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.