Monday, February 27, 2012

Watch me Grow

Well even if its not as much as the doctors would have liked, Phoebe has grown a lot over the past six months.  Looking back what surprises me the most is how much her hair has grown!  She had a lot of hair when she was born, but it was so short!  You can't see a big difference in her size between 4 and 6 months, but then again she only gained about 1.5lbs during those couple months.

1 week

1 month

2 months

3 months

4 months

5 months

6 months

Friday, February 24, 2012

Dirty Dozen

In my quest to move towards eatting more organic and whole foods I have found the "dirty dozen" and the "clean fifteen" very helpful.  Have you heard of the dirty dozen?  About a year ago my mom sent me a newspaper article highlighting the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) research on pestiside exposure and fresh produce.  According to the article, you can cut your pestcide exposure by 80% simply by avoiding (choosing organic) the twelve most contiminated fruits and veggies.  And if you are consuming one of the clean fifteen you can save some money purchasing non-organic produce and feel relatively confident that you are not consuming large amounts of pesticides.

EWG Dirty Dozen 2011

  1. Apples 
  2. Celery
  3. Strawberries
  4. Peaches 
  5. Spinach
  6. Nectarines
  7. Grapes (imported)
  8. Sweet Bell Peppers
  9. Potatos
  10. Blueberries (domestic)
  11. Lettuce
  12. Kale/Collard Greens
EWG Clean Fifteen 2011
  1. Onions
  2. Sweet Corn
  3. Pineapple
  4. Avocado
  5. Asparagus
  6. Sweet Peas
  7. Mangos
  8. Eggplant
  9. Cantaloupe (domestic)
  10. Kiwi
  11. Cabbage
  12. Watermelon
  13. Sweet potatoes
  14. Grapefruit
  15. Mushrooms 
You can see the whole list of ranked fruits and veggies here.
Happy Shopping and Happy Health!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Welcome Home Knox!

Saturday morning we went to pick up our other baby from puppy school, and he is big!  Ok, maybe not huge but he had certainly grown over the past couple weeks.  I was afraid he wouldn't remember us, but I think he did.  At least once we got back to the house I'm pretty sure it was familiar to him.

Now he does great with the five basic commands- sit, stay, heel, come, and down.  I thought we would have to work with him a lot more to master these, but we really haven't had to.  We keep reinforcing them, but he gets it just about every time.  Its nice now because on our walks he walks on my left side, (instead of running everywhere all the time and getting both him and me tangled in his leash) goes when I go, and stops at my feet when I stop.

I would say he is house-trained now as well.  He did have one accident last night, but Chris thinks that was more our fault.  He got to the door we just didn't quite get that he was wanting to go outside so he had a little accident just inside the door.  He'll get it though.  One accident in five days (I'm counting on no accidents the rest of today...) is a new record.

And probably the biggest success so far...he doesn't bark or whine or cry when we put him in his crate!!  Seriously, this in and of itself was worth the money we paid.  Before he left, Knox would whine, cry, and bark in his crate ALL NIGHT LONG.  It was awful.  I felt so bad for the little guy.  He still doesn't like his crate and it takes some coaxing to get him in, BUT he doesn't make a peep.  Love it!

He still doesn't really bite or chew things at all, which we are thankful for.  My next several goals are to teach him "off" so he doesn't jump on people, "place" so he can go to his dog bed when I need him to, and teach him the difference between his and Phoebe's toys.

We used Man's Best Friend for his training and have been very pleased with the whole process from drop off, training, picking him up and "our training."  They say training the dog is easy; the hardest part is training the parents.  I believe it.

Knox was 11lbs when we got him and now he is 16.5lbs.
Look at how he's grown-

He used to be able to fin underneath her swing

Now his head is higher than her tray sitting down!

When Knox came home on Saturday he was a happy, healthy puppy.  He played and ran around and ate all his dinner.  Come Sunday morning though we had one sick puppy :(  He threw up a couple times Sunday morning and wouldn't eat or drink anything.  He was also pretty lethargic.  By Sunday evening he had drank a little bit, eaten a little white rice, and hadn't thrown up anymore.  Monday he drank a little bit more and was much more playful and puppy-like although he still wasn't eating much.  He had eaten different food at puppy school so I thought the transition in food upset his stomach and that he probably didn't like our food as much.  At puppy school he was eating Fromms puppy food which is about $20 for 4lbs.  Ridiculous!  I love Knox but my dog is not going to eat better than me.  I mean do you know what kind of raw meat scraps you could get for $5/lbs?!?!  So our mistake not sending his own food with him.

We went to the vet yesterday to get his third round of shots and to maybe get some recommendations on food and how to help his tummy and find out that Knox is one sick puppy!  He had a pretty high fever so the vet thinks he probably picked up some virus-type bug at puppy school.  Poor guy.   I guess that's a risk you take sending your puppy to be boarded or a risk you take sending your baby to daycare.  The vet actually said its less likely for a puppy to pick something up from "day-care" than it is for a baby to pick something up at daycare.  But anyways they gave him a shot to help bring down his fever, some medicine to take for the next few days, and some food that will be easy on his tummy (that he loves!)  He is doing much better today so hopefully we can knock this little but out in the next few days!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Diaper Doodie Update

Diaper Doodie has taken on a new meaning with the introduction to solid foods.  More adult-like food means more adult-like poop.  Breast milk poop was fine to throw in the washing machine- adult-like poop is not.

I had told Chris before Phoebe was born that when this time came we would purchase and install a diaper sprayer to our toilet to spray out the diapers in the toilet.  But now that the time is here,  I don't want to spend the money.  Part of the decision to use cloth was for the financial benefit.  So spending $45 on a diaper sprayer is not high on my list.

So what did I do instead?  I spent $3.00 on a pair of rubber gloves and this is now what diaper doodie looks like at the Bowen household.

Gross, right?  Luckily it doesn't bother me.  After I change her I take the dirty diaper to the toilet, dump, scrap or rinse it out and throw it into our wet bag to be washed with the next load of diapers.

Another option is flushable liners.  And really I will probably break down and buy these very soon.  (Update, I just purchased some Bumkins diaper liners so I'll let you know what I think of them soon.   The liners go inside the diaper next to her bottom and "catch" any solid waste.  So at diaper change time you can simply dump the liner and its contents in the toilet and flush.  They are soft against the baby's skin yet strong enough so that they do not disintegrate.  I don't think I will use them on a regular basis but they will be very helpful for when we are out or when someone else is caring for her.  I would never ask anyone else to grab some rubber gloves to swish out her diapers.  When people keep her at the house I have just had them leave the dirty diapers in the toilet for me to clean out later.  And when she goes to the church nursery or childcare at the church while I'm at bible study I just have them put the dirty diaper back in the wet bag for me to take care of when I get home.  But it would be much easier if whoever is keeping her could just toss the liner in the toilet.

Update- LOVE the liners.  I just dump the solid waste in the toilet and everything is good to go!  The rubber gloves and scrubbing got old pretty quickly...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

6 Months

Phoebe was 6 months old on the 3rd.  She finally started rolling over consistently from her belly to her back at about 5 1/2 months.  She still can't roll back to belly. She is starting to sit up a little bit, but can still only balance herself for a few seconds before falling over.

She is still a very content and easy baby.  She will sit/lay and play with her little toys.  Her favorites are sock monkey, a little caterpillar, and these plastic keys.  Oh and Knox- she definitely thinks Knox is a toy.  I love it when she gets in giggling fits and just laughs and laughs and laughs.  She loves watching everything that is going on.

6 Months Stats (from the doctor yesterday so really 6 1/2 month stats):
Weight- 13lbs (5th percentile- we're on somewhat of a downward slope since she's gone from 50th to 25th to 10th to 5th)
Length- 25.5in (25th percentile)

So the doctor says she is healthy and strong and isn't overly concerned about her weight.  She wants to see Phoebe back in 4 weeks for another weight check and to see if she is sitting up and rolling over both ways.  So the next 4 weeks are operation weight gain.  See below to see what I had been feeding her.  Now the doctor wants me to feed her 4oz of solids at each meal- breakfast, lunch and dinner.  I am  supposed to feed her solids first and then give her the bottle after the solids- as much as she will take.  And then offer her a bottle as a "snack" between meals and at bedtime.  So basically solid foods should be Phoebe's priority now to help her gain weight and play "catch-up".  This seems a little backwards to me because everything I had read says that breast milk/formula is a baby's primary source of nutrition for the first year, but obviously my methods aren't working very well so we'll try operation weight gain.  In four weeks if she hasn't gained an adequate amount of weight (enough to stay on the growth chart)  she said they would probably want to draw some blood and run some labs to make sure there isn't some other metabolic problem.  I'm pretty confident she will be rolling over and sitting up in another month so I'm not concerned about that.

Sleeping- Phoebe sleeps great at night.  She goes to bed at 7:30 and wakes up between 6:30 and 7.  And yes I still swaddle her.  I'll probably stop soon.  I've started leaving her arms out of the swaddle so she can get her paci back at night if she spits it out and wakes up.  She will wake up occasionally and fuss because she has lost her paci.  I used to go in and give it back to her, but I've started letting her find it herself and soothe herself back to sleep.   Naps are still challenging right now.  I read somewhere that the area of the brain that controls nighttime sleep is different from the area of the brain that controls naps.  Interesting.  Maybe that's why she does well with one but not the other. I've dedicated the past couple days and this week to staying home with her so we can work on naps. I had trouble laying her down to go to sleep but I've started laying her down about 15 minutes earlier for her nap (thank you Mary David and Babywise) and she has gone to sleep easier since she is not so tired.  She still is not sleeping very long- 20 to 40 minutes on average.  Hopefully this week we can work on taking longer naps so she's not so tired and cranky.  I miss the days when she would take long naps and even before that when she would sleep anywhere- she's much too alert and not wanting to miss anything to sleep "on-the-go" these days. She used to take a short evening nap in her swing as well, but she has outgrown that now too.

Eating- Phoebe eats 6oz four times a day- 7am, 11am, 3pm, and 7pm.  I'm still pumping...  I pump about 20oz/day and she is eating 24oz.  We are still using our hospital and free sample stash of formula, which we are so thankful for!  Sometime she takes her whole bottle easily but sometimes it is more of a challenge for her to finish the whole 6oz- it takes time and patience on our part.  We started giving her veggies and fruit between five and five and half months.  We've been giving her solids twice a day in the morning and evening (about 2 oz each time), and I'll probably add a lunch time feeding soon.  She love bananas!  She doesn't like peas or avocado, but will eat both of them mixed with bananas.  She has eaten sweet potatoes, carrots, butternut squash, peas, green beans, avocado, bananas, apples, pears and blueberries.  I have some pumpkin for her to try soon too.  I really don't like how messy feeding solids is.  It wasn't a problem for awhile, but the past couple days she has started picking the bib up and smashing its contents all over her face.  She has also started swinging her arms around with inevitably hits the spoon, gets on her hands, and goes straight into her hair...

Diapering- Has been much more interesting with the addition of solid foods.  More to come in another post later this week...

Randoms- She loves to kick water and splash in the bath now.  She laughs and laughs when I squirt water on her belly with her little bath toys.  I love putting little bows in her hair, but she has started pulling them out so she doesn't wear quite as many bows right now. And apparently I haven't taken very many pictures over the last month...

Monday, February 13, 2012

Sock Monkey

 Phoebe loves her sock monkey.  This was a baby gift from some friends in Dallas.  We thought it was adorable and Phoebe loves it because it is soft and just her size.  She can easily grab onto the arms and legs to swing it around to hear it rattle.  And even though it is soft she surprisingly likes to chew on it just as much as her keys and other hard toys.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

We miss you Knox!

So last Saturday Chris dropped Knox off at puppy school for 2 weeks of training at Man's Best Friend.  He should be one of the best behaved 12 week old puppies when we pick him up.

You see this training is WHY we got the dog to begin with.  Yes, we had always wanted a dog, but the agreement had always been that we would wait until we had a yard for him to run and play in.  Last fall we were at the Marietta Square weekly farmers market and there was a silent auction as a fund raiser for Leo Mazzone's fuzzy friends.  There were quite a few items we were interested in so we decided to come back close to closing-bid time.  We decided on our max bids for several items, put our names and bids down and then we waited.

Well of all the items we bid on, we won two.  $1,500 worth of dog training at Man's Best Friend and a large dog crate filled with goodies....  Guess its time to get a dog.

We paid $100 for $1,500 worth of training and $110 for the crate and goodies.  Our max bid for the crate was $100 but when it looked like we were going to win the training I got into a bit of a bidding war with another lady who also wanted to crate.  I won.  Ha.  I was pretty proud of myself.  I want to go to another silent auction so I can beat someone else out for the prize...

Turns out this training package we won gets you the creme de la creme training.  He goes to Man's Best Friend and boards there for 2 weeks while their trainers train him.  They train him on and off-leash.  He will learn the five basic commands- sit, stay, heel, down, and come.  As well as several others that they told us about.  He will come back house trained and crate trained, which are what I'm most excited about right now.  When we called to check on him the other day they said they were working with him on not barking in the crate.  (Thank you Jesus. He whines and barks almost all night in the crate and its pitiful!)

I admit the first couple days he was gone it was a bit of a relief not to have to worry about Knox AND Phoebe.  But then I started to miss him.  And now I'm worried he won't remember us when he comes home and it will all be new again.  He was taken away from his mommy and brothers and sisters and displaced to our house for 2 weeks.  Just when he was starting to get used to it here we took him to puppy school.  Poor guy.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Hearing Update

So back in September Phoebe had a fancy hearing test called an ABR (Automated Brain Response) down at Egleston to confirm a slight hearing loss in her left ear.  The audiologists wanted to keep a close eye on her hearing because these first few years are so important for language and speech development; they are not sure if her loss will deteriorate further or if any type of deficit will develop in her right ear.

The ABR measured her brain response to sound stimuli in each ear.  In November, when Phoebe was 3 months old, we went back for a second ABR.  They were unable to complete the test at that time because in order to receive accurate results the baby must be very still in a deep state of sleep.  As babies get older their sleep becomes more restless.  Phoebe was asleep on my lap for the test and it looked to me like she was sound asleep, but apparently she was having enough muscle movement (undetectable to me) to interfere with the test.  So at that time they had recommended an sedated ABR.  They wanted to artificially sedate her to ensure a deep state of sleep and then repeat the ABR.  We said no.  I'm not going to sedate my baby to determine IF her very mild hearing loss has deteriorated further.

So instead we opted for a behavioral hearing test, which we had done last week.  Unlike the ABR this test is not ear specific or as accurate (at this age) so it will not be able to measure the level of hearing in each ear.   But we figured if she has some loss in her left ear, but fully compensates with her right ear, who cares??  So we did several preliminary tests and then went and sat in a sound booth.  The audiologist played sounds at different frequencies and "rewarded" Phoebe for turning towards the sound.  Phoebe did well and was apparently able to respond appropriately demonstrating a normal hearing using both ears in the sound booth.

Then they put in ear buds to try to test ear specific hearing but they really were not able to get accurate results.  She was getting tired and fussy.  So now they are recommending follow-up hearing tests in the sound booth every 3-6 months until she is three years old and then I think maybe yearly??  And they want us to follow-up with an ENT.  We actually did see an ENT back in September at the request of our pediatrician when Phoebe was about 6 weeks old and it was a complete waste of my time and money.

I'm thinking we will go back to the ENT in April or May after we do our next sound booth test.  Chris and I both think she can hear just fine at this point and aren't really concerned about it getting worse.  Of course we want to monitor her hearing because this is such a crucial stage for language development, but I'm still not convinced (or maybe just naively hopeful) that her unilateral mild high frequency hearing loss will stunt or harm her language development.