Monday, December 22, 2008

Still Snowing...

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We got even more snow! I'd guess it's around 10 inches to a foot, which is very much not normal (most snow in Portland in the last 40 years). Last night I walked to a nearby store and bought Gavin some rain boots. Wearing those and not putting on his snow suit made for a much more pleasant time in the snow today. He ended up enjoying the weather reasonably well, especially kicking or hitting the snow and watching it fly.

Kicking Snow

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Saturday, December 20, 2008

A Week of Snow

We had the first snow this winter last Sunday, and every day since then there has been at least snow on the ground, with most days bringing more snow. For all you folk who don't live in the Portland area, this is NOT normal! I don't think I've ever had a whole week of snow anywhere I've ever been, much less lived permanently. We've pretty much stayed at home and gone outside to play in it a few times. Gavin likes it as long as he is being held but is not happy if we set him down! He loves to look out the window and watch the flakes fall, though. The forecast for tonight is for ice, though, which is not nearly as fun. I am a wimp when it comes to driving in "winter weather," mainly because I tried driving in Gresham during the winter storm we had in January 2004 (lots of ice) and barely made it. I got stuck on the top of 2 hills (thankfully the residents who lived at the top of the hills were out helping/pushing), and I watched the semi I was behind slip on a big patch of ice just before my Ford Ranger slipped on the same big patch of ice. Snow (only) - no big deal. Ice - I'll stay inside my house and out of the ditch, thank you.

I took this photo this morning around 11:30, when we had about an inch accumulated. It's 1pm now and we have about 1.5 inches. :)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

We are in Georgia now visiting my family and we were in Tennessee for Thanksgiving. We're having a great time - it's always so nice to see my family. Gavin loves his Mimi, Papa and Aunt Tiffany! My dad took this video of Gavin playing in his truck while we were in Tennessee. Enjoy!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Three Things

Okay, second thing*: Funny story - a few nights ago Gavin was up around 1am and I was nursing him. He has been congested at night recently, so he sounded like he was snoring (or snorting) every time he breathed. All the sudden he unlatched and said "pig!" and made the pig-snort sound that we've taught him, then went right back to nursing. What a crazy guy!

Third thing: My prefolds have been smelling very strongly like ammonia as soon as Gavin urinates and seem to be giving him a diaper rash. I don't think it's just his urine, because when we've used disposables it smells fine and I don't think he gets the rash. I remember reading (a year ago or more?) that it might be caused by a buildup of detergent in the prefolds, and possibly using white vinegar in the wash to help get rid of this problem, but I'm not exactly sure how to do it. To any of you who have had this problem, what did you do? If you used vinegar, how did you do it? (i.e., what type of cycle did you use, how much vinegar, how many cycles did you have to run until it worked, etc.)

*Yes, I can count. No, I didn't forget to write the first thing. Caltech was quirky. Sometimes I revert. Sorry to all of you who have to put up with it.

Sunday, November 9, 2008


Last year we decided to start thinking about the Christmas season a little differently than we have in the past by giving more "relational" gifts - gifts of spending time with people and making things using our talents and abilities rather than just buying (sometimes useless and forgotten) presents. It was part of Advent Conspiracy, a movement(?) among churches in our region to get back to the heart of Christmas - giving something of true worth, giving of ourselves, like Christ gave for us - instead of indulging in the consumerism so prevalent in our culture. And, the money we had budgeted for Christmas didn't spend by giving these relational gifts we gave to those in need - people who don't have clean drinking water, children in our city whose parents can't afford the necessities, the homeless, people living on a nearby Indian reservation.

This year we are participating again and hoping to implement the idea of giving relational gifts even more. We have found that it's a great idea but can be difficult to do when it comes right down to it, partially because we have felt (by our own fault) limited by others' expectations and partially because it requires a lot more time and a whole lot more thought than just buying a gift on someone's wishlist (or whatever other thing we could come up with). I think when I was growing up my family did a great job keeping the focus away from getting stuff and more on Jesus during Christmas, and I want to raise our children to give (and receive) in celebration - and emulation - of God's gift to us of Himself.

Halloween, a little late

We borrowed a costume from a friend to dress Gavin up for Halloween (thanks Rae Ann!!!). It was a pretty low-key evening - we took him to some neighbors' homes to show him off in his cute skunk outfit and then came back home. It was a little late and he wasn't in the best of moods for picture-taking, so we put the costume back on him a few days later for photos.

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Friday, November 7, 2008

Large Numbers of Photos

I am currently in the process of adding 284 photos to our flickr page taken from July to now. They will probably all be uploaded by noon tomorrow (Saturday), but possibly tonight. Have fun browsing!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Teeth, Amended again

Today I noticed that Gavin's first molar on the right bottom has spikey pieces poking through. I'm not sure if I was wrong or not about his right bottom canine, then - I might have mistaken spikey molar pieces for the canine. It's hard to tell, since he really doesn't like me poking around inside his mouth. I did confirm that there are not any more through on the bottom left (yet), but I have no good way of finding out if there's anything going on up on top.

We are still not on the "normal" schedule I described a few days ago; I am not sure if Gavin's later morning waking time (8:15 this morning - yay for extra sleep!) is temporary, permanent, or temporarily permanent. I'll take it for now, though! I think his actively moving teeth must be making him pretty uncomfortable, so maybe when they slow down, his schedule will even back out. Hopefully his mood will even back out, too - we've had a few tough afternoons lately. I feel bad for him because it's obvious that something is really bothering him, but I am not interested in letting him get away with all the things he knows he's not supposed to do (especially when he precedes the naughty action by saying "no," which means he knows whatever it is is not allowed). I've avoided using Tylenol (or any other drugs) almost completely so far in this teething episode, partially in hopes that he will continue to get used to teething and also because it's rare that he is extremely bothered for more than an hour or so.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Video of Gavin "Singing"

The video I mentioned in my post yesterday can be seen on my facebook profile if you're my facebook friend (it's called "Gavin Singing and Dancing"). Hopefully that link worked, but I'm not yet familiar enough with facebook to really know how to link to it.

Random List

More random things I thought about that should be included in the Gavin updates:

Gavin has been occasionally putting two words together for a couple weeks now, but there's usually at least a second or so between them. Like "water... drink", or "up... please". I forgot to mention, too, that he loves to make lots of animal sounds or, in some cases, motions - like "waddle waddle" for penguin (while waddling himself - it cracks me up every time).

He's also been starting to pretend lately, maybe beginning about 2-3 weeks ago, mainly with telephones. He picks up pretty much anything, puts it to his ear and says "hello" - including his monkey's tail tonight in the car. He also has started playing pattycake with his own feet (and asking us to do it with him, too, specifically the "prick" part) and tried to do it to my feet yesterday and his monkey's feet today.

We are on day 3 of starting to teach Gavin to read, and I think he's starting to like it. I am using only 3 words at once (so I don't max out his attention span), and he started repeating them after me this morning. It seemed like he was excited when he started to understand the concept that the letters he is seeing are the words I am saying. We haven't exactly followed the book's outline any day so far (the first day I think I did it totally wrong), but I think it is still going well. By the way, the book we are using is How to Teach Your Baby to Read by Glenn and Janet Doman.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Teeth and Rock Band

We discovered today that Gavin has actually cut 2 teeth (lateral incisor and canine) on the left side very recently, rather than the one I thought previously. No wonder he's been irritated! I think both of those are starting to push through on the left side, too.

This afternoon we hung out with some of Chad's high school friends and played Rock Band. Gavin tried to help Chad play the drums but wasn't super great at sitting and letting Chad direct his hands for more than a couple seconds. He loved dancing, though, especially when we happened to play his current favorite song - Are You Gonna Be My Girl by Jet (I actually sang this one, since it was one of the very few that I knew). Yeah, I know it's probably not the best song to be his very favorite, but at least he doesn't understand the words yet. :) He loves the beat and my mother-in-law had it on her phone as a ring tone for a while, which is how he heard it in the first place. She would play it for him and lip-sync to it, and for a while every time he heard it he would move his mouth and furrow his brows during the singing parts (as long as he didn't notice people watching him!). Now he does the funny mouth gesture thing to ask to hear the song. I think someone got a funny video of him doing it at some point, but I don't currently have access to it.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Happy Autumn!

I guess it's time to quit my blog hiatus that's been going on for over a month and a half! There have been many fun things happening in the Young household as of late, most of which are centered around that little redhead who is currently sleeping downstairs. The autumn season here in Portland has been absolutely beautiful, and I am so glad that I am not working and that Gavin and I have been able to be outside enjoying the leaves and sunshine!

Vocabulary: Gavin's verbal skills and vocabulary have continued to develop rapidly. He will be 15 months old in 4 days, and he has somewhere between 120 and 150 words in his working vocabulary. Many of them sound exactly correct (like apple, bus, mama, daddy, Amy, Papa, bubble, bath, etc.). Quite a few are close and recognizable by other people, but not exactly pronounced (like applesauce, strawberry, bicycle, avocado, piano, picture etc.). Then there are many that are good attempts, and we know what he means but others wouldn't (like guitar, shake, tower, truck, etc.). And then there are a few that it takes us several days (or weeks!) to figure out (like zebra - pronounced "ah-bee"). Probably the most amusing right now is "truck," because about half the time the "tr" comes out as a very clear "f". We are hoping he learns the "tr" sound soon so we don't get lots of funny looks when Gavin gets excited about seeing trucks! When he's in the mood, Gavin will repeat every word you say, often quite well, and sometimes add them to his vocabulary. He is probably learning (and adding to his working vocabulary) 2-3 new words every day, on average. He also loves to read books with us and points out and names all kinds of things, often asking what new things are and sometimes remembering a particular picture (like a baby) and flipping through the book until he finds it.

Mobility: Gavin loves to walk and run and lately has been jumping (on the couch and in his crib but not on the floor yet) and kicking (boxes, not people!). He still has never done the traditional crawl, but he did come close while on our bed the other day. He pretty much never crawls (Gavin-style) anymore since he can get from the floor to standing without any outside assistance. He still randomly falls down for no obvious (to us) reason sometimes. He likes to do somersaults, but has to have (major) assistance in flipping all the way over.

Other Fun Stuff: We are currently working on learning colors, and Gavin knows yellow and purple, mostly. I asked him today to bring me a yellow block, and he found both of them in the pile (he only has 2) and brought them to me. But on the other hand, he keeps pointing to lots of things and saying "yellow," although I am not sure if he is actually trying to say "color" instead.

We are also starting to teach Gavin to read. My mom and Chad's dad started teaching each of us to read when we were very little (somewhere between 18 months and 2 years old, I think), and we thought it would be a fun thing to do with Gavin, especially because he has always loved books so much. The key is that we want it to be fun for him, partially to teach him that learning is wonderfully fun and fulfilling and not a chore. We both feel like our parents did a great job instilling in us a love for learning, and we want to pass that on to Gavin, too.

We went to the zoo today during the few dry hours of the afternoon so Gavin could see the animals and had a good time. Gavin got a zoo pass from Chad's parents for his birthday, so it makes it easy to go just for a short time and not feel like we've wasted $20 if it starts raining half an hour after we get there or if we don't have a lot of time.

Eating, Sleeping, etc.: The last week or so has been a little out-of-whack for us - I think Gavin is teething, having a growth spurt, and is a little stopped up in the digestive area, so he has ventured into some never-before-seen territory. Like taking a 2-hour-long nap. Two days in a row! And sleeping 14 hours one night, 12 of it straight through. I think today we might be back to normal, though, since I'm pretty sure the tooth came through and he has had reasonable bowel movements today. Normal currently is defined as we are back to ~7am waking, ~7pm sleeping, and one 45-minute to 1.5-hour nap around 12:30 or 1pm. Speaking of teeth, he has 4 on top (the central and lateral incisors) and, as of today or maybe yesterday, 3 on bottom (central incisors and right lateral incisor).

Gavin's nursing habits seem to increase significantly if something is bothering him, but "normal" is once when he wakes up, once before his nap, and once before bed. Sometimes there is an additional nursing during a quite time around 9am (when he used to take a morning nap), and sometimes he wakes up around 5:30am or 6am and nurses and goes back to sleep and then often doesn't nurse when he wakes up for the day.

As far as his main nourishment goes, Gavin eats all kinds of things and is getting better at dealing with tougher textured foods, like chicken. He has definite likes and dislikes, but they seem to change fairly often, and it seems that sometimes he gradually accepts something he hasn't liked previously if we continue to offer it on many occasions (but don't force him to eat it when he rejects it). I think we need to do a better job at giving him a wide variety of vegetables - it seems like we slacked a little while we were getting our vegetable CSA this summer because Gavin couldn't eat or didn't like most of the vegetables we got (like lettuce, cabbage, tomatoes, cucumber, green pepper, etc), and we certainly didn't need to buy any more vegetables - we had a hard enough time figuring out what to do with everything so it didn't go bad. (We still really liked getting the farmshare, though - we certainly ate a lot more vegetables ourselves, and it will work out better for Gavin next year when he has more teeth!)

Gavin seems to actually like a little spice (meaning heat) in his food - we gave him bites of our Mexican beans and our gumbo when we were eating them, and those immediately became his favorite thing to eat. Neither of these would I consider "hot" by any means, but there was detectable spiciness in them even to me, and I like the heat.

Okay, enough of the updates for now - I need to save something to write later! I am going to try posting every day this month (but probably won't sign up fro NaBloPoMo since we are going to be visiting Georgia and Tennessee at the end of the month and I don't want the stress of trying to find internet access every day while traveling without a laptop and with a small child). Perhaps I will make it a priority to get our photos uploaded to our flickr page, too, while I'm updating our blog more regularly. :)

At the Zoo

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Eating an Apple

I know I am long overdue for a good, long post, but in the meantime, enjoy Gavin trying to eat an apple today at lunch and saying "apple", "please", and "thank-you". :) (And sorry for the bad video quality - I only had my cell phone handy.)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Diaper Blowout

We had our first major diaper blowout today. For those of you who use cloth diapers (and wash them out in the toilet), you'll understand when I say it took 4 flushes to get all the nasty out of the diaper, pants and onesie! Ick! We both had to take baths, and I also needed to change clothes. Most of the time, the cloth diapers do an incredible job of holding everything in, especially compared to when I have used disposables, but sometimes the quantity is just too much, I guess! This is one time in my life when I have been thankful to have a nasty cold so that I can't smell anything. :)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Happy Birthday!

Happy birthday, Gavin! (Well, yesterday really. We were so busy with birthday activities that I didn't get to post.) Gavin enjoyed his birthday cake and opening his presents.

Gavin and His Cake

Gavin's Cake

It's hard to believe that he was born a whole year ago! Here are photos of Gavin then and now:

Gavin Sleeping

Being Weighed

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Future Photographer

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Chad and I were talking today about how amazing it is to watch Gavin learn. It is so fun to be able to communicate with him and to see him figure things out.

Today he learned two more signs - "please" and "hot". We had used these two signs with him only once or twice before today, so I was pretty amazed that he picked them up so quickly. I think the thing that really solidifies a sign in his mind is for us to take his hand and help him do it himself. After we've helped him once, he's pretty much got it. At least, that's how it worked the other day for "hat" and today for "please," but he figured "hot" out on his own today.

Gavin was enthralled with the power drill that Chad was using to put up our new cellular blinds today. He loved touching the part that rotates (while it was going SLOWLY and couldn't hurt him - don't worry) and would constantly ask to see it while Chad was trying to use it. He ended up saying "drill" quite clearly once. He watches our mouths and wrinkles his eyebrows as if to ask us to say a word more slowly so he can figure out how to say it himself.

Gavin's little personality is growing, too, which is fun and sometimes requires discipline. Up to this point, he has almost never showed affection for us by snuggling unless he was nursing or, very occasionally, when it was time to go to sleep. Today at church he put his head on Chad's chest and laid there happily many different times and for several minutes at a time. He also has been expressing his desires a lot more loudly and demanding-ly lately, but, amazingly to me, when I tell him not to have a bad attitude or to say please he understands and (maybe half the time) changes his tone.

I think Gavin is also trying to run. Or, at least, whatever running looks like for a one-year-old! Let's just say at times he is definitely walking significantly faster than at other times. He has almost completely given up the "mummy walk" and keeps his hands either right next to his shoulders (with elbows bent) or near his pants pockets while walking now.

Friday, August 1, 2008

First "Real" Shoes


Gavin and I went to get his first pair of "real" shoes a few days ago. By "real," I mean that they are particularly made for walking (with thicker soles) and that we actually tried them on his feet in the store. I hope I end up liking how they fit and wear because I certainly love how they look! I haven't come across a lot of boy's shoes (with soles) that I love, but I really like this brand (See Kai Run). We have also ordered a couple pairs of Preschoolians for Gavin, but they haven't come in yet.


I realized the other night (as I was trying to fall asleep and failing) that I could count 17 words that Gavin says off the top of my head. So, I thought maybe I should try to write down a list of the words he says currently, especially since it's almost his one-year birthday and I will probably enjoy reading next year about what he was doing at this time this year. So, here we go:

Recognizable words (26):
grandma (ma-mah)
grandpa (bam-pah)
apple (a-puh)
diaper (by-puh)

Not-so-recognizable words, but at least I've figured out what he means (5):
water (bah-puh, sounds almost the same as apple)
car (kkkkk)
key (kkkkk, sounds the same as car, currently)
hat (mostly not making any sound with his mouth open like he wants to say hhhh)
hot (haaaaa - all breath, no vocal cords)

Has said these at least once or twice but aren't a part of his working vocabulary (3):
avocado (ah-do)
cherry (cheh-hee)
turtle (tuh-tul)

He also does a few signs, but since he's been so verbose lately and learning new words so easily, I didn't want to distract him with doing lots of signs instead of words (since the whole point of the signs is to eventually get to the words). Currently he signs milk, more, eat, water, music, all done and hat (music is his own made-up sign, which is his version of dancing).

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Art of "In"

For quite a while now, Gavin has been a zealous supporter and implementer of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. If I organize the diaper bag or put the board books back on the shelf, within minutes the diaper bag contents or books are strewn about the floor. Of course, if I just leave the books on the floor in front of the bookshelf, they generally stay in their place (at least equilibrium is not books scattered all over every room of the house - yet). However, just yesterday Gavin began to learn the art of putting things IN in addition to pulling things OUT. We put plastic shape toys into the box and then took them out again, and he seemed to like it. Only trouble is I also saw him trying to put a diaper into the heater vent yesterday (we have an old house so our heater vents are in the wall at floor level and have wide enough slits to let all kinds of things through). Oh well, at least he can help put his toys in the toy basket, right?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fun at the Park

I figured today was a great day to go to the park since it wasn't too hot or sunny but was still nice. Gavin managed to get himself soaked in the water fountain and had a great time playing on the slide, swings and jungle gym. He is pretty good at walking around by himself on the uneven ground, but he looks so funny because he always has his hands out in front of him. Another mom called it the "mummy walk," and I agree. I took the camera so I could try out some things I've been learning in a beginning photography class, so I caught him in action!

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Photography Note - none of these photos have been altered post-capture other than cropping on the middle one.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Tooth Number Three

This morning we realized Gavin has cut his third tooth (top right)! We wondered yesterday why he was so out of sorts, and that must have been it. Weird, though, because he wasn't cranky for 6 or 7 weeks beforehand; it kind of sneaked up on us. But most likely this one was on its way while the second bottom one was cutting, so perhaps that's why he was extra unhappy with tooth number two!

Gavin keeps adding new words to his vocabulary - like diaper, bird, Lexi, Amy and Grandpa. Recently we've been playing the "what sound does [insert animal or other noise-making thing] make?" game, mostly with me answering for him (though he'll sometimes make the elephant noise but hasn't done the sign for it yet).

I am truly enjoying Gavin right now and am really glad I can be home with him instead of working. My mom was remarking today that she wouldn't have really described her experience with me as "enjoyable" for the first several months of my life (I was the firstborn and slept very, very little - i.e., 6 hours in 24) even though she loved me and was thrilled to have a daughter, and I would have to say the same for me with Gavin. The first five or so months of his life was really tough for me because he was so fussy and irritable (not to mention how extremely difficult it was for him to learn to nurse and his stomach's intolerance of my eating anything with the tiniest bit of dairy in it, which we didn't discover until about 2 1/2 months), although I loved him like crazy. But I am so glad that he has turned into such an enjoyable and fun one-year-old. We are having such a great time, and, probably, I am much less distressed now when he is occasionally irritable or unhappy because of going through the first five months of extreme fussiness. (Not that I want to repeat that with a second baby, though!)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Indian Giver

Today Gavin figured out the art of giving - and then wanting whatever it was back! He played the game with a plastic box with Chad during dinner, and then he helped with the diaper laundry by picking up diapers out of the basket and handing them to us. When the basket started to run low on diapers, however, he stopped giving them away and stashed them on the floor next to him instead. It's fun to see how he's learning!

Recently Gavin has started looking at us while he points to pictures in books as if to ask, "what's this?". Sometimes he will even say what it is, if it happens to be a bird, dog or duck (that he recognizes as such). Chad picked up his bedtime book today and he promptly turned to the first page, pointed to the little flock of birds in the landscape scene, and said "bir." I think he likes birds because Chad makes a bird-call noise for him when he points them (but I can't mimic it correctly, so he has to put up with a less-bird-like noise from me).

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Second Tooth (finally)!

Gavin's second tooth is finally in, after many weeks of irritation and a very large protrusion (we thought it had already come through about 2 or 3 weeks ago because the bump on his gums was so large!). I guessed that it might finally be cutting through yesterday when Gavin was very fussy and really wanted to nurse but as soon as he began, he looked startled and quit. I suppose his gums must have really hurt!

Just a few days ago, Gavin figured out that he can pull himself up and roam around in his crib instead of going to sleep when I put him down for a nap. This has, on recent occasion, caused significant deviation from the normal sleeping schedule! Two days ago he mostly babbled and occasionally cried, most likely while cruising around in his crib playing with his monkey, for an hour after I put him down for his afternoon nap. When I finally went in, I found him standing at the corner of his crib. He didn't end up napping until just before dinner time, when he fell asleep in his car seat on a 5-minute car ride home from the grocery store.

Gavin also just started to be interested in rolling from his back to his stomach (although it's more like flipping than rolling!) and pushing himself around on his stomach (like traditional crawling, except with his belly on the ground). However, so far he only does these things when he's lying on our bed with me and he's supposed to be nursing. So much for the "normal" progression of mobility. He'll walk 20 feet across the house by himself, turning, starting and stopping as he likes, but he still doesn't do the "traditional" crawl!

Monday, July 7, 2008


Today Gavin is officially walking all by himself! He is 11 months and 2 days old. It's kind of funny how fast he went from a few accidental independent steps to being willing to walk out in the middle of the rug without anyone or anything in sight to catch him (yes, he still does end up on his face, but at least he puts his hands out and doesn't squash his nose). It's fun to watch his confidence build, especially since he tends to be a relatively cautious and risk-averse baby. Enjoy the video!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Updates, Part 3

  • Clock! Within the last week, Gavin has started making a "tock" noise with his mouth (like immitating a chicken clucking) when he sees the clock in his room. Chad says he also does it with digital clocks (!!), but I haven't seen it. Today, when we weren't near any clocks at all, I asked him if he could make the clock noise and he did. Wow! In the last few weeks I have been constantly floored at just how much he is able to understand.
  • Dancing! Gavin likes to dance. Dancing, for him, really means something akin to bouncing, but he definitely associates it with music! He dances when he presses the button on the toy frog that sings the ABC song. He dances when there's music on the stereo (and he's paying attention). He dances when he's nursing before bed and wants me to sing to him. He dances when his Grandma's cell phone rings (it plays a song).
  • Sleeping (or, previously, the lack thereof)! We went on vacation to Hawaii at the end of May, and when we returned, Gavin began having (more) trouble with sleeping. Sleeping has always been a bit of a chore for him, and he often cries when we put him down in his crib before he goes to sleep, sometimes much longer than others. After Hawaii, I was trying to help him get on a 2-nap-a-day schedule. In general, he woke up in the morning around 7-8am and went to bed around 8 or 8:30pm. I was generally trying 3 hours between waking up and the first nap and 4 hours between the first and second nap. It absolutely wasn't working. Gavin was exhausted when I put him down, but he would scream for 30 minutes before both naps and then only nap for 30 minutes. Bedtime was better - he would often cry for 5-10 minutes before falling asleep. During the night, he would usually wake up once to nurse and immediately fall back asleep, sometime between 3am and 5am. My brother- and sister-in-law were trying to figure out how to get their little girl to sleep through the night and read Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth. They said it worked great for their daughter, so I thought I'd give it a try. The basic idea is that babies' (around Gavin's age) biological clocks are such that they need a relatively early bedtime (between 6pm and 8pm), will wake up in the morning between 6am and 8am, and generally should take naps around 9am (or, 1-2 hours after waking up) and 1pm, but definitely as soon as they show signs of being tired. After about 3 weeks of trial and error, I think we have almost figured out a schedule that works. The main problem we had at first was that we tried a too-early bedtime (6:30pm), because Gavin would wake up every day sometime between 5am and 5:30am and absolutely not go back to sleep (NOT good for mama, especially while working and not getting enough sleep). We've shifted a little later (around 7pm) and will probably aim for 7:30pm, and he is actually getting up a little later. (The book said that the earlier a child goes to bed, the later they sleep, within reason, but going to bed later means they'll get up earlier because they're too tired to get good sleep - no so with Gavin! I guess he was already getting the right amount of sleep at night for him - about 11 hours). Changing the nap time schedule, though, has helped tremendously. We put Gavin down for a nap about 2 hours after he wakes up (currently, between 7:30 and 8am) and then again when he seems to be getting tired (although this is pretty hard to judge sometimes) around 12:30pm or 1pm. Sometimes he doesn't cry at all, and sometimes he just complains and babbles for a while (this is way better than half an hour of screaming!). We've also started more of a routine for nap times, in addition to bedtime, to help him calm down and get ready to sleep. His naps are still pretty short - usually 45 minutes, but maybe half of the time one or the other will be 1.5 hours - but he seems to be getting the right amount of sleep at the right times. He also has been sleeping all the way through the night without us having to really do anything special (other than not go pick him up [within reason] if he wakes up mildly complaining - he usually goes back to sleep in a few minutes). This isn't always the case, but I haven't wanted to force him since he's been teething and the last few days have been so hot that he might just need a drink in the middle of the night. But in general, I think we are almost to a sleeping schedule that works for everyone. Hooray!

Update to "Updates, Part 2"

An update to the vocabulary part of the last post - Gavin has added 2 words to his spoken vocabulary in the past two days - avocado (pronounced "ah-do!!!!", and spoken quite vehemently during mealtime when there's avocado anywhere around) and apple ("ah-puh", which he prefers, with cinnamon, to the lentils and carrots I was trying to feed him).

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Updates, Part 2

  • On the move! Gavin is getting really close to walking. Only a week and a half ago (Thursday, June 19, at 10 1/2 months) he officially started "crawling". I set him down in the kitchen in the morning and walked several steps away, and he promptly "crawled" right over to me. Now, this "crawling" is not the normal hands-and-knees type - it's more of sitting on his bum with one leg back and one leg Indian-style in front, using his hands to scoot forward. (I'll have to post a video sometime soon.) But it certainly works and he has gotten quite fast at it. However, his favorite thing to do to get around is to walk holding onto someone's finger with his left hand. He's been doing this for quite a while now (see previous post and video). A pretty close second is cruising around along the furniture, walls, or whatever else he can lean against. He's been letting go and taking a couple steps recently, which has resulted in quite a few bruises. I can't imagine he won't be walking before his first birthday.
  • Talking up a storm! His verbal/language skills seem to be taking off like mad. Today, he absolutely said "cherry" (no "r"s, sounds like "che-hee") five or six times while we were giving him cherries and he wanted more. He's said "hello" ("hey-o") on many occasions and often says "up" (when he wants to get off the changing table, used to be when he wanted to be picked up but not now that he wants to walk everywhere!). Some of the words he leaves off the last consonants but gets the vowel sounds right, like "bath" ("ba!!!" when I ask if he wants to take a bath or we're in the bathroom and he sees the tub), "duck" ("du" when he's playing with his rubber duck, sees the ducks on his new toothbrush, or sees ducks in his books), and "dog" ("do" when we're looking at books, mainly). He also says "mama" (often "ma-ma-ma") and "daddy" (usually "da!"). He knows what quite a few other words mean (he probably understands more than I think he does!), like avocado (his absolute favorite food, closely followed by cherries and scrambled egg yolks), outside, squash, no, milk (does the sign sometimes), more (does the sign), eat (does the sign), nap, just a minute, baby and book (I'm sure there are more but I can't think of them right now). Just today I was noticing that his babbling is starting to sound a lot more word-like, with the cadence and emphasis of conversation rather than just lots of noises. Although he does still really like just making noise, too!
  • Second tooth! I'm still not sure if that thing has cut all the way through or not, but the second bottom tooth (on his left) is at least partially in. It takes Gavin soooooo long to cut a tooth! I think this one has given us at least 3 if not 4 weeks of intermittent days (or portions thereof) where he's on the edge of crying constantly unless I give him Tylenol, nursing a ton, and generally irritability. And this is only the second tooth! Can't wait for those molars (groan!!)....
  • Avocado monster! Gavin's absolute favorite food is avocado. He has eaten a whole (small-ish) one in one day. Did you know a large avocado can have 700 calories?? How is he not a million pounds by now?? He has been consuming food in general in super-large quantities recently. A normal lunch or dinner could be, for example, 2 egg yolks (scrambled), 1/3 to 1/2 an avocado, baked apples sliced (with cinnamon!) equal to about 1/4 or 1/3 of a medium-sized apple, 5 to 8 cooked baby carrots, a couple tablespoons of cheerio-like cereal and possibly something else. (Yesterday he ate almost a whole cup applesauce after we thought he might be done with dinner.) And this happens twice a day, in addition breakfast (much smaller, but still 1/3 cup baby cereal), 2 snacks, and breast milk about 5 times each day! He eats most of the things we've offered him, but has a hard time with coarser texture, like rice and chicken breasts (a couple things have made him gag and throw up - ick). Peaches, nectarines and apricots (all fresh) give him a nasty diaper rash, which is a bummer because he loves them. Most of what he eats is regular people-food, cooked until very soft or very soft or easy to eat to begin with. He still eats some baby food, especially when we're not at home, but he's not a fan if that's all he gets for days on end. His repertoire currently includes: Grains - baby rice cereal, baby oatmeal cereal, baby multi-grain cereal, cheerio-like cereal, rice puffs, shredded wheat, whole wheat pasta (with a little basil or sage); Protein - egg yolks, ground chicken, lentils; Fruits - cherries, apples, applesauce, pears, blueberries, bananas, avocado; Vegetables - squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, green beans (baby food type only), green peas, carrots. I'm sure there's more but I can't remember them all right now!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Updates, Part 1

I wrote this last Tuesday but didn't get to finish, so here's installment 1 of some updates:

There are so many things to write about that I've been having option paralysis. Oh, and I suppose the fact that I'm really bad at taking care of Gavin and our household while still working 20 hours a week probably plays a role, too. Speaking of which, I should start my list of updates:

  • Retiring! My last day of working is Friday (okay, so that was 2 days ago now, but like I said, I wrote this on Tuesday). It's a little bittersweet to me. I know for sure I can't keep up the current schedule of things around here, and being a mother is absolutely, hands-down, the more important thing to focus on and pour my energy into. In no way do I regret my decision or think I should do something different. But it is still a little sad. I really enjoy most of the people I've worked with, and I love the problem-solving part of my job. Probably the hardest thing is this: I am quitting something I am measurably good at, where tasks can be completely completed within a reasonable time period and the amount of work I have to do is usually comparable to the amount of time I have to do it in, where someone affirms when I've done a good job and values my input, where I can use my problem-solving skills in a math-y and science-y way to come to conclusions based on reason. And I am quitting that in order to do something full-time (not just 40 hours a week, but 24x7) that I am not good at and have no expertise in (or really any idea whatsoever of what I'm doing), there are always many more things to do than I can get done, and although my problem-solving skills will most certainly be used, it will not necessarily be in the most satisfying ways. So, I suppose it's a great time for some spiritual growth and really figuring out that my self-worth is not tied to how I perform but is found in who I am in Christ and who I am becoming, only through the grace and transforming character of Jesus.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Promised First Tooth Photo

Gavin's first tooth is finally somewhat visible, so we tried getting a photo of it this morning. Getting him to let us see inside his mouth and not have his tongue over the tooth was a bit of a chore, but we did end up with one good photograph, so here it is! (You can click on the photo to view it in flickr, then click on "all sizes" above the picture to view the larger size if you want, since the tooth isn't all that easy to see.)

Gavin's First Tooth

Monday, May 5, 2008

9 Months

Today Gavin is 9 months old - he's now been out of the womb for as long as he was in it. We've been having a great time seeing friends and family in the last week or so. A couple of weeks ago Gavin got to hang out with his cousin, Elle.


Recently Gavin has taken to walking all over the place while holding onto our hands. (For some reason, his car seat and the red bouncy seat in this video seem to be two of his favorite "toys" right now. He'll spend 20 minutes happily playing with the inside latches all by himself.)

But he still doesn't want to be on his stomach! (He is starting to venture onto his hands and knees from a sitting position, however.)

A couple weeks ago he randomly started making several funny noises with his mouth and/or throat and/or tongue.

More updates to come later...

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And we have a tooth!!!

After six months of on-and-off teething (the last three or four days of which have definitely been more of the "on" variety), I think Gavin's first tooth is finally coming through! I can finally feel something razor-sharp right at his gumline. The last few days he has been a lot more clingy, he wants to nurse all the time, and he hasn't been sleeping well. Tonight we finally gave him some Tylenol so he could settle down enough to get to sleep (I've been really trying not to give him medicine for it for the last few months). Whenever the tooth can actually be seen inside his mouth, I'll post a photo. Right now, I can barely get him to open his mouth for me to look in for a quarter second. I'm sure it doesn't feel too great to have my finger rubbing on his sore gums!

In other Gavin news, he is loving walking around holding on to our hands. Everyone asks if he is crawling yet, and the answer is a resounding "no!". He pretty much still hates being on his stomach, although he seems not to mind as much when he is very tired. Tonight he actually moved his arms while in the classic crawling position. Watching him, I really think he just lacks interest - he is certainly strong enough for it.

On the Move

Saturday, April 19, 2008

New Videos

Here are a few new(ish) videos. (Flickr now lets you upload video up to 90 seconds! Yay! Let me know if this is too slow downloading for you, though - I can try smaller file sizes if needed.)

Gavin Laughing

I've been meaning to put this video up for a while now. It was taken in March when my parents (Gavin's Papa and Mimi) were in town. They brought him a flying squirrel stuffed animal, and Papa was playing with him with it one evening when he started laughing like crazy. It was the first time we had ever heard him laugh out loud like this, and it lasted for at least 10 minutes!

Gavin Clapping

Gavin started clapping about 2 weeks ago on his own accord (we hadn't been trying to get him to do it or anything - he just randomly started putting his hands together). He's gotten much better at it since then and gets a pretty good sound out of it. This video is from the first day of clapping. He gives me a kiss at the end, too. :)

Gavin Eating Applesauce

This video is from last week; we were trying to get a picture of the funny scrunched-up face Gavin made when he first tried blueberry applesauce, but he didn't make it again. So, it's just a cute video of him eating.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

First "Solid" Food

Here's a video of Gavin trying his first "solid" food (which was a small amount of organic brown rice baby cereal mixed with a larger amount of breastmilk). He loved it. Enjoy!

Trying to catch up on what Gavin is doing

2008 02 14_1510_edited-1

I feel like there is so much to write about and so many things I don't want to forget when these baby days are behind us that I don't quite know where to begin. So, sorry if this post is a little random and incomplete!

Gavin is a pro at sitting now. He can twist around and grab something nearly behind him and can bend all the way in half (with his head almost touching the floor) to reach something in front of him. He also can lean to the side and get himself back to upright again. He pretty much doesn't accidentally tip over anymore (but sometimes does on purpose, especially backwards when the boppy is around him). He is getting more comfortable with being on his stomach and doesn't necessarily immediately roll over (or try to roll in mid-air when he realizes he's about to be set down on his stomach!). He will tolerate being on his hands and knees for several seconds, but I don't think he's figured out that he could get places if he moved while in that position.

About a week ago I noticed that he somehow scoots upwards (i.e., in the direction of his head) in his crib when we put him down for a nap but before he's asleep. I'll come in to check on him a few minutes after putting him down, and he'll be a good 6 inches away from where he started. But I haven't actually seen what he does in order to get there. Before this he pretty much stayed completely put in the crib (or other sleeping device).

We started putting Gavin in his own room in his crib at night about three weeks ago. So far he usually sleeps there until he wakes up to eat, maybe at 1am or so, when I feed him in our bed and usually promptly fall asleep. If I wake back up, I'll take him back to his crib where he'll sleep until he wants to eat somewhere around 6 or 7. If it's 6, he'll sleep the last hour or so in our bed. I need to start being more disciplined about taking him back to his crib, but lately I've been so tired I just don't have the willpower to make myself stay awake at night when it's optional. What's very cute is when he wakes up in the morning next to me, if I am still dozing or have my eyes closed, he'll often tap my face or grab my lips as if to say "good morning, mama! wake up!".

Gavin also likes to play with my face while he's nursing. Usually he'll grab my nose or just play with my face, but sometimes he grabs my lips or, recently, my ear. At his 6-month doctor appointment he weighed 16 pounds and 10 ounces and was 25 1/2 inches long. At that point, we had only given him a tiny amount of rice cereal starting a week beforehand. It's pretty amazing to think that all 16 and a half pounds of him has been made from me.

We gave Gavin his first meal of "solid food" (rice cereal) on February 9. (See this post for the video of his first bite!) He loves rice cereal (we use the organic brown rice kind) when it's made with breastmilk. We've also given him jarred baby food peas, mashed (fresh) banana and jarred baby food banana. He loved the peas and seems to think fresh mashed banana is okay, but he didn't like the jarred bananas. I tasted them and can understand why - they have citric acid in them to keep them from turning brown and it adds a strong kind of sour/tart flavor (which I don't think is bad, but it's definitely not very subtle and may be too much for a developing palate). I think next week we will try fresh mashed avacado. I am thinking about making and freezing some homemade baby food since it is more nutritious, extremely less expensive and in general, more tasty. I've been looking around on this website - if anyone has other website suggestions for info about homemade baby food, please leave me a comment!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Drinking from a cup - video

Here's a video from November 25 of Gavin (then 3 1/2 months old) drinking from a cup (it's the video I mentioned in this post).

Gavin's laugh

Gavin has an odd laugh. I personally think it sounds more like choking than laughing. We always second-guess if the sound that he's making is really a laugh or not, but I've only heard a "traditional"-sounding laugh come out of him once, probably on accident. We finally hooked our video camera up to the computer and are figuring out how to get the video onto this blog, so here's our first attempt. Gavin laughs at the beginning and at the end of the clip when Chad tickles his stomach.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

More language skills

(2/24/08) I wrote this about three weeks ago but was interupted before I could finish and press "publish."

(1/31/08): Monday Gavin decided to surprise me by saying "ba ba ba ba" - until then I had not heard him repeat the same syllable (besides "eeeeeeeeeeeee") over and over. It's also fun to say something slowly to him when he's really paying attention and watch his mouth slowly contort as if he is trying to copy what we're doing. I'm pretty sure he said "hey" today, but I'm sure he didn't know that it actually means something. Consonants I think I've heard in the babbling: b, f, g, h, w.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

The Sixth Month

2008 01 18_1167

It's hard to believe that Gavin will be six months old in a week and a half. Such a short time ago he was still in my belly! Here are a few interesting recent developments:

Sitting! Gavin is now sitting up by himself easily and able to reach for something and not immediately topple over. I think the first real independent sitting began about two weeks ago. Today he sat on the floor during church and untied and played with his shoelaces.

Curiosity!!!!! Gavin wants to explore everything in sight. He will spy something interesting on a shelf or the table and reach and lean towards it. I generally will walk or move him in whatever direction the object of interest lies, and he grabs it and plays with it (usually including putting it in his mouth to see if it's good for chewing) for a while. (This does not apply when the objects of interest are knives, houseplants, eyeglasses, or other such potentially dangerous things.) Gavin does not want to face inward while being held since there is just so much to see and be a part of! He particularly loves cups and water bottles, and he is fascinated with anything that plays music. He loves to play with our faces. Last week he thoroughly enjoyed dropping a book on the ground while sitting on my lap and then lunging toward where it had gone, sometimes picking it up and beginning the process again.

Still no teeth! Although there has been much gnawing, chewing, crying, wakeful sleep, missed naps, and general fussiness and irritability for about three months now, Gavin still have no teeth. I had a dream about a month ago that seven of his teeth came in all at once, and then I understood why he had been so irritated about it. (And then I woke up.) I took Gavin to the doctor last week to make sure that all this irritability isn't because of something that's actually wrong with him (like an ear infection), and he's fine. The doctor did say that sometimes babies get really cranky when they are nearing major developmental milestones but not quite there yet. That could definitely be part of the problem, since Gavin can't yet crawl or otherwise get himself to all of the things he's interested in and he is so curious. But, I'm sure the teeth (or lack thereof) are part of the problem, too, since often when he is particularly irritable he likes to rub something (like the blunt end of a rubber spatula or our thumb knuckles) back and forth across his gums.

Signs - We have started using two basic first baby signs - "milk" and "more" (when he begins solids, we'll add "eat"). Every time we say the word, we do the sign with our hands. We started about a week and a half ago. I think he is recognizing "milk" (probably a combination of the sign and the spoken word), since when I ask him if he wants some milk and do the sign (when he's hungry), he begins reaching for me and doing the I-am-hungry-please-feed-me-now sound (not really a cry). Before we started using the sign, I almost never used the word "milk" (just "hungry" or "eat"). It's a little harder to incorporate "more" sometimes, because it's a two-handed sign and often one of my hands is occupied with holding Gavin!

Vocalization - Gavin is much more vocal than he was a month ago. He says lots of vowel combinations and sometimes throws in random consonant-like sounds - maybe a "b" or a "g" or something not very recognizable. He has learned to do some screaming, mostly happy and just for the fun of it. Tonight he was laughing quite a bit while Chad blew on his neck, but his laugh is not at all what I expected. It's almost inaudible sometimes and is rarely more than a "k-k-k-k-k" sound from the back of his throat, but just in case we were wondering if he's really laughing, he'll sometimes do the hiccup-like sound at the end. And of course, there's that big open-mouthed smile at the same time that helps.

I'm sure there are other things I'm not thinking about - hopefully I'll remember to jot them down here when I notice them next! We are enjoying watching Gavin grow and getting to know his little personality. Even though there have been a few rough days recently, I am so glad and thankful for our little boy.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Finally - an update

Gavin is starting to expand his self-awareness. Whereas up until a couple of weeks ago he seemed to consist of a mouth and hands, he now realizes that he has feet and ears as well. The feet one, in particular, amazes me. He must know that they belong to him, because he is fascinated by them and tries to grab them regardless of whether they are bare or in socks or shoes. He also is becoming more and more fascinated by his reflection in the mirror. Usually, this manifests as a desire to head-butt the baby in the mirror, which may or may not indicate a budding intelligence.

We are really hoping he gets some of his teeth in soon. He has been teething for over 2 months now (lots of drool and chewing on everything) but hasn't cut any of his teeth. This leads to many fussy days, and it is particularly frustrating for Michelle, who doesn't get any real break from his fussiness. We would all be glad of some teeth.

Gavin has also started sitting recently. We still have to be vigilant, lest he tip over sideways, but he will sit for a fair amount of time if he has something in front of him to keep his attention. When he was laying on my lap last night, he tried to do a sit up. He was unsuccessful, but it was impressive nonetheless. Michelle says that he would have a six-pack but for the layer of baby fat on his tummy.

Let's see, what else is new lately... Gavin is becoming much more vocal, and will yell without a compelling reason to do so. The first couple of times he did it, i wondered what was wrong, but he was just testing out his vocal chords. He's getting slightly easier to amuse, but i have yet to get a full laugh out of him. Amy did it once, and i can get him to have a very large smile, but when i get him to laugh, it sounds more like a forced cough, like he can't fully relax into the laugh. His generally stoic nature definitely reminds me of me.