Monday, October 31, 2011

My Little Strawberry

This year I was so excited to dress Kathleen up and participate in Halloween that we found three different events to take Kathleen to in her Strawberry outfit. Fuquay Varina United Methodist Church Trunk or Treat & Fair Trade store, Highland United Methodist Church's Trunk or Treat and Halloween night we headed to Mebane to celebrate with the Miller and Doi families. The Trunk or Treat events were so much fun and I could not believe the crowds. It made me very excited for the elementary school age where getting to run around in a parking lot, getting candy and playing games is literally the jackpot of fall nights. And my dear friend Katie Miller taught me how to throw a proper Halloween party for neighborhood kids with ease. She had apples on a stick ready for dipping into camel and sprinkles for the kids. Roasted pumpkin seeds and okra chips to snack on. Chili, salad, cornbread for dinner. And hot apple cider. Can you think of anything else you need before going trick or treating? Oh yeah, one last perfect touch. Glow sticks to keep track of the clan in the dark. I hope to mimic this  party for years to come.


Mommy is dressed as "someone you can count on"!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Kathleen's First State Fair

Calvin and I celebrated our first date in October 2003 with a trip to the NC State Fair. It was a great night of getting to know each other a little better although we do not consider our official relationship to have started until December 2003. The fair did however provide a relaxed group setting with my two college roommates and their dates, plenty of distractions and things to talk about, and no pressure to dress up. (Calvin was already used to seeing me in a sweatshirt and tennis shoes anyways.) So since 2003 it has been an annual tradition for us to attend the fair and we were thrilled to include Kathleen on our date this year. 

The hat and blanket Grandma Luann made could not be any more cute.
These were perfect for keeping Kathleen snug while the weather was still cool in the morning. 

One of our favorite things to do at the fair is eat! We enjoyed a hand dipped corn dog, Al's Fries, deep fried green beans, a deep fried brownie, and a candy apple. Kathleen most loved seeing the goats and watching the other kids on the pony ride. Next year I think she will be up for riding the ponies herself!

As a side note, I would like to mention that my favorite State Fair memory ever was a couple years ago with Calvin on the "Zipper". As the fireworks started on Saturday night we were stopped at the top of the ride facing them for a good part of the show while others loaded and unloaded below. It was perfect.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Fall at it's best

Fall is my favorite season. The weather is so refreshing after hot summer days. I love getting back into comfortable long sleeves and jeans, and I so enjoy all of the fall festivals. Churches serving brunswick stew and other delicious meals; the excitement of the State Fair; pumpkins and all the fun that comes with them; and preparing for Halloween events. Tonight we celebrated fall at Highland UMC's Youth Pumpkin Patch, Men's BBQ, and Women's Bake Sale. I contributed yummy Whoopie Pies with the help of my friend Dalia who also attends HUMC. Seriously, these are easy and delicious! (We left off the sprinkles.)

Calvin and I took the opporutnity to snap a few fall photos in the pumpkin patch. Kathleen picked out her first small pumpkin with a long stem so that she can hold it like a rattle. We also purchased a large pumpkin to clean out and get the now famous baby in a pumpkin shot that is floating around pinterest. I know it will be fun for Kathleen to play in the pumpkin. I'm crossing fingers the pictures turn out as good as they are in my head. (If you haven't heard of pinterest, check it out and sign up!)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Starting Solids?

This past Tuesday we started feeding Kathleen rice cereal. A very diluted rice cereal. She's just over 5 months and they say it is common to start solids between 4-6 months with rice cereal being the "best" first food. Kathleen was showing "signs" of being ready for spoon feeding such as reaching for our food with great interest, getting toys to her mouth easily, and waking up a few times a week in the middle of the night hungry. So I made the trip to Babies R Us for weaning spoons, small food pots, and rice cereal to get us started. Brand loyal as I am, we went with the Explora brand of supplies made by Tommee Tippee. I do love the way they design products.

In the mean time I also checked out 4 books from the Durham County Library about starting solids and was in the process of reading as fast as I could to learn about how this whole process works. I would say that this is the first time every book said something different. I managed to pick up books from one end of the spectrum to the other on their beliefs of when to start, what to start with and how to progress from a full milk only diet to depending only on solid foods for nutrition. I described it to Calvin as looking at 3 different recipes for a similar meal then looking in your pantry to see what you've got and combining them all to hopefully end up with something delicious.

So even though we started rice cereal this past week we are now holding off again to take more of a "Baby Led Weaning" approach. In November, when Kathleen is officially 6 months old, I assume we'll do a combination of mostly baby led weaning with one serving of rice cereal by spoon every day or two. I'll let her feed herself with the spoon as much as possible so that she can learn how it's done. (Unlike one book that suggested teaching your baby to put their hands on the side of the highchair tray while feeding them as to not make a mess.) She'll also enjoy finger foods including all types of veggies, fruit, local meat, and bread. For the most part we are not planning to deal with purees. We'll just have to make sure we are eating healthy basic foods so that Kathleen can enjoy and taste right along with us! It sounds much more fun to me to do it this way.

A question weighing on me that I will save for the doctor on November 11th will be whether or not we need to withhold gluten given my father's celiac disease. Apparently there is research on both sides arguing that introducing gluten early vs. withholding it until after the first year helps prevent the disease in those that are genetically predisposed to it.

Nevertheless, Kathleen was incredibly cute and happy with her first feeding.