March 17, 2010

Penelope was 7 Months Old! Like a Month and a Half Ago!

I got my Christmas present about halfway through January.  We bought a new camera because I just wasn't happy with the pictures the old one took.  However, there seems to be a problem with this one, too.  It keeps taking the same picture...

Exhibit A

Exhibit B

Maybe without the flash...No, now it's just yellow...

Anyway, we finally got it figured out and I am really happy with the new camera.  Great for low light shots and super zoomey.

January was a fun month.  Penny learned to sit up by herself on January 12th.  AND she finally got the hang of solid food.  She eats like a champ now and hasn't refused anything I've tried to give her.  She can even feed herself puffs and yogurt melts.

We played at a park in Shelby.  She was getting sick, so she didn't enjoy it much.

Here she is after we realized she was sick.  So pitiful.

She loves this little jingly ball, we call it Happy Baby Face.

She also loves Daddy's iPhone.

Discovering that her feet can reach her mouth

I thought this was cute when she fell asleep holding on to the ball.

March 16, 2010

Kaleb: A Dog with Great Character

At about 10 am on this appropriately gross and rainy day we said goodbye to a dear friend.  She was nearing her 15th birthday and after a quick decline due to kidney and liver failure, we decided that it was time to let her go.  It was very fast and peaceful.  I just hope she understands, and maybe even appreciates it.  She was my first dog and an awesome one at that.  This was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my entire life.  I want to share some pictures and stories of happier times.

Kaleb was found by Doug's family wandering the streets of downtown Shelby, NC when she was about a year old.  She lived there in Shelby until early 2003 when Doug brought her to live with him in Raleigh.  She was the first dog I ever lived with and I think a great way to start a lifetime appreciation of canines.  With her appearance of a Rottweiler she looked like she would be mean, but she was as sweet as could be.  Everyone she met was a potential new friend and she was known to crawl up in the lap of someone she just met.

A young Kaleb, not picking on someone her own size.

She always thought she was a lap dog.

Up in the sky, it's a bird!  It's a plane!!  It's Super Dog!!!
She seemed to think it was funny when we put clothes on her.  She really liked this Superman costume.

Never did figure out why this sweater had a hood.

When we first got Dozer, they used to have wrestling matches.  We were worried at first, but if they hurt each other they would back off and then start again.  They played like this for hours.

She liked to wrestle with Doug, too.  She would growl and growl, but never bit him.

Kaleb was like a big sister to Dozer.  A mean big sister.  It was so funny to see a 60 pound Boxer terrified of this dog with short little legs.  She would have her moods where she wouldn't let him get to his food bowl or a toy.  He would sit and whine and not come within several feet of her.  I'm pretty sure she thought it was funny.

They had their moments, though.  This one brings back memories of the games of "don't cross that line" in the back seat of the car on family trips.

This was an attempt to get a photo for a Christmas ornament.

At first, they could share the back seat nicely,

but about three years ago, Kaleb started trying to take up as much of the seat as she could.  Even if she wasn't siting on him, she would stretch her legs way out and growl at him if he touched her.  Dozer has spent a lot of time on the floor of the car.

Dozer destroyed one of their beds, and we let them have a little more fun before we threw it out.  I was picking the bed up to take it outside when Kaleb jumped up and pulled it back down.

A typical Sunday afternoon with Dozer of the Silly Sleeping Positions and Kaleb:  Master of the Sad Face.

This looks sweet, but I'm pretty sure she just wanted to lay on the mat.  She jumped on as soon as I picked Penny up.

Thank you, Kaleb.  You were an amazing first dog.  I couldn't have asked for anything better.  There is nothing quite like the nonjudgemental, never wavering, absolute loyalty and love of a good dog.  I'm going to miss my hairy little shadow and her madly wagging little nub of a tail.
Rest in peace, Kaleb.  1995-2010.

March 01, 2010

Economic Stimulation (Updated!)

As requested by my best good and pregnant friend, Adrienne, this is my recommended list of baby supplies.  I'm sure I've forgotten something, but here we go:

-Socks, 8 pairs or so should do.  Get cute ones if you like (if you can afford, jeez), but get most pairs in the same style and color to limit lost-sockism.  Wal-Mart has big packs of affordable baby socks, I think 10 pair for about $6.
-2 or 3 pairs of mittens, the ones to keep them from scratching themselves when you can't manage to get their nails filed or clipped.  We didn't use these much, but some babies really do a number on their faces.
-a few newborn size onesies.  They grow quickly and  you can always use the 0-3 month size in a pinch.
-10 to 12 outfits that fit at any given time, whether you like onesies or t-shirts and pants.  I really like things that button all the way down the front.  Kind of a hassle to get on when you are bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived, but easier to remove when covered in spit-up or pee.
-2 or 3 pairs of pajamas.  Or just only get pajamas, there are few things better than a clean baby in feetie pajamas!
-2 hats for warm weather and 2 for cold.
-2 light jackets
-1 heavier jacket
-1 puffy suit for that one week of actual winter we get here in NC.
-3 or 4 30 inch square receiving blankets, square for swaddling!  I've heard of using muslin for warm weather wrapping.
-3 or 4 42 inch square swaddling blankets for when baby gets a little bigger.  Some prefer stretchy material to get a good, tight wrap.
-A sleep sack or wearable blanket for cool weather.  Basically a bag with arm holes and a zipper up the front.  I swaddle Penny and then zip her up in the bag so she can't get loose.
-2 Pack and Play sheets
-2 or 3 crib sheets
-2 large waterproof mattress protectors.  I saw a tip to put protector, sheet, protector, sheet on the mattress so you have another layer if there is an oops in the night (or more for during potty training time!)
-1 waterproof mattress pad
-1 or 2 sheet savers - goes under baby's head to keep any little dribbles from getting on the sheet.  Or you can just get some cloth diapers.
-At least one Boppy.  Some moms swear by having two, but I have managed with one.  If you need to wash the pillow, put a few towels or something in the bootom of the washer under it.  I put mine in by itself and now it has a weird dent in it from the agitator.
-At least one spare Boppy cover.  If it is a particularly barfy day, I recommend just putting a towel between baby and Boppy.
-Waterproof Boppy covers are now available.  Too bad they weren't around a year and a half ago!

Bathing and health
-2 or 3 hooded towels.
-6 to 12 washcloths.  Try to find cotton, I got some because they were cute only to discover that they are acrylic and absorb nothingThe acrylic ones are now used for face washing after eating.
-Baby bathtub.  I don't think there's any need to get the ones with sprayers or temperature sensors or fax machines, the $15 tub works just fine.  Penny's came with a newborn "hammock" thing.  I think we used the hammock twice until her umbilical cord fell off, then I just put her in the tub.
-Moisturizing baby wash, to help with dry skin.
-Baby lotion.  Johnson's or whatever you like for everyday use and Aquaphor for serious dryness.  It's greasy and gross, but it works (for faces, too).  The baby oil gel is nice, too.
-Baby grooming kit: brush, comb, nail files, nail clippers, nail scissors.  (Still haven't ever used the nail scissors, I guess they work better for other people).
-Baby medicine kit:  Tylenol, Motrin, Mylicon, etc.  The plastic case is handy, too, I use it when we travel to put her soap, nail clippers and etc. in.
-Thermometer - we have one that reads in the ear, but it's really too big for a newborn.  I dont' know about the accuracy of the temporal scanner thermometers, but they are probably way easier than trying to stick something in a sick, angry baby's ear.
-cool mist humidifier -  Target has cute ones shaped like animals by Crane.

-Breast shells - to keep anything from touching your nipples when you first start breastfeeding.  I could only find these at Babies 'R Us.
-Bra pads - the ones with sticky on the back to hold them in place are nice.  You'll want a few of these whether you breastfeed or not and possibly before you give birth.
-Nursing wrap - if you want to feed in public and don't want to have your boob(s) out for all to see.
-Bras - I wouldn't drop the $$$ on nursing bras until you're sure it's going to work out.  I just wore sports bras.
-Breast pump - if you want a hospital grade one, rent from the hospital for the first month to see how it goes.  I know some who pumped everyday for months using a single-barreled manual pump.
-Breast milk storage bags
-Lots of bibs.
-Bottles.  If you wash every day, you can get by with 10 or so.  You can get a few of the 4 or 5 ounce size if you like, but you'll probably only use them for a few months.  I just felt silly using the bigger ones for such a tiny baby.  As for brand, that depends on the baby.  It seems like the fancier the bottle, the less likely the baby is to like it i.e. Penny couldn't even get anything out of the Gerber Nuk bottles and the friends whose baby hated the Dr. Brown's bottles.  Regular old, $1 each Gerber or Evenflo are good or Penny's favorite Soothie bottles which we can only find at Wal-Mart are about $3 each.  Many still swear by the Playtex Nursers with the drop-in liners.  I really do like the one Avent bottle I got for free for registering at Babies 'R Us.  I think they run about $8 each.
-2 or 3 extra nipples for whatever bottles you choose.
-Bottle drying rack.  We found a nice Michael Graves one at Target that works well and looks OK in the kitchen.
-Bottle brush.  Try a few, some are crap.  The ones with non-removable nipple brushes just tend to annoy me.  I eventually sprung for an Avent bottle brush and it has been my favorite so far.
-1 or 2 containers to hold pre-measured formula powder.  You can get ones that hold three...aliquots (I couldn't think of the non-science word).
-Small bowls for when you first start solids.  Target usually has some cute ones in the $1 section.
-A bowl and a divided plate with suction cups on the bottom.  Again, only found at BRU.
-The classic Gerber soft-tipped spoons.
-The soft-tipped Munchkin spoons are good to occupy little hands while attempting to get food inside of the mouth.
-A comfortable rocking chair, a footrest is nice.
-food processor and ice cube trays if you feel like making your own baby food.  It really is very easy.  I still buy some things because I really don't see myself pureeing and straining beef.  Yuck!

-Diaper bag - I recommend having both a large one and a small one for quick trips
-A good, dog-proof diaper pail.  I really like my Diaper Champ, and it uses regular cheapo 8 gallon trash bags from Wal-Mart.  Some smell does creep out, but I would be surprised if any pail contained all smell.
-Something to organize your changing table, baskets and such.
-Try several brands of diaper cream to find the one you like.  The "creamy" Desitin is kind of fluffy and easy to apply.  Balmex is thicker and might be a little better for serious diaper rash.  I haven't used the Boudreaux's Butt Paste much.  It has sort of a vanilla scent and is very thick, almost difficult to apply and seems to form little boogers when it dries out on the butt.
-Also try several brands of diapers.  For instance, I can't stand Huggies, but that is just because they don't fit Penny, so they leak.  The Pampers Swaddlers are nice in the beginning because they have a little stripe that turns green when peed upon.  Eventually you will learn that baby is pretty much always wet, but it is reassuring early on.  We use Luvs now.  They are very similar to Pampers, but a good bit cheaper.  The Target ones are very cheap and don't leak, but they don't seem to have the best fit, on Penny anyway.
-Try all of the wipes, too.  I would be using Target brand at this point, but I got hooked on the the Huggies scented wipes.  I like that the Huggies wipes are thick, and it's nice to have something around that smells good when changing a poopy diaper.

-swing - we borrowed a standard front-to-back swing which she liked sometimes, until they had a side-to-side one at daycare, then she preferred that.  If you can afford it or borrow one, I recommend getting one that can do both.
-bouncy seat - nothing fancy.  Penny loved the one from Wal-Mart for $22.50 with dangly toys and vibration action.
-Pack and Play - we got a Graco with bassinet, changing table and mobile.  The bassinet was nice so we didn't have to bend all the way down.  The changing table was nice, too, but it's really not that bad now going upstairs to change her.  The mobile played creepy, tinny music and was way out of her sight range.  We ended up just sticking it in the closet.  I would recommend just getting one with the bassinet and scrap the other stuff.
-Jumper -borrow one or find a used one if you can

-baby book
-a camera that takes good pictures
-baby monitor so you can close the door and watch TV without straining to hear the baby.  We have the Graco iMonitor so it doesn't interfere with our home network.  It is rechargeable so you don't run through batteries.  I can't think of why you would need two receivers.
  • The Happiest Baby on the Block - I didn't use all of it, but it gave me a lot of insight to a baby's world
  • The Must Have Mom's Manual

February 14, 2010

In Quick Succession

After a few months of taking pictures of an uncooperative subject, such as a baby, I have developed the habit of taking several shots in the hopes of getting at least one without closed eyes or snot bubbles.  This has yielded some amusing results.  HOORAY for digital cameras and big memory cards!

Exhibit A:  Reading with Grammy

Grammy is now done reading (pushing the magazine away).

Exhibit B:  Visiting with GGM

Got yer nose!

Exhibit C:  What lurks behind.  Da-na...Da-na...

Da-na da-na da-na da-na


OK, so two and three were actually switched, but it's better this way.  And I got to use my Jaws reference.  You got it, right?

February 01, 2010

Penny's First Christmas!

We spent Christmas up at Penny's Great Grandma's house in Ashe County, NC.  It was about a 3.5 hour drive.  We played a little, but she slept most of the way.  Here she is still hanging onto her usual menagerie:  Snortimer, Doodle, and Froggie is up there on her shoulder.

Hangin' with GGM

She would NOT go to sleep and spent much of the Eve swaddled on the couch.

Then we broke her out for the obligatory bow-on-head picture...

and opened some presents.

Opening Santa gifts.  She would grab the paper and pull until it got to her mouth.

"Whatever, give me that paper."

Four generations of womens

Penny and Uncle B

During the night, an ice storm blew in and built up a good layer of ice on everything.  We woke to the sounds of crashing branches.  The power went out twice, fortunately it was less than an hour both times.  The second time was when the turkey was in the oven.

January 30, 2010

The Sixth Month

Since I am so late, there will be many pics, not so much text.  Christmas fell right at the end of the sixth month and will be covered in a separate post.  Now, on to cuteness!
Fun with spoons, still working on our relationship with solids at this point.
Jazz hands, middle
Conked out with Mr. Ribbits
I did a little "photo shoot" to get pictures for Christmas gifts.  The first one below was the winner.
Penny Singlesock
Making Daddy look really tan
Penny and Polly
Wearing some hand-me downs
Christie, in said hand-me-downs
After a work Christmas party, it was wintery weathering outside
We took Penny to see Santa at the mall.  She did very well.  No crying, but, well, just see for yourselves.
Santa!..., oh.  Well, like I said, no crying.