M at 9 Months

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This particular month of M’s life flew by! It wasn’t a blink-and-you’ll-miss it whirlwind, though – it was filled with memorable moments, in fact. But we were on vacation for half of it, which packed our days full, and looking back, M really managed to develop a lot in the middle of all of that without us really noticing because everything was different from the norm. The day after we got home she pulled up on the side table and we realized she had shot up in height a lot, just based on how far she came up on the table – we would have never realized that if we hadn’t left! That being said…

Stats:

I have no idea how tall she is! Hah! I could bust out the measuring tape but I think that would result in the measuring tape in her mouth and me having no further numerical knowledge. I didn’t book her nine month doctor’s appointment because we were travelling, so it’s all a big unknown. She’s heavier and taller and has a mouth full of teeth – she grew two more on vacation bringing the grand total to seven.

Nicknames:

Nothing new!

Temperament:

Our usual out in public soundtrack – “What a happy/smiley baby!” And she is. She did extremely well with travel and even before that, she remained her usual happy self. She has picked up a bit of separation anxiety recently, which means she’s slightly less happy if I’m not in sight, or if Matt is with her and then leaves, but overall she’s adaptable and cheerful and ever-so-social. She positively lights up for the things and people she loves.

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Skills:

She claps now, quite frequently – in fact if you wave to her, she’ll clap! She used to wave but the first time she managed to clap her hands together Matt and I cheered her on so much that she does it all the time now. We took her in the water a few times this month, in an unheated pool (which she didn’t love but got used to) and a warmer saltwater pool – she splashed, played, and got a huge kick out of jumping into our arms from a seated position on the decking. I’d love to take her swimming more often! She is playing with her toys with her hands more often now, and especially enjoys making music with her toy xylophone and piano. She’s taking confident steps forward while holding onto our hands, cruises all around furniture, and is sometimes standing on her own without holding onto anything. And, she is working on signing ‘more’ which is fun to see!

Sleep:

Before we left town she was back to sleeping through the night which was a delight. She did quite a bit of sleeping during our trip, thanks to the car seat, long drives, playing hard, and a slight illness she picked up along the way which left her pretty drained (I think it was roseola, which is not a fun thing to deal with while on the road). She did all of her vacation naps in our arms or lying beside one of us, so I don’t know what’s in store for me over the next few weeks, trying to get her to sleep in her crib again. On vacation she slept through the night nearly every time she went down, though we did have a few late bedtimes/early wakeups. It all went a LOT better than I thought it would, in terms of sleep, so now I’m hoping she’ll keep going with good evening sleep and peaceful naps.

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Eating:

We’re doing breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks now! Every time M is around her grandparents she learns to eat more. ;) I started feeding her simple breakfasts before we left, because she seemed ready, and it gave me a chance to drink my coffee without worrying about babyproofing it (she was waking up later in the morning then, so Matt was already on his way to work when we got up). This month she’s been learning about plates and bowls, and she’s handling them well – most of the time they don’t end up on the floor. She also tried cow’s milk for the first time and loved it.

Breastfeeding is all over the map but she seems more inclined to ‘snack’ than settle into a longer nursing session. There are times when she is obviously hungry or needing the comfort, and times when she just seems to want to reassure herself that I’m there and milk is available to her. I’m not in a rush to wean, so we’re carrying on with her leading the way.

Clothing:

The weather turned cold while we were away and all of her adorable dresses stayed in the suitcase for most of our trip! I’m going to have to buy some tights to make them last. While she’s technically in another size of clothing, a lot of her stuff is actually 6-12 months so I don’t think it will be as much of a wardrobe change, compared to past sizes. She does have some 6-9 month things, but they’re still fitting well (and I’m glad because I don’t have much 9-12 month stuff!). Now that she’s cruising around, shoes have become a more important part of her wardrobe, so that will be fun for me. ;)

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Loves:

Being tickled, cruising around, standing up in the bath, her new car seat (as compared to the old one). She has been practically melting into us if we lie down with her for naps and has a particular affinity for hanging onto Matt’s ear. She loves cats, but only seems to recognize them as cats if they’re black or black and white. Cables and wires are intensely interesting to her, but she also loves toys that make noises, like her xylophone and piano. She has been loving her attempts to ‘feed’ us which usually means she’s holding food out at us and dropping it on our hands.

Doesn’t Love:

Looooong car rides, although she did quite well considering. Being in cold water or having cold water touch her in any way. Diaper changes, the moments when I have to put her down or when I walk away from her if she’s with someone else, and of course, getting dressed.

Mom & Dad:

It was so nice getting such a big chunk of time together as a family! And now that we’re back I feel refreshed – I was getting sort of run down and exhausted before we went, and that’s how I felt the day we got back, but now I’m feeling more like me again without as much stress. I am trying to enjoy all of this time as much as I can before I go back to work. Of course there are hard days, still, but more often than not we’re feeling good. I feel a bit sad that our time together at home is coming to an end, soon, but it’s going to happen so I’m working on accepting it.

Things to Remember:

The entirety of our trip down south! In particular – stopping to take in the beauty of Lake Superior at Agawa Bay on the way down, the joy of seeing M and all of her cousins interacting and playing, showing her some places that are special to her father and I, seeing her face light up when we got home and she spotted the cats, even though it was nearly 3 a.m. and she had just been awoken from sleep. All of the learning and growing she did this month, watched by so many loved ones.

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Dear M,

What an eventful month! I joked that when we got home I’d have to take you to the grocery store every day just so you could see faces other than mine, but so far you seem to be okay with a little less excitement than you’ve experienced over the last few weeks. I was anxious about settling back into our usual routine but you are happy to be home with all of your familiar toys and crib and most importantly, the cats.

I am really, really cherishing this time with you. You are so much fun right now, and such a bright light in our lives. You’ve started noticing when we’re near and when we’re gone, which is a bit heartbreaking when one of us has to leave, but I know you thrive on social interaction and daycare will be a good thing for you, ultimately. We can’t stick together as the Three Musketeers for your entire life, after all, and there is nothing wrong with extending our circle to bring in more caregivers and friends for you.

I think about what you are like, now, and marvel when I compare it to the early days of your life. How could I have expected such a vibrant, cheerful girl? Experiencing all of your joy and the immense feelings that bubble over you is like learning how to live all over again. If you can be utterly floored by touching the keys of a toy piano, by getting a tiny taste of homemade fudge, by catching sight of a strange new animal, so can I. The world through your eyes is novel and wonderful.

I’ve particularly enjoyed seeing you playing with your cousins (and second cousins, to be totally correct). Right now they’re all older than you, and as the baby, you’re relishing the attention from all of these fascinating older kids. It reminds me of my own childhood and the fun I had playing in the same places, with the parents of your little friends, and it warms my heart to see another generation springing up from scratch. Things almost seemed too quiet before you guys came around.

Every day, M, I am so grateful for this experience, so grateful for you. I love you.

Always,

Mama

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We’re Back!

We had a looooong drive on Saturday – even though we started in Sault Ste. Marie, already eight hours into the journey home, we didn’t get to our house until the early hours of Sunday. I’m kind of struggling with the feeling that we were away for so long that it’s overwhelming; I’m really glad I cleaned the house before we left but my garden is a jungle of weeds, I still have to unpack, I think I’m falling prey to whatever illness M picked up during our travels and I’m just plain tired. And I’m a bit anxious about my first solo mom day in awhile!

I need to share blog links on the Northern Exposure Facebook page and get all of my photos off of my phone. Not to mention all the real life things like getting ready for the end of summer and dealing with the pests eating my peppers. Like I said – overwhelmed.

Vacation

Of course, this discombobulated feeling is totally worth it because we had a wonderful time on our vacation! I’m planning to post more about it soon, but I’m easing my way back into the online world slowly this week. I’m sorry for falling behind on comments and I’m declaring RSS reader bankruptcy. I’m sure I’ll figure it out after I settle back in to our old groove. :)

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M is Nine Months Old!

But we’re on vacation, and I couldn’t accurately pre-draft a post about her, two weeks in advance of the occasion, and I wasn’t sure if we would have the best internet access while we were away (and honestly, I wanted to avoid blogging while we were relaxing!).

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So, the nine month update will be a few days late. I’m planning to get it posted next week, once we’ve made it home and settled back in to our regular lives. Stay tuned! :)

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Comparing BeautiTone Paints

Here’s a sneak preview of our entryway:

BeautiTone Moon Dust

It’s all a work in progress, and heavily so (the trim isn’t painted, the flooring sucks, so on and so forth).

I wanted to paint it all a dark shade but Matt pointed out that the living room’s Moon Dust colour might translate nicely to these walls, which are very visible from the living room. I thought about it for a while before agreeing – and I’m glad we went that direction because it’s a nice, light and bright change compared to the dark green that was in there before. I plan to share more about the entryway soon, but for now, I want to talk about the paint itself. I haven’t found much in the blogging world about BeautiTone paint!

Because we chose to paint our entryway the same colour as three of our living room walls, I was able to try two different formulas of BeautiTone paint in different formulas, on walls that were essentially the same material and same colour before I painted them. We’ve used the less expensive formula, Signature Series velvet, in our house before, as well as the more expensive type, Designer Series suede (which is about the same finish as velvet – both should be comparable to an eggshell finish, I think).

My observations? For the price difference, there doesn’t seem to be a HUGE change in using the lower-quality paint. The coverage seems to be nearly as good, though I did find I had a few more dappled places where the paint hadn’t hit at all on the first coat. Still, with two coats, it’s pretty much flawless, and the colours are bright and true.

I actually found we had more drips with the Designer Series paint, but then again, we were painting paneling so that could be why.

In terms of durability, it’s hard to say, but we painted our bedroom with Signature Series and the nursery with Designer Series within a few months of one another and they appear to be holding up equally well – the paint only comes off if it’s under stress, i.e., we hit it with furniture.

The one major boost to the Designer Series, in my opinion, is that the paint is cured in seven days versus 30 days for standard latex paint. The other bonus is that it’s a primer and paint in one, but in my experience, I’ve still gone ahead and primed every time we used it, when necessary (on new drywall, over patched areas, and over super bright/dark colours), namely because primer is way cheaper than high quality paint.

So – if you have the extra funds, the Designer Series is gorgeous and really wonderful to use, but if you don’t, the Signature Series is just as serviceable. We get the expensive stuff if there’s a sale, or if we’ve earned a free bucket on the buy six cans get one free card, but I’m perfectly happy using the Signature Series for every day paint jobs.

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Home Harvest: Lettuce

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I’m so glad I grew lettuce! It has been wonderful to have greens, fresh and healthy, readily available in my own backyard. There are only two of us (well, three, but M doesn’t eat much lettuce) and I always found grocery store lettuce would go bad in the fridge because I couldn’t use it up in time. With my loose leaf greens in the garden I can walk up and pick a handful for a salad, or just one or two leaves for wraps or sandwiches, without wasting anything.

With our Cook Smarts* meal plan, greens come up on the ingredients list a lot. I only grew one type of lettuce this year – Black Seeded Simpson, which I picked because it’s an early variety. I’ve used it in basically every recipe that calls for lettuce, in place of romaine, mixed greens, even arugula when it comes to salad. But, next year, I want to grow a wider variety, because it’d be nice to switch things up, especially when I’m using it multiple times every week.

Black Seeded Simpson is supposed to be easy to grow, and that has been my experience thus far. It seems like it grows back as quickly as I pick it, and I haven’t had any problems with pests or disease. Sometimes the tiny outer leaves seem to be browning and wilted, but there is more than enough good lettuce to go around. It hasn’t shown signs of bolting yet, but we’ll see what I come back home to… ;)

So, in short – planting lettuce = good idea. Definitely doing it again. Wish I could have fresh lettuce all year ’round!

* That’s a referral link! Now is a good time to try out Cook Smarts, if you’re curious – they’re doing a really neat culinary tour of the world, with each week devoted to a different country’s cuisine, and I’m sad that we’re missing it.

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