Friday, September 20, 2013

17 weeks

Here is what is going on with Elisha this week according to;

Your baby has a bigger tummy now, so she won't need to fill up as often. Four or five times a day will often do it, in fact, unless she's exclusively breastfed, in which case she'll still want to eat six to eight times a day.

Your baby may have doubled her birth weight by now, and she's still gaining, of course, despite her more mature eating schedule. (The content of your breast milk has also changed, with more fat and minerals to match your baby's nutritional needs.)

Don't expect maturity in her eating habits though: Your baby is easily distracted now, and feedings can become frustrating as she stops to watch a sibling or respond to an outside noise. You might try to minimize distractions by feeding her in a quiet, dimmed room.

By now, your baby can play with her hands and feet for a few minutes at a time. She's quite fond of doing one action over and over again until she's sure of the result. Then, she'll switch things up just a bit to see if the result is different.

Suddenly you realize it's strangely quiet in the bedroom and look in, only to discover that your baby, who so far has needed your attention for most of every waking moment, is amusing herself in her crib. You might be able to start reading the paper again — well, maybe just the headlines.
Elisha is doing great.

He's still drooling ridiculously.  Some days his outfit will be wet with drool all the way down to his belly button.

There is almost always a hand or whatever toy he can get his hands on inserted in his mouth for him to chew and suck on.

He loves baths, and Noah loves to help give him baths.

We have started to put him in his jump up that hangs from the door frame in the kitchen.  He loves to sit there and bounce while he watches me cooking.

His favorite toys at this point seem to be his burp cloths and a set of hard plastic alphabet rings with textures to chew on.

He is such a sweet, happy, predictable, engaging baby.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Whole Wheat Carrot Cake Muffins

I made these whole wheat carrot cake muffins.  I decided on them because Noah had been begging me for carrot cake after seeing it on a show, and I had some buttermilk in the fridge to use up, so I was happy to find a recipe that could satisfy both of us.  I used regular whole wheat flour instead of the whole wheat pastry flour, and regular brown sugar.  I also increased the brown sugar to 1 cup (instead of 1/3).  Noah eats a muffin for breakfast everyday, and again for dessert most days, so I try to stick to recipes like these that incorporate fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains, and have reduced fat/oil/butter.  I thought these were great, sweet enough to seem like a dessert, but healthy enough to not be too indulgent.  These would also be great with cream cheese frosting or a powdered sugar glaze for a slightly sweeter treat.

Friday, September 13, 2013

16 weeks

Here is what is going on with Elisha this week according to;

Researchers believe that your baby can now understand all the basic sounds that make up his native language. Between this time and 6 months of age, your baby will develop the ability to make some vocal sounds, which means you may hear the words you've been dreaming about, namely "ma-ma" or "da-da." While child development experts say it's too early for your baby to connect those sounds with you and your partner, that won't make hearing them any less exciting.

You can encourage your baby's attempts at communication by mirroring or imitating his expressions and sounds. He may try to imitate you now, too. Say "baa" and he may try to say it back.

Reacting when your baby makes noises or tries to say something will help your baby learn the importance of language. It'll also help him better understand cause and effect. It's great for his self-esteem, too. He'll begin to realize that what he says makes a difference.

Expand on what your baby says and try to give it meaning. For example, you can say, "Yes, that is a ball!" Soon, his "ba" will become "ball."

For the first four to six months of life, your baby gets all the nutrients he needs from breast milk or formula. Still, parents are often eager to start their babies on solid food.

It's true that your baby's digestive tract is more developed now and his tongue-thrust reflex is starting to fade, so it seems a logical time to start feeding him some solids, such as pureed baby food or cereal. But there are good reasons to wait, too.

Starting solids later may cut down on possible allergic reactions, and ensures that breast milk or formula won't get crowded out of your baby's diet. And if you're hoping that eating solids will help your baby sleep through the night, studies have shown that you can't count on that happening.

The debate over when to start solids continues. If you're unsure about when to introduce them to your baby, talk to his doctor.

Elisha is getting more and more interactive and really starting to enjoy toys.  All day long he plays with, holds, and inserts into his mouth his plastic set of link alphabet letters.

It seems like he might be starting to notice when I leave, and not be as happy when I'm not around.  Which we found out by him screaming for an hour while I was at the gym last week.

We also think he might be starting to teeth and have his gums bother him.  He is drooling a lot, and constantly chewing and sucking on his hands.  Plus he has been a bit fussy over the last week, and woken up a little more at night.  So, putting all of that together I think he is teething, and I hope that this discomfort quickly passes.

Elisha and Noah love each other.  Noah loves to constantly touch and harass his "brudda", and Elisha seems to really enjoy the antics and attention of his big brother, even if it means sacrificing all of his personal space.  I'm so glad that they enjoy each other and so excited to watch this bond continue to grow over the years.

Just for fun, here's the link to Noah at 16 weeks.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Broccoli and Cheese Baked Potato

I made this broccoli and cheese baked potato.  I cut each of the potatoes in half for a better cheese and broccoli to potato ratio (in my opinion).  I thought these turned out very well, and by seeing Jeremy's plate scraped clean I think he'd agree.  This is a good, inexpensive, healthy, nutritional, and quick weeknight meal, or a great side along with your favorite meat.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I made these Sausage Stuffed Zucchini Boats.  I really liked them, mainly because I like sausage any way it's served to me.  Jeremy thought they were just okay, due to the fact that he doesn't really like zucchini, and he'd just rather have my stuffed peppers that are similar flavors.  The only change that I made was to add 1/2 c of marinara sauce to the filling (zucchini, pepper, sausage mixture) before stuffing the zucchini boats.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

A Tribute to our Community Group

This week was our last week as a part of the community group that we've been in for the last four years.  This has been a hard change for me, met with many tears.  It was definitely bittersweet.  I feel so blessed and thankful for the last 4 years, and the chance to have been a part of our little family.  But also sad and scared that this season is over.  And still, at the same time, excited for the new season that is beginning.

Four years ago, four couples who barely knew each other started a community group.  We had no idea the journey that we were starting.  That within four years that same group would grow and swell to over 20 people, and then multiply out to new groups 3 different times.  We had no idea the depth of relationships that would be forged here, and the memories that we would make.  That what started out as all young adults, would soon become a group of families with kids as many of us became pregnant and had children.  We didn't know that we would spend four years celebrating, mourning, praying, laughing, loving, serving, encouraging, and becoming a family.

We've had the privilege of hosting this group for the last two years.  Every Wednesday evening around 5 pm I would start my routine of setting out napkins, silverware, plates, glasses, iced tea, a salad, and plugging in our white Christmas lights that lined our kitchen (Jeremy and I enjoy dim lighting, for an intimate setting).  Each Wednesday, when I plugged in the lights, Noah would joyfully say "our friends are coming over!".  He knew those lights meant a houseful of people were coming; and that there would be food, laughter, children playing, prayer, Bible study and more.

Last night, knowing that it was our last in attendance, I was able to sit back and observe as friends flooded our home.  I watched people walk in without knocking, tossing their stuff on couches, the floor, and bookshelves.  I watched Sarah comfortably turn on my oven and slide her casserole dishes into it, as if it were her own home.  I watched Jill place a bottle of breast milk in my fridge, you know you're friends when you have someone else's breast milk in your fridge.  I watched Noah and Myles excitedly run back and forth through the house as self proclaimed best friends.  I watched Melissa hold my baby almost the entire evening, sticking it out through his fussiness, and finally bouncing him to sleep in her arms.  I watched Ruby notice that Noah had had an accident in his pants, and without saying a word, she went into his drawers, found dry clothes for him, took him to the bathroom and changed him.  I watched Nick respond to the shrills of kids playing in the back room, and diffuse whatever disputes had arisen.  I watched Jeremy wash the feet of each one of us, with a bowl of water and two towels.  I watched almost everyone cry.  I felt the most loved and encouraged I ever have, listening to person after person share ways that Jeremy, I, and our home have impacted their lives.

I'm completely sure that we have been a part of something deeply special.  That we have become a family.  That we are comfortable with each other, know each other, and serve each other without even thinking about it.  That we can anticipate each others needs and desires and meet them without words.  That we are united, with a common love and purpose, found only in Christ.

While I feel honored to have experienced something so magical, I also grow sad at the thought of us being in it coming to an end.  The relationships won't end, but Wednesday evenings together will no longer be a part of our lives.  I wonder if we'll ever experience family and community like this again.  It was so special, that I don't know if it can exist multiple times in a lifetime.  I wonder if I'm closing the door on what may have been a miracle, as the love of Christ transcended barriers of our differing backgrounds and brought a motley crew of individuals together into something beautiful.

Our group wasn't perfect.  And neither were the people in it.  We have hurt some people's feelings over the years.  We have been tired, selfish, shut down, and not emotionally present at times.  But the beautiful part is the grace found in that... the imperfectness of it all, yet still the commitment to extend grace, to let love reign over it all.

I love each and every person who has come through our doors and been a part of this journey and this group.  These people will always hold a special place in my heart.  You have each shaped me, challenged me, encouraged me, and stood by me through the ups and downs of life.  You have each contributed to the woman I am today, and for that I am deeply thankful!