Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lucky #13

After a busy weekend and a few early mornings I realized I didn't do a 13 month post for our rapidly growing boy. This month was a huge month developmentally for our little guy as he started transitioning from crawling baby to teetering toddler.

Stats: (On February 13th)
Weight: 21.5 lbs (he's thinned out and is only in the 27th percentile for his weight!)
Height: 31.5 inches--nice and tall!
Teeth: Still 6
Hair: Wispy blondish, reddish, brownish hair now covers our little guys head.
Clothing: Mostly 12 months with a few 18 month outfits that are smaller.

Movement: We have a walker...kind of! Ben has started taking several steps in a row. He is incredibly proud of himself when he walks and occasionally self praises by clapping his hands. He can't stand up yet on his own, but each day gets a little bit closer. When he walks he often sticks his finger in his mouth and has a huge grin on his face. He likes to push things around while walking from chairs to laundry baskets to the container for the dog food.

Communication: Ben continues to babble all of the time and his babbles are starting to turn into real words. He says, "dessa" (Tessa), "ball," "ahh" (apple 0r any other round fruit), "dishy" (fishy), "buh" (book), "bubble" and of course "mama," "dada," and "dg" (dog). He imitates a lot of other sounds and it is fun to hear him talk to us. His favorite word to say is "dat," while he is pointing at things. I expect "dat" will turn into, "what's that?" in a few months. He can sign "milk," "fish," "all done," and "book." He is starting to identify his body parts and can point out his nose, toes, head and ears. We are working on other body parts but he mostly thinks it is funny.

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Favorite Things: Ben loves life. He is always on the move and rarely sits still for any length of time. He loves bath time and we can't get him in the tub fast enough as he kicks off his pants and squirms up the side of the tub. We started putting bubbles in the bath and the first time he was a little unsure but now he thinks that bath time is not complete unless there are mounds of bubbles in the tub.

During playtime he loves balls. Big balls, little balls, bouncy balls, balls that he can shake. If it is round and he can throw it or roll it, he likes it. He enjoys playing with his Fisher Price little people farm and tractor and loves anything that makes music. He loves banging things with his hammer and has figured out how to use his little work bench. He likes to look at books and is incredibly happy to have books read to him. Every time we go to TJ Maxx we end up coming home some sort of book because how can I resist seeing his face light up when he sees the wall of books?

When he isn't busy playing or reading, he loves to take things out of our kitchen cabinets. He loves to play with different containers and tries to stack pots and pans and bang them to see how much noise they will make. He pretends to drink out of any cup shaped object that he can find.

He loves his musical instrument set and especially enjoys the recorder. When we are at grandmom and granddad's house, he likes to bang away on the piano.

With our mild winter drawing to a close, he has had a great time taking walks in both the baby carrier and the stroller. When he sees me put on the baby carrier he gets very excited and crawls over to me to be picked up.

He loves running errands around town and flirting with every person he sees. When we go to stores with carts he loves to lean back and look at the lights and point out things he recognizes like balloons.

The dogs continue to get Ben's attention and Chopper is his best friend. He loves to snuggle with Chopper's belly and Chopper willingly receives Ben's undying love. Tessa is still a little wary but is getting better as she realizes that Ben is a person with whom she can play fetch. Ben gets excited to let them out of their crates when we come home from places and can identify them by their separate names.

Eating: We are still nursing and will continue to do so for a little bit longer. I originally planned to wean at a year but we are both still enjoying it and since I am home and it is good for him, I am not in a rush to stop. He eats three meals a day and is starting to enjoy eggs with his yogurt for breakfast. He is doing a lot better at eating finger foods and tries to feed himself with a spoon. Sometimes he just tries to dump the entire bowl into his mouth or will bend over and try to eat out of the bowl with his mouth--like he sees the dogs doing. He loves crackers of all kinds and is indifferent to bananas. His tastes vary day to day and what he really likes one day he won't touch the next. He drinks out of a sippy cup when he gets really thirsty and apple juice is a drink of choice.

Sleeping: For the most part Ben did well sleeping this month as we continued our two short naps a day. He had a few rough nights here and there but overall I can't complain.

What we were up to: This month was incredibly low key. We didn't take any long trips, enjoyed lazy Saturdays at home and had fun with our little guy. Grandmom and granddad have graciously watched Ben on Saturday mornings so Andrew and I can have a running date.

Every month he is learning and changing so much. Every day is my new favorite as I watch our little sponge absorb the world.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Body what?

A few weeks ago while on a run, my dear friend and local gym manager, mentioned that the gym was going to add Les Mills Body Pump classes. She wondered if I would be interested in becoming an instructor. Without much hesitation I said yes and signed up for training.

As an avid runner taking the plunge to "group fitness instructor" is one that I'd thought about but didn't ever really think would happen. I don't have an educational background in health and fitness, at the time had never heard of Les Mills, and oh yeah...I haven't been exactly consistent about lifting weights ever since Andrew and I tied the knot in 2005. It is 2012.

After Ben was born I joined the small group WOD (workout of the day) crew in our friend's basement for Crossfit workouts and I loved the challenge and the fact that it was helping me shrink up after the beach ball of a baby was gone. Once we moved to Fredonia however, my lifting was limited to the squirmy child I haul around the house and the occasional kettle bell swings and sit ups on my living room floor (often with a baby on my lap for extra weight).

The time between the Body Pump training class and the idea planted in my head was just under 4 weeks.

I am a procrastinator at heart. I knew I should be lifting weights in preparation but knowing isn't the same as doing. It wasn't until I received my training video, choreography book (seriously?) and 100 page training manual courtesy of FedEx did I start to realize I might want to actually try to get ready. All of that arrived in my very weak arms twelve days before the training weekend.

Twelve days. Of course I had to put it off. Then I had 11 days, 10...and my husband knew that I needed to actually do the training video. We put Ben to sleep, he tied up his sneakers and I pulled on some workout clothes at 8:45 one Thursday night. In the comfort of our bedroom we turned on the video with presenters that looked like super heroes and I wondered if I would make it through the warm-up. Andrew was a little spooked by the enormous winking woman who led parts of video and tried to convince us that Body Pump is changing the world.

The class is an hour long and divided into 5ish minute segments (or tracks) each aimed at a different part of your body. It is set to loud (rather annoyingly catchy music) and in the hour you do about 700 repetitions of weight lifting. It is long, challenging and fun.

In the days leading up to the training I received countless emails from Les Mills about what I would need to bring to training (food, changes of clothes, all the stuff they sent me, an Ipod, paperwork, muscles...). Five days before training I received an assignment to teach a portion of the class to the training class (thankfully I was assigned the chest track and not the tricep track as my triceps are still wondering why they are no longer allowed to atrophy).

In preparation for training I did the video every other day, drank a lot of water and my most consistent lifting was the Cadbury egg I lifted to my mouth every time I went to the grocery store. I was a nervous wreck the day training arrived. I rode up to Buffalo with two other people from the gym here and felt like I might throw up. When we got to the gym I didn't feel much better. Every single person there was a personal trainer or fitness instructor and looked the part. As I nervously tried to introduce myself to those around me and act confident that I did, in fact, belong there, in walked the Les Mills instructor.

If you googled fitness instructor I think her face would appear. Short hair, spunky attitude, ridiculously fit, arms that could bend a lead pipe--basically a female Jack Reacher. Her six pack was evident through her shirt and as she lead us through the class, she made the massive men in the class look puny as she loaded up her bar with weight plate after plate. For two long days (Saturday 8-5:30, Sunday 7-3) with limited lunch breaks we lifted weights, listened to helpful tidbits about learning choreography, lifted weights, watched videos of us teaching, lifted weights, learned how to launch our classes, lifted weights, learned to teach a segment of the class and lifted more weights. It was a long two days and by the time our last workout rolled around Sunday afternoon my entire body was aching. The amount of lifting that we did forced the strongest of the bunch (a former college football player and personal trainer) to do tricep pushups in the most modified form on his knees.

When it came time for my evaluation where my fitness was a part of the grade I was exhausted. In order to receive a pass for the weekend I had to teach my assigned track with perfect timing, choreography, technique and coaching. I was a nervous wreck but managed to pull it off and made it through. In order to receive my certification I still have to submit a video of me teaching the entire class where each thing I do is evaluated but I have until May 5th to continue to work on making my triceps actually look like muscles.

Now that the training is over the soundtrack to my life is Body Pump music. Over and over and over again as I study my choreography book, work on form and try to learn each track 110%. At times I feel a little overwhelmed, but I still have a few weeks until my first class. I can slowly feel myself getting stronger and I'm looking forward to teaching four times a week. I will strive to be a warrior against a sedentary lifestyle (part of the Les Mills creed) and perhaps by the time I'm ready to teach I'll be able to lift two Cadbury eggs to my mouth at a time.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

The post you've all been waiting for--12 months!

Ben has successfully completed one year of life. We've been busy for the past couple of weeks doing birthday party activities, recovering from birthday partying and getting ready for BodyPump training (more on that in another post).

Weight and Height: We have an appointment on the 13th so we will update with the official stats then however, Ben is taller and heavier than last month. He can reach things on the table and I've caught him turning doorknobs.

Teeth: Still 6--four on top, two on the bottom. All month I kept thinking that two more on the bottom were going to creep up but they remain hidden.

Hair: Ben is continuing to rock the baby mullet and his hair color is still a mystery. Depending on the light it looks strawberry blond, red, blond, and dirty blond.

Ben isn't walking...yet, but he is getting closer. He stands on his own for a few seconds at a time and cruises all around the furniture. He reaches from one object to another and will now walk while holding onto the hands of his fans. He crawls with incredible speed all around the house. He tries to climb up things and has figured out how to get into his rocking chair all by himself. He loves to dance whenever there is any music on. He bounces up and down to the beat of songs and will sometimes wave his hands in the air. If he is sitting when there is music he will kick his legs.

Communication: Ben continues to babble all of the time. He shouts, sings, and has conversations with us or anything else that will listen. He still says, "dada, mama, and dgdg." His granddad is incredibly excited because he says "dadad" for granddad. He will say "buh" for book and is starting to imitate a lot more sounds. One of his favorite sounds to imitate is the "a" sound for apple. He is picking up a little bit of sign language and impressed his grandmom when he signed fish while she was reading her a book with a picture of a fish. When signing fish he will say "sh."

Favorite things:
Ben loves to take baths. He climbs out of his clothes when he sees the water running and loves to splash and play with his toys. He adores reading books. He will read let us read the same thing over and over and over again and his favorite books are about his favorite animal--dogs. He loves peek-a-boo books. We gave him a toy where he can let a ball go around a tower that he loves to sit and play with. He has figured out cars and how to roll them across the floor. He has also started to stack blocks. He is learning how to use his shape sorters although if he can't get a shape in he simply takes off the lid and puts the shape inside. He loves toys that make music and is learning how to use his puzzles. He loves his little people farm and tractor that he got for his birthday.

Sleeping: Ben has turned a huge corner in the sleeping department. I only let him sleep for about two hours total during the day. He takes a morning nap from around 10:30-11:30 and again in the afternoon from 3:00-4:00. I wake him up from every nap which I sometimes feel a little bit bad about but then I remember how wonderful it is to sleep at night. He still wakes up once a night most nights for a snack but he is starting to wake up around 4:30 or 5:00 instead of 1 or 2.

Eating: Ben nurses a few times a day. I originally planned to have him totally weaned at 1 year but decided to wait a little longer at least until we are through the winter. He eats solids three times a day and is doing better at eating what we are eating. This month he hit a major milestone and will drink from a sippy cup! He eats most foods but does not like cheese and eggs. Yogurt his high on his list of foods to eat and he also enjoys crackers, chicken curry, baked ziti and bread.

Week by Week
December 23rd-December 29th-- Ben celebrated his first Christmas in style. Thanks to his Grandma Dooley, he had festive clothing for each Christmas activity. He enjoyed his first Christmas with a lot of presents, hugs, kisses and attention from his adoring family fan club. We loved watching him take in the lights, tree and Christmas decorations.

December 30th-January 5th--We rang in the New Year with an early bed time. (Not quite as early as last year where my hugely pregnant body fell asleep on the couch at about 8:30 but we didn't see midnight). Ben experienced his first Sard family Christmas where we all sat around watching him being cute and wondered what we did BB (before Ben).

January 6th-January 23rd--We settled back into day to day life. Ben has enjoyed time at his grandparents house while Andrew and I went running/skiing and snowshoeing. He spent a lot of time with me in the kitchen getting ready for his party. He had a blast celebrating his first birthday with family and friends and our living room is starting to look like a toy store.