Goal Review: April 2019

1. Continue breastfeeding. 

Claire now has two teeth. Yeah. I've managed another month despite being bitten a couple of times a day. It's getting to be a real challenge again, a lot like the early days.

2. Baby-proof bedroom and finish baby-proofing kitchen (trash/recycling bins, stove and fridge locks). 

Claire is crawling now, and she picks up speed daily. We had to jump on this pretty early on in the month. The main solution: baby gates everywhere.

3. Plan one special playtime activity for Claire each week. 

This was...interesting. It probably deserves its own post, but I'll keep it as brief as I can here. I scoured Pinterest for "baby sensory activities." I kept hearing in various parenting circles that these sorts of planned activities are beneficial for infants. I found tons of ideas on Pinterest (many of which I found pretty dumb, unnecessarily expensive or wasteful, and potentially unhealthy) and tried three of the most reasonable ones I discovered:

Week One: Foamy Soap Exploration

I took a kitchen whisk and make my own foam, using a small amount of Claire's bath soap and my biggest Pyrex baking dish full of water. I then hid various items in the foam for her to find. She liked this activity, and she stayed intensely focused for maybe fifteen to twenty minutes. Just look at the concentration in the photos (lol).

Week Two: Ice Gems

So many tutorials for this on the web, all featuring food coloring to make brightly colored "ice gems." Claire puts everything in her mouth, and I didn't love the idea of her sucking on nothing but artificial dyes. So, I saved the juices from various fruits and vegetables that I cooked, diluted them water, and froze in my silicone ice cube tray. Beets and blueberries made gorgeous, vibrant fuchsia and purple, spinach juice made a disappointing shade of green, and for the underwhelming gold, I simply blended turmeric and water.

Basically, I went through a whole lot of trouble for something that Claire hated. She found the setup intriguing and was quick to explore, but every time she grabbed an ice cube, she cried. Not a fan of the cold, it seems. This activity was a big disaster.

Week Three: Mess-Free Finger Painting

Another one allllll over the Internet. You take a heavy sheet of paper (like thick cardstock), squirt random dots of colorful paints onto it, insert into large Ziploc bag, use duct tape to ensure bag closure, tape in place to flat surface, and let baby smush around the colors, creating their very first artistic masterpiece.

I was so excited to try this one. I couldn't wait to post Claire's first piece of artwork on our fridge.

Please observe the photos above to see how that went. My goodness, she couldn't have cared less. Seriously. She took one brief look at it, then kept going, deciding she'd rather climb her mama and go spelunking beneath the dining room table.

I didn't try another "sensory activity" after this. I'm no certified child development expert or even a mother with years of experience, but after observing my seven-month-old daughter, I've learned that planned sensory activities like these are completely unnecessary for infants.

You see, everything is a sensory activity for babies. My little girl, who is so fascinated by light switches, ceiling fans, the softness of Annie's fur, the scratchy sound of the couch fabric, and random pieces of lint she finds in the rug, needs no additional stimulation. She only needs a safe environment in which she can freely move about and explore. That's it. No organized sensory play. No "educational" iPad apps, no Baby Einstein, no "stimulating" light-up, sound-making, electronic toys.

I mean, look, she has way more fun pilfering through my laundry basket than she did with any of the sensory activities I set up for her.

I'm finding more and more that so many things are for us, the parents. Like the dumb painting activity. I wanted Claire to paint; I was excited about it. It wasn't fun or beneficial or anything to her. It was all for me. And so many things related to babies are this way.

I'm sure I'll get some hateful feedback about this, and hey, if your child enjoys these things, by all means, go for it. But you don't have to. Your kid isn't gonna fall behind if you don't implement organized educational activities in infancy. Just give your baby the freedom to explore safely and as independently as possible.

As I said, I could write a whole post about this, and it looks like I pretty much have. Moving on!

4. Get below 200 pounds. X

So close though! My final weigh-in was 201.6, bringing my weight loss for 2019 to 11.8 pounds!.

5. Complete my custom workout challenge. 

I didn't do the exact calendar I'd written out for myself, but I still worked out 5-6 days each week, incorporating yoga, HIIT, strength-training with dumbbells, and running, so I call this a major success. I even managed to complete two 5Ks (and the second time, I ran the full 3.1 miles without taking walking breaks!).

6. Go outside daily. 

We had some truly beautiful weather this month, and I took every opportunity to enjoy it. I walked and ran around the neighborhood, went to several parks, did some gardening, picked flowers for bouquets, and visited an enormous community yard sale in a fancy subdivision near us. I also spent a lot of time just sitting in the grass with Claire, which has been incredibly relaxing and therapeutic.

7. Go to a park once each week. 

I discovered some gorgeous walking trails, we had our first-ever family picnic (which Claire slept halfway through), and Claire got to experience a playground swing for the first time. So many good times, so much cuteness. 

8. Create a zero waste kit to leave in the car. 

I did it and wrote this detailed blog post all about it!

9. Experiment with homemade makeup. 

Turns out, homemade makeup is stupidly easy, and you probably already have the ingredients you need to try it out. This month, I made my own face powder and eye shadow using cocoa powder, arrowroot, cinnamon, and nutmeg. 

It's so simple. Just find a small, lidded storage container (I used small Mason jars) and start with arrowroot. Slowly and gently mix in the cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg until desired color is achieved.

The effect is very subtle, but I was surprised by how matte the finish was with the powder. I have oily skin, and it really soaked up the grease. Here's a side-by-side comparison of no makeup and only my homemade makeup. I also curled my lashes with a simple eyelash curler and applied a bit of coconut oil to my lips for shine.

I want to try making blush and lip color next, with beet root powder. I only didn't attempt that this month because the beet root powder was something extra I had to purchase. Apparently, homemade kohl is doable also (for mascara and eyeliner), but the process is a bit more involved.

I'm actually quite pleased with the face powder, and it creates a pretty flawless, air-brushed look when applied over my store-bought liquid foundation.

10. Construct an outdoor clothesline. 

Matt put this up for me so I could sun-bleach the diapers and reduce our utility costs. Loving it so far!

11. Get up at 5:00 AM to write at least once each week. 

I got up early several times throughout the month with the single goal of writing. I was able to complete 7 articles for BKA as well as a couple of posts for this blog.

12. Clean floors daily.  MEH.

I was doing great until the vacuum cleaner stopped working. We only have one carpeted area, but the mess from the carpet got out of control quickly, and things got tracked into the areas I sweep...it was impossible to stay on top of, so I just quit trying. We have since repaired the vacuum cleaner and for the last week, I've been more diligent about keeping the floors clean.

13. Organize new master closet.  X

Heh. No.

14. Begin work on third bedroom.  X

Definite nope.

15. Introduce myself in the mommy-meet-up group and make an effort to setup potential play-date. X

Nope, nope, nope.

16. Plan two social engagements. MEH.

I planned one, and the other person canceled without rescheduling. But hey, it wasn't me who did the canceling, so I get credit for this attempt.

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