Baby Led Weaning

After researching Baby Led Weaning and talking about when and how to start solids, Alex and I decided that BLW was the way to go. We were committed to exclusively breastfeed until 6 months and ended up starting BLW a week and a couple days shy of Sebastian's six monthday. It was hard to wait since he was showing all of the "signs" of readiness for a month. I could barely eat anything or drink a bottle of water without him trying to grab it.

So we were pretty excited to start though, to be honest, it also made me a bit sad because it's just another thing along with his three teeth that are proof he's growing up and moving closer to a year. Plus, until now he has depended solely on me (and yes, I know he still does)for his food. Me = emotional mama.

Anyway, we started him on Christmas night. It seemed fitting considering it was a holiday and my mom was here to celebrate with us. It was also a prelude to our big family Boxing Day meal. We decided to offer him green beans, carrots, ham, a bit of cheesy potatoes, and a roll. He also had a new sippy cup with some water.

Here is our photographic evidence...

My big boy in his high chair, clearly excited to be joining the family for dinner.

"You mean this is all for me!?"

He went for the ham first.

He loved his roll the most.

"Forget these cheesy potatoes, I want my ham."

Trying out his sippy cup.

The whole thing was very positive and Sebastian was happy the whole time. He didn't gag at all. He preferred the ham and roll over everything else, though I don't know if he ingested any of either of them. He must have eaten some green beans because I found the evidence of a bite in his diaper today.

The following two days, were also good with Sebastian trying new foods such as avocado (meh), chicken (yum!), asparagus (thumbs up), cucumber (gimmie more), and lettuce (not a fan).

I'm so proud of him. Thumbs up for BLW.


She Gave Me a Gift

Something happened today that helped my heart just a little bit.

My grandmother was from Michigan. She grew up the youngest in a large family on a farm. She moved to California with my Grandfather after the war and although she loved California, she missed certain things about Michigan and the sight of snow and cardinals were a couple of them.

When I moved here she always asked me if I saw any cardinals because she loved them so, and even though they are apparently common around here, I never did. My mom said she would also ask her if I had any reported sightings.

This afternoon I took Sebastian out into the snow for the first time. I figured it would be a fitting goodbye, being out in the snow. We made a snow angel for her and then came inside.

I looked out into our backyard and asked her to watch over us and about 30 seconds later two cardinals, a male and female, flew into our yard and onto a tree outside the window. I can't help but think it was my Grammy and Pompy, together again after all these years, showing me they we indeed watching over us.

I'll Love You Forever

This morning one of my biggest supporters and undoubtedly one of the most special people in my life passed away. It was a day I was dreading and a day I didn't expect, not yet anyway.

My Grammy, Evadene Brooks, died this morning after a fit of characteristic stubbornness. She had collapsed this morning and refused to go to the hospital. She died shortly thereafter. She would have wanted it that way as she always hated being in the hospital ("their food is terrible!"). When my mom called to tell me it was if a little piece of me died.

My grandma, "Grammy" named by my older cousin, was quite the matriarch, a matriarch of a family of all women. She was always so very loving towards me but also a bit of a battle-ax when it came to others. If she she didn't like something, you'd hear about it.

A majority of my childhood was spent either at her house or with my grandparents over to ours. Dinners were always a special time except for the odd meal here or there where I or my cousins would pull the ol' food in the napkin trick. She never caught on or at least never acted like she did. We spent countless hours taking walks and going to the beach to have picnics. We played in her backyard climbing trees and I loved dancing for her. When I started teaching Sunday School and working at her church nursery we would spend every Sunday together. That's a lot of dedication to cart a sleepy teenager to church every Sunday. My mom and I even lived with her for 6 months while she recovered from knee replacement surgery. Three generations of women in one house was like a battle royal. My poor mom. It was us against her for sure.

As I got older my grandmother continued to be one of my biggest supporters and I always knew I had her unfaltering love. Life has a way of keeping you busy and even though we lived 15 min from each other, I didn't get to see her as often as I would have liked. That killed me because she noticable loved us coming over. I regret we didn't put things aside and go see her more often.

Her health had been bad for quite a few years and we always thought she may not make it too much longer. Part of me knew she wanted to stick around to see me have a child. It had been a long wait. I wear an Uncommon Thread bracelet which was given to me by a friend during my infertility struggles and she was the only person to ask me what the bracelet meant. She knew we were struggling and was beyond thrilled when told her I was pregnant. Now that I think about it, it was about a year ago.

She loved Sebastian. We would go over and visit her and she would hold him for a little while until she felt she was too shakey to continue.

Saying goodbye to her for the last time, before we moved, was terrible. She kept hugging me and telling Sebastian and me that she loved us. She also gave me a Loonie that she had saved in her desk for years (why, I don't know)and gave it to me for good luck.
The last time we saw her would have been three months tomorrow. For three months she was so far away and now I'll never get to see her on this earth again. I just have to have faith that we will be together again. All of us, my beloved Grammy and my beloved Pompy.
I love you Grammy. I am glad you are no longer hurting. I hope you are enjoying a new life with Pompy and having the best food ever. You will be so very missed for the rest of my days.


Time to Lock Up the Electronics and Other Silly Sebastian Happenings

My kid is going to be one of those kids who takes apart Mommy and Daddy's DVD player and cell phones. I can see it already.

We are considering getting him a dummy remote because he love, love, loves our TV remote. He'll just stare at it and lean out of our arms to try and get it. I don't know how I feel about that.

He seems sort of bored with his toys in general, like he needs more stimulation though I don't know what that could be at 5 months (on Thursday). He can't sit up on his own yet so it's not like he can play with some sorts of toys yet.

Not that kids need tons of fancy toys anyway, right? Sunday, we had Alex's mom over for dinner and afterwards Alex, his mom, and I played Rummy Cube. Sebastian switched off from being on my lap to his dad's. At one point I was drinking out of my water bottle and he tried so hard to rip it out of my hands. Once I finished with it I let him have the bottle and he played with it for a good 45 minutes. He'd chew on it, stick the opening in his mouth like he was going to try drinking out of it, and ripping the label off. He actually got the whole label off!

Another occurrence that makes me fear for our gadgets besides how manipulative (in the motor skills way) he is, is how smart he seems to be.

He already knows how to remove my nursing pads and will do so sometimes when he wants to nurse. Last night as Alex and I sat on the couch watching House, Sebastian started trying to undo my nursing tank. He sat there staring intensely at it, making his old man working/thinking sounds of "Ehhhhhhhhhhhh". After he couldn't get the right one undone he started in on the left one. Poor little guy, he just doesn't have the fine motor skills.... yet. Heh. We just about died.

Oh and we have two teeth!


Mr. Personality

My son's emerging personality is a kick. Alex and I just crack up on a daily basis over things he does or faces he makes. He really is just such a funny, little boy.

Take the other night, Alex picked a stuffed ghost out of Sebastian's toy basket for Sebastian to play with. This is a plush ghost I was given years back. Starbucks sold it and it has the funniest google eyes that make me laugh every time I see it.

Apparently Sebastian agreed. The following is photo documentation of Sebastian meeting Boo the blue ghost.

This last one kills me. The look in his eyes, oh my Lord. I love his "spider eyes".

I just love this kid!


Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand, Six Hundred Minutes

"Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand Moments So Dear
Five Hundred Twenty-Five Thousand
Six Hundred Minutes
How Do You Measure - Measure A Year?"

A year ago today I received this gift and it has changed my life.

I love you more than anything, Sebastian Sylvanus and I am so happy and honored to be your mommy!


Sebastian at 11 Weeks and Moving Day

Our last few days on the Monterey Peninsula were so very busy with all of our last minute errands and trying to fit in visits with special people. Being busy was good for me because it gave me less time to think about what was happening. Luckily new adventures also helped curb the sadness and anxiety.

One of those special people was Auntie Megan. We decided to take the babies (inside and out)to some of our favorite places to eat together. I wanted to have a last meal, as it were, at The Brit and some "Sex in a Dish" at The Crown. It was kind of weird hanging out at a pub midday Saturday. We were the only chicks in the place other than the waitress (Betty). Needless to say I didn't nurse in public on this occasion.

Sebastian had a good time staring at everything, most especially Megan's food. He would just stare and drool.

We got to visit with Betty, my favorite waitress ever and say goodbye.

After lunch at The Brit we went to The Crown for dessert and had to introduce Sebastian to the Xlerator. He was not impressed but we had to take a pic for old time's sake.

The next day my mom, Sebastian, and I braved the crowds at the Monterey Bay Aquarium to go to Otter Days. It was going to be Sebastian's first visit to the Aquarium. We didn't stay long because, really, how interested and entertained can a 2 month old be by tanks of fish? He liked the Outer Bay exhibits the best and actually watched the fish and jelly fish for a bit. He got to see the Aquarium's newest Great White Shark (number 7). I was amused by how many people thought the Galapagos sharks were the Great White and would say so to all around them. Never mind that they look totally different from each other.

Sebastian admiring the fish

Monterey Bay Aquarium's Great White

After a while we knew we had hit our limit. There were way too many people around. We stopped into the gift stores to find something for Sebastian to commemorate his visit. He got an otter book, a sea otter plushie, and a shark plushie. I was wavering on which shark to get and was holding this one near him. He reached out and grabbed it so we figured he chose it for himself. His daddy wasn't thrilled with yet another stuffed animal when I told him. Later Sebastian was holding the shark in his stroller and it looked like he was kissing it. In reality I think he was tasting it.

Afterwards Sebastian and I took my mom out for her first Grandparent's day lunch. Her card made her cry.

Eventually moving day arrived. My cousin Kristin came to the airport to say goodbye and as support for my mom afterwards. I had Sebastian dressed in a onesie one of my students made for him. It was a Gerber so although it was the right size month wise, it didn't fit. So he wore it as a tee shirt.

Boarding came all too soon and I was rushed ahead in the security line making our goodbyes quick. It might have been for the best because I was already crying enough. A nice TSA woman gave me a kleenex and another, a guy, helped me through security with all of my crap.

Dealing with my shoes, jacket, moby wrap, diaper bag, car seat, stroller, laptop and bag, not to mention my 2 month old son could have been a nightmare but it went pretty easy. Everybody was so nice and helpful at Air Canada, especially when they realized I was alone.

I was worried that Sebastian would freak out and cry during the flight. Obviously the other passengers were as well. The looks of fear as we walked down the plane aisle were hilarious. It was as if there were at least three dozen brains thinking, "Please don't sit next to me, please don't sit next to me. Oh thank God they passed me."

We got an aisle seat which we requested. They left the seat in the center empty (thank goodness because I ended up needing that space for breastfeeding)and there was a quiet businessman sitting in the window seat. The dude who was sitting across the aisle from me was noticeably bummed that he was going to be sitting across from a baby. "I always sit next to the youngest person on the plane, no fail." I must brag that this was the same guy who loudly declared, "He was the best baby EVAR!" at the end of the flight. That's right, Sebastian made it through the whole flight with nary a peep. Everyone around us was so impressed. I was just grateful.

All in all the flight section of our trip was great. I have nothing but good things to say about Air Canada. The counter folks and flight attendants were so very helpful.

Then we got to customs...yeah different story. On the plane we had to fill out a declaration form. I filled it out as someone who lived in Canada with my Canadian address. This obviously was confusing and not satisfactory to the customs agent who gave me the third degree while staring me and my passport down. He freaked my shite out and grilled me for about 10 minutes. Finally he said I could go through the gates.

And then I was stopped by two other agents/guards/whatever blocking my way. Original agent must have clued them in somehow and I was told I had to go to the immigration office.

Oh My God!

I could have dropped dead of a heart attack right then. I just wheeled Sebastian, in the stroller, down the hall to the office saying, "Mommy screwed up". I totally thought I was going to get deported. Luckily the next agent was super nice. He understood what was going on, approved my paperwork saying I could bring Sebastian in the country, and stamped a visa in my passport. He said he wouldn't stamp the little boy's because he was Canadian. He wished me good luck with my permanent residence paperwork and sent us on our way. One difficulty down, one to go.

Take it from me Toronto aiport sucks beans. I had never seen an airport that did not allow outside people into the baggage area. What the hell? Here I am, all alone with a baby, immigrating with three gigantor suitcases, two carry ons, a stroller, and a car seat. Uhhhh yeah. So I quickly got one of those roller carts (thanking myself for saving some Canadian currancy from our last visit) and after putting Sebastian into the Moby, loaded all of it onto the cart like a giant tower worthy of the Duggars. That Moby saved my life, for serious. I wouldn't have been able to make it without it. Off we went through the sliding doors to see Alex waiting for us and waiting for us to start our new life.

Oh Canada!


Sebastian at Ten Weeks

Another busy week at Gramma's full of activities and goodbyes.

On Labor Day we were extremely lucky to have lunch with Mel, who came up from LA to visit her mom. Sebastian took to her which I expected him to do. Seeing Mel with him was awesome and I was amazed at what a natural she was with him.

Oh yeah, I got a haircut

We had a great lunch at Tillie's for old times sake. I shall miss the Jive Turkey for no matter how he tries, Alex can't get it just right when he makes them at home.

Sebastian had a female admirer at Tillie's in young miss Alexi who was sitting a table away. At three she kept commenting how he couldn't talk yet, but he could wear her dress if he wanted. Uh oh, chicks are already wanting to take off their dresses for him. LOL To be fair it was a very cute dress.

Wednesday my mom took us to lunch at Nepenthe in Big Sur. It was another one of my last things I needed to do before I left. I love their Ambrosia burgers so much so we went to get one. It was basically another photo op with Sebastian and luckily it was a beautiful day. Sad to think that we won't see this view for a year. I think it I took it all for granted for way too long.

*Warning poop mentioned*
This week was the week of the blowout. When a baby goes a whole day without pooping you know there is going to be hell to pay somewhere down the road, and oh yes, did we get it, all up the back and out the legs. Then he decided to pee on my mom before pooping yet again, sans diaper. After I ran around and got all the supplies and new clothes together he decided to pee again, but only hit himself. You just had to laugh at the whole thing. Sebastian laughed, himself. I almost took a picture for posterity and to show Alex but refrained. Man, it was bad. And wouldn't you know, a few hours later in McDonald's it happened again. This time he got himself and me with the blowout. Luckily I caught it before standing up at the register.

Sebastian also has had blowouts of the milk variety a few times causing him to be bathed a lot. He didn't seem to mind that so much.

On Friday, Sebastian and I celebrated an early grandparent's day, taking my mom and grandma to lunch at my grandmother's favorite Mexican restaurant. It's so hard for my Grammy to get around now and I am glad she let us take her out. Sebastian and Grammy happened to match so I got some shots of them and a couple of me and Sebastian. He was all about the duckies that day.

We were about to leave when my mom realized her car wouldn't start. A call was made to AAA and we waited. Have I ever mentioned that Sebastian doesn't wait very well in the car? He hates his car seat anyway and a stopped car with the car seat is a deadly combo. Of course I was sitting nursing when the tow truck rolls up. Long story short, the car had to be towed and my mom and I need to walk ourselves back to her place (same town)with the baby in the stroller. Out of the car comes all of the baby stuff and I notice that, once again, we have a blow out.

Thankfully, we are just outside my grandmother's residence so I trudge upstairs to her room to change the messy little boy, passing through a room of elderly folks celebrating September birthdays. I felt like a heel rushing through as I heard countless squeals of, "Oooh a baaaby!" but I had a diaper disaster to avert. My grandmother explained to me that babies were the best thing for these folks to see. I continued to feel like a heel as I rushed back through the room to meet my mom outside. I did stop a second to make Sebastian wave to the sweet old ladies who again squealed in his presence. Honestly, it made me sad.

Eventually we got home to my mom's, all in one piece and poop free.

More random Sebastian cuteness of the week.


Sebastian at Two Months

My sweet boy is two months already. I can't believe it. It's also hard to believe that our time here in my hometown is almost over and that Alex hasn't seen us for almost two weeks. It seems like Sebastian will be a whole new person by the time his daddy gets to see him again.

This past week has been busy, busy, busy.

Friday we went geocaching. We had all good intentions to try to get at least four caches found but with the heat wave that was hitting the Peninsula hard we only found two. I've realized that geocaching with an infant is hard. You can't get down and scrounge around well with a baby in a Moby. Even though my mom found the first one, she was a good Gramma and let Sebastian pick the swag "he" wanted out of the cache. I picked a cool pathtag that was a rainbow "found it" smilie for his baby book.

Sunday we got to hang with Auntie Megan and her growing inside baby. I just get giddy thinking about her pregnancy and can't wait for the wee (or maybe not so wee) baby to make his or her arrival. I just wish I could be here. Sebastian and I are going to be heartbroken having to leave Auntie. Luckily we get to see her again before we leave.

On Monday we went to the first day of school at JSS. I had told the kids I would so we hauled ourselves to school by 7:45. Sadly, I didn't get to see too many kids because we were surrounded by parents. I was happy to see them as well but it would have been nice to show Sebastian off to more of my former students.

I had a sort of sad realization as we were watching assembly. That it would be the first and last time Sebastian was there for the Pledge of Allegiance. In a couple weeks he'd be saluting (if Canadians do such a thing) a different flag. Now I'm not the most patriotic person anymore, thank you George Bush for squelching that, but it was a sad thought. I said it out-loud to one of the moms I'm friends with and I think I almost made her cry.

Afterwards we drove to Gilroy to hit the outlets. Carter's seemed to be the only store that had stuff I really liked so I stocked up on some things. I've bought so many new clothes for Sebastian this week I had to buy him his own suitcase. How lame considering I had a small one, in Canada.

Tuesday we had Sebastian's first play date with baby Kai and Sierra at my Bradley teacher, Sara's house. She and her husband are some other new folks in our lives we will be sad to leave behind. They are a military family, however and may be moving to DC so there is a chance we'd see them again.
Kai is 6 months old so he, of course, is scootching around and being very active. Sebastian was a typical 2 months lump on a log. We had a nice mommy lunch and then took the three kids on a walk in an area that I had never been to, in my whole 37 years living here. It was kind of sad really that it took me that long to check out that rec trail.

Sebastian and Mama along the rec trail

There isn't a big diffrence in height between the boys but a big difference in head size.

Sebastian and Sara

Check it, this is how you touch your toes

Wednesday we took Sebastian to get his two month portraits at JCPenney's. he was much more alert and happy than last time which was good. Our photographer even remarked as such. She was very good with him. Hopefully we'll find another good studio photographer in Ontario. Luckily we caught some smiles for some good pictures. Oh and mall = more clothes for Sebastian.

He cracked himself up

Thursday was Sebastian's actual "monthday" and we spent that running errands including his two month pediatrician visit with shots :( I was really looking forward to the measuring part of the appointment, not so much the vaccinations.
See, Mama is not happy

Sebastian was not happy being naked and waiting for the doctor. He made up for it by peeing all over the floor.
His two month stats are as follows:

Height: 24.5 inches, 95th percentile.
Weight: 15 lbs 2 oz, >95th percentile
Head circumference: 39.5 cm, 50th percentile
For vaccinations he had a Polio shot, a Hib shot, and a Rotavirus oral dose which he promptly spit out.

We also continued dealing with the old apartment this week. Who knew you could generate so much crap in 7 years? It has been awful trying to get painting and cleaning done with a little boy who would rather be with his mama 24/7. I'm not thrilled that Alex left me with so much garbage to deal with but I keep reminding myself that I'm sure what he is dealing with on the other end isn't fun either.