Tuesday, September 25, 2012

On Cloud Nine - Natalie at 9 Months

Natalie hit the 9-month milestone on Friday and we went for her well-baby check-up today. She weighs 19.2 lbs and is 28 inches tall, putting her right at the 50th percentile for weight and just above the 50th for height. She's wearing size 3 shoes and mostly 12 month clothes (mainly to accommodate her cloth diapers! Haha!), although she still has some 9 month things that fit.

Our baby girl is just the sweetest thing. She has started giving us more and more big, wet, open-mouthed kisses and hugs around the neck. *Smile* She pulls up on everything, including the dog, and has started taking a few steps while holding on to something (mainly a big 4-ft bean bag chair in our family room). I predict that she will be walking between 10 and 11 months (Alex walked at 9 months and I walked at 10 months).

Natalie's interest in solid foods has grown to the point that she gets very cranky if we don't share with her while we're eating. Suffice it to say that my days of being lazy laid back about introducing solids are over. I have to think ahead and make sure that I have something on hand that she can eat, like sweet potatoes or puffs or fruit, so that we can get through dinner! Recently, she wouldn't let me put her down on the floor because I had food in my hand, so I had to put my plate down first. Then, she let go of me to reach for the plate and proceeded to fuss at me to share with her. So, that day she tried spinach artichoke dip and she liked it! This kid has eaten every single thing we've ever let her try. Other than the artichoke dip, the other new foods she has had this month are plums, grapes cut into 8 little pieces, chicken and broccoli casserole and a teeny tiny taste of ricotta cheese from my lasagna. When she is ready for another bite, she tenses up her arms and face and makes a growling sound, to which we respond by telling her "no" and showing her the signs for "more" and "please". She loves her oatmeal before bed and likes to try and wipe her messy face on whatever is close by, be it the couch or our clothes. Needless to say, we are on high alert during feeding time. Our pediatrician said I could start replacing a few nursing times a day with solids, so I'm going to eliminate the 5 o'clock/dinnertime feeding and see how that goes. I'm not crazy about cutting back too much on nursing before her first birthday, primarily because I'm concerned about her getting enough nutrition from fruits and veggies compared to breastmilk.

A few other highlights from Natalie's 9th month are:
-Cruises in circles around our kitchen island while in her walker. She is a fast little thing and has become quite adept at maneuvering wherever she wants to go! It's hilarious to watch her cruise around and harass the poor dog!
-Enjoys her swing outside
-Crawls around the house very quickly and is more adventurous to wander into rooms away from mommy and daddy. We put a baby gate up to keep her in the family room with us.
-Natalie loves books. She gets excited nearly every time I pull one out for us to look at together. She pats the pages and likes books with flaps and places to feel different textures. I prayed that she would love learning and have been collecting a variety of books from yard sales so she would have lots of information at her fingertips. I recently read a blog post about how to instill a love of reading in your children and the writer suggested reading to your child every single day and always keeping books around when they play, even at Natalie's age. So far, that seems to be working for us!
-First 'real' family outing to a pumpkin weighing competition! I just love the pictures of her from that day!
-She has far less social anxiety and lets other people hold her for extended periods of time.
-Started taking baths in the 'big tub' instead of her baby tub.
-Might have possibly said "doggie", but it sounded a lot like "daddy"...I'm choosing to believe she said "doggie" because she was interacting with Layla at the time :)

I'm so afraid that I'm going to forget little details about Natalie at this stage, like the way she uses her heels to spin in circles when she's sitting on the floor, and the sound of her baby laughter. I just don't want to look back years from now, or even a few months from now and forget what life was like during this stage. I'm so thankful for every moment we have together. Even after a long day, I miss my baby when she's in bed for the night and have to linger over the crib and just stare at her and rest my hand on her for a minute before I can head to bed myself. Lately, I've been thinking that I need to put forth more effort to be intentional about my time with her every day. It's so easy to get caught up with housework and things that need to get done around the house and then before I know it, the day is over and I've missed opportunities to spend some quality time with her. We have been blessed with such a great baby and I want to enjoy every minute of her babyhood, as it is flying by so quickly!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Giant Pumpkins and Watermelons, Oh My!

A friend told me about a giant pumpkin weighing competition at a local farm this weekend, so we went with my mom and dad to check it out. I've never seen anything like it!

And no adventure would be complete without some ice cream! She grabbed Grandma's hands and literally wouldn't let go of the cone unless we pried it away from her!
Do you like my ice cream mustache?

Sunday, September 16, 2012

DIY Subway Art

Are you anything like me in that you have a running mental list of projects you'd love to do except that you'd have to learn a new skill in order to do them? I'd love to learn to knit, to crochet a beanie so that I can make a sock monkey and owl hat for Natalie (I barely know how to crochet an afghan!), to embroider without it looking like a 5-year-old got a hold of a needle and thread, and to be able to fix things around the house without calling my dad or father-in-law to come to the rescue. Another project that I've seen all over Etsy and Pinterest that I've wanted to try is making subway art. There are so many different versions and variations to cater to nearly anybody's taste. Lucky for me, I stumbled across this tutorial on Pinterest that explained how you could design your own 'word art' using Picasa. If you're not familiar with Picasa, it's a free photo editing software that you can download from Google. I use it to crop and 'edit' (ie: remove red eye from) our photos. The tutorial was easy to follow. She included a blank high-resolution white background to download to make getting started fast and easy. From there, you use Picasa's text tool and the fonts you already have on your computer (I went to Dafont to download a few more to make things interesting), to create your 'masterpiece'. After working on this for a few hours (Natalie was soooo cranky, then it was dinner, bath, and bedtime!), here's how mine turned out. I think I want to print this out and frame it to go on Natalie's bookcase/mantle:

Several of the fonts were already a part of my font library from Microsoft Word and a few others had been downloaded months ago, so I'm not sure if they are still available, but here is a list of all the words and which fonts they were typed in, in case you'd like to use them in a project or download them for yourself:

Just The Way You Are (wonderful)
Footlight MT Light (heaven-sent)
Goudy Stout (miracle)
Constantia (adorable, strong, cuddly)
Curlz (playful)
Janda Curlygirl Serif (child of God)
Gigi (lovely)
French Script (happy)
Berlin Sans FB (kissable)
A Yummy Apology (unique)
Traveling_Typewriter (mommy's girl)
Harrington (bundle of joy)
Servus Text Display (daddy's girl)
Cinnamon Cake (light of my life)
Always Forever (huggable, sunshine, giggly)
Gold Plated (blessing)
Grenouille (one-of-a-kind)
Airplanes in the Night Sky (wiggly, sweetie pie, beautiful)
Avanti (Natalie Grace)
Angsana New (courageous)

I found a couple other fonts that I really loved (one called Cast Iron, comes to mind), but I felt like they didn't fit in with this particular project. Now I want to create more word art so that I can use those awesome fonts! There are more than a few empty walls in my house crying out to be decorated!!! Oh, and dingbat fonts also work well if you want to incorporate shapes and flourishes along with words. I downloaded Frames'n Riboons (yes, that is riboons, with one 'b' and two 'o's), which would be super cute for something! I'm thinking of art for Natalie's first birthday...and what a cute baby shower gift, or wedding present! Oh, the possibilities!

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Kindle Cover

I'm linking up with Table for Four's monthly PINspired feature today! I just finished sewing a Kindle cover for a birthday present and now I'm ready to make one for myself!

I used this tutorial that I came across on Pinterest and it was really easy to follow, although I did change it up just a little. The tutorial includes an inside pocket, but I didn't really see the need for one and a friend said she never used the pocket inside the cover that she had made for herself, so I skipped that part. I also sewed the hook-and-loop (velcro) closure on instead of using iron-on velcor, for added durability.

The main fabric is from Hobby Lobby and the brown with aqua polka dots is Chocolate Dumb Dot from Michael Miller. This was my second time sewing with batting and I must say, it's really not hard at all. Trying new things when I sew is always intimidating at first (probably because of the fear that I'll have to rip out stitches!), but it's not so bad once I get the hang of it. If you have a Kindle, Nook, ipad, or some similar device, you should try to make one of these covers! So cute and SO EASY!