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baby bob marley

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

I posted this on Flickr, but I couldn’t not share this. Jacks’ Godmother sent him this adorable CD of baby Bob Marley tunes. Jack loves it! I plan on getting a few more of these! It was actually the only thing that would make him go to sleep on the car ride home to VA last weekend.
User note: try not to play while driving long distances. It can make the driver drowsy.

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Happy Birthday, big boy!

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

We returned from Jack’s birthday weekend whirlwind in Va. eeeearly this morning—as in, 5a.m. or so. Yes, we’re nuts. But yes, my husband is awesome for driving the whole way (and then going to work this morning.)

Me? Well, I was fortunate enough to get a little bit of rest in the car. When I got up to get ready for work this morning, I was greeted with the same cranky pants from this weekend. Except, this cranky kid had a hot head—and I’m not just talking attitude. Jack had a slight temperature and was inconsolable—once again. It was like last week all over again!
You guessed it, inevitably, I had to stay home with him all day to nurse his UPI and other ailments. He had some belly issues as well, which prompted me to take him to the dr. once again. It looks like the birthday boy had way too much “fun” and now has swollen tonsils and a sore throat.

Despite the illness, hours in the car, the cranky child and exhaustion, we had a lovely weekend. As glad as we were to share Jack’s birthday with family and friends in Va., I’m even more thrilled to be back in our tiny home, just the 3 of us.

Just as a reminder, here’s one of our favorite proverbs that’s also a wall decal above Jack’s crib: From small beginnings come great things.

It might be tiny, but it’s filled with lots of love–and thanks to many of you–lots of blinky toys 🙂

WIth that, I’ll be back to share more photos and a recap.

for 2 minutes!
Jack’s been a little under the weather this week, so to say the least, it’s been hectic around here. We had to pick him up early from daycare yesterday due to a slight fever.
Seriously, you’d never know he was “sick.” This kid is climbing furniture like the rebellious little guy he’s become!

Jack hit the big 1-0 on Sunday. Ten months seems so “old” but still so young…
Nevertheless, our baby has become quite the little boy–a mischievous and curious one at that. As in, he takes pride in finding the smallest speck of dirt in our almost daily-vacuumed carpet and shoving that small speck into his mouth the minute all three of look away. Just yesterday in fact, he took it upon himself to reach up onto our entryway table to snatch a small section of a paper towel and chew it like cud. Of course, he crawled away as fast as he could, clearly defining his guilt. After trying to calmly retract it with my finger and then fish it out, he freaked but knew exactly what he did was a no-no.

10 months old

Speaking of no-no, Jack has become quite the copycat even moreso than before. Since we seem to say no-no or not for Jackson more times than we can count, the kid knows what is, and what is not a no-no. What I mean by that is, he doesn’t always understand the concept of no, but he “gets” that when he reaches for certain things, mom or dad will immediately say no-no or not for Jackson. And in some cases, we just do the finger wag and shake our head. So every time he reaches for the low-lying cable box, he’ll turn around and wag that little finger of his…right before he lunges forward and pushes all the buttons with that same wagging little finger anyway. Better yet, since flowers around the apartment are inevitably off limits, he knows mama will wag her finger if he even looks that way. So when we were in Trader Joe’s the other weekend, as we passed the floral section, Jack smiled and wagged his little finger. haha. Besides no-no, he’s grasping a few signs, including drink, eat and some more. The best of all, he loves to blow kisses. Even though he gets the concept of blowing kisses, he kind of forgets to release the actual kiss. He “gets” it. Well, almost!

As a family member candidly said to me the other week, “He’s a real human being now!”
Why yes, yes he is 😉

His appearance, to me at least, changes daily. He looks like a little boy and is so far removed from the baby stage. His hair is long, much lighter and shaggy-like. People are starting to ask if he is a boy or girl–or if we had his hair cut like that? He’s still very fair-skinned, much like his father. We think he still sports equal likenesses of the both of us. However, I see so much of my older brother in him. He has 8 teeth as of today which, we’re often told by other parents that it seems like a lot for his age. Alas, we were assured by Jason’s brother who is a pediatric dentist that all baby teeth grow in at drastically different paces.
Jack, for the most part is a great eater. I usually make things for dinner that he can have and feed him smaller bits and pieces. Well, as of last week, he demands that he feeds himself. Slivers of chicken breast, pasta, squash, peas and brown rice are his favorites for mealtime. Bananas, Smart Puffs, mangoes and Goldfish crackers are his idea of fun snacks. Jack still drinks 3 or so bottles/cups of formula a day. When I get home, he nurses in the evening and early morning. My fears of inadvertent weaning never happened while we were apart. He actually picked it back up, without skipping a beat. Since he doesn’t nurse too frequently anymore, we’ll more than likely observe baby-led weaning by his first birthday.

On the mobile front, in order to efficiently get into absolutely everything, Jack loves to cruise and stand. If he can’t get somewhere, he doesn’t bother with the uncertainty of cruising, but instead, relies on the swiftness of crawling. The minute he hears the bathroom door open–otherwise known as the outlet to his duck tub– he sprints for it! It doesn’t matter where he is, if that door is open, by the time you’re done washing your hands, Jack is on the other side banging for you to let him in.
Size-wise, Jack is hovering in the 24-25 lb. range. He seems to be much taller, but weight-wise I don’t think he’s changed much. He’s still wearing some 12m clothes, but moreso 18m-24m. One of the brands that I like for t-shirts, he’s actually in 2T already.

His personality continues to blossom as quickly as his babbling turns into more definitive syllables. He seems to make friends almost everywhere we go with both, the young and old. He waves hi in that coy school boy sort of way. Just the other day, as we were perusing through the fruit section of Whole Foods, Jack quickly befriended any lady that gave him attention. By the time we got to the bread aisle, he was giving googly eyes and professing his love to another nice lady. And now, if you can imagine, Jack is punctuating this charm with blowing kisses. If I didn’t know any better, I think our kid is quite the flirt. On the other end of the spectrum, however, he get pretty frazzled when other kids are aggressive or too loud for his comfort level. He knows what he likes and what he does not like and expresses it all in such a way that makes sense to me. In line with knowing what he wants, the kid continues to be such a thespian. If he’s thirsty or wants more water after I’ve taken away his sippy cuppy after he’s flung it on the floor for the 25th time, he will let out the most obnoxious fake cough. As if the fake cough isn’t enough, he now does an exasperating release and will bury his head onto the floor if something doesn’t go his way, such as mommy and daddy leaving.

Oh boy, separation anxiety. This topic deserves its own post. Separation anxiety, at the moment, is definitely a major struggle. It’s something that has surfaced in the last few months, but definitely became more prevalent once he came back from Va. As guilty as this makes me feel, my friend promises me that all kids go through this stage, some more than others. As much as I think this 25 growth on my leg, hip, arm is cute, it does wear on me and tends to be a bit much when he doesn’t want anyone else! On the bright side, I do enjoy those days when I am the center of his universe. In a few years, like we were told, there will be a day when daddy walks on water and he’ll be like, “mommy who?” For now, he’s a mama’s boy.

Without a doubt, that clingyness solidifies my path in life and the importance of balancing it all. And not just for my sake.


Lifetime of farting

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

With my head buried in my hands, I could feel the shower of saliva on my toes. No, it was a WATERFALL of saliva. Make that monsoon.

Why?

Let me tell you why. Jack, like other babies his age, loves to blow raspberries. He just so happened to be sitting at my feet during his latest raspberry blowing frenzy. Sometimes, after he purses those lips together and lets the drool fly, he has no idea what he’s done. All he knows is that it feels good on his sore gums and he makes us crack up. Sometimes he’ll forget this cool trick and then surprise himself by remembering the coolness of it all. And then the endless raspberry blowing ensues.

Enter my husband. My darling husband has many idols including Albert Einstein, Leonard Bernstein, George Hopkins, Lenny Dykstra and Doug Heffernan.

Yes, I said Doug Heffernan–the overgrown manchild portrayed by Kevin James in the now defunct show, “King of Queens.”

Doug Heffernan is this overdramatic, very opinionated, sports-loving dude’s dude who always seems to find himself in the most obscure predicaments. Perhaps this is why Jeff strikes a chord with his fictitious hero, but every episode, Doug’s angsty wife yells at him for well, being Doug.

In the show, Doug disagrees with Carrie A LOT. He always has a way to punctuate his point, but most notably, he loves to fake flatulate with his hands.

WITH HIS HANDS.

So, let’s do the math folks: Jack loves to blow raspberries. Jeff loves to imitate Doug Heffernan. Jack loves to imitate his daddy. So what do we have?

Lots of fake farting.

Jeff summed it up best, “You better get used to it. You have a lifetime of farting ahead of you.”

so true.

I’ve accepted the lifetime of farting, which makes me love my fake-farting duo even more.

When I’m not busy perusing the endcaps at Target in search of more stuff that I probably don’t need, I can probably be found wagging my finger at my husband, and now my baby, chanting, “Because of you, I’ll never have nice things.”

Surely, I jest.

It’s not just them. I’m to blame, too!

But really? It’s kinda sorta true. If it’s not barf stains on the floor or baby poop stains on my white sheets, it’s coffee explosions. It’s always going to be something. I’m as clumsy as they get, so let’s face it: the stains are here to stay.

Or are they?
Our cleaning arsenal includes the run of the mill toxic cleaners to the laundry detergent sticks. As we started to Green our home over the years, we added the more eco-friendly alternatives like Method (which is too fragrant for my liking) and the Seventh Generation staples. The greenest alternative to all of the above would be using mundane ingredients already onhand at home such as, baking soda and vinegar, but with many product manufacturers cashing in on the Green market, there are now more alternatives to cleaning supplies for mainstream consumers.

But since the Product Pusher delivered, I thought I’d review a few cleaning goodies that we’ve had a chance to try.

mn_stainremover-copy.jpgWith our big boy eating so much, so often, it’s inevitable: he poops a lot. And when I mean a lot, I mean A LOT. Since I’ve introduced formula into his weekday regimen, you guessed it, “things” changed. Put it this way, I’ve had to throw pajamas away because cleaning the er, uh “disaster” would’ve been a lost cause. Every once in awhile, we’ll be fortunate to have a more containable mess. More recently, Jack had a smaller accident on a pair of jeans and a basic cotton onesie. It was the perfect opportunity to test out this baby stain remover.
We applied the Mother Natural stain remover to the affected areas of the clothes, let it sit and then soaked for a few minutes. Everyone knows that these sort of stains are tough, so naturally, (pun intended) I didn’t think the stain remover would help. When it was time to check on the stained clothes, minutes turned to hours, but to my surprise, the stain remover did a decent job at diminishing the once very yellow stain. I say diminish, because unlike the more stronger heavy duty conventional stain removers, the Mother Natural stain remover did a more gentle job at lifting the stains. The stain was still there, but just barely. And so, once I finally washed those clothes, the stain was almost completely removed. Almost, but not quite!
I was pretty pleased with the Mother Natural stain remover. It did its job and I felt ok knowing that the baby’s clothes weren’t completely doused in bleaches and a host of unpronounceable chemicals that would possibly add to his already itchy belly (thanks to my family’s history of bad skin.)
The manufacturers say the stain remover includes: Plant cleansers derived from natural sources such as coconut and palm, natural salts, natural enzymes, natural moisturizer, distilled water, and plant based essential oils.

While I’m on a (virtual) cleaning foray, I wanted to mention a mainstay in the diaper bag. When Jack was being passed from uncle to auntie and back to mom the other weekend, unexpected spit up was bound to happen. Unfortunately, my brother Jeff was tagged with his nephew’s spiddle. My older brother, unsure how to react, handed me back the babe and motioned for my pant leg.
giovannirecharge.jpgYeah, my pant leg.

I wagged my finger at him, told him to hold on and instinctively grabbed for these wipes. I grabbed the very convenient silver packet, i.e., Uncle Jeff’s savior from the baby mess.
Thanks to the Product Pusher, we carry around these Giovanni Recharge wipes that are the much more sophisticated (check out the dramatics on their site,) eco-friendly big sister to Wet Naps. The Giovanni packets come in a pouch with 20 individually wrapped biodegradable, antibacterial, antiseptic, sanitizing and moisturizing wipes. I did notice that these wipes, like most antiseptic hand cleansers, include Benzalkonium chloride, which is known to be an allergen.

Nevertheless, they are a nice change of pace, in terms of quick refreshers or clean ups. I like the fact that, as their name implies, they are refreshing. They come in four different scents; I personally like the Recharge Peppermint because of the minty scent and subtle tingle.

Not just for baby cleanups, I have several of these lying in the wings of my work bag…because if it’s not the baby, it’s usually me dribbling coffee down my hands and sleeves.


A study of hands

Originally uploaded by jen_rab

Jeff calls him the baby professor because everything in Jack’s world is just so amazing. He picks things up, ever so meticulously, and studies them with such sincerity.

When I caught a glimpse of Jack studying his daddy’s hard working hands, it was as if he were to say, “THESE are the tools you use to bring home the fruits of your labor. Amazing!”

But really? I’m sure, the baby’s internal dialog probably went more like, “so this what you use to clean up my poppy diapers. heehee.”

4 months oldJackson is 4 months old. Even though I can feel and see the growing difference, it’s still hard to comprehend that this squirming child arrived just four short months ago.

Appearance-wise, Jack’s hair up top, at least, is growing in nicely. His bald spot in the back is huge. Cute, but huge. His hair up top is crazy and uncontrollable, which is quite reminiscent of his cousin Britney’s hair when she was a baby. My mom said it looks like I took my kitchen scissors and snipped the back. But, trust me, I didn’t.

Jeff and I noticed how Jack’s complexion is very fair; hisjack at three weeks face is paper white, which only accentuates every new rage-inflicted scratch. As he’s become more active, his chubby belly isn’t as noticeable, either. He’s become quite the solid kid. It’s hard to believe that little baby is now such a big boy! October was a million years ago, it seems!

To date, Jack’s bag of tricks expands by the minute. He’s perfecting grasping his toys, mommy’s hair and whatever else he finds interesting. He’s shown an interest in reading and music (obviously, he’s not reading or playing music himself.  We’re reading and playing the music to him.) His eyes light up whenever he sees someone he recognizes. He loves to look around, people watch and stare at you until it gets uncomfortable. But byfar, his legs and toes are his most favorite things. He loves to stand, kick and do his jigs.

In addition to his jigs, he continues to envelop each finger and fist in his mouth every chance he gets. He loves to babble and blow raspberries. But particularly, he likes to expend his spit. No, really, he does. It’s a good day if he shares his drool with each and every toy and person he touches. His drool capacity reaches new heights every day, as does his poop factor. I once read that breastfed babies poop maybe once every few days. While this may be true on occasion for him, I can’t say that we’ve been all too lucky in this department. Good God, does he know how to poop. This might have to do with the fact that we’ve introduced organic formula over the past month. Being gone for almost 10 hours a day during the week and trying to pump as often as he eats gets very difficult during deadline time. So, Jack gets 2, sometimes 3 bottles while I’m away.

Jack doesn’t sleep through the night yet. He still screams for mama at midnight and 4am on the dot. He is, however, getting better at putting himself to sleep– that is, without the need to breastfeed or need to be rocked to fall asleep. His sleep routine relies heavily on his favorite music.

Speaking of poop, at almost 19 lbs., Jack is comfortably wearing size 3 diapers still. Depending on the brand, he is also wearing anywhere from 6m to 12m clothing. As far as clothes, the boy loves getting dressed up, but at the same time, he is not a big fan of bundling up. In between diaper changes, he loves to be naked, despite the cold temperature. Jack loves hanging out in his stroller and going for frequent walks around town– even when it’s super cold out. He’s a babe about town.

This stage has been so fun. Rather than the newness of a newborn, Jack is showing his curiosity and his mischievousness as well. The kid continues to grow by leaps and bounds, which makes it harder and harder to leave him every Monday morning. I love hearing him ramble on about nothingness. I love hearing him squeal when he sees his daddy. And of course, I love it when he laughs when we smooch. All this and more makes Friday afternoon even more meaningful. Having the entire weekend with the three of us is a great way to end the week.

On Saturday night, after all of our weekend errands and missing another social event, we sat and watched Jack karate kick his toys. Jeff said to me, “Sometimes I forget that he’s only 4 months old.”

“I’m not sure I’m following,” I told him.

“Well, you know, it just feels like he’s been here forever,” Jeff explained.

Well, yes, in theory, the thought of the boy has been with us for a long time, but in reality, amidst all the dirty diapers and occasional sleepless night, parenthood has been a great change in pace.

It’s my beloved’s 31st birthday today! Happy Birthday to an incredible husband turned baby-daddy.

What a difference a year makes! Last year, we celebrated Jeff’s birthday with a bar crawl around town. This year was and will be much more subdued. On Saturday, while Jeff slept off his Friday night fun on the sleeper chair, Jack and I went shopping for presents. After giving Jeff’s birthday present early (so he could have the entire weekend to play with his new toy,) the three of us had a nice weekend watching football, relaxing and trying to stay warm.

Tonight, we have plans to eat out at Jeff’s favorite restaurant with a few local friends. Though it won’t be for long, I’m excited that I actually get to go out on a school night! woohoo!

daddy and jackFrom my frequent Jeff-isms and diatribes touting my comical and adoring husband, it’s quite obvious how lucky I am to have married someone so awesome. Thank you for making me laugh every day, wiping my tears, giving me hope, granting all my wishes and most importantly, enduring the baby trifecta (poop, pee and barf ON daddy) at 4am without skipping a beat.

The three of us had a nice family weekend filled with a class at church, lots of football, walks around town, a visit to the library, arrival of our new sleeper chair and dinner with our neighbor.   Despite the relaxing weekend and the “big” snowstorm missing us, like clockwork, mama still has the case of the Mondays.

*

When I was a kid, my mom regularly told me various stories of her catholic school days, and how the nuns put the fear of God in all the kids if they talked out of turn or misbehaved.  Assuming that we’d heed her anecdotes, my brothers and I would occasionally sit still and pretend we were good little kids.

So why is it every time we go to church my child insists on grunting and going #2 loudly during the homily, burping loud enough to echo, snoring loud enough to make heads turn, attracting wacko stalkers (!) and most recently, talking up a storm during our baptism class?  At  an early age, though he has no idea, my kid wants to make sure he is seen and heard at church.

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