Thursday, December 29, 2016

Christmas 2016

We had such a great holiday season this year. This is the first year since we got married that we got tickets to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir Christmas concert since they changed the way you get tickets from raffle to first-come-first-serve. No pictures of that unfortunately but it snowed/sleeted that night so it made for a cold walk. 

Below is the night we made it to temple square to see lights, it was about 15 degrees that night so after only twenty minutes on temple square we retreated inside for warmth, good food, and fun company with our friends from Las Vegas who were up visiting. 

Hilton's last day in nursery (I may or may not have wept when I dropped him off knowing it was the last time). Also his second year of refusing to dress as a character for the manger scene. He was an assistant :).

We took Hilton to see Santa at Station Park in Farmington as everyone says 'he's the real Santa'. As we were walking back to the car after meeting him, Hilton very thoughtfully asked me, 'Mom that Santa is different then the Santa that came to Preschool. Why are there two Santa's?' My jaw about dropped at how a three year old has already got suspicions. Either we're not very sneaky or he's incredibly wise. I responded as carefully as I could that, 'the Santa's we see aren't the real Santa, they're his elves who come down from the North Pole so that all the boys and girls can tell them what they'd like for Christmas'. Hopefully we get a couple more years at least before we have to tell him about the Magic of Santa in place of the literal Santa. 

We also took Hilton to see the Christmas in Color light show in Kearns and while it was very pretty for about five minutes, it was unfortunately an uncomfortable experience in my opinion for the money. It was a dirt road that had a ton of pot holes in it, the cars were very crowded and you were forced to go at the speed of the traffic. Hilton enjoyed it at least, but mom was very carsick by the time we got out.

Our Christmas eve tradition of making homemade pizza and then watching a movie at home. This year's movie was Toy Story (Hilton's choice of course).

After Hilton went to bed Santa's elves went to work putting together his mini trampoline and tricycle.

Christmas morning was very magical and exciting watching Hilton see what Santa had brought and be so excited that he had come. I think what comes he really loves though is not so much getting gifts but opening them. He helped open Graham's as well as Adi and Aspen's gifts. Hopefully next year it will be just that much more fun to see his reaction.

His tricycle bell was probably the biggest hit of it all, we're still working on the actual cycling aspect of it.

We had a white Christmas indeed! It snowed 15-16 inches (!) Christmas morning, Jared had to snowblow our driveway TWICE. Hilton was more than happy to help and go play in all this new snow after the excitement of opening presents. After snowblowing we got pulled together and went to my parents for Christmas at their house.

After nap for Christmas evening the Smith crew came over and we had a wonderful Italian dinner with Pasta Carbonara, pear and brie caprese slices, breadsticks, salad and tons of pie and martinelli's. So yummy and fun to be with family and cousins. I was the odd man out in my choice of clothing color though.

All the men wore red so we had to get a group picture although all the kids were squirming so this is the best we could do.

The day after Christmas we went sledding to enjoy in all the new snow and let's just say that the rest of Bountiful and North Salt Lake did as well. Pretty much we had a great time but it didn't end well so we'll just leave it at that. Love my husband and his refusal to take photos.

But Hilton had a great time and that's what matters. Love my little man and his enthusiasm for fun activities.

Last but not least we went to the Smith Fiesta Christmas party with all the extended Smith family. Unfortunately this is the only photo I got but my little nacho burrito munchkin is pretty darn cute so it's all good. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Hilton Says #2

So I had to document some of the cute things Hilton has said of late, it's so fun having such a precocious toddler who sees the world so differently then we do!

On of the main roads we drive on almost every day was having the sewer line replaced so it was all ripped up in the middle so they could replace the pipes. Hilton say it and said, 'Mommy, the street is broken...let's get it a bandaid'.

On our neighborhood walks to wear him out before bed we go past our neighbor's house who has this adorable little wooden dog on their front lawn. Hilton always has to stop and 'pet it'. He even likes to give it hugs and tells it, 'I'll see you later doggy'.

Hilton loves having his picture taken and whenever I say, 'Hilton smile' he automatically responds with the biggest 'Cheese!' for me which I love. I hope he never outgrows wanting to have his photos taken!

We went to visit Wheeler farm right before I went back to work and Hilton made friends with the chickens. He was OBSESSED with them. I had to tear him away from their pen after 30 minutes of watching them. I think it's safe to say we might be getting some chickens this next summer.

Hilton loves to harass play with the dogs and throw Aspen's tennis ball for her. He also helpfully hides them for me in the laundry basket which I find every week I sort the laundry when I'm getting ready to wash it. Usually I find anywhere from 8-10 balls in there.

One of Hilton's favorite activities to do is to go the Station Park in Farmington and see the 'mountains' (fountains). We're working on it with him but his cute little lisp is endearing and I know he'll grow out of it sooner or later so I enjoy quizzing him on how to say things. Below is his alligator drink which he kept calling his 'elevator' drink.

Seeing the 'mountains' at City Creek Mall. He loves to see them and their light/water shows they do every hour.

Hilton HATES wearing hats of any kind but Jared couldn't resist buying him this hat. I got him to wear it by bribing him with three starburst's. What that kid won't do for a starburst! It's the only way I get him to get in his carseat without a fight.
Sure love this little man of mine, three has so far proven to be really hard and I'm already wishing he was two again since he was infinitely easier to compromise with but we're trying to find a happy medium so that mom gets some cooperation and Hilton gets to do fun things still. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Birthday Boy: Hilton turned THREE!

Hilton turned three! How is this possible?! My sweet precocious first born is officially into his toddlerhood and boy is he showing it. The threenager period hit early for Hilton so we've been battling that for a while now. He is so smart for his age and such a loving sweet little guy who is curious and just wants to be involved in everything. Which can be so frustrating as it involves breaking things that he wants to look at on accident and making messes all over the house. We love him so much though and hope that his 'listening to mom' will get better with time...right. Anyways, we started off his birthday week month with a fun dinner with the Smith gang. He loves playing with his cousins Isis and Aiden and they were so great to come and sing happy birthday to him at our sunday dinner. He helped make his requested 'banilla (vanilla) cake with sprinkles' that he decorated himself! 
His first ever friend birthday party went great! We did a movie with lunch at our house and it was perfect and low-key and just a fun play-date with friends which was just what he wanted. He requested to watch Elsa (Frozen) for his party which was perfect to fit the snowy weather outside. His little friends that were able to come were (left to right) Anna, Riley, Hilton, Beck, and Caleb. We did pizza and glowsticks as party favors and everyone had a great time. Hilton talked about it for weeks afterwards so I know he enjoyed himself. We love all our little friends!


Blowing out his candles on his ice-cream 'cake'. I already made two cakes to celebrate his birthday so I decided that since kids all like ice cream to make it easy and just be simple in my 'cake' for this party.


Grandma and Grandpa Mills spoiled him with dominoes and a Sesame Street alphabet puzzle. We also did cake at Grandma and Grandpa's but I can't find the picture so just know we had lots of cake this week!

Hilton was so excited to take sugar cookies to Preschool to celebrate his birthday. He helped 'decorate' them with sprinkles as well and even got sung to again at Preschool.

My birthday boy on his birthday morning woke up to a decorate doorway and a room filled with balloons. He was so excited to see the balloons and streamers so I think this will be a birthday tradition for years to come.

 Not pictured was his birthday treat with mom and dad going to see Disney's new Moana in the movie theater. We had a great time and he loved the movie and all the yummy popcorn. Such a great birthday, I think he felt it was really special and separate from Christmas celebrations which is really important to me. I want him to know how special he is and I think we made sure everything was special. He's already talking about his birthday next year. Happy Birthday my three year old! Stop growing up!

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Graham Robert: 4 months

Sweet little Graham cracker is now four months old! How did this happen? I know I say that every time, but it genuinely seems like time is moving so fast, and yet the days go by so slow sometimes. Poor little Graham has had an eventful fourth month, and I hate to admit it but I'm looking forward to him being a bit more content - hopefully soon. We got him on an acid reflux medication and most days it seems to help, but he has trouble napping during the day so he's almost more fussy then before we started the medication. We're still fighting for every nap, so we often miss out of activities because he's just gone to sleep and we don't want to wake him. At least we know he's not crying because he is hungry, but is more stubborn and doesn't want to miss the action going on.

  • Weighs 16.8 lbs!
  • Wearing size 6 month onesies and size 9 month pants - he's a little tank!
  • Still in size 2 diapers
  • Has started sleeping through the night this past month!!! He's not always consistent and does wake up some nights but usually sleeps through the night which I truly appreciate now that I'm back at work
  • Eats about 4-4.5 oz. every 3 hours
  • Takes about three 2 hour naps each day although napping is still a fight
  • Becoming more and more blonde as new hair grows in
  • Often will only go to sleep for naps when we take a car ride
  • Loves to sit assisted and as you can see in the pictures is actually able to balance enough to sit on his own for short periods of time
  • Wants to be carried facing outwards so he can watch what is going on and loves people watching - thank heavens for the baby carrier

Friday, November 18, 2016

How to make a bottle of formula: Creating the least amount of air bubbles

As a mom of now two formula fed babies (despite my best efforts to breastfeed) I'm stunned by the lack of education on how to best make a bottle of formula. Maybe it's because formula is discouraged or people feel it's pretty straightforward, but I truly feel that for those who need to use formula there aren't a lot of sources on how to best make formula.

So, it seems pretty simple right? Follow the directions on the back of the formula container: one scoop per two ounces of water in a bottle, vigorously shake to make sure there aren't clumps, then feed.

Except the air bubbles, oh the air bubbles that are produced when you use this method no matter the formula type or brand; they are a ginormous pain. Well, I'm here to tell you, there's a better way to make a bottle and create as few air bubbles as possible. Because let's be honest, burping a baby is really not an enjoyable experience and neither is a gassy baby.

Of course one of the most important things to reduce air intake by baby is the kind of bottle you are using. I'm a huge proponent of Dr. Brown's bottles. They really do help reduce the amount of air  swallowed and makes for a less gassy baby; especially if baby suffers from colic or acid reflux. But, regardless of the bottle you are using, you can reduce the amount of air bubbles introduced into the formula by how you make the bottle. Below is my own technique that significantly reduces the amount of air bubbles my own babes swallow, and I think will work for your baby as well.

For this example I'm making a bottle of four ounces using Kirkland infant formula and Dr. Brown's natural flow bottles.
  1. Prepare sterilized bottle with 4 oz. of warm water (approx. 120 mL)
  2. Shake or stir formula container to uncompact the formula granules
  3. Scoop first unpacked scoop of formula into the bottle
  4. Swirl the bottle holding from the neck of the bottle
  5. Scoop second unpacked scoop of formula into the bottle
  6. Swirl again
  7. Fasten lid and nipple
  8. Check for clumps by tilting bottle to the side
  9. Feed

The key is to make sure the formula is unpacked, and to swirl the bottle after each individual scoop is introduced. These tricks help to immediately let the formula start integrating with the water, and ensuring it's unpacked reduces the amount of clumps you would experience normally because you are introducing easily separated formula instead of compacted formula. I usually stir or gently shake the package or can of formula to make sure it's not compacted (make sure the lid is secured!) before every bottle I make and then scoop out what I need. It's critical to shake or stir the container at the halfway point as the bottom half will be much more compacted compared the top half.

Packed vs.


Worst case scenario if there are still clumps:
  1. If possible wait 5 or so minutes and then re-swirl. Oftentimes the formula just needs more time to integrate with the water.
  2. If it's not possible to wait, try as gently as possible to shake the bottle side to side, NEVER shake up and down/vertically so that the formula is going up into the nipple of the bottle. If there are still clumps: begin feeding baby and then after a couple minutes remove the bottle and re-swirl, and then shake side to side again if you must.
Do this ↑
Not this ↓
    Below is what happens when you swirl vs. shake bottles to get rid of clumps. Hugh difference!
Not shaken               vs.                  Shaken

I'm sure you'll have success with this and the great thing is it's incredibly easy to do. I rarely ever have to actually shake a bottle anymore to get rid of clumps, and as you can see in the photo above you can make less air bubbles depending on how you make the bottle. Best of luck and power to the mamas, you are superwomen!

Your baby will thank you!

*All the opinions expressed in this post are my own, and I have not been paid or endorsed to say them by either Dr. Brown or Costco