Monday, February 28, 2011

Camping Trip, Part Three

Considering I had so many photos, I decided the best way to get them up (besides an eight-part series), was to put them in an album. Without further ado...the rest of the trip!

Jon and Caleb slept in the tent that night. Oh, darn, the tent wasn't big enough to hold all four of us.

But I will admit I stood at the window and watched for quite some time, wanting to know exactly what was being said in the tent. Was Jon explaining the joys of camping, surrounded by God's creation? Was Caleb curious about the pockets and zippers that make up a tent?

Jon tells me that they just went straight to sleep. Men.

Caleb woke up around 2am and wanted to go inside, but Jon told him to wait until morning, and that was fine for Caleb; he fell back to sleep.

The next morning, James woke me up extra early, so I was able to again watch out the window, this time waiting for the first signs of wakefulness so I could take a picture. Of course the boys slept horribly outside; isn't that all part of camping? We ate breakfast and played outside until real life had to start again with a morning errand into town. The funny part was that Caleb was ready to go inside. He wanted to go in the minute he woke up. Silly boy. This winter of being cooped up inside has done something to his head!

All in all, it was a great "trip." I'm not sure we're ready for the big leagues, but maybe. Maybe next time we'll try it in someone else's back yard!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Camping Trip, Part Two

So I said we'd have pics of the tent-raising, but I've changed my mind and decided to put all the camping pics up in a Picasa album. But first I have to post these:

Smiles brought to you by Caleb Norvell, who brightens James's face like nothing else.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Camping Trip, Part One

Last week was the first breath of Spring after a frigidly cold winter. On a whim, we decided to go camping!

First...enjoying some time on the blanket...this blanket has become our outdoor soft spot!

Caleb found a worm! The joys of nature only found on a camping trip have begun!

Putting the worm back in his hole...disregard the storage shed and the faint hints of a back porch in the background. We're far, far away...roughing it in an outback campground. Really.

Bye bye, worm! (As a side note, I've found that it's much easier for Caleb to stop doing what he's doing if he gets a chance to say bye to it. Odd, but it works!)

Caleb jumped for the first time the day before this, and here he is showing off his skills. It reminds me of The Office Christmas episode, where the employees are trying to take a jumping picture, and Dwight says something about not having military-grade cameras to catch the teeny bit of air between the ground and feet. So it's not an epic jump, but it's still jumping! Caleb was pretty proud of himself.

He's also really gotten into wanting me to take pictures of random leaves. I try to skirt around it by taking pictures of him, or just looking through the lens and not taking the picture, but then he asks to see the I end up taking random pictures anyway. This kid needs his own camera.

Got a little brother lovin' here! I have so many sets of photos called "Snuggling" or something similar for these two. And James really enjoyed having bare feet! This is really his first time to go barefoot, and he loves touching his feet together.

And that's enough for today! Next installment: getting the tent up!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Product Review: sippy cups

Our sippy cups have come to us from gifts, hand-me-downs, and a few picked up in the store. I remember when Caleb was ready for a sippy cup, and I stood in the aisle at Wal-Mart wondering how in the world I was supposed to pick. Silicone mouthpieces that looked similar to a bottle nipple, hard plastic, soft plastic, spill-proof inserts of different kinds, handles, no handles, insulated, not insulated. Good grief!

My first choice was this Gerber soft spout cup. Caleb's first experience with it was to chew on the rubber mouth part with his (then toothless) gums.

squeak squeak, squeak squeak....

Oh, it was irritating! I quickly put that cup back in the cupboard until he got more used to the idea, and opted for a different cup with a hard spout.

Now that we've gotten over a year of sippy cups under our belt, I've noticed a trend. The Gerber cups all have an oval valve that sticks into a big hole inside the spout. Not always, but often, this valve falls out. Caleb drops the cup, throws the cup, sloshes it, whatever, and eventually that valve works its way out, and then the spill-proof cup is no longer spill-proof. Usually I don't find that out until I find the puddle of milk somewhere.

However, the Playtex cups have a different kind of valve. It looks a little more complicated, but washes just as easily in the dishwasher, and rarely ever comes out. Plus, the Playtex lids have a little holder for the valve for when you put it in the dishwasher, so the valve and the lid stay together while they wash.

So, Playtex has been our cup of choice, specifically the insulated ones, because Caleb can't seem to keep track of his cup, and we need all the time we can get to find his milk before it goes bad!

And that's our sippy cup saga! It really came down to the valves for us, more than anything else. Oh, and we avoided straws because straws keep a little bit of liquid in them after every sip, and it gets flicked everywhere. I think pediatricians say straws are better, but you'll have to do your own investigation on that. I gave them up for the sake of keeping my sanity.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Product Review: bottles

Playtex VentAire bottles. I thought I had done my homework before Caleb was born. My requirements were an angled bottle with a wide nipple, and this is what I found. And I loved those aspects of this bottle. However, there were problems. Really just one big problem. If I needed to warm milk, I couldn't put it in this bottle to warm it.

Something about the fancy venting system coming in contact with water from the outside caused milk to go everywhere! Not only was it a mess, but milk (either breastmilk or formula) is kinda precious, and I was not a happy camper to see milk drain out of the bottle.

There was also the fact that this bottle had no fewer than six parts per bottle. Granted, being able to unscrew the bottom made it easier to wash the bottle itself, but the bottom and the vent were a hassle.

All that said, these bottles worked for us when Caleb was a baby. He nursed most of the time, and the times he took a bottle, we either warmed the milk in a separate, simpler, bottle, or just gave it to him cold (which he didn't mind).

Fast forward to James. When James was born, we started out with little tubes that held only two ounces, and nipples supplied by the hospital. We were documenting every milliliter that he drank, and these Playtex bottles were not accurate enough for us. As he grew and ate more, we switched to the Medela bottles that worked with my pump. These worked much better for us, and it was easy to tell how many milliliters of milk James had taken in.

Then we started thickening his milk, and he started drinking more. We slit open all the bottle nipples to allow the thickened milk through, but eventually he outgrew the 5 oz. size. He also started sucking harder, so we reverted back to the freebie hospital nipples and cut smaller slits in them. By this time, I'd realized that he did just fine with a plain-jane bottle, and we were mangling up the nipples, no matter how advanced, by cutting Xs in them. We no longer had to document every ounce, so we decided to go basic.

Gerber First Essentials. Cheapo, simple, and just what we needed. We're still using the hospital nipples until we run out of our supply, though these nipples look just about the same. James doesn't get gassy, he doesn't get colicky, and we even manage to feed him upright through most of his feeding, despite the lack of an angled bottle. The narrow nipple doesn't seem as natural or comfortable, and if I'm able to nurse my next child, I will probably look for another wide-base nipple to avoid confusion, but for now this works for us.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Product Review: IKEA Dinnerware

I am a big fan of everything IKEA when it comes to Caleb's eating.

His plates and bowls, his super-coverage bib for Mexican food, his forks, and even his placemat...all IKEA. And once he masters the regular cup, we've got those, too!

We first got this set when Sophie was old enough to use plates, and I didn't have anything that was sturdy plastic. For two dollars for a set of six, it wasn't a big deal for me to grab a set. And we use them all the time now!

If you have kids or have lots of kids over to your house, I'd highly recommend these, especially the plates and bowls.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

James is tickled that Caleb is coming to join him.

I love the look in James's eyes.

Caleb is holding James's hand. "I love you, James."

Holding hands again, even during play

Can't say I didn't see that one coming!

I love little boy socks!

Trying to suck his thumb...or at least chew on it.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Little Boys

Hey, it's me, Caleb! I'm with my friend Owen!

Owen's silly! He's trying to get me!

Haha! We're funny. I make Owen laugh!

Owen is such a nice baby.

We share secrets.

Let's go, Owen! Let's go play!

Friday, February 11, 2011


James with his friend Owen

'Sup? It's me, James, with my friend Owen.

Dude, are you touching me?

Say what?

Listen buddy, if you're trying to take my overalls, you outgrew these a long time ago.

Gotta love babies. Together...and yet not.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

King Caleb

Caleb loves to be a king!

Or a prince.
Either is fine with him.

What I love is that when he gets on these "King Caleb" kicks,

he calls me "Queen Mommy."

Yep. I'm all about that.

all photos taken January 18, 2011