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William’s Ninth Month

I’m going to try to finish all of William’s monthly updates before he actually turns one (in less than a month!), then I won’t be doing them as frequently. He’s growing so fast, and he’s so much fun. I’ve got to be honest, though, we’ve had some rough times. I was almost smug, really, when at 3 months he transitioned easily to his crib and slept 11 hours straight. “What’s so hard about babies?” I thought. But that all ended when he got his first tooth at 4.5 months. He has all eight front teeth now, and is working on molars, and he didn’t sleep through the night again until very recently. In fact, it just got worse and worse! We weren’t doing anything wrong, and believe me when I say that no sleep system, or routine, or program, or whatever was cutting it. I was getting more and more tired as he woke up 6-7 times a night (and often didn’t go back to sleep for an hour, only to wake again 15 minutes or 45 minutes or an hour later). I was lucky if I got a 3 hour stretch of sleep. Finally, I couldn’t handle it any more and decided something had to change. I still nurse him on demand, and I have always nursed him to sleep. That’s a major no-no according to every sleep expert, but I think it’s nonsense. It feels like the most natural thing in the world to nurse my baby to sleep, and I still do. However, I decided I wouldn’t nurse him during the night anymore. Just, no more. Cold turkey. And you know what? It worked. Instantly. The first night. Hallelujah! On that first night, when he woke up, I picked him up and rocked him back to sleep, which he hated, and it took a while. I tried to lay him down in his crib, and he woke up as usual. I cuddled him back to sleep a couple more times, and overall, it took a little over an hour before he went back to sleep. Then he didn’t wake up until I was getting up. The next night, I cuddled him back to sleep once, but when he woke up in his crib I let him fuss and yell at me (he wasn’t really screaming, and he could see me the whole time), and I ignored him until he laid down and fell asleep. It took maybe 45 minutes. The next night he didn’t wake at all. Ever since then, he’s basically back to sleeping through the night. Every once in a while he’ll wake up, and I pick him up, give him a quick cuddle, then set him back down, and he goes right back to sleep. If I don’t go cuddle him when that happens, he wakes all the way up and stays awake. Anyway, I feel like a new woman. I realize that people have really strong opinions about all this, but I couldn’t be happier. He’s not in bed with us (which, by the way, I approve of completely if you do it safely, it’s just not for me, since I can’t sleep well at all when William is in bed with us), I’ve never had to let him “cry it out,” he’s still nursing, and he knows mommy will always be there. It turned out to be a perfect solution for us, and William is a noticeably happier boy now that he’s sleeping better. (Side note: I do think it’s important for younger babies to nurse on demand, including at night, and will do that again if we have another.)

So that has been the biggest issue for us over the past several months. William is a happy, stubborn, daredevil of a child, and we’re loving getting to know him. He cracks us up regularly. And now that I’m sleeping better, I’m not so cranky and short-tempered, and have been having more fun. So, on to the pictures.

This month was characterized by a lot of moving, and being chased by mama. He’d been crawling for a while, and cruising for almost as long, but this month he found out he could cruise along walls at a gallop (with his hand barely touching the wall), and he started climbing.

 

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Here he’s kissing the puppy.

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This month was the end of the baby jail. He just wouldn’t have it anymore.

 

Seriously, he was always moving, even when he wasn’t speed-crawling/cruising.

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Most of my pictures of him look like this.

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Or these.

 

He did actually sleep occasionally, and when he did, he looked like an angel:

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Holding hands with mommy while he sleeps.

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Put up yer dukes.

And when he woke up, he was usually pretty happy (even if I wasn’t):

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Although you wouldn’t necessarily know it from this picture.

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He’s a slow waker-upper.

Some times he wakes up faster than others.

Most of the rest of the time he’s a real ham, and he loves to play (roughly, in true boy fashion), and eat:

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Major events this month included Aunt Keshia’s birthday, visiting Aunt Shelby and Uncle Adam, Tabatha’s pre-Thanksgiving Dinner, and actual Thanksgiving:

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This was the best picture I got of all the kids on the swing at Tabatha’s. It was very cute, but lasted only seconds. I think right after this William pinched the poor child next to him, and it was all over.

He loved all the Thanksgiving food. He ate turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and whatever else he could get his hands on.

He learned how to shake his head “no” that month, and he hasn’t stopped since. He knows darn well what it means, too, because he shakes his head like that every time he’s doing something he knows he’s not supposed to.

 

 

The boy loooooves his dada. He lights up when daddy gets home from work, and he would play with him all day long if he could:

 

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Next up, Christmas!

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When I was uploading pictures from William’s Eighth Month, I forgot these ones! So here they are! Boy, the faces this kid makes crack me up.

Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze, courtesy of the Bakersfield Ronald McDonald House (with our besties, Autumn, Aaron, and Talen):

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October picnic near Aspendell, and up Cottonwood Creek:

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William’s Eighth Month

Okay, it’s just ridiculous how late I am on these now, but William has turned into quite a handful. He walked at 9 months, and he was crawling at 6, and all I do is chase him all day saying “no no, William, please leave Mommy’s books alone. No no, that will hurt you. No, no, NO!” Anyway, it’s exhausting, and I barely have time to keep my house clean, let alone post on my blog. But I’m going to try to power through pictures from the last few months to document his growth and for the family and friends still following along.

Big this month was Halloween. I love Halloween, and I love thinking of Halloween costumes. So this Halloween, before he wants to be Iron Man or something, I dressed him as a gnome. I was a dryad, and David was a woodsman. I enjoyed making his costume.

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The beard was not thought out well and didn’t last long.

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Thanks to Jordan for taking this picture.

 

I carved one monster for William, and one for Lucy:

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Uncle Justin gave him a toy jack-o-lantern.

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He had fun at Uncle Justin’s birthday:

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He was standing all the time by then, and cruising around stuff:

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In baby jail.

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A frequent sight, as he pulled himself up onto the coffee table using his mouth.

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He even stands in his high chair. It’s his favorite part of the meal, in fact.

 
He likes to eat, this kid:

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Especially mommy’s yummy curry turkey pot pie that she left on the table for ONE SECOND.

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His favorite is still milk,

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But steak, and beef in general, is a close second.

 
He likes going out on the town with mommy and daddy:

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To the fair.

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To the butcher.

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To Home Depot.

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Or sleeping in the car on the way home.

 
He LOVES to play with Daddy:

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Daddy loves to play with him too. But really, William just loves to play in general, and that includes a lot of upside down time.

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Taking a bath with cousin Hallie (one of the rare moments he was sitting. He will never sit still in the bath.)

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Taking a break from all the playing.

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He’s very serious about making grandma push him on his train.

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Playing with the baby in the mirror.

Playing with Mommy.

 
His other grandma and grandpa came to visit, and he had lots of fun with them:

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At the Trona Pinnacles.

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Oh, he also went to a baby shower! Wasn’t he handsome?

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This boy has the best faces and poses, good and bad. I never get tired of seeing all of his expressions:

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(His eyelashes are so long that they actually get tangled! I wish I had eyelashes like that.)

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I sure do love this little monster.

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William’s Seventh Month

I’m getting more and more behind on these, but I wanted to get some pictures posted before he turns 8 months! The time is just flying. William is a lot of fun these days, but also a real handful. When I was pregnant, we thought he was going to be a total monster based on his in-womb behavior. Then we were surprised by how incredibly good and easy he was as a newborn and the first few months. It turns out he was just lulling us into a false sense of security because he knew we would throw him out the window if he started out this way (just kidding!). He’s incredibly lovable, but instead of sleeping 8-11 hours at night, he wakes up three times to nurse, and sometimes refuses to go back to sleep. He sort of takes two naps a day (some days!), but they rarely last 40 minutes. He’s got 7 teeth now, crawls everywhere, pulls himself up on everything, and tries to walk. We keep telling him he can’t just let go of things and take steps, but he thinks he can. We tell him he’s not even 8 months old, but he doesn’t care. He keeps me on my toes and I’m completely exhausted from chasing him. He DOES NOT sit still, and always has to be moving. Lately he keeps trying to climb the fireplace and walk in the bathtub when we’re trying to bathe him! All of this has resulted in a lot of bumps, scrapes, and bruises, and a lot of racing hearts in his mom and dad. But he’s a sweet, happy boy. He’s thrilled when he sees his grandparents, and the best part of his day is when daddy gets home from work. He comes into my bed with me in the mornings and takes a little nap, and he sometimes wakes me up by gently putting his hand on my cheek. Of course, sometimes he wakes me up by yelling and stepping on my face or punching me, so there’s that. He also says “mooooommmmMA!” which I love, of course. It’s so fun to watch him growing and learning and exploring.

Oh, and he eats like a pig. He is really good at feeding himself solids. If you’re wondering what “program” we’re following (I know you’re not!), we’re not following any program. Since we started feeding him, he wanted to feed himself, so we’ve been letting him feed himself whole pieces of “real” food (under strict supervision, of course). I guess it’s sort of baby-led weaning, but after he eats that stuff for awhile, he starts to get frustrated and still wants more food, so we top him off with organic purees. So a typical meal will be some meat (he’s eaten chicken, egg, and pork, but he LOVES steak and pot roast), some fruits and veggies (he loves carrots, broccoli, kohlrabi, cauliflower, potato, squash, bell pepper, pear, apple, plum, melon, banana – basically all fruits and veggies so far. The only thing he doesn’t seem crazy about is avocado, weird child.), then most or all of a 4 ounce package of baby food. Oh, and either a bowl of homemade wheat cereal or yogurt. I bought organic wheatberries and grind them, then cook them with breast milk. And I started making the yogurt myself – it’s super easy, and he loves it. I spoon feed him the cow’s milk yogurt, but the goat milk yogurt is thinner and he drinks it from a cup. Anyway, you get the idea. He eats a ton, and that’s right after I nurse him. And THEN he nurses himself to sleep. He’s a big boy, but you’d never guess he could put it away like that. Not looking forward to paying for groceries when he’s a teenager. (For example, tonight he ate: a couple ounces of pot-roast, a slice of apple, two big pieces of melon, half a cup of goat-milk yogurt, and 2 ounces of broccoli-apple baby food.)

That was his first time eating avocado, a little before he turned six months actually. He doesn’t seem quite as opposed to it now.

And the first time eating carrots. He LOVES carrots.

That’s a frozen breast milk popsicle because his teeth were bothering him. A momsicle.

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Once he started pulling himself up, he never went back and he never slowed down. These were from the very beginning:

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Working on it, right before we had to lower the crib . . .

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Still working on it . . .

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Any object will do.

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“Whoa mom, I got it!”

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“And I’m never going to sit down again.”

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And this is what he was doing that night when he was supposed to be sleeping. Just quietly walking around the inside of the crib.

He’s been doing a lot of playing and being cute:

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Look at that fat face!

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At Great Grandma Anne’s house.

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We took a picnic to the park and he got to swing for the first time. Look, he knows what to do!

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He’s scared of the vacuum cleaner.

And this is what crawling looked like at first. He’s an old pro now.

He still looks like an angel when he sleeps:

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Okay, he was just falling asleep here.

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And he’s out in Costco. In the least comfortable position imaginable.

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Or maybe this is actually the least comfortable position.

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One night this was the only way he would sleep.

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Much better to sleep on daddy.

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Or mommy.

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Milk coma.

And this made me cry. When he was just starting to crawl, he crawled to Lucy’s shadow box and put his hand on it. Maybe he just wanted the toys, but it was still very touching.

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In just a few days he’ll be 8 months old, and I’ll be late with the update again. Oh well, I’d rather be late with the updates and spending all of my time with him. It goes by so fast, and he’s already so independent. I’ll take every minute with him that I can get. I know what it’s like to lose out on those minutes. His babyhood is fading into the sunset.

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A Daring Farewell

This week, the beloved co-founder of The Daring Kitchen, Lisa Cifelli (Lis) passed away unexpectedly. She created a loving and welcoming community of cooks and bakers of every calibre, and she will be sorely missed. Every month she challenged us to push ourselves to create delicious dishes outside our comfort zone. Additionally, she allowed me to review cookbooks and write food articles that let me pursue my interest in international cuisine. I never would have become the cook and baker I am without The Daring Kitchen. Thank you for that, Lis.

Tonight I made a coconut almond brown sugar pound cake in her memory. It was easy, but something I had never made before. Very good.

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Other memorable challenges:

 

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Mosquito Flat Hike

This is a very late post about William’s very first real hike. All the way back in the middle of August, we camped near Crowley Lake (William’s first time camping), then the next day we drove up Rock Creek in the Eastern Sierras to the Mosquito Flat Trailhead. The trail starts at 10,240 feet, so this was the highest William had ever been. We didn’t expect too much because I was still in some pain from my c-section, but I did okay. I think we probably hiked four miles total, and I wore William in the front carrier the whole time. The trail was very busy (it was a beautiful day!) and we met a lot of nice people. Everybody loves a baby, and it seems like hikers love babies even more than normal. Everyone wanted to talk to William, and we even met a group of pediatric nurses who made sure his face was shaded by his hat. We were also passed by a group of frat boys, and I felt pretty awesome when one of them stopped to say “I really have to give you props for doing this with a baby,” and the other one said “yeah, seriously.” Go me! The hike started with a diaper blowout, and we had to change another poopy diaper up on the trail, but it was a pretty great first hike, I think. I was worried about hiking with a baby, but we had a lot of fun, and hope we’ll be able to do a lot more hiking with him.

Camping:

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The kitchen.

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He slept straight through the night. We barely fit in our two person tent, however. We were worried about him sleeping in our sleeping bag, so he slept on his own little pad above our heads. It worked out okay (although he’s too big for that now), except he kicked me in the face all night.

Hiking:

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Quick change of clothes.

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He looks like he’s flipping me the bird.

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He slept most of the way.

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Beautiful little lakes everywhere!

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This guy sat watching me feed William for like five minutes.

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Our trail friend, Marilyn. She runs a company called On the Level Walking Tours in San Francisco. Pretty cool idea.

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Coming back down we started to move faster as it started to rain, with thunder and lightning.

Headed home!

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I love living here and being able to do things like this. I’m so glad William will get to share all of this beauty with us. It’s one of the things we most wanted to do with Lucy. When I’m surrounded by so much beauty and grandeur, though, it’s easier to feel close to her.

Peach Sorbet

Before it is all the way fall (I know, I’m too late for a lot of you, but it’s still 90+ degrees here), I’d better hurry and post this recipe. I have a friend here who is pregnant and was not feeling very well. Surprise surprise, right? But it hasn’t been that long since I felt that crappy, so I wanted to do something for her. I thought of ice cream, but since she’s also lactose intolerant, I went with sorbet.

Normally in this sorbet I would add a little glug of bourbon, because come on, bourbon and peaches. But bourbon doesn’t really mesh with pregnancy, so I skipped it this time. That made the sorbet freeze a little harder, but it’s still delicious. It’s perfectly wonderful as is, but I think it would also be good with a teaspoon of almond extract stirred in just before freezing, or maybe a handful of slivered candied ginger. I went basic, because I wasn’t sure what she’d like. I thought it was really delicious.

 

Peach Sorbet

2 quarts (8 C) of pitted, sliced peaches*
Juice of half a lemon
1 C water
1 C sugar
2 tsp lemon zest (optional)

*I used half unpeeled white donut peaches and half peeled yellow peaches that I had frozen at the peak of peach season. They had both been very briefly blanched in boiling water prior to freezing, but not cooked. Many sorbet recipes ask you to cook the peaches in the sugar syrup, but I thought this tasted fresher.

Combine sugar and water and bring to a boil, then remove from heat.

Puree your peaches. You could do this in a blender, but if your peaches are frozen, make sure your blender is powerful enough to handle that much frozen fruit. I put my frozen peaches straight into my food processor. When they were finely ground, I added the lemon juice (some lemon zest would be a lovely addition) and about half of the simple syrup. Blend/process, then taste to see how much more sugar syrup to add. Keep at it until you’re happy with the sweetness. I did not add the full amount of syrup to mine. When the mixture is uniform and you have no chunks of peaches, stir in any last minute additions and cool. If you started with frozen peaches, chances are it will still mostly be frozen, so you shouldn’t have to chill it.

Freeze this mixture in an ice cream maker according to its instructions. If you haven’t got an ice cream maker, you can certainly freeze it in a shallow pan in the freezer, but try to stir it every so often as it freezes. Even with stirring, it might freeze harder than sorbet frozen in an ice cream maker, but it will still be delicious and fresh.

 

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Oh, and because ginger is such a good nausea buster, I candied some and dipped it in dark chocolate to give along with the sorbet. I actually did this twice because the first batch of ginger I tried to candy was forgotten on the stove during some diaper crisis and turned to charcoal. The second batch was good though.

 

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Bonus end of summer “recipe” for you: Seared Figs with Blue Cheese and Truffled Acacia Honey. Aaaaand . . . that’s the recipe. While it’s probably too late for figs this year, keep it in mind the next time you have figs. The flavor was complex and so.very.good. Eat it as breakfast, a snack, or dessert.

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