Monday, March 31, 2008

Spring Break!

For most of us, Spring Break was full of vacations, partying, and craziness. For a working mom, it means vacations from work, partying with an 8 month old, and cleaning/organizing craziness. This week is my spring break and I'm so glad I get to be home with my little one for a whole week!

Here are a few videos of what she has been up to.

First, her favorite "Up-Down" game. All this entails is me saying "uuuuuuuuppppppp, dooooooowwwwnnnnn" and she squats or stands accordingly. We could play this all day!
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Next is mommy's little namesake. She LOVES playing with the keys on the piano. Probably because she has figured out the action/reaction part of life - if she hits the keys (action), they make a funny sound (reaction). Personally, I like to think she'll play like her mommy.
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Finally, here she is figuring out how to push her walker. Just after I shut off the camera, she did a face plant. However, she got back up and started again. That's my girl!
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Sunday, March 30, 2008

Update

Not much new on our end. Just a few notes of interest. Jared and I made a decision that I will not be returning to work next year. I want to stay home, and Jared is supporting me in that. I handed in my letter of resignation, told my classes, and cried for two days. It was a bittersweet moment, but I love my daughter and want to be home. I had to work this last year, and Jared was grateful for that. He graduates in May, after 6 long years of full time school, and is ready to be the bread winner. I agree! Speaking of Jared, his job search continues. Once he lands something awesome, I'll be sure to let you all know!

Well, just a few pictures and movies on our precious little cargo. She is doing MANY things, including emptying our bookshelf of all our DVD's 1 by 1, starting to push a little walker, playing the piano, and playing her favorite "up-down" game.

Who's ready for a walk? Sariah is!!!


Sariah's new toy - a "Little Mermaid" scooter. If you can tell me what a dinglehopper is, you watched this movie as many times as my sister, Courtney, and I did.

Reflections of Christ

There is a touching exhibit right now in the Arizona Mesa Temple Visitor's Center called "Reflections of Christ." It is a gallery of pictures about Christ's birth, life, death, resurrection, and visits to the people after his resurrection. What makes this exhibit different? The pictures are with real people. I don't know about you, but I have a hard time picturing Christ sometimes with the paintings and other portrayals of Christ. Because the artist used real people, it makes me able to picture Christ as a person, and imagine what is happening in the picture. If you get the chance to go see it, please do. My testimony of the Savior grew, and my love for Him and His purpose is now deeper.

If you would like to see some of the pictures, visit www.reflectionsofchrist.org

Friday, March 28, 2008

I Love Easter

I love Easter for many reasons. First and foremost, it reminds us of the greatest and most important events ever to take place in history: the Atonement and Resurrection. Second, Easter dresses! I LOVE Easter dresses. Here is our sweet little girl, 8 months old, as beautiful as can be.






Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Student comments that make me laught out loud

One of the things I am going to miss the most about teaching 7th graders is their comments and questions. Once in a while, someone will say something that will make me laugh out loud. They are such wonderful kids and I am going to miss them! Here is one of those times...

One of my students was incredibly generous to donate a tank full of beautiful fish! It's all set up and adds something fun to look at in my classroom. One of the fish is pregnant, with an obvious bulging belly. When a fish becomes pregnant, they are put into a special breeding tank so when she has her babies (this fish gives live birth), the other fish won't eat them. It's a little floating box inside the tank to hold the mother and babies. It looks like this:


The pregnant mother is in there, just waiting to pop! One of my 7th grade boys walks in, looks at the tank, and promptly asks why we're keeping her hostage. I told him that she's pregnant and needs to be kept away from the other fish until she has her babies. He says, "Oh. Pregnant. What's that?"

Oh dear...we're going to have to cover more during the human reproduction unit than I thought!! Of course, it was completely out of context. After he was thoroughly made fun of by the entire class, he stubbornly stood his ground by saying he knows what pregnancy is and that's not what he meant. Suuuuuure Alec.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Help! I have an 8 month old who needs to eat...

What do you do when your 8 month old is allergic to yogurt (and soy yogurt), won't eat string cheese, and is getting bored with baby food? I'm not sure what to feed her at this age other than baby food, and she needs her protein! She has plenty of teeth and can start to chew on stuff...but I'm running out of ideas. Anyone out there have advice or suggestions??

Thursday, March 20, 2008

My New Favorite Meal

Made these tonight...SO GOOD! Took about 20 minutes from start to finish and super healthy, too.


Quick Weeknight Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 Cup finely chopped onion
1 lb ground turkey breast
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
¼ teaspoon garlic salt (I used Lawry’s)
1 12 oz bag of Broccoli Slaw (Basha's, Safeway, etc.)
1 small can drained water chestnuts
½ Cup Yoshida’s Teriyaki Sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil

Approximately 15 Butter Lettuce leaves (you can also use iceberg lettuce leaves)

1. Place oil into a large 5 qt skillet or other large pan over medium heat. When hot, add onion and cook for 5 minutes to soften. Add ground turkey, salt, pepper and garlic salt. Brown and crumble until cooked through.

2. When turkey is cooked, stir in broccoli slaw, water chestnuts, teriyaki sauce and sesame oil. Cook for another 10-15 minutes or until heated through. Reduce heat to low until ready to serve. Serve spoonfuls inside lettuce leaves. Enjoy!

Charlie Bit Me!

When one of my students says, "Mrs. Franklin, you HAVE to check out this youtube video!"...I usually hesitate. Heaven only knows what they are really trying to get me to see. One afternoon, I decided to take a chance, and this is what I found...

My Favorite Comment...

I love my husband more than anything in this world. He is sweet, strong, dedicated, hard-working, and strives to do his best with everything he tries...including being a father. He did not have the opportunity to be around small children while he grew up. He was the youngest of three, and didn't have any family close by with small children. When he married me, his first experience with children was with my nephews. At first, he was a little uncomfortable around them because he just didn't know what to do. As the years went on, he became more and more comfortable with them and now enjoys playing with them.

With that said - and knowing what you do about my husband not having much experience with small children - this has to be my favorite comment he has made thus far in parenthood...

"She (Sariah) always goes for my red shoes! Her favorite color must be red. Of course, I don't even know if she can see color yet..."

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

2 babies...and I survived

My good friend, Mandy, asked me to watch her little boy for a few hours one afternoon. He's almost the same age as Sariah, so I thought it would be fun! Mothers with twins (AMY!) - I honestly don't know how you do it. Those two were all over the place!!! Here are a few of the happenings:

Babies together! We didn't intentionally dress them the same...they just happen to be like that. They are standing next to my make-shift barricade that blocked off the kitchen (2 chairs on the floor).


Then we went outside, and things got interesting. Here is Calen in the grass...


Then he's in the flower pot...


While he's investigating, Corona came out to see what the fuss was about...


Then they found the water dish. Sariah found it first. She doesn't even put her whole hand in it. She just touches it and talks to it...


Then Calen had to come play with it. Not only did he sit in it, he splashed it EVERYWHERE! By the time he was done, the bowl was completely empty.


I survived two babies! I am so proud of myself, and would gladly do it again. It was actually a lot of fun.

What do YOU get to do when you stay home sick?

I have had a goopy nose with green boogers, a cough, and a fever. I got to stay home yesterday! Here is what I got to do because I stayed home:

1. Keep mommy home from work!!! This was my favorite part - I wasn't more than 6 inches from her all day. She played on the floor with me, rocked me to sleep, and gave me magic medicine (Tylenol) to help me feel better.

2. Sleep in until 8:30 am.

3. Take 2 3-hour naps!

4. Play with everything and make a mess out of the family room.


5. Investigate my bathroom - play with the frog mat, see what's in the garbage, and find a new treasure - the toilet paper roll!



6. Stay in my pj's ALL day!

7. Help mommy with my laundry.


Today, I am doing better. My fever is gone, and I am staying home with dad. What will mom find when she comes home? Only 1 way to find out...

This is what happens when Sariah stays home with daddy. But hey, at least he got her dressed! That's better than I did!
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OK - I have to put a disclaimer on our bedspread. I've gotten a few emails about our "adventurous" choice of blanket. I have to clear this up! No, our room isn't decorated in animal print! Rocky Point sells these AMAZINGLY soft blankets. They're huge, soft, and so snuggly. We have 2 - both in animal print because we didn't want a Disney character or a wolf howling at the moon - you guys know how Mexico is. Although it is a little wild for our room, it's soft and big. When I steal the covers at night, it's still big enough for Jared to grab a corner!

Thursday, March 13, 2008

And so it begins...


Yesterday, something amazing happened. Sariah had her first real temper tantrum. How old is she, again? 8 months old on Sunday. It makes me a little worried about when she's two...

Jared started his last quarter last night. This means that 2 days out of the week, he is gone from 8am until 11pm. He was gone, so it was just Sariah and I, and I was feeding her dinner. When she's in her high chair, there's straps that can buckle her in. With me sitting there with her, and the tray on the high chair, there was no need for the buckles. This meant there was a strap for her to play with...and stick in her spaghetti-covered mouth. She reaches for the strap, and I gently take it away from her and say, "We don't eat the straps. They will get yucky." She scrunches up her face, starts to cry, and reaches for it again. I take it away again and explain why. Then, I place my hand under the tray and cover it up so she can't even see it. That did it! She spit her food all over me (not intentionally because babies don't have that cognitive ability yet), tried to move my hand, and started to scream. She would have nothing to do with her dinner until she could have the strap. Every 3 or 4 seconds, she would open her eyes and look down. When she saw my hand was still there, she lit in to it again! She would kick her legs, arch her back, purse her lips, furrow her brows, and yell. After 30 seconds of this (which seems like FOREVER), I gave her the spoon to play with, and got another one. The strap was forgotten, and all was well!

I'll say it again. If this is happening now, at 8 months, I'm a little fearful of when she's two...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Thank you, Sarah!

My friend, Sarah, has this tradition of homemade pizza on American Idol night. Although I'm not that into the show this season, I am addicted to "Lost." SO...she gave us her homemade pizza dough recipe (whole wheat...much more healthy!) and I gave it a go last Thursday when we watched "Lost." This is what I started with...

That would be spinach, tomato, red onion, and mushrooms.

And THIS is before the oven! It was consumed before I could get a "baked" picture...but doesn't it look yummy? With low-fat mozzarella cheese, it's as healthy as a pizza can be! Thank you SO much for the idea!!

Learning is FUN!

At this age, everything is new. Babies are busy trying to figure this world out. We forget because we've seen things a million times. For an 8 month old, the first time is quite interesting. Take eating Cheerios, for example. To us? Not that interesting. To an 8 month old? You try getting your fingers to pick up this tiny object, and get it into your mouth on the first try!



Or how about as mommy gets ready for work, you wander in to her shoe closet. All of those pretty shoes? Just objects to throw around!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Little girl + dog = FUN!

Sariah ABSOLUTELY LOVES our little pit bull, Corona. They follow each other around everywhere, and they are so cute together! Corona always licks her, and gets down on Sariah's level so she can be played with. Corona has this funny habit of running around like crazy when we get home, and it makes Sariah laugh and laugh! I tried to capture some of it on this video, but you can hear her just giggling away.
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Corona loves to watch what is going on outside, so she sits at our living room window. If we open the window for her, she'll sit there for hours and sniff out all the action. However, she is a little too short for the window, and her neck will get tired from holding her head up. After a few minutes, she will rest her chin on the window sill so she can still see. Sariah has recently started looking out the window with her...and yes, daddy dressed her and made her match in red from head to toe!





























Sariah is also getting very vocal, and jabbers at everything. Here, she's having a conversation with both me and the shoes.
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Since Sariah is on the move, Corona has become unusually protective. In the kitchen, we have a mat where we put Corona's food and water dishes. During the week, when it's nice outside, we'll leave the water dish outside and leave the door cracked open so she can go in and out at will. When Sariah is crawling around in the kitchen, Corona will sit on this mat and protect the opening of the door so she can't crawl outside. She's our own little nanny! Here she is, watching very intently as Sariah crawls under the kitchen table...


Two cute pictures...I don't know how she sleeps like this, and her super cute church outfit!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Baby "stuff" Showdown

*** DISCLAIMER: Everything stated in this post is strictly my own opinion.***

Over the past few months, I have done quite a bit of research on the best baby products and what have worked best for me. As a scientist, the natural thing for me to do is run all kinds of experiments to see which products hold up the best or accomplish their task with the greatest efficiency. Being a working mother, I haven't had time to do so. Therefore, I have come to these conclusions from my own personal experience, and are based on my own personal opinion.

Knockdown #1: Diaper Genie vs. Diaper Champ
Winner: Neither

I tried both of these diaper/odor-containing contraptions and I am not a fan of either one! The bags don't fit right, the odor didn't stay put, and the re-fills were expensive. My remedy? Put the poopy diaper in a plastic grocery bag (because we have a million of them in our pantry anyway!), tie the end in a not and throw it away. They don't stink because they hold the odor very well, and I don't have to spend money on the re-fills!

Knockdown #2: Enfamil vs. Similac Formula
Winner: Enfamil

As a new mother, I wanted to nurse with all my heart. I had these visions of me bonding with my child while I was nursing. However, after 4 days of waiting for my milk to come in, we quickly realized that my body wasn't producing any. It is due to me having a condition called PCOS, which doesn't allow my body to produce milk. After a few tears, I came to grips with the reality and went searching for the formula that would be best for Sariah. Enfamil quickly became the winner because it was less stinkier, didn't stain as bad, and made Sariah's bowels very regular. Similac caused some excessive spit-up and gave her diarrhea. I am sure it is different with every child, but Enfamil is my favorite.

Knockdown #3: Huggies vs Pampers diapers
Winner: Both!

You might be asking yourself why I chose both. Well, they were great for two different reasons. When Sariah was first born, I preferred the Pampers. They're softer, snugglier and held things very well. Since I was changing her diaper with every feeding, the amount of "stuff" the diaper could hold didn't really matter. However, as she got older and started sleeping through the night and having fuller diapers in the morning, the Pampers just didn't hold enough. That is when I switched to Huggies, which hold more than the Pampers and are GREAT for a little girl who is on the go all the time. They're flexible and keep her nice and dry.
Knockdown #4: Pampers vs. Huggies wipes
Winner: Huggies Wipes

Hands down, the Huggies win! They are more like cloth, are thicker and easier to handle with 1 hand. I use the sensitive kind because they don't have excessive perfumes or alcohol on them.
Knockdown #5: Playtex vs. Avent bottles
Winner: Avent bottles

The tick-marks stayed in place longer, Sariah didn't have as much gas with them, and the plastic held up better in the dishwasher. The only downside is that if the cap isn't screwed on just perfectly, they will leak. It took a couple of trials to get it right. Once we did, they worked great!

Knockdown #6: Baby Orajel vs. Hyland's Teething Tablets
Winner: Hyland's

I tried the gel, but I just couldn't figure out how to get it on her gums before she ate the darn stuff! The minute my finger went in, she sucked it right off. That's when my sister-in-law recommended these. These teething tablets are miracle workers! They are osteopathic, so I don't feel like I'm giving Sariah medicine. When she had 4 teeth coming in all at once, she was taking these every 2-3 hours (highest recommended dose) and was almost instantly happy. The second you put the tablet in the mouth, it turns to gel so there is no worry about choking. I would put 3 in, pop her pacifier in, and she would be happy as a clam!


Baby "stuff" I just won't be able to live without for number 2!

1. Baby Bjorn - Sariah HATED her carseat from the minute we put her in it. Once she got a little older, she learned how to tolerate it, at best. Because of that, we did our shopping, vacuuming, and putting on my make-up with her in the Baby Bjorn. She just wanted to be up and looking around, and hasn't stopped since!

2. Moby Wrap - THANK YOU SARAH! My friend Sarah sent me one of these right as soon as Sariah was born. It's the concept of a sling, but wraps all the way around you so you have your baby right up against your chest. It's about 20 feet long, so it wraps around you more than once...even me!

3. Heartbeat noisemaker. We put this little heartbeat noisemaker in Sariah's crib with her, and it soothed her almost instantly. When she was all bundled, the constant, rhythmic heartbeat probably made her feel like she was back in the womb. I have heard that these are also great for colicky babies.

4. Baby swing. I know some prefer a baby cradle, but I only had the swing and Sariah loved it. The rocking motion was very calming. She never really slept in it, but would be perfectly content for quite a while.

5. Jumperoo. As soon as I got this, it was Sariah's favorite thing! She bounced until her little heart was content. Now that she's crawling and on the move, she'd rather be moving around than bouncing. Fine by me!

6. Aveeno Deep Moisturizing cream. Sariah's poor little legs get so dry and have so much egsyma (spelling?) on them, and this was the only thing that worked. Plus, she loves the rub down after her bath!

7. Aquafor. Much better than any diaper rash cream I tried. 'Nuf said.

8. Robeez, or any other similar crib shoe. Cute, comfortable, and enough protection from the dry Arizona ground.

An update to come as she gets older!