11 Months/ 2 Years, 10 Months

Glancing over last night’s post I can’t help but feel like it was uninspired. I wrote it after the umpteenth time intervening in Silas and Henry’s chat fest—with Silas so tired he was crying in between his babblings with Henry. I meted out a time-out to the only one old enough to make any difference and with JT working late, I was flying solo. Anyhoo, the time-out worked and they both finally went to sleep at 9. It seems like we have these kind of nights about once every week and so far they’ve always wound down by 9. In the intervening 6 days it all seems par for the course—but wow, what a long hour on night seven.

Green living, or the concept anyway seems to be sweeping the country the way that organic tv dinners and low-carb foods did in previous years. Not to be off-trend we’ve been doing our best to reduce the old carbon footprint. Not to brag but I think we’re starting off “greener” than the average family. We walk a lot in the summer, use cloth diapers, dry the bulk of our clothes outside (again in the summer), only run the dishwasher and washer when it’s full, use cloth napkins—boy I could toot my own horn for a long time. The things I’ve been working on recently are greening my laundry process and dishwashing process. Two big breakthroughs I thought I would mention. I stopped using dryer sheets last summer when I started line-drying as much as I could. In general we’ve been switching to toiletries and cleaners that are as toxin-free as possible and dryer sheets have all kinds of chemicals that don’t fall in the “healthy” category. If you believe the passionate internet info on the topic clothes feel hard and stiff if you don’t use dryer sheets because using too much detergent leaves a residue on the clothes. So, we’re using less detergent, using dryer balls to fluff things up physically, and ta-da ½ cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle to soften clothes and reduce static. This last one was the big one. The dryer balls help soften things a decent amount and make clothes reasonably fluffy—but woe is the static in the winter. After I put Silas down in his crib and I could see sparks flying off his pajamas before he even hit the sheet, I knew we had a problem. Seems the vinegar both fully rinses out the detergent that may be left behind and softens and therefore reduces the static—or something. What I can tell you is it works. I’ve been meaning to share these little findings for awhile and I’m sure you’re riveted now that I have.

For my local friends, I found the BEST baby store ever lately. It’s called Be By Baby and it’s at Paulina and Roscoe. The parking is terrible but that doesn’t prevent it from being the baby store I only wish I knew about 3 years ago. They have some organic baby clothes if you’re into that kind of thing, a big selection of nursing and maternity bras which looked extensive and offered more than the usual 2 options for once. Also some wooden and soft baby and toddler toys. But, the exciting parts of the store for me were the sling selection and fitting process and the cloth diapers. About 4 years ago JT and I and the Smerry’s went on a back-packing trip to SE Asia. We all went to REI and went through a fairly extensive process to select and fit a back-pack based on what we needed to carry, the size of our frame, and the features and price range we were interested in.

BeByBaby personally takes you through the same process for choosing a baby carrier. From what I could tell they had every possible sling and baby carrier out there and they were working with both pregnant moms and moms with babies in tow to pick out the best sling for them. Not stuck trying to just read online reviews, take measurements, and order over the internet—this seems like a real service for a product that often has to be custom fit and really meet your needs to work.

Finally, BeByBaby stocks several popular brands of cloth diapers in their store—the only store in Chicago that carries cloth diapers. In addition, they have classes on cloth diapering. This might sound crazy but for people interested in trying cloth the modern options are a little overwhelming. Not only do you have to decipher the various “systems”—prefolds and covers, AIOs or pockets, you have to figure out where you should order from—one of the 15 or so highly-rated cloth diaper sellers or the bazillion WAHM diaper sellers. Helping people wend their way through the options—get to the point where you realize it’s actually not that complicated is a boon to the cloth diapering for Chicago moms. I grabbed some of their cards and I’ve been handing them out to any expectant moms I know.


Woe is Winter

I'll mostly spare you the weather-related whining, but seriously another 6 inches of snow and temps in the 40s this week? Really?

I'm headed to DC tomorrow morning early for a short overnight stay. Hopefully the boys don't cause too much trouble for JT. Considering it's 9 pm and both boys are awake despite repeated warnings, threats and one time-out, i'm not sure how well the morning is going to go.

Henry is enjoying his gym class more and more and is tackling physical feats i haven't seen him attempt before. He has these crazy yoga/breakdancing poses that he loves to show off. Between he and Silas there isn't much sitting down in the bath these days. Silas is quirky in that he tries out new moves in the slippery bath. He bear crawls, crawls, pulls up like a mad demon and tries to stand on his own. I've seen him crawl on all fours a couple times out of the bath, but primarily he's just content and faster at scooting. He is pretty much pulling-up everywhere and cruising around more. I wouldn't think he'd be walking anytime soon but he is making good forward strides toward in the right direction.

Music-making is another frequent event around our house--especially on weekends. Turns out JT should have been in marching band with his drumming skills and Henry favors the kazoo. Silas tends to rock out with the maracas.


Potty Training

I think since i've been posting less frequently i've forgotten to updated on how much progress Henry has made with potty training. The whole experience has been very gradual which was different than i anticipated but at this point he wears underwear all day, including at nap, and will tell you when he needs to go.

He also wakes up at night and tells you when he needs to go and we think he's getting pretty close to transitioning to underwear at night too, but we're waiting awhile on this to make sure he's really ready.

Between Henry being out of diapers and Silas 100% in cloth (Brenda started letting us send cloth to school for him) we're currently free of diaper expenses which is awesome!

I just wanted to mention that the shirt Henry is wearing in the previous post was a loaner from his friend Kerala-- who's 11 months old! I think it might be a little big for her, and it was definitely too small for Henry, and a tad feminine with the rainbows and slightly puffed sleeves, but he refused to take it off until bed.


Pulling-up and Museum Visit

Let's start with Silas. I know i haven't been posting as often as i could be, so i'll try to catch you up. We had a great visit with my parents this weekend and the weather actually cooperated-- there were a few 40 degree days in there-- of course we're paying for it now, with a high of 8 today and everything iced-over solid.

But, i promised news on Silas. He's now successfully pulliing up on a variety of things-- not all the time, but enough to know he *can* do it. It seems his planets have to be aligned just right before he'll pull on up past his knees-- sometimes he just scoots over, pulls up, and that's that. Other times he'll repeatedly pull to his knees and then lower, pull to his knees and lower-- and repeat. The great fun is that he's trying out some of his new skills in his crib. We often find him sitting up when he's done napping- or if he doesn't want to take a nap. We've also found him standing up throwing things out of his crib too. This is unchartered territory for us because Henry pretty much only stood once you came into the room to get him out and that was as recently as last summer. I'm thinking we may need to be looking for a crib tent if he makes any moves towards climbing.

He's also developing quite a little personality. He likes to dive bomb out of your arms to both try to get to the ground but also to throw you off balance-- he'll look back up and give you a coy smile. He's also a champion peek-a-bool player and laughs and laughs when tickled. He easily moves from his stomach to sitting and vice versa by getting in the crawling position, but if you put him in the crawling postion-- he'll just sit down and scoot-- his preferred method of transportation.

Silas is definitely in a bit of a mommy phase. When i'm in the room he wants my full attention and will loundly complain until he gets it. He also does this when i leave, but once i'm out of sight he's generally content with whomever. One exception which i'm so happy about-- is that when i bring him to Ms. Brenda's he exceitedly kicks his legs and isn't the least bit sad to see me go. I know some Moms have a hard time with this transition to the a beloved caretaker, but i can only see the positive-- makes going on to work that much easier for me.

Henry enjoyed his grandparents as much as always and we had a great visit to the nature museum. They have a butterfly room which seemed to be Henry's favorite (we made two visits) as well as a river waterway you can play in which he also enjoyed. It was fun to go and to see how differently he interacted with parts of the museum compared to our visit a year ago.


10 Mos, 2 Wks/ 2 Years, 9 Months

Last night i was supposed to host my quilting group but it snowed quite a bit and was really slick-- there was a good deal of ice under the latest crop of snow. My parents are coming to visit this weekend and had told me a couple weeks ago that they hoped the snow would be gone so we could go to the park-- no chance. It's supposed to be in the low 20s for a high for the forseeable future with more snow off and on-- this snow's not going anywhere. So, maybe my parents will settle for some hot chocolate and a trip to the nature museum which we have planned for Saturday. I took Henry there about a year ago and it will be so fun to see him there now that he's bigger and i'm guessing more psyched for everything. I managed to snag the library museum pass for it so we'll all get in for free!

Henry has been making tons of art projects at Ms. Brenda's lately. Most days he has things to bring home and he's so excited to share them. We have a whole wall of our kitchen dedicated to his artwork and he loves putting them up. In his words, "maybe he'll get to do a project today... that would be super fun!"

Silas is just starting to get the hang of this pulling up thing. He has repeatedly pulled-up with success on his leapfrog play table (oh and in the bathtub of all slippery places). I think that other things don't quite give him enough incentive becuase he'll get part of the way up and then just kind of sit back down. He's also working on lowering himself to the ground from a standing position so even though he's still not crawling like a "normal" baby, he's certainly making strides in the mobility department.


The pox on our house...

Silas had a cold in the early part of the week and wound up staying home on Monday. He and Henry both have the remnants of stuffy noses and a cough which migrated itself to JT. I have no idea if that simple cold mutated when it hit me or what, but i was struggling with a raging-high fever yesterday and a sense that i just couldn't feel worse. I finally got my fever under control yesterday evening and have been in bed ever since.

As long as i take ibuprofen on schedule the fever stays in check and i just feel exhausted and unwell but if i'm not dilligent, the fever comes back and just starts wracking my body. My guess is that this is the flu but it's a little hard to tell. Needless to say i'm not working today and hoping that by resting all day i'll be feeling somewhat better by tomorrow.

JT not feeling well isn't ideal as we're heading into the weekend with no sick days to drawn on for kiddo care. JT is home today as well so maybe with both of us bed-ridden for a day we'll be up to the challenge tomorrow.

Oh yeah, we're expecting more snow too so if someone wants to come and shovel our walk tonight or tomorrow that would be great...


How much longer is winter?

I remember being really smug last year because i made it all the way to April before getting spring fever.  My track record has improved a little each year-- less whining, later deployment of my long underwear, more acceptance of the weather.  I'm afraid that the linear development of my winter hardiness is going to go madly off the rails this year.  Last week we got a ton of snow-- around a foot all told and life just marched right along.  On Sunday night we got another 3 inches or so in about 2 hours.  Thankfully the sleet that was predicted came later and in the form of rain, but yesterday was marked by such dense fog that i felt like i was in the steam room at my favorite spa-- sans nice warm heat.  It's grey and supposed to rain more today, but that was okay because it's warmish (30s) but tonight, it's supposed to snow another foot in a major storm.  Seriously?  I'm about to stop whining because i know i do live in Chicago and all, but this accumulation of 8 inches here, another foot there, that doesn't melt but just adds up to lots of black gross snow is wearing on me-- when does spring start?
Adding to my winter woes is Silas' cold which he came down with on Sunday.  He ran a low-grade fever and slept fitfully enough so we kept him home yesterday.  Henry has a mild case as well but his seems confined to a stuffy nose.  Although Silas did not nap as long as we were all hoping yesterday, he slept like a champ through the night and seemed to be improving today.  I bundled them both off to school and hopefully that was the right decision. 
Because of Silas' cold, we temporarily suspended our room-sharing transition.  Which is too bad because by the end of last week i think we had turned a corner.  After some very stern talks with Henry, he finally went back to getting into bed and falling asleep rather than carrying on for an hour after he went down.  Hence, Silas slept much more soundly as well.  Depending on how Silas does at Brenda's today, we'll decide whether to keep him upstairs with us or bunk him back with Henry.