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Thursday, June 23, 2011

NINE MONTHS



Bobblehead turned nine months old the other day, and I almost missed marking this milestone!  Thankfully his nine-month well baby checkup reminded me to post an update here.

His height curve is BARELY above the last visit, and weight curve has actually moved DOWN, since he only gained 2 lbs in the last three months. He is now 17 pounds, and 24 inches long...so he is pretty small for a nine month old.  The doctor isn't TOO worried about this, since his head growth is normal, and at least THAT growth curve still shows upward movement on the chart.  But he did suggest that maybe I should start adding BUTTER to Bobblehead's diet.  Yes, BUTTER.  I think, before I get that drastic, I will try giving him more avocados, and other 'healthy' foods that are high in UNsaturated fat. I know he needs fat for brain growth, but am also reluctant to give him something as 'bad' as BUTTER just yet.  One good thing the doc said about the weight issue, is that Bobblehead's motor development is excellent, and its likely that he will just need more calories because he is so active.  AND HOW!  I can't even get him to hold still for a diaper change lately.

He's crawling like a pro now, and LOVES to pull himself into a standing position using any piece of furniture (or my leg). He also cruises along the furniture, but not quite as confidently as he crawls.  The cruising thing has led to numerous falls, most of them without injury. I do catch him when I can, but I also know that he will learn much faster if he actually experiences some of these falls - so I don't beat myself up about the times I can't quite catch him, and he bumps his head or simply startles himself.

Sleep is still a myth...or at least NAPS are.  Nighttime is pretty routine, and he's bathed and down for the night, in his own room, between 8 and 9 every night.  He occasionally wakes up to nurse in the middle of the night, but then goes right back to sleep.  And he definitely KNOWS his limit during the day, with his 2 to 3 hour periods of wakefulness....anything longer and he becomes a cranky MONSTER.  Unfortunately, a 20 minute 'power nap' seems to satusfy his need for rest more often than not.  I remember three times last week that he actually took a REAL nap (1 1/2 to 2 hours) and I celebrated each time.  I am hoping we can get to a point where he takes two REAL naps every day. Someday.




For now I just keep my camera and my Flip handy to catch all the silly stuff he does. He just started shaking his head, like "NO" the other day...only he's not saying "no"....he's just enjoying the dizzy sensation.  What a nut!




video

He enjoys the pool now - enough to make me REALLY wish we had our own pool here!  But my brother lives nearby, and lets us use his backyard pool.  We also go visit my sister often, about 20 minutes away, and they have a really awesome comunity pool, complete with kiddy-splash-park.

He's feeding himself more finger foods, and LOVES playing with his food.  Sometimes when I am spoon-feeding him in his high chair, he grabs for the spoon with his little hands, resulting in a blob of pureed veggies on the tray.  This, of course, necessitates a long finger-painting session each time.  I absolutely LOVE seeing the look of wonder on his face as he makes designs by smearing his little finger (usually just the index finger, but sometimes his whole hand) through the mess. I don't love cleaning it up, but I know if I don't I won't get a chance to see THAT LOOK on his face again the next time he eats.  :)

His favorite foods right now are Pears (still), cheerios, peach flavored puffs, diced fresh apricots, VEGGIE STRAWS, and anything Mommy is eating.  I'm thrilled that he's begun to enjoy some of the food from my plate, and can't wait until he's really eating ALL table foods.  Last week we went on a two-day vacation to Disneyland and I had to pack SO MUCH BABYFOOD.  Totally not looking forward to that with our family reunion next month.

I know the table food thing will get even better if he can actually CUT those two top teeth that have been trying to push through for like a month now.  The two bottom teeth look lonely. Maybe he should ask the tooth fairy about this?  We know her...she lives down the street.  Bobblehead even borrowed her wings and wand for a few minutes:


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

home-made baby food

I've been making about half of Bobblehead's baby food at home, and its easier than I thought it would be!  Here's a step-by-step guide if you'd like to try it:

1. Clean/peel fresh fruit or veggies.  If this already sounds like too much work, buy some pre-cut and pre-peeled baby carrots.  I bought a 5 lb. bag at Costco for about $5, so these are a good CHEAP food.

2. Steam (or boil) your fresh *OR FROZEN* veggies or fruit.  Costco also carries a 5lb bag of frozen organic green beans that my whole family enjoys steamed.

3. Use a strainer spoon to place the cooked food into your blender or food processor.  You will need to add at least a few tablespoons of the water from the pan, so DON'T dump that out yet!

4. Add just a little water to the mixture and puree.  If more water is needed, YOU'LL KNOW, trust me.  Add more water from your pan if needed, and puree again if needed. Younger babies will want a VERY smooth consistency, while older babies will enjoy some texture/lumps to begin some "practice chewing".

5. TASTE IT.  Yes, it will be incredibly bland.  Depending on your baby's age, you might be able to experiment with adding a little onion in step 2, or at least some sea salt.  First foods are supposed to be bland, though.  If something is wrong with the food, i.e. it was not as fresh as you thought it was, your tongue will alert you and you can now discard this batch and start over.  If it tastes 'normal', proceed to the next step.

6. Pour the puree into storage containers.  I like to pour some into an ice cube tray, so I can freeze it.  The frozen cubes then go into a labeled ziplock bag for long-term storage.  This allows me to make one kind of food, say, every other night, and still have plenty of variety on hand.  The little snack-size disposable gladware containers are also great for refigerating individual servings for use within the first 2 or 3 days after the food is made.
fresh baby food poured into an ice cube tray

frozen cubes of mango-strawberry puree



7. SERVE! If you use the ice-tray method, it's best to take out a day's worth of food at night before you go to bed - thaw them in covered containers (like the gladware or tupperware). If you forget to do this, or your little one's appetite suddenly spikes, you CAN thaw the frozen baby food in your microwave...just know that this does degrade some of the nutrients in the food.




8. EXPERIMENT with different foods! Combine a fruit with a vegetable - apples seem to blend well with everything, and take the harsh edge off of things like sweet potatoes or broccoli.  I still can't get meat to come out right in the blender, so we buy a lot of the chicken and turkey dishes ready-made. Last week I made Shepherd's Pie for the older boys, so I decided to throw some of those ingredients into the blender.



Cooked ground turkey w/onions, green beans, corn, and mashed potatoes.


Doesn't look all that appetizing, but he ATE it.


Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Life's a Beach

Yesterday was Baby Bobblehead's first trip to the beach.

He had a BLAST, but I don't know for sure how soon we'll be doing this again.....so much work just to pack all the necessary gear into my little tiny car, then to drag it all out onto the sand, and then pack it all back up a couple hours later. We also live about an hour's drive from the closest 'nice' beach, so yeah. Probably not happening as much this summer as it did last summer, but oh well.

We definitely have to go back at least a couple more times, if for no other reason than to get more pictures like these:


fascinated with the sand


feeding himself a 'veggie straw'




he could pick up and release fistfuls of sand ALL DAY



Could his eyes BE any more blue?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Eight Months Old!


This week Bobblehead turned eight months old. He's been doing this cute little 'scoot' thing for a couple of weeks now, where he pushes off with his toes - straight-legged - and he pulls with his hands to get where he wants to go.

Last night, as if someone had told him "hey, you're eight months old, it's time to DO something" he suddenly began pushing himself up onto his knees, tummy off the ground, like he was ready to crawl. In the end, all that came of his efforts was this incredibly adorable "inchworm crawl".... butt up, legs tucked under tummy, then a wobbly push-up to propel himself forward onto his tummy once again. Slow going, but he's really getting the hang of it!

video




He also started pulling himself up to a standing position, on ANYTHING he can. Unfortunately, he has not yet learned to hold-on-for-dear-life after making that difficult transition....he falls to his butt A LOT, and he cries about it A LOT.

Tantrums aren't necessarily NEW this week, but he has gotten very good at them. I recently discovered that the camera is one of the few things that will get his attention when he is crying for something he can't have (like Dad's Coke Zero) and it is HILARIOUS to compare these 'before camera' and 'after camera' pictures...see the tears turn to a smile as soon as he sees the camera? SUCH A LITTLE HAM!!!





We've added the 'stage 3' foods to his diet to give him some protein, and to give him chewing practice (since most of the Stage 3 foods are intentionally left a little lumpy). Still getting used to the lumps. Also figured out that all of the Gerber brand stage 3 protein choices use RICE FLOUR as a filler. NO WONDER BOBBLEHEAD CAN'T POOP! Well, he can, but his stools are firm and he seems to experience a significant level of distress passing them. Needless to say, we've stocked up on prunes and prune juice. And I just might have to bind and gag my inner bargain shopper so she can't scream when I start paying extra for the "Earth's Best" baby food to avoid that rice flour from now on.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Am I 'Top 25' material?

WOW - got an email to notify me that someone nominated THIS LITTLE OLE BLOG for the 'Top 25 Military Family Blogs' on Circle of Moms!

REALLY?  I'm flattered - especially since this is not even my deployment blog! (If you've missed out on the deployment blog, you can catch up by clicking HERE)

Anyway, to actually make the cut and BECOME a Tope 25 blogger, I need your votes - you can vote for me by clicking  Circle of Moms Top 25 Military Family Blogs or click the pink & blue circle button over in the sidebar ----->

THANKS!

Oh yeah, quick update, Bobblehead said his first word today: BOO.  As in, "peek-a-boo".  I LOVE IT! I have been secretly hoping that his "MMMMMMMmmmmmmm" babbling would make "MOM" or "MAMA" his first word, but BOO is good, too.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Goodnight Moon's MUSIC linkup, week 10

OK, after ten weeks of this awesome dance party, I hope you've chosen to participate at least once.  First time?  That's cool, too - just post a song you're "feeling" right now, and then go linkup at GOODNIGHT MOON for some fun!

This song is from The Tigger Movie, which I absolutely LOVE.  The song itself has more significance for me than I can even convey here, but I seriously hope you LOVE it.  Just listen to the words!  For some reason playlist.com is not being cooperative lately, so I am using YouTube again....and was thrilled to find this video, because it's set to pictures from Calvin & Hobbes, my favorite comic strip ever.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

7 months old

I know I keep saying this, but I honestly don't know WHERE the time goes! 

Bobblehead is now 7 months old, and he cut his first tooth last week.  He also celebrated his first Easter, and tried his first 'real' table food this week.

I've been giving him some store-bought baby food and making what I can at home (peas, carrots, green beans, and apples are all SUPER easy to steam, then throw in the blender).  I freeze the homemade babyfood in an ice cube tray, then throw the cubes into ziplock baggies in the freezer, so I can always just thaw out a little at a time as needed.  Last night we had chicken, pasta, & green beans for dinner, so I just threw some of each of those into a separate pan to cook a little longer, then dumped the mushy mixture into my blender, and VOILA!  Pasta puree for baby.  Yum. Actually it was pretty gross, since his didn't get any seasonings, but he liked it!  Pretty soon he will literally be eating off my plate.

Speaking of which, I may start losing weight FAST if he keeps being so 'grabby'.  I am on the curious baby diet for now....which means I can only eat whatever I can safely keep away from baby, or can safely SHARE with baby.  That means no more ho-ho's, for one thing; and no more going back for seconds - baby won't let me! 

Here are some recent photos of Bobblehead:


HA HA HA Pruneface!


Thankfully he cleans up pretty well. :)



Chilling with Daddy (usually he holds his own remote just like Daddy - but Bobblehead's remote is from our old t.v. box, and doesn't actually work)

Wearling his new sunglasses - COOL, man!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

song linkup (week 9)

OK you all know the drill by now, right? 
Post a song that you're feeling right now, and then
go linkup with Amber over at Goonight Moon!


I posted a musical theater song over on my deployment blog this week, so I figured I would stick with that theme and post a song here from my favorite musical of ALL TIME: "Wicked". The book was pretty awesome, though raunchy/bawdy.  Same with its sequels, "A Lion Among Men" and then "Son of a Witch".
But the play....
the play was freaking AMAZING! 
I laughed and cried the whole time, and I could
NOT believe the set....the props.....the costumes.....
The whole time we were there,
I could have sworn we were in OZ.



If you are not familiar with the story, it is a twist on "The Wizard of Oz", but it's about an unlikely friendship, and how we perceive good and evil....and this song is about choosing to triumph over true evil.  Makes me want to defy a little gravity in my own life!  Maybe I can, with the help of my blog FRIENDS.

COOTIES

Our household is under attack - by a pretty nasty cold virus.  The teenager came home sick after school last Tuesday, with fever, aches & chills, and a slight cough.  By Wednesday he was severely congested and his fever hung around all day, but he seemed to be coming through it around dinner time.  Thursday I let him try to go back to school, but he was simply miserable - the health office at school said he didn't HAVE to be picked up, but I did anyway. 

Throughout this time I was using Lysol on everything, and doing my best to keep Baby Bobblehead away from his big brother, but it was not enough.  Friday evening around dinner time, Bobblehead came down with a high fever (initially 103, but we got it down around 101 for the rest of the night).  His fever just wouldn't break, even when we switched from tylenol to motrin.  Finally, Saturday afternoon after a good sponge-down (which made Bobblehead SCREAM like you would not believe) his fever broke, and has not come back.  But that night his congestion began, and it is just getting worse every day.  This morning it turned to that glue-like mucous that is so hard to clean.  Poor baby.

Of course, it was not long before Mommy got the bug, too.  Now I am trying to care for a sick baby, clean my house for company coming this weekend for Easter, and fight this awful virus - all on NO SLEEP.

I want to call for reinforcements, but there's no one I can call!  Normally my sister would come to my rescue, since she lives only 15 minutes away, but there's no way I would ask her to expose her three little ones to this horrible cold.  And my mom lives about 20 minutes away; she normally could at least come hold the baby for awhile so I could clean/cook/rest/etc but she just had an angiogram 2 days ago and found out that she needs a double bypass, which the doctors are rushing to schedule ASAP - and in the meantime she's not allowed to do much of anything, because her heart attack risk is SO HIGH.

So, yeah, add the emotional roller coaster of facing my mom's mortality to my already overly long list of CACA right now.

UGH.

And hubby can't help right now, since he is out of town for work.  Not like he really helped that much when he was home on the weekend, but if he was here right now, I would MAKE him shoulder some of this burden.

I hate writing blog posts that are just complaining, but dang I am just so sick and tired of being SICK & TIRED!  YUCK.

Let this be a reminder to everyone, even though Spring is here and we are not all shut-in indoors sharing our germs as much as we did in the Winter, you still need to be extra vigilant with handwashing!

In fact, now that I have just spread all these cooties all over my keyboard, I'm gonna go disinfect my laptop and wash my hands AGAIN.  Then maybe I can squeeze in a short nap before baby wakes up coughing again.

Monday, April 18, 2011

where did you come from?

I am laughing SO hard right now, after checking my blog traffic stats.  It's always interesting to me to see how people find my blog.  Did you link here from another milspouse blog?  Or did you do a keyword search for 'baby fat', or 'pregnancy' etc.?

The funniest stat I came across just now is that my highest viewed post of all time over on my deployment blog was 'haircut before and after'......which featured pictures of me and my boys on haircut day.  I wondered what was SOOOOO fascinating about this particular post, and then found that people are reaching that page by doing a google or yahoo search for "Marine High & Tight Haircut".  HA HA HA HA!

So, where did YOU come from?  Post a comment below to tell me how you found me....or the funniest search phrase that others have used to find YOUR blog!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

video linkup (funny)

OK everyone knows babies have different temperaments - a fact that I can personally attest to, since Bobblehead is my fourth baby.  I'm thankful that only ONE of my babies had THIS temperament:



If you enjoyed that, or know of a BETTER video that you'd like to share, head on over to Deployment(again) and link up!  Hurry while the linky is still open. :)

Thursday, April 14, 2011

I miss preschool!

I've worked with young children in some capacity or another for 20 years. (since I was a teenager, for anyone who is now counting and trying to figure out just how OLD I am!  HA HA HA)

My favorite job EVER is teaching three-year-olds.  They just say the funniest things, and when they have a 'lightbulb' moment, you can actually SEE it happening.  Amazing. Three is also the last year before they begin to get all self-conscious.  They express themselves freely through art, music, whatever, without worrying about being JUDGED.


This song is always fun, but in my case it is also a little sad/nostalgic because it reminds me of a special little boy with Down's Syndrome who was in my preschool class for three straight years.  The first year I had him was rough, as he didn't yet know or trust me, had very few communication skills, and he thought it was HILARIOUS to either throw his glasses over the fence or to run away from me.  He was also still in diapers, which none of my other students were, and he was uncooperative with toileting/diaper changing.  Have you ever had to wrestle with a 50 lb kid covered in poop?  **ahhh, the memories!  j/k**

The one thing that always got through to him was MUSIC, especially Greg & Steve songs.  By his second year in my class, he would run over to LEAD 'circle time' if I started with this song.  Of course our third year together was the best, because he really bonded with me - AND he was beginning to get the hang of the whole toilet thing, which made my job a little more pleasant.  :)  His last year in my class was also my last year at that school, as we moved away - to our current home.  I miss that school more than I can say!  I've kept in touch with this sweet boy's family a little over the years, even bought our Puggle from their pet store.  At 12 years old, he STILL loves music - I wonder if he still loves this song?

Have you joined the dance party over at GOODNIGHT MOON?  Go check it out!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Viral Video Linkup, WEEK 2

Why, yes, as a matter of fact I am participating in my OWN video linkup again this week!  I'm shameless like that.

Wanna join the fun?  Just head over to my other blog,  Deployment (again) to link up and post YOUR favorite viral video.

This particular video is another 'oldie but goodie'.  This baby is throwing a massive tantrum, but only when mom/dad is in sight.  Seriously WATCH this:




I have told parents in a preschool setting SO MANY TIMES over the years, "he/she is only crying for your benefit, and will stop as soon as you are out of sight."  They never believe me, though.  Of course, their kids are excellent little actors.  The most obvious are the kids we call 'peel-and-stick' kids.  You know, peel him off of mommy (screaming and crying) and stick him on his teacher.  If done compassionately, this routine lasts maybe 5 minutes every day for 2 or 3 weeks, and then is over.  The child grows attached to the teacher, and as trust develops, he needs less and less reassurance that Mommy is, in fact, coming back.  Mommy, on the other hand, will hang around, drag this routine out, feeling guilty/anxious/etc, often not realizing she is simply prolonging this whole agonizing process.  Ask any preschool teacher how she/he feels about parents that 'hang around' and you're bound to hear some crazy and sometimes funny stories, much like what you see in this video!

Bottom line, moms and dads, SEE, I told you, the crying stops as soon as you are out of sight!

HA HA HA HA HA!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Music Linkup, week 7

Once again, I could not just choose ONE song for this week's music linkup, so I am adding a second entry here on my second blog!  :)  Have you linked up yet?  If not, go see Amber at Goodnight Moon and join the party!  Lots of great songs this week.

My second song choice for this week is by the same artist as the one I posted on my deployment blog - Pink.  I really heart her, but even if you are not a fan of her work, you HAVE to listen to this song!  My favorite part is the line where she says, "Oh I've felt that fire and I have been burned, but I wouldn't trade the pain for what I've learned"

Monday, April 4, 2011

Viral Video linkup!

If you want to participate in this linkup, go over to Deployment (again) to join in!

This video went viral awhile back, and still cracks me up:



Now go check out the other entries, and link up your own :)

Can't wait to see what everyone else comes up with!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

MUSIC LINKUP!

I've been participating in this linkup for several weeks now over at my deployment blog, but this week I could not just choose one song - so I had to start using the baby blog, too!  Ha ha is that cheating?  I mean, sometimes I just HAVE to post two songs, and I do have two blogs.  Some of you follow both blogs, and some of you just follow this one; if you are in the second category, maybe you haven't heard of this weekly song linkup?  Well now that you have, WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?  Head over to Amber's blog at Goodnight Moon and link up!  Even if you don't want to share a song this week, you can check out the other awesome bloggers who posted.  Maybe you will even find a new favorite song.

My song this week used to be on Playlist.com - in fact it was the first song that came up when visitors arrived at my deployment blog, thanks to a playlist.com tool that I had on there.  Somehow it has been removed from playlist, so I went to youtube and found this AMAZING slideshow video for the song.  TISSUE ALERT, especially if you are a milspouse.

The song is "Wait For Me" by Theory of a Deadman, and I listened to it so much during this last deployment, that I think it is Baby Bobblehead's favorite song.  We seriously played it during the delivery.


What song are YOU feeling this week?

PEEK A BOO

This baby LOVES peek-a-boo!

video


he also loves peas & carrots. together.


but not sweet potatoes!


video

Sunday, March 27, 2011

baby blues, PPD, and all that jazz

I don't know what the current statistics are regarding mood disorders like Postpartum Depression and the 'Baby Blues' but I know that these problems are largely under-reported and untreated. The saddest part about that fact is that treatment is pretty much ALWAYS successful!

I'm being treated for PPD right now, six months after giving birth to baby #4.  It was hard for me to recognize that I needed help (or that help was out there!) because this time around it is completely different from the PPD that I had after baby #3, eleven years ago.

I'm happy to report that my treatment is going well, and my little baby Bobblehead probably won't even remember the days of 'psycho mom' that I feared would scar him for life.  :)

I'm also getting more involved in advocacy, hoping to give other women the courage and voice to stand up and ASK for help with mental issues - whether hormonally induced or otherwise.

I found an awesome group called the The Inland Empire Perinatal Mental Health Collaborative, which is putting together a STROLL-A-THON to raise money and raise awareness.  Funds raised will help provide services to women who are at-risk or are struggling with perinatal mood disorders.

I'm TOTALLY going to this!  If you are in the Southern CA area and can come, PLEASE join us! It only costs $25 to enter, or $35 per couple.  The event will take place in Riverside, CA on May 14.  More information is available by clicking here. The slogan on the flyer I received says, "Speak Up When You Are Down"! what an awesome way to remind us NOT to hide our feelings (especially TEARS) as we usually would with something like this.

If you will NOT be in the so-cal area on May 14, you can also donate money to the cause (also by clicking the link above)

Also, if you want more info about my own PPD, I did write about it over on my deployment blog ....finally.

Monday, March 21, 2011

SIX MONTHS OLD!?!

I am once again flabbergasted at the passage of time.  Seriously, where does it all GO?

Baby Bobblehead is now six months old.  YIKES.

He sits up for longer periods of time on his own, though I am always nearby to catch him if he dives sideways.  He's not crawling yet, but does a pretty impressive push-up, and when he lunges forward from a sitting position, sometimes he manages to get one leg behind him like he will need to for crawling.



He still does not have teeth yet, but we started him on rice cereal a couple days ago.  He loves it if I mix it with breastmilk, but the faces he makes if I mix it with water - OH MY.  You'd think I just fed him live worms!

He still loves playing with his baby cousin - yesterday they spent more than ten minutes trying to figure out how to un-tie my sister's shoelace.  TOOOO CUTE!



In addition to Bobblehead turning 6 months old, this blog turned ONE YEAR old yesterday!  Happy Blogiversary to me!  :)

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

And the winners are....

Last week I started a giveaway for Milspouses that did not get NEARLY the number of entries I anticipated, and I am still not sure why (?) My stats show a whopping 78 pageviews for the contest post, though only 5 total entries were logged.  Again, not sure why?

I toyed with the idea of extending the deadline to give more milspouses a chance to enter, but I don't feel that would be fair to the girls who DID take time to comment and enter.

I think instead I will hold a separate giveaway using my twitter, to give out the remaining prizes. 

The ARMY bumper magnet only had one entry, so BIRDIE, you win by default!  Email me with your mailing address so I can send you your cool new Army bumper magnet.

The MARINE bumper magnet had a total of four entries, so I used a cute way to choose a winner.  I wrote the names of the entrants on post-it notes, which I placed on the floor just out of reach of my adorable little Bobblehead.  He is not officially mobile, but he rolls and scoots around.  It took a few minutes, but he finally reached one of the post-its...and the winner is ALLIE!  Send me your mailing address ASAP.

Now, I still have the Navy, Coast Guard, and Air Force bumper magnets to give away - that will be happening SOON via Twitter, so if you are interested, make sure you follow me @deploymentagain

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

GIVEAWAY!

Since this is my baby blog, I don't have as many MILSPOUSE followers here as my Deployment Blog - but I still want to show a little Milspouse LOVE, so I am hosting a fabulous giveaway!  Don't worry, mil-girlfriends and mil-fiancees are also welcome.  Heck, even if you just KNOW a milspouse who would love this prize, you can enter and win it for her!

You probably already know that Build A Sign gives free custom homecoming banners to families of returning servicemembers.  If you are currently going through deployment, check that option out HERE (we loved our banner when my hubby came home a couple months ago).

But did you know they also make tons of other cool custom stuff?  I got to design some fun BUMPER MAGNETS specifically for this giveaway, and I decided to do one for each branch:











You may notice that the Coast Guard and Army ones look similar - that's because I used one of Build-A-Sign's many templates of ready-made designs, and simply customized the text.

It's pretty easy, even for someone like me (cool ideas in my head, but no way to really express them because I seem to be design-challenged).  If you happen to be great at designing stuff like this, you can always start from scratch on the site, too.  I could not believe how much fun I had designing these!

If you would like to win one of these AWESOME bumper magnets, here are the rules for this giveaway:

Before you enter, you MUST be a follower on this blog.  If you are not already following me, click the link over on the right!  You are more than welcome to grab my cute button for your own blog too, but that's not required. 

One entry for commenting on this blog - tell me which bumper magnet you'd like to win!

Additional entries if you BLOG about the giveaway (come back here and comment again after you do, and link to your blog post in your comment) and if you TWEET about the giveaway - make sure your tweet links your twitter followers back to this post, and make sure you come back and comment AGAIN to let me know you tweeted.  If you include your twitter handle, I will follow you on twitter.

So that's three possible entries per person - and I will draw a random winner from each branch next WEDNESDAY, March 16th. Comments posted after 12:01 AM Pacific Time on March 16 will not be eligible.

(don't forget to specify which branch you are with/supporting in EACH comment post, to make sure your entries all go toward the right prize)

What are you waiting for? Get commenting!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

CUTEST BABY PICTURES EVER

My good friend Regina is helping me coach Knucklehead's basketball team this season.  She is also an amazing photographer, so the other day she brought her camera to our 'Coach's Meeting' (which I just so happened to schedule at my HAPPY PLACE, aka Wilson Creek Winery.) 

These gorgeous pictures of my little Bobblehead are the result:










Wednesday, March 2, 2011

MILSPOUSES: Giveaway coming SOON!

I want to start this giveaway TODAY, but I don't have pictures of all the awesome bumper magnets I made - so I am waiting until I receive them, in about a week.

But I wanted to give you all a heads-up so you don't miss this one!

I made five custom bumper magnets at the build-a-sign website, one each for Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard, and of course Marine Corps.  The USMC one is pictured on the right, and it's actually a button you can click to go design your own bumper magnet.

When you enter the giveaway, you will be asked to specify which branch you are affiliated with or supporting, so you have a chance to win the magnet of your choice.

Be sure to tell your friends, follow me, and check back next week for the actual giveaway!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

5 months (+)

I've been a bad blogger again, and actually missed posting a 5 month update!

Bobblehead is now 5 1/2 months old, and still happy and healthy as ever.

The process of moving him into his own room has not been as smooth as I would have hoped, but we're having more good nights than bad ones.  I need to teach myself to leave him alone if he wakes up talking/fussing, and only go in there if he is actually CRYING.  This is hard for me, but I will get there.  Last night I listened to him 'talk' via the monitor for more than half an hour....I kept waiting for him to actually cry, but he never did.  He just fell asleep, and stayed asleep for almost 5 hours at that point.  YAY!  Progress.

This is what I woke up to this morning:


And as soon as he heard the camera, he woke up SUPER happy!


Bathtime has been fun for awhile, and we use it as part of our bedtime routine.  He found his little firehose last week, and now grabs for it every time I take off his diaper - so moments like this one are rare now:




After bath, we dress for bed - but not before Daddy rubs him down with lotion!  They both love the 'baby massage' part of the bedtime routine. It may be hard to keep our routine going when Daddy goes back to work, but we'll see.  For now, it is just so amazing to see them bond and grow and play together.

Knucklehead is proving to be an AWESOME big brother - I snapped this picture of them playing/reading at a restaurant last week:


We're not quite ready to start solid foods, but Bobblehead is EXTREMELY interested in food.  He watches us eat, grabs for food, and mimics us.  Most nights he sits in his highchair with a couple of favorite toys while we eat dinner, and he LOVES the show!  I don't follow the belief that all babies are ready for solids at a set age - just like not all babies crawl at the same time, or walk, or talk, etc.  Our pediatrician said we could start solids at 5 months old, but I prefer to individualize it.  There are actually FOUR signs that a baby is ready for solids: 1) Loss of the tongue-thrust reflex; 2) interest in solid food; 3) appearance of baby's first teeth; and 4) ability to sit up unassisted.  Now, with his over-the-top interest in food, I am willing to ignore #3.  And obviously he has already passed 1 & 2.  But #4 is important, especially because the ability to sit up while eating leads to healthier (and safer) eating throughout life.

Bobblehead currently sits up for about 15-20 seconds at a time before diving/falling to one side or the other.  If he happens to dive FORWARD, he catches himself with his hands (pre-crawling) so I am pretty sure the sitting-up thing will be a done deal within the next week or so.  Baby food, here we come!

He absolutely LOVES watching his big brother play basketball!  I haven't gotten any pictures of him watching practice/games yet, because I am COACHING the team this season (YIKES!) but the other night I got to take this picture of him all dressed for practice:

Last month we got to visit with Melissa, the incredible Doula who helped me so much with Bobblehead's birth:

She bought him a really cute stuffed bear, its like a sock monkey (kind of) and Bobblehead LOVES it.  Hoping I can get video of him laughing at it to post here, it's so cute!

I'm working on being a better blogger here, and to that end I am hosting a GIVEAWAY here next week!  It's specifically for milspouses, but if you see the items and are not a milspouse, but would like to win one as a gift for a milspouse you know, you can still enter.  Can't wait to show you all what I am giving away!

STAY TUNED.....