Love Letters: Seventh Month of Ella

Our little Ella,

Today you are seven months old. Petite wrists and ankles. Twinkling blue eyes. Chubby cheeky smile. And sassy squeals. I think you’ve found your volume for this family.

Although you smile at everything, it takes a little time to find comfort with new faces. You now voice your dislike of the changing table. Wince at your brother’s diving kisses. Babble to your toys, alone in a room. And giggle when feeding crackers to the dogs.

Every day you wrinkle your nose at new finger foods. But have found a particular appetite for cheerios, crackers, peas and fresh peaches. The sippy cup is your least favorite. But, you’ve dropped a couple bottle feedings without a whimper.

Lately, we’ve watched you wiggle to learn new moves. Eager to crawl, you’ve mastered every method except. Squirming. Rolling. Bending. And twisting. Any move to explore a room.

You love your brother. Watch him constantly. Participate in play. And won’t protest when he steals toys. Unless you’ve taken a special fancy. At times you prefer to just watch. Not be messed with. But if only you could tell Jack. He just can’t stop kissing you. Oh, siblings.

You’re regular with a schedule, but will change course for family activities without a fuss. Nap at the beach. Bedtime bottle two hours late. You’re fine. As long as you’re with us.

My favorite is when I come home. Your smile bigger than your face. Your entire body curves around my neck. Happy grunts. And tiny finger squeezes. A Mommy’s Girl for now.

So happy seven months, Miss Ell. Our easy-going little girl. Thanks for melting my heart every day. And making us all smile.   


Dad Gifts in a Hurry

I like to get creative and thoughtful with gifts. But usually little holidays, birthdays and special occasions creep up. Typically, I’ll remember the approaching date a week ahead. Leaving a little window for invention. And a large hole for simple, quick and rush delivery.

Here’s a round up of some easy, yet unique Father’s Day gifts I stumbled across while searching for our perfect present:

Photo source: Cherished Sentiments, Etsy.com
Personalize a copper guitar pick with your kids’ names, birth date(s) or message. Also comes with a leather key chain case. And the whole package is only $25. Don’t forget the rush delivery.
Photo source: Abesmarket.com

Abe’s Market sells Code SC, an all-natural skin care line “for hippies, hipsters and every man in between.” The line features other products such as “Distinguished, My Ass” and “We’re Getting the Band Back Together.”

Yep. The soles are made from salvaged race car tires and bike tubes. Eco-friendly too.

Photo source: amandaparkerandfamily.blogspot.com

Dress up his beer and baked cupcakes with these free Father's Day tie-inspired printables. 

Actress Tori Spelling gave her hubby a collage of gifts based on traditional anniversary gift for seven years of marriage. For example, we’re on the fourth year. That means linen/silk. The kiddos and I could use a linen-based canvas to create a picture. Hands and feet. Brush strokes. Hearts. Creativity flowing.


25 Things a Dad Should Show His Son

Some warm and fuzzy inspiration for all those amazing dad's out there. Happy Father's Day!

My hubs fishing with his mini-man.

  1. Tie a tie. It’s the start to his life as a man.
  2. Go fishing. All boys should know how to fish. Plus it’s an essential memory for fathers and sons.
  3. Watch a sporting game. Football, baseball, soccer, hockey or other. As long as he learns to appreciate the sport.
  4. Ride a bike. Because all his friends will know how.
  5. Change a tire. Makes all the difference.
  6. Shave. Nothing more smile-worthy than a dad teaching his son to shave. Even if his son’s only five.
  7. Play catch. Boys are born with the instinct to throw balls. So its only natural that dads share the technique.
  8. Treat girls. His preschool girlfriend, prom date, future wife, sister or mom. He should always be a gentleman.
  9. The difference between a screwdriver and a Phillips. He’ll need this to survive.
  10. Build a fort. In the trees. Under the table. Or both.
  11. Throw a football. Because all real men can, right?
  12. Ice skate. Or roller skate. As long as he learns the technique.
  13. Build a fire. It’s a man thing.
  14. Polish his shoes and iron a shirt. One day he’ll have a real job. And he’ll already  look the part.
  15. Cut the grass. Ah, the duties of a husband.
  16. Enjoy a hobby. Golf, racecars, monster trucks, football or dirt bikes. As long as he sees the value of following a pastime.
  17. Care for a pet. He’ll want a frog, dog, snake or similar pet. And he’ll need to learn the responsibilities that come with it.
  18. Fix something. The car, a broken toy, the dishwasher or whatever. He must see that things can be fixed. And shouldn’t always be replaced.
  19. Make a paper airplane. Because it’s a boy thing.
  20. Whistle. While you work.
  21. Drive a car. It’s just what men like to do.
  22. Play in the mud. Then wash up well. It’s important to have fun getting dirty, but it’s just as important to appreciate cleanliness. 
  23. Achieve happiness. Teach the importance of setting and reaching goals. And to always be himself.
  24. Build a Pinewood derby car. Because he’ll never forget it.
  25. How to be a good dad. One day he’ll have his own kids. And he’ll know just what to do.


Ten Things You Need to Know on Baby Sleep

I’m confused over the “slept like a baby” phrase. They must not have babies. I’ve had two. Both completely opposite sleepers. And both with regular and totally different issues.

As I’ve said before, Jack was a horrible sleeping baby. Up all night as a newborn. Needed continious rocking through babyhood. And never slept long periods at a time.

Ella’s the reverse. Slept four to six hours straight consistently since birth. Puts herself to sleep. And back to sleep. Can regulate her needed amount of sleep. And will fall asleep anywhere if she’s overtired. But, she has her share of sleep troubles.

In two rounds of baby sleep, I had discovered a few things all the baby sleep articles/books/advice seemed to skip. Here are ten tidbits I found true of my babies and their sleep.

1. The wakings and hours of straight sleep will continuously change. We rejoiced when newborn Jack slept five hours straight. Four days later he was up every two hours. Repeat until year two. Ella snoozed perfectly for her first four months. Then it was hit or miss. From my notes, it appears babies are not consistent sleepers. Shocker.

2. There is no magical baby sleep technique. Cry it Out, Sears, whatever. You decide. We’ve done several and have seen improvements. But most days are the same. What we - and many seasoned parents - uncovered is all techniques will work with personal modifications. Rewriting portions of your sleep-training plan will only make everyone happy. And sleepy.

3. Babies who sleep great at night can also take good naps. I’ve continuously seen that babies who sleep great at night typically aren’t good nappers. Not Ella. She’ll follow a healthy night with three solidly long naps. Just depends on her day.

4. Cereal isn’t the answer to a full nights sleep. “Once you start solids, he/she will sleep better.” Show of hands for parents who’ve heard this? Little secret: it’s a myth. Neither child of mine showed a difference in sleeping when we started the goods. But, maybe that’s just us.

5. There is an enormous gray area of “sleeping through the night.” Experts say it’s more than five hours. Parents of perfect babies say it’s eleven. Those who say their babies sleep through the night are (a) lying (b) not counting the five times they zombie-walked to stuff in a pacifier or (c) think one night of solid sleep followed by four filled with a couple drowsy wakings is the definition.   

6. A consistent bedtime routine may not help babies sleep better. It helped Jack get to sleep. Not stay asleep. Ella has hit the jackpot when she gets a book, bottle and rocking. Her routine always varies. But her sleeping rarely does.

7.Exhaused babies aren’t always unhappy babies. Baby one couldn’t handle the pressure. Baby two will fall asleep playing she reaches the breaking point. But, the downside is she wakes earlier, which is common of babies who haven’t gotten enough sleep. Weird huh?

8. A baby can sleep too much. Or maybe not. If Ella takes lengthy daytime naps or adds an extra snooze in the car, she usually wakes more during the night. On the flipside, when Jack was a baby he could sleep all day and night. Never made a difference.

9. Setting the slumber scene really does work. Dim the lights. Add some white noise. A baby can’t resist. Ella will fall asleep even if she’s not tired.

10. Give he/she a little time to work it out. Alone. With our first, we jumped crib-side any time he sniffled. Little Ella’s learned it takes a bit more to get our reaction. And most times, she realizes it’s not worth it.

Is there something I missed? Please share in the comments below. It might save us all.

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