Monday, June 15, 2020

Always Eat After 7 PM: A New Lifestyle for Me

Tracking Pixel
This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed below are my own.

I'm back to update you on my progress with the new diet plan I've been following for the past three weeks from "Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion. I told you a few weeks ago about how I've been wanting to get serious about shedding some excess weight, increasing my energy and just feeling better on an everyday basis

Another week on plan and I'm definitely feeling better than I have in months, yet I still don't feel like I'm "dieting" because we're enjoying so many awesome new meals while still losing weight! The best part is that this new way of eating isn't an inconvenience for our normal routine. I don't know about you, but I have a husband that works a lot and we don't normally sit down to eat until at least 7 pm most nights. This would go against the normal dieting train of thought, but not this plan! I can enjoy a later dinner and even a bedtime snack with no guilt. Yes, you read that correctly. Bedtime snacks are encouraged. I'm sold for life. Please tell me I'm not the only one who likes to sneak back into the kitchen after their kiddos are tucked away in bed and enjoy a snack in peace and quiet?? Haha! Joel explains in his book why it's ok to ditch our old ways of thinking:
Research shows that the average person's metabolic rate is no different during sleep than during the day. In short, your metabolism doesn't slow down at night. Nor does your body store fat at the end of the day. Whether it's 8 am or 8 pm, you use food energy the same way.
So no, when your mom told you everything you eat after 7 pm gets stored as fat, she was wrong. Sorry, mom. But that's good news for us! Joel goes on to explain why the bedtime snack is not just allowed, it's encouraged:
Scientists have established that consuming at least 20 grams of protein stimulates muscle protein synthesis for two to five hours after eating a meal. However, recent research also shows that protein synthesis drops to unexpectedly low levels during sleep, even if you eat ample protein during and after evening exercise. This has led researchers to speculate that this process may fall off during sleep if you don't eat protein prior to bedtime.
So what should you eat before bed? You can find Joel's top 12 bedtime snacks below. He goes into detail in the book about why they are great choices and what they each have to offer you. In his research, he found:
Specific higher-carbohydrate foods (including berries and cherries) support your fat-burning metabolism while you sleep, providing your body with a steady steam of fuel throughout the night. The trick is knowing how to combine them with other evening and pre-bedtime fat-burning foods to fuel your metabolism as you sleep.



As I explained before, there are 3 phases to this plan. We have now completed the 14-day acceleration phase and the first week of the main phase. We saw quick results those first two weeks. Weight loss has slowed now, but that was to be expected as we've increased our calories a bit and upped our carbs. The first phase is more restrictive to get you jump-started. He explains in the book that eating what he refers to as "super carbs" is actually quite helpful.
Despite all the bad press over the years, certain carbohydrates play an important role in balancing your hormones and regulating your metabolic rate, while avoiding the dreaded weight loss plateaus that accompany conventional mainstream diets. Furthermore, when you eat these carbohydrates, you'll feel much better than you would if you were following a traditional diet.
Nothing against those other super carb-restricting plans from me, but I like carbs. I'm pretty sure I need them. I need a eating plan I can sustain long-term and not be miserable, so this one fits the bill for me. And don't forget cheat meal/day. Let me eat my favorite comfort foods once a week and I can stay on plan forever! That's definitely the hardest part of sticking to any diet in the long run for me. That feeling of missing out on things I love. Let's face it, food is a very social thing. Now I won't have to go to gatherings with friends and stand around awkwardly while everyone enjoys good food and drinks. I can make that my cheat day for the week! Then I just get back on track the next day and continue towards my goals. Easy peasy. 

I can't wait to update you in another month to let you know how we are doing with the plan. In the meantime, if you're interested in checking out more details for yourself, check out "Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion. It is now available to purchase. Learn more about the book and how to purchase here.

This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed above are my own.

Monday, June 8, 2020

Always Eat After 7 PM is Producing Amazing Results

Tracking Pixel
This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed below are my own.

I'm back to update you on my progress with this awesome new plan I've been following for the past two weeks from "Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion. I told you a couple weeks ago about how I've been wanting to get serious about shedding some excess weight, increasing my energy and just feeling better on an everyday basis. I'm happy to report that after just 2 weeks of following this plan, I am down 9 pounds!! I never rely on just the numbers on the scale though - I like to take pics to see my progress. I had some serious stomach bloat going on when I started and that has been eliminated. Yeeeessssss. I had also begun struggling with some acid reflux prior to starting this plan (something that flares up when I'm not eating right), but I haven't had any issues since starting. Yay!! My husband has been following the plan with me and he has also seen great results - down 10 pounds! We both agree that we feel great, this diet hasn't left us hungry (even with a bit more physical activity) and we've truly enjoyed the meals we're eating, which includes some awesome new recipes from the book.

I've tried out a lot of the recipes from the book now and they are seriously delicious. So much flavor. And the best part is that I've been able to make these meals for the entire family, without needing to make the boys something completely different. These first two weeks, I've definitely added in some healthy carbs for them that we passed on, but having a main dish that feeds everyone and is on plan for us is perfect!


Yes. These are all delicious items we've been eating the past 2 weeks that you can find in the book! Honey garlic pork loin, spiced tilapia, pot roast tacos with chimichurri, turkey and bacon goulash, shrimp curry with cauliflower rice, garlic-roasted salmon and broccoli, turkey burgers, blackberry chia seed pudding, and chocolate buttons (a fast favorite for all of us!). This is not a "salad only" kind of diet. I would not do well with that. Sure, I like some salads, but I don't want to eat them all the time. I love food, so I've thoroughly enjoyed the meals I get to eat on this plan. They really knocked it out of the park with the recipes they've included in the book. I'm excited to continue trying some new ones this coming week! Check out some of Joel's favorites below.

As I explained in my last post, there are 3 phases to this plan. Today is our last day of the 14-day acceleration phase. I've phased out breakfast and I'm having a morning ritual drink (on plan coffee for me!), lunch, dinner with dessert and a bedtime snack! I honestly didn't think I'd be able to get rid of breakfast and still be active in the mornings, but I've done surprisingly well with it. A part of this plan is following an intermittent fasting protocol. As Joel writes in the book:
Going without breakfast is part of intermittent fasting (IF), also called time-restricted feeding (TRF). IF is a pattern of food consumption that cycles between fasting and eating in specific time periods. There are various ways to do it; one of the most common is the 16/8 protocol, which involved 16 hours of fasting - typically done overnight - with an 8-hour window in which to eat each day.
I haven't been able to hit the 16/8 most days, but I've been doing at least 14/10 on a regular basis now, sometimes 15/9. Joel explains why this is helpful with weight loss:
Always Eat After 7 PM is a three-phase program that teaches you how to lose big by strategically eating big when you are naturally hungriest - in the evening. This may sound too good to be true, but let me assure you it is no gimmick. It's all about making strategic and smart food swaps, and you can still eat your favorite foods.
He goes on to say:
Those who ate breakfast ended up eating about 260 calories more a day, the review found. Those who skipped breakfast were about one pound lighter than those who ate breakfast. These findings led the researchers to conclude that eating breakfast isn't necessarily a good strategy for losing weight. The science isn't really there. Breakfast could very well be the least important meal of the day.
Another study found the following:
Late-night eating also curbs calorie intake the next day. In a four-week study, dieters added a snack to their daily regimen 90 minutes after dinner every night, and check this out: late-night eaters ate an average of 397 fewer calories per day.
Based on surprising science, Always Eat After 7 PM debunks popular diet myths and offers an easy-to-follow diet that accelerates fat-burning and allows you to indulge in your most intense food cravings: Eating majority of your calories at night. But don't worry, if you're a breakfast lover like I am, it's not gone forever. As part of the main phase, you're allowed one cheat meal, or day (if you exercise), a week. And it's actually encouraged! Breakfast that day is totally acceptable. Yay! With a bit of tweaking, I can continue to enjoy some of my favorite breakfast meals I make for my family without feeling guilty. In short, this program is making dieting easy and eliminating my reasons for resistance. I think enjoying this cheat day once a week will be what allows me to continue with this plan instead of abandoning it like so many others I've tried. It won't feel as restrictive and won't make me give up everything I love for good. As long as I can stick to the plan 6 days a week, I can look forward to a little splurge at the end of each week. Perfect.

Interested in checking out these recipes for yourself? "Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion is now available to purchase. Learn more about the book and how to purchase here.

This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed above are my own.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Always Eat After 7 PM is the Perfect Plan for Me

Tracking Pixel
This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed below are my own.

I'm back! Last week, I let you know about a great new book I'm reading - "Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion. You can check out that post here. As a quick recap, the Always Eat After 7 PM plan consists of:
  • A 14-day Acceleration Phase to kick-start the program and see rapid results
  • A Main Phase where you'll learn exactly which foods to eat when, in order to achieve your weight-loss goals
  • A Lifestyle Phase to keep the weight off for good

After just a week on this diet, I already feel like it's helping me reach my goals. I'm losing weight, feeling better, and haven't had this much energy in awhile! Daily walks and lifting weights again is going great. Yay!!

I recently interviewed the author, Joel Marion, to learn more about why he wrote the book. When asking him about his inspiration for this book, he said: 
After authoring 6 best selling books, it was glaringly obvious there were 2 huge misconceptions about dieting that needed to be exposed. The first is that you can't eat late at night or before bed, which science now shows is NOT true. And second, you can't eat large portions that satisfy your natural instinct. This book solves both these problems by providing an evidence-based, enjoyable approach to dieting that can be used by any person to quickly achieve their weight loss goals.
I'd have to agree that those were definitely misconceptions that I believed before starting this plan. I've always been told to not eat too late and that multiple smaller meals were the way to go. Following those recommendations always left me wanting more, hungry before bed and starving by the time I awoke in the mornings. I have 4 boys. I don't have time to make 6 little meals a day for myself! This plan is so much easier to follow. I can fix a dinner that all of us can eat a huge portion of and then even sneak a snack in after I get them put to bed! Perfect.

I dug deeper to find out what he thought was the most surprising discovery when he was researching the scientific data for the diet. He said:
That almost everything my college education and certifications taught me was NOT grounded in published scientific research.
Wow. I can relate to that one! As a Health Promotion and Education major in college, we had exactly ONE class dedicated to nutrition. Yep. You read that correctly. Not only did we receive very little in the form of nutrition education, it was just the basics. We didn't cover scientific research at all in that intro course, much less learn any information we could actually use. Obviously, much of the research has changed since I was sitting in that nutrition class 20 years ago, but it makes me wonder what they are teaching there these days. I also went through a year of graduate classes in the same major, again with just one nutrition class. We touched more on scientific research there, but nothing like the amount of info I learned just by reading Always Eat After 7 PM. It's a constantly changing field, so we (both practitioners and consumers) need to be sure to stay up to date with the current research.

Check out more about the science behind the diet in the video below from Joel.

Circling back to why this book stands out from the others he has written, he said:
Although many of the concepts are similar [in the 6 best-selling books I've authored], the biggest difference is that you don't have to deprive yourself of your favorite foods. You don't have to deal with the burden of eating every few hours. And you don't have to skip the carbs at dinnertime or avoid eating before bed.
Yes! Again, eating too many times a day just doesn't work for me and my family. And I love carbs. I don't want to give those up! He writes in the book:
Fact is, most diets are extremely narrow with regard to food choices and variety, and many even limit entire macronutrients altogether over the course of the entire program (think low-carb and low-fat diets). Three months with no carbs? No thanks. Such practices not only are entirely unnecessary, but make for a miserable, unsustainable experience.
Thank you!! Finally, a diet where I can keep eating the foods that I love and not feel miserable and cranky all the time. Trust me, my family doesn't like a hangry mom! ;)

"Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion is now available to purchase. Learn more about the book and how to purchase here.

This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed above are my own.

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Always Eat After 7 PM...Say What?!?

Tracking Pixel
This post is brought to you by my sponsor, "Always Eat After 7 PM." The opinions expressed below are my own.
Always Eat After 7PM

I have been wanting to get serious about shedding some excess weight for awhile now. Then hello, quarantine weight! Ugh. Now I really need to get serious...like, yesterday. In addition to losing weight, I'd really like to increase my energy and just feel better in general, so I jumped at the chance to receive an advance copy of "Always Eat After 7 PM: The Revolutionary Rule-Breaking Diet That Lets You Enjoy Huge Dinners, Desserts, and Indulgent Snacks - While Burning Fat Overnight" by Joel Marion. Over the next month, I'll be sharing my experience with the book and diet (and hopefully some awesome benefits and results!). Basically, the Always Eat After 7 PM plan consists of:

  • A 14-day Acceleration Phase to kick-start the program and see rapid results
  • A Main Phase where you'll learn exactly which foods to eat when, in order to achieve your weight-loss goals
  • A Lifestyle Phase to keep the weight off for good

Count me in! Can it really be this simple? Eating late? Isn't that going against one of the biggest diet "rules"?

Right away, Joel begins addressing this. Providing studies and his own experience battling weight, this book gets right to it. After doing research, Joel decided to put his theory to the test and the results were awesome. Twelve pounds down in the first 2 weeks, 46 lbs after 16 weeks, flatter abs and more energy. Sign me up. But what really struck a chord with me was this:
"At my next medical checkup, my doctor was shocked at how good my blood work had gotten, so quickly. And let's not forget the most important part: for the first time in months, I had the energy to keep up with my little girls."
Having the energy to keep up with my 4 boys is at the TOP of my list of health goals. I'm not getting any younger, and they're getting bigger and faster, so I need to start making changes now. I'm excited to dive in and I'll post an update next week, so stay tuned!

In the meantime, find out more about Joel and his inspiration to write this book!

Friday, July 27, 2018

Levi's Nine-Month Check-Up


Age of Baby: 9 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 21 lbs 10 oz (up to the 81st percentile), + 1 lb 13 oz from last month
  • Length: 29.25 inches (up to the 83rd percentile), + 1.25 inch from last month
  • Head circumference: 18 inches (up to the 70th percentile), + 1 inch from 6-month appt
Levi is still wearing a size 3 diaper. He has been wearing 6-9 month, or 6-12 month clothes. He is wearing size 6-12 month shoes.

Immunizations:

None this month.

Doctor's Visit Summary:

Levi had a good visit last week. He is on track developmentally and looked/sounded great. He's a big boy, but growing well proportionally. The best way to describe him is that he is SOLID. Not squishy and roly poly - more like a rock! His doctor and I agreed it's best to continue avoiding dairy like milk and ice cream at this point (for both of us), but we're hopeful that we'll be able to try it after his birthday.

Picture of Baby:

Here is Levi's 9-month picture in the 12-month onesie. Look at all that hair!! This poor boy definitely needs a cut now. It really turned blond after our trip to the beach, too! Meat and fruit have emerged as his favorites - he goes for those first on his plate, but he doesn't discriminate against veggies or bread either. ;) As you can see, the boy likes to eat! He's also moving all over the place, making it interesting!


And here is a comparison of all four of the boys at nine months. Levi has now smashed the weight of the other 3, and has taken the lead for height as well! Ethan was 28.5 inches long and weighed 18 lbs 1 oz. Noah was 28 inches long and weighed 18 lbs 8 oz. And tiny little Amos was 28 inches long and weighed just 16 lbs 8 oz. While the others were continuing to thin out at this point, Levi is definitely not. Ha! 



Accomplishments this Month:
  • First family vacation
  • First time in the ocean + sand
  • First beach nap
  • First sunrise
  • Drinking water
  • Cruising on furniture
  • First fireworks
We took our family vacation this year to Isle of Palms, SC. It was a H-O-T week, but we saw quite a bit (like Patriots Point - USS Yorktown, USS Laffey + USS Clamagore and Fort Sumter) and relaxed on the beach a lot, too. Levi was able to dip his toes in both the ocean and the sand and seemed to really enjoy both. He wanted to eat the sand, which was made easier by the fact that he doesn't use a paci at all anymore. :( So, most of his beach time was spent on our laps, taking relaxing naps under the umbrella. :) As you can see below, they've all been fans of that! ;) Unfortunately I don't have a pic of Ethan and I like this, but luckily I found one of him with Josh from his first beach trip. :) By the time he took his first beach trip, he was 13 months old. The other 3 were all about 8/9 months old for their first trips! As you can see in the 2nd pic, they all needed help walking in the water, but by 13 months, Ethan was running all over the place. Ha!




I guess Levi wanted to make sure we crossed a summer bucket list item off and woke us up before sunrise on our last day at the beach. Ethan was awake, too, so 4 of the 6 of us, plus Lego, made our way down to the beach to catch a gorgeous sunrise! He also started drinking water while we were on vacation. He hasn't figured out a sippy cup yet, but he's getting the hang of a straw now. :)

Levi is crawling all over the place and started cruising around the furniture, too! Fortunately he's good at falling to his booty when he wants to get back down. He also loves climbing stairs when given the chance. We had to dig out the old baby gates to help contain him now!

We're still waiting on those bottom two teeth to poke through, but I swear it really will be any day now. I'm starting to sound like a broken record here...I'm hoping that's the reason he is still waking at night so much, too. It would be incredible if those teeth would just come through and he'd start sleeping through the night. Is that too much to ask??

Aside from vacation, Levi did at least have a better month for sleep. He was normally getting up just once a night. He still goes to bed between 8 and 9 pm and sleeps until 8 or 9 am. He sometimes gets a bit of a cat nap in the mid-morning when he nurses, but he's also still taking an afternoon nap of about 2-3 hours in his crib. I'm nursing him every 3-4 hours during the daytime for 10-25 minutes. He eats about 7 times total in a 24-hr period.

Levi celebrated his first Independence Day and actually stayed awake for the 10 pm fireworks! I really thought we'd end up holding a sleeping boy for those, but I guess he wanted to see what all the fuss was about instead.

As you can see, Levi still LOVES his big brother, Noah. The feeling is quite mutual. I hope they stay this close. I call Noah my "little Momma" because he is so good with helping out with him! Maybe he just enjoys having his own little minion like Ethan has Amos, but I'll take it. ;)

Are we really 3/4 of the way through his first year!?! I'm a couple weeks behind this month, but hope to get back on track again next month! School starts on a little over a week, followed by Amos's birthday a month after that, then Levi will be one before I know it. Time flies...

Monday, June 18, 2018

Levi is Eight Months Old


Age of Baby: 8 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 19 lbs 13 oz (up to the 65th percentile), + 1 lb 13 oz from last month
  • Length: 28 inches (down to the 59th percentile), + 0.5 inch from last month
  • Head circumference: not measured
Levi is still wearing a size 3 diaper. He has been wearing 6-9 month, or 6-12 month clothes. He is wearing size 6-12 month shoes.

Immunizations:

None this month.

Doctor's Visit Summary:

None this month.

Picture of Baby:

Here is Levi's 8-month picture in the 12-month onesie. I have decided that "Hoss Baby," or "Chins," may be more appropriate nicknames for this guy than "Tiny"! Ha! He will definitely be the earliest of the 4 to hit 20 pounds!! But look at those adorable chins. So stinkin' cute.


And here is a comparison of all four of the boys at eight months. Levi flew past the others this month for weight, and is still 2nd for height. Ethan was 28.5 inches long and weighed 18 lbs 8 oz. Noah was 27 inches long and weighed 17 lbs 13 oz. And tiny little Amos was 27 inches long and weighed just 16 lbs 0 oz. While the others were starting to thin out at this point, Levi is not. Ha! I attribute that to a combination of eating everything in sight and not moving as much as big brothers were at this point. Ethan was cruising at 6 months and walking by 9 months, while Levi hasn't even started cruising yet. Levi definitely continues to have his own look, but I think he's actually starting to favor big brother Ethan more now. It's hard to tell in this picture, but oftentimes he has similar facial expressions and he smiles with his eyes (smizing, if you will) like Ethan does. Tyra Banks would be proud. ;)



Accomplishments this Month:
  • First swim in the pool
  • Self-feeding table food
  • Crawling on his knees
  • Pulling up on furniture
The neighborhood pool opened up by Memorial Day here, so Levi was able to experience his first swim! That boy LOVES water. He is normally content to just float around the pool in his little baby float, but he really loves being held so he is able to splash up a storm! Daddy likes to put on his goggles for that as it gets a little wild. Haha!

I'm not really sure at what point it happened (yep, 4th baby problems), but we must've grown tired of feeding him purées. So, we started letting him have little tastes of table food - the stuff we were having for dinner. Oops! I know we need to be a little cautious with what we give him, as he still doesn't seem to be able to tolerate getting some forms of dairy through my milk, so I've been avoiding giving him anything with milk, cream or cheese yet. But, he seems to be doing really well with managing to eat pretty much anything we put in front of him, or into his mouth. Maybe that has something to do with the almost 2 pounds he's packed on this past month?? Hahaha! He hasn't met a food he hasn't liked yet, which is pretty amazing. He's had things like cajun quinoa with ground turkey and bell peppers, pasta, burgers with zoodles, blueberry pancakes, biscuits, scrambled eggs, etc. I know I'm forgetting lots of things, but you get the idea. He really loves sharing my morning oatmeal with me. I can't blame him since it's delicious. I've had to start making more now because he was getting mad when his bowl ran out! LOL. He'll still eat purées if that's all we have for him, but he is definitely loving trying anything he can get. He actually really loves eyeing our coffee, too, but I have to draw the line somewhere. ;) It is amazing though that he's eating all of this with no teeth yet! I guess he's just really good at gumming everything. :)

Levi has still been dragging himself (scooting) all over the place this past month, but by the end of his 7th month, he started actually crawling some, too! He still prefers to scoot, because he is much faster at it, but he can crawl now as well. Along with the crawling, he has started to pull himself up on the furniture. Sadly, he likes using the stone fireplace to do this, which kind of scares the crap out of me a bit, even as a veteran mom now. I picture him cracking his head on the edge as he falls over, so I normally quickly rescue him and put him somewhere a bit safer. So yeah, I'm pretty busy now!

Like I mentioned above, we're still waiting on those bottom two teeth to poke through, but I swear it really will be any day now. I'm hoping that's the reason he is still waking at night so much, too. It would be incredible if those teeth would just come through and he'd start sleeping through the night. Is that too much to ask??

An even rougher month in the sleep department, I think? Levi was still getting up at least once, usually two times a night. One week, he was waking three times a night again. I felt like I had a newborn again! :( He has started to get a bit better again, so I'm hoping we're going in the right direction now. Sleep deprivation is no joke. He still goes to bed between 8 and 9 pm and sleeps until 8 or 9 am. He still normally gets a bit of a cat nap in the mid-morning when he nurses, but he's also taking an afternoon nap of about 2-3 hours in his crib. I've continued to nurse him every 2-3 hours during the daytime for 10-25 minutes. He eats about 7 times total in a 24-hr period.

I can't believe that next month's update will mean that we're 3/4 of the way through his first year!?! Insanity.


Monday, May 14, 2018

Levi is Seven Months Old


Age of Baby: 7 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 18 lbs 0 oz (down to the 44th percentile), + 2 oz from last month
  • Length: 27.5 inches (down to the 62nd percentile), + 0.5 inch from last month
  • Head circumference: not measured
Levi is still wearing a size 3 diaper. He has mostly been wearing 6-9 month clothes, but can still squeeze into a few 3-6 month favorites!

Immunizations:

None this month.

Doctor's Visit Summary:

None this month.

Picture of Baby:

Here is Levi's 7-month picture in the 12-month onesie. You can't see those blue eyes below, but you sure can in the picture above. And check out that hair! He looks like an old man going bald with his sweet combover hair in the middle. Ha! He didn't really want to straighten out for me again this month as he still loves playing with those piggies any chance he can get!


And here is a comparison of all four of the boys at seven months, just for fun. Levi continues to take the prize for heaviest of the four, and is still 2nd for height. Ethan was 28 inches long and weighed 17 lbs 0 oz. Noah was 27 inches long and weighed 17 lbs 3 oz. And tiny little Amos was 26.75 inches long and weighed just 15 lbs 0 oz. All four boys' weight gain was minimal between 6 and 7 months. I think that is due to the fact that they all started moving a lot at that point. Levi definitely continues to have his own look, but I still think he favors Noah (and Mommy) the most. There are times that I'm starting to see Ethan in him, but I think that may be because Levi looks like he has spiky hair like Ethan did.



Accomplishments this Month:
  • Scooting/army crawling all over the room...quickly!!
  • Rocking on his knees
  • Sitting up by himself unassisted
  • Saying "dada"
  • First bike ride
  • First time riding in the cart like a big boy
  • Sticking out his tongue
  • First trip to the farmer's market

Once Levi figured out the rolling thing, he was able to see his surroundings better on his belly, and realized he wanted to see everything up close! So, after starting by slowly inching his way around, he soon figured out how to use his arm to pull his body forward to get where he wanted to go. In no time he was quickly scooting, or army crawling, his way across the room!! Dangerous! Now I can't leave him in one spot for 10 seconds and expect to find him there when I return!

Along with being on his belly more, he has started to rise up on his knees and rock on them. I know that means crawling on those knees is in the not so distant future now! His balance is improving as well, as he can now sit up by himself without falling over. He has super leg strength, so once he figures out how to pull himself up on stuff, he'll be cruising around the room in no time, too. Since he can handle the sitting aspect now, I decided to let him try riding in the cart like a big boy, instead of strapped into his carseat, to get groceries. He loved this much better view, despite the fact that he appears to be annoyed by my capturing a quick photo of this occasion. Sigh.

Moving along slowly in the food department, we've made our way through a fair share of veggies now. He loved the roasted butternut squash and also was a huge fan of avocado! When we had some guacamole made table side on Cinco de Mayo, we had them leave some avocado out for Levi to eat. I love that little bird mouth, ready to gobble it up! We moved on to fruit as well, starting with bananas. They're so easy to mash up and I always have ripe ones available. I'm pretty sure I buy them just so they can come die at my house. Ugh. He really loved those and was enjoying them daily until I realized it was constipating him. So we took a bit of a break from those for a bit, but have been giving them a go again recently. I'm trying to get him a breakfast and dinner now when I can, as he really seems to enjoy sitting at the table eating. We started sweet potatoes yesterday (the super yummy Japanese variety), which he inhaled, so once we give those a week, we'll probably add in a new fruit next. He also likes feeding himself Puffs, which is a great workout for his little fingers! :)


Josh decided he wanted to start taking family bike rides now that Ethan and Noah have mastered how to ride theirs. We started by purchasing a bike for me. I hadn't been on one in 20+ years, but it's like they say - you never forget. ;) Next, we needed to decide what we were going to do with the little two. Amos can ride a bike with training wheels and he's actually really awesome on a scooter, but both of those would make it hard for him to keep up with the rest of us being on bikes, instead of walking. So we purchased a WeeRide Co-Pilot Bike Trailer for Amos to use on the back of Daddy's bike. It easily connects to the back of his and Amos can either help out by peddling, or he can sit and enjoy the ride. He's done a great job with it so far. Finally, we needed something for the tiniest member of the family to join us as well! We decided to go with WeeRide again, and purchased a WeeRide Kangaroo Child Bike Seat for Levi to use. We weren't sure if he would be big enough yet, but he actually appears to be doing just fine sitting in the seat! He really enjoys it, too. It does make for quite the "road train" for Daddy to pull, but we know he'll do a good job. ;) The seat has a great headrest pad (where he has his arms laying in the pic) on the front that they can use to lay their head down and nap if they want to. Seems like a much easier position to sleep in, as opposed to falling asleep sitting up with their head slumping to the side. We'll see how it goes when we make it out for a long ride on a trail. So far, we've just been around the neighborhood a few times. The hills here are no joke, so Daddy should be in super shape in no time! Ha! You can check out a fun video of them testing it out on my Instagram profile. :)


We're still waiting on those bottom two teeth to poke through, but it really will be any day now. I can see them there, right under the surface and I think they've really been bugging him this past week. He has had moments of what seems like real pain and unconsolable crying. It is very unlike him, so I'm chalking it up to the teeth for now. He has figured out how to stick out his tiny little tongue and really enjoys doing it lately. It's so adorable.

Levi made his first trip to the farmer's market with us this past weekend. Though he couldn't get a taste of those yummy donuts yet, he did seem to enjoy riding around in the stroller checking everything out.

Sadly, Levi gave me no "mama" for Mother's Day this year, but he is definitely workin' the "dada" quite clearly now! You'd think at least one of the four would've uttered that "mama" first, but no such luck. As Amos would say, "Tears, tears, tears."

Another rough month in the sleep department. He's lucky he's cute! Levi is still getting up at least once, usually twice, a night. There have been a few occurrences where he has slept through until around 5 or 6 am, but they are few and far between. I feel like I'm normally up around 1 and 4 am every night. Ugh. He still goes to bed between 8 and 9 pm and sleeps until 8 or 9 am, sometimes later on the days we don't need to be anywhere. He still normally gets a bit of a cat nap in the mid-morning when he nurses, but he's also taking an afternoon nap of about 2-3 hours in his crib. Sometimes he'll still take a little cat nap before dinner, too. I've continued to nurse him every 2-3 hours during the daytime for 10-25 minutes. He eats about 6-8 times in a 24-hr period.

Until next month!!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Levi's Six-Month Check-Up and Birth Announcement


Age of Baby: 6 months

Size of Baby:
  • Weight: 17 lbs 14 oz (down to the 56th percentile), + 11 oz from last month
  • Length: 27 inches (up to the 64th percentile), + 1 inch from last month
  • Head circumference: 17 inches (down to the 50th percentile), +0.5 inches from his 4-month check-up
Levi is wearing a size 3 diaper. He was mostly wearing 3-6 month clothes this past month, but 6-9 month clothes fit a bit better! ;)

Immunizations:
  • DTaP (diptheria, tetanus, pertussis)
  • Hib
  • Hepatitis B
  • PCV13
  • Polio
  • Rotavirus
Doctor's Visit Summary:

Levi's visit went very well today. He is still right on par, or even a bit ahead, developmentally. His fine motor and gross motor skills are great and he's starting to vocalize (quite loudly, in fact), too. His weight gain has started to slow a bit, but that is probably thanks to his newfound love of moving! His eczema is definitely starting to clear up now. I've pretty much eliminated all dairy except cheese and the occasional yogurt from my diet though. I've also been using the lotion religiously on him. Another round of vaccines, but now he's done for awhile. #vaccinessavebro We'll go back in three months for his 9-month check-up!

Picture of Baby:

Here is Levi's 6-month picture in the 12-month onesie. His eyes are still quite blue in better lighting (I think they will be sticking!) and his hair is getting longer on top of his head! :) He didn't want to straighten out for me this month as he loves playing with those piggies any chance he can get! He refuses to keep socks on, always removing the right one and often the left, too. Chewing on those is one of his favorite things to do. Eww.


And here is a comparison of all four of the boys at six months, just for fun. Levi continues to take the prize for heaviest of the four, and is now tied for 2nd for height. Ethan was 27.75 inches long and weighed 16 lbs 6 oz. Noah was 27 inches long and weighed 17 lbs 1 oz. And tiny little Amos was 26.75 inches long and weighed just 14 lbs 13 oz. Levi definitely continues to have his own look, but I still think he favors Noah (and Mommy) the most.


Accomplishments this Month:
  • Rolling over...and over...and over
  • Inching around as much as he can
  • Solid food!
  • First preschool story time at the library for big brother's field trip
  • Puts in paci himself
  • Starting to vocalize - maybe a "dada"??
Literally the day after he turned five months old, he finally rolled from his tummy to his back. That was quickly followed by rolling from his back to his tummy. Now I can't get him to stay on his back at all! He loves sleeping on his belly and when I put him in his crib, he instantly rolls to his belly to sleep.

He's also started to want to get to things that are out of his reach, so he's moving his body as much as he can on his belly (without actually crawling). If you put him in one spot, you are guaranteed he will be in a completely different one moments later. Yikes! Time to baby-proof this house that we've never had to baby-proof until now!


We decided to try some solid food when he turned 5 months, to see if that would help in the sleep department. We went ahead with rice cereal since it is easy to thin down with breastmilk. He did great with it for several days before deciding he wasn't a fan anymore. Sigh. So, I decided to give veggies a try. I steamed and pureed some sweet peas and he was gobbling those down as fast as we could spoon them to him (and even grabbing the spoon to shovel them in by himself!). Then after a few days, he decided he wasn't a fan. Ugh. So I moved on to green beans. Those were a no go from the start. Then I tried carrots. Not really a fan of those either. So, I thought maybe texture was an issue. I couldn't blame him if it was since it affects me, too! Pureeing the frozen, then steamed, veggies still gave it more texture than baby food from a jar, so I bought a few jars of pumpkin to give that a try. He's been eating that for several days now pretty well, so hopefully that's the trick! I am still going to continue to try pushing my homemade purees on him because they're so much cheaper (!!), but we'll have the jars for backup if needed. Next up, tonight, will be roasted butternut squash. We're having it for dinner, so he's going to try it, too! The solid food is coming only at dinner time for now, but once I introduce fruits, we'll probably do that in the mornings or at lunchtime.

We made it to our first preschool story time at the local library (#thirdandfourthchildproblems) thanks to a field trip with Amos's preschool. They both seemed to enjoy it so we may have to find our way there again soon! Levi does really love it when big brother Noah "reads" him books at home, but then he loves everything Noah does with him. ;) They are the sweetest together.


Another rough month in the sleep department. Halfway through he had some nice 8-hour stretch nights, but then he got in the habit of waking again around 12:30 and 4:30 at night for a couple weeks; sometimes more, sometimes less. He goes to bed between 8 and 9 pm and sleeps until 8 or 9 am, sometimes later on the days we don't need to be anywhere. I often run errands in the mornings, so he still normally gets a bit of a cat nap in his carseat while I'm out, but he's also taking an afternoon nap of about 2-3 hours in his crib. Yay!! Sometimes he'll take a little cat nap before dinner, too. I've continued to nurse him every 2-3 hours during the daytime for 15-25 minutes. He eats about 6-8 times in a 24-hr period.

Levi has finally figured out how to get his paci back in his mouth by himself, but he'd actually prefer to chew on his fingers or the leg of one of the WubbaNub animals instead. Sigh. I have a feeling his bottom two teeth will be making an appearance before next month's update. They're looking pretty close now! Given the amount of drool this boy has been producing, I sure hope so.

Instead of just crying and cooing, Levi has started to vocalize now! We swear we've heard him say "dada" several times now, both in response to our prompting and when he sees him, but perhaps it's just luck. We'll see if he keeps it up. Not that I'm jealous that he isn't saying "mama," too!

So I've found that taking care of 4 kids + a PTA position (producing the monthly newsletter and designing + keeping the PTA website updated) + my graphic design business has kept me all kinds of busy this past 6 months. Granted I designed Levi's birth announcement and had prints made before Christmas (a Christmas miracle, I'm sure), I still hadn't managed to actually mail them out...until the day he turned six months old. Ha! So, without further adieu...here is his birth announcement. :) Better late than never, right?!? ;) Still working on those thank you notes to all the wonderful friends and family who sent gifts or brought us meals in the fall. Everything was greatly appreciated!!




 Until next month!! Look at me actually writing this in a timely manner this month! Ha!