Sunday, August 15, 2010

Isla Rose, 5 months old

And growing right before my eyes. 4 to 5 has been a huge month for Isla, I have so much to report.

Big Baby We estimate Isla weights about 15 lbs now. She gets heavy in my arms fast. There has been a big growth spurt, and it happened on August 9th. Isla was hungry all day. She started to ask for more milk almost right after she was done eating. She ate and slept all day. The next day she was bigger. Can you see the increase in Isla's chunk factor from the 1st photo, taken on the 6th, to the 2nd photo, taken on the 11th?

"Boof" Isla has added new sounds to her vocal repertoire. This includes what I would describe as the sound a baby Pterodactyl would make. But my current favorite is "Boof." She often does this one with fingers in her mouth. I like to think "boof" is a probably synonymous "goof." To mess up, or completely miss.

Rolling At the end of July, Isla figured out how to roll from back to front, but just towards her right. One day she kept trying so hard- turning and turning her head to the left, but just couldn't get over. The next day she rested. The 3rd day she did it, and kept doing it over and over, and acted like it was no big deal. She sometimes does composite rolling now. But more often she likes to roll onto her her tummy, get stuck, and complain.

New foods Isla tried rice cereal, and she likes it. I don't blame her, when you mix it with breastmilk it tastes like icing. She makes yummy sounds the whole time, and tries to grab the spoon away from me. You can see Isla's first bite video on Flickr. She has also tried and approves of sweet potatoes.

A baby girl's best friend Isla is very entertained by Angel. She gets excited and giggles at the dog when Angel comes around, which is a lot. She seems to like to cats too, but Angel is usually much more exciting. She sometimes calls out "aa aa" to get Angel to reappear.

People preference Unfortunately, Isla is getting picky about who holds her. When I hand her over to someone new- she often sticks out her lower lip, and cries. Our regular babysitter reports it takes her about 15 minutes to come around. Isla seems to know that her daddy is her own personal comedian. Now when he enters the room, she looks up at him with this expectant smile that says, "Make me laugh, Daddy." He always obliges. Sometimes I hear baby giggle fits emanating throughout the house when Jason is hanging out with Isla.

Hands and Feet Isla does this cute little squeezey-pat gesture. She pats me, soft toys, blankets, the crib bumper. She seems to do it more when she's tired. She can also grab a nice fistful of my hair and pull. Then I have to pry myself loose from her little damp fist. She can transfer toys from hand to hand. Isla has found her feet! Now she does the "happy baby" yoga pose and plays with her toes, and sometimes snacks on them.

Teeth? We're not sure. But lots of drool, and mouthing of everything. Sometimes when she's especially cranky, we blame it on teething.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

How Does Your Garden Grow?

Not so well, actually. Back in St. Louis, I was into gardening. I could tell you the names of all the plants in my front and back yard. I had put most of them in myself. I was a little bit addicted to gardening. So much fun to see your little plants grow and grow. And if it was a perennial- the joy of seeing it come back the next Spring. As far as edible plants go- I had an herb garden and I had much success with tomatoes.

Well, here in Texas things have been different. First of all, the landscaping at our home was completely done, and not really in need of much more. When I did put some plants in the ground back in 2009, none of them made it, ever. I don't really want to dig in the ground in 100 degree and humid weather. The ground is not good for vegetables. You have to build an above ground container for top soil, then plant. So, I did this. Above-ground garden built. Last February/ March (when I was quite
round and uncomfortable), I went out and bought some veggie plants and at a rate of about 2-3 plants/ day, I stuck them in the ground. After several weeks of snail-paced planting, I had a nice crop of future hot peppers, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, chives, strawberries and leafy greens. And of course, my herb garden. Then Isla came, and my garden strategy turned to survival of the fittest (with the help of a sprinkler system). Whatever grew, grew. Whatever couldn't survive on it's own, died.

Carrots and Chives- never came up. Leafy greens- buggies eat small holes upon sprouting. Strawberries- fruit eaten before they could turn pink. Now, the pepper and tomato plants grew big and leafy- and I had high hopes for them. Just as some nice tomatoes and peppers appear- some nasty bug comes a long and sucks bruises on the surface of them, and they eventually wilt away to pathetic looking dingle berries (see red bell pepper photo). The only saving grace of my garden has been the herbs- most of them are doing well. I had enough basil to make some pesto. Rosemary grows into large bushes in Texas, so I don't have to worry about her. Oh yeah, and I got to this one jalapeno before the bugs did.

I'm sure I made a ton of mistakes in my gardening- planting things at the wrong time, putting my garden in the shadiest place in the yard. But these bugs!!! Fortunately you can take down and start over 3 times in the growing season here in Texas. I'm going to wait for it to cool off, and start over again soon. I think the plants were getting enough sun- because I saw many of the veggies come and start to ripen before the bugs got to them. My friend Maria who flaunts her gardening success on her blog, tipped me off to what this fruit-sucking bug might be- STINK BUGS! But a brief internet search reveals very little in the way of stink bug deterrents. One suggestion was to smush the stink bugs individually.

Needless to say my complete failure at Texas gardening has been disheartening. Not to mention a waste of time and money. I mean, I put those plants in the ground when I was 9 months pregnant!!!! All that for 1 lousy jalapeno! Here's a photo of Jason and Isla- they are not stink bugs.