Remembering the Baby Milestones

This post is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Orange County.

i know it seems like after 4 kids i should be an expert on how they develop and grow, but you’d be surprised how many things as a parent you forget with each kid. having Dani almost seven years after Vann is almost like being a first time mom again. at least in the sense that i am forgetting the baby stuff…like at what age she should hit certain milestones. on top of that, so many things have changed since i had my fourteen year old…even since my seven year old. so i was happy to be able to have a one-on-one chat with Kaiser Permanente Orange County pediatrician Julia Castillo, M.D.

Dr. Julia Castillo was able to go over baby’s first year of milestones with me to refresh my memory. she updated me on things that have changed and also what to look for as Dani grows and develops. it was very nice to have this refresher course, and Dr. Castillo was very helpful and knowledgable. she answered even the simplest questions informatively and put my mind at ease with any concerns i had with Dani. she had all the qualities i would look for in a pediatrician.

i’m sure a lot of moms would also like a little refresher course on baby milestones, so i thought i would jot them down here. these are just the major ones, and if you have any specific questions, be sure to ask your own pediatrician. it’s a good idea to write down all questions on your phone and present them at your baby’s well visits. it’s very easy to forget things you want to ask when you are in the moment, so Dr. Castillo reminded me to keep a running list between each visit of any questions you may have.

2 months

at 2 months, baby should make eye contact with you and others, be able to smile, and to turn their head toward sounds. at this age, they should also be getting tummy time every day and lifting their head up for 30–60 seconds during this time.

4 Months

at 4 months, baby should be able to coo…making vowel sounds like ooo and ahh. they can now laugh, reach for objects or toys with their hands, track people and objects well, and keep their head steady. they may be able to roll….at least to one side, and look to sounds they hear.

at 4 months, your baby may be ready to introduce to first foods. you will know they are ready if they have moved past the kick out food reflex. the reflex where the tongue automatically pushed food back out of their mouths. if you give baby food and they push it back out, then wait a few weeks and try again.

it is a good reminder that once baby starts to roll, do not leave them alone on the bed, changing table or couch ever. this is when falls start to occur. 

6 Months

at six months, your baby should be vocal, like to play, talking to sounds, transferring objects from hand to hand, roll back forth from each side, babbling, and sitting up. once baby is mobile, make sure to baby proof your home. this is the time you need to lower the crib mattress, block off any stairs and make sure there are no objects around that baby can choke on.

when it comes to feeding, you can start to introduce foods if you haven’t already done so. the  kick out food reflux should be gone by now. at this age and up to 12 months, there should be no juice given to baby. they should have the same milk intake with food being complimentary.

9 Months

at nine months, baby should have reached all of the six month milestones as well as being able to sit well, grabbing table food, standing to feet…especially in the crib and on the furniture around the house.

12 Months

at 12 months, baby should have reached all of the nine month milestones as well as be able to cruise or crawl around the house. baby should be able to say three words such as mama, dada, one other such as bye bye. they may already be walking, but if not yet, no worries.

18 months

at eighteen months, baby should have met the twelve month milestones as well as being able to say 7 words. they do not have to say the words perfectly as long as they are consistent with each word they use to address a person or thing. They should also be able to point to things, hold a  fork, and follow simple directions.

2 Years

at two years, baby should have met their eighteen month milestones as well as being able to say 20-50 words. they should also be able to help around the house doing simple chores such as picking up their toys.

Dr. Castillo reminded me that these are just generic guidelines for when baby should meet these milestones. baby’s that are born premature may reach them later. also, if baby has not met certain milestones that are recommended, it should be brought up to your pediatrician at your baby’s well-visit. make sure to talk to your own pediatrician about any concerns that you have and also make sure to discuss any vaccines that baby is due for. use your mother’s instinct when you sense a problem. you know your child better than anyone. don’t be afraid to ask your pediatrician even the simplest questions. being a parent is not always easy and it is always a good thing to have a little extra advise to help navigate on our journey of raising kids.

it was refreshing to get to talk to Dr. Castillo to remind myself of all the things babies do. even after four kids, i am still looking for advise. i can tell that Kaiser Permanente Orange County has a great team of doctors that have made me feel comfortable as a parent. the great thing about Kaiser Permanente Orange County, is everything is under one roof. most Kaiser Permanente Orange County locations include pharmacy, lab, X-ray services and more. plus, there are locations throughout Orange County, as far north as Brea and as far south as San Juan Capistrano, including Tustin Ranch, Foothill Ranch and the new Radiation Oncology Center located at the Anaheim Medical Center. wow…this is the kind of service i look for in my healthcare.

if you have missed the posts i have written about them, here they are:

My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
Tips for Having a Healthy Pregnancy
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park
Great Tips on Mens Health
Tips for Helping Families Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season

The Time I Learned Some Great Tips for Mens Health

This post is sponsored by Kaiser Permanente Orange County.

Tips for Mens Healthever since my husband and i found out we were expecting a baby, we’ve been joking around about how old we both were getting, and wondering if we would have the same amount of energy to take care of our new baby girl like we did with our boys. we aren’t in our twenties anymore! and now that our baby girl is finally here, reality has set in that yes, we are older. we really need to take care of ourselves so that we will have our health as we now navigate through taking care of a newborn and beyond.

Tips for Mens Health

i’ve been working with Kaiser Permanente Orange County hospitals in Irvine and Anaheim since last year, and have learned lots of great ways to live a healthy life. i was able to speak to William Woo, M.D., who is board-certified in Family Medicine, and addressed the topic of Men’s Health so that i could share some healthy tips with my hubby. i found him to be very informative and knowledgeable – i learned when it’s the best time for men to get certain health screenings and what things men should do to keep themselves healthy.

unlike women, it is found that men tend to wait longer to get the care they need when they feel ill or sense a problem with their health. many times, men will go to the computer to try to find a cure for their symptoms. they are more apt to turn to energy pills or testosterone supplements to make themselves feel better. this can often be dangerous and not an effective way to cure themselves. just like women, men also benefit from yearly physicals from a physician. here they can find the correct solutions to any symptoms they are feeling.

Tips for Mens Health

Tips For Mens Health

Midlife for men is 40 years old. this is when most men start to see changes in their bodies. some men will feel more tired than usual, see weight gain, have changes in their body functions, have sore joints and or muscles, or just not feel like themselves. this is when it’s time to check in with a doctor to see what or if there is something going on. at this appointment, men should have their weight checked and blood drawn to measure sugars and cholesterol. it is also good to get skin checked for any abnormalities that could lead to skin cancer.

also, Dr. Woo suggested 4 Things that Men Should Do for Their Health

Eat right – avoid fast food and sweets. eat a balanced meal, drink lots of water, and get more fiber into their diet

Exercise – physical exercise is important every day. it doesn’t have to be rigorous, just a 20 minute walk after dinner with the family can be beneficial to their health.

Tips for Mens Health

Sleep – make sure to get 7-8 hours of sleep every night.

Avoid Stress or Find Ways to Decompress – stress increases blood pressure which is not good for anyones health. try to avoid stress, or find time for healthy things that blow off steam. Dr. Woo explained that men often have jobs that are stressful or feel pressure to provide for their families which leads to health problems. they often don’t do anything to relieve their stress when they are home. it is important that men take some time to do stress free-time activities outside of work. even if they have a job they love, it’s still important to enjoy some stress free activities. my husband loves to surf, so i often encourage him to get out on the weekends to catch some waves.

Tips for Mens Health

and here’s a fun fact: did you know that married men live longer than men who aren’t married?!!!

When Men Should Get Milestone Health Screenings

since my husband is reaching his mid 40’s, we had some questions about when he should start getting certain health screenings. Dr. Woo shared with us some recommendations of when he should be getting them.

at 40 years old, men should get a physical that screens for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight gain/loss, heart disease and diabetes.

during their 40’s or later, many men start to think about getting a vasectomy. they should know that this is a very quick procedure. it is out patient, low risk, and there is minimal pain involved. if they are interested in getting a vasectomy, then this is a good time to speak to your doctor about this.

at 50 years old, men should not only get a physical that screens for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight gain/loss, heart disease and diabetes, but also colon cancer. the American Cancer Society/U.S. Preventative Taskforce recommends this. unless there is family history of colon cancer, then 45 years old is recommended.

at 55 years old, men should not only get a physical that screens for cholesterol, blood pressure, weight gain/loss, heart disease and diabetes, but also prostate cancer. unless there is family history of prostate cancer, then 45 years old is recommended.

my husband will be following these guidelines, because i want to make sure that he takes good care of himself. the kids and i want him to be around for a long time. i am so glad that my husband and i were able to speak to Dr. Woo and learn some great tips on mens health. i have been pretty impressed with the Kaiser Permanente Orange County doctors and the services that they offer not only their patients, but also the community.

Don’t forget to read about…
My Trip to the Kaiser Orange County Farmers Market
When I Learned About Kaiser Orange County’s Prenatal Programs
Our Family’s Visit Thrive Walk at the Orange County Great Park

Mom Time at Dunkin’ Donuts

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wow…what a month it has been. time seems to be flying by leading up to the holidays, and i have been completely overwhelmed with helping at my boys’ schools, getting ready for Halloween and all the Halloween activities. has it been that way for all of you parents? well, a much needed break was in order, so one of my besties and i met over donuts the other morning to catch up on life and rest our minds. i’ve partnered with Dunkin’ Donuts to check out some of there Fall offerings, because there is no better way to relief stress than to eat a donut.

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can i say how nice it was to meet for breakfast! you tend to forget how much you need adult conversation when you are engulfed in taking care of a family and all the needs of you kids. plus, the yummy food was perfect for this prego mama.

right now, Dunkin’ Donuts is offering Salted Caramel flavored coffee, lattes, and macchiatos which can be served hot or iced. they are the perfect way to combine sweet and salty in a delicious blend. and all of Dunkin’ Donuts’ coffee and espresso beverages are brewed using high-quality, 100% Arabica coffee beans, always freshly ground and brewed to order. and best of all, you can get your coffee and espresso beverages just the way they like it with yummy flavor choices like pumpkin spice, dairy and sweetener. i’m not a coffee drinker (but i am a donut eater), however my friend Pattie LOVES coffee, so she was in coffee Heaven at our Dunkin’ Donut meet-up.
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my favorite has always been a simple maple donut and some milk, but this time i tried their iced hot chocolate. super yummy!!!!

dunkin-donuts-fall-menuwe ended up spending two hours chatting…we totally lost track of time, but it was just what my soul needed.

dunkin-donuts-pumpkin-spice-lattedunkin-donuts-ice-hot-chocolatebefore we headed out for the day, we both picked up some yummies for our boys….and some for ourselves to enjoy later hee hee. so many great choices…and right now the Halloween colors are on point. pumpkin spice, vanilla bean cream filled, peanut butter cup, apple spice and lemon curd were some of the flavors i got to surprise the boys with. they were very happy campers when they got home from school…and i looked like a super mom for getting them for them.

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i definitely see more donut dates in my future. i forgot how much i enjoy time to myself with good friends. and if you can’t meet up with your friends in the morning….don’t worry, Dunkin’ Donuts’ full menu, including breakfast items, are available all-day. i guess you could call it breakfast whenevs. Dunkin’ Donuts knows their guests don’t always have time to sit down and enjoy a complete breakfast, so they have made sure to create menu options that provide delicious choices that can be enjoyed anywhere, at any time of day. breakfast is not just for breakfast any more. so i guess that means some evening meet-up with my besties after the kiddies go to bed soon. wouldn’t that be fun!

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{ This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own. }

 

 

The Kids Are Back to School and I’m Thinking About College

This post is sponsored by ScholarShare.the_best_back_to_school_photosthe boys are finally back in school. it has been a long summer of fun and lots of activities, so it has been bittersweet to send them back. they’re so ready to begin learning again…but at the same time, we would love to have some more summer adventures. but it was time. i need to start getting ready for our baby girl, and with the holidays quickly approaching, time is getting short.

(keep reading to see how you can win $500)

Vann started first grade this year. where did my baby go? he is excited to be reading and to be able to play on the BIG KID playground and the grassy field. he also gets to see his brother on campus more often now that he is a first grader.

cute_back_to_school_photosvann_back_to_schoolKyle is in 5th grade this year. he got the teacher he wanted, and says she is really nice. he loves to be creative and be with his group of friends that he’s been friends with since kindergarten. this year he will get to play an instrument. he chose the cello, which going to be a fun watching him develop this talent!

balancing_a_pencilJackson, my oldest is now in 8th grade. he has worked so hard to get to where he is today. i am so proud of this guy. he does all his homework every night, mostly without complaint, and still manages to go to swim team and water polo practice every day. i can already tell this is going to be a great year for him…probably the best year of school so far. it just hit me that this is the last year before he heads of to high school!!!! i can hardly believe itjackson_back_to_school

but do you know what also hit me?

time is getting shorter and shorter to start saving for my kids’ college. i will now have FOUR kids who will most likely be attending college….that is going to equal A LOT of money.

with the realization that my oldest, will be heading off to college in less than 5 years, i really need to be serious about saving. luckily, this year i have partnered with ScholarShare, which has been an awesome experience. i have learned that saving money for college doesn’t have to be painful at all. in fact, by saving in small realistic steps, you can end up saving big in the end. by simply giving up your morning latte once a week or eating in instead of going out once a month…you could put that money away for your kids’ college. we have created ScholarShare…saving plans for each of the kids, which are California’s 529 plans. they are GREAT!!!! and saving has really been easy. friends and family can even buy gifts card to add to their accounts for special occasions. we are so excited to have these plans for the kids. and you can get them too!!!!

Win $500 to celebrate National College Savings Month

ScholarShare is doing something BIG!!!!  to celebrate National College Savings Month, ScholarShare is hosting its annual College Savings Pledge Sweepstakes. participants are encouraged to declare how much they can save on a monthly basis for their future college grad – even if it is just $25. yep! all you have to do is pledge that you will save for your child’s future. then, throughout September, five eligible sweepstakes entrants will be selected each week to receive a $500 ScholarShare Gift of College gift card to support their savings goals.

How to Enter:
• Visit CollegeSavingsPledge.com
• Enter your college savings goal and your contact information. You’re then entered to win!
• For an additional chance to win, once you sign the pledge, share it with your friends and family.

Five (5) winners will be selected each Friday in September beginning on Friday, September 9. California parents, grandparents, guardians or family members can submit an official entry form at https://goo.gl/x7On4F. The sweepstakes begins at 8 a.m. PT on Sept. 1, 2016 and ends at 8 a.m. PT on Sept. 30, 2016.

note: this sweepstakes is open to legal residents of the State of California who are at least 18 years or age or older and have a social security number or federal taxpayer identification number; and have not won a prior sweepstakes with ScholarShare in the past 12 months.

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time is short. soon our kids will be saying goodbye to us and heading into the grown-up world of college and careers. as parents, we love to give our kids the best, an not have them worry about the struggles of funding school and having to pay off huge student debt loans.

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one day they will look back and thank you for what you have done for them!

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{Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are 100% my own.}

We’re Having a Baby!

Popsicleblog_baby_girl_gender_reveali just realized that i never shared the big news here on the blog. guess what?!!!

WE ARE HAVING A BABY!

and even bigger news…IT’S A GIRL!!!! we just can’t believe it! i shared the news on the Sandy Toes and Popsicles Facebook page, but not over here on the blog. sorry about that….hopefully you are all fans on Facebook so you already knew. but i haven’t shared too many other details about my pregnancy, and there have been a lot of questions. so i thought i better write a little blog post.

anyways, i found out in April that i was pregnant, right after a blog conference i had attended. i kept getting really carsick, more than i usually do, so i thought something was up. but i took a pregnancy test and it came out negative. but a few days later, i was feeling worse….took the test again and POSITIVE!

wow. i wasn’t expecting to have another baby, after all, my youngest is almost seven. i was a bit overwhelmed with the news because i felt like i was too old to have another baby…i am not as in shape as i used to be and also in the process of trying to get healthy and lose all the weight i have gained these past 5 years. plus, my past three pregnancies were awful. i get sick the entire 9 months…could i handle this? but i guess we were meant to have another little one and now WE COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED. or should i say shocked! i mean….i guess i can’t really say shocked, because we all know how these things happen. and yes, this is what can happen from a night of trying to be spontaneous LOL! but nonetheless, we figured we were done having babies and were onto the next stage in life with our boys. not so much now.

we didn’t tell anyone our big news for a while, it was our little secret, in fact, we didn’t tell any friends until we found out the gender of the baby at 14 weeks. it was hard to keep a secret since i had been sick and not feeling like doing much. i felt bad not hanging out with friends or going to family dinners. but once we shared the news, everyone figured out why and were pretty shocked and super excited.

The Day We Found Out the baby’s gender

first of all, it was the fourth of July, we weren’t expecting to find out the gender of the baby for another week or so. but it was one of those days when the boys were feisty and fighting, and the hubby and i really needed a break. so we decided to go on a lunch date before heading out with the boys to the family 4th of July party. on the way to lunch we got to thinking…maybe the ultrasound place is open and we could find out the gender and reveal at the 4th of July party. to our surprise…it was! why is an ultrasound place open on the 4th of July? kind of ridiculous…but definitely in our favor. i guess it was meant to be….so we headed down and found out.

i laid on the table, with warm goo on my belly and watched the ultrasound tech do her thing. i had a feeling that it was a girl…but just couldn’t believe it when she said the words…IT’S A GIRL! i was crying with joy inside. after 3 boys, i still can’t even wrap my head around the news, and until i get another confirmation, i’m still in disbelief. what exciting news. we are thrilled that we will be adding a little girl to our family…and the boys really wanted a sister. God has a plan and i guess this little girl needs to be with our family and probably will need to have those three older brothers in her life. what a blessing this is.

we drove home and decided that we would fill balloons with pink confetti and pop them at the party to reveal BABY GIRL. here are some photos from the day we found out and shared the news with our families.

here is the hubby getting to work on the balloons.

chad_parkin_preparing_for_baby_gender_reveal getting_ready_for_the_gender_revealhere is the family before we passed out the balloons to reveal the baby’s gender. everyone was super excited. we had planned to have flying balloons, but the confetti was too heavy, so everyone had to just hold them.getting_ready_to_reveal_gender then 3….2….1….pop!!!!popsicleblog_gender_reveal_partyIT’S A GIRL!!!! everyone was so excited.  the next day we revealed it to the world.surprise_its_a_girl

i am due in early January, right after the holidays. my first winter baby. i am very fatigued and my stomach is always sour, but other than that, i can’t complain. this has been my easiest pregnancy so far. as soon as the boys go back to school i will have a couple of months to prepare for her arrival and get everything ready for the holidays so that once i am gigantic, i can take it easy. at least that’s what i am planning.

i can’t wait…i love love love the baby stage. it’s just been a while, so i hope i remember everything. can you believe it?!!!! four kids.  i love being a mom!

here is the video of baby girl’s gender reveal…