Monday, July 18, 2011

Jonah- month 10

WOW! 10 months really!?! Somebody pinch me and wake me's been a whirlwind of 10 months! Not only did we make it through the past 10 months, we also survived protein & soy allergies, 4 ear infections, pneumonia, removing the kids from daycare and placing them into home care, teething (4 times), ear tubes, traveling for the first time with both kids (on a plane, in a rental car and in a cramped hotel room for 5 days) and it's only just beginning. It is truly impossible to fathom that Jonah is now at his 10 month milestone. It only seems like yesterday that I was pregnant, hating the summer because I was so hot and swollen and getting ready for his arrival.

When I look at Jonah now, I don't see that little baby but instead I see a little boy (aka my little man). His smile and laugh are contagious, he's always so happy and he loves to babble! Imagine that, a Shenouda that likes to talk! He says everything from "ma-ma", "da-da", "ba-ba", "da" (thats usually for our dog Buckeye) and he also says "tella" (I'm pretty sure that's his way of saying Stella). Speaking of Stella, she just adores him and nothing melts my heart more than seeing Stella kiss and love on him. I assumed that it would be a challenge having to kids that were so far apart in age but I can't tell you how much I love it. Stella is like his little mother to Jonah,  Whether she's playing with him, snuggling with him, soothing/comforting him, or just reading a book to him...I can see a bond between the two of them that is absolutely AMAZING! It's hard to think back to before he was born.

LOTS has changed this past month...Jonah is now up to 4 jars a day  and only taking a bottle 3 times a day. He's also eating a lot more table food too and it's so fun watching him try new things. We've also graduated from those expensive Gerber puffs to Cheerios. Can you believe that an entire box of Cheerios costs the same as one little container as those Gerber puffs? Jonah is also learning to master the the sippy cup at meal time instead of a bottle. As you can see, any and all kinds of food excite this child. It seems like all he ever does is eat! In fact, when your feeding him, if you don't shovel the food into his mouth fast enough, he will scream and yell at you (as if to say "HURRY UP, I'm hungry!). 

On this night we were having stir-fry and Jonah got to try white rice. I'm not sure much of it actually got into his mouth. I found it in his hair, his ears, up his nose and even in his diaper! All that mattered is that he loved it and he was able to eat some of it.

Jonah is very much into a "discovery" phase. He just doesn't pick up a toy and put it straight into his mouth. He holds it and looks at it (as if to say "hmmmm...what does this thing do?). He's also discovering all the different things that his toys can do and the sounds that they make; whether its pushing a button or shaking a toy to see if it makes noise, he's very much intrigued by anything and everything and will even pull himself up to get to something.

Jonah standing in his toy bucket!

Jonah is such a happy baby and as I mentioned in previous posts, he LOVES the swing (the outdoor swing). On this evening, Todd had to take Jonah with him to Stella's soccer practice and there was a swing at the playground there that he could enjoy!

Jonah will be surrounded by a million toys and if he sees a phone or a remote he will go for it. He's even smart enough to know that he needs to point it at the tv! It's simply amazing to see what he likes to get into. Something as simple as a magazine or sheet of paper can keep him occupied (that's if he's not putting it into his mouth).

Jonah is also a lot more mobile these days and is getting so so fast. He's mastered crawling to the point that he even speed crawls. I will blink my eyes and he will be in the kitchen standing at the dishwasher or even sitting at the dog bowl with a mouth full of dog food. We've nearly baby proofed the entire first floor; we've covered all the outlets, tucked away all of the cords but there is still so much to do. Just today I was telling Todd that we need to tether the flat screen down and baby proof the remainder of the house.

Because of Jonah and his speed, we've now begun blockading him in the family room. We will position the pack-n-play, swing, and tub of toys around the couch to trap him into the family room. Nevertheless, the little rascal always finds a way to sneak out.  In the picture below, Jonah is trying to wedge himself between the pack-n-play and the couch to make his escape and of course he has a mischievous smile on his face.

Jonah pulls himself up and can walk all around the furniture. He will even get gutsy and will let go. I have a sinking feeling that he will be walking soon; then I will be forced to really baby proof the rest of the house! How am I going to keep him away from our stairs!?! Just the other day I went out and bought a Leap Frog activity table because he's simply outgrown his excersaucer. In fact, the last time we put him in the excersaucer he was jumping so hard that a spring broke out of it. He loves his activity table and will walk all around it and push all of the buttons and playing all of the little things on it.

Sissy and Mikey watched Jonah one evening while Todd and Stella were at soccer so I could run some quick errands....and of course Jonah had a great time. Uncle Mikey played with Jonah on the piano and he even changed a diaper. I'm not sure Mikey ever changed Sophia's diaper; I'm pretty sure he really loves that little boy!

Finally, I am happy to report that we went through the painful, tiring and heart wrenching process of "Ferberizing" Jonah. After my pediatrician had a "coming to Jesus" moment with me, I realized that we were allowing Jonah to dictate our sleep habits (or lack thereof) and it was time to start sleeping through the night! What is Ferberizing and who is Ferber? Dr. Richard Ferber, is a physician and director of pediatric sleep disorders at Children's Hospital in Boston, who's methods and variations are often referred to as "crying it out." Needless to say, I was forced to put my big girl pants on and let Jonah cry it out, even if it meant letting him cry of hours. The Ferber method requires that you put the baby in their cribs wide awake so as to teach the baby to learn to put themselves to sleep. You are allowed to go in every 10-15 minutes to talk to the child to reassure them that they have not been abandoned (I would say "Jonah, mommy loves you but it's time for nite-nite and you need to go to sleep.), but you cannot hold, kiss or hug the child.  I used to rock or put Jonah to sleep then gently put him in his crib at night. But then he would wake up in the middle of the night and realize that we weren't in there with him and begin to cry! I have to be honest, at first I didn't think that the Ferber method would fact I doubted my ability in allowing myself to let him cry himself to sleep but I am happy to report that within 5 nights Jonah was sleeping through the night. The Ferber method suggests a bedtime routine; our routine begins at 7pm each night and consists of giving Jonah a bath, getting him dressed for bed, drinking a rice cereal concoction (still makes me gag when I'm making it) and going to bed. Once we've said "nite-nite" to everyone and we're in Jonah's room we say our prayers put the music on (Jonah has a Homedics baby soother in his room that plays classical music all night) and I put him in his crib with his beloved pacifier. If I wasn't a believer before I am absolutely a believer now and kinda depressed when I think back to the 9 plus months of no sleep we've previously had and thinking I should have done this sooner! Thank you Dr. Eberhart for the "coming to Jesus" and reassuring me that no child has every died crying themselves to sleep.

Boy have these past 10 months flown by and as we begin to approach Jonah's 1 year milestone, I've already found myself in party planning mode. Jonah has changed our family dynamic and has truly blessed our family and our lives over these past 10 months. Each day I get so excited to see what new things he's discovered and watching his personality develop. Nothing makes me happier than watching the Stella and Jonah play together... Life just doesn't get much better than this!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

America the Beautiful!

O beautiful for spacious skies...

Wow our holiday weekend was jam packed with activities, celebrations, cook-outs, parades and lots of fun with family and friends! And of course, no 4th of July celebration is complete without proudly displaying our American flag. This Independence Day celebration ....

Here is mommy's little "fire-cracker" all pooped out from day 1 of our 5 day holiday long weekend.

On Friday July 1st Stella and Sophia's daycare, Kid R Kids, had a 4th of July Parade. Parents were welcome to attend and of course, I was there with camera on hand. How cute are these little patriots?

On Saturday July 2nd we attended the 10th Annual Settlers Walk Bike Parade. Each year, our community (Settlers Walk) holds a bike parade and everyone is encouraged to attend and to decorate their bikes and strollers. There are 2 routes on the parade, a 1 mile and 1/2 mile route. Each route is lead by either a City of Springboro fire truck or a police car. Stella and Todd did the long route and boy did they have fun!

Stella and her decorated bike!
Stella and her soccer buddies at the front of the parade.
And they're off......

 Jonah enjoyed the parade from the comfort of his stroller...sipping on some H2O!

Stella riding through the parade.

Here comes daddy!
After the bike parade, the homeowners association hosts a cook out with a DJ, games, prizes and lots of activities for the day! We enjoyed the cookout after the bike parade and hung out at the pool for several hours that day.

Enjoying a red, white and blue popsicle!

This was Jonah's first time up at the pool for the season. Stella and Todd had been at the pool several times already this summer but 4th of July weekend was Jonah's first visit. Needless to say he loved it and loves splashing and of course trying to drink the pool water!

Daddy and his 2 little fish!

Jonah has always loved the water and usually fusses when we take him out of the bath tub at night so it was no surprise that he absolutely loved the pool too. Because my baby is blonde and has fair skin a rash shirt, sunscreen and 50spf hat were all an absolute necessity on this 90+ degree day!

Fun in the pool!

"I'm into everything and like to discover new things!"

Enjoying Cheerios at the pool!

"Aren't I adorable?"

Both Stella and Jonah had so so so so much fun at the pool and both of them acclimate really well when we are out and about. When Jonah gets tired so long as he has a pacifier and a place to crash (like a stroller or mommy's lap) then he is content.  We spent several hours at the pool hanging out with friends and neighbors and it was a lot of fun for both the adults and the kids!

It's tiring being so cute!

No holiday weekend would be complete without a trip to Lake Shawnee! Todd's grandparents have a cottage on the lake and it's a great place for the Langley Clan to congregate and have fun playing in the water, playing with the sand on the beach, riding the jet skis or simply relaxing and watching the boats go by. Lake Shawnee is a private lake located in Jamestown approximately 30 minutes from our home. Because this was our first visit to the lake for the 2011 summer season we headed out a few hours earlier than usual to help get the cottage and the grounds cleaned up. As a young child, Todd spent his summers at Lake Shawnee and he forged so many memories there. It's wonderful that now the next generation can now begin creating their own memories there too. Stella's favorite things to do at the lake are fishing, making sand castles on the beach, jumping off of the dock into the lake and of course swimming with her cousins in the lake.

Daddy and Jonah chilling under the sun tent.

Stella and Uncle Scotty on the jet ski.

Stella and daddy on the jet ski.

Todd sporting Grandad's bald eagle hat circa 1980's.

Jonah enjoying the lake.

Jonah with Nana in the golf cart.

Stella and Todd playing on the tubes in the lake!

No 4th of July weekend would be complete without a cookout and some fireworks of course. On Monday July 4th we went to a cookout at friends house and made it home in time to watch the fireworks in our backyard from our back deck.

Although the 5 day holiday weekend was jam packed with activities and festivities it was a lot of fun and well worth it. A great time was had by all and we created yet more memories that will last us a lifetime.

God Bless America!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Summer Fun!

Stella recently received caterpillars from Gigi (Mikey's mom) and before long we had butterflies! Yes, normally I a buga-phob and I am the one that will stand on a chair if I see a spider or scream for Todd to come kill it but amazingly enough receiving a UPS package full of little caterpillars didn't freak me out!


So we come home from work one day and there is a UPS package at our front door filled with 2 containers of caterpillars. We weren't permitted to open the containers as they contained all of the food and nutrients that the caterpillars needed to form their chrysalis. We waited and waited and waited and waited and 2 weeks later once the caterpillars had morphed into their chrysalis they were now ready to be transported into the netting. We placed the sugar water at the bottom of the netting and everyday had to spray the chrysalis with room temperature water from a spray bottle. Then nearly 1 week later, we were able to see the butterfly emerge from the chrysalis.

Not only was this a fun project to do with Stella it was also very educational and she had so much fun doing it. Every morning before she left for school and every day when she got home from school she would check on their progress and report what she found.

Once the butterflies emerged, Stella began naming them all. I am not quite sure how she kept track of who was who because they all looked alike to me! We had 12 butterflies in all and they were very very pretty.

It was a warm Saturday morning and it was the day we were going to release our butterflies into the world. We took the netted butterfly house outside on to our back deck and we began to release them one by one back into nature. It was such a glorious "circle of life" moment and lots of fun at that! Todd unzipped the top of the butterfly house and one by one most of the butterflies began to fly out. We had to coax a few of them out but within a matter of minutes they were all out and free to fly off.

This was a very fun project to do with Stella. She enjoyed it so much and we look forward to doing more and learning lots along the way!