Spring: 21-24 months

Our journey through spring and the begining of summer break, including our many outings.

My journey through sleep training

Follow my ongoing posts of my battle through sleep training and getting Liam to sleep.

Lupus

Follow my battle with Lupus as a wife, mother and teacher.

Cloth Diapering

My adventures of cloth diapering, tips and tricks, favorite brands and more.

Confessions of an Antique Home

Check out my husband's blog.A newlywed, first time home buyer couple purchases a circa 1760 colonial in New England. This blog follows their adventures during their home ownership.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Peapod Pick-up Review

Sunday mornings are usually my day to head out grocery shopping. Before Liam was born, I would head to three different grocery stores to get the best deals. I loved to shop, plan meals and look to see whats new. Now, grocery shopping is a nightmare. My husband (Steve) has been busy on the weekends studying for a big civil engineering exam and so I have been taking Liam to the store with me. It takes anywhere from 1-1.5 hours to get through the store. He loves the pouches in the baby food aisle, and so if we do not head to the baby aisle first, all hell breaks loose and he has a complete melt down (mind you, he is a rather large toddler, with a rather large appetite. He can eat about 3 of those pouches in minutes). Then he is either trying to take items OUT of the cart or put random items into the cart. Just the other week he was mad that I wouldn't give him a yogurt right then and there in the store. No toddler wants to hear "You can have it when you get home". Somehow he stretched right back (while my back was turned, looking at cheese) and there goes the yogurt, flying across the store at some poor unsuspecting customer...

During this rather "eventful" grocery trip I am usually trying to look to see what is on sale, while trying to compare sodium content, while checking to see if there is any high fructose corn syrup, while looking to see if I have a coupon. I usually end up either forgetting to give the coupon at the checkout or forgetting the one item I went to the store for and both Liam and I leave frustrated.

I then saw this lovely sign at the local Stop & Shop that FREE Pick-up was coming to the store. It was through a company called Peapod and so upon arriving home, I looked up more information. It was true that it was 100% free to pick up and that if you wanted them delivered, there would be a delivery charge. I made an account, put in my store preference, credit card information and started shopping. I was able to find a $20 off coupon for first time customers. Already this made the experience worth it. Then I went to look for all my items online. The site gave you many different options of finding an item, including listing by unit price first, or even by sodium content. Once you found an item that you want, you could click on it, see the nutritional label (including the ingredients!) and add it to your cart. If there is an online coupon (usually those you see though coupon.com), it can deduct it right off your bill.

What I also like was that it will gave you a running total of what your bill was so far and how much you have saved. This is great for those trying to stay within a particular budget. I made my order Friday and chose a time slot on Tuesday (the first day the store opened with the service) to pick up my groceries. What I loved was that if you forgot an item, you could go back later and add it. It would then email you the updated order list. You had until midnight, the day before if it was an afternoon pickup, or 4pm the day before if it was a morning pickup, to make changes. You could also start an order and schedule it for pickup up to two weeks in advance. This is great for when you NEED to pick it up at a particular time and you are afraid of someone taking that time slot.

When I got to the store it was 5:03pm, right after work. I pulled into the designated spot and out came an attendant. She asked if I was here to pick up my order and had me sign a piece of paper (I later found out that this paper was to tell me what was substituted or not included in my order). She went back to these Peapod storage containers, filled up a cart with my groceries, brought it back to my car and loaded up my car. With her, this time, was a Peapod representative who informed me that I was their first customer! Once I had all my groceries in the car, I handed her my 10 coupons. She informed me that they would be credited to my account within 5 days. I went to hand her my credit card and she said that it was already paid for online. That was it! I got back in my car and we left. It was 5:08 and I didn't even have to get Liam out of his car seat.



I first wondered about my ice cream and cold items. Would they still be cold/frozen? I was then worried about the produce. How fresh would it be? Once I got back I put all the bags on the counter and started to unpack. One Con: LOTS OF BAGS! Some bags had just one item in there. I counted 18 plastic bags. I finally got everything unpacked and noticed that everything was very fresh, and in some cases, fresher than normal. For example, I bought 1lb of red seedless grapes.

They were beautiful, plump and all still on the vine. They had even packed them inside of a plastic box so that they wouldn't get squashed. The bananas where perfectly ripe and my zucchini were in good condition. Also, my ice cream was still frozen while my other cold items were cold to the touch.

I then noticed that I was missing 2 bags of chips. I quickly called the store while looking online at my invoice. As I was talking to the store manager, I quickly realized that they had sold out of that item. Normally they would have just substituted that bag for something else, but these were sweet potato chips and a "specialty item". Apparently they didn't have a substitution and it was written on the sheet that I had signed when I had first arrived.

As a summary:

Pros
  • Free (for pick-up only)
  • Quick (time saving)
  • Money saving
  • Fresh produce
  • Easy if you have dietary restrictions or "picky eaters"
Cons
  • Lots of plastic bags
  • Not all the items will be in stock
  • Does not carry all items (that the Stop and Shop may normally carry)
  • You don't know what cuts of meat you are getting, or what your produce will look like
  • Does not always have the same sales as your local store
I had mentioned that you can't get everything through Peapod, which is slightly annoying. For example, my husband and I like mint sauce on our beef/pork. Peapod does not carry mint sauce but the Stop and Shop does. The Stop and Shop also carries "Kidfresh" which is a brand in the frozen food section. Peapod does not.

Would I use Peapod again. YES. In fact, I already have my Sunday time slot reserved.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lupus Update: No more cellcept!

I saw my nephrologist today and talked to him about all my medication, as well as our plans for the future. Before lupus, my husband and I had agreed that we wanted more than just one baby. Lupus has definitely thrown a wrench into our plans and having another baby is extremely risky, especially with all the medication that I am taking.

Currently I am on mycophenolate mofetil (3 grams, or 6 pills a day), hydroxyquin (300mg or 1 1/2 pills a day), losartan (10 mg or 1 pill a day) and microgestin (1 pill a day). He has agreed to take me off of the mycophenolate mofetil (cellcept) and switch me to another immunosuppressive called Imuran (azathioprine). This means that I would only have to take 2 pills (and not the 6). He is also stopping my Losartan for two weeks (1 less pill!). His plan is to test my blood/urine in two weeks to see how my body tolerates the change, as well as test me for another autoimmune disease (antiphospholipid antibody syndrome), which is common in nephritis patients. I have been in remission since December and he was thrilled with my last set of blood work. All in all, positive news!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Outing: KidCity



Saturday, March 29 was very rainy and so I decided to take Liam to KidCity. Although it had a lot of rooms, it also had A LOT of people and it was $16 for the two of us (plus parking). It opened up at 9am but we were running a bit later and didn't get there till 9:30am. When we first walked in, there was a train that Liam could look at while I paid and got a map of the play-center. Liam got a stamp for the toddler area (sea cave, in the basement) and we hung up our coats. We got on the elevator and down to the sea cave we went.
Down, down we go
The sea cave was just for toddlers and had lots of caves to climb in/on/through.
Liam had fun climbing on everything.
And he LOVED going down the slide (although he refused to let go of the horses).
We made our way up to the third floor to the "music room". Liam is banging on the wall.
On the side of this bridge were some gongs.
Liam loved running back and forth on the bridge. He may not speak much, he is very coordinated.
This is a rain-maker seesaw. He loved it, especially when a little boy was on the other side and bounced him up high.
Liam couldn't stay away from the train tracks.
Here he was in the farm room, "picking" carrots.
Liam went into the Space Age Road Trip room, which had a spaceship, as well as, a couple dark rooms.

Here is one of the dark rooms that were filled with gems that lit up.

He enjoyed moving the gems from one hole to anther, while watching them light up

We made it into the Fisheries room, filled with rubber fish and (manual) conveyor belts.

Liam is under one of the structures, moving a conveyor belt full of fish.


Liam loves balancing beams, and was pointing for mommy to climb up on the beam with him.

He did a great job on the beam, going back and forth.

The rubber fish have magnets on one end that allow them to hang on the ceiling as they move.

An overview shot of the room... really crowded, but you can see all the conveyor belts.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.

Liam a future Captain?


At around 11, it was lunch time and there was a perfect, toddler friendly snack area.
After snack, we went and saw dinosaurs!

He loved climbing under and being surrounded by dinosaurs (and playing peekaboo).

We found a car in the Main Street. He really liked "driving" and pressing more buttons.

Liam had a visitor come by and join him. He was a bit nervous and wouldn't look at her strait on.

And then, he got a bit upset when she tried to take over the driving.

Cars!

Liam was very content being surrounded by cars and track.

As we were leaving he wanted to see the train one last time and I convinced him to go into the tube.
He liked following the train around and around.




Kidcity was a great place to visit, even with the vast amounts of parents and kids running around. We would definitely go again.

21 Months! Milestones, Speech evaluation and Spring Break

Liam is 21 months (and two days) old! We have been having alot of fun over the past couple of weeks.

Milestones:
Over the past month, there haven't really been any major milestones. He has gotten a lot better at puzzles and now enjoys picture books. His favorite book right now is "Cat in the Hat" and anything to do with trucks. He has gotten a hold of my Ipad and enjoys flicking through the apps. I did put one PBS app on there which allows him to flip through different PBS shows. This gives him the freedom to click on a characters face in order to get the show he wants. His favorite shows are "Cat in the Hat knows a lot about that", "Danielle Tigers Neighborhood", and Dinosaur Train. Sometimes he will watch Clifford.

His eating has become better and he no longer has a meat aversion. He ate meatloaf (turkey) the other night which was filled with carrots and spinach, along with mash potatoes and gravy. Last night he ate a mini turkey burger with a blueberry zucchini muffin. His favorite foods right now are yogurt, Belvita breakfast bars, Lara bars- apple pie flavor (which I only give him once in a while), apple sauce and mini- oranges (which I think he is slowly getting tired of). He also has 3 of his four "2 year" teeth coming in.

Favorites:
His favorite toys (currently) are toy trains, cars and and thing with wheels. He loves to put the trains together and push them around on a track. His favorite sleeping cuddly right now is a polar bear. He will lay with it while rubbing the tag between his fingers. He also likes his light-up seahorse while he is falling asleep.

Speech Evaluation:
A week ago Friday, Liam was evaluated for speech delay through a state program, "Birth-to-Three." They came by the house and had him "play" with toys, while I answered a few questions. Overall the evaluation process took about 2 hours. By the end of it, Liam was in a fowl mood and was not cooperating at all. He did do a couple of signs for them but was silent most of the time. She asked him to point to particular objects (ball, shoes, etc) in both a book and on the floor. He wasn't able to do that. They diagnosed him with a receptive and expressive communication delay. We were going to have him get speech therapy through their program but it is actually cheaper to go through our insurance with a private speech therapist. We are planing to start the therapy in May. I was hoping that he didn't need the extra help, but I don't want him any more frustrated. He is such a smart little boy, and I know he can talk... there is just something that is holding him back. While at my mothers for spring break, he would say phrases such as "I-did-it" really fast, or "bless-you" if you sneezed. The problem is that he wont repeat them for you, nor will he say it all the time. The other night, my husband said to Liam, "Goodnight, I love you!" and Liam, clear as day, said "Love you". We both just looked at each other in shock. But he wont repeat it. I am hoping that the therapy will build his confidence and get him to talk more.

Activities:
Recently I looked at activities to do with him for the summer. I plan to write a separate post on two children's museums that we went to. I am also looking into buying a museum pass for the year (good for 200 museums all over the country) as well as local swim lessons.

Two weeks ago, during my spring break, Liam and I went down to my mothers. We have so much fun! We got to go see Grandma (my mother-in-law) and Great-Grandma. He helped out with laundry, went to the park, to the library for story time (which he wanted no part of) and to the local park. At the park he went down an 8ft slide all by himself and I nearly had a heart attack. See pictures below:

Shhhh. We were playing on the drums. Liam stop and say "ssshhh". Then go.... AHHHHH, and start hitting the drums again. It was very cute.

Liam and Eli. Eli is my best-friends daughter who is 2 weeks older than him.


This was the 8ft slide that he had no fear of. Eventually I put him on my lap and we went down together. It was lots of fun, but VERY cold.



Selfie with Grandma-V

Liam walked a dog and horse around with him alot at my Moms.

When we got home, it was apparent that Oliver really missed Liam. He wouldn't leave his side that entire afternoon.

Playing in Daddy's Car.

We are so happy that it is spring and hope that the weather continues to warm up. I am ready to put away my heavy coat and Liam is loving the outdoors time! I know that this summer is going to be a lot of fun.