Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ella {20 Weeks}

We have a fun, giggly girl on our hands! After fighting naps for a couple weeks, I decided to let go of the idea of putting her on a "schedule", but rather let her nap when she wants to nap... and now she's much happier during the day. A lot of literature I've read recommends getting them on a schedule, but it just hasn't seemed to work for us. Maybe she's still too little; I don't know. But for now, she naps when she needs and we go about our business.

She really likes holding her bottles. She's not independent with it yet, but she's getting closer. I don't think it will be long until she is!

We finally had a couple warm days, so we took advantage and went for a walk. Ella was happy to get some fresh air!


There's a funny new face that Ella makes. She never does it very long, but it's just the funniest thing. Kind of like when she found her tongue.. I think she's found some new muscles!

And the big news... she rolled from her belly to her back twice this week! Progress!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Roasted Chickpeas

Well... have you tried the peanut butter/coconut/chocolate balls I shared with you last week? I made a new batch for this week, and they're just as delicious as I remembered. I forgot how messy they are to shape into balls though!

As delicious as they are, I have been in search of more healthy snacks. I ran across several recipes for roasted chickpeas, so I thought I'd give them a try. They were beyond simple, and they're really pretty good. I doubt Mike will be eating them anytime soon, but I think they're a great afternoon snack. 

I didn't know what would be the best seasonings to put on them, so I'll definitely be experimenting. If I find any to-die-for combinations, I'll definitely update you. This time around, I played it safe with a few seasonings I like on just about anything - a dash of salt, and a sprinkle each of paprika, garlic powder, and onion powder. What seasonings sound good to you?

There really isn't much to roasting these little guys. Just rinse a can [or half of a can, as i did] of chickpeas, spread them on a parchment-lined cookie sheet, and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. Shake them around a couple times to help them  bake evenly. Once roasted, remove them from the oven, coat with a little olive oil, sprinkle with your favorite seasonings and stir to coat evenly. Eat immediately, or wait until they're cool. Mine were gone before I even blinked, but it doesn't sound like they're quite as good the next day.

They're cheap, they're simple, and they're really quite healthy. It's a winner in my book!

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ella {19 Weeks}

As you read a few days ago, Ella is growing like a weed. She is so long, she has outgrown a lot of her 3-6 month clothes. It seems like each week we retire a couple more outfits. As she grows, it's fun to see her do new things. This week she has really started holding onto her bottles. She tries to help hold it while she's eating, but she straightens her arms and pushes it away. She's so strong when she does it, that it's hard to hold it in her mouth. 

She has started doing this super adorable stretch in the past couple weeks. She stretches out her arms and legs as far as they'll go, and she thinks it's the funniest thing. I'll try to get a picture of it for you next week. It's really too cute.

When she's lying down, she's using her abs so much more than she ever has. It's like she's doing crunches all the time. The past few days she has rolled onto her stomach several times, but she has yet to figure out how to roll back.

Since it was Valentine's Day this week, Ella and I decided to have a little arts & crafts time. We made Mike a Valentine, and he displayed it in his office!

It has been another busy hockey weekend--four games over the course of three days. Because Ella and I have been cooped up in the house, I decided to take her to a game on Friday and Saturday. It was really loud so she wasn't a huge fan, but it was nice to get out and see some friends.
exhausted after Saturday's game

The giggles and smiles are still the best thing ever, and we keep getting more of them all the time!

[not sure if this will work, but it's a fun giggle video]

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Healthy Snack -- Oat Balls

It's no secret that I like to eat. And while I like healthy foods, I really like yummy foods. Cookies, crackers.. you name it. I want something that's going to fill me up and also satiate my taste buds. And let's be real, celery sticks don't always cut it. Granola bars and protein bars are great; they're quick and I can eat them on the go or sitting on the floor playing with Ella. But they can get kind of expensive, and who really knows what's in them sometimes. So I've been in search of some healthier snacks. Something nutritious, natural, and delicious. 

Well guys, I think I've found something. I saw this recipe online at one point and jotted it down, but I don't know where it came from. So if you deserve credit, feel free to claim it - and thank you! [i made some minor changes, i hope you don't mind.]

1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup coconut
1 tsp vanilla

Mix ingredients well and shape into balls. 

It's probably the easiest recipe ever, but I really love it and I hope you do too!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

1/3 Birthday

Hey, if people can celebrate half-birthdays, why can't a girl celebrate her one-third birthday?  
That's right, Ella is four months old. How did she celebrate, you ask? With shots. No cake, just a doctor checkup and shots. Poor girl. Good thing she's a champ.

Here are her curent stats:

Height:  27 inches (99%)
Weight:  16 lb 6 oz (86%)
Head Circumference:  41cm (57%)

The doctor said everything looks great - she's growing and developing just like she should. She was very impressed that Ella hadn't been in for a sick visit; apparently there has been a lot of sickness going around schools and daycares. No more checkups for another two months, so let's stay healthy & keep growing!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Ella {18 Weeks}

Well last night Ella thought it was playtime from 1:30 to 3am and again from 4:30 to 5:30am. I think I put her to bed almost a dozen times, and I can't remember the last time I changed her diaper twice overnight. But aside from last night, sleep has been much better the last few days! She has been taking easier, longer naps and waking up much happier. And I've actually gotten a few things accomplished!

It's amazing the differences in literature and recommendations on sleep for babies. 
Put her in her bed awake so she learns to fall asleep on her own. Let her scream cry it out until she falls asleep. But don't let her cry for more than two minutes at a time. Pat her back and she'll fall right to sleep. Or you can rock her to sleep to help her relax. But don't rock her to sleep every night, because she'll get used to it. Feed her before bed, but don't let her fall asleep eating. Give her a bath every night to establish a routine. But don't bathe her every night, because her skin will get too dry. Keep her warm enough, but don't dress her too warm or she'll die of SIDS. Seriously, it's ridiculous. But for now, we've found a routine that works for us. Let's keep it up!

Thankfully, Ella didn't get the nasty cold that I had last week. She felt crummy for a couple days with a stuffy nose and a hoarse voice, but she's better now. [but can i just tell you how adorable a hoarse little giggle is?! so precious!

She's paying more attention to things, but she gets bored easily too. In order to accomplish anything in the kitchen, she has to be right in the action watching. I had been putting her in her Bumbo chair on the counter [naughty, i know.], but she's getting strong enough that she leans over or arches her back, and it makes me nervous that she's going to tip over. [thanks for sharing the skull fracture via bumbo chair article, gary. paranoid mama!]  And with my hands in chicken or flour, I can't react quite as quickly. So I tried out her high chair a couple days ago, and she loves it! It holds her snug enough that she can sit up well but not fall out, and she holds onto the tray and grabs her toys. It's great! 

She's still loving bath time. She kicks and splashes, and she's recently wanted to play with the cup I use for rinsing. I tried giving her a bath toy, but apparently it's just not quite as fun as the empty sour cream container. [that's right, you can give her empty containers instead of toys. cheap date.]

And of course we're just loving the daily giggles and snuggles! 

Her four month appointment was rescheduled because of a snowstorm, so I'll let you know next week how big she's getting.

Sending love & hugs!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

The Smallest Loser

Mike recently informed me that I need some new material. [i'm boring. i get it.] He said I need to blog about things other than Ella, and more than once a week. He suggested I tell you about things I learned on Live with Kelly & Michael, or on Kathie Lee & Hoda. But really, I'm not sure that's blog-worthy. One day it might be, but not today. I will, however, start to give you a little more material. You might not be interested... so stop reading! I might be opinionated... sorry [not sorry]! How about some editorials, opinions, recipes, outings... here we go! [computer, don't crash on me again...]

I'm going to start by giving you my two cents about last night's finale of The Biggest Loser.  Maybe you watch the show or maybe you don't, but here's what went down. The finalists came out and showed off their new bods, then they each weighed in. The winner is the person with the highest percentage of weight loss. Well this season's winner was a lady named Rachel. She's 24 years old, 5'4", and started the show at 260 pounds. After her time on the show and then a few months at home, she lost a whopping 155 pounds! That's right, she now weights 105 pounds. 

According to magazines, she looks great! I have to admit, she does look great. But when I saw her in action, I realized that she was quite thin. While the goal of The Biggest Loser is for these participants to lose their extra weight, it's also to get healthy. Her new BMI of 18 is [according to the CDC] considered underweight. Sure, she wins $250,000 and looks like the magazines' idyllic 24-year-old. But I have to wonder how she did it. Did she develop an eating disorder? I hope not. I hope she's working out and eating a healthy diet.

While thinking about this result, I can't help but compare myself to Rachel. We're around the same age. We both love food. We're both overweight. At the end of my pregnancy, I was creeping my way up to 200 pounds. Now, four months later, I'm still struggling to get the pounds off. I'm still overweight. But I'm doing it the healthy way. I try to exercise several times a week, I eat pretty healthy foods, and I even enjoy my dessert. 

On the show, they lose 5 to 10 pounds per week. Could I do that? Heck no. Could I get down to 105 pounds? Heck no. And if I did, I'm sure there are plenty of people who would tell me that I don't look healthy. Aren't friends and family supposed to keep you in check? Mine would. Where were hers?

I do want to be supportive. She's getting her life back. She's getting healthy [i think]. She can probably do more things than she could 155 pounds ago. So to Rachel -- good for you. That's a huge feat. But please, be healthy about it.

While we're at it... As far as my progress goes, I have lost 12 pounds since the last time I checked in. I'm only 5 pounds above my heaviest, 12 pounds above pre-baby, and 18 pounds from my goal weight. I'm getting there, slowly but surely. And I'm doing it in a healthy, enjoyable way.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Ella {17 Weeks}

Ella has rolled over a few more times this week, but she's not yet doing it on a consistent basis. She still hasn't figured out how to roll from her tummy to her back, but we're working on that.

Naps aren't our strong suit this week. Ella likes to be held and rocked while she sleeps. And I can't blame her -- who wouldn't?!  [and we love the snuggles!] But she's really getting into a habit of being rocked while asleep, so then she won't sleep well lying down. At night she still does quite well, but naps are a little rough. Hopefully we'll form some good sleep habits in the next few weeks... the pediatrician says this is the perfect time to do it. Wish us luck!

Smiles and giggles are happening even more now. Ella recognizes Mike and I, as well as a half dozen of her favorite toys. The phone jack isn't so funny these days, but her mobile and a cold air return on the wall both make her giggle. She likes the most random things!

Ella and I had a lunch date with our friend Kristi this week. It was fun to get out of the house and socialize, and I think the official Ella Fan Club was formed at Wegman's. The little old ladies having lunch at the cafe just loved her! 

I picked up a nasty head cold while running errands this week [along with quite a steal on diapers!], so I've been feeling pretty lousy. We've gone through a lot of soap, Purell, and Lysol spray this week in hopes that Ella doesn't catch this junk. Wish us luck... it will be a miracle if she doesn't!

Stay warm and stay healthy!
Sending hugs [and Lysol].