Monday, October 15, 2012

14 months old!

Harmony turned 14 months olds today.  She is more of a toddler every single day.  Her vocabulary is expanding quickly.  Here is her current vocab list:

Water (wa wa)
Shoes (her word sounds something like "foos")
Duck (used for both birds and ducks)
Brushing teeth (I can in no way write how she pronounces this but she definitely has a word for it)

That's all I can think of at the moment.  She understands extremely well now.  She's very responsive and has figured out how to communicate with me using baby sign without being prompted to do so.  For example, at breakfast this morning she wanted water so she said "wa-wa".  I gave her water and she drank some.  Then, she signed "milk" since she can't say it yet.  So I brought her milk which she drank all of.  So nice for her to be able to tell me what she wants! One of her favorite things to do is to wave goodbye and say "bye bye" to everyone we pass.  She also loves to giggle and laugh.  The other night I was getting her to sleep and was humming while rubbing her tummy.  She seemed to be falling asleep when suddenly, she started giggling.  Which made me giggle.  Which made her laugh harder and then we were laughing hysterically for 10 minutes.  She's a sweetheart and we love her!

Wednesday, September 12, 2012


     Harmony has taken big strides in learning to communicate this week!  It is so exciting to see her responding to things I say.  For example, the other day she was screaming at me in her high chair.  I promptly told her that was not okay and asked if she wanted more and then asked, "how do you say more?"  She stopped screaming, smiled, and made the sign for "more".  I was SO proud of her!  And today she helped me unload the groceries.  Legitimately helped.  Usually I have her "help" fold the laundry which means she pulls the laundry from the basket and puts it on the floor while I try to fold and put the folded clothes out of her reach.  But today, she started pulling items from the grocery bag and I simply held out my hand and said, "Can I have the mushrooms?!"  and she would walk the mushrooms right over to me, hand them over, and run back to the bag, proud of her accomplishment.  We did this repeatedly, with each item in the bag.  Sure, it was a slow process, and when the green onions fell out of the produce bag she wasn't quite sure what to do with them anymore, but it was so much fun!  When she recognized things were to heavy for her (like when only cantaloupe and jicama were left in the bag) she simply dragged the bag behind her and brought it over to me.  Development is so much fun to watch.  It blows my mind that just a year ago she was a completely helpless newborn who could hardly move and now she is walking, carrying things, and responding correctly to my verbal instructions.
     Her language development is also coming along.  In the last couple of weeks she has really improved in mimicking sound.  We say a word and she will try really hard to repeat it.  Her 2nd word was "light".  She says it really well.  I'd say her 3rd word is "duck".  Ducks, birds, and sometimes cars are all labeled "duck".  She made a valiant effort at saying diaper the other day too.
      Harmony started walking at 11 months and ever since then she enjoys spending her days walking back and forth across our apartment, carrying things in her hands.  The other day she put her shoes in the kitchen drawer and then put some kitchen drawer items in the bath tub.  I realized I was in full toddler mode last week when she got a hold of a bottle of Vitamin E oil.  She managed to get the cap unscrewed and poured the whole bottle on our freshly cleaned carpets.  I immediately poured baking soda over the mess to start absorbing the oil and turned my back for one or two seconds and by the time I turned around she was already sitting in the middle of the pile of baking soda and oil and playing in it.  It was really funny and my initiation into the toddler stage of life.  I hope I learn my lessons quickly.  :)

Friday, August 3, 2012

Keeping Your Baby Cool in the Car

     Before I start this post let me get something out there that needs to be said:  DON'T EVER EVER EVER LEAVE A BABY (OR CHILD) UNATTENDED IN THE CAR!  Alright, now let's move on.

     Here in south central Texas the heat has really taken it up a notch.  August and September are always the worst with 100+ degree temperatures daily.  I also live in an apartment and we have chosen not to pay for a garage or covered parking which means our cars REALLY heat up during the day. (A car's interior can easily heat up to 130 degrees during the Summer) It has become imperative to find ways to cool that back seat down before putting my 11 month old in her scalding to the touch car seat in that cursed furnace of a car.  I've decided to share some tips that I've come up with in the hopes that other moms will find it helpful.

1)  Start your car about 10 minutes before you have to leave and turn the AC up full blast while cracking windows to let some air flow through.  10 minutes really isn't enough time to cool the car down but it sure helps.  Run it longer if you want to.  I live on the 2nd floor and have decided to risk the small chance of someone stealing my car while left running and unattended in order to get rid of some of that suffocatingly stale hot air before mom and baby enter.

2) Utilize sun shades and reflectors!  Get 2 windshield ones - use one on the windshield and drape one over the car seat when not in use.  Make sure to have one that adheres to the window on the side that baby is on as well.

3) Car Seat Coolers. The best idea ever.  There are various tutorials out there for car seat coolers.  The basic idea is that you have a fabric holder for ice packs that you drape over the car seat to keep it cool when not in use while out and about.  I haven't gotten around to making one yet but I did come up with a similar idea before I ever saw the tutorial.
      I started out putting ice in a ziploc bag and I'd run it all over the car seat (especially those burning buckles!) before putting my baby in it.  (This works great but DON'T leave the baby with the bag of ice.  I was feeling terrible for having to put my daughter into the hot car one day and thought, "she'll be fine, she can play with the bag of ice and it will keep her cool".  Bad idea.  She got the bag open and had ice spilled all over the car seat.  I pulled over within half a mile of it happening but I'm lucky she hadn't put an ice cube in her mouth and choked on it!)
     After using the ice method once or twice I realized I had first-aid freezer packs and that those would be much more effective and easier.  Now I put the two freezer packs in the car seat for a few minutes (it really only takes about one minute to cool it down) and then rub it over the rest of the car seat before putting my daughter in.  Put them in the car seat while you are in the store, the bank, the park, at a friend's house, etc.  They don't stay frozen for long but they do usually stay cool for a couple of hours. * Don't leave the ice packs in your child's reach when not in use.  

4)  Frozen teething toys are your friend.  Even if your baby isn't teething.  I grab one from the freezer on my way out the door and give it to my daughter after setting her in her car seat.  Not only is it refreshing when she chews on it but it cools her legs and arms down as she plays with it.  These don't stay cool for long (maybe 30 minutes?) but they do a lot of good for the initial entry into the car at it's hottest temperature.  Keep it cool longer by taking it inside with you when you leave the car so that it is in an air conditioned environment.

5)  Water, water, water.  I like to throw a bottle filled with water in the diaper bag just in case.  Often it is so hot and miserable that I know my daughter needs some hydration.  She doesn't need formula or anything, just a bit of water to quench some thirst.

6)  Park in the Shade.  No explanation needed.

7)  Wear less.  I have pretty low standards of modesty when it comes to my baby.  I try to dress her in the coolest outfits I can find.  Sometimes that's just a onesie, other times it's a breezy sleeveless sun dress.  Use your own judgement.

8)  Tinted Windows.  This is huge.  My husband's car has the darkest legal tint level.  Mine has none.  We actually switched cars for the Summer but sometimes we switch back and forth for various reasons (i.e. he has no trunk space because of his speakers), and there is such a big difference.  Not only for keeping the temperature down but for blocking out that sun.  Whenever we are in my car and my daughter starts screaming out of nowhere, inevitably I look back and see that the sun is shining directly on her through the back windshield which has got to be not only hot, but blinding as well.  Tinted windows keep this from happening.

9)  Air vents.  Both my husband and I drive 4 door cars that only have air vents in the front.  Since having a baby we have realized this is NOT preferable, especially while living in Texas.  We are researching and getting an idea of what vehicle we want when we are in a financial position to trade a car in.  SUV's, vans, trucks, whatever - just look for a vehicle that has air vents in the back seat(s)!!!!! 

What are some ways you keep your car seat and baby cool in the Summer?  Please share!

Monday, July 30, 2012

11 Months Old!

     Harmony is 11 months old and I am busily preparing for her 1st Birthday party!  I can't believe my baby girl is going to be 1 already.  I am kind of sad when I look at the baby clothes section at Target and realize that most of her clothes are found in the toddler section now, but with her growing self comes a growing personality and I just love it! She has always been my little side kick and lately she has been a blast to play with.  She learned how to point a couple of weeks ago and now she points at everything she looks at.  It's fun for her to have found a way to communicate with us!  She also said her first word (other than mama and dada) last week - DOG!  She now points at anything with fur (cats, ferrets, dogs, cows, etc) and says "Dog!"  Let it be known that just because it was her first word does not entitle her to ever owning a dog while living under my roof.  On Friday she also stood up on her own for the first time!  She's walking much more now that she doesn't have to crawl over to something to pull herself up on (even if she only needed a wall before).  Her record is 19 steps and usually averages about 8-10 steps at a time.
     She has so much fun playing during the day.  She sleeps 10-11 hours at night and takes 2 solid naps during the day so she is always well rested and ready to play her little heart out.  She laughs and giggles and my favorite game is to play "chase" while crawling after each other on the floor.  She screeches and giggles and I screech and giggle right back.  She's making all sorts of new sounds and may be the loudest baby in church, and usually at the store too.  At least she is loud with happy sounds and not crying!
     I am so excited to see her grow and be able to express herself with words in the coming years, I can't wait to hear what she has to say.  We are so blessed to have this little ball of sunshine in our home!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Our baby girl is growing up!

     I fell asleep while feeding Harmony tonight.  I planned on going straight to bed after putting her down at 9:30 but decided it was time to record some thoughts and events in our lives.  I've been thinking lately that I need to be better about recording the day to day triumphs of mom, dad, and baby.  I have a record going of big "firsts", which just includes a date and the event, like "rolled over on such and such date", etc.  But, Harmony's life deserves more than just a date and 3 word description.  I had stopped blogging because it took so much time that it wasn't worth it to me, I figured I post lots of pictures on facebook and that is good enough.  But, I need to write things down.  So, write I will.
     Harmony is 7 1/2 months old and such a joy to be around.  Today was a HUGE first.  She pulled herself up!  She has been working at it for a few days, grabbing hold of things and pulling with her arms, trying her hardest to complete a pull up.  Today she was going after a box on the ottoman and I watched as she again tried to pull herself up, only this time she didn't stop when her chin got to her hands, she kept going and was quickly in a downward dog sort of position with her hands resting on the ottoman and her feet flat on the floor!  I went wild with excitement, cheering her on and clapping.  Seriously, I don't think I've ever been that excited or proud in my life.  Motherhood is amazing.  It's so awesome to get that legitimately excited and happy on such a regular basis as I watch Harmony grow and learn. After she got up once more she got stuck, not knowing how to get down.  I guided her to her knees and then picked her up to comfort her.  After she had calmed down from being scared of being stuck, I placed her on the floor against the couch, standing up.  I let go.  She kept standing.  In fact, she turned and used the ottoman for support instead as she reached for things.  It was so weird to see my baby girl standing up all by herself!  So weird to not have my hands on her, helping her stay up.  She was super proud of herself and rightfully so!
     Harmony seems to just in the last few weeks become so much older.  She's in full out baby mode rather than immobile infant.  I feel like she's outgrown a lot of her infant toys and have felt like she needs new toys to encourage her cognitive development so I have had fun shopping and buying her toys for the first time.  I bought her the classic donut stacking toy, a ball that has a motor and moves around, talking, singing, and lighting up, encouraging her to crawl after it, and a toy laptop since she ALWAYS wants mine.  It's fun seeing her get so excited about a new toy.  Toys R Us has become so much fun to me and I just get so excited thinking about all of the fun she is going to have in the coming years!
     Within the last 2 weeks she has become interested in water.  After eating solids I always take her to the sink to wash her hands and face.  She has learned this ritual and now when I turn the water on she sticks her hand under the faucet by herself.  I have always taken her by the pool and watched the fountains with her and just this past week she became interested in the water.  She LOVED laying on her stomach at the edge of the pool and splashing her hands in the water.  I held tight with two hands because she kept trying to crawl right in.  Two nights ago she started splashing up a storm in the bath for the first time.  She caught on to cause and effect and it was so much fun laughing with her and encouraging her to splash water everywhere.
      She's growing fast.  She was a tall petite baby for the longest time.  At her 6 month check up she was 14 lbs 10 oz.  She was 8 lbs 7 oz. at birth so she hadn't even doubled her birth weight yet.  She was in the 19th percentile for weight.  I was a little concerned about her gaining weight especially after a lot of stress trying to continue nursing her after a breast infection and going through a stressful time of abruptly starting solids and having to start supplementing formula.  Anyway, my worries were soon put to ease because she gained 4 lbs in 5 weeks!  She went from wearing 3-6 month clothes to barely fitting in 9 month clothes.  She wears a lot of 12 months now.  Somehow dressing her in 12 month clothes makes me feel like she's older than she is, as if she's a year old already.  I keep reminding myself that she is going on 8 months and still has a bit before she reaches the year mark.
     I bought her a pool floatie yesterday.  I can not wait for our first swimming experience!  I think it's going to happen soon, it got up to 90 degrees today and the pool water is feeling warmer every day.  I also bought a jogging stroller off of Craigslist a week ago.  We took it for a joy ride on Saturday and she LOVED it.  So much better than being in the infant carrier in a travel system stroller where she is hot and can't see anything.  She was happily underneath a HUGE sun shade and as soon as I started jogging she started squealing and flapping her arms.  We loved getting off of the pavement and hitting the trails.  And that jogging stroller has changed my life!  I can't believe it took me 7 months to get one! I can push it with my pinkie (I tested this) and it easily tackles rocks and dirt and grass.
     Harmony can get anywhere she wants.  She doesn't officially crawl but she's been getting up on her knees and scooting and lunging (like a seal) across the floor for about 2 months now.  She also can maneuver around and through ANYTHING.  You should see her navigate between chair legs and table legs.  She is super observant and super determined.  If she spots something she wants she will book it across the room in the blink of an eye.  We're having to be super careful about things in her reach and making sure nothing ends up on the floor.  It's amazing how many small pieces of plastic and paper appear out of nowhere.  It's definitely forcing me to be a better housekeeper!
     She has been a bit of a late bloomer as far as teething goes.  Just 3 days ago though her first tooth started to poke through her gums!  I can feel the sharp tip which is so weird.  She had been slightly fussy and not sleeping well for a week or two and then came down with a cough and super runny nose. I was utterly exhausted and couldn't figure out what was going on (there were no signs of teeth) but once that tooth poked through it all made sense.  She actually has been handling it really well.  The last two nights she has slept 8 or 9 hours straight which hasn't happened in a while.  It's been super nice to have two nights in a row of not getting up every hour to check on her after a coughing fit or to get her back to sleep after she woke up crying.
     Also, about a month ago she said "a dada dada dada" as she climbed away from me and towards Jackson.  So he wins the first word.  A week after that she started saying "ma ma ma ma" and kind of stopped saying dada.  She only says mama when she's crying or wants picked up or wants my attention.  It sure makes it hard to let her cry for just a few minutes while I finish doing what I'm doing. How can I resist my sweet baby calling my name?
     Harmony is as happy as can be.  I wish I could find words to express how much we love her.  It is incredible to have someone be so excited and happy all the time and to have such an innocent little baby that reminds me daily how amazing life is and all of the details in this world are.  I was shaking the salad dressing bottle at dinner the other night while holding her and she suddenly started cracking up.  She thought it was the funniest thing/sound.  What a great reminder that life and our many experiences, even the small every day moments like shaking a dressing bottle are so interesting and exciting.  My heart is overflowing with love for her and I am amazed at all of the things I didn't understand about parenthood and unconditional love and intense fear for someone's safety and well-being, that I am beginning to understand now, as a mother.  I am so excited for every stage of Harmony's life.  We're going to have so much fun together.  Mom, Dad, and baby love each other lots and find so much fulfillment out of the little every day experiences.  We are so excited to continue watching our baby girl learn and grow!