Thursday, February 28, 2013

Greyden - 7 months!

Seven months?  SEVEN?

I feel like he was just born yesterday.  This is craziness.

Anyway, here is a monthly pic of our littlest man. :)

And the roundup of the monthly pics so far:

1 week, 1 month, 2 months, 3 months, 4 months, 5 months, 6 months, 7 months

Dearest Greyden,

Oh how I love your sweet face! You are becoming such a smiley, happy boy. Always grinning and sticking out that little tongue of yours.

(We call you our little "tongue boy.")

You get so happy and excited that you just kick, kick, kick your legs and shake, shake, shake your arms. It's adorable.

Your eyes are turning more and more hazel, and your hair seems to be staying brown. The birthmark on your nose looks like it may be fading and shrinking a bit. Still no teeth, although you drool EVERYWHERE, and I don't see any chompers coming in the near future, either. That's ok, though, because your brother started biting me while nursing when he got teeth, and I'm not ready to venture into that territory again quite yet (or ever).

At your 6-month checkup you were 19lb 2oz (75th percentile), 28.5 inches long (96th percentile), and your head was 17.5 inches around (68th percentile). So you are still a big boy! I keep waiting for you to plateau and start dropping on the percentile charts like your brother did, but it hasn't happened. And meanwhile I'm struggling to keep up with dressing you. You wear size 2 shoes and size 3 diapers. You have the chubbiest arms, legs, and feet I've ever seen in my life. You now wear mostly 9-12 month clothes, and most of the 9-month clothes are too tight (although I keep shoving you into them). In fact, I even bought you some 18-month onesies and they fit you just fine (although they're on the looser side). Crazy!

At your 6-month checkup you were "below the mark" in two of your developmental categories (psychological/social and gross motor), which didn't make your momma here feel great, but I know that you will do things in your own time. And you better believe me that I wouldn't care if you laid on your back for the rest of your life, I'd love you just the same. But anyways, you still refuse to roll over. Two days after turning six months old (Jan 30th) you rolled over front to back for the first time, and then you did it like 30 times a day for the next couple of days. Then all of a sudden you stopped. And you haven't started again since then. I think you rolled over once last week. ONCE. Apparently rolling over just isn't your thing. You finally started picking your chest up off the ground using your arms on Feb 2nd, and now you're becoming quite the strong little man and hold yourself up really high. Still not getting up on your knees yet, though. You love sitting up, and you're pretty good at it, too. You can sit up for quite a long time - I'd say 30 minutes or so before you start getting fussy and tired and want to be in a different position. In fact, you sit up so well that you now get to ride in the big-boy section of the carts in stores. I let you do it for the first time at Target on Jan 30th (same day you rolled over for the first time), and boy did you love it!  I also now let you take baths in the big bathtub with your brother.  You seem to both enjoy it quite a bit. :)

We gave you puffs for the first time on February 24th, and it was so fun to watch you try to rake them into your fist and stuff them in your mouth. And then I was shocked when last night you actually used a pincer grasp to pick a few up! You go little man!

Speaking of puffs, you love to eat. I now feed you three meals of solid food per day and I nurse you five to seven times. And then about 5 out of 7 nights you still wake up to eat (which really wears me out on work nights)! But even more important than food to you? Knowing what's going on. I can rarely nurse you if anyone is in the room or if anything is going on around us. Because if there is, you will nurse for about five seconds and then yank off to look around. Then you'll nurse for five more seconds and then yank off to look around again. No lie, it kinda drives your momma a little nutso, and it's not always so pain-free for me, either. So lately we've been spending a lot of time nursing in isolation. :)

On Feb 24th I trimmed your hair for the first time, so I guess that counts as your first haircut? You had these wings growing over your ears, and it looked a bit silly considering the back of your head has barely any hair at all. So I trimmed them up and now you look all snazzy again. :)

At around 6 1/2 months you started "talking" a lot more, and your favorite "words" seem to be "dadadada", "mleh mleh", "mneh mneh", and "bleh bleh". Your favorite toys are Sophie the giraffe, your toothbrush teether, and your squiggly colored infant toy. I'm pretty sure I could give you just those three toys on a rotating basis and you'd be one happy camper. Oh, and you've started showing some signs of bashfulness and also some signs of affection which melt my heart. You'll sometimes look at me, grin really big, then grab my face with your hands and press your slobbery face into mine. Oh it's so so sweet!! I especially love it because you are not at all a cuddler, so I cherish every bit of affection I get.

Well I think that's about it for this month. You sure do bring joy to our lives little man! We love you!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Gluten-Free: The Very Basics

In my previous gluten-free blog post, I mentioned that I was going to start a blog series giving tips, advice, recommendations, etc. on eating gluten-free.  I jumped right in with a recommendation of Chex cereal, but I thought maybe I should back up for a moment and give you a run-down of the basics of avoiding gluten.

When people think of eating gluten-free, they automatically assume they should avoid bread, pasta, cookies, cakes, crackers, etc.  And this is true.  But there are also some items that can contain gluten that may surprise you:

soy sauce
teriyaki sauce
any type of broth
canned soup
salad dressing
lunch meat
hot dogs
ice cream (if it contains mix-ins)
flavored coffee creamers
flavored rice mixes

This is by no means an extensive list.  It's hard to keep track of it all, and it can be quite overwhelming.  The way to know what is safe and what is not?  Ingredient lists.  They are your new best friends.  You must, must, must check the list of ingredients, unless the item says directly on it that it is gluten-free.

Key words that are red flags:

malt (except rice malt, which may or may not contain gluten)
bran (without a precursor, i.e. rice bran and corn bran are safe)

If you see any of the words above, avoid the item.

There are many, many other ingredients that contain gluten that are less common.  A couple you may have seen pop in up a list of ingredients are the following:

Brewer's yeast

These are just four examples.  The full list is quite extensive.  If you need a full list, I'd recommend downloading an app (recommendations to come in a later blog post) or printing a list from online.  One such list I found is here:

There are also some ingredients that may or may not contain gluten, depending on the product.  These include modified food starch (modified corn starch is safe) and caramel color.  Whether or not these contain gluten depends on the ingredients in the ingredients.  (And unfortunately, you don't usually get an ingredient list for the ingredients. :) )  In these cases, I usually look up the product online to check if it is gluten-free, or I try to find the product in one of my apps.

The good news about all of this is that eating gluten-free is becoming more and more common.  Substitute gluten-free items are popping up left and right.  There are very few food items for which I haven't found a gluten-free replacement.  I've found replacement tortillas, pretzels, pizza, bread, bagels, waffles, pancake mix, cookies, Oreos, crackers, soy sauce, bouillon, and soups, to name just some of them.  Trust me, this woman does not go hungry. :)

I hope this information gets you started.  Future blog posts will include my recommended gluten-free items, suggested apps, and advice for eating out.

'Till next time!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Who's Who: Six Months

Ok, it's not really hard to tell who's who below, but I still had to share.  These are pictures of each of our two boys at their six-month doc visits.  I can't believe how many similarities I see!  The main differences are in their hair and eye color, and Greyden's arms are a smidgen lot chubbier.  But other than that, you can definitely tell that they're brothers!

Hehe.  What do you think?  How similar do they look to you?

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Gluten-Free - Blog Post Series - Beginning with Chex

I've been eating gluten-free for about a year and a half now, and by now I've definitely developed some preferences and tricks for eating gluten-free.

I thought it'd be nice to share those tips and suggestions with you, my readers, in case any of the following apply:

a) you are or want to start eating gluten-free
b) you know someone who eats gluten-free and you need/want to feed them
c) you know someone who is newly gluten-free and you'd like to help them out a bit
d) you're just curious about gluten-free eating for whatever reason

(I feel like a good majority of the population falls into one of those categories.)

So I'm going to start a gluten-free blog post series.  These posts will oftentimes just provide information on my favorite gluten-free products, but I also may share my favorite resources, stores, substitutes for recipes, etc.

Sound good?  Good.

To start, today I'm going to tell you about my favorite gluten-free cereal:



Really, people, Chex is da bomb for us gluten-free eaters.  All the flavors of Chex cereal are gluten-free EXCEPT the Multi-Bran Chex and the Wheat Chex (and the word "wheat" in the title should be a dead giveaway - but we'll get into that in another blog post).  The boxes even say right on the front that they are gluten-free, which I love!

Look at all the flavor choices!  Rice, Corn, Honey Nut, Chocolate, Cinnamon, or Apple Cinnamon.  I usually keep the Corn and Cinnamon Chex in stock in our pantry, but they're all pretty tasty.  (Except the Apple Cinnamon - can't speak for that one because I haven't tried it.  I'm not much of an apple-cinnamon-cereal girl.)

The Rice and Corn flavors somewhat resemble Crispix.  The Honey Nut is for you Honey Nut Cheerios lovers, the Chocolate is for you Cocoa Puffs lovers, and the Cinnamon is for you Cinnamon Toast Crunch lovers (that's me!).

A huge perk to Chex being gluten-free is that this cereal is available at pretty much every store, in the normal cereal aisle, at normal cereal prices.  There's no searching through the health food section of the grocery store to find a $6 box of cereal that looks like it may possibly resemble the look and taste of Cheerios if you absolutely drown it in milk.

Plus, Chex can be used for so many tasty party mixes.  My all-time favorite is Muddy Buddies (aka puppy chow).  Mmmm mmm mmm.

[One warning: do NOT try to buy the store-brand generic version of Chex, thinking it will be gluten-free.  It's usually not.  You have to go name-brand in this situation (and unfortunately in many gluten-free situations).  Whenever you're not sure, stick to the brand that you KNOW is gluten-free.  Otherwise you or the gluten-free eater may end up with a tummy ache.  And obviously that's no fun. :( ]

Alrighty, now that I've shared, get out there and buy some Chex cereal!

(I was in no way compensated by Chex for writing this review.  It is all my own opinion, unprovoked by General Mills.  I'm just a huge fan. :) )

More gluten-free posts will be on their way!