February 10, 2016

Switching to a Big Kid Bed Early

We switched Cai to a "big boy bed", aka a twin mattress on the floor, when he was thirteen months old. Switching that early wasn't something we had planned on, but it worked for us.




We switched for a couple reasons, but the main one was that Cai was still waking to nurse four to six times a night. I was so sleepy and was majorly struggling with keeping my eyes open while sitting with him in the rocking chair. And Cai was struggling, at times, with staying asleep, but would sleep better if I had my hand on his back (or sometimes even crawled in the crib and laid next to him).

So we made the switch. We did kind of a "test nap" where I put the crib mattress on the floor and had him nap on that. When he did okay, I took the crib down and put a twin mattress on the floor. There was very little, if any, difficulty with the transition. Cai took to it right away.

We did have to do a few things to make it work (other than move the glider rocker to our living room).

  • We put all of his stuffed animals on the side of the bed against the wall because he was rolling and hitting his head against the wall.
  • We keep one of his larger stuffed animals on the other side of him to keep him from rolling out of the bed. He only rolled once before we did that, and it's really only a two inch drop, so it's not the end of the world, but the stuffed animal seems to help.
  • Double check that his room is a safe place. I switched the contents of some of the drawers in his dresser so he couldn't access them, put his piggy bank up higher, and recently switched from a wet bag for dirty cloth diapers to a diaper pail (we kept the bag on the door knob and he was pulling on it)
  • We started keeping the door closed so he wouldn't roam the house in the middle of the night, and closing the other door in the hallway just in case he did escape. That being said, last night was the first night he did anything other than get up and cry at the door until one of us comes for him.
Overall, we're pretty happy with the change. Even though Cai isn't nursing anymore, he's also climbing over everything now (the back of the couch, onto the dining room table), so we're glad we didn't have to deal with that in the crib. He's also waking much less most nights, but when he does have a restless night, it's nice that Steve or I can lay with him and even fall asleep. It's also nice that his room is now super safe, so I can be comfortable letting him play in there while I cook dinner (his room is right off of the bedroom.

December 14, 2015

Our Favorite Winter Books.




Cai loves to be read to. This week he has started bringing us books and sitting on the couch so we can read to him. He has some clear favorites, and so do I. We tend to read books over and over again for several days in a row. Partly because I'm lazy and don't feel like putting them away and getting new ones out. Partly because I remember hearing that little ones learn best through repetition. Partly because if we read different ones all the time I end up feeling like we read them all, all the time. Right now we've been focusing on Christmas and winter books, so we've been reading these often. 
Here are some of our favorites.

We bought this one last year in an effort to start a tradition. It's a collection of twenty four stories that you read leading up to Christmas. A mother bear is telling the stories to her little one, Benjamin. The stories are all about a little bear who is traveling to Bethlehem to meet the Child who will be born. He meets people and creatures along the way such as an eagle, a man in red, a beggar, a giant, a rosebush. Each story ends with a little moral or truth. Honestly, this one isn't my favorite. I LOVE the concept, but the execution could be better. If anybody knows of a better book out there with the same concept, let me know. Still, it's neat for all three of us to sit in Cai's room and read it before bed.

This one is a classic. I remember learning in my chidlren's lit. class in college that it was a big deal in the world of children's books when it was released because it has a black main character and because it is set in the city. I just like it because it helps you to see the snow through the eyes of a little one.


I just bought this one from Sam's Club a few weeks ago. It is a very simplified version of the Christmas story told in rhyme. It's basically pulled from the book of Luke. It begins with Mary and Elizabeth. The pictures bother me a little because they're a little silly, but other than that I really enjoy it. It does a good job of telling all of the major parts of the story. Steve liked that when the wise men visit Mary and Joseph and Jesus are living in a house, not the stable. I really like that it ends by telling of Jesus's death and resurrection, making the story complete.

This is a favorite from my own childhood. Technically we haven't started reading this one yet, because the board book version is in Cai's stocking. It tells the story of a little boy's lost mitten that becomes shelter for the animals in the forest. All of them. At the same time. I love the illustrations. My favorite thing is that each page has a border with little peaks of what is happening on the next page or what has already happened on the page before. 


This is another Jan Brett book, so it has the same great illustrations. This one is a twist on the traditional gingerbread man story. It ends with the little boy making a house for the gingerbread baby. The board book version has a little flap you can open up and see the gingerbread baby inside the house which Cai loves.

We actually don't have this one in our house, but I want to. This is another one from my childhood that I loved. It tells the story of the first snow of the year in a small town. I remember that one lady knew it was going to be a big snow because her big toe hurts. All the grownups act the way grown up do about snow, but the kids just enjoy it. I'd like to pick this one up for Cai.


This one is out of print, and it's quite dated, but I still love it. I think it's based on a true story. It's about a brother and sister who are staying with their grandparents while their mom gets settled in their new house. It's only November, so when the snow starts falling in the morning, Gramma says it won't amount to much and will melt quickly. But it doesn't! The repetition of the line, "But the snow kept on falling," is one I remember reading out loud with my mom when she read it to us. Cai like to see all of the animals on the family's farm. 

What about you? What are your favorite winter or Christmas books? Do you have certain ones you read every year?

December 11, 2015

Wooden Nativity Set

I thought I'd share the little nativity set I made for Cai for Christmas.

I wanted to have a set that was safe for Cai to play with and that we could set up in his room every Christmas.

 I won't be letting him play with it this year, at least not with complete freedom, but next year, I hope to be able to.
 When we have more little ones, Lord willing, I want each of them to have their own little set to keep in their rooms.
I bought two diy kits from  Hobby Lobby. The first was blank wooden dolls that I painted myself.


The second was a foam build your own stable with a star and square black manger. It came with the foam stable in six pieces, the star and its stick, and three already made peg figurines.

I gave Cai the figurines to pla with, well, Mary and Joseph; Jesus is a bit too small.


Merry Christmas!

December 09, 2015

How to Make Six-Pointed Snowflakes

I have a confession. I am a little prideful about my snowflake making abilities. I make pretty awesome snowflakes. But here's another confession; anybody can make them. They're SUPER easy.
So I thought I'd share a quick tutorial. There are probably hundreds of these tutorials online, but, oh well, here's one more.

Start with a piece of white paper and scissors.

 The paper needs to be square in order for these to work, so with a regular piece of 81/2"x11" you need to start by making it square. Do this by folding one corner up to meet the other side. Cut along the edge.


 Leave the square folded in half in an isosceles triangle.

Now comes the trickiest part. You're going to fold the right corner up toward and past the center. Then do the same thing with the left corner. You want all of the side to meet up and a perfect point, so this takes a bit of trial and error.

Right side



Left Side

All edges line up.

Good point.
Edges don't meet. Needs fixing.

Bad point. Needs fixing.
 Once you've got all of you're edges lined up and a nice point, you're going to fold the whole thing in half.

It really doesn't matter which way you fold here, as long as you fold in half.

Now that you're done folding, you can start cutting. It's important to notice the difference in the two sides before you cut.
The side shown above, that is closed, while make the points of the snowflake.

The other side, pictured above, the open side, will create the space between the points. I usually start by cutting into the open side.
So you can see here, the left side will be the point.


 Now it's up to you. The more space you create by cutting, the lacier and more delicate your snowflake will be.

Cutting into both sides as pictured above, will create a snowflake like the one below.



Cutting into to only the open side, like the picture above, will create a snowflake like the one below.


Be sure to cut off the tip also. This creates the hole in the middle of the snowflake. You'll find that different kind of cuts here create different shapes in the middle.
I love the way the house looks when the sun shines through the windows. Snowflake shadows everywhere!

December 04, 2015

Thankfulness

I thought about making a post like this on Thanksgiving Day, but with a house full of people, I didn't feel like sitting at the computer. But tonight the thankfulness is pouring out of me. When I prayed with Cai before bed tonight the praises just poured out of me.

I am thankful for my son. It's just overwhelming to me that we are a family of three this year (well, four including Finn). I know we were last year too, but it was all so new then, and Cai didn't do much...he was just kind of there. Now he is a part of everything we do, the best part.

Today I was just in awe of him. In awe of life through his eyes. Everything is exciting. We went shopping and the amount of "Oh!"s and gasps and squeals was astounding. Every time we get out of the car he gasps and points at the sky, like it's stunning. The lights in the Christmas aisle at Walmart were incredible. The cows at Chick-fil-a hilarious. The flowers on the tables were all amazing and needed touching (which he did, ever so gently). Any stuffed animal was exciting. If we're in a clothing store, he reaches out and touches all of the clothing on his way past just to feel all of the different fabrics. And all of the flirting he does! Smiles and bashful head tilts!

And then at home! Our day was filled with giggles and hugs and running around. He likes to hide behind the couch because he knows he's not supposed to, then if I'm not looking at him, he makes a little squeaky noise and then pops his head up and grins at me. He climbs onto the couch and starts to pet the dog. I remind him to do it gently and demonstrate by petting his head and saying "ah-ah" so he turns to the dog and gently pets him saying, "ah-ah." And he hugs me and runs his fingers through my hair.

I can't think of all of the other things he did today. Or maybe I can, but when I start to describe them, I realize that they are really mundane, but they were done by my boy, so they were amazing.

And I'm in love with us. Our little family. We are awesome. We are everything I dreamed of us being before we existed, our little little family of three, and a dog. Last night we all sat on the couch together and giggled. Steve and I have started trying Cai's bedtime routine together, and it's so wonderful the way he snuggles on one of us, then reaches for the other one. Or lays on me then reaches for Steve to make sure he's still there.

Every new thing that he does is amazing. Every time he signs please my heart melts. Every time he signs anything really because he communicates now. And he shakes his head "no" which is annoying and cute at the same time. I'm convinced he "makes jokes" too. I'm not quite sure how else to word it, but he does things that he thinks are funny then looks at us to see if we're laughing.

I'm gushing, I know, but I'm just so enthralled b him. And thankful. I'm thankful for him, for us, for the feeling of completion, For the purpose having a son has given me.

And I'm overwhelmed, in a good way, at the enormity of the task that lies before us, of teaching this little man about the God who created him, the Savior who loves him, the people who he has the opportunity to love. Overwhelmed and excited.

Thank you, Lord, for this crazy little boy. For every adorable feature on his little face. For every knew thing he learns. For every hug and cuddle and snuggle. For a partner who loves me and loves our boy, unconditionally, and who can make us laugh. My cup runneth over.

December 02, 2015

And the Winner Is...

The winner of the Mooiste nursing cover givew way is...Jessica!

An email is on it's way to you with more information!

Thank you all for participating!

November 28, 2015

Food for Little Tummies: Spinach Cheddar Fingers

When I posted some recipes great for little ones doing Baby Led Weaning a few weeks ago, I forgot to include my favorite go to snack for Cai; Spinach Cheddar Fingers!

I think I mentioned a while back that at his nine month appointment Cai's hemoglobin was a little low. His iron levels were just under normal. I'm happy to say that at his 12 month visit, they were just above normal, so although we still need to watch, he's doing well (And as a braggy side note, both times he had to have a finger stick, he didn't make a peep. My tough little baby!) Anyway, we made sure he was eating lots of iron rich foods like spinach and whole wheat, and this is one of the ways we did it.

I don't use a very precise recipe, and I change it up a little every time I make it, but here are the basics...

Ingredients:

  • Spinach, finely chopped. about 1/2 c.
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4-1/2 c. shredded cheese, I usually use cheddar.
  • Spices, I've added curry and cumin
  • Baking mix, I use Arrowhead Mills Sprouted Grain mix.
  • I've also added breast milk and a bit of raw milk
Basically, you add ingredients until you get the right consistency. I start with the first few ingredients, then add baking mix until it's just thick enough to form little finger shaped pieces without it sticking completely to my fingers.
I evenly space them out on a parchment paper covered cookie sheet and bake at 350. They are so easy and yummy enough that I sometimes sneak one myself!
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