Saturday, August 29

Then and Now

After realizing Nora is now 31 inches!, we went and bought Nora the Graco My Ride -- this means she officially has outgrown her infant seats! We had already replaced one and just hadn't decided on a seat for my car yet.

We picked the My Ride because it is one of 3 on the market right now that allow children to be rear facing until 40 pounds -- most go to 30 or 33. Additionally, the added height of the seat makes the seat suitable for up to 65 pounds. This means the seat is likely to expire before she outgrows this seat, making it well worth the $139 price tag (with 20% off coupon).

After much research, we have decided we will keep Nora rear-facing for as long as her seat allows, even if that is age 3 or 4. If you haven't read up on extended rear-facing, you should. Here is a great starting place. If you're not up for reading, just note that rear-facing children -- at any age -- are 5 times safer than children in front-facing seats! FIVE TIMES PEOPLE. I can't think of any reason I would choose to put my child in 5 times more danger. None.

OK that's my preaching for today... now on to the then and now. Here is Nora in her infant seat the day we brought her home from the hospital at 4lbs 11oz and now the day we purged the infant seat for good somewhere around 20lbs.

Wednesday, August 26

Wordless Wednesday: Thank Goodness for Grandparents

Bear is so blessed to have so many living grandparents, great grandparents, and even TWO great-great grandparents! ***Disclaimer: Not all grandparents are pictured below...its late and I need to get some rest***

Monday, August 24

Sick Baby

I now have 2 sick babies at home...for those not caught up on our eventful weekend, Friday we spent the better part of the afternoon/evening in the ER with an injured Daddy. Nora was so good considering they treated him in the hall the whole 6-hour stay because they were too full to get us a room. He was released with a vague diagnosis of a "severely strained back" and a lot of pain meds.

After learning Grandpa Cupp was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, we made an unplanned trip to the QC (injured Daddy in tow) to visit him. I haven't uploaded pictures yet, but he was very up beat, very much himself, and very happy we brought Nora for a visit. I'm really glad we made the trip -- and feeling a little guilty that it took such terrible news to get us there to see him.

THEN, last night Nora felt very warm, but the thermometer said her temp was normal. Again this morning she felt very hot, but temperature was normal. When she woke up she was congested too. We decided to err on the side of caution and take her in even though she wasn't really fussing or acting out of the ordinary. The nurse said she has an upper respertory infection and an ear infection, and put her on antibiotics. I also think our thermometer is in need of replacement because she definitely had a fever. To make matters worse, she had to be tested for a UTI, which came back negative, but was a painful test :( Poor girl.

Here's to hoping everyone gets back to healthy soon!

Wednesday, August 19

Tuesday, August 18

Montessori, anyone?

With moving comes a mountain of other time consuming, necessary changes -- finding new doctors and dentists, forwarding mail, updating billing address for everything, new checkbook, new drivers license, finding a new job, and the list goes on -- all daunting as an adult, but does not even begin to compare to having to move a child.

I spent eight months of pregnancy researching pediatricians and day cares, hoping to find what I thought would be a perfect fit for my child. And they have been, but now we have to start over. We loved Kindercare in the beginning, but now I would say we just like it. We loved that it had a curriculum, that there would always be an adult around, and that Nora would be around kids her age instead of the wider range found in in-home day care. As she grows, however, we're finding that they are more reluctant to deviate from the "schedule", and that everything must go as planned. I don't think they appreciate non-mainstream parents.

Anyway, somewhere along my search for the new perfect place I discovered Montessori. For those of you as clueless as I was, Montessori is an alternative education method characterized by child-led learning. The classrooms don't have an agenda and the children aren't expected to all develop at the same pace and take interest in the same topics. Montessori encourages children to think independently and puts a strong emphasis on personal responsibility. One of their arching principles is the belief that hands are an extension of the mind -- meaning the method generally takes a very hands on approach.

In a lot of ways, Montessori supports our parenting philosophy by following the childs cues, letting them develop at their own pace, and not forcing a schedule or agenda. Children stay in the same classroom for a number of years allowing them to form a strong relationship with thier teachers, which I also think is great.

Traditionally, Montessori was geared toward birth to 6-year-olds. The Quad Cities Montessori School accepts children as young as 2 and goes through age 12. I'm not 100% on this yet, but I love the concept and look forward to touring the school next time we're in town. My thought is if we love it, we can plan for Nora to attend once she turns 2 until she reaches school age, at which point we can re-evaluate whether we would like her to continue schooling at Montessori or transition to a more traditional school setting. It really seems like the perfect way to explore all the school has to offer -- trying the shoe to be sure it fits.

Now on to pediatricians...any recommendations? :)

Sunday, August 16

Can We Send Time Backward?

My baby is 11 months old today.

She didn't like the headband...

She has accomplished many milestones in the last month, and it has become very obvious she is rapidly growing mentally and physically. Its all happening so fast, and yet I find myself today with very little to say. So instead I will leave you with a few of my favorite photos from the past month.

Saturday, August 15

Caught on Video

Wednesday, August 12

A Visit to the QC

Nora and I took a long overdue visit to the Quad Cities this weekend. We got to see most of the family, visit our new (hopefully!) house, even do a little relaxing.

We took a walk with Mimi and Eric, and Nora held Mimi's hand nearly the whole time.

We went to the pool on Saturday. I'm ashamed to say Nora is now more tan than I am.

Saturday night, we had dinner at Cafe Indego with the Kotecki Klan to celebrate Grandma Mary Lou's 70th birthday!
and Nora got to meet Aunt Gadys and Uncle Charlie for the first time

Sunday we had lunch with Nana and Papa Buskirk. Nora slept through most of it, but did wake up to say hello before they had to go.

Overall, I think we wore her out...

Oh and we got a new carrier -- well its on loan, we're testing it -- but I think she likes it!

Friday, August 7

My Favorite Piece of Parenting Advice

In a card I received for my baby shower, my grandma wrote, "Listen closely to all the parenting advice you receive, then do it your way."

I don't regret a single parenting choice I have made. I'm a researcher and I am definitely one to thoroughly think through each and every option until I find what I consider to be a perfect fit for me and my family.

Yes, we practice positive discipline. Yes, Nora is still sleeping in our bed. No, she is not ever left to "cry it out", and we continually work to build mutual trust and respect. She is held or worn all of -- OK most of -- the time, we rock her to sleep every night, she is fed on demand and not on a schedule, and we are using an alternate vaccination schedule that ::gasp:: excludes some of the CDC recommended vaccines. I don't worry about my child being clingy, dependent or spoiled, nor do I fear she will sleep in my bed until she's 7. She plays in the dirt, she occasionally eats leaves, and she is allowed to make messes if she pleases.

Why does there have to be a "best way" or a "right way"? I suppose bottom line is I am open minded enough to be able to see that there is more than one way to raise a child and know that what works for my family may not work for yours. Every time I am given the side eye or hear a condescending comment regarding a choice I have made, I can't help but wonder why people so readily criticize something they know nothing about just because its different than how they would have done it. Even if you've tried it and it didn't work for you, is it really that hard to see that not only is every family different, but every baby is different? Each should be raised according to what makes them thrive -- not down the mainstream channel of cookie-cutter tried and true methods.

I do not think I'm better than anyone. I do not look down upon those who spank or sleep train. I don't even offer parenting advice to other mothers unless I'm asked. All I know is that I have the most perfect, happy, wonderful, cuddly baby who makes me appreciate each and every day as a gift, so I must be doing something right.

When I do begin to doubt myself, I remember what my grandma said.

Thursday, August 6

Watch Out World -- Here She Comes

She's walking! It started with 2 steps. At first I thought it was a fluke, like she started falling forward and her feet just caught her , but then she took a few more -- mostly 1 step, then fall, repeat. She did it again for Charlie when he got home!

Oh boy -- we're in for it now!

I haven't been able to get a photo yet, so here's a diaper on her head instead:

Today I...

had a fun day. I played with my friend Noah - we crawled around, "talked", giggled, and shared toys. I painted with my hand and with a paintbrush. I also played with blocks and clapped them together.