Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lukas at 9 months

Nine months?! It's hard to believe that three-quarters of a year has already passed since this special little guy came into our home. We love him more every day, and can't imagine life without him. The other day he happened to be taking a longer-than-usual nap over suppertime, and it seemed so quiet and lonely to have only Joe and I at the table. So thankful for this priceless treasure God has entrusted to us!

This month Lukas' new achievements have centered around communication. He is so interactive now - both with body language (like lifting his arms when he wants to be picked up), and verbally (he likes to greet us with a loud, cheery "HA" - his version of "Hi"). I wish we were more consistent with teaching him sign language as I think he'd be catching on to it by now. "Airplane" is the only one he seems to recognize at this point, and no wonder since we have so many planes going overhead every day.

Another sound Lukas listens for is the neighborhood dogs barking. He always perks up and looks around to see where the noise is coming from, then starts making soft "Woof, woof" sounds himself. If we respond in kind, we can have a little puppy-convo. ;) He has only seen a dog a few times in person, and though I have showed him pictures and video clips I don't think he's quite made the connection yet between the audio and the visual. Probably won't be long, though!

Lukas enjoys copying and exchanging other sounds, too - especially sniffing and fake coughing. It's pretty hilarious sometimes, and a lot of fun to feel like we are having a "conversation" of sorts. Makes him seem so much more like his own little person.

Lukas also enjoys games of repetition, like peek-a-boo, or having a lightweight blanket tossed over his head, or being fanned with a pillow, or bonked on the head with a fabric block. And he is extremely ticklish in certain spots. His little giggle is so infectious!

Another major achievement this month is that his first two teeth finally popped through, after being in progress since early April. :whew: Those little shiny things are sharp, too! We've had a few rough weeks of nursing as he had to learn not to bite mama, but I'm hopeful that things will improve soon.

He's having fun using those new teeth to eat all kinds of things. Peaches continue to be the top, all-time favorite, but he's also enjoyed banana (in very limited quantities, as it still tends to make him constipated), applesauce, pears, cucumber spears, quinoa, and avocado. Oh, and of course he really likes the little puffed grain treats we purchased in desperation to keep him happy on our road trip in early August. They are sweet and fun to pick up, and he'd eat them all day if we let him. Somebody has a sweet tooth just like Daddy! ;) So they are saved as treats for staying quiet in church, or for long car rides, and always eagerly welcomed.

Sleeping through the night seems to be a thing of the past, as he now wakes at least twice (and usually countless times) every night. We are both able to get right back to sleep, thankfully, but I'm hoping to see improvements in this area soon. :yawn:

Crawling still hasn't happened - kinda hard for him to learn, when he refuses to spend any time on his back or tummy these days! But he is ever so slowly figuring out how to maneuver himself around while sitting and has fabulous balance that way, so it wouldn't surprise me if one of these days he just takes off scooting that way. I know I'll have my hands full keeping up with him, then, but it's good to see him finally growing increasingly frustrated with being "stuck" in one spot. It'll be fun to see what the next month holds!

Slightly blurry...he doesn't sit still that well these days! :)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Lukas Paul Valour: 8 months old

Lukas' 7th month was a little bumpy in some ways. After going to visit my family for a long Independence Day weekend, he spent a week on a nursing strike as well as dealing with extra teething pain and some constipation. Not a fun time for our poor little Bubby - or for Mama or Daddy! We were all super thankful when he finally started feeling better and wanted to nurse normally again. We missed our normally-smiley, easy-going little guy!

Lukas is now a full-fledged "sitter", to the point where he does not like to lay down. Don't you know that's for babies? :) He's doing really good about reaching for toys and then pushing himself back up into a sitting position, so we're able to let him sit pretty much anywhere on the floor - no need of pillows to catch him in case he tips over.

Toys have become a very important part of life in the past couple months. Amongst his favorites are a large tractor and dump truck that used to belong to Daddy and Uncle Kyle, a toy accordion that actually plays music (this was scary at first, but he likes it now), and a screen-mesh strainer from Mommy's kitchen. He also likes playing with Mommy's water bottle and her necklaces - special privileges that are usually reserved for church. With such distractions he does pretty good, and more often than not will stay quiet enough to sit through the entire service. We'll see how long that continues... ;)

Other new experiences this month include getting to sit in a high chair at a restaurant, and sitting in the seat of a grocery store cart. So thrilling to our big boy! Several warm days have found us out on the deck with a cake pan and some water - a great way to get soaked and cool off a bit! He also has great fun jumping wildly in his jump-a-roo, eagerly showing off to anyone who will cheer him on and applaud. And yes, his legs are quite muscular from all that activity. :D

Solid foods are on the menu pretty much every day now, and most of the time it's a lot of fun for all of us. Bananas, green beans, and peaches are his top favorites so far, with yellow squash, apple, and sweet potato at the bottom of the list. Peas, carrots, and cucumbers are so-so. It's interesting to see his likes and dislikes already taking shape, though we hope he'll grow up wanting to eat pretty much everything, like Daddy. :)

We live just a couple miles from an airport so many planes go overhead each day. Lukas has taken to looking around each time, trying to discover the source of the noise. We're teaching him the sign language for "airplane" and don't think it'll be too long before he makes the connection. :) He's also all boy in his interest in car and trucks that go by outside, and one of his favorite things to do each day is sit at the window and watch Daddy get in the car and drive away to work.

At his 8-month checkup July 29, our little man weighed 17 lb. 11 oz. and measured 28" - slightly above 50th percentile for height, and a bit below 25th percentile for weight. Mommy is glad he isn't growing any faster, since he's heavy enough as it is. Why don't childbirth classes include a weight-lifting regime? Seems like it'd be even more useful than Kegels and squats in the long run...anyone agree? ;)

Grocery shopping and menus, July 21-27

This week was a little different since we ended up going to more stores than usual AND though most of these items were on sale we didn't use a single coupon. Ha! I was extra busy with graphic design work deadlines and other things going on, so didn't have a lot of time to put towards menu planning based on items already in the pantry/freezer. And we needed to make several items for a church get-together. It's been ages since we've spent this much in one week! the spirit of keeping it real around here - this is what a "bad" shopping week looks like for us. :)

What we bought
Aldi shopping trip
  • Sour cream (16 oz) - 1.29
  • Seedless grapes (2 lb) - two boxes at 1.98
  • Raspberry preserves - 2.29
  • Roma tomatoes, 20 oz. - 1.29
  • Bing cherries, 1 lb - 1.99
  • Flour tortillas, 10 count - 2 packages at 0.99
  • TOTAL - $12.40

Fareway shopping trip
Peanut butter was on sale yet again this week, so we stocked up on a few more jars. Haven't seen it lower than $1.99 for over a year, and we do go through quite a bit of it. Hard to know how much to stretch the budget for stock-up items like this, but it does keep really well and we have enough now to last us quite a while.
  • Fresh spinach, 9 oz. - 4 bags at 0.99 (sale)
  • Peanut butter, 16 oz. - 5 jars at 1.48 (sale)
  • Orange juice, 64 oz. - 0.99 (sale)
  • Fresh peaches, 5.34 lb at 0.78/lb - 4.17
  • Multi-grain sandwich bread - two loaves, marked down to 0.79/loaf
  • TOTAL - $22.54

Hy-vee shopping trip
  • Vanilla ice cream, 1 quart - 1.77 - we used to get this only when it was on sale for 0.99, but I haven't seen it that low since sometime last winter. Finally went ahead and got some with this sale to make root beer floats as a spontaneous treat. :)
  • TOTAL - $1.77

Dollar General shopping trip
  • A&W Root beer, 1 liter plus deposit - 1.45 - Not the cheapest price out there, I'm sure, but it was a rare treat. Summertime isn't complete without root beer floats. :)
  • TOTAL - $1.45

Aldi shopping trip #2 (later in the week, with new sales)
These vegetable prices were way too good to pass up! We're grateful for the way Aldi allows us to eat a lot more produce than we could afford otherwise, and most of it is great quality, too.
  • Sweet corn, 4 ears - 2 packages at 0.99
  • Green peppers, pack of 3 - 2 packages at 0.99
  • Snow Peas - 1.49
  • Zucchini, pack of 3 - 0.99
  • Onions, 3 lb - 0.99
  • Penne pasta - 0.99 - We had other pasta on hand but needed to make a specific Penne recipe for a church meal and Joe's a stickler for following recipes exactly. ;)
  • Yogurt, 32 oz - 1.99
  • Milk, 1 gallon - 3.09 - Joe wanted to start making smoothies again, and my family doesn't have a ton of extra goat milk right now.
  • Powdered sugar, 2 lb - 1.29 - To make a dessert to take to church.
  • TOTAL - $16.28

Fareway shopping trip #2 (later in the week, with new sales)
  • Cottage cheese, 32 oz - 3 at 1.69 - this is pretty much the cheapest it ever goes on sale for any more. I miss the days of the 0.99 sales!
  • Coffee-flavored chocolate spread - 2 jars, marked down to 0.99 - a treat for Joe :)
  • Romaine lettuce - 1 head at 1.29
  • Bartlett pears - 0.99 lb at 0.99/lb (two) - 0.98 - these are for Lukas to try...
  • Grape tomatoes, 1 pint - 1.49 - I kicked myself for getting these, as I found them slightly cheaper at Fareway. Oh, well.
  • Lemonade, half gallon - 0.99 (sale)
  • White sugar, 4 lb - 3 bags at 1.68 (sale)
  • TOTAL - $16.85 

WEEKLY TOTAL - $71.29 - saved $0 with coupons (saved quite a bit with sales, though!)

Some patriotic-looking strawberry shortcake from a few weeks ago. :)
What We Ate
  • Sunday: Buffalo chicken mac & cheese (one of Joe's specialties), and veggies. For supper, we went to a church potluck/picnic and took a second pan of the mac & cheese. Later that evening, root beer floats. :)
  • Monday: Sandwiches (cheese, tomato, sandwich meat from the freezer), fruit
  • Tuesday: Spaghetti pie, garlic toast, green salad
  • Wednesday: Beans (cooked from scratch and frozen) with BBQ sauce, cornbread, fruit salad
  • Thursday: Pizza Hut (with a coupon and birthday-freebie breadsticks), leftover fruit salad
  • Friday: Tammy's Oriental Chicken Salad
  • Saturday: Grilled veggies and brats, with homemade whole wheat and rye buns
  • Breakfasts: Peaches, homemade yogurt, banana bread