Monday, December 24, 2012

5 Months Old

5 Months Old

Height,Weight, & Head: No doctor's visit this month, so no updated stats  

Clothes:  He is now fitting in 6-9 or 6-12 months in everything.  

Eating:  100% Mama's milk! I am extremely proud of my exclusively breastfed baby who is growing wonderfully!  I still love nursing just as much as I did when we started!  He has begun to rub my arm while he nurses and it just melts my heart.  I do plan on starting to introduce solids towards the end of the month, once we are settled in Utah and Liam is sitting up by himself (he's so close!)

Sleeping: My amazing little sleeper has disappeared...  Literally the day after he turned 4 months old, Liam went from sleeping 9-12 hours straight to not sleeping consistently at all.  This little monster wakes up every couple hours now.  I never thought I could go back to that, but here we are a month later... and surprisingly, I'm still functioning.  No matter what you call it: 4 month sleep regression, a stormy wonder week, the 4 month wakefuls... I'm hoping it passes soon!

Diapering:  We love cloth! Here's the post about them if you missed it!

Trips:  Once again, we had a busy month!  We traveled to Spokane for Thanksgiving, and then Liam & I joined Conor in Salt Lake City for a week (where we bought a new house)!  Liam has now been on 6 flights before he turned 5 months old, busy little traveler!  Currently, we're in Spokane for Christmas and will be driving to Montana the morning after.  It has been a fun & crazy month (Liam & I haven't been in any one place for more than a week), but I am getting anxious to be settled down in Utah.

Playtime: Liam is go-go-gadget-go right now!  I absolutely love watching him explore this world each day.  He is super busy and wants to be played with nonstop.  I am looking forward to him being able to sit up by himself so that he can do a little more solo play while I get things done around the house.  We finally caved and bought him a jumparoo for Christmas; I have a feeling he will love it!  It'll be under the Christmas tree tomorrow morning with a big ol' bow on it. Shhhhh! Don't tell him!  He also has a slight obsession with wrapping paper, so he will surely be in baby-mind-stimulatin' heaven tomorrow!

Likes:  Making new noises (right now he's figured out how to grunt, growl like a dinosaur, and he's discovered a few higher screeches).  Falling asleep with things in his hands (usually a toy which I'm trying to swap out for a lovie, that seems a little more appropriate than a crinkly toy for naptime).  Blowing bubbles (this is a loud & messy activity, he is such a boy)!  Grabbing his toes and putting them in his mouth (especially during diaper changes)!  How the Grinch Stole Christmas (this is his favorite book of the moment, especially the shiny red cover!  We usually make it about half way through the book before he loses his patience, so I have the first half memorized.  "All the Whos lay a-snooze" is our favorite line)!

Milestones:  We have a roller!  Liam has rolled from his tummy to back multiple times...but only for me! :-)  I'm hoping the little bugger will show Conor sometime soon.  He is also so darn close to sitting up by himself, but still wobbles a little bit.  Liam wants to be mobile so bad; it will be interesting to see when the little man starts crawling.

Best Moment:  Watching Liam give big smiles to all his favorite people!  When Conor gets back from a week away on business, Liam greets him with the biggest smile and is so happy to see him!  His dad really gets the grins and giggles out of him. He also recognizes Nana & Pops (my mom & dad) now and shares some smiles with them as well! We cannot wait to get him to Bigfork so that he can get to know all his Keenan fans too.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Santa, I know him!

Last week, we finally took Liam to see Santa!  I had been putting off doing it for awhile because I really didn't want to go to a mall and stand in line forever to pay $30 for one picture.  All I really wanted was to put Liam on some jolly ol' fellow's lap and take my own picture!  So while reading our local news on Sunday morning, I saw that Santa was going to be visiting the Catholic grade school right by our house from 9am til noon, and anyone could stop by and take their own picture for free....perfect!  Well except the fact that it was 11:30am and nobody in our house was dressed yet!  I had yet to even plan out the perfect outfit for Liam's first time meeting the big guy, but I was not about to miss this opportunity.  So I got Liam dressed as quickly as possible (realized his adorable boat shoes no longer fit, tried to jam them on his feet anyways, settled for cute tennis shoes) and we flew out the door!  I didn't worry about myself, since I was not planning on being in the picture...

I thought Liam would be all about Santa, since he seems to really be into people with facial hair and glasses these days; however, he really could have cared less.  He was happy to be with Santa, but he simply gave him a once over and then was more interested at looking at Conor & I.  At least there were no tears... because there is absolutely no place for crying where anything Christmas is concerned!  Santa was wonderful and such a nice man; but then, he insisted that Conor & I also get in a picture!  Santa's glasses must be broken, because he obviously didn't give me a once over!  I looked like the disheveled Mom who had yet to brush her hair or even take off yesterday's make up; not to mention, that I was still wearing my glasses, since there was no time to put my contacts in!  I quickly ripped my glasses off my face, but I could barely see whoever was taking our picture!

So here is my cute little boy full of excitement at his first meeting
 with Santa and the hot mess that I was that morning:

Monday, December 10, 2012

Fa la la la la...

As much as I love the Christmas Season, I always wait til after Thanksgiving to deck the halls & listen to Christmas music; one holiday at a time people!  What makes this time of year so exciting is all the anticipation!  Having said that, I most definitely am purchasing Christmas presents early, picking up some new holiday decor, and choosing this year's wrapping paper/ribbon combo long before hand.  I just consider that my "prep" work!

Normally, Conor & I kick things off with a Christmas movie after Thanksgiving dinner, then hit the sheets because Conor gets up early for some Black Friday shopping.  Then we get drinks & go cut down a Christmas tree and spend the rest of the day decorating.  Since we were in Spokane this year, things went down a little differently.  After Thanksgiving dinner, I had a little surprise for Liam (and Conor)!  I had purchased some Christmas jammies for all three of us!  I had always liked the idea of giving your kids new pajamas every year on Christmas Eve, but I wanted to make the tradition my own.  I thought it would be much more fun to get Christmas PJs to kick off the whole holiday season!  Who doesn't want brand spanking new jammies while decorating the tree and house the next day?!  So I wrapped them up with a little note that said:

Keenan Family,

Here's something to help you get "prepped" 
for Santa's visit come Christmas Eve!  Enjoy!

Love, Wayne & Lanny

Prep & Landing is one of our new favorite Christmas movies; so, I thought it would be hilarious to get a gift from Santa's Prep team!  It took Conor a second to figure out who Wayne & Lanny were, but he eventually figured it out!  And a tradition has begun!  Liam was asleep for most of the action, but when he woke up in his new outfit he was pretty excited about it!

The traditions continued that evening, with Nana (my mom) giving Liam his 1st Christmas ornament!  My Grandma gave my brothers & I an ornament every Christmas.  This was something I really looked forward to receiving; I loved being able to put up my own ornaments on our tree!  I have quite the collection now and my Grandpa continues to get me an ornament every year even though my Grandma has passed away.  This being the first year for Liam, Nana bought his a Baby's 1st Christmas Ornament.  I absolutely love it, a great addition to our tree!

The next morning we piled into my parents station wagon car and headed to the Christmas Tree Farm!  Cutting down your own real tree is a Christmas must for me!  I don't understand fake trees, and I absolutely hate them!  The last few years, my parents have been going to Camden Ranch to get their tree and have been very pleased with them!  Typically, Christmas tree farms provide saws, and then they'll shake and bale the tree for you!  It really doesn't get much better than this!  My parents house has high ceilings, so we're usually in the market for an 11 footer!!!  Before we made it to the tree farm, we made a pit stop at my brothers' bar for some to-go mimosas & bloody marys!

 Jon & Shalan as well as baby Kanyon joined us!  It was a sunny day and just tad bit nipply nippy out!  Liam loved being outside and walking between all the trees.  It took awhile, but Conor finally spotted the perfect one!  While she's only a 10 footer, she's a beaut!

That weekend, we had the Christmas music blaring while decorating the tree!  My family has an affinity for the Rod Stewart & Dolly Parton version of "Baby, It's Cold Outside," so you know that was put on repeat a time or two!  The little guy had a blast, but it also wore him out... some babies just can't handle all that Christmas fun!

Pictures of the decorated tree to come and so much more!  I haven't even gotten into December yet!


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Cloth Diapers

Since many of you have asked for it, here is a rundown of my experience with cloth diapers.  I am by no means an expert, but I have figured out what works best for me.  People decide to cloth diaper for many different reasons: to save money, to help out the environment, to avoid chemicals, because they are so darn cute, etc.  While I think there are many great reasons to use cloth, I can't say I actually have a reason.  It's just something I always knew that I would do.  My Mom cloth diapered my brothers & I, so that just seemed like the normal thing to do.  I liked the idea of having something soft against my baby's skin instead of the plastic/paper feel of disposables.  Cloth diapers have come a long way since my Mom was using them!  She used your standard prefolds with diaper pins and "rubber pants."  She also used a diaper service, so she never had to wash them herself.  While some mommas still use this system, I chose a different path.

There are all different types & brands of cloth diapers available now.  If you are interested, there is plenty of info on youtube as well as sites that sell cloth diapers.  I won't bore with you with details of each here.  I decided to go with one size pocket cloth diapers.  One size meaning they should fit your baby from birth (8lbs) til potty training (35 lbs).   You can either have snap closures or velcro.  I chose snaps because they typically last longer (velcro starts to collect all sorts of stuff on it) and once your child is older they won't be able to easily undo their diaper.  However, velcro can give you a more custom fit, and some people find it easier as they are more similar to disposables.  Here are my thoughts on the different brands that I tried:

Bum Genius 4.0:  This is the diaper I reach for first, and it's the brand I have the most of (15 diapers).  I had an issue with the elastic relaxing after only 2 months of use, which I think was caused my using industrial grade detergent while at my in-laws.  Anyways, Cottonbabies exchanged all my defective diapers for new ones.  Great customer service! :-)  This diaper is a bit bulky, but I get a great fit with it.

Rumparooz:  This is my go to night time diaper!  I have no leaks even when Liam sleeps for 12 hours!  However, it is extremely bulky when babies are little, so I only use it at night.  Also, these are a little pricier.

Charlie Banana:  These are definitely the softest of all my diapers & the most trim; however, it's not my favorite.  This diaper has adjustable elastic in the legs and that is how you adjust the fit.  I prefer diapers that have a snap down rise.  Some people love these diapers though...they are similar to Fuzzibunz which is another popular brand.

Dinkledooz:  While this diaper is probably my most cheaply made, I get the best fit from it!  I like the overlapping snaps and the stretchier material.

All of these pocket diapers come with microfiber inserts.  They work great, but there are also other inserts you can purchase that are most absorbent: bamboo > hemp > cotton > microfiber.  Liam is a heavy wetter, so I tend to use two inserts making the diaper a bit bulkier.  Because of this I purchased some hemp "doublers" which are thinner and meant to be used with another insert.  Hemp is also slower to absorb even though it holds more, so most people use it with microfiber.  To describer the diapers I use as a whole (especially for those who have never seen a modern cloth diaper in person): the outer material is PUL (polyurethane laminate) and is completely waterproof.  The "pocket" is typically fleece which is a stay dry material that wicks moisture away from the baby and to the inserts.

I also purchased a dozen prefolds from Green Mountain Diapers to use in some Flip covers.  Instead of using pins, I just trifold the prefold and set it in the cover.  This is a great (although bulky) option that I use mostly while at home.  The cover is resuable as long as Liam doesn't poop in it!  I have 4 flip covers for a dozen prefolds.  This is one of the cheaper options to use.  Confused yet?  There is so much information out there, that it can seem overwhelming... but once you start using them, it is just as easy as disposables.  You simply do an extra load of laundry every 2-3 days.

Since I only wash every 2-3 days (I have about 30+ diapers) I store them in a regular trash can (I have the Simply Human brand) with a Planetwise pail liner.  I also use cloth wipes, and I'm so glad I do!  They work much better and then just go right into the pail with the diapers.  For my wipes: I soak them in a water & baby wash (Dr. Bronner's baby mild) mixture, then ring out excess water, roll them up, and store in my wipe warmer.  Liam gets a nice hot towelette on his bum at each diaper change!  On laundry day, all the dirty diapers, wipes, and the pail liner itself go into the washer.  When I'm out & about, I use regular wipes, but of course bring my cloth diapers with me.  I have a Planetwise "wet bag" for the dirty diapers, which has a zipper close and keeps everything contained.  On wash day, the wet bag goes right in with all my other diaper laundry.  

Now for the nitty gritty details...  Exclusively breast milk poop is water soluble, so you can simply put dirty diapers right into the washer.  Once you start solids (or you use formula) you must rinse diapers before washing them.  Everyone has a slightly different wash routine, but here's mine: quick cold rinse, hot wash with detergent, followed by 2 cold rinses.  The first rinse helps prevent any staining and the second two rinses make sure all the detergent is out so you don't get any buildup.  There are fancy cloth diaper detergents out there, but I just use original Tide.  Every once in awhile I put in a tablespoon of bleach.  I then hang dry everything.  If there is any staining, you simply put the diapers in the sun to dry and they disappear... it's almost like magic! :-)

Some people are lucky to have great cloth diapers store where they live, but if not there are so many options on-line!  I did my research and bought diapers throughout my pregnancy when I found good sales.  Free shipping is another bonus to always look for.  On average, a family will spend roughly $2,000 on disposable diapers from birth til potty training.  I have spent under $500 and could have done it for much cheaper had I wanted.  Once you get going, it's hard to stop yourself from purchasing new brands to try and all the cute prints that are available!  On another note, our water bill did not go up once I started washing least not a noticeable amount.

I truly hope this was helpful to any of you Moms who are considering cloth.  It has been such a great choice for our family, even Conor is completely on board and does plenty of the diaper changes!  We have had maybe two blowouts since Liam was born and he hasn't had a single diaper rash!  Good luck on your cloth diapering adventures, and I would be more than happy to answer any of your questions!

{Update}  Read my experience about over a year of cloth diapering here.

My Favorite Things: Month 4

Boogie Wipes: These wipes are the softer thing ever!  I even like using them on myself when my nose is running.  Liam has a runny nose pretty frequently now that he's teething, so I use these all the time.  He isn't a huge fan of having his nose wiped, but they get the job done.  And the grape scent is amazing... makes me want to lick them (don't do it!)

Infantino Rattle Pal:  This is Liam's absolute favorite toy right now.  It's easy to grab, it crinkles, has a mirror, and it's a rattle!  What's not to love?!  He plays with this mostly in the car or when I'm trying to shower... the two times I need it most and can always count on it to entertain him!

Chewbeads:  Mommy chic & baby safe.  Both Liam & I are huge fans of these.  They come in all sorts of colors and are super cute.  I get lots of compliments on them, and most people don't know they are teethers.  As far as chewing goes, Liam prefers the bracelet (which I have in turquoise but it's really more of a mint green color).  But I also love the necklace as something for him to grab onto (instead of my hair) while nursing or just being held.  It keeps him a little more focused.

Baby Hawk Mei Tai:  Love this carrier!  I also have the Moby, but really prefer this one.  It supports your baby from their bottom, so there is no strain on their crotch.  Instead of legs dangling they wrap around your stomach.  It's really easy to tie on & off so I use it every where.  No more lugging around his car seat or trying to do some holiday shopping with a massive stroller!  Liam loves it too, because he's close to me but gets to see everything around him.  Plus, this chevron print is so stylish!

Infantino Links:  These are awesome for attaching toys or teethers too!  I always have them on his car seat and just switch out different toys every once awhile.  The links themselves are fun too, since they have different textures and colors.  They are super easy to link & unlink... almost too easy... sometimes Liam yanks on his toys so hard he pulls them off his car seat!

Jellycat Touch & Feel Books:  My little man loves looking at books already.  Mama is so happy!  The Jellycat brand is his favorite of the sensory books.  He just now exploring the different textures on each page, but he loves all the colors and just the book itself.  He'll hold it, try to manipulate it, and just stare at one page for quite awhile.  We have three, but my favorite is "If I were a duck!"

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Liam's 1st Thanksgiving

I was so excited to kick off the holiday season this year!  Everything is better now that Liam is a part of our family!  We did things a little bit different this time around... obviously we have a baby now, but our upcoming move to Salt Lake City has really thrown a wrench in all of our holiday plans.  Here's the brief post about our move, in case you hadn't heard.  Conor is now commuting to SLC weekly, so he's only with us on the weekends.  Initially, we were going to spend Thanksgiving with the Keenan Family in Montana, but that was going to be a lot of travel for Conor in a short amount of time.  Plus, I was going to be in Spokane so my parents could help me out with Liam, so we decided to do Thanksgiving there this year.

Conor & I have been living all over the country the last four years, so we have just stayed put for Thanksgiving.  It was so nice to be back with family this year!  Conor & I have started some of our own traditions over the years, so we incorporated those in with my family's traditions.  Wednesday, my Mom & I (and of course Liam; because where I go, he goes) gathered up all the fixings for our big feast the next day.  I like to refer to this day as Thanksgiving-Prep-Day and it's one of my favorites... the anticipation of the day to come and then the beginning of the Christmas Season is so exciting!  Conor flew into Spokane Wednesday night and we surprised him by greeting him right outside the gate.  We had missed him lots; it felt so good to put Liam back in his arms!  I may have gotten a little teary eyed...the holidays will do that to ya!  That night we brined our turkey, cubed bread for stuffing, and rested up!

Thanksgiving morning, Conor, my Mom, & I started prepping food as soon as we woke up!  We also made a tasty little breakfast to fill our bellies til dinner time.  Since it's Thanksgiving dinner, we eat at dinner time!  Personally, I don't understand the people who have their Thanksgiving meal at 2 o'clock... but to each their own I guess...  Don't they get hungry again?!  Of course there has to be a morning cocktail to go with breakfast, so this year we made a batch of Ramos Gin Fizz to go with our eggs & cinnamon rolls, yummm!

After breakfast, we all went on the 3rd Annual Keenan Family Christmas walk!  Because you have to sneak some exercise into the day of feasting.  Liam is now loving the baby hawk so I wear him everywhere!  No need for a stroller!  I also bought him the cutest fleece body suit to bundle him up in the cold weather.  It was cuteness overload, I just can't get over him in this outfit!

The rest of the day was spent in the kitchen getting everything ready; although, we were able to squeezed in a little parade watching and some football of course.  As per Keenan tradition, the turkey was cooked in an oven bag which I think my Mom was a fan of!  It keeps the turkey so moist without having to baste it constantly.  We also had the standard side dishes: stuffing & mashed potatoes...then we mixed it up and made green bean asparagus casserole per Conor's request.  Conor also threw together some cheese pinwheels instead of just a boring dinner roll.  They are little bits of cheesy goodness.  Normally, we make a pumpkin chiffon pie...but I had already have my fair share of pumpkin this year (had it for my birthday as well as Friendsgiving), so we stuck to just Pecan Pie which is my Dad's favorite.

This year, our Thanksgiving group was small.  Both of my brother's did their own dinners with their respective families and my cousins went to their lake place for a more intimate dinner this year.  So it was just us three Keenans, my parents, my Grandpa, two aunts, & an uncle!  I missed the chaos of a big group just a little, but this year was much more relaxing.

I was excited to dress Liam for the big day, but it wasn't nearly as much fun as it would be to dress up a girl.  Oh well, maybe with the next one... (Not anytime soon, no Irish twins for this family!)  While my little man looked so handsome, I never got a great picture of him.  He was a little toasty that day, so his cute boat shoes & socks were off most of the night, and it was a rough teething day for him so there was drool all over the place!  A light gray sweater may have been a poor choice in hindsight!  This also wasn't his most photogenic day.  But we were having too much fun to worry about pictures!  Luckily, my Mom snagged one of three of us... again, not our best! (I should really just start instagram-ing all photos)

Liam added a whole new element to the day, as we passed him around to whomever had a spare hand at the moment, since we were all busy cooking.  While he tends to slow me down a little bit, he makes everything & every day so much better!  The holidays are no exception.  I'm looking forward to all the Thanksgivings to come... especially next year when Liam can actually eat all the tasty foods.  And almost forgot to mention one of my favorite things from this Thanksgiving...the book "I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie!"  Nana & Pops gave this cute book to Liam!  It's a Thanksgiving version of "There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly."  I love a good holiday book; we enjoyed reading this one all of November! 

Once dinner was finished, and the dishes were put away (except the wine & old fashion glasses)... Christmas Season had officially begun!  I can't wait to share all of our fun!

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