Friday, June 17, 2016

To My Husband on His First Father's Day

Dear Ryan,

Where do I even begin to express my gratitude for the incredible father that you are? 

From the first time you held our baby boy in your arms, it's like you were a natural. You instantly mastered skills that I never even came close to conquering {swaddling, shhhhushing}. You've been 100% involved in H's daily life since the day he was born...going above and beyond to make my life as a new momma a little easier in any way that you could. THANK YOU!

Our little guy is 110% your "Mini Me" {just ask anyone that sees the two of you together...including complete strangers!}. Although sometimes I might get a tiny bit jealous that he looks sooooooo much like you, I realize just how lucky I am to get to be the wife/momma of such handsome guys.  It is truly my hope that our son is as much like you on the inside as he is on the outside. I pray for the Lord's guidance in raising him to be a respectful gentleman...a hard-working, patient, loving and generous man, just like his daddy. THANK YOU for being such a solid role model.  

Sometimes I just sit back and watch you interact with our baby boy...and it's in those moments when I can clearly see just how exceptional you are as a father. I oftentimes get caught up in the chaos that is our daily lives, and I fail to see all that you do on a daily basis to keep our little family running like a well-oiled machine. When I actually take a moment to fully absorb how well you fill your daddy role, I am overwhelmed with emotions. I always knew you would be a great dad, but you have far exceeded my expectations.  THANK YOU!

Not a day goes by that I don't thank God for putting you by my side to walk this parenting journey. We're just ten months in with a lifetime to go, and I look forward to experiencing all that lies ahead for our little family. For now though, I want to savor every minute...because these really are the moments that memories are made of.  THANK YOU for sharing this life with me...and THANK YOU for being a beyond-incredible daddy to our son!




Happy first Father's Day, babe! I love you more than life!

All my love,

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Leslie Loves...{3.04}

Perhaps this post should really be titled "Ryan Loves...," but I don't have a graphic for that {plus we all know I'm a fan of alliteration}, so we'll just stick with "Leslie Loves..."

The GreenPan

12-inch GreenPan with lid

Let's talk about how odd it is that I am raving about a cooking utensil. It's ok, you can go ahead and laugh...but don't dismiss this post just because you think know I am not exactly an expert in the kitchen. I promise this really is a legit "love" of mine {when it comes to cleaning it} AND Ryan's {when it comes to actually using it}.

Let me give you a little backstory regarding our pots and pans. I bought a ridiculously-expensive, super-shiny stainless steel set back when I lived by myself {from RueLaLa, of course!} because I wanted them to look pretty hanging on the rack above the island in my kitchen. They served that purpose very well, but I should probably note that they didn't get a whole lot of use on the stove. I wasn't about to part with my fancy cookware, so Ryan got rid of most of his when he moved to Texas. Turns out, when actually put to daily use, my beautiful pots and pans aren't exactly ideal for they're a nightmare to clean! My incredibly patient husband never complained, but I did notice that he used his tiny egg pan whenever possible just because it was so much easier.

I first heard of the GreenPan from Ryan's sister, Lacey, last year at my baby shower. She was going on and on about how nothing sticks to it, how easy it is to clean...and how affordable it is. I kind of forgot about that conversation, but my mom didn't! She bought a GreenPan for herself, and then she started singing its praises. Ryan used it once at her house and was adamant that he needed one. He finally got his own GreenPan for Christmas.

Sooooo....what's so fabulous about the GreenPan?
  • It truly is non-stick.  Food slides right out of the pan. No joke.
  • Cleaning it is a breeze.  It says that it is dishwasher safe, but I've been instructed by the husband not to put it in the dishwasher. It seriously takes me less time to completely hand wash {and dry} the GreenPan than it used to take me to just rinse the other pans before putting them in the dishwasher.
  • It is affordable {all of these links are to Amazon because that was the best price as of 6/15/2016}:

10-inch GreenPan

While doing some research for the best prices for the pans, I found this review that is incredibly helpful regarding how to care for your GreenPan to ensure that it lasts.  You should check out the full review, but here are the highlights:

"You should NOT baby these pans when cleaning them! I'm not suggesting breaking out a wire scrub brush, but you absolutely SHOULD use the abrasive side of a sponge. I also highly recommend scrubbing with baking soda once every several cooking sessions. Even when the pan looks clean, there is often a very thin layer of fat. The baking soda will strip it right off and revive the pan's nonstick quality. To do this I put a very small amount of water in the bottom of the pan, add enough baking soda to absorb most of it, and then scrub with a paper towel. You'll be shocked by how yellow the baking soda gets. Repeat until it comes out just as white as it went in.

Should you burn something in the pan or otherwise need to remove something really stuck in there, baking soda is also a great choice. Add a larger amount of water to the pan, quite a bit of baking soda, and then boil over high heat until the baking soda dries out. Now scrub the dried soda out with a paper towel and the vast majority of whatever you've burned in there will come right off.


One final note: I see a lot of people mentioning that their food sticks "even when cooking at low heat" and that is in fact a huge part of the problem! Low heat gives proteins more time to bond with the surface of the pan. It only makes things worse. If you want to sear something, do it on high heat. Because once again, unlike a Teflon pan, these can handle it."  --Adam Machanic's review on Amazon

Whether you are a master chef like my husband or someone with limited cooking skills like me {hey, in my own defense, I do have a few meals that I can throw together if need be...and I bake much better than I cook!}, the GreenPan will work for you. My household is living proof!  :)

8-inch GreenPan

Have you used the GreenPan? 

Are you a fan?

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Ten Months

I seriously feel like I just posted H's nine-month is it that another month has already passed? I'm beside myself that our baby boy is already 10 months old...but, on the other hand, I love love love how fun this stage of his little life is {and it seems to get a little more fun/exciting/exhausting each and every day!}.

My favorite outtakes... 

A few notes from Huston's tenth month of life...
  • Based on our far-from-official estimates, we think he weighs about 18.5 pounds and measures about 29 inches long. 
  • He's wearing 9-12 month tops and jammies...but he's still in 6-month sized shorts to keep them up around his skinny little waist.  Still in size 3 diapers.
    • Baby boy must have hit a growth spurt halfway through the month because he became an eating machine! We increased his bottles to 6 ounces each {from 5 ounces}, and he takes five of those each day.  He doesn't usually take all of his last bottle of the day, so he gets anywhere from 26-30 ounces of milk in total per day. We've slowly been decreasing the amount of breast milk while increasing the amount of formula {Enfamil Gentlease} in his bottles, so our stockpiled stash of frozen breast milk has gotten us through this month...but we're nearing the end. I've snuck in a couple of formula-only bottles, and he seems to do fine {as long as he's hungry!}, so I think we'll survive when the breast milk is gone.
    • Speaking of his bottles, we've got a lazy baby who refuses to hold his bottle himself. He held his own bottle for a couple of weeks back when he was six months old...but now he wants someone to do it for him. I don't really mind this because I'm totally fine with the extra cuddle time while I feed him, and it doesn't concern me too much since he can hold his own sippy perhaps I am enabling his laziness.
    • He's still content eating pure├ęs for the most part, but he definitely prefers real "bites" that he can pick up with his fingers and eat himself. Last week he started blowing raspberries after we'd give him a spoonful of food...WHAT.A.MESS! I laughed the first time {big mistake!}, and then I was like a broken record stuck on the word "No!" for the next 6,234 bites. Thank goodness that only lasted about three days! Now he's obsessed with the airplane method of eating. He cracks up every.single.time I pretend the spoon is an airplane and opens his little mouth as wide as he possibly can. While it's pretty adorable to watch/hear him laugh and very effective at getting him to eat more food, my arm gets really tired by about the 10th bite! {maybe he gets his laziness from his momma?!!?Most days he eats about 15-20 ounces of real food in addition to his bottles. 
    Enjoying some Cheerios  5/19/2016
    • New foods we introduced this month: strawberries, pineapple, grapes {cut in fourths, of course!}, tomatoes, toast, chicken {Fail! He chewed on it FOR-EV-ER, almost like it was gum, until I fished it out of his mouth}, ground beef {he only likes it if it's properly seasoned}, and pretty much a tiny bite of anything that Momma and Daddy are eating.
    • Although he never acted like he felt bad, we're pretty sure he had a bit of a stomach bug this past month...solely based on the significant increase in the number of dirty diapers he had each day. Our pediatrician suggested we try a probiotic {we used Gerber Soothe Colic Drops}, and he seemed to be back to normal in a few days.  And then a few days later he projectile vomited all over Daddy...twice! We gave him a little bit of Gatorade {because he hated the Pedialyte} to keep him hydrated and a few extra snuggles because that's just what mommas do, and he was as good as new the next day.
    • His sleep schedule is pretty consistent these days. He goes down at night between 7:00-7:30, and pretty much sleeps through the night. If he does wake up, he's able to self-soothe and be back asleep within two or three minutes. His wake-up time ranges from 5:00-7:00 am. If it's before 6:30 am, we give him a bottle and then he'll go back to sleep for and hour or two...but if it's after 6:30 am, then he's usually wide awake and ready to start his day. We've made a little headway on the nap front! Sometimes he'll take short {20-40 minute} naps in both the morning and afternoon...but more often than not, he'll skip the morning nap and take a longer nap {1.5-2 hours} right after lunch. He's figured out that Maria will sit with him and let him nap on the couch...but Momma and Daddy are the mean ones who make him nap in his crib.
    • Our little man might be a bit of a daddy's boy. He started to cry one afternoon when Ryan gave him to me to hold. It took me a minute to get over my broken heart, but then I realized just how lucky I am that Huston has such an incredible daddy. #GratefulMomma
    • He hasn't attempted to take any steps on his own yet...but he's really good at pushing his walking toy. He's starting to realize that he can stand for a few seconds without support, but he loses his balance when he starts clapping or flailing his arms around.

    • No words yet...just lots of vowel sounds and some serious repetition of "ba" and "pppp." He continues to whistle, and he'll now do it on demand if he hears someone else whistle.
    • Baby boy is really ticklish around his ribs and under his arms. If you want to hear a big belly laugh {or prevent a tantrum during a diaper change}, all it takes is a quick tickle.
    • Newest tricks: giving high fives {or maybe low fives??} and waving bye-bye.

    • Still holding steady with four teeth.

    A few more things that took place during Huston's tenth month...
    • Grandma Jo came to visit, and we took her to the Arboretum...

    •  We took a trip to Kansas to see family and friends...

    H with Grandpa Ted
    Teaching Grammy about golf.
    H with Great-Grandma Lois

    • We spent an evening with Daddy at work...

    The golf course is exhausting!

    • Chris and Linds came to visit... 

    A few more pics from Huston's tenth month of life...

    #BigSmiles   5/15/2016

    #BabyGolfer    5/17/2016

    #LovesBooks   5/18/2016

    #PetTiger   5/18/2016

    #ThoseEyes   5/20/2016

    #ExecutiveBaby    5/20/2016

    #HappyBaby   5/25/2016

    #CuriousBoy   6/1/2016

    #HelpingUnpack    6/4/2016

    #HappyBoy  6/4/2016

    #TheSweetestSmile   6/9/2016

    Dear Huston,

    Oh baby boy, this month you have been ON.THE.MOVE non-stop! From the moment you wake up in the morning, you are a busy little man...exploring every inch of our house, opening cabinets and drawers, just checking everything out. We can barely keep up with you, but we are having the time of our lives trying to. You're just so much fun...and your happy little personality is so contagious. You make it impossible to have a bad day.

    Our house if officially YOUR house, and your daddy and I just happen to live in it. Your "stuff" {i.e. toys} has taken over, but that's ok...we wouldn't want it any other way.  You've really started playing with your toys...and it amazes us how they capture your interest and how you automatically know what to do with them. You are all boy in how you love to make LOUD noises by banging anything and everything on the hardwood floors. You seem to hate conformity, as you are quick to destroy anything that is neatly stacked or put in order. We absolutely adore watching you develop and learn!

    I know I say this every month, but you truly are the center of our world! You bring us so much joy and happiness each and every day. Thank you, sweet boy, for making this the very best journey of our lives! You've taught us so much over the past ten months, and we look forward to all that lies ahead for our little family. We love you more than you will ever comprehend. 

    Love you always,

    Thursday, June 2, 2016

    Leslie Loves...{3.03}

    Wayyyyy back in January {although it actually feels like just a few weeks ago}, I said I would "definitely work on increasing the number of 'Leslie Loves...' posts." #TotalFail.  It's not because I haven't wanted to share my current loves and obsessions, but I haven't felt like I've had anything really "cool" to write about. Most of my "new finds" revolve around the little man that rules my world, so of course this edition of "Leslie's Loves..." is baby-related.

    With all that being said, I give you our "MUST HAVES" for months three through six... 

    1. Boppy Noggin Nest Head Support:  we used this when he was lying on the floor or in his crib to prevent him from getting a flat spot on the back of his head.  Now that I’m doing a little research on this, it says it’s not recommended for use in a crib. However, we did use it in his crib up until he could roll over. 
    2. Fisher Price Kick & Play Piano Mat: this was by far his favorite toy for several months. Before he could roll over he was content to bat around at the toys and kick the piano keys for 30-45 minutes.  Even after he started rolling he was still happy playing on this mat, but he preferred to “play the piano” with his hands rather than his feet.
    3. HoMedics Humidifier with Sound Machine:  this was the cure-all when Baby H was congested!  We use the sound machine part even when we don’t need the humidifier because our child does not sleep well without white noise. 
    4. Infantino Spiral Car Seat Toy: H got to where he could actually reach the dangling toys between three and four months, and he plays with them more than we expected. The best thing about this toy: he can’t “lose” it because it’s attached and stays in place!
    5. Crinkle Books: these soft books that make the crinkle noise when touched are guaranteed to capture a baby’s attention…for at least a little while. The "Puppy Tails" book is a favorite around our house.
    6. Fisher Price Sit-Me-Up Floor Seat: we used this in place of a Bumbo chair. We loved it because it is useful for a much longer period of time than the Bumbo seat.  It has more back support than a Bumbo, so we were comfortable putting him in it around 3.5 months old.  Plus, it’s got plenty of room for babes to grow.  We’re still using it at 9.5 months to contain our very mobile baby when we need to get something done.  It comes with two toys attached to it, and these can easily be interchanged with other toys.  The only drawback is that it takes up more space than the Bumbo seat…but I’d say the pros far outweigh that one con.
    7. WubbaNub Pacifier: this was a game-changer for us because it allowed H to put his paci back in his mouth by himself at night! The attached stuffed animal gives the babe so much more to grasp, so they’re capable of locating it in the crib and maneuvering it back into their mouth.  We found that H doesn’t really care if he gets the actual paci in his mouth…the legs/ears/tail of the giraffe seem to be equally sufficient.
    8. On-the-Go Sound Machine: we keep this attached to H’s car seat.  He can press the buttons, which he LOVES to do…but it also has the white noise sound that helps him sleep.  It has four sound options: heartbeat, white noise, ocean and lullaby.  You can set a timer for it to automatically turn off or you can allow it to play until you manually turn it off.
    9. D-Vi-Sol Vitamin D Supplement: breast milk doesn’t provide enough Vitamin D for optimal nutrition, so we used this to supplement. We mixed this in H’s early morning bottle to cover up the icky taste.

      *The links above are to the online site where I found the product for the cheapest price as of June 2, 2016.

      You can check out our 0-3 month "loves" here.

      What did I miss?   

      Please share with me your baby "loves"...all ages and stages!