawl.  I feel like we finally have a "normal" baby (I kind of hate writing that, but it's the truth) who crawls around and gets into stuff.  She doesn't actually get into too much trouble really, but she will empty a drawer if you give her a chance.

At thirteen months and moving, Ruby's favorite thing to do is make a mess.  She loves to take stuff out, make piles, transfer the pile to a different spot, etc.  But like last month, she still enjoys a good clean-up too, so it's ok.  And if I need her to be occupied for a little bit?  I just make sure she has access to her bookshelf.  She will happily stand there and remove ALL of the books for a good long time.  And girl has quite the library, too, having a Kindergarten teacher for a mama and all.

Speaking of books, books also top the list of her favorite things.  She has favorites (mostly her bedtime books), and will not so gently insist that you read them to her by shoving them in your face.  She also has favorite parts of books, and once you've read to those parts, she generally tries to close the book and move on.  In Goodnight Moon, she loves the three little bears sitting on chairs, but pretty much hates the quiet old lady whispering hush, and closes the book as soon as she sees her.  In The Going to Bed Book, she loves the scrubbing part, and when they all go up to exercise.  And then she's done.

Ruby also loves clapping (see above), eating (she pretty much likes everything except for oatmeal and yogurt), diaper laundry and pretty much any other laundry, swinging, dancing, drumming, her dog-dog, her water table, and her tractor.  She's also getting the hang of throwing a ball, and her only new word this month is "ball".

She still doesn't like diaper changes (which is funny, given her love of diapers).  She's starting to not like having headbands and "hair pretties" in her hair, too.  SAD.  She will leave them in if she forgets they are there.  But if she hears someone say hair or hair pretty, bam.  Up goes her hand, pulling the thing out.  Which is a bummer, since she has enough hair to wear them!  

She also still dislikes naps, though I think she recognizes when she's tired and needs them.  She will often crawl over and lay her head down on me if she is tired, or go get her sleep sack and hug it.  We still nurse at first morning wake up, and before all sleeps, but she usually doesn't make the transfer to her bed at nap time, and is pretty sad about it. =(

Yes, pointing is still her jam.

Though we had no doctor appointment this month, I feel like her growth is right on (her) track still.  She definitely feels heavier!  Especially up all our stairs, oof!  She's wearing mostly 12 month stuff (12mo Carter's onesies fit her great), with the occasional 12-18 Old Navy/Gap onesie, and almost all 18mo Circo stuff because that seems to run really small.  She's also about maxed out her infant car seat now, but her new convertible should arrive on Monday.  It's a Foonf, so she'll have plenty of room to grow in that!

Seriously, though?  How could this kid not give me that explode-y heart feeling?  Love you, Tootie Jo!

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

June 2-8

Sunday:  First time eating a banana like a big girl - she actually took bites out of something!  We met up with my dad & stepmom for lunch, then hung out at a local park afterward.  Our evening family walk.  Monday:  I love this little "lookout" in our neighborhood, especially when the lupine is in bloom.  Blowing bubbles with Grandma (dang, my mom is tan already!).  Somebody wouldn't take an afternoon nap, but desperately needed one, so we hopped in the car to explore the neighborhood.  Side note - my neighborhood is huge (about 4,000 homes), and there are still parts I've never seen after living here for 5 years.  Also, I was stopped when I took that pic - no driving while taking pictures!  Tuesday:  Trying to abuse her poor doggie (please note the shoe & empty kleenex box, favorite "toys" ever...).  Crawling down the hall while on volunteer duty.  A picture so full of sass, I just don't even know what to do with her.

Wednesday:  An unsuccessful Michael's trip.  How hot my car thought it was after our much more successful Joann's trip.  She always puts the ducks here, so we've dubbed it the "duck wash".  Thursday:  Playing with dumpy on the deck.  Waiting for her buddy to arrive for a playdate.  Friday:  We had our 13mo photoshoot (yes, the 13 month post is a halfway finished draft right now...).  More of that unbelievable sass.  Saturday:  We'd been on the go all afternoon, so she ate her snack at Costco.  Little Miss wanted desperately to be able to climb up those stairs and get me.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Ruby, Age One

Yep, I jumped on this Pinterest bandwagon and made a little "birthday stats" picture.

There are SO many great ideas for documenting milestones out there.  I feel like this is one I could actually keep up with, and would be so cute to look back on when she's all grown up.  I don't have Photoshop, or anything fancy like that, just made it in PicMonkey.

And in case anyone is wondering, yes, she has WAY more outfits than just this one.  I just am hopelessly in love with that mint hoodie, and will be SO sad when she outgrows it.  Are other people like that?  I'm seriously going to mourn the loss of that adorable hoodie.  And I can't go buy it in other sizes, because it's a Circo 9mo one, and Target stops their "baby" clothes at 9mo.  And they didn't make a toddler one! =(  Cry.

Ok, moving on.  Anyone have any other fave ways of documenting milestones?

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week in iPhone Pictures

May 26-June 1

Sunday:  We did the American thing, and took Ruby to her first baseball game!  We squeezed her into the 3-6mo Mariners sweatshirt Mr. G got for her before she was born (it was a little tight in the belly, but basically fit).  My front-row view with my girl.  No one was sitting beside us, so we let her try a big-girl seat, which she loved.  Monday:  Surprise surprise, someone found the dryer.  Ruby is crawling!!!!!  Tuesday:  Somehow she accidentally slid herself mechanic-style under the dishwasher, and was very confused about it!  Busy busy busy, crawling down the hall after our volunteer partner Patty (because she had yoga balls, Ruby wanted them baaaaad).  Modeling her free shades she got at the M's game.

Wednesday:  Baby midriff!  She hugs her stuffed animals now and it is so. freaking. cute.  Thursday:  Sass in the driveway.  "Doggie, I can't reach you up there!"  Friday:  I now have lots of blurry crawling pictures!  Somebody was having a really good time in the swing.  But was a little bit miffed that I wouldn't let her empty the grocery bags at Trader Joe's.  Saturday:  Peanut butter is a go!  She hugged her pony, then placed it into the seat of her little play stroller.  I was so impressed that she figured out it could sit in there like her baby doll!

Side note:  My reusable grocery bags in the TJ picture?  Yeah, they're a must in our town.  It's now illegal for stores to give away plastic grocery bags (except for the produce and meat ones).  And they have to charge you to "buy" paper bags if you don't bring your own.  Honestly, I think it's kind of cool.  Way to be green, mytown!  There were some people petitioning outside of Target one day to change the law, which I think it pretty silly.  Reusable bags for the win.  My black & white one is from Ikea, and it holds 2-3 regular paper grocery bags worth of stuff.  Love it!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Developmental Developments

So...  Like I mentioned in my last "random" post, baby girl has been up to a LOT on the developmental milestone front.

Like, a LOT.

But lets back up a bit.

At the beginning of last month, just a couple days after her birthday, I posted this photo:

It was the first time Ruby ever pulled herself to a complete stand.  And she was 12mo4days old.  She would often pull herself to her knees, but never up to a stand.  Most All of the babies we knew had been doing this for a while.

And while Ruby could kind of scoot across a slippery floor on her bottom (a few feet anyway), and kind of push herself backwards with her arms in a prone position, she was most definitely NOT crawling.  Every other baby we knew had been crawling for a while.  Even ones a couple months younger.

Going backwards just got her stuck.  And mad.
 A lot of people told us, "Oh, I bet Ruby will totally be one of those babies that just skips crawling altogether and goes right to walking!".  

I don't know where those babies are, but we know a bunch of babies and none of them have done that.  And Ruby didn't seem to have any interest in walking either.  We'd try to get her to "walk" while holding our hands, but she just wanted to sit down.  And while she could stand well when propped up against something, she had absolutely zero desire to try to cruise furniture.

Standing at the coffee table.  Because I put her there.

I'm not going to lie.  This was all pretty discouraging.  I mostly just thought Ruby was just taking her time - which I was totally cool with.  But I did have a hard time understanding why every single other baby we saw could do stuff that mine could not.  And my weekly Baby Center emails?  They were getting downright annoying.  Reading about all of the things a mobile baby can do, because that's what your baby "should" be doing, well, kind of sucks.  I didn't really think there was something physically wrong with her, but if there was, I wanted to know.  Except that immobility isn't really considered a "red flag" until the 12mo check up.

At a reunion for our very first 0-3mo baby class - looking forlorn because the other kids were literally running circles around her while she just... sat.

I read every thing that Google could find for me about 10 month olds not yet crawling, then 11 month olds.  I got insulted when I'd read people saying, "You need to help encourage them along."  Hello, like I wasn't?  "Try putting a toy he/she likes just out of his/her reach.  The baby will totally start to crawl to get the toy!" Um, no.  The baby will give up and play with something else.  Or just get really frustrated.

We'd go places and people would stop and say she was cute, and ask how old she was.  Of course, the next question was (still is, actually) always, "Is she walking yet?"  Uh, no people.  She doesn't move at all.  She sits and sits and sits.  And when we were around other similarly-aged babies, I always felt like the other moms were like, "Why is that baby just sitting there?" (I know they probably didn't even notice).

Obviously, this whole thing bothered me more than it bothered Ruby.

"I'm just gonna sit here, ok Mommy?"

So at eleven months, after a particularly rough (for me) baby class, I called the pediatrician nurse line and asked if I needed to be worried.  And the nurse got us an appointment that day to find out.  We saw an awesome doc, who basically concluded that while Ruby has lowish muscle tone (but still within the range of "normal"), she's probably just taking her time and he wasn't worried.  He said her regular doc would reassess at the 12mo appointment. 

So I waited.  Then she turned one, and her appointment rolled around, and still zero progress from before.  Our regular doc was pretty much in agreement with the first doc we'd seen, but did recommend that we have Ruby evaluated at the Early Intervention center just to make sure nothing was going on that would require extra help.

Sitting, sitting.

Just making the appointment required a 20min interview and a two week wait.  We were told that in order to qualify for Early Intervention, Ruby would have to have at least a 25% deficit in one or more of the developmental areas.  I was pretty sure that no crawling, cruising, or getting to a sitting position on her own (I forgot to mention that she also could not do that) meant she'd qualify.  I was prepared and ready to get her some help!

Of course, the day after I made the appointment, she pulls up.  And not just once, 7 times in a row that first time on the water table.  Then on her ottoman in her room.  Things taller than her shoulders (like the coffee table or her crib) gave her trouble at first, but pretty soon she was doing that too.

Then, about a week later, she overreached and flopped down onto her belly.  Instead of pushing herself backwards and getting mad, she rocked up and kind of rolled until she was sitting upright!  Mr. G came home that night and she did it again, and he was like, "Um, whoa!  Did you just see that???"  Pretty much instantly she was backing up into a sit all over the place.  Which was funny.  Because this sitting business started, like, a couple of days before her appointment.

So we go to the appointment.  There are two OTs/evaluators.  They're super nice, and over the next 2 hours (!) observe Ruby, play with her, and ask me about a million questions.  They leave us alone for a bit, and then come back and tell us that, thanks to her new pulling up and sitting skills, Ruby does not qualify for E.I.  The OT told me that while muscle tone is not the same as strength, lower tone can be helped by improving strength.  So she encouraged us to "walk" Ruby with her holding onto our hands, and to encourage her to cruise to help build up those muscles.  She showed me how to help Ruby shift her weight onto one leg, causing her to automatically pick up the other.  Let me tell you - this tactic works amazingly.  Ruby will walk with us all over the place now.

Just sat herself up!

My mom came over the next day and witnessed these new skills, and also swore she saw Ruby take one or two crawling "steps".  I didn't see it, so I dismissed it.  But then the next day, I thought I might have seen her do it too.  By the weekend, wouldn't you know it?  The kid was crawling.  

Like, full-on, just like a normal baby, crawling.  She went from nothing, to pulling up, to sitting up on her own, to crawling all within a two week period, and all when she was staring down the face of an evaluation for developmental delay.

Isn't that just like this kid?  It reminded me of when I was pregnant.  Our perinatologist hoped we'd get to 37 weeks before he had to induce me because of her IUGR.  And then, our 37 week growth scan showed she'd had a HUGE growth spurt and could stay in and come on her own time after all.  Apparently, Ruby works best under pressure.

And now?  Now we need to babyproof.  Because this kid can pretty much reach anything, and she wants to do it.  Pulling up on stuff is definitely her favorite.  She loves to stand, and if she is near anything that isn't moving, she will pull herself up on it.  This includes the dog, if she holds still long enough.  And while she isn't a super confident, speed demon crawler, she can definitely cross a room, and between those two things, Ruby leaves a path of destruction in her wake wherever she goes.

It's a lot of clean up, but I'm pretty happy about it.

Oh, and also?  She's getting pretty jazzed about standing without holding onto anything, too.  Eek!

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Week(s) in iPhone Pictures

Yep, still playing catch-up!

May 12-18

Sunday:  A bit of light reading in the highchair.  It was supposed to rain all day, but it didn't, so snacks on the deck!  Monday:  Waiting for Grandma.  Post nappy happies.  Wouldn't you love to snuggle up in a tent on a faux sheepskin rug?  Tuesday:  That HAIR!  Helping to volunteer by reading the lost and found books.  Waiting for Dada to come come!  This is what I get for baking her a sweet potato...

Wednesday:  She likes to put her cups in the cupholders now.  Quick trip to BRU to return a too-small b-day present.  Thursday:  Our very last day as attendees at Parent-Baby class (she looks so sad, but she was happy when they sang the graduation song to her!).  Taking out all our shoes - a favorite pastime.  Friday:  Reading Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You?  A trip to Target yielded this adorable lady-octopus sippy!  She looks so cute in just a diaper...  Saturday:  The obsession with appliances continues.  Mr. G was out of town, which meant dog-walking duty with the baby... in that weather!

May 19-25

Sunday:  A little Sunday drummin'.  Reading my car manual for my carseat research, and found this!  Love that Volvo has been recommending rear-facing to 4 years old for a long time (my car is a 2007)!  Monday:  I came in to get her from her nap and found her standing!  Um, 15 miles to empty tank is cutting it pretty close...  A fun day at the park with her buddies.  Tuesday:  Little squish-face was all worn out from her E.I. eval.  She requests this ducky towel every time it is clean.  Wednesday:  Grandma came to play.  My little bunny in her tent.

Thursday:  The giant #1 balloon we got for Ruby's birthday is still going strong... on our 2-story living room ceiling.  Not sure how this voluntary head-slumping is even possible in an infant seat!  Uh-oh, time to babyproof the bathroom!  Friday:  Playing with the quilt blocks.  Meanwhile, I make another one!  We had to stop at Joann's for some more thread on our way home from our volunteer luncheon.  Pointing out birds on a "family walk" (that's what we call it when Dada can come too).  Saturday:  Considering taking a walk with her alligators (spoiler alert: no walking actually happened).  "Hey doggie, come back in here and play with me!".