Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chuck E Cheese

Gabriel took his first trip to Chuck E Cheese's on Wednesday night. We met our friends Shaelyn and Karen there for some pizza and fun. Karen and Shae gave Gabriel a new Tupperware sorter toy. I remember having one of these as a kid, or at least having access to play with one. I apparently really liked it since I can still remember it. I certainly hope it becomes a favorite for Gabriel too. Gabriel helped me play a game of Whack-a-Gator and he took a ride on a fire truck and Clifford the Big Red Dog. Shaelyn showed Gabriel how to climb on the toddler play structure. He wasn't too sure about it, but then he saw the steering wheel mounted on the wall and he was much more willing to climb in. He also took a couple trips down the exit slide.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Where Did My Baby Go?!

On Sunday afternoon, Gabriel took his first steps that we witnessed.  Gabriel took his hand off the side of his hexagon gated play area and then fell towards Daddy, making 3-4 stumbling steps in the process.  He repeated it for Mommy, and then he moved onto other activities.  He's been pulling himself up for so long now, and cruising well, that in some ways I am surprised he hasn't started walking sooner.  And I certainly hadn't been encouraging it.
When I told Roberta and Melissa about it at The Learning Center this morning when dropping Gabriel off, they were excited for him.  They denied having seen any steps at school already, but then again, they are so kind they wouldn't tell me and burst that bubble even if they had seen him walk already.
And our big boy also slept through the night in his own crib Sunday night.  When I awoke this morning and Gabriel wasn't nestled next to me, there was a bit of panic as I made it into his room to check on him.  I thought for sure something must be wrong.  But he was sleeping with his bottom up in the air and his pacifier in his mouth.  He's always been a good boy about sleeping through the night, but I think the whole family prefers it when he is nestled in the bed with Mommy and Daddy.  I hope that he will occasionally still come and sleep with us in the early mornings, as I am not sure Mommy is ready for the separation.
It was quite a lot of big boy firsts for Mommy and Daddy yesterday!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Gabriel Finally Said It!

After much asking, we finally heard it for the first time tonight!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gabriel's First Christmas Card

Gabriel received his first Christmas card today. He bounced happily in his jumper while holding it. Thank You Grammy and Grandpa Abberton! You can see one of Gabriel's first top teeth glistening in the photo.

Monday, December 7, 2009

First Bundle Up of the Season

Mommy had to wrestle Gabriel into his snow gear for the first time on Monday morning. Thankfully, we only had to go to the car and then into The Learning Center, so we got to skip the snow pants. Gabriel seems to understand that he needs to push his hands into his mittens and his feet into his boots, so I think that makes it a bit easier to dress him. I think Gabriel looks a lot like Cousin Angus in this photo.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


As we were leaving the children's Christmas party on Saturday afternoon, snowflakes were starting to fly- big, white, fluffy ones. Gabriel noticed them right away and was excited and delighted by the flakes. I suppose these are the first snowflakes that he remembers seeing.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Uh Oh!

Gabriel has been saying "Uh Oh" a couple of weeks now. He likes to knock things over and then innocently say, "Uh Oh!" We have been trying to explain that "uh oh's" should be accidents. What he is doing is a little too deliberate to be an accident. I don't think we are getting through to him. Gabriel has enjoyed knocking things off the edge of the tub for a while now too. He will sometimes throw his pacifier down and say "uh oh," and then point at it because he wants it back.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

"This is Halloween..."

Michael and I have been humming and singing the theme song to Tim Burton's Nightmare before Christmas movie all week. "Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! Halloween! In this town we call home." You've got to have seen the movie to appreciate it.

This was a wonderful Halloween. Very convenient that it fell on a Saturday. Gabriel spent the morning with me in Concord while I got my hair cut at Mane Element and then we went food shopping at the Concord Cooperative Market and Hannafords. Gabriel wore his skeleton play suit and skull and cross bones socks as we paraded around the city.

When we got home, Gabriel took a power nap with Daddy, Elleigh, and Lucas. You can see Gabriel's skeleton suit on him while he is sleeping in the car seat. I wanted to make sure Gabriel got a good nap in before we hit the road for Trick or
Treating. This photo was taken before we realized that Elleigh and Lucas had eaten Gabriel's Jack O Lantern. Michael left them out of the crate while he went to the dump, and apparently they devoured the face of Gabriel's pumpkin while unsupervised. Here's our pumpkin after the brutal Halloween attack. It was so windy that I can't imagine anyone could keep their pumpkins lighted last night, even with a face to help block the wind.
Once awake, we put Gabriel's costume on and drove to Grammy & Grampy Abberton's house. Daddy took a moment
to pose with Yoda and Darth V
ader before begging for treats. And of course, Grammy Abberton was all ready with special treats. Gabriel got a travel size See and Say toy and a whole container of baby puffs. And a 12 month sized outfit. Gabriel was Grammy & Grampy A's first Trick or Treater in years... maybe ever.

A house on Route 28 has had a very festive Halloween display all month. Every year they go all out with Halloween decorations, and I was excited to actually have a reason to stop and visit them this year. We went before it got too dark so their display would be slightly less scary for Gabriel. He didn't seem to mind any of the noises or costumes. And they gave out a green pumpkin covered cup with a straw (which Gabriel will certainly enjoy) and the cup had candy in it (which Mommy and Daddy will certainly enjoy.) We then put our own candy out in a bowl on the door step and then walked through our cul-de-sac Trick or Treating. Gabriel was very chipper and had a good time singing with Daddy and making horror noises. I was happy at how much fun Gabriel seemed to have walking around with us in the dark from house to house. We hit 5 houses before the sprinkle of rain became more significant. So we headed to Town Pizza for dinner. Yoda had chicken, cheese and tomato pieces off from our slices, a little crust, and guzzled a bottle of breast milk.

Gabriel Surprised Us This Morning

Gabriel was sitting with Daddy on the couch and just started clapping this morning. And he's quite good at it!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Gabriel's First Jack O Lantern

I finally got around to carving a design on Gabriel's pumpkin Friday night. It had been sitting (all cleaned out) just waiting to be carved since earlier this week. I went with a lower case "g" for our little Gabriel. And then I scored spirals into the hard flesh so light would seep through the spirals while the light would shine through the "g" brightly. Michael proclaimed himself a pumpkin traditionalist and didn't want me to do anything but a face, but I think he was okay with the end results. At least he didn't say anything otherwise.

Halloween Parade

Today was The Learning Center's annual Halloween parade. All of the parents stood out by the visitor's entrance at the hospital to get a glimpse of the kids walking/strolling by in their Halloween costumes. Because of the H1N1 concerns, this year the parade wasn't allowed into the building. They were trying to keep the little petri dishes outside with all of their germs. I think Gabriel was quietly overwhelmed with the parade. All of these kids were bopping around in costume, and there was so much to see. He just sat in the front of his classroom's multi-baby stroller and watched. I didn't get great photos this year because I wasn't prepared for the camera frenzy that came from the other parents. Every time I had a good shot, some Mom stepped into my way. Next year I am bringing my A game, now that I know what to expect, and I will do much better at getting some fun shots.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Preparing Our Pumpkin

Gabriel picked out his pumpkin earlier this month and now it is time to carve it for Halloween. We lined the tub with tissue paper from a package we recently received and then put the pumpkin and Gabriel in the tub. I sliced the top off the pumpkin and then we all took turns scooping the guts out with a spoon. Daddy did most of the work, but Elleigh and Lucas even helped by licking pumpkin slim off Gabriel's hands. I roasted some of the seeds in the oven with salt, pepper and olive oil. Mmmmm! Maybe tomorrow night we will actually get to carve a face into the pumpkin. Every project these days takes so long to accomplish.

9 Month Pediatrician Appointment

Gabriel had his 9 month appointment today with his pediatrician. Gabriel is actually 9 months and 3 weeks old today. This normally would have been his one infant appointment that doesn't have any shots, but since it is flu season- we got Gabriel his regular seasonal flu vaccine. The H1N1 wasn't available in his pediatrician's office. So just one shot today that he recovered from quickly.

Gabriel's weight was 21.5 pounds and he is 29.5 inches long. If we go by the growth charts for a 9 month old, then Gabriel is in the 60th percentile for weight and 81st for height. If we go by the charts for a 10 month old, then he is in the 47th percentile for weight and 66th percentile for height. Gabriel's head measured 48 centimeters, which is the 97th percentile for 9 month olds and 95th for 10 month olds. Either way, he still has a big noggin and I am thankful I had a c-section.

At this point, I am buying Gabriel nothing smaller than a 12 month size for clothing. He recently had another growth spurt, and now he is getting too long for the 9 month old size. I'm still sending him to day care in that size and "using up" those outfits. It's very sad to put his outgrown items away for storage. I don't think his 12 month outfits will last him all winter though, so I have a few of Gymboree's 12-18 month sized outfits to make it the whole winter. Old Navy also has a 12-18 month range size too. I got Gabriel two fuzzy 12 month sized Carter's footed pajamas recently that may not last him very long either. His feet are already looking a little cramped in the feeties and the fabric isn't strechy like cotton.

Gabriel is a size 4 shoe. I just bought him winter boots in size 5 hoping they will make him through the winter. And I found a pair of Keen sandals for him on super dooper sale a few weekends ago at LL Bean. I got him a size 6 sandal and was concerned he'd never grow into them by summer's end. Now I am worried his feet will get so big that he will outgrow them before it gets warm enough to wear them. I think I read somewhere that the growth rate should slow after 12 months.

Still no teeth! He has a beautiful toothless grin.

Gabriel is healthy and developing well. We are blessed!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Outlet Shopping

Gabriel and Daddy took a nap on Sunday morning in their matching maroon T-shirts and dark grey sweatpants. Too cute!
After his nap, Gabriel and I went to Borders to knit a little bit with the knitting gang. I stress "a little bit" when I look at the few rows on the toddler sock I got done.
After about an hour, we headed towards the Tanger Outlets to make a return at Carter's for Nana. We were incentivized to make the return because we got to take the credit and buy Gabriel stuff with it. We did find a winter hat and mittens set, and some new pajamas at Carter's. It turned out to be a decent afternoon weather wise, so Gabriel seemed to like strolling the entire length of the outlet with the breeze in his hair. We found new day care sneakers and winter boots at Stride Rite. We found a "My First Christmas" outfit at Gymboree and Christmas Eve pj's and a blankie. We got another winter hat and a pair of mittens at The Children's Place. We got a new pair of fuzzy footed pajamas at Old Navy.
Gabriel has recently discovered a new sound, "Ow!" And since we were winter boot shopping, I got to try to cram boots on Gabriel's feet in several stores all the while he was experimenting with , "ow!" And footwear is not Gabriel's favorite thing in the first place. "Ow, ow, Ow, OW!" I made sure to make light of the verbalization so people didn't think I was off in the back of the store hurting my baby.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili Recipe

I wanted to share this lovely recipe that I found for black bean and pumpkin chili that inspired me. Click on the link below to be directed to Taste of Home for the recipe. I never follow a recipe exactly. This is probably why I am not a great baker. But I used this recipe as a suggestion and then jazzed it up a bit. I used both chicken thighs and breasts. I find chicken that is cooked a long time just dries out, so I thought the thighs would keep a little more moisture. I also used my Penzey's chipotle powder and cilantro. The chipotle made the dish more spicy than it was originally intended. I didn't have cumin powder, so I used cumin seed. I made a double batch and sent one crock pot to school with Gabriel for teacher appreciation day and then we have been eating off the other batch ourselves all week. I got rave reviews from the teachers at The Learning Center. The taste is unique with the pumpkin in it, but because I used chipotle powder, it still tasted like chili. But it also tasted like fall to me because it was warm comfort food, and of course had the pumpkin flavor.

Black Bean 'n' Pumpkin Chili Recipe Taste of Home Recipes

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Markers & Stickers

The rain didn't stop the teachers and babies at The Learning Center from having just as much fun indoors as they would have had going outside! For a morning project, the group colored with some markers on paper and then added some fall and Halloween stickers. The teachers report that all of the friends were very excited to have stickers they could put on their paper. The children would stick it onto their paper and then ask for more.

For those of you who know I have grown up and really become grossed out by stickers, I am sure you are getting a laugh from imagining me opening my daily e-mail newsletter and seeing my child in a photo with stickers. As soon as I picked him up this afternoon, I looked for any stray stickers that might still be stuck to his clothes or skin. Nasty! Yuck! He was free and clear.

I also found a note on his daily log that Gabriel crawled across the floor to the infant room's refrigerator today and attempted to open the fridge himself. When the teacher asked him if he was hungry and wanted his bottle, she said Gabriel put his hand up by his mouth and nodded. We use sign language with Gabriel and putting my hand by my mouth like I am putting food in it is our sign for food.

It seems that every day now he is doing something new.

Monday, October 5, 2009

No Sippy Cups for Gabriel

For the last 3 months, we have been offering Gabriel a sippy cup of water when he eats solids. It always seemed like he never had much interest in the sippy cup, and it never appeared as though Gabriel actually got much water out of his cup. So we tried a little apple juice, prune juice, and breast milk in the sippy to see if that would elicit more interest. Nope! We tried the Avent sippy cup system and a plain little Take & Toss sippy cup. I decided to get the Take & Toss straw cup for toddlers and tried giving that to Gabriel to see what would happen. Guess he's into straws and not sippies. There was no learning curve at all with the straw. Now he guzzles water after he eats dinner. Please ignore the kale, potato and apple on Gabriel's face in the video. Dinner was really good tonight!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

The Deerfield Fair

We took Gabriel to his first fair this afternoon. We visited the maple house soon after we entered the gates of the fairgrounds. We bought some maple cotton candy and everyone had a taste of maple syrup. (I always feel a little guilty when I enjoy New Hampshire maple syrup instead of Vermont maple syrup.) We found several exhibits of old and new tractors. Gabriel got to sit on his first tractor and he seemed to know exactly what to do with the steering wheel. A love for heavy equipment must just be one of those innate things that boys are born with. Mommy and Daddy had Italian sausages. Later on, Mommy had a big donut and Daddy had fried dough. Gabriel got a taste of both. We also went through several of the animal barns. Mommy and Gabriel pet the sheep and visited the fiber tent. The rack of knitted wool winter hats caught Gabriel's attention, and I ended up buying a grey hat with ear flaps and a sheep design on it for Gabriel to wear this winter. Gabriel got a mylar Elmo balloon just before we left. Gabriel really enjoys batting at balloons, so he will have a good time with Elmo until it deflates in a week or so. I've uploaded a video of Gabriel on his first tractor. Turn up the volume so you can hear him make the tractor sound.

Friday, October 2, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas!

Not really, but I actually bought my first 2009 Christmas gifts today. The Employee Activities Committee at the hospital where I work sponsors a book fair a few times each year to raise funds. So I went down and checked out the offerings on my morning break. Ironically, none of the gifts I bought were books. But Christmas will come fast again this year, so I might as well start sooner rather than later. And on my last trip to Target, I noticed that they already had a Christmas aisle set up.

Last year, Christmas was very different since we were expecting our bundle of joy and we were focused on preparing for Gabriel's arrival. Who knew if we would be parents early? And we had so much to do in anticipation that some of our normal Christmas activities were omitted. I didn't travel to Vermont because I was so pregnant and too close to my due date.

But this year I am looking forward to figuring out what traditions we will want to start with Gabriel. And I am already thinking about what should go on Gabriel's wish list letter to Santa. Please feel free to comment if you have ideas we should consider incorporating into our new family holiday traditions.

Gabriel Plays With Leaves

While Mommy and Daddy worked on Friday, Gabriel was at The Learning Center. The teachers took the babies for a walk and collected leaves. After a nap, they got the leaves out to explore them in the classroom. They are going to save the leaves that survived exploration for an upcoming project. Friday was also the last day for two of the children in Gabriel's classroom. Ella and Ben are old enough to transition to the toddler room next door. I will miss Ben especially because he always greeted me by yelling out "Baby Mama" when he saw me dropping Gabriel off. We are delighted that Gabriel will officially have a full-time slot at The Learning Center starting Monday. We were able to get enough drop in days this summer that Gabriel was essentially full-time. Mommy and Daddy had to take a few days off to cover when there wasn't a slot at The Learning Center. And thank you also to Grammy Abberton for watching Gabriel on some Wednesdays when she was off.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Peek A Boo!

Sometimes it's nice to get a quick game of Peek-A-Boo in before a soak in a warm tub!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Apple Picking

Gabriel and I headed to Gould Hill Orchard in Hopkinton on Sunday morning to pick apples. The weather was warm enough that we could wear short sleeves, but the sun didn't get too hot.

The Mcintosh and Cortland apples were ready. Gabriel enjoyed sitting in the grass and batting at dangling fruit. The trees were so full that Gabriel didn't have to reach far to get to the apples.

I took a bite out of a Mcintosh and then gave it to Gabriel to lick up the tart juice. He seemed to enjoy the taste of the apples. Still no teeth, so he had to stay content with just licking and gumming the apples. I hope to make Gabriel some homemade baby food apples to eat in the near future.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Lucas' Birthday!

Lucas celebrated his 2nd birthday on Wednesday night. Mommy and Gabriel sang him a birthday song in the morning when he got up. And then we all went for a walk down the cul-de-sac and up the hill. Lucas got a new boomerang toy and a dino-Cuz. And he got two cans of special Merrick dog food, and Lucas and Elleigh enjoyed the Beef Pie and Sweetie Fries flavor for dinner.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Gabriel Helps With the Laundry

It is just amazing how fast Gabriel's "firsts" are coming now. Turn up your sound because I narrate this video.

Because of the cooler weather today, I pulled out some of Gabriel's larger clothing with long sleeves. This is an outfit from Nana and Papa and it's a Carter's 9 month size. The pants are a little long, but the top is doing just fine. My suspicion that I should start buying at least 12 month sizes for winter feel confirmed now.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Gabriel and I went to White Park again tonight to hang out with Jaxson and his Mommy again. Gabriel enjoys the swing while Jaxson is not a fan. The boys had a picnic dinner together before the rain came in and chased us back into our cars.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Gabriel Takes A Stand

Standing! Gabriel doesn't get up there by himself, but once up- he can stand independently for a short period. He has even managed a few side steps without tumbling over.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Helping With Laundry

Gabriel and Lucas supervising Mommy on laundry detail.

Taking Steps Towards Crawling

Oh,my! It really is going to happen soon!? Gabriel has been experimenting with getting up on his hands with his belly off the floor, and rocking back and forth, for at least two weeks now. He is able to move a few feet in what ever direction something looks interesting by rolling or inching across the floor.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Today's Scoop

I can't wait to get e-mail's from The Learning Center with notes, and often photos, of the things that Gabriel did during that day while I worked. And I am often amazed at what the teachers pull together for activities. Today they made squishy bags by putting paint under contact paper and sticking it to a cube they have with a mirror on the side. And then later in the morning they played with textured stamps and paint. Playing with sand paper and ice cubes was on the docket for the afternoon.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Jumpy Seat Fun!

Warning! Watching bouncing baby repeatedly may cause motion sickness!

The doorway jumper allows Gabriel to get a good jump on Elleigh and Lucas. As put out as they appear, they continue to sit close to him when he is in the seat. So I can only assume they sort of like the game too.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

White Park Play Date

Gabriel and I met Jaxson and Alison at White Park on Wednesday night for a play date. Alison and I were in prenatal pool exercise class when we were pregnant at the end of last year. It was nice to share the joy and comiserate with someone who has a child of the same age. And it was neat to see how simliar and different the boys are in their development. Gabriel took his first swing on the play ground and really enjoyed it. I can't wait to bring him back to swing soon. The boys played on a blankie too for a little while before we had to head home to go to bed. And we've already set up our next play date together.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Candle Fund Raiser

Today is the kick-off for The Learning Center's annual Yankee Candle Fund-raiser!

If you are a Yankee Candle lover and want to make an order, let me know. I have to turn in all of the final sales information by 9/8/09. The candles will be delivered for me to hand out by 10/20/09. The catalog is scratch and sniff, and I will be carrying it around with me until Labor Day weekend. It's hard to believe that I have at least 18 years of school fund raisers ahead of me.

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Boys Like Reading

Daddy, Gabriel and Lucas enjoy a bedtime story together! "Guess How Much I Love You?"

Monday, August 10, 2009

Tough Night at the Dinner Table

I think we got some of the sweet and white potato combination into his mouth. Gabriel was a little tired tonight and kept rubbing his eyes while he was eating. Before eating puree, I gave Gabriel some little chunks of tofu to try. I think he liked gumming them for a change in texture. He likes to grab for the chunks on his tray, but he's still not able to pinch them and get them to his own mouth.

Friday, August 7, 2009

You Make Bath Time So Much Fun...

Gabriel has such a good time in the bathtub. He's always enjoyed his baths right from the start. And now that we have good bubble bath, I actually can get enough bubble coverage so I don't get obscene baby tub photos and videos to post. He doesn't mind having water dumped over his head. He likes to kick his feet, and then eventually he got into splashing his hands in the water too as he got older. Now he seems determined to play with the lever hardware in the tub that releases the water down the drain. He likes to watch us blow bubbles at him with the bubble wand that came with the California Baby bubbles. He plays with his Star Wars bath tub toy set. It's a nice end to our days.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

7 Months Old

Our baby turned 7 months old today.

There's mostly brown now in Gabriel's eyes. Just a little blue hanging on at the edges. So my hope that Gabriel would have Daddy's beautiful light blue eyes is long gone now. But they are not as dark brown as Mommy's yet.

Gabriel sits like a champ now. Rarely does he topple over. He even sits up in the tub all by himself these days.

He is interested in what is around him and wants to move to explore. Sometimes he becomes frustrated when he's on his stomach and can't get to things. The care givers at The Learning Center have been holding him up by the stomach in a crawling position to try to show him how to crawl. I prefer to not encourage that sort of mobility at home. He seems to be a people watcher too when he's out and about in his stroller. I can only imagine what he's thinking. And the dogs are some of his favorite things to watch. Even better when they pop up in the chair next to him to say hello and give a kiss.

The Learning Center has proved to be a smooth transition. We still need to secure some days of alternative day care before Gabriel is officially permanent full-time starting 10/5/09. But otherwise, all three of his teachers are fantastic. And Gabriel seems excited to be at The Learning Center when I drop him off in the morning. And on Monday when I picked him up, I almost felt like he wasn't happy to see me and to be going home. They do walks and water play, and paint. Yes, paint! They are quite brave with a whole room of infants. And the staff are always doing something creative with the babies like adding color to the pool water or freezing Jell-O for them to check out. And my favorite is the communication. Most days I get an e-mail, often with photos attached. And I get a little written log of what went in my baby, and what came out, when Gabriel slept, and cute comments about his day on it. And at pick up I am also assured to hear cute antidotes of how the day went in the infant room. I don't know where the teachers get all of their patience.

Gabriel shows interest in toys and seems to get that they are for fun and to be explored. Favorites so far are his Taggies football and his V-Tech baby laptop computer. Gabriel likes to close the lid on the laptop, which makes all of the lights and sounds stop, and then we have to open it back up for him so he can do it all over again. And again. And again. And again. Gabriel also seems to like to spin the wheels on vehicles. And of course the doorway jumper and his exerciser are still main stays, but he's so much more active in them now. Any tag on any item is of interest to be touched and checked out.

And most heart warming is that in the past few weeks, Gabriel has started to actually snuggle back. He has always partaken in snuggling, but now he buries his head into the crook of my neck and his little arms are starting to hug back. And he's started to put his arms into the air in anticipation of being picked up.

He makes parenthood fun, so far. It's hard to believe that someday he will be a teenager and he may never speak to us and definitely won't want to be seen in public with us.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Shopping Like A Big Boy

Mommy and Gabriel were out on the town today! After cleaning out some outgrown clothes in Gabriel's bedroom, we headed off to knitting with the ladies at Borders. Gabriel flirted, laughed, and pooped through knitting- and seemed to have had a really good time. And I worked about 3/4 of an inch on one of his blue toddler socks.

Gabriel has gotten to be a good enough sitter now that today we tried our first shopping trip without using his infant car seat in the shopping carriage. Instead, I found a shopping cart seat cover at Babies R Us. It lines the dirty carriage seat, and the version I bought has two pillows on the side to help him stay upright. Gabriel really seemed to like sitting up and being able to look all around. We started down the diaper aisle at Target and he was awake, and then after loading in some new cruiser diapers and some old Target stand by diapers, I looked up and he was passed out on one of his puffy side pillows. I pushed him around finishing my shopping having to endure all of the people ahhing over how cute he was.

While in the baby section at Target, I also found California Baby calming bubble bath. It's all natural and gentle on sensitive skin, but also has aromatherapy that is suppose to promote calming. It smelled good, and it bubbled up quite well. This impressed me because the Method bubble bath didn't bubble up for me. Gabriel really seemed to enjoy the bubbles in his tub! I like the bubble wand in the bottle so I can blow bubbles at Gabriel while he soaks. Not that Gabriel doesn't fall asleep without much trouble at night in the first place, but sleep seemed to come to him even faster and gentler tonight than normal.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

We LOVE chunky organic apples!

I went grocery shopping on the way home Friday night with Gabriel. Gabriel was patient while I found organic apples, and picked out a few of the more milder flavored apple types. And then I cut up those apples on Saturday morning, and steamed them in the microwave. Then I put a quarter of a Golden Delicious apple in my food chopper with organic cinnamon. I tried to get it really smooth, but I wanted to keep the skins since they are nutritious. So the result was some chunkiness in the apple mixture. I added a little organic multi-grain cereal and was able to give a small portion to Gabriel while it was still warm from cooking for his breakfast. And this was Gabriel's response to all of that hard work! The whole body shutter is a nice touch. For all of his expression, he did eat the whole bowl for breakfast.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

How Do We Stand All Of The Cuteness?

Another busy weekend! It seems like it takes all weekend to get caught up on the week's worth of the laundry and all of the bottles and dishes that the baby goes through. I spent much of this morning making more puree: spinach, yellow carrots, broccoli, zucchini, peaches with cinnamon, and banana oatmeal. It just does my heart good to make Gabriel food. I like knowing what goes into it. Apparently, it was an exhausting weekend for Elleigh, Lucas and Gabriel too. They all fell asleep together on the couch, sharing The Boppy.

Friday, July 17, 2009

14 years!

Today is my 14 year anniversary working for Concord Hospital. Some days it seems like just yesterday I started at the hospital, and other days seems like it's been 100 years of hard labor. Once an employee has put in a decade, annually we get a longevity bonus in our date of hire month. I'm not getting rich on the bonus by any means, but I do have a little mad money now... which will probably be spent on my darling little boy.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Great News!

The Learning Center just informed me that they can now keep Gabriel full-time in day care, Monday through Friday, until 8/21/09.  That's a two week reprieve!  And then he has the two days only (Monday and Friday) guaranteed from 8/22 through 10/4 still- and then permanent full-time from 10/5/09 on.  If we take out Wednesday's with Grammy A., that now gets us down to only (12) days (Tuesdays and Thursdays) that we don't have child care for between the end of August and the beginning of October.  And there is still the possibility of Gabriel getting additional days in between 8/22 and 10/4 as other kids take vacations and days off.  I don't have an official vacation myself on the books for this summer, so I know I can easily cover several of those days as my vacation days.  Being out of the office one day a week isn't as big of a deal as taking a whole vacation week off since nobody really has to "cover" for me when I am out of the office for just one day at a time.  And I have plenty of paid time off so I will still get paid.  And Michael will be able to cover some of those other days too.  Things just keep looking more positive on the day care front!  Things always work out for the best.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Daily Scoop

Today was Gabriel's first day at his new child care center. I think we are going to really like The Learning Center at Concord Hospital. Drop off was much more calm and quiet than it was at our last day care. And Gabriel goes to a dedicated room for infants now, so there is no mingling of older children at drop off and pick up. It felt like Gabriel was moving in with all of the accessories I had to bring in for him: milk, frozen milk, bottles, yogurt, crib sheet, sippy cup, swim suit and towel, 4 changes of outfits, diapers, permission slips, etc. When I went to visit him at lunch time, he was tickled pink on a blanket playing with a whole basket of toys with two staff members doting over him. I noticed one of the teachers had already had a change of clothing herself, which I bet we can put our money on Gabriel being the cause of that. All of the older kids were on their nap mats and sound asleep. Everything just seemed so under control! Later in the afternoon, the lead teacher sent the following e-mail to all of the parents of children in the upper house infant room so we would know how the day went.

"This morning we welcomed a new friend to our classroom. Gabriel's first day was today and all of the children helped to welcome him. We spent the morning exploring the classroom and the new materials in the room. Many of the children enjoyed exploring the ball maze. Some of the older children joined the toddlers for some water play and outdoor exploration.

This afternoon we will be spending time on the deck and maybe the playground. We are also hoping to get some time to paint with brushes. If not this is something we will do tomorrow."

Sunday, July 5, 2009

6 Months Old!

Gabriel is 6 months old today!

It just doesn't seem possible. Maybe it is because I am enjoying 99% of being a parent so much, but the days are whizzing by. I still don't feel like I have even grasped the fact that I am a Mother yet. Occasionally I look at Gabriel and wonder how all of this happened.

There's something new every day that Gabriel is doing or discovering. It's quite enjoyable to share in his simple pleasures. And Gabriel is very good natured for the most part, so he is fun to spend time with.

We are experimenting with solid foods these days. I'm trying to make some of his food myself: sweet potato, avocado, carrots, green beans, and banana are some of the first flavors. If I had to guess, I suspect Gabriel likes bananas the best. Avocado is probably his least favorite at this point. We are beginning to get him use to the sippy cup idea by giving him an ounce or so of water after dinner.

Gabriel is getting better and better at sitting up all by himself. He rolls from his stomach to his back and vice versa with ease. He does well on his stomach, holding his head up, and having enough strength to use his arms to grab toys.

Especially in the last few weeks, Gabriel has become aware of his surroundings and interested in anything he can get his hands on and stick in his mouth.

I wish I was flexible enough to play with my own feet like Gabriel can. He even sucks his own toes.

Gabriel seems to know his own name now, turning to look when his name is called out.

And he constantly jabbers! And when he isn't talking, he's discovering his voice and screeching.
Gabriel still enjoys his tubbies and he is my favorite subject for photography.

We are looking forward to Gabriel starting at The Learning Center at Concord Hospital tomorrow. Now Gabriel will ride to and from work with Mommy most days. And I am going to enjoy being able to check in on him during the day if I wish and also having the opportunity to participate in some of the activities at his day care center.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy July 4th!

We were very pleased to get a break from the rain... FINALLY! We took Gabriel outside after dinner to sit on a blanket. It actually was chilly, but at least the sun was out. It has been so wet through May and June that we have not had the opportunity to take the boy out like this. He sat under the maple tree, enjoyed looking up through the leaves and playing with his new shoes. I don't put shoes on Gabriel's feet very often, so when I do, they are like new toys attached to Gabriel's feet. He's quite good at geting them off too. Gabriel watched Daddy play with the water in the pool. Yet another side effect from the crappy, rainy weather- the pool is still not swimmable. Who wants to go out in the pouring rain and run the pool pump and vacuum it? We didn't go and see any fireworks, though, the neighbors had some good sized amateur displays throughout the evening. We just stayed home, getting caught up on laundry, watching the NASCAR race on TV, had some Brats and Beans for dinner, and enjoyed a lazy day together.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Easily Entertained

The video isn't great, but you can still get the gist of how much Gabriel enjoys a mylar balloon. He enjoyed looking at his Easter balloon from Nana D. in early spring. But now that he is a few months older, he gets physical with his balloon. This balloon came from Mary as a leftover from her Pampered Chef open house. We've had an awful lot of fun considering the balloon was already over two weeks old when we took this video and Gabriel is still very excited about it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Look What I Can Do!

Gabriel is able to roll himself from his back to his stomach in both directions proficiently now. He's finally enjoying time on his tummy now that he has the strength to keep his head up and he can investigate things from this new position. Sometimes when on his back, Gabriel can even scooch himself a few inches. And quickly, Gabriel is learning to sit. He can sit a few seconds without help now. Then he gets wobbly and just tumbles over, so we keep padding around him in all directions. (No babies were hurt in the making of this video.)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Sassy Jumping

Gabriel enjoyed a jump in his Sassy seat when he got home from day care on Friday night. And then Daddy tickled Gabriel while he sat in his chair waiting for dinner.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Mmmmm.... green peas!

Gabriel tried green peas for the first time Monday night. Of everything he has tried so far, green peas went down the fastest. Here's a photo of Gabriel enjoying his peas for a second night in a row.
I learned today that Gabriel can go to The Learning Center full-time starting 7/6/09. He has the permanent Monday/Friday part-time slot, but then another child that takes Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday on a drop in basis doesn't need the care between 7/7/09 and 8/7/09. So we were offered those days. What a relief. Now Michael and I need to cover the week of June 29th (July 4th holiday week) and then we don't have to worry about coverage again until August. We will have to wait to see what will be available for the rest of August and September. I am feeling less panicked now about day care coverage.
Michael, Gabriel and I go for our family visit and orientation next Monday morning at The Learning Center.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Strolling Around the Neighborhood

The whole family went for a walk on Monday night. We went around the cul-de-sac and then up the road to look at the neighbor's huge perennial garden. For the first time, Gabriel sat in the chair part of his stroller instead of being put in his car seat and affixed to the stroller. He seemed to enjoy the forward facing view and had no trouble staying upright with the harness on him.

It seems like there's something new happening every day now.

When I picked Gabriel up at day care tonight, I learned that the closing date of the center has already been moved up a week. They are now closing on June 26th. I am hoping that the inconsistencies that I saw in Gabriel's care today were just a fluke. The staff may be in an initial shock from learning their employment fate and are preoccupied. My little mother voice is telling me to be prepared for an even earlier closure.

On a positive note, Gabriel had been constipated a few days. We were feeding him prune juice and apple sauce, providing belly massage, and doing every thing else we could think of in an attempt to get things moving. Well, things finally moved on Monday when he was in day care. There was a note next to the 3:15 BM that said, "WOW!" And the outfit he went to day care in came home sealed in a Ziploc bag. Oh, so glad that didn't happen while he was at home.

Child Care High Turns To Crisis

I was so excited on Friday when the director of The Learning Center on the Concord Hospital campus called me to say that Gabriel will have a full-time spot at the beginning of October. YIPPEE! We finally made it to the top of the waiting list! The director was probably happier than I was since she won't have to expect weekly pestering phone calls from me to see where Gabriel is on "the list" anymore. I was also offered a part-time slot to get started after the July 4th holiday and can begin bringing Gabriel on Monday's and Friday's. I thought this was a good idea, even though having two part-time slots at two different child care centers will cost more, I thought that it would be far easier to start merging Gabriel into The Learning Center now on Monday and Friday while he has little stranger anxiety, so the big move in October when he is 9 months old won't be so traumatic. I was so pleased after I got the phone call. It was like my kid got into Harvard with a full scholarship, except, I'm still paying for everything.

The day care market in Concord is non-existent for infants, and the few spots that are out there are tough to secure. The one place we found an infant spot in Concord showed up on WMUR news recently due to a state investigation. Glad we passed on that place. I told directors of child care centers I was pregnant long before we got a chance to tell the happy news of Gabriel's pending arrival to our parents, so we could do tours and get on wait lists at those child care centers.

The Learning Center rarely has a snow day because the hospital never closes. Gabriel's pediatrician is on the Concord Hospital campus, so that means I don't need to take a whole half day off for well baby appointments, or sick baby appointments. I will have more flexibility in my work schedule since I won't have to run out of my office at 4:30 pm to make it in time to pick up Gabriel. I will be able to make all of those special events he will have at the day care since he's just a short walk across campus. (So looking forward to the Halloween parade!) I can feed him lunch instead of pumping. The Learning Center offers kindergarten and field trips when he gets older so there is no need to scramble again for child care unless I change jobs or until Gabriel goes to first grade. And right now The Learning Center offers summer programs for kids up to grade 3. On most days I will now be able to have Gabriel in day care hands for less than 9 hours verses where he is now it is 10 hours due to the commute from Concord to Epsom. There are so many things to celebrate with his acceptance at The Learning Center. October just can't come soon enough!

When I drove to pick up Gabriel at his current day care center that same Friday, I was on a high. I knew that it would be a hard conversation to talk to the current director about moving him to part-time after July 4th, but I was ready. And then when I went to have the conversation, I learned that Gabriel's current child care center is closing. WHAT!? They hope to be able to keep enough staff and kids to make it through July 4th. My best child care day ever was now my worst day care nightmare. I am in high anxiety now trying to figure out how to piece together child care coverage between now and his full time slot in October.

I have to remember to keep counting my blessings at this point. For one, Gabriel is a great baby. They call him Smiley at day care and tell us how easy he is. So thankfully we don't have a cranky baby to try to find child care for. And Gabriel is social, so he seems to enjoy people right now and he flashes smiles easily. The Learning Center had already offered him the Monday and Friday slot after July 4th, so I have 2 out of the 5 work days covered. Grandma Abberton has Wednesday's off since she works four 10-hour shifts, and she is willing to spend some quality time with her grandson this summer. 3 out of the 5 days covered. A handful of people have mentioned they would do child care for us previously, so we will start the process of following up and trying to figure out who really was serious and how to work all of the child care together in a way that works best for Gabriel. And I am spreading the word to everyone I can think of who might potentially know of some safe solutions in the Concord area. We at least have an end point knowing we have the full-time slot in October.