Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween 2009

Sephira's first Halloween participating in pumpkin carvings and trick or treating! Well...we actually did the gutting of the pumpkin since she had absolutely no interest in sticking her fingers in the "goo".

For Halloween night she dressed up as a dinosaur. We originally had not planned to take her trick or treating, but she was too interested in all that was going on outside so we met up with a neighbor who also has a one year old, and a three year old, and went around two blocks with them. Sephira was fascinated with knocking on the door and receiving candy. She will show the "knocking" sign anytime she hears the sound now, and for three days she drug her stash of goodies around the house, inventorying every piece.

Our little dinosaur! Roar!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Sephira and her HighChair

Baby Einstein is offering refunds?

"The Walt Disney Company is offering refunds for its “Baby Einstein” videos, a tacit admission that they did not increase intellect." more here:
No Einstein in Your Crib? Get a Refund -

Auntie Rebekah & Uncle Wes watching Baby Einstein with the babies!

Here is my opinion based on what I've read to educate myself as a parent, and my own personal experience as a parent:

The biggest issue for educational development in children is parent involvement, so any program whether stated as educational or not, is not going to be educational unless the parent, guardian or teacher is actively involved in helping the child learn what the materials are trying to teach. I have only been showing Sephira the Baby Einstein program 2 or 3 times a week, and I never let her watch it without me. I'm always holding her in my lap and talking with her about what we are seeing and learning. (She'll sign that she sees something and I'll confirm by telling and signing to her what it really is, or I'll teach her new signs, point to body parts, or talk in depth about the scene, objects, people, animals, etc.) The only other videos I show her are home videos of herself and activities she's done to help her, and see if she does, remember the events. If programs are used as a babysitting device I can see how it can cause attention issues because the child has no ability to focus, since they don't understand and can't process what they are seeing without instruction and assistance. At least for now. When they are bigger monitored and limited exposure to TV/computer based programs should still be maintained. There is nothing better than hands on play!

Sephira getting ready to knock down Dada's block tower

Dada helping Sephira learn to draw with crayons

Sephira learning to draw

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

In our neck of the woods...

Sephira's naps are FINALLY getting more "predictable". She always needs a least a half hour nap around 9:30-10:30am, and then she's starting to take a 45min-2 hour nap in the early afternoon!!!! Yeah! Though it helps if Effie is home and not out running errands during that time too. Otherwise Sephira falls asleep in the car and that throws things off. Granted she doesn't always fall asleep in the car while we're driving, but if we've been out doing many activities like swimming or Baby Boot Camp, she'll fall asleep afterwards, later in the morning around 10:30-11am, since these activities disturb her 9:30ish nap. Up until 2 weeks ago she used to only ever take half our naps twice a we're thankful for the progress. Her naps would be longer if Effie napped with her, which sometimes she did because she needed it too...but generally Effie is only able to have productive time with work, etc. when Sephira's sleeping.

Fortunately she does love her car seat and has taken to playing in it when we bring it in from the car.

We've really only been making good progress this last month on her night time sleep too. She's just not a good sleeper. She's finally starting to get 7+ hours of sleep in one shot, and wakes once between 2:30-5am for a feeding, then sleeping again until 6-7:15am. It seems like she's got a little timer that says 'any more than 11.5 hours of sleep and I'm awake'! No questions about it. That is until she started teething...again! Two molars are coming in this anything goes.

Generally she has pretty good moods, and is already showing us what a wonderful and fun personality she has. She's definitely a morning person like her Dada though! And fortunately for Dirk he gets to enjoy that morning time every couple days with his work schedule. (Two days on, two days off.) He's very grateful for that because if he only knew her in the later afternoon/evenings he wouldn't think she was a very happy child. She tends to be more "transparent" with her moods in the afternoons between 4-6pm, and any time after 6 pm is "melt down" time when she's ready for her bath and bedtime. We usually bathe her around 6:45 and have her tucked in between 7:15-7:30 depending on how many stories she likes to read. Her current bedtime stories of choice are Goodnight Gorilla, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, and the 5 Wishing Stars. She's even starting to sign "star" and asking for the book by name! Eventually we just have to say "all done" (accompanied with signing) for her to understand that book time is over and she'll settle in to finish nursing while Effie recites "Wynken Blynken and Nod" and sings her to sleep.

One week after her birthday she started taking her own independent steps. Within one week we stopped counting steps and now only four weeks later she's figuring out how to run. Gee that happened fast!

She has over 40 signs she's doing now (everything from "eat", "hot", "helmet", "outside", "potty", "wash" to "mouse" and "butterfly"), and many verbal accompaniments to them as well, such as "iddy" for kitty, "dodo" for shoes, "eye" for eye, "dee" for keys, and she is also starting to provide animal sounds on queue, like horse (neigh), monkey (ooo), lion (roar), bumblebee (vibrating lips), and a few others that skip my mind at the moment. There is very little that is left to guessing about her interests and needs. Having the ability to communicate with her creates such a tremendous bond between all of us and it is very clear how reduced our frustrations are compared to other families we meet. Oh! And she LOVES babies! Baby, baby, baby is prime observation these days!!!

She has also started to respond REALLY well to "point to this", "where is that" (also showing the "where" sign), "pick up this", "hold my hand", "hands up/down", and she'll even show you her "left foot" and "right foot" when prompted, thanks to Dr. Seuss' "The Foot Book"! She's an incredibly smart and observant girl, and it's so fun that she's sharing our world to us through sign!

Due to time constraints with full time mothering Effie is making slow but steady progress through her Baby Signs training materials in hopes of offering Baby Signs classes in the next few months. Now having the experience and passion behind signing with babies she is excited to share this with everyone in our community! As thing become official you can find out more at Effie's business website: Tot2Sign, LLC! (biz website:

And to leave you on a fun note, here is a link to Effie's mother's blog that she is updating regularly: Cris has started a cooking challenge with some friends and is writing about it as a personal therapy since her car accident in March. We think you'll really enjoy the wonderful thoughts and recipes she is sharing here! Her most recent post includes a cute little video of Sephira teasing "Papa" with food! We've been learning new recipes thanks to her endeavors here, and have some new favorites to share with you as well. If you want any particular recipe, just ask! Another new favorite comes from a friend of hers who is also doing the cooking challenge: Oatmeal Sweet Potato Muffins!!! Delish! (Printed recipe is missing 1/2 tsp salt; don't forget to make note. We also add chopped pecans.) We just made a double batch of these tonight to enjoy and also share with friend whose husband is recovering from hip surgery.

Our recent visit to the pumpkin patch!

Pretty as can be!

Dada consoling his baby. She was having a sad afternoon...and she's LOVES her Dada!

Precious moments with Mama and daughter...

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Mealtime with Sephira

Here's a little window into some of our precious mealtime moments... Sephira is learning how to feed herself with a spoon, and we enjoy mealtime VERY much!

Sephira is a foodie. She enjoys eating everything from avocados to enchiladas, rice to green olives! And boy howdie does she love meat! Any type of sausage, chicken, ribs or other and she's a happy camper. She's pretty good with her veggies too, but we'd have to say peas and corn are her favorites. She eats fruit, like blueberries, bananas, applesauce, the occasional spoonful plums or apricots...but apart from blueberries and bananas she doesn't show much interest or desire for most fruit. Though recent experiments with frozen fruit cups are widening our horizons! Especially after hard nights of teething!

NOTE: We have recently discovered that she is allergic to tomatoes, whether raw, cooked or otherwise. She developed an immediate and long lasting skin rash under her NO TOMATOES for this chickadee! Future eating experiments will tell us when she's able to consume them again. This is unfortunate for her, since Spanish Rice is one of her all-time favorites foods!!!