Baby Led Weaning – The Beginning

Last Saturday, we began the journey of solid foods for James.  This was something I had been looking forward to all month and it was just as fun / entertaining as I thought it would be!  After reading a lot about it, we decided to try “baby led weaning” (BLW) where you basically skip spoon feeding baby purees and go straight to finger foods, allowing them to feed themselves.

When I was researching and trying to decide whether to try BLW, I loved reading specific examples of how different families did it.  I found a lot of the information out there to be theoretical and vague, and this type A mama wanted specifics.  So I wanted to share our BLW journey as we go along, in case it’s helpful to anyone else.

As a disclaimer, if BLW doesn’t work for us, I’ll definitely try something different.  I’m open to everything at this point!

The Chair

Are you familiar with weaning tables / cube chairs?  They are baby sized chairs and tables, low to the ground, that can be used instead of high chairs.  They allow baby to sit close to the ground and use furniture that is just his size (a big thing in Montessori).

Also, when baby is a little older, he can get in and out of the chair independently.  I think this is great practice for staying seated during a meal.  Using a table low to the ground can also be a lot less messy because if baby drops (or throws…) food off of the table, it doesn’t go as far as if it were dropped from a great height.  Physics, my friends.

For all of these reasons, I really wanted a cube chair.  I almost ordered this one off of Etsy.  But we decided we also wanted a high chair, because I think family dinners are important and I want James to be able to join us at the table for dinner.  I plan to use the cube chair for breakfast and lunch and the high chair for dinner.  Since we were getting both, I was hesitant to spend too much on a cube chair.

After a lot of indecision (story of my life), we made it to this past weekend with neither a cube chair or a high chair.  Whoops.  We had been planning to go to Ikea Saturday morning to get a high chair ($15 and I’ve read good reviews!), but I thankfully checked their website before we went and saw that it was out of stock at our store.  I’m glad I checked because Ikea is quite far from us.  I ordered the high chair, but it won’t arrive until April 4.

After looking forward to this all month, I really didn’t want to wait an extra week, so what to do?  Enter my husband, saving the day once again 🙂  He is an excellent creative problem solver and can always seem to make what we need from what we have.

He quickly made James a little table and chair like it was no big deal.  We had an old Ikea table and he sawed the legs off to make it 11 inches tall.  He then followed this tutorial to build James a little cube chair.  I love it all the more knowing he made it for little James.  I read that you can use beeswax and coconut oil as a natural wood finish, so I just need to find some beeswax to coat it with and we’re good to go!  At this point, James is just as interested in licking the chair as he is in tasting the food, so we definitely need a safe, natural finish.

The Set-up

As my friend Natalie writes about beautifully here, grace and courtesy is a huge part of Montessori.  One small part of this is mealtimes.  In Montessori, meal time is a lovely ritual where set-up, clean-up, and conversation are all just as important as the food.  I’m trying to keep this in mind from the beginning.

One part of Montessori mealtime is using real dishes, even for babies.  I do plan to do this with James, but wanted to introduce the food first so he’s not too distracted by the plate, etc.  We’re using this place mat.  I like that it’s white because the food really stands out.  It’s also large and stays in place well.  I have also used a ramekin when I gave him mashed sweet potatoes and it worked well.  We’re using a little shot glass for water, which may sound funny, but they’re the perfect size and are thick, so less likely to break if dropped.  Using real dishes (e.g., small glasses instead of sippy cups) helps the child learn control of movement – they know that if they drop it, the water will spill, which is hard to learn from spill-proof cups.

I also place a little sponge in the top left corner for spills and a wash cloth to wash his hands before he eats….and his entire body after he’s done.  I want to involve him in the clean up as much as possible from the start to show him it is part of the process.  Right now, that looks like keeping him at the table while I wipe it and say “when we’re done eating, we wipe the table”.

I was tempted to add fresh flowers to the table, but decided it would just be a distraction at this point.  Let’s face it, he would probably want to eat them.  I definitely plan to do this once he’s in the groove with eating though.

I want to sit across from him to make it more like a normal meal time and to help demonstrate how to hold and eat the food, but at this point, James needs some support as he gets used to his chair so I’m sitting next to him.  He sometimes gets tired of sitting in the chair and winds up in my lap.  He’s already looking more comfortable in there after a few days of practice though.

As soon as he can stay in his chair safely and comfortably, I’ll sit across from him and set a place for myself to eat with him.  I really think practicing the mealtime ritual is just as important as the food, especially in our rushed culture where “lunch” is often a granola bar in the car for many adults. (Not judging…this is definitely me some days).

The Food

After scouring the internet and talking to our pediatrician, it seems like you can start with almost any food, assuming your child has no medical conditions and allergies don’t run in your family (most previous restrictions have been lifted, apart from salt, honey, and cow’s milk).  With BLW, you just want to begin with something that will be relatively easy for baby to hold, and something that will be gentle on their digestive system.

We decided to start with avocado.  I liked that I wouldn’t need to cook the avocado, so didn’t have to worry about getting it the right consistency before giving it him.  While I’ve read that choking is no more common with BLW than with purees, I’m still a little paranoid and avocado seemed very low risk due to it’s squishiness.  That’s a technical term.

So far, he’s tried avocado, roasted sweet potato, and pear.  I plan to offer steamed broccoli next.

For the avocado, we simply sliced it and put it on his place mat.  For the sweet potato, I’ve given him roasted strips (french fry sized), and also mashed sweet potato.

For the mashed, we tried “loaded spoons”.  This is where you put a little on the spoon and put the spoon on the table for baby to use if he wants.  I also put a ramekin with a little mashed sweet potato on the table.  He used the spoon and also ate some with his hands.  I was pleasantly surprised with how successful he was with the spoon!  I plan to use loaded spoons for foods that adults would eat with a spoon – so yes to oatmeal, apple sauce, mashed potatoes, no to pureed chicken.  That’s just my personal preference and could certainly change depending on how things go!  I like the idea of him getting used to using utensils though, where appropriate.

For the pear, I gave him about 1/4 of a very ripe pear, with the peel on.  This may have been his favorite so far.

It was a little slippery, but he tried different strategies for getting it into his mouth, including holding it on the table and bending down to suck on it.

I was surprised by how much of the pear was gone when he was through!

The Experience

James had the funniest strategy for eating the first time we gave him avocado, it took me by surprise.  Obviously avocado slices are slippery and hard to pick up.  I thought he would just squish them and lick them off of his hands, which he did some.

He also though bent his head down to the table and sucked up the avocado like a little vacuum cleaner…it was quite entertaining and surprisingly successful!

He tried this same strategy with the sweet potato strips though with less success.  He could pick up the sweet potato strips, but had some difficulty getting them in his mouth.  I may have cut them too thin due to my fear of him choking.  I also got a crinkle cutter to make the pieces easier to hold and totally forgot to use it.  Next time.

He wound up holding one while he sucked his thumb several times.  He honestly didn’t seem too pleased with the experience when he did get one in his mouth, but I have a feeling that will change with a little more practice.

I look forward to his meal times each day and I must say, it’s actually been less messy than I was expecting.  Of course, he gets covered with food, but it’s easy to wipe him off with a wash cloth.  Some gets on the floor, but we pick it up as we go and its no big deal.


I found Brittany’s post and others on her site to be one of the most helpful resources.  She goes into the practical details that I found were missing on many sites, like what shapes to cut the food in and how big.

I also purchased this BLW recipe book.  From the reviews, this cookbook sounded way more useful than their introductory book which it sounds like is mainly theory / the benefits of BLW.  We’re starting with one food at a time, so I haven’t used any of the recipes yet, but they look great!  There is a lot of variety and recipes from different cultures, which I love.

I also found this post comparing the Montessori approach to eating with baby led weaning.  I read this after we already started, but it looks like we’re doing sort of a hybrid.

I plan to post updates on BLW and how it works for us.  I’m curious to see what foods James will like and to experiment with new recipes.  So far, we’re having a ton of fun with this new adventure!

Did you / would you try baby led weaning?

Were you a picky eater as a child or more adventurous?

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James at 6 Months

I have all sorts of thoughts and feelings about the six month mark.  I can be overly sentimental and six months sounds SO old to me right now.  Halfway to a year.  Is one year the end of babyhood?  I’m not sure, but it sounds dangerously close….

I must say though, it has been a wonderful month.  We’ve gone on lots of little adventures and also had many quiet days at home and in the backyard.  Now that it’s so much easier to get out of the house, I really enjoy the days we spend at home too.

Before we had kids, I told my husband I thought six months was the cutest age for babies, and I must say, it’s pretty darn adorable.

Enough sappiness though.  What has James been up to?


Weight: 17 lb 10 oz (53rd percentile)

Height: 27 1/2 inches (85th percentile)

Head circumference: 44.6 cm (85th percentile)

It always makes me laugh when the doctor says he’s a “long and lean” baby…his thighs!  This is actually the highest his weight percentile has ever been though, so that made me happy.


More on this soon, but we gave James his first solid food last weekend.

We went with avocado for his first food and it was…messy.  So much fun though.  My sister was in town for the occasion, which made it extra special.

He’s been grabbing for my food the last few weeks and he really seemed to enjoy having some of his own.

Gross Motor

How I found him in the morning….

James is still all about learning to move.  He can quickly roll across the room now and also spends lots of time on his tummy “air swimming” and getting frustrated that it’s not getting him anywhere.

He’s been a proficient roller for quite a while, but I feel like he just realized that he could use rolling to move around the room and get where he wants to go.  There is no stopping him now!

On that note, does anyone have a natural floor cleaner they love?

I’ve seen the most change this month in his ability to bear weight on his legs while we hold him.  This kid is ALL about bouncing.  Bouncing while we hold him up is his number one hobby (in conjunction with spitting…).  It is his happy place.  He gets the biggest grin and sometimes sticks his tongue out while he bounces up and down.  It’s pretty great.

He is not, however, very interested in sitting up.  When I sit him up to practice, he’ll often rock back and forth, trying to scoot, as if to say, “this surely must get me somewhere, or why would mom insist that I try it?”  Sometimes he’ll just bend down and suck on his toes lol.

Lately though, he often lunges back or to the side as soon as I sit him up, clearly making his opinion on sitting known.

The exception to this is when we’re at story time, where he easily sits by himself.  He once sat up for like twenty minutes there, I was shocked.  I think it’s because he was busy watching and listening, and so was not jerking around trying to move.  I try to mimic this by sitting him in front of the mirror so he has something interesting to look at, which sometimes works briefly, but he’s really not that into it.  I suspect that as soon as he’s interested, he’ll be able to sit unassisted no problem.

Fine Motor

James now passes objects back and forth between his hands.  He’s also able to pick something up and rearrange the way he’s holding it to get the desired part in his mouth.  It amazes me to watch his little hands at work when it seems so recent that all he could do was ball them up in little fists.


James is so happy and funny!  He cracks me up every day.  He is a little scientist, so eager to explore his world.

He takes solid naps more often than not, but hangs in there really well if we’re occasionally off schedule when we’re traveling or have a busy day.

He loves being sung to, playing with scarves, looking in the mirror, and playing games like peekaboo or making silly faces together.  He also tolerates long walks on the around the neighborhood, which has been great since I love to walk and to be outside.  I worry that it’s already getting hot for long walks though; he’s so warm when I take him out of the stroller!

He has a little baby friend from the library and they are so cute together.  They don’t interact too much, but he definitely seems to recognize her and they reach out to touch each other and smile at each other.  It makes me happy to see him with a little buddy.

He is super chatty when we arrive home after going somewhere new.  He’s often silent when we’re out, just taking it all in, but then he tells me all about it when we get home.

Things I Want to Remember

How he gives me the biggest smile when I go in to greet him in the morning.

How he goes about life with his tongue sticking out, hoping to taste something interesting.

How he sleeps in the strangest position with his little butt in the air.

How he grabs my nose while he’s nursing or while I’m singing to him before a nap (LOL).

How soft his skin is.

How he grabs his belly rolls in the bathtub.

How he looks in the smallest little swimsuit I’ve ever seen.

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Looking Back – The First Six Months

James turns six months today.  I’ll post his 6 month update soon, but I admit I got a bit teary writing it (this could have been because I’d been up since 4:00 AM…hard to say…)

I wanted to take some time to share some of my favorite pictures and moments of his first six months.

You were born a pretty big baby at 8 pounds, 10 ounces, but you still seemed so very tiny.

Seeing you cuddled up with your Daddy was almost too much, too impossibly good.

You were so sleepy the first week, I would excitedly alert everyone when you opened your eyes.

Even your littlest clothes seemed so very big.

You wanted so desperately to get (and keep!) your hand in your mouth.

It meant I got nothing done, but I loved how you fell asleep on me all of the time.  You rarely do this nowadays, but I cherish how time slows down when you do, leaving nothing in the world but me and you and your sweet little breaths.

You were often grumpy in the evenings the first few weeks, but would stop grumping to play with your Daddy.

You changed so quickly with each passing week.

You made me so tired, but so impossibly happy; I barely slept because I didn’t want to miss anything.  I wouldn’t change a thing.

I wanted you to stay a newborn, but you were so much fun when you started smiling and laughing.  I didn’t know it would get even better.

I enjoyed dressing you in little old man clothes.  You’re welcome.

Everything seemed more special because it was your “first”.

You had many hats, but favored the ones you could lick.

You instigated (and seldom won…) wrestling matches with many blankets and stuffed animals.

You were so, so busy, dancing and kicking and jumping and always, always trying your hardest to reach the next step.  While I willed time to slow down, you willed it to fast forward, frustrated that you couldn’t do more.  It’s unbelievable how much you’ve grown in six short months, and I can barely imagine how you’ll be in six more.  I know they won’t, but I hope they go by more slowly than the last my little one.

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Looking Forward To….

Good morning!  I hope you’re having a great week so far.  Is anyone on spring break?  My mom is a teacher on spring break and she and my Dad are in Costa Rica right now.  My husband and I were planning to go there last year, but then found out I was pregnant a few weeks before we were set to go and cancelled because of the whole Zika thing.  I still really want to go there some day and am looking forward to seeing my parents’ pictures and living vicariously through them!

While no spring break trips are happening here, I do have quite a few things I’m looking forward to over the next few months:


Okay to be fair, it has kind of felt like spring here for the last couple of months.  With bluebonnets and wildflowers everywhere though, it now feels official.  I’m excited to be spending more and more time outside with the little guy.  Being outside in the sunshine makes me so happy.

I got a baby pool and the cutest swim suit for him at Target and it is pretty much the best thing ever.  I don’t have any pictures of James in the pool yet because he can’t reliably sit up by himself so I’ve been holding him up.  As soon as I can though, I’ll share a picture of what may be the cutest thing ever 🙂


Two years ago, we went camping on the beach at Padre Island National Seashore.  Because it’s a national seashore, there are no hotels / trinket shops, etc. lining the beach.  While Texas beaches are by no means world class, this is a pretty nice one.

We’re going to attempt to return this year for James’s first camping trip.  I’m super excited and mildly terrified at the same time.  We will have a hotel in mind for a backup plan for sure.

The main thing I’m concerned about is naps.  James still very much needs naps throughout the day to function, but he is often too excited to nap when he is somewhere new. He will sometimes fall asleep in the Ergo, so that’s my backup plan if he won’t nap in the tent.

James’s Baptism

James is getting baptized at my childhood church in Houston on Mothers Day.  I’m excited to for the baptism itself, and also to celebrate my first mothers day.  My little brother is flying in from Chicago, so that will make it extra fun!

Family Time this Summer

I know I just said I’m excited for spring, but I’m also excited for summer because my mom and sister will be off from work for much of it.  They will be able to visit for longer stretches of time and I’ll take James to Houston too.  I’m excited to take him to the Houston Zoo, and maybe the aquarium.  I don’t have a copy of it, but one of my favorite pictures from when I was little is of me noticing the giraffes at the zoo for the first time – I can’t wait to see James’s reaction to the big animals!

Trip to Wisconsin

We’re planning to take James to my husband’s home state of Wisconsin for the first time this summer.  My husband’s parents haven’t seen him since he was about three weeks old, so this should be super exciting!

He’ll also get to meet my best friend Ali for the first time.  Wisconsin is so beautiful in the summer and hopefully we’ll go to my husband’s family’s lake house where I spent my “retirement” for part of the time too.

Visiting a New National Park

Visiting national parks is very high up on my list of favorite things to do.  I have a goal of making it to every national park, at least in the continental US (there are so many beautiful ones in Alaska and Hawaii, but I’m not sure it’s realistic for me to go to each of those).

My husband and I actually got engaged at Denali National Park in Alaska!

We’re taking a trip with my mom (and hopefully my Dad if he can make it with work!) to Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor in Maine this August.  We’re renting a cute little house right on the water that’s only a mile from the town center.  I’m already dreading the flights a little bit (there are no direct flights, so it will be a long day of travel for a baby), but I think the trip itself will be really fun and relaxing.  I’m excited to go hiking and kayaking and eat lots of lobster and ice cream 🙂

I didn’t realize how long this list would be; I have a lot to look forward to over the next few months!

Do you have any fun trips coming up?

Any advice on camping with a baby?

Has anyone been to Maine?  Any recommendations?

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Baby Books About Food

You guys, my mom is just the best.  Seriously, if you knew her, you’d agree.

When I went to Houston recently she had the best gift for baby James.  She read in my post about preparing James for solid food that I was looking for some baby books about food.  I use the term “looking” loosely, as what I was really doing was wishing I had some and doing nothing about it.

She gave us four beautiful books about food / eating and we have been loving them.

I’ll start with the best one.  During a particularly busy week where she had parent teacher conferences until 6PM every night (and she gets to school at 7 AM…), my Mom went to Whole Foods after work to get some beautiful produce, went home and photographed it, and made the most beautiful book on Shutterfly.

Again, this is something I’d mentioned wanting to do, but I was clearly not actually making it happen.

This is the best book, not only because it is homemade, but because the images are clear and vibrant against a white background, the best for baby to see.  It only has one food per page, which I think is ideal for a baby.  It is simple and full of foods he is likely to eat in the early days.  I also like that it is large enough that I can prop it open to a certain page if he seems particularly interested in a specific image.

Next up is Eating the Rainbow.  This one shows different babies and toddlers from around the world eating a variety of foods.  I love this one because it combines babies’ interest in faces with their interest in food.

Eating the Alphabet is slightly more “advanced” I would say.  It has beautiful illustrated images of food.  One thing that’s great about this book is that it includes familiar foods as well as more exotic ones like kohlrabi, figs, and persimmons.

I actually think it would be super fun to use this book for a scavenger hunt of sorts with a toddler / young child.  You could choose a few new foods to try each week and search for them at the farmers’ market or grocery store.  Hey, I think I’d even enjoy that!

Lastly, she gave us My First abc, which is not strictly about food, but includes many images of different foods as well as other every day objects.

I’ve already had so much fun with these new books and I see us enjoying them for years to come.  Thanks Mom!

Do you enjoy books about food?

I personally love looking through beautiful cookbooks, a hobby I definitely got from my Mom.

Do you know of any other great children’s books about food?

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Out and About

Good morning!

I’m still trying to get in the habit of taking more pictures when we do fun things, but I actually have photos of two outings we went on recently, so wanted to share.

Pizza Farm

Jester King Brewery and Stanleys’s Farmhouse Pizza together form what I fondly refer to as the pizza farm.  Less than thirty minutes outside of town, this farm feels like it’s completely out in the country.  It’s been one of my favorite places ever since we moved to Austin, but this was the first time we made it there with James.

We had a friend visiting from Wisconsin, so it was a good excuse to go.  It was cloudy, but nice out, and it turned out to be a great day to go because it wasn’t too crowded.


I failed to get any pictures of the pizza, but it was delicious.  My favorite thing about this place though is the atmosphere.

There are always lots of families and kids running around.  There are lawn games and sometimes live music.  You sit outside at picnic tables in the sunshine.  It is pretty much the best.  We stayed as long as James could stand it, and then went home so he could nap.

Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center

James and I celebrated the first day of spring with a visit to the nearby Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center.

My husband and I first went here the week before James was due and I remember thinking how fun it would be to come back with the little guy in tow.  That day finally came!

Bluebonnets and other wildflowers have been popping up all over Austin so i figured this would be a particularly nice time to go.  The wildflower center has lots of nature trails, an outdoor cafe, a lookout tower, and a super fun area for kids and families.

In case you missed the sea of blue flowers….

As expected, the bluebonnets were everywhere.  It was so pretty and smelled like spring.

My husband and I didn’t check out the children’s area last time we were here, but it was wonderful and I had fun daydreaming about bringing James back when he’s older.

There is a “cave” that you can sit in and look out at a waterfall.

They also have two over-sized bird nest replicas that the children can go in.

Butterfly benches peppered the garden.

The outdoor workout setup would certainly be a way to mix it up from the gym.

They had a spot with little watering cans so the children could water the plants.  There was also a sandbox area with toys and a couple of little teepee type structures in the woods.  I had fun walking with him and watching the families, imagining our future.

The Wildflower Center is only about 15-20 minutes from my house.  I bought a membership and can’t wait to go back many times!  I actually already have plans to go back twice this week – once with a friend and her baby and once with my sister.  I want to spend as much time outside as possible for the summer heat comes.

Have you gone anywhere fun lately?

Is it nice outside yet where you live?

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Montessori Baby – What’s on James’s Shelf?

Good morning!

I wanted to share an update on James’s nursery today.  I set up his toy shelf before he was born, but it was really just for looks in the first few months.  In the last month or so though, James has been much more interested in toys.

He is all about using his hands and bringing things to his mouth these days.  Now that he actually plays with the toys on his shelf, I try to rotate a few of them at the beginning of each week.  Here’s a snapshot of what’s on his shelf now at five and a half months.

As a side note, Montessori has a big emphasis on using natural materials and I hope to collect some small baskets and wooden trays to hold his toys.  In the meantime I’m using these colorful boxes my Mom had from Birchbox.  I got the idea to use these as storage from The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up.

This basket of books is the newest addition to his shelf and I am absolutely loving it.  There is a closet with built-in shelves right outside James’s room and we keep his books there.  However, I’ve been remembering to read to him a lot more now that there are a few right there on his shelf.  I rotate these each week, except for Goodnight Moon, which is a permanent staple as we read it each night before bed.  This basket is right next to the glider so it is super easy to sit with him there and choose a book to read.

Gund Fuzzy Frog

This has a special place in my heart because I spent way too long browsing stuffed animals and trying to pick the perfect one for him while I was pregnant.  He does not yet show any particular attachment to a stuffed animal, but he does seem to enjoy reaching for them and “wrestling” them.

Crochet Vegetable Rattles

I love these because I think they’re adorable, but I also like that each one offers a different way to grip and a different level of challenge.  For instance, James could grasp the mushroom right away when we gave him these at 3 months old, but the tomato and radish are more difficult.

This Etsy shop has some other really beautiful wooden and crochet toys as well.

Montessori Grasping Toys

These are classic Montessori baby toys, gifted to me by the head of school where I taught.  The one with two discs is great for passing back and forth from hand to hand and James loves to hold the one with wooden beads and work one of the beads into his mouth.

Haba Rainbow Clutching Toy

This seems to be one of James’s favorites.

It is easy to grasp, but also interesting as it bends and has lots of fun colors.  I love Haba toys in general.

Haba Rainbow Ball

Another Haba favorite.  I love this ball because it has lots of interesting textures and colors.  It also rolls away, but not too far, so James can still see it and reach for it.

When James is a little older and can crawl over to the shelf by himself, I will likely have fewer items on each tray (for instance, one or two vegetable rattles instead of all of them).  At this point though, I’m just bringing him the toys, so I can bring him one at a time.

If you have children, do you have any baby toys you recommend?

Are you more of a minimalist or do you like to fill your house with many things you love?

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Day in the Life – 5.5 Months

Good morning!  I hope you’ve had a great week and are looking forward to something fun this weekend.  I’m hoping to do a day in the life post once a month, so I can remember what life was like at each little stage.  This was our day on Tuesday.

I woke up at 5:20.  James was squirming, but not crying or anything.  I fed him so that he would go back to sleep for a little longer.  He stayed half asleep while he ate and then went back to bed.

While he slept, I ate breakfast, drank coffee, and then did a 30 minute Barre3 workout (<- referral link).  One thing I like about Barre3 is that you can select a whole workout, or just choose 10 minute segments, so I don’t have to worry about him waking up and needing me in the middle of the workout.  This time I did get to finish the whole thing though and it felt great!  I don’t always feel like doing it, but I feel so much better when I get a workout in first thing in the morning.

James started squirming again at 6:59 – perfect timing.  I feel like it works best when he wakes up around 7.  When he wakes up earlier, he’s still super sleepy all morning and when he wakes up much later, he doesn’t take good naps.  I give him some time to wake up while I unload and load the dishwasher.

I used to go in immediately when I heard him, but have started trying to give him at least ten minutes or so to wake up first.  He almost always wakes up in a happy mood in the morning and rolls around and talks to himself.  I hope having time in there alone helps him feel comfortable and safe in his room as he gets older.  I am also a major introvert and feel like I’d be heavily annoyed if someone came in and started talking to me right when I opened my eyes every morning 🙂

As a side note, I wish the baby monitor took pictures / videos.  Does anyone know if this is a thing?  I feel like it should be, I’d buy it.  He is too cute squirming around in there and chatting up a storm.

We have a new favorite morning tradition.  After I greet him and we snuggle for a few minutes, we go sit outside on the back patio.  This has been a different experience since daylight savings, but I figured he is never outside when it’s dark, so maybe it’s interesting?  I love all of the morning sounds and there is something so nice about getting outside first thing.  I know it puts me in a good mood anyway.  Sometimes we sing songs out there and sometimes we just listen and enjoy the stillness.

Today it is just starting to get light and the moon is out.  I think this may be the first time James has seen the moon, which makes me really appreciate all of the wonder of such a beautiful morning.  It was a little chilly, so I put on his cozy fox hat – I can hardly even handle the cuteness.  We sit out there until he starts to get antsy and then I change his diaper and get him dressed for the day.

We go in to say good morning to his Dad – always a highlight of the morning.

After snuggling and playing in our bed for a while, I feed James and then he plays in front of his mirror.  He has been initiating wrestling matches with his blankets lately and it is highly amusing to watch.  I sit next to him and read about the upcoming milestones to expect in a baby development book until he wants attention.

I hold him upright while he bounces – his absolute favorite activity of the moment!  I feel like he has very little interest in practicing sitting up because he just wants to MOVE.  Bouncing is much more his speed.

He is getting sleepy eyes so we sit in the glider while I read him “Polar Bear Polar Bear, What do you Hear?”.  I then turn on the white noise, sing him a song (Forever Young – our goodnight song), and put him in his sleep sack for his nap at about 9:10.

While he naps, I work on my Baby Sign Language post and this post.  I also clean the kitchen, dining area, and living room.  Yikes, I need to work on cleaning the floors more often before he starts crawling!

James woke up a little after 11.  I fed him and we set out on the day’s adventure!  My husband was working from home today, so he joined us for lunch.

His favorite taco place (Taco Deli) is right next door to my favorite juice / smoothie place (Juiceland), so it works out perfectly.  They also have outdoor seating, which gives the little guy a lot more to look at.  We go here probably once a week.

When we got home, James had some play time before his afternoon nap.

He goes back and forth between two and three naps these days.  When he takes a long morning nap, he often only takes one afternoon nap.  This is especially true on days like today where he is in the car / on our laps for a lot of his awake time and hasn’t gotten to roll around get his energy out.

He napped from about 2:30-3:30 and then we sat in the backyard again for a little while.  It was seriously beautiful out today.  He played a little more while I folded laundry.

I fed him and when my husband was done with work, we went for a long family walk.

Today was the first time we put him in the stroller without his car seat / converter.  He’s been really squirmy in his car seat lately so I looked up when he could go in the stroller without it…8 weeks.  Whoops.  #newmomfail.  He seemed much happier in the stroller this way so I’m excited to hopefully be able to take some longer walks!

After our walk, James played some more and then we took his 24 week pictures…hard to believe!

Then is was bath time…one of his and my favorite times of the day.  After plenty of bath time fun, I fed him, gave him a massage and we all read Goodnight Moon together before putting him to bed.  I seriously love this stage.  It was a great Tuesday.

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I Saw the Sign…Baby Sign Language

I officially apologize for getting that song stuck in your head 🙂

Something new we’ve just started doing is introducing baby sign language.  If you’re not familiar with it, baby sign language allows you to communicate with your pre-verbal baby through signs.  The theory is that this lets them communicate earlier so that they can tell you what they need before they can talk.

This is an idea I’ve been in love with ever since seeing it in action with some of the babies / young toddlers at the school where I taught.  Some studies do show that it has benefits for both cognitive and emotional development…but I also just think it looks so fun!

We just started signing to James last week, so I am by NO means an expert.  I wanted to share some of what I’ve read though in case anyone else is thinking of using baby signs.  Please chime in in the comments if you have any experience with baby sign language; I would love any advice you may have!  I’ll do an update in a few months too, after we know how James takes to it and if we see any benefits.

When should I start signing to my baby?

It’s never too early…or too late!  Many people recommend starting around six months though.  Every baby is different, but if you sign consistently and often, you may see your baby start signing back around the time they start waving hello and goodbye.  If you think about it, that is just a simple sign!

From what I’ve read, this is often around 8-9 months, so if you start signing around 6 months, they’ll have plenty of exposure before they’re ready to sign back.  If you sign consistently though, your baby may pick up on it much sooner.  For instance, if you do the sign for “eat” every time you feed him, he will likely see that sign much more frequently than he sees someone wave.

We started now (at five months) because I know it will take us a while to remember to do the signs.  Hopefully we’ll be doing them consistently by the time he’s six months old.

How do I introduce a new sign?

Simply start doing the sign when it’s relevant throughout the day.  For example, I sign “milk” before I feed James, saying the word “milk” at the same time.  There is no need to give any sort of formal lesson, they watch everything you do!

How many signs should I start with?

I’ve read that 3-5 is a good number.  You can introduce more once they start to sign back.

Which signs should I start with?

We’re starting with “more,” “milk,” “sleep,” and “eat”.  The daily life words are the easiest to start with because they come up the most often, so your baby will see you do them constantly.  You could also start with “Mama” or “Daddy,” things that are relevant to their lives.  For instance, you could do “dog” if you have a dog, but if you don’t have one, it likely won’t come up enough to sink in at first.

What if I don’t know sign language?

I do not know sign language, but I’m confident that I can learn a few signs at a time.  Also, you don’t have to use formal American Sign Language (ASL) – your baby won’t know the difference 🙂  I figure I might as well use ASL when possible because he may retain it later in life, but if a particular sign is too difficult for your baby to use, you should feel free to make up a different one that makes sense.  I’ve also read that babies will sometimes make up their own signs after they’ve been signing for a while.

We also got this book to help us.  That way, there’s something both my husband and I can reference to make sure we’re using the same signs.  It was very inexpensive and easy to look at.  This particular book does not give any background information on signing, but I had already read enough about it that I was just looking for the actual signs.

Will signing delay my child from starting to speak?

This is a concern some parents have – does providing babies with another way to communicate take away the drive to start speaking?  Everything I’ve read says no.  In my opinion, I think babies want to communicate like we do, and in a much richer way than just learning some basic signs gives them.  I don’t think signing takes away the drive to speak any more than crawling takes away the drive to walk.  You also always say the word out loud along with giving the sign, so it does not take away from your baby’s exposure to verbal language.

Also though, I don’t really care if using sign language means James won’t say his first word for an extra few weeks.  Of course I’m eager to hear him talk, but I try not to get too hung up on racing to get to the next milestone.

I would really love to hear about any experiences you have with baby signs!

Have you used baby sign language?

Do you know sign language?

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Weekend in Houston

Happy Monday 🙂  We had the best weekend!

The highlight was definitely spending time with my family in Houston, but I want to start with Friday.

I implemented the things I mentioned in my Operation Bring Friday Back post (minus the happy hour because we left for Houston that evening), and it was the best day.

I started with a simple ten minute yoga video in the morning and it made me feel SO good.  Just ten little minutes and what a difference it made to the start of my day.  I felt so ready when I saw James start to squirm on the monitor, so ready to greet him and really be there with him.  We even had a Bob Marley dance party at 8:30 in the morning…what better way is there to kick off the weekend?

Along with the self-care theme, I also took a bubble bath and read on the back patio with some tea.  It was glorious.  Despite the winter theme of my mug and book, it was in the low 70’s and beautiful.

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is acoomplished” Lao Tzu.  My teabag was wise 🙂

I felt great and I had so much more energy to be present with my little guy – a win-win for sure!

Someone else enjoyed reading outside too 🙂

We left for Houston at around five and James was a trooper.  He hung out and played with his crocheted mushroom for the first couple of hours and slept the rest of the way.

He transfered easily to bed and I proceded to hang out with my Dad until 1:30 in the morning…whoops!  After waking up at 4:45 Friday morning, that was quite a long day, but so worth it.  I knew I wouldn’t get to see him much the next day due to all of the girly things we had planned, so wanted to make sure I got to spend time with him while we were in town.

While I was a little tired Saturday morning, I was also super excited because we were going wedding dress shopping for my sister!  We started with scones and mimosas at her house before going to her first appointment.  One of her best friends / bridesmaids came too, so it was great for me to get to know her before the wedding.

My husband and my sister’s fiance hung out with James while we went to the first bridal boutique and then we all met up for brunch.  James decided there was way too much exciting stuff to see at my sister’s house and barely napped.  Fortunately, he was still in a great mood!

I brought James with us to the second appointment and he enjoyed flirting with all of the ladies at the wedding dress shop.  My sister looked so beautiful in all of the dresses and I have to say, it was way more fun to watch her try on dresses than it was choosing my own a few years ago.  I can’t share a picture of it, but she found her dress and it is absolutely perfect for her.  I’m so happy I got to be there for it!

I crashed hard Saturday night and then was up bright and early Sunday for a class at our church.  James is going to be baptized at the church I grew up in in May (on Mother’s Day!) and my husband and I needed to take a pre-Baptism class first.  It was nice and they gave us a lovely board book for James, explaining Baptism.

James stayed home with my parents and took a great nap.  He was in a very happy mood when he woke up and we all went out to get Indian food, my favorite!  Despite his solid nap, I think the little guy was still catching up from Saturday, because he fell asleep on me, which he hardly ever does anymore.

He used to fall asleep on me all the time, which made it very hard to get things done.  Now that it never happens anymore though, I love it when he does this, it is so sweet.

As soon as he woke up, we drove back to Austin.  James entertained himself with some new books my mom got him (more on these wonderful books soon!).

We hadn’t done this much in a single weekend since before James was born.  We were all pretty tired by the time we got home, but it was such a wonderful weekend with my family, and so worth it.

What was the best part of your weekend?

Do you live near your family?

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