Friday, April 27, 2012

Linna's first meat... chicken.

This week, we introduced Linna to her first meat... chicken! I stopped at Lakewinds Natural Foods on the way home from swimming lessons on Wednesday to pick up some free-range, organic chicken breasts, so I could make her food at home. We really try to buy all of Linna's food organic, especially meat and dairy. We do realize she will eventually have non-organic meats and dairy, but if we can limit those choices when she's at home, we feel we're making a healthy choice for our daughter.

All the ingredients in the food processor.

The Gerber "chicken" baby food in a jar has always creeped me out, so I decided to make her a little "meal" myself. I bought a pack of chicken breasts and separated the pieces into freezer bags, because I don't make more than one piece at a time. I put the chicken breast in tinfoil with a little olive oil and herbs, and baked it in the oven for about 20-ish minutes. Then, all I did was throw the chicken in our food processor with some leftover lentils (cooked), a piece of a tomato, leftover sweet potatoes, and some fresh parsley that I had in the refrigerator from another dinner I had cooked this week. I blended it all up, adding water to thin it out, and TAH-DAH... Linna had a fresh little chicken dinner.

Since we only keep her food in the fridge for around three days, I just made a little batch and stored it in a baby food jar. I put a clear piece of tape on the front to label it with the date and ingredients. Linna LOVED the chicken dish at first, but then I made the mistake of pulling out her Stonyfield Organic Yogurt out of the fridge. This yogurt is her FAVORITE, so of course she preferred eating that over the chicken meal (as you can see in the video below). I alternated bites of the chicken dish and yogurt, and that seemed to go well... minus her "whines" when she had the chicken dish in her mouth. At least she didn't spit it out!

I tried this dish, and it actually is delicious. I'm planning on making it again, using whatever leftover veggies and grains I have in the fridge to mix it with. The dish has a thicker texture, but if you add water, it will thin it out.

Here's to creating healthy little eaters!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

A day at SeaLife.

Linna and I, while she was still awake, by the jelly fish.
On Friday, I took Linna on her first trip to the Mall of America's SeaLife exhibit. We went with a couple moms and their kiddos from our playgroup, and while the two other kids LOVED it... Linna slept:)

We started our day at the Rainforest Cafe for lunch with Jamie, Taylor, Bri, and JJ. The kids loved the dancing gorillas, music, and random thunderstorms inside the restaurant, while the moms enjoyed our food and good conversation! After a little shopping, we headed to SeaLife!

Bri showing her son JJ the starfish.

We all purchased a year membership, because it really does pay for itself! It's around $14 for an adult to go through once, and the year membership is $29.99. However, I used a coupon from my parents' Entertainment Coupon Book, and I got ours for $10 off! I know we'll go there often, especially when it's rainy or cold out, so it was a good purchase. Kids under 2 years old get in free!

Jamie and her daughter Taylor checking out the sharks.

When you first walk in, they have hands-on areas where kids can touch starfish and other little sea creatures. Then, as you go further inside, you get to see sharks, huge fish, sea horses, jelly fish, and other cool creatures swimming above your head! You literally walk through a tunnel and all of the creatures swim above your head. It's pretty cool! I was so excited for Linna to see all of this, but by the time we got inside, she was passed out, and she slept through the entire thing! I guess the Rainforest Cafe really pooped her out. We're excited to go back because they're introducing crocodiles and rainforest animals to the exhibit!

JJ and Linna enjoying lunch at the Rainforest Cafe.
Before we left, we spent about 20 minutes at the couple of arcade games they have. Jamie (one of the moms in our playgroup) was obsessed with winning a stuffed animal from the crane machine! After about 10 minutes and $4 in quarters later... she won! Her daughter Taylor got to take a stuffed shark home. Totally worth it;)

As you can see from some of the photos, it was tough to get a good photo of all the kids together... but the pics are pretty funny! When we left around 2:30 p.m., the kids were pretty pooped out, so we all left and headed home for nap time. Linna however, decided to wake up as soon as we left the mall:)

We're looking forward to heading back soon! I've posted many other photos from our day on the Minnesota Baby Facebook Page, so check them out!

And we're done...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Swim evaluations.

Getting ready to do a "blast off" with Miss Lorrie.
Today, Linna had her swim evaluation at FOSS Swim School! Although we had high hopes to start training her for the 2012 Olympic Games, she "unfortunately" didn't advance to the next swimming level. PS, I'm kidding about the Olympics part:)

Linna is currently in the Backfloat Baby 1 class, where we've done light submersions, supported back floats, and kicks. She's just not ready for the Backfloat Baby 2 class, where they do minimal assistance back floats and teach depth awareness. Understandably, because she is only 8 months old:)

On the "magic carpet" with her classmates and parents.
Right now, we're just loving all the games, toys, songs, and other kids in our Backfloat Baby 1 class at FOSS! Linna absolutely LOVES the water, and it doesn't bother her to have water splashed in her face or dumped on her head. She can do "monkey cheeks" before she goes under the water, without hesitation. She also loves sitting on the side of the pool, and falling face first into the water.

The best part about Wednesday's swim class... she takes a super long nap right after! She's literally so pooped out after class, that she falls asleep in the car on the way home, and doesn't even wake up when I carry her inside the house to lay her in her crib.

Submersions with Mama and Miss Lorrie.
Summer sessions at FOSS start in June, and registration for those classes begins April 25th at 8 a.m. FOSS offers FREE level assessments, so an expert can tell you which class is best for your child. Since most Minnesota babies will be out on the lake or by the pool this summer, it's a really good idea to get your child used to the water, while teaching him or her about water safety! I'm so happy we signed Linna up early, because she is loving every aspect of being in the water!

A special thank you to Mindy of Mindy May Photography for providing us with these photos!

Swimming to Mama.

Swimming to her toy.

In her "Lil' Bit" towel from Great Gma K.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Feeding linna with a medicine syringe.

Alicia Silverstone may chew up her baby's food then spit it into his mouth, but I on the other hand resorted to feeding my 8-month-old her dinner through a medicine syringe tonight.

Linna must have had some teething pain today, because she took two long naps this morning and early this afternoon, and when it came time for dinner she was a little crank pot! I decided to give her some acetaminophen (we just use Target's Up&Up brand) around 4:30pm, which was also dinner time. She loves getting medicine through the syringe, but after I gave her the medicine, she didn't want to eat her sweet potatoes, mixed veggies, or pears off her spoon.

So, I got creative. Call it a crazy mommy moment, but knowing she loves the medicine syringe, I decided to see if she'd eat her food out of it. Yep... worked like a charm! I don't know if she likes the feeling of the food squirting into her mouth or what, be she gobbled up almost 5 oz. of food through the medicine syringe!

Hey, at least she got lots of yummy fruits and veggies in her belly:) What's the craziest thing you've done as a mom thus far?!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

8 months.

Crawling?! Nope. Standing?! Nope. Sitting?! YES! She has that mastered! Baby Linna is now eight months old and our little bug is growing like a weed. She still has no interest in crawling or pulling herself up on things, but sitting... she still does that like a pro (she's had two months of practice)! When we're working on crawling with Linna, she lays on her tummy and does this silly swimming motion. She doesn't try to get up onto her knees, really doesn't try to scoot, but man she can swim on the floor like a fish! She chooses to roll all over to get from here to there.
Since she was about three months old, Linna has been very strong, wanting to stand up and use her little legs. However, she doesn't want to pull herself up onto things on her own. If you hold her hands, she'll pull herself up, but she is not ready to take the initiative to do it herself. She does, however, want to explore every drawer, every corner, etc. She is into EVERYTHING! 

What's this...
We celebrated Linna turning eight months, by installing her convertible car seat. I know babies can stay in the infant seat for up to a year, but Linna is so big that we thought she's have a little more room in her new, bigger car seat! Papa accidentally installed it facing forward (he didn't know they had to be rear-facing or two years), and since we were in a hurry, Linna got to experience a forward-facing ride on a five minute trip to my parents' house. Don't call Social Services just yet, because we did switch it back;)

Oh, that looks good...
Everything is still going into her mouth, but she still only has her two bottom teeth. We're thinking Linna was either teething or growing a couple weeks ago, because her sleeping was a little off, and she wasn't eating a lot of food. Now, she's back to eating a TON for breakfast (usually oatmeal, yogurt and a fruit), a 4 oz. bottle before nap, lunch (usually a fruit and a veggie, with quinoa or lentils), a 4 oz. bottle before afternoon nap, dinner (usually a veggie with quinoa or lentils), and a 7 oz. bottle before bed. She won't pick up mushy food with her fingers and put it in her mouth, but put Cheerios on her tray, and she gobbles them up! She loves to bite them in half with her two bottom teeth.

Nom nom nom.
We haven't given her meat or fish yet, but we're thinking about introducing it at nine months. She really doesn't seem to be missing anything when it comes to food. We also haven't given her juice, only water out of a sippy cup. I feel that the longer you can hold out on juice, the better. We may start doing orange juice for breakfast sometime soon.

Linna loves to babble when she feels it's necessary. She babbles "dadadada", "lalalala", nananana", and "yayayaya". She also learned to wave "bye bye" the day she turned eight months old! That was pretty exciting, as she did it at Grandma and Grandpa Specken's on Easter Sunday. The other day, I took her to Punch Pizza for our cousin Bridget's birthday dinner, and she waved "bye bye" to everyone in the restaurant! Pretty cute.

Pimpin' in her Britax Frontier 70 Convertible Car Seat.
Wednesday's swimming lessons at FOSS Swim School are still one of Linna's favorite activities, as well as Story Time at our Hennepin County Public Library! For those of you who don't know, HC public libraries offer story time for babies and kids for FREE, and it is so much fun! We sing songs, read books, and play with the other kids. Linna often just chews on a piece of paper while taking it all in:)

Linna's first Easter.
Linna has always been such a good baby, but she really proved to be an EXTRA good baby this week when I had a segment on KARE 11. I was showcasing spring fashions for kids, with 10 KIDS in studio as my models. Linna was one of my models, but while I was getting all the kids ready, doing a run-through of the segment, doing my hair, etc., Linna just sat on the floor by herself, perfectly happy playing with her toys. She is such a content little baby! She's still sleeping great (we did have a couple "off" nights a couple weeks ago when she was either growing or teething), taking a morning and afternoon nap, lasting anywhere from 1-3 hours. She's also still sleeping from about 7pm - 7:30am.

I'm already ready for another baby, but Papa Saigh says no:(  It's so easy to forget how tough the newborn months are, but yet, I have;) Eight months is such a fun age, especially if you have a happy, smiley baby. Linna shows us every day how to love life and look at everything in a new way! Everything is so amazing and thrilling to her! We're so excited to see what the next few months have in store. Who knows, maybe Linna will be crawling tomorrow.

In the same chair she's taken her "monthly"
photos in for the last eight months. So big!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Our wonderful little sleeper.

Baby Linna right before bed with her Wubbanub and blankie.
GIVEAWAY WINNERS (1/29/13): Congratulations to Mary Beth Kuenzli and Amy Reichel! You have both won a copy of Minnesota's The O'Neill Brother's Lullabies by Request CD

Original Blog Post (4/3/12): We have been blessed with such an amazing little sleeper, and over the last few months I've received a few emails and questions from other moms, about our bedtime routine and how we get Linna to sleep so well. The truth is, I have no idea, but here's what we do at bedtime and before naps...

Ever since Linna was about three months, she's been a great sleeper. Yes, she's had her "off" nights (sometimes a few in a row), but don't we all?! For a most part, Linna is a wonderful sleeper! She's almost eight months old, and is sleeping from 7pm - 8am, and still taking 2-3 naps each day lasting anywhere from a half hour to 2 1/2 hours.

Video monitor: Linna learned to self-sooth by sucking on her fingers or thumbs at around three or four months. We have a Summer Infant video monitor, which I feel is a "must-have" for any parent. The video monitor allowed us to let Linna "cry it out" without panicking about whether or not something was wrong. Before the video monitor, we tried to let her cry it out, but we always ended up going in to check on her because we couldn't SEE that everything was safe and sound. With our video monitor, we were able to let her cry and eventually watch her find her fingers and thumb, and self-sooth her way to sleep. We can also see what's going on in her crib if she starts fussing in the middle of the night, and most of the time it's because she's uncomfortable, but she falls right back to sleep. By us not always popping our heads into her nursery, Linna has learned that when she's in her crib, it's time to sleep. She knows mom and dad don't always come in when she cries or fusses (unless we can see that something is actually wrong with her). She also knows where the camera is, and when she wakes up she doesn't cry, rather looks at the camera as if she's saying, "ok mom and dad, I'm ready to get up now".

"Toys" and blanket in her crib: When we lay Linna down, we give her a Wubbanub and her blankie. A Wubbanub is basically a green pacifier attached to a little stuffed animal. Her blankie was given to her by Auntie Julie, and it's a teddy-bear head attached to a blanket. I don't know if she's attached to her blankie, but she loves it. Linna can find a tag on anything, so she usually gets fixated on the tag on her Wubbanub or blanket, and does this funny humming noise while she plays with it. We're not sure if that's a concentration or sleepy "hum", but she generally falls asleep a few minutes later. She likes to cover her face with her blanket too.

Music and lighting: Every night and for every nap, I turn on the O'Neill Brother's Lullaby CD and the sound machine. We "stole" Linna's sound machine from my husband's parents house, and it must be 20 years old! It's a black Homemedics Sound Machine (they don't sell the one we have anymore, but they do sell newer machines) that plays an ocean sound the entire night. We take the sound machine everywhere we go. It drowns out any noise outside Linna's door, so we and other people don't have to live the life of "shhhhhh, that baby is sleeping". Daylight Savings Time kind of threw Linna off, because it's been light outside at 6:30/7pm when we put her to sleep. But after a few days she's learned that that is ok to fall asleep when it's light outside. We don't really use a night-light unless it's super dark when we put her to bed (i.e., coming home from a road trip, etc.), but then we shut her night-light off when we go to bed.

Bottle, Books & Bath: Linna has a bath most nights, but sometimes we skip it. If we don't do a bath, we just put her in her pajamas, put her on her Boppy in the living room and feed her a 7 oz. bottle (breast milk). Sometimes she finishes it, and sometimes she doesn't. Sometimes Papa reads Linna a book before bed, but it's not every night. To be honest, we don't really have a "quiet time" before bed either. We both give Linna a kiss and one of us brings her in her room, plays her music and the sound machine, lay her down in the crib, give her the Wubbanub and blankie, rub her tummy for a minute or so while saying "night night", and then we make our exit. Sometimes she watches us leave the room and she cries, but that only lasts a minute or so. Usually she fixates her attention on a tag, starts to hum, and we make a quiet exit while saying "night night".

No matter what other people say, the "cry it out" method isn't as easy as it sounds. It's hard to just sit and listen to your baby cry! But our video monitor has given us a sense of peace, since we can SEE her, rather than just hear.

Every so often, Linna will wake up in the middle of the night. If she's fussing for a few minutes, one of us goes in her room to pat her on the butt while saying "night night". There's been a few times where she looks right up at us, smiling, as if she's ready to get up to start her day. But sorry sweet pea, we don't start our day at 5am:) We don't pick her up, we just pat her on the butt until she falls asleep. We've tried really hard not getting into the habit of "giving in", picking her up, and bringing her into bed with us. There has been a few nights that we've brought her into bed with us, but that's when she's been teething, or had a cold. We didn't make it a habit, even though it's the easiest thing to do at the time. And let's be honest, who doesn't love snuggling with their baby in bed?!

As a mom, I've asked other moms for advice when we had our "rough nights", but the biggest thing I've learned is to do what works for US! Every baby is different. The above is just what has worked for us!