28 June 2012

Happy 11 MONTHS, nine days later!

Yes this is a bit late, but i've beat the *imaginary* 10 day deadline that i have set for myself, so i'll consider it fair game.
Let me say, I was so sick all weekend as i detailed before and just did NOT get better. I then had to fly to BOSTON at 6am on Sunday morning for a conference for work, baby in tow... I'll get to that in another post:

First, a little about Sloan at 11 months.

Sloan is very serious and inquisitive. She is often found deep in thought trying to figure something out. I call her my little engineer because she will take a toy and study the wheels and how they turn around, manipulating everything as she studies it. She isn't above testing the flavor and durability either. Sloan also has a very silly side. I think she is more mischieveous than silly though. She likes to spit her food on the side of her highchair for the dog to eat (she is sharing). She does a good job listening to the word "NO" most of the time.

Sloan has 8 teeth and I think that she is working on numbers 9-12 as he gums are red and everything is now in the back of her mouth, but I have quit trying to look too closely as they are too far back and she hates it when i "ask". She does have a vast vocabulary and her teachers will tell you she is the most talkative in her bunch. She can say sentences such as "All done", " I like it", "I got it", "Hi daddy", "i love you" and of course her words, "bye bye", "mama", "dada", "ellie" (the dog), "ball", "doll",  "yeah", "hi",  and the other day her teacher said "O.M.G" and Sloan repeated, "GEEEEEE". They got a good laugh out of it. She also still loves to sing and will now sing along with Baaa Baaa Black Sheep, Baaa baaaa baaa baaa... She says other stuff too but this is all that i have deciphered thus far.

Sloan is weeks away from walking and has taken two or three steps to me from standing. She often tries to walk between objects but just hasn't mastered her balance yet. She loves climbing our stairs and is often found trying to sneak to the front of the house where the staircase lies. We have barricaded the path fairly well.  Sloan likes to throw the ball to the dog, she likes to eat, she likes to sing and dance, she likes to climb on top of Big Bear, she likes to wrestle with her daddy,

My very SERIOUS baby girl!

 Checking herself out in the mirror is still a big delight!
Climbing the Stairs, a favorite past time!

Sloan knows how to "blow" and was trying to blow her butterfly mobile


No longer afraid of Big Bear! He is now a pouncing toy!

THE FACE IN THIS LAST PICTURE IS CLASSIC. I think its a Beeman face, they are just silly people! Also forgive my unshowered - uncombed - just out of bed look. This photo shoot was before 8am on a Saturday morning and I was under the weather. Diamonds make everything better though, don't they?

21 June 2012

It's Raining, It's Pouring

and you guessed it. The old man is snoring.

This week was CRAZY nuts. Seriously. You know how everything hits at once, well this was one of those weeks. No big deal, we are prepared for anything and will never be given more than we can handle, but it sure was a lot to handle.

I had my PhD Preliminary Oral Exam today. But as icing on the cake, i caught a nasty bug from Sloan. Monday I started sneezing and my throat was itchy. Tuesday came the congestion and by Wednesday I could hardly breathe. This is all the day before my big oral exam. My advisor asked me if i wanted to reschedule, but I really wanted to get this over with. Six Years of hard work. So i had my meeting and providing i meet a few conditions (some edits and what not) I PASSED!!! Technically it is a Conditional Pass, but that just means meet the conditions. I was prepared for anything from "inconclusive" to "fail" to "Not on your life" so a conditional pass is pretty dang exciting!

It will likely take me a few weeks months to finish the edits. Then I'll have to do some more analysis to complete my dissertation and then i'll be done. Forever. I'm hoping I can finish up in the next 9-12 months. Seems like forever, but then again, a PhD is forever too.  Sounds easy right?

Not so much, but it is definitely do-able. The light at the end of the tunnel has definitely gotten a lot brighter! I can see it and for the first time since i passed my PhD Qualifier (2003) and my written Preliminary Exam (2005) do I believe that I will become Dr. Jennifer Sloan Beeman. :)

Today during my meeting I was so congested that I couldn't hear myself talk. You know the feeling where you have to plug your nose and blow to make your ears pop? Well it wasn't working for me. I just couldn't hear very well. Yeah yeah poor baby.

But with all that going on, preparing a 45 minute presentation, not being able to breathe or hear, I'd say that my week went pretty well!

And as far as little Miss Sloan. We have a baby taking steps! She can stand for about 10  seconds on her own and sometimes will take about one to two steps before plopping down. Today she stood up in the middle of the floor.

Four weeks from today Sloan will be ONE YEAR OLD! The time sure has flown by! Isn't this fun

17 June 2012

Happy Fathers Day - from Sloan

Dear dada,
I know I'm only 11 months old but I want you to know that I've enjoyed our first fathers day together. Even though it seems every day is fathers day because I love you so much, here is a short list of only a few of the many reasons why I love you so much; in no particular order

1. I love the time we share in the morning when mama sleeps in. Not just because it's a selfless gift you can give mama but also because I'm so happy in the morning and I get to play with you and Ellie.

2. I love the walks you take me and Ellie on and swinging at the park. We sure do walk a long ways sometimes and I fight so hard to stay awake but I almost always fall asleep the last 10 minutes. Thank you for ensuring I get fresh air and teaching me the good habit of exercise.

3. I love watching sports with you. Sports fascinate me and I can't wait to go to my first ball game with you.

4. I love that you take me to church almost every week and that you pray with me. This (God) will be the most important thing in my life when i grow up so thank you for instilling a relationship with Him in me now.

5. I LOVE that you love my mama. Your love for her makes me feel SAFE, secure and confident. Thank you for making me feel SAFE and building in me an early sense of self esteem!

6. I mostly love the times we get to cuddle to sleep and you sing to me my favorite song. Thank you for teaching me about the muppets and maybe when I'm older I'll be able to sit through an entire movie with you. I look forward to that day very much!

"Why are there so many songs about rainbows and what's on the other side?
Rainbows are visions, but only illusions, and rainbows have nothing to hide.
So we've been told and some choose to believe it.
I know they're wrong, wait and see.
Someday we'll find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me."

I love you to the moon and back!

p.s. happy Father's Day to my Grandpa Sloan and my Granddad Beeman and my Great Papaw. I love them very much too!!!!

13 June 2012

Flying with a Baby (Over Several Timezones)

I have been so busy the last few weeks. Well of course there was vacation, then the trek home proved to be tiresome and difficult as many of you know from my other more "adventurous" blog.

The first week back from Hawaii was quite difficult due to the time change. The first night home, Sloan went to bed around 9pm which was amazing. Of course she woke up around 11pm (this was her Hawaiian afternoon nap) and she was hungry. Since I needed food for the next day, we went downstairs and made dinner and lunch for the following day and ate dinner AT MIDNIGHT!  She did not make it to bed until nearly 1AM. The next morning she more or less refused to wake up so we went to work/school late.
Mommy come back later, i'm sleeping now (930am June 4th)
It took the entire week but by Friday, we were back to work at a decent hour. It went something like this, Sunday/Monday bed around 12:30. Tuesday bed at 11:30PM. Wednesday bed at 11:00PM. Thursday bed at 9:45PM. Friday bed at 9:15PM. I'm not sure how we skipped 10PM altogether, but we are now stuck around an 8:30pm bedtime which needs to be moved back to 730/8, but she is doing quite well except for the following:

Sloan picked up a virus her first week back in daycare and was sick Sunday morning until Tuesday afternoon. She stayed out of school on Monday but her fever was below 102 for 24 hours so I sent her back in on Tuesday. After a FOUR HOUR nap at school on Tuesday, I had her dad come pick her up as her fever was borderline (101.9) to be sent home and he has work to do that would be nearly impossible to complete with a toddler under foot so we didn't want her to be forced to stay home on Wednesday (her un-medicated fever on Tuesday night was 98.4!). Needless to say, we are finally back to feeling normal (now that I have been able to catch up on my sleep too)  Perhaps in another two weeks I will be able to download some pictures from Hawaii.

Several people have contacted me the last week about flying with a baby, so I thought I would make this blog a little about 

1.  Getting Ticketed (OR NOT)
First, it is important if you are not purchasing a seat for your child, to show verification that the child is, IN FACT, under 2 years of age. My daughter was less than three months old when we first flew with her and NOBODY cared that she was teeny tiny, they needed proof. I just happened to have her vaccination card in her diaper bag from our previous Doctor Visit. This served as adequate proof. You can even make a photocopy of this, or of the birth certificate, but you will need something to show. We actually got Sloan a passport so we will no longer need to tote around her shot record. For a child under the age of 16, a passport is good for only 5 years, and both parents are required to be present in order to get the child the passport. If the child is 16 and over, I do not think this applies.
Clearly NOT a two year old!
Baby is Going Places!
You do NOT have to pay to check the baby's CAR SEAT or STROLLER. They will actually check it onto the plane with your luggage if you would prefer to not lug these items onto the plane.  Sometimes it is helpful to have the stroller in the airport, especially if you have a layover or need help carrying bags. Sometimes it is more convenient to just check the Stroller at the counter with your bags. Here are some helpful hints about checking the CAR SEAT and STROLLER. 
JL Childress Gate Check Bag for Car Seats
In order to keep your car seat from getting all nasty, I recommend getting a GATE CHECK BAG. Please note, you can still use this bag if you check the car seat at the counter, but I will mention that after traveling on 7 different airplanes, this bag has fallen to pieces. It was probably made more for checking at the actual gate (hence the name GATE CHECK BAG)  But my car seat made it out clean (we also traveled with the base because we find that installing the base is much easier than trying to wrap the seat belt under the car seat. If your child is older or in the next level car seat, then clearly that is not an option. But we connected the seat to the base, slipped both in the bag as we got out of the taxi and un-installed the seat, and voila, ready to gate check, no additional fees. I would like to add that since you cannot guarantee how the car seat is being treated if you counter check it, it is possible it could incur damages as though you were in a car crash and thus render the car seat damaged and unsafe. As a disclaimer, I would like to say, if you are concerned about this, then please gate check your car seat to avoid having it drop kicked and rendered useless. This has been your PSA for the day.


Some Airlines have these really huge clear thick plastic bags that the stroller fits into. Ask when you check the stroller. Otherwise if you are gate checking the stroller, you can purchase a bag similar to the car seat bag on AMAZON.com. This may not be the best brand since my first one tore up so quickly, but i will leave that up to you to determine. For me, the $12 and free shipping was well worth the end result of a clean car seat. I think the decision about whether or not you will bring the stroller will depend on a few things, first, how long will you be in the airport? Will you be there for half an hour? Do you have a long layover. Are your able to carry your child and your carry-on items? If not, use the stroller. Do you think you will need the stroller as soon as you get off the plane? or will you be ok waiting until you get your luggage?
How mobile is your child. I find it more convenient to WEAR my child  and prefer the soft structured Ergo Carrier, but my child is not very mobile  walking yet. It makes things like having two hands free at all times and going to the bathroom without trying to keep the child in check very easy, especially if you are alone.

When we flew to Hawaii, we checked the stroller and I wore Sloan on the front and she was easy to carry and my arms were free to do as they pleased. Sometimes I wear Sloan on my  back, like when we are hiking but she likes to pull my hair so for a quick in and out, its easier on the front.

A lot of people are curious about traveling through security. Every airport EXCEPT HOBBY let me wear her through the metal detector. The security people in Houston at the HOBBY airport made me remove her and put the baby carrier on the conveyor belt. Once you walk through the metal detector carrying a baby, they will make you stand to the side so that a woman (if you are a woman) can come wipe your hands with a piece of thin paper similar to lens cleaner paper. I think they are checking for some sort of residue. Once that gets clean you can move to your bags that have already made it through the X-ray machine.
Another tip about Security - if you are formula feeding (and even if you are not) you are ALLOWED to carry through water bottles that are sealed ( i guess to make formula) At Enterprise rental car they gave me about 4 water bottles and I threw a few in my bag and forgot about them. Well the man asked me if they were for formula. Those of you that know me know that I am a HUGE advocate of Breast Feeding only, so of course i do not use formula. As i explained it was a mistake, he said, Just say its for formula, and then he opened the bottle and did a little litmus test to make sure it was in fact, water. So i got to smuggle  bring two bottles of water into the airport from outside. Yay!

4. What to bring with you? 
This is entirely up to you. I find that babies need so much more stuff and some of this depends on whether or not your destination is expensive. For example, when we flew to Houston last October, i found it easy and cheap to buy diapers there. When we flew to Hawaii, I found it more affordable to bring baby food (made at home in advance) and diapers with us. 
-Bring a toy or two but don't overdo it. Children tend to want to play with plastic cups and boxes and bags anyways. We brought her favorite doll since she sleeps with her nightly and few toys that we could connect to the outside of the diaper bag. 
-Sometimes you can rent a carseat from the rental car company (for a PRICE). Since car seats fly for free in the cargo, why not bring your own? You already know how to use it and I have mentioned ways to keep it clean. 
-TYLENOL or ADVIL is a must. Babies get sick. They get teeth. Sometimes they get both at once and its nice to have a solution.  I know some people give their babies Benedryl to fly to knock them out. I personally do not recommend this for many ethical reasons, but I have a good baby and were the situation different, I might change my mind.  
- Ears Popping: the babies ears are going to pop just like yours, but does your baby know to swallow or yawn to make it all better? probably not. Some babies scream/cry during this pressure change, some do not. If you are nursing it is an easy fix. NURSE the baby. It really really helps, and as a bonus, baby might take a nap. Just be sure to go potty first because you're stuck holding sleeping beauty. If you dont' have the luxury of a breast to offer the child, try a pacifier, a bottle, a sippy cup, you can even try a sucker (hold onto that stick or you'll end up with a mess) Anything you can offer to make the baby all better. 
-Bring plastic grocery bags for the plane. Something about High Altitude makes my baby girl POOP. I don't know what it is but once we're high in the air, she goes. Airline bathrooms are small and have a changing table at either the front or the back. (Airlines and planes vary so ask when you get on board). If you forget a bag, ask the flight attendant for the bag, They will thank you! On Alaskan airlines we were in the front of the plane and i didn't want to go to the back to change her so i managed to close the toilet seat (cover it with a changing pad) and change her diagonally on the top. Its up to you. Just dont' forget the wipes, the dipes, and the changing pad to throw over any yucky surface
- Always have a change in clothes for the baby or two. Not just for blow outs but for spills, sticky messes, anything. Babies and Toddlers are messy and sometimes you need a wardrobe change.
- Anything else to occupy the baby. On the seventh leg of our long voyage and our final flight home, Sloan was getting very tired of planes The end of our vacation, we flew Kona to Oakland (slept) Oakland to Houston (slept) and then Houston to home. Three planes in three days and each flight was quite lengthy, with the last being the shortest.  Sloan got to watch the Muppet Movie on her daddy's laptop
6. Other Helpful Tips
Sloan's skin get very dry and irritated when we fly. I'm not sure why, it just does. I carried aquaphor with us to put around her mouth and cheeks to reduce irrtation and redness. It helped. A day later it was fine.
Sloan knows how to drink out of a cup so to keep her hydrated on the plane, we gave her water. She also nursed at least once on each flight, usually twice.

Flying West is SO much easier than flying East. Go West, and baby just goes to bed very early. Go EAST and baby goes to bed very late making it a long night for mommy (or an early morning) Either way, it takes patience and sometimes you have to re-sleep train, but having said that it took about 2 weeks for Sloan to fully adapt to Hawaii time (6 hours behind the east coast) and about one week to adapt back to "normal". Just be patient. Don't push the baby to adhere to a routine right away, and if all else fails, try again. Especially on the vacation end of things. Remember, baby needs a vacation too, or else you'd have left her (him) at home :)
If i forgot anything or you have other questions feel free to ask me, I love sharing my experiences with others.
Safe Travels!