Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Internet Safety & Protecting Your Child's Location

Have you seen this video that has been floating around Facebook?

Scary right? 
Now try this (if you have an iPhone):

1. Go to 'Photos'

2. At the bottom of the screen, on the left, click 'Photos' (it's highlighted in blue below).

3. If you have location services turned on for your camera, it will look like the screen shot below. It knows the street and/or place you took your pictures. You can see in mine that it even knows what terminal were we at in the airport!

4. If you turn location services off (I show you how in the tutorial below), then it doesn't have a location attached to it. 
This is what it looks like after I turned location services off:

Technology is moving at lightening speed these days; so fast it's hard to keep up with. Over the past few years an explosion of new advances has us living in a world most would have never dreamed of. Just decades ago, computers were the size of whole bedrooms and didn't even come close to doing 1/100th of what a small, 4oz iPhone does in the year 2014. Even just 10 years ago when I was finishing high school, smart phones were non-existent and texting had just started to become popular. Now, we are more easily connected to the rest of world's population than ever before. Smartphones and social media are the ways we communicate and it seems that we have already forgot what it is like to live without them. In some respects, these advances in technology have proven to be beneficial and societally productive. I mean who needs to go to a high school reunion anymore when you are already updated on the daily goings-on of everyone you graduated with through every social media outlet. For me, the best part about social media and smartphone communication is how easily I can share with family. I have a young son that I just took 2,000 miles away from where I grew up and all our family lives. It's been difficult to say the least, but with so much going on in technology these days, everyone is kept up to date on his daily antics and we can see each other whenever we want with FaceTime and Skype. Of course, it isn't the same as physically being in someone's company, but only one generation ago, none of this was possible. 

So yes, I do share a lot of Myles on the internet. I do this for three reasons: 
1. Keeping in touch/updated with family. 
2. He is my pride and joy, the love of my life really. I'm surprised daily by the things he does and it makes me happy. So of course I want to share that with the world. I mean I only plan on having one, so I have to soak up all this cutest before he's grown. 
3. I am a mommy blogger. Let's be real, who would want to read a blog and become invested in someone who is primarily a mommy blogger, if they never see any pictures of their children? 

One of my favorite bloggers Mandi wrote a post not too long ago titled My Kids & The Internet: my sentiments exactly. I agree with her that privacy doesn't really exist on the internet. No matter what settings you use or how careful you are, it can all be found. The question then becomes: "What information are you comfortable with someone finding?"

As all of these new forms of communication unfold, we have a lot of lessons to be learned. Looking back on my Facebook, I am embarrassed by some of the things I shared with the world. Luckily, I never exposed too much, but I have learned over time that people do not need to know about the drama going on in my life. Most things are better left between only the parties involved. Celebrities are blasted for things they post on social media, normal, everyday people are fired for inappropriate conduct that they thought was necessary to plaster all over the internet, and young kids are showing off their bodies to the world in ways never done before. I think the best question to ask yourself before posting is: "Will I regret this being on the internet 5-10 years from now?"

  But I digress, the point of this post is to shed some light on a way you may be jeopardizing your child's safety with your smartphone. Every time our phones are upgraded, new technologies are added; great right? Well, not always... especially if they are adding 'upgrades' you don't realize or know about. It seems like a new upgrade is happening every couple weeks and honestly who reads the privacy terms and conditions every single time they download a new update? 

I'm venturing to guess that most of us just click the "Agree" button while cursing our phones for taking too long to download the update. When the update is finally finished, we grab our phones and go on our merry way. Every time we open a new app, notifications are instantly banished with the click of "Yes".  Am I right? Don't tell me I'm the only one that just clicks "yes" to pretty much everything that pops up on my phone... That is until recently. Lately, I have noticed some fishy stuff going on with some of the most popular social media apps. It all started with Pinterest. In one of the latest updates, I noticed something about mapping your pins... Why do you need to map your pins, I thought? This really bothered me and after much thought, I can only come to the conclusion that it is just another way to track your location. Instagram, Facebook, Twitter; they all have location services attached to them. Anytime you post something, your location is attached to it and available for anyone to find. What's even scarier is that if you have location services on in your photo app, the location is attached to any picture you post on the internet.
Let's watch that video again:

 If I'm going to be honest, the first time I watched this I thought "Okay well I am right by Myles' side all the time, so this really doesn't pertain to me." The only problem was that I still couldn't stop thinking about this video for the rest of the day. It really made me begin to question my choices. I know there will come a day when Myles will go places without me and if I'm being realistic, that day is going to come sooner than I realize. And I'm sure by that time, this location technology is going to be even more accessible and accurate. I never want to jeopardize his safety just to be able to put his pictures online, but I also don't want to let this world overcome me with fear. As parents, our job is to make the best decisions for our children. If you choose to share pictures and information about your kids, just be smart and use discretion. Also like the video shows, TURN OFF LOCATION SERVICES FOR YOUR CAMERA APP!!

It's very easy to turn off if you have an iPhone. 
Here's how:
1. Go to your settings screen
2. Click on 'Privacy' (the white hand). 

3. Click 'Location Services'. 

4. You can either turn location services off for everything on your phone (meaning you can't use maps, weather, etc.) or you can keep it on for your phone in general, but turn it off for specific apps. 
I keep my location services off for everything except map-related apps. Just click on the apps you don't want to have location services for. The one you for sure want off is Camera. I also turn it off for Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter because I post about Myles on those apps as well.

After doing this, I feel better about posting pictures because they have no location attached to them. Though I'm sure in the near future, doing only this will not be enough. At least it seems like that is where technology is heading: less and less privacy/safety.  For now, I will keep posting on social media (with location services off, of course), but I will always be coming back to this issue. I know I will have to re-evaluate often and there very well may come a time that I decide not to post anymore. I think the best we can do as parents is to stay informed and make the best decisions based off of that knowledge.

What do you all think about internet safety and your children? Have you turned location services off on your phones?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Deluxe Oven Nachos {recipe}

Deluxe Oven Nachos Recipe

This recipe is perfect to use for a 'nacho bar' for game day. Your guests can grab whatever size portion they wish and load on their favorite toppings. And best of all, it's only about 20 minutes of prep and cook time! 
The recipe below serves 3 dinner-sized portions. Use that as a reference when planning for a party.

What You Will Need
1 bag of tortilla chips 
*(I LOVE using "On the Border" when making homemade nachos)
1 pound ground beef/turkey
1 bag of taco seasoning
2 cups shredded Mexican/nacho cheese

Topping Options
Shredded lettuce
Sliced black olives
Diced tomatoes
 Sour cream 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 12x18-inch baking sheet with foil. Set aside.

2. In a large skillet, brown meat. Drain grease. Add taco seasoning packet, following the instructions on the packet. (Or add your own spices per preference).

 3. Line baking sheet with a layer of tortilla chips, some should overlap. Top with cooked meat and shredded cheese, making sure they are distributed evenly over the chips.  

4. Place in oven for 10-12 minutes. 

5. Carefully remove nachos from oven. Using a spatula and your hands, divide up the nachos onto individual plates. Add toppings and ENJOY!

What are your favorite nacho toppings? Do you ever make homemade nachos?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tunesday Tuesday: Wedding Song & My Motivation

 Well ladies and gents, it is that time again: Tunesday Tuesday is upon us. I know I have been MIA since the first couple weeks, but the holidays meant vacation for me! Then, Myles got sick, then I got the flu, and once we came back home after 3 weeks away, it was crazy trying to settle back in... Now we are finally getting back to our normal and here I am linking up with The Patchwork Paisley, Drinking the Whole Bottle, Momma Candy, and MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter to talk about music!

The Patchwork Paisley

This Week's Theme: "Your Wedding Song"

If you know me, you probably know that I am not married. So naturally, I do not have a wedding song. I also don't plan on ever getting married, so I don't have a future wedding song either. What I do have, though, is my favorite love song of all time:

Dave Barnes "God Gave Me You"

I'm going to venture to say that you don't know Dave Barnes... Totally understandable because he's not super mainstream. I kind of like it that way; he's like my little, musical secret. Although I would not consider myself a romantic or lovey person, I LOVE me a good love song. I mean my favorite musical genre has been R&B since I was like 8. I wouldn't put Dave Barnes in the R&B category, but he writes the best love songs in the history of music.. No Joke... When I was trying to find this video on YouTube, I noticed Blake Shelton also sings this song... but let's be real... this is a Dave Barnes original people! I like Blake Shelton as a person (very personable and funny), but I don't think he can sing and I am not impressed with his cover. I love Dave's voice; it is soo soothing, especially with just his guitar. I could honestly listen to him all day long. My mom knows this first hand. During the epic driving adventure we embarked on from Texas to Illinois one year, I made her listen to a 4-song Dave Barnes CD on repeat 75% of the way home. A friend gave me the CD he burned for camp because I could not live without Dave Barnes another minute of my life! I have since seen him play twice (should be more) and actually got to meet him once!

Anywho, out of all of his beautifully written songs, I think this would be the best wedding song. If you like this one, go check out some of his other stuff. 

 And just because I love him that much, I want to share another one of his gems. This is a little lot late, but..

Week 6 Theme: "Your Motivation"

Dave Barnes "Carry Me Through"

Really needs no explanation :)

I hope you enjoyed!
What songs would you pick for these themes?

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Monthly Favorites: Months Five & Six

When it comes to being a new mom, "free time" no longer exists. And if by some amazing miracle you happen to somehow get a couple of minutes to yourself, I doubt researching baby products is on the top of your list. Whenever my son is coming to a new age and needing new products, I heavily rely on my fellow mommy bloggers' recommendations. No need to waste precious 'you time' trying to navigate through the thousands of products out there only to find out they're poor quality or useless. So I decided to do my own monthly favorites posts to help out my fellow mommies!

I will also let you in on any deals or money saving tips with each product!

Monthly Favorites: Months Five & Six

1. Vulli Sophie the Giraffe Teether: Of course the infamous Sophie! This was Myles' Christmas gift from Santa. At the time, he wasn't really ready to use it, but by 5 months he loved it! It was easy to grab onto and a great texture to chew. I think that it is too big for it's age use though. For Myles, it seems a little hard for him to maneuver it around to get it in his mouth. A bit smaller would be more appropriate and a lot more useful. And no my son didn't instantly stop crying when he starting chewing on it (as the story on the box implies), but it is a quality product that, at the very least, helps with the dreaded teething process.

2. BabyGanics Bye Bye Dry Moisturizing Eczema Care Cream: Hands down the best skin cream around. I am a huge fan of BabyGanics. I am never worried about what is in their products and always feel safe using all of them on/around Myles. I used this for excessive dry skin (not eczema) due to chlorine exposure in the swimming pool. Once we started swim lessons with Myles, he began getting dry patches of skin on his stomach. His normal lotion wasn't making it go away, so I picked this up and it worked instantly. A little bit goes a long way with this cream and although Myles didn't have full-blown eczema, I would be willing to bet it works just as well on the more extreme skin conditions. 

3. Summer Infant Sleek and Secure Hand Held Video Monitor: I am very happy with this purchase. A baby monitor is one of the pricier baby items, so I was glad we found one that we liked with the first buy. I knew I wanted a video and sound monitor, but didn't need the most expensive one. I like the Summer Infant brand, so I just did a little research to compare their selection. The one I went with is their mid-grade and works perfect for our needs. You can link up to 4 different cameras to the one monitor and it has a talk back feature that allows you to talk to your baby from the hand held monitor to the camera base. The video and sound quality are good for both day and night. The only thing that could improve this monitor is a longer battery life. Even if it has a full battery when I go to bed, it is dead by morning. I hate when I frantically wake up wondering what time it is and if Myles has been up crying. So I always have to plug it in at night no matter what the battery life is at. All in all though, it is a great monitor for the price. I bought it at Burlington with a 20% off coupon. 
4. Miracle Blanket: Swaddling was a must with Myles from 3-6 months. Because of his excessive middle of the night wake ups, it was crucial for me to have him swaddled. If he wasn't, he would be flailing and squirming all over the place while I tried nursing him back to sleep for the 27th time that night. I guess looking at it that way, swaddling was more of a sanity saver for me rather than Myles :) Anywho, I had quite the Houdini baby when it came to swaddlers. He could get out of them all with minimal effort. We had all the Summer Infant kinds and the Halo Sleepsacks as well. Anytime his little arms got out, he would wake right up, crying for me to get him. He woke up enough for other reasons that I didn't need "breaking out of swaddle" to be on that list as well. I read somewhere about this Miracle Blanket and HAD to give it a try. This thing is the closest to being Houdini proof as possible. It has fabric that goes over the arms and the under the body, so that they can't get their arms out by moving them in and up (how Myles always got his arms out). Then it has the fabric that goes around the body. One side goes across the body once, but the other side wraps all the way around twice. This blanket was a life saver in the swaddling department. I found it used on eBay, but even brand new it would have been worth every penny for me. I highly recommend it!

5. Munchkin Fresh Food Feeder: Since Myles decided that after only a couple weeks of baby foods, he was over it, these feeders were a perfect alternative to purees. I would just cut up some fruit, toss it in, and let him chew away. These also work really well for teething. I would, and still do, put crushed ice in them and Myles will suck/chew on them for some relief.

6. myBaby Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector: This is one of the best baby product purchases we have made so far. We have definitely gotten our money's worth out of this sound machine. We have been using it every night for over a year now with no problems. It has all the typical sounds (ocean, rain, heartbeat, lullaby, etc.) and also a really cool projector. Ours came with three different projection image disks: rainforest animals, water animals, and a nighttime scene. I normally don't use the projector because Myles needs it to be completely dark in order for him to fall asleep on his own. He really likes looking at it now though, so sometimes before bed we turn off the lights and let him watch as the animals go by. You can run both the sound and projection together or by themselves. It also has a timer for automatic shut-off at different time increments up to an hour. I let it run all night because Myles is a pretty light sleeper and it helps to drown out any other noises going on in the house while he is trying to sleep. I purchased it because I read that it helped with sleep. (I'm pretty sure 83% of my baby product purchases were to try to get Myles to sleep better!) I started off using the heartbeat sound, thinking it would remind him of hearing my heartbeat in the womb, and thus help him sleep. Well to be honest, I don't think it did much, so I decided to just change it to ocean. He still sleeps with it every night. While I don't think it necessarily helps him sleep better, I do think the white noise is soothing.

7. Pampers Splashers Disposable Swim Pants: Since I use Pampers for our regular diapers, I figured I would just stick with them for our swim diapers. I have been using them for over a year now and have no complaints. They take water in quite well and don't get too big and bulky. I like how they are easy to tear at the sides, so you can 'rip' them off instead of having to pull them down. It's a nice convenience with a wet baby. 
8. diapers.com When Myles was a newborn through about 8 months, I did most of my shopping for him online. During that time, it was very hard for me to get out because I had absolutely no energy and I wasn't comfortable going places with Myles by myself yet. I have always been big on Amazon, so using diapers.com was a no-brainer. Free Shipping on $50+ and you get cash back rewards. It's only 5%, but it's better than nothing. Also they always let you know when they have e-coupons for diapers and they make it so easy to use (just one click)! I always buy the biggest box they have available because the more you buy, the cheaper they are and I know they will get used! They ship same day and sometimes it even comes by the next day and an added bonus: you don't have to go to the store!
When it comes to being a new mom, "free time" no longer exists. And if by some amazing miracle you happen to somehow get a couple of minutes to yourself, I doubt researching baby products is on the top of your list. Whenever my son is coming to a new age and needing new products, I heavily rely on my fellow mommy bloggers' recommendations. No need to waste precious 'you time' trying to navigate through the thousands of products out there only to find out they're poor quality or useless. So I decided to do my own monthly favorites posts to help out my fellow mommies!

I will also let you in on any deals or money saving tips with each product! - See more at: http://www.theeverydaymomma.com/search/label/Monthly%20Favorites#sthash.1AcRe0Nn.dpuf

What are some of your favorite baby/toddler products right now?

When it comes to being a new mom, "free time" no longer exists. And if by some amazing miracle you happen to somehow get a couple of minutes to yourself, I doubt researching baby products is on the top of your list. Whenever my son is coming to a new age and needing new products, I heavily rely on my fellow mommy bloggers' recommendations. No need to waste precious 'you time' trying to navigate through the thousands of products out there only to find out they're poor quality or useless. So I decided to do my own monthly favorites posts to help out my fellow mommies!

I will also let you in on any deals or money saving tips with each product! - See more at: http://www.theeverydaymomma.com/2013/11/monthly-favorites-month-three-four.html#sthash.XIdCmIxW.dpuf
When it comes to being a new mom, "free time" no longer exists. And if by some amazing miracle you happen to somehow get a couple of minutes to yourself, I doubt researching baby products is on the top of your list. Whenever my son is coming to a new age and needing new products, I heavily rely on my fellow mommy bloggers' recommendations. No need to waste precious 'you time' trying to navigate through the thousands of products out there only to find out they're poor quality or useless. So I decided to do my own monthly favorites posts to help out my fellow mommies!

I will also let you in on any deals or money saving tips with each product! - See more at: http://www.theeverydaymomma.com/search/label/Monthly%20Favorites#sthash.1AcRe0Nn.dpuf

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Myles Monthly: 6

As you may know, I didn't decide to start my blog until my son Myles was about 8 months old. And well... now he is 17 months old! So I am focusing on getting caught up with monthly updates and monthly favorites, so I can get, and hopefully stay, up to date with current times.

Six Months Old
  January 15th- February 14th, 2013

Born: 7 lbs 6 oz and 19.5 inches
Six Months: 18 pounds and 27 inches
Wiggle Worm :)
Nothing major happened in this department at month 6! Thanks goodness for finally getting a break. Having an infant can be so stressful when something is wrong with them (or even when nothing is wrong, but you can't help but think so). I always have this major fear that something is wrong with Myles, but because he can't tell me, I have no idea it's going on. The longer I am his mother and the more I get to know him though, I have began to learn when he is acting different or something seems off. Still it is so nerve-racking to be responsible for the well-being of another life when they can't fully communicate with you yet. Not knowing what's going on inside his little body really tests my anxiety!

Anywho, we only had one issue this month and that was with dry skin. Since we started taking him swimming once a week, he was getting a couple spots of rough, dry skin. It was mostly on his stomach and never got really bad. I used his regular lotion for a while, but it didn't seem to help, so I went looking for something a little better. I am a big fan of the BabyGanics brand so when I found out they had this BabyGanics Bye Bye Dry Moisturizing Eczema Care Cream,I was all over it. It's kind of pricey, but it works so well and has lasted a long time. I only use it sparingly on the really dry skin, so I still have the same bottle now that I bought then (over a year old). If you are ever in need of some over-the-counter eczema treatment for you little one, I HIGHLY recommend the BabyGanics.   

Myles also got his 6 months shots at his well-check this month. Per usual, I did not attend that part of the check-up (I hide in the waiting room), but Mark said he was pretty tough. I was expecting the worse since his 2 and 4 month shots did not go well, but nothing major happened this time. He was a little more clingy and had a very slight fever, but no puking or screaming for 2 hours straight, so I'd call it a success this time.

I had plans to wait until 6 months to start Myles on solids. However, I jumped the gun a little and started him at about 5 months and 1 week. I was still desperate to get him to sleep and since nothing I tried thus far made any difference (in fact it was still somehow getting worse), I thought I would give solids a try as my last shot at a miracle sleep solution. Before this, I hadn't done too much research on feeding babies. I just went with what I always knew was a first food: cereal. I bought a box of Gerber Organic baby cereal to start him off with. I mixed it with breast milk to make it into a very thin consistency. I tried giving him a couple of bites. He seemed interested but wasn't really eating any of it. The next day I continued my reading about first foods and because of many articles and studies I read, I decided to not give him cereal anymore. Just the thought of not knowing what is in the box (even if it is organic) was enough for me to nix that idea. 
So over the next week, I started giving him other things to try out. The first thing we tried was avocado mixed with some breast milk. He didn't really eat any of that one either, but I could tell he was understanding the process more and more every time. I did the one new food every 3 days rule, so that I could tell if he was allergic to anything. 
The second fruit he tried was pears. They worked well because I could mash them up very fine to where it was almost just liquid. He ate those fairly well and seemed to like them.

I didn't want to give him anything out of the jar (mostly because again I have no idea what is in there and I am always hearing about recalls and such for canned baby food). I looked up what are good first fruits and vegetables and decided to make my own baby food. 
I just used a normal food chopper to make the food into the right consistency and then I poured each one into these Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food and Breast Milk Trays. I put them in the freezer and when they were frozen, I popped the cubes out and put them in freezer bags. Each different food went into a different bag labeled with the name and date. I read that most of the fruits and vegetables last 3 months in the freezer.
I made peaches, nectarines, pears, plums, carrots, and sweet potatoes. My only tip is to make sure you don't mix it too long. I did that with the plums and it just became frothy and kind of evaporated (ish).

He also tried baby yogurt towards the end of the month! He really liked it at first, but after a couple of days, he was over it.

Of course our eating experience would not be complete without strong-willed Myles refusing to go about the process in a normal manner. It really only took him about 3 weeks and he was completely over pureed baby foods. Even though I made all his food myself, he began to want nothing to do with it. I continued to put him in his seat and try to feed him a couple times a day, but as the days went on, the less and less he was interested in eating. I didn't want to turn the whole eating process in to something negative and not enjoyable to him, so I stopped pushing him to eat and let him take the lead. 
He really loved chewing on things still so I starting giving him hard fruits and veggies to just chew on. He liked sliced cucumber and potatoes (with a hole in the middle so he could hold on to them), raw carrots, apple and mango slices, and sucking on plums and peaches. Eventually, we just let him do his own thing and I gave up on the baby food for the time being.

Ahh the wonderful sleep category... Not too much to say here. Still not sleeping through the night or with any sort of consistency. He would randomly sleep a 4 hour stretch here and there, but for the most part it was every 2-3 hours in the beginning of the night and then 1-2 or less starting around 5am until he woke up for the day. He was still sleeping in his crib until about 7am. At that time, I was usually so tired of getting up with him that I would bring him in bed with me and let him nurse/sleep until he was ready to fully wake up, usually between 8:30-9:30. 
I was still doing some sleep training with him at night. Whenever he woke up in the beginning part of the night, I would let him cry for about 5 minutes. If he didn't go back to sleep within the 5 minutes, I would get him and nurse him back to sleep. It did seem like he was getting better at staying asleep when I put him back in his crib after nursing him to sleep. I had given up on the miracle sleep solution, so even that small progress was something to be encouraged by! We still had a lot of hard nights, especially when they came after a good night. I would get so frustrated because it seemed like it always happened that he would have 3 good sleeping nights, then he would regress for 4-5 days. It made the bad nights worse, because I knew that it was possible that he could have good nights where he was only waking 3 times and not 13! When I finally learned that I could in no way predict or help his sleep, I was able to manage my stress and anxiety a little better. I had to be consistent in my training, but also come to accept the kind of sleeper he was genetically predisposed to be. It didn't change the fact that I was 6 months into complete exhaustion, but it did change my attitude towards him and the situation (most of the time). 

He was still napping frequently throughout the day. He would nap for about 30 minutes every 1 1/2-2 hours. This usually amounted to 3 naps a day. For how inconsistent his night time sleep was, his naps were pretty predictable. It was nice to know I would have that break, although 30 minutes never went by so fast in my life ;) 

I also completely stopped swaddling this month. I hadn't swaddled for naps since last month, but we were still half swaddling at night time. Around the middle of the month, we went cold turkey and switched to the Baby Merlin's Magic Sleepsuit. I read about it on an internet forum and decided to give it a try as a post-swaddling transition. I can't say it worked as well as the website claims, but it did work really well as a blanket substitution in the winter months. I would dress Myles in a onesie, sleep pants, and socks, and then put him in the sleepsuit. I was not comfortable using a blanket in his crib yet, so this worked perfectly to keep him warm and provide some comfort. 

We also starting using a sound machine every night. I found the myBaby Soundspa Lullaby Sound Machine and Projector at Target and I am so happy with this purchase (more of a review on my monthly favorites post coming up). We still use it now at 17 months. I would put it on the heartbeat sound and let it run all night. I honestly don't think that specific sound helped him sleep, but it is a good white noise to help cover up/drown out other sounds that could wake him up (which sometimes was a lot, because if anyone knows Mark, they know he isn't exactly quiet....)

Besides the usual reasons (hungry, tired, waking up in the middle of the night, etc), he started getting really frustrated when he couldn't stay sitting up by himself. He couldn't sit up by himself for more than a couple seconds yet, so when he fell over, he would get mad until you helped him sit up again. He also started doing this 'sit-up' thing. Once he was laying on his back, he would try really hard to sit up, but it would only end up being a crunchy. My step-dad would count when he did it and sometimes he would get up to 60+ seconds. He does it in this video (with a bunch of other moving around) towards the end.

  •  Swim classes continued this month. Mark went in with him and I was a little 'mamarazzi' capturing all the cute moments. After only a month, I could already see his progression in and out of the water. I think the swimming definitely helped with his motor skills outside of the pool as well. He was an awesome kicker and started doing the kicking motion while swimming almost immediately.
  • We celebrated Myles' Half Birthday at Chuck E Cheese. I know that may sound a little crazy and I did get a lot of flack for this, but 6 months is a big deal to me. I only plan on celebrating his half birthday one more time at 18 months. I just think in the first two years, so much changes monthly and even weekly that every 6 months is more like a year. And the half birthday celebration is just a little outing to some place Myles can have fun for a couple hours.  
       Although he was still too little to do much, he was in awe of everything. He went on some rides, played a little basketball, and chewing on cucumbers. 

He was really into Chuck E... like "Who is this guy riding with me?"
First Food (cereal): As I talked about above, Myles had his first taste of food this month. He tried cereal once and then I decided to forgo the grains and start with fruits and veggies. The below picture is his first cereal tasting on January 17, 2013. I don't think he actually ate any, but it was fun trying it all out for the first time.

First Fruits and Veggies: The next food he tried was avocado mixed with breast milk. I think he ate a little of that, but probably not too much. Next was pears, then plums, peaches, sweet potatoes, and yogurt. Because I was doing the 3 days rule, these lasted us the couple weeks before he decided not to eat purees anymore.
 Sorry for the overkill, but here are the many faces of Myles as he tries his first fruits:

Starting to Crawling: In the earlier video, you can see Myles getting on all fours and rocking. This was the start of crawling for him. He officially became a crawler a week after 6 months, so I will be writing about that in month 7. But this month, he started getting the motions down and working up his strength. He was also working really hard on his abs with all his crunches (a little clip in that video as well.)

Says Momma and Mom: Myles' official first word was mom!!! 
Saying DaDa: A couple weeks after 'momma',  Myles' started saying 'dada'.

First time sitting in high chair at a restaurant: We tried the restaurant high chair out for the first time this month. He still wasn't very stable, so putting a blanket around him helped keep him upright. He really liked feeling like a big boy though :)
First time standing on his own: This only happened for a split second, but I had to mention it. While I showering, my parents decided to see if Myles would stand on his own. Below are a couple of the action shots they got. In the top two pictures he is actually standing on his own, but it only lasted a couple seconds.

Big Boy Tub: We finally upgraded to a better bath tub. I hated the one we had and Myles was getting too big for it. He wasn't ready to be in the normal bath yet, so we bought one that was bigger and more appropriate for him. It had one side for him to lay down still, but then the other side was made for him to be able to sit up. It helped bath time a little, but he was going through a phase this month of not liking taking a bath. He would get mad because he didn't want to lay down in the tub, but he still wasn't quite able to sit up on his own. It was hard to wash him and let him play, while holding him in a sitting position, so baths were short this month.

Sitting up to play, sitting in a high chair, jumperoo, swimming, chewing, and breastfeeding

Bath time, not being able to stay sitting up, when mommy leaves or doesn't feed him the instant he is ready :)

Come back to check out my favorites from months five & six!