Wednesday, June 29, 2011

9 Month Check-Up

We had Anna's 9 month pediatrician appointment today. It was a pretty easy visit - a quick toe stick to get her iron levels and then the rest was mostly talking. The doctor was very pleased with everything and said she is a healthy girl!

Anna weighed in at 21 lbs and is 27 inches tall. She's got three teeth through, and the doc said a fourth one is about to cut any day now. She also looked at her ears really carefully to make sure she didn't have any kind of infection contributing to her poor sleeping recently. Everything got the all-clear so it's just time for some tough love again.

We also talked about my concern that she really wasn't babbling. It's something that's been on my mind for a couple of months now, especially seeing other babies younger than Anna jabbering away. She has always made plenty of noise, and just this week she's started saying Bob/Bah/Bwa a lot, but no Dada and no Mama (unless she's crying hysterically). The doctor really put my mind at ease about it and said although it's a good thing to keep an eye on, her other communication skills are superb. She makes great eye contact, she's very interested, she responds to voices, and the fact that she does make noises (especially the new Bahs) is a good sign. The doctor even assured me that one of her own children seemed to take forever to babble, and then one day it just clicked and she was off at a mile a minute. So that's a big weight off my mind!

Her next check-up isn't until September - the big One Year!! And of course the party planning is already under way ;-).

In other news, today is Steve's birthday - happy birthday Sweetheart! We just finished our "surf and turf chez Sarah" dinner and our apple pie and ice cream dessert (he didn't want cake), and he liked all his presents.

Here, have some pictures:
Wrapping presents- what a helper!

Chilling with Daddy on one of his birthday gifts!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

How to Land your Kid in Therapy

I saw this posted on a friend's Facebook this morning and read it during my morning coffee. It's long but there's a lot of good points in there...lots of good things to think about!

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/07/how-to-land-your-kid-in-therapy/8555/1/

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Nursing in Public...Sort of


Faithful Seinfeld watchers might remember the episode where George Constanza brags about his superior mental map of the best public bathrooms in New York City. When I first saw that episode, I just laughed...who does that??

Well, apparently I do. Except my mental map contains the best places in the metro Atlanta area to nurse the baby when I'm out running errands. I can guarantee you that nobody except the mother of an infant would ever think about this, but the older Anna gets, the harder and harder it gets to nurse her inconspicuously out in public. And trying to get out, get the errands done, and get home within 2-3 hours just isn't feasible sometimes.


In a pinch, I'll nurse her in the car, but that's getting harder and harder too. So here's my top favorite places to nurse her comfortably, without flashing everyone in the general vicinity. In no particular order:

1) Babies R Us or Buy Buy Baby- they have a small mother's lounge in all their stores with a changing table and a couple of cushy chairs. You might get some diaper traffic through there but it gets the job done.

2) Motherhood Maternity/Destination Maternity stores - the sales associates are more than happy to let you borrow a dressing room for as long as you need it. This store is nice because most of the malls around here have one. Really, though, you could use any dressing room, although you'd probably want to find one with plenty of open ones so nobody bothers you.

3) Department stores - I have discovered that most of the department stores have a baby lounge, with a changing table and sofa. I have seen them at Macy's, Dillard's, and Nordstrom and I'm kind of thinking that Belk had one too but I can't remember. They are all over by the elevator or near the restrooms.

4) The Library - nerd alert! Almost all of the libraries nearby have private reading rooms or conference rooms. I've asked the librarian a couple of times if I can use the conference room just to make sure there wasn't some kind of meeting in there and she's always been more than happy to let me borrow it!

5) Atlanta tourist attractions - the Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta, and Turner Field (Braves stadium) will all let you nurse in the First Aid station if you want some privacy. Apparently the Aquarium is building more family restrooms but I don't know if that's just a bigger bathroom or an actual lounge.

The main lesson I've learned is that if you are looking for a private place, no matter where you are, it never hurts to ask!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

9 Months Old!

Our sweet baby girl is 9 months old today!

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I'm not gonna lie...saying this past month was a challenge is kind of an understatement. We had the hellish triumvirate of teething, separation anxiety, and sleep fighting - needless to say, I want my happy baby back! Well, I guess that's not fair to say. Anna is perfectly happy if I am holding her and paying attention only to her. If I try to go to the bathroom or even just turn my back on her, we get baby meltdown. And I hate bed time. And nap time. Fun times!

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Besides that whole mess, Anna's got some fun new things under her belt.

Her new favorite game is "baskets". Any kind of basket that she can reach into and pull stuff out of is her new favorite thing. She LOVES when I plop down on the floor of the nursery to put away her clothes because then she gets TWO baskets - the basket of clothes and the basket of hangers. Quite the happy camper.

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She also likes to talk on her cell phone and to be upside down.

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She's increasingly mobile although it's not the traditional belly-off-the-floor crawling. She's quite adept at getting anywhere that she wants to go, including under the couch before Mean Mommy pulls her back out. She's also quite skilled at squirming/army-crawling backwards. She also has started to pull herself up when she's near the table!

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(she's crying because she ran out of room to back up)

Banana Bean is also SO observant now. It's kind of weird (but exciting!) going from the newborn stage where they don't really know what's going on to this stage. I was beyond delighted at the beach when she immediately noticed that I was wearing a necklace she had never seen before. She literally stopped what she was doing as soon as she noticed it to pick it up and inspect it. I was so amused that I had to chuckle, and then she looked up at me with that sweet little smile, wanting in on the joke too!

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Stevo devastated me by commenting (after watching her for a minute on her play mat) that sometimes she looks like a baby and sometimes she looks like a big girl.

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Speaking of big girl, we also went ahead and bought her convertible car seat, and we also finally started babyproofing around here.

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Anna has also started really eating. She gets 1-2 ounces of puree for breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus a couple of different finger foods at each meal. Her favorite foods so far are avocado, cheese, toast, banana, and clementine orange slices. Tonight, she was feeding Daddy puffs and toast pieces. What a good sharer!

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That's all, folks! See you next month!

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Speaking of Father's Day...

I ran across this the other day online and thought it was a great editorial. Jeff Pearlman, a columnist for SI.com shares his "10 Commandments of Righteous Dadhood". Here's the link to the full article.

1. No golf on weekends: Seriously, it's ludicrous. Your spouse is home with the kids all the time, and you think it's OK to take five hours on a weekend day to pursue your own pastime? Selfishness, thy name is Father.

2. Wake up: Literally, wake up. With your kids. On at least one of the two weekend days -- and perhaps both. I know: you wake up early for work. Not even remotely the same thing. Rising alongside the kiddies is hard. And crazy. And (gasp!) sorta fun, if you'd just stop moping.

3. Change diapers: If you have little kids, and you don't know how to change diapers (or, even worse, refuse to change diapers), you're pathetic. That's no exaggeration -- p-a-t-h-e-t-i-c. It's not all that hard, and though the poop sometimes winds up on the fingers, well, uh, yeah. It just does. Wash your hands.

4. Play with dolls and paint your toenails: How many fathers do I know who refuse to get girlish with their girls? Dozens. Dude, put aside the machismo, break out Barbie and slather on some pink polish. You'll make a friend for life -- and nobody else is watching.

5. Do things you don't want to do: It's easy to take the kids to the driving range -- because you want to be there. Now try spending the day having a tea party at American Girl. Or crawling through one of those wormholes at the nearby kiddie gym. Fun? Often, no. But this isn't about you.

6. Order the wife to bug off: I recently met a mother who told me her husband hadn't been alone with their 9-year-old daughter for more than two hours ... ever. Inexcusable. Let your wife do her own thing: relax, take a run, whatever. Entertain your children solo. They don't bite (Note: CNN.com is not liable if your children do, in fact, bite).

7. Surprise! Just once, on a random day without meaning or purpose, show up early at your kid's school/camp/wherever, say "Get in the car!" and take him/her somewhere special. Just the two of you, alone. A movie. A park. A hike. The memory lasts -- I promise.

8. Dishes Don't Clean Themselves (Nor Do Toys): It's amazing how this one works. You pick up a dish, run it under hot water with some soap, rub it down with a towel and place it back on the shelf. Then repeat.

9. Wake up your kid: Not often. But if you want to score big points and create a killer memory moment, walk in Junior's room at, oh, midnight, wake him/her up and go outside for 10 minutes to watch the stars.

10. For God's sake, tell your kids you love them: They never see you, and they'd probably like to know.

Happy Father's Day!



I'm a few days late but we hope all the Daddies out there had a wonderful Father's Day! It was Steve's very first Father's Day so we wanted to make sure it was extra special.



A few weeks before the big day, I asked him what he wanted to do, and he said he wanted to spend the weekend at the lake. The added bonus was that we also got to see Poppy! Happy Father's Day, Poppy! The rest of the family was there too but obviously the fellas were the guests of honor.



Sunday evening we came home and put Banana to bed, and I made Steve one of his all-time favorite dinners. We shared some wine and lots of conversation, and Steve opened his gifts. Anna had picked out a pretty pink tie, a pair of pink and silver cuff links, and even made a little photo project for him.



Steve is such a good daddy to Anna and it's so much fun watching them together - Happy Father's Day, Sweetheart  :-)

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Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Beach Baby Pack List

Before our trip to the beach, I asked several of my mommy friends with older kids what I should take to the beach for the baby. I got some helpful tips and I'm adding a few of my own - here you go!

1) Good sunblock - it's very important to get a physical sunblock for your little one vs. a chemical sunscreen. Check out this list from the Environmental Working Group to find one that doesn't contain potentially harmful chemicals or toxic ingredients. We use California Baby sunblock - I kept a tube on her changing table at the beach house and then I had another tube in the beach bag. I also keep a small stick of it in my purse, even at home, just in case I need to put some more on while we're out and about.



2) Shade - even my water baby only wanted to play in the ocean for about 30 minutes at a time, but we were able to buy some more time in the sand by having a canopy set up to give us some shade. If you don't want to take an entire canopy (we had a service that set ours up for us), you can buy pop-up shade tents to help give the baby a break from the sun.

3. A Good Stroller - my friend Blair had suggested taking our jogging stroller, and I really regret not taking it. We ended up not having room in the car so we used the regular Graco one that Steve's family had already packed. It did fine on the hard packed sand near the water, but it was really hard getting it through the loose, thick sand to the waterline and it was also hard to use on the bumpy/rocky beach roads. It might be a lot bulkier but Steve and I both said that next year we're taking the jogging stroller.


4. Play Mat - I decided to take one of Anna's play mats and I was really glad that I did. The play mat breaks down into squares and I was able to fit the entire mat into one of my reusable grocery bags, so it really didn't take up that much room in the car. The beach house had hard tile floors (no fun for little heads!), I had no idea what they used to clean them, and I also wanted to give her a central little spot to keep her toys and to play. The foam gave a bit of a cushion and it also gave her a spot that was easy to keep clean throughout the week. I was also really glad that I brought it because the home's pest control guy came while we were there, and he basically just sprays the pesticide all over the floor against the walls. It made me feel better that Anna wasn't crawling around on top of pesticide, and needless to say the mat got a good scrubbing when we got home.

5. Kiddo-friendly bug spray - the bugs actually weren't bad at the beach this year but it was still nice to have outside and down at the dock. I keep a bottle of the California Baby bug spray at the lake and I also have one that I keep in the jogging stroller for park purposes. I realized though that I forgot a bottle at the beach, so I bought a bottle of the only DEET-free stuff the grocery store had, which was the Cutter Family kind. I have also heard good things about Natrapel insect repellant, which is also DEET free. Regardless of what you get, just spray it on the stroller and the baby's clothes. That should be enough to keep the bugs away without having to spray it all over their skin.  

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Belly Babbles Book Club: Beach Reads

Here are some of the old and new favorites that I like to tuck into my beach bag - enjoy!

1) The Adventures of Kick Keswick - by Marne Davis Kellogg. Kick Keswick is a retired professional jewel thief who is contentedly living the cushy life her burgling has bought her. Unfortunately, she keeps getting pulled back into action, requiring expensive trips, elaborate disguises, and brushes with the law. These books are well-written and very imaginative...and it's SO nice to get a break from the normal "boy trouble" chick lit that you see so often.



2) The Sookie Stackhouse series -  by Charlaine Harris. I wanted to hate these. I really did. Vampires are SO 2008 and 2000 and late. But they are strangely addictive and they don't make you think too hard. Which are critical components of a good beach read.



3) The Tea Shop Mysteries - by Laura Childs. Kara loaned me a few of these books to take to the beach this year. We both love tea and so these books were a slam dunk to share - tea, Charleston, mysteries...sign me up! There are a ton of books in this series and I've only read a couple so far, but they were all enjoyable. The only downside is that they really made me want to go sit in a tea shop and sip a cup while reading. And Sunset Beach has a tea shop, conveniently enough!



4) The Reef, by Nora Roberts. Scuba diving, West Indies, sunken ships, and plenty of beach imagery. Perfect for the sand and sun!


5) She's Come Undone, by Wally Lamb. One of my absolute all-time favorite books. It might be a little heavy for a vacation if it's your first time reading it, but Dolores is such a great and funny "heroine". I seriously must have read this book at least 20 times and I still love it. There is a consistent whale/ocean/water theme throughout the book that is powerful to follow.



6) Savannah Breeze, by Mary Kay Andrews. A fun little book set in Savannah. Through a series of unfortunate events, the main character BeBe finds herself to be the owner of a run-down motel on Tybee Island. She renovates, redecorates, turns business around, and comes out on top. MKA has a bunch of other cute books, I think all of them are great beach/lake material.



7. Fortune's Rocks, by Anita Shreve. This story is set at the turn of the century in a New England coastal town. Olympia Biddeford enters into a clandestine and taboo relationship, and the book follows the romance and its resulting fallout. I love all the historical imagery and the New England setting...if you're looking for something a little bit different, this is worth picking up!



8) Harry Potter, by J.K. Rowling. Well...because when is Harry Potter not a good read? ;-)

Do you have any beach favorites?

Beach Baby

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The entire Forbes clan (minus Mr. B and Hayley) packed up our cars and traveled to the beautiful town of Sunset Beach, North Carolina for a week of fun, sun and sand. We booked this trip in memory and honor of Captain Don, and I think he would have considered this vacation a success. Plenty of crabs were caught (and devoured!), plenty of sunshine was soaked up, and we've already got the house booked again for next year.

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Sunset Beach is a tiny little island that has been enjoyed by the Forbes family for decades - Anna is now the fourth generation to "summer" there. 

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Banana Bean LOVED the beach. What a water baby we have! She loved splashing in the waves, eating the sand (well, trying to at least. Mean mommy!), and playing in the sunshine. She also made it her life's mission to pull off any pair of sunglasses that she could get her little paws on.

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The family next door had a little boy around 18 months and it made us SO excited to take Anna back next year. Baker (the little boy) seemed to be such a fun age and we can't wait to see Anna playing and interacting the same way that he was. Funny how much of a difference a year can make!

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There were two extremely close shark encounters, and one kind-of close alien encounter. Everyone survived, but barely.

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My tuckered-out little family:
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