Friday, October 12, 2012

Luke's 9 Month Update

 My little man hit the nine month mark yesterday.

He's not so little these days.

We went to see his doc for his checkup and he measured in at 22lbs 7oz and 29 3/4in long. Those are both 90th percentile for him. Aside from his little cold, he checked out fine.

Meanwhile, he's been commando crawling all over the house for a month, pulling down my floor lamp and trying to get into the dog food and disappearing into the bathroom. He's already pulled two doorstops off the wall. Kaycie likes to tell me, "Luke says, 'Where's trouble??'" because we all know he's looking to find it. And sometimes it finds him.

He wants to crawl for real soooooo bad, but he's having trouble getting his knees to coordinate with his arms and dragging himself is just easier. He's trying though, getting up on his knees or toes to rock back and forth before falling back down and taking off on his arms again. No time to work on skills like crawling when there's so much mischief to master.

Yes, that's the lamp he keeps pulling over. Notice the barrier of stuff he's managed to crawl himself over, which includes my giant camera bad, two laptop cases and three diaper bags. He's doing it again RIGHT NOW, AS I TYPE. Lamp = baby crack.

While he's not really doing the full on crawl yet, he is trying to stand up. His favorite thing in the world is for somebody to hold his arms and stand him up so he can bounce up and down. Well, that and pulling over lamp. And dog food. But you know what I mean.

Other favorite things? His sister. Especially when she gets up in his face and yells, "BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA." Don't ask. I don't know myself.

He also loves his cousins...

And of course that crazy pup.

He's a busy little dude these days and has a lot of changes coming his way. His doc said we could go ahead and start moving him off formula and onto milk, which will take a few weeks, but that also means he needs to get on the ball with eating real food. Right now he's mostly ambivalent and no real interest in feeding himself. I call him my lazy eater.

I talked with his doctor for a while about what to expect over the next few month. One thing I've been very careful with is not expecting him to match Kaycie's developmental timeline. She was freakish in her advancement and I know this. Doc said over the next month or so he should start waving bye, saying mamamama and dadadadada, pulling himself up, and becoming a bit more aggressive in initiating interaction. She also said his speech may be delayed not because of his brain injury but because of his sister. She said it's not at all uncommon for the second child with a talkative older sibling to not bother talking because the sibling does it for him. I totally see that happening. Kaycie talks enough for all four of us. BUT, that's the area of his brain that was damaged so it's something we're going to watch closely and probably worry about in the future. Fabulous.

We go back to see the neurosurgeon in November, by the way.

In better news, he's well on his way to being a MUCH better sleeper than his sister. We had problem with her... well, we're still having some problems with her sleep issues, but Luke is so easy I almost forgot to mention it. And I just jinxed myself, I'm sure. He's been super easy to get to sleep, will often go to sleep in his crib by himself (unless he's so tired he passes out while I rock him) and even though he's woken up around 4 the past few nights, he' goes right back to sleep with minimal effort. I didn't know babies could do that. I'm grateful for it.

So that's my Lukester at 9 months. He's way more laid back than Kaycie ever was, never went though the stranger/men anxiety Kaycie was so well known for, and seems to take the world in stride. I do love my little guy.

Wondering what K was doing at 9 months? I wrote about that here.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Epiphany, Part 2

So yesterday I mention my need to clean our bedroom due to our treadmill purchase.



While cleaning out part of our bedroom to make room I reached an epiphany.

I have had two children. No amount of time on a treadmill is going to change that.

After Kaycie was born I held on to a lot of clothes thinking I might drop enough weight to get back into them. Little did I know I'd leave the hospital weighing 10lbs less than I did when I got pregnant. Since  then I've put all of that plus another 20 back on. But see, there's more to the story than weight...

Regardless of how much I weigh I will never fit my rear end into a size 4 ever again. Ever.  Largely because size 4 pants won't make it past my post-child hips. For that matter, I'd have a tight fit in a size 8. Furthermore, my boobs will never fit into a size small shirt ever again. Probably not a medium either. Bad thing? I'd say not. Just a fact of life.

Not saying I'm overweight, saying I'm shaped a bit differently than I was two children ago.

So I'm throwing out my entire winter wardrobe and starting over. Probably going to toss the majority of my summer wardrobe too, at least anything pre-Kaycie. Gateway Rescue Mission is about to looooove me. My clothes budget is not going to be so happy. But I don't need much, I just need a few things that actually fit. Unfortunately, I HATEHATEHATE clothes shopping.

Where's BFF Lauren when I need her???

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Epiphany, Part 1

As most of you know, I quit medicating my ADD when we started trying to get pregnant with Kaycie. That was like four years ago. What I didn't realize at the time but have come to understand in the past two weeks is there really are different forms of ADD.

First there's the diagnosed-by-a-shrink kind that you medicate. I have that. Some days are better than others. Most days I struggle to really get much progress accomplished. Some days I can't get myself together to do more than keep my kids alive, fed, and diapered. Some days I wake up and could take on the entire freaking world, get it organized and cleaned up then spend a few hours exercising and making crafts. Those days are very, very rare. Very rare.

But I did have one of those days not too long ago. I got up, made a list, and was ready to get some serious projects done. I managed to accomplish nothing. That's where the second form of ADD kicked in. I call it "Kids." My plan for the day was perpetually interrupted by my two little people who constantly need something. 

Jump ahead to this week. We bought a treadmill. Well, we ordered one, since we couldn't find the one we wanted locally. It was supposed to be here next Tuesday. I got the call this afternoon that it would be delivered FRIDAY. Fantastic. Except I needed to clean up and move some furniture around in our bedroom before it arrives. I allotted one hour from 3-4pm today to make some progress. Plan - put Luke down for naps around 2:45. Put K in front of a continuous streaming Curious George in my bed. Grab a shovel.

So what happened between 3-4pm?

Spent at least 25 minutes begging Luke to go to sleep
Changed 2 poopie diapers
Fixed juice and snack for K
Put on a load of laundry that included everything Luke peed on during his diaper change, including his sheets.
Changed Luke's sheets
Comforted K during her "I fell on the soft carpet and hurt my knee" meltdown
Dealt with the "I want Curious George, no Mickey Mouse" conundrum
Starting trying to clean up and knocked the power off to the DVR, thus interrupting Mickey Mouse
Gave up on cleaning up anything

I'm starting to understand that my inability to accomplish much of anything has less to do with my own shortcomings and more to do with external factors...

Monday, August 13, 2012

First Words

This is one of those posts I'm writing because I want to record the moment lest I forget in my toddler induced dementia.

Kaycie read her first book to me on Saturday.

I won't lie, she freaked me out.

I'd read Biscuit to her only once but it had gone with her to her grandparents' house a time or two where they had read it 3 or 4 times according to my mom.

She brought it to me to read and after the first page she started reading it to me. I followed along the words with my finger and she got every one right up to the last two pages.Yesterday she brought it out while my in-laws were her and sat at her table by herself and read it again.

We bought several of these first reader books a few weeks ago since she was going to start having an interest soon but I wasn't expecting it quite so soon.

Yes, I realize she was mostly reading from the pictures, but that's a first step in learning to recognize the repetitive words in the early readers. It's shows motivation and a readiness to start the process a little bit.

I'm more than a little proud of her and her eagerness to read. I can't imagine where she gets her love of books. Oh, wait...

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

7 Year Itch

So that last post reminded me that at the end of September Greg and I will be celebrating our 6 year anniversary.  That gives me one year to get tired of him and find a lover boy.

Honestly, who has the time or energy for that?

Greg also pointed out a while back that he read an article on Yahoo (which makes it totally true) claiming that spouses now hit the 7 year in itch in 5 years thanks to social media making it so much easier to be in contact with old boyfriends and other men you otherwise wouldn't be hanging out with. I am friends with none of my exes on Facebook, nor do I follow any on Twitter. None have tried to friend or follow me. Pretty sure I have interest in repeating the past. Ever. And there's only one I'd even care to know is still alive, but not enough to go looking for him. Guess that leaves me on the 7 year schedule.

I fear I have my work cut out for me. I like my husband. A lot. He's fun. And considerate. And a great daddy. And he eats my cooking. And never expects me to drive. He doesn't criticize much of anything about me, even when he could  He laughs at me, a lot, but always for the right things. He shows appreciation for things I do not just for him but for the kids. We have a million things in common, from things we like to eat to the nerdy things we watch on TV.

How am I supposed to find another guy I like this month in the next year? It took 30 years to find Greg! I'm going to be such a failure.

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's Monday

I was in the shower yesterday when I noticed the tag on my washcloth said it's supposed to be washed in the delicate cycle.

I have never, in the six years since we got these washcloths as wedding gifts, washed them in the delicate cycle. I can say with some certainty that I will never wash them in the delicate cycle.

Having had some time to contemplate that, I'm left to wonder if I haven't caused my poor washcloths irreparable mental anguish over the years. They specifically requested special delicate treatment and I responded by throwing them in the regular cycle with all the other riff raff laundry. Have they suffered in silence all these years, begging me to stop the torture? Probably.

I feel kind of bad for them now. And I suspect our towels, which match, have the same instructions. Today I am forced to admit that not only am I so very much not perfect, I've actually brought harm, albeit without intent, to members of my own household.

That won't lead me to wash them on the delicate cycle, unless I'm washing something else and need some filler to make it tumble correctly.

I'm a monster.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oh my

Actual statement made by my 2 year old to her father today - "Do you want color the k, a, y, c, i, or e?"

Monday, July 16, 2012

Confessions of a Financial Slacker

Truth be told, blogging isn't the only thing that's gotten away from me over the past few months. Greg and I came to the realization at the end of June that we'd hit a point of financial sloth that was downright embarrassing. We were bleeding money through a hole the size of our debit card.

The reality is, the only way we can stay on track with our budget and be in a position to save money is to use cash. If we start debiting money gets away from us. One dinner out at a time. One song or app download. One book for my Kindle... At the end of June we were a couple of thousand dollars short of our six month goal. A little reconstruction of our spending showed exactly how much we had spent eating out with the debit card last month.  I was shocked.

I don't know why I was shocked. If I don't have the time and energy to blog I certainly haven't had the time or energy to cook dinner. And you can only eat so much fast food before you really want a $35 meal at a real restaurant. We'd also gotten in the habit of treating ourselves to a "special" dinner out every time Kaycie left with the grandparents. Hey, we didn't want to take her to a nicer restaurant so we needed to take advantage of the opportunity to go without her, right? Except we were spending $50 a trip and she was gone more often than she was home last month...

I'd also gotten very bad about downloading books for my Kindle and letting them go to the debit card instead of using my allotted "stuff" money. Greg was buying music and apps and we were both ordering crap off Amazon on a whim, often stuff for the kids just for fun.

I spent $82 ordering clearance Disney pajamas for Kaycie.

It had to stop. We sat down over the course of a couple of days, remodeled our budget, made some changes to the process we use to get and spend our cash to make it more flexible for me to shop, and went back on the envelope system. We've eaten at home the vast majority of the past two weeks. We have resisted the urge to go nom a $50 meal while K was gone (although we may do that for Greg's birthday next week, if we can ditch the kids). I've gone as far as to start buying Kindle gift cards with my cash to load on our account for books. Greg's done the same with his iTunes purchases. I've started using a very nifty little program called Pepperplate to organize meals (I'll probably discuss that a little more later). I even used Amazon gift cards, purchased with cash, to order Greg's birthday gifts. Except for one, but my mom owes me for that one.

We had hoped to go on a couple of trips this fall, but we've come to the conclusion that it probably won't happen. Well, one of them is going to happen, but it's the cheapest one we take and will result in spending a long weekend with some people I have been sorely missing, so I'm guessing it's cheaper than therapy. It will also require diving 9 hours with both kids in the van across 4 states, so I may need the therapy anyway.

So far we've done really well this month. Granted, we've almost run out of eat out money for the month, but because we're back to using cash we know how much we have left and we know that if we want to keep having lunch out during the week we either have to use our stuff money or find it somewhere else in the budget. I suspect we'll be able to borrow some from groceries by the end of the month since I haven't been spending as much as I anticipated. We haven't debited anything but gasoline since July 1.

Hopefully in the next 3 months we'll be able to transition Luke off formula, which will save us about $150-200 a month. If I could get Kaycie to quit being so darn stubborn and potty train, it'd save us another $30-40 a month. But I'm almost certain she'll be wearing diapers in college. She better get a good job...

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Luke's Six Month Update

Look at me, posting something in a timely manner...

This post is dedicated to all you people who suggested I'd totally slack at taking pics of the second kid after taking a million pics of Kaycie. (And to my iphone, without which I would have none of these pictures.)

Luke turned six months old on Wednesday. It's been kinda fun to go back and review where Kaycie was with these updates and it's even better to know that I actually never did a six month update on her. What? Yes, I totally missed it. Apparently I was just as brain dead then as I am now, which suggests that it's not having two children that causes it, it's having a six month old. (It may suggest a natural state of being for me, but I'd just as soon ignore that for now.)

At his six month checkup on Wednesday Luke weighed in at 20.1lbs and 28 inches. To compare, Kaycie was 18lbs and 27 inches and I referred to her as a giant. I'm not sure what this means for Luke, other than he'll be outgrowing his infant carrier in 3...2...1... It's rated to 22lbs.

Thankfully, he's trying so very hard to sit up by himself, so maybe ditching the carrier won't be the nightmare I think it will be. Can you imagine trying to go grocery shopping with a kid that can't sit up yet but is too big for his carrier? Can't stabilize himself to ride in the buggy. I may have to take the carrier around for a while just for buggy containment after we move him up to his convertible seat.

Our sleep situation has improved a bit over the past few weeks. Luke has been sleeping from 8-7:30 most many nights. It's better than nothing. And if Kaycie and Casper would both start sleeping through the night consistently, we'd be on to something. He's napping pretty good too. This is the part where I should probably admit that we're still swaddling him every night. (WHAT??) Yes, I know he's six months old and most kids stop swaddling around 4 months but I'm desperate for whatever sleep I can get. For the record, he busts free within the first hour every night anyway, it just goes a long way towards getting him to sleep since he still doesn't have the best control over his arms. He's getting better with the arms, but he still yanks out his paci first thing then proceeds to bonk himself in the head repeatedly. Because that's useful. Yesterday I did put him down for naps without it, but he also didn't take very long naps (less than an hour both times, compared to the 2-3 hours I've been getting recently). Last night I started the weaning process by only wrapping up one arm. That was after an hour of trying to get him to sleep totally free.

He's not quite rolling over yet, but boy he wants to. I really think he can, he just won't. The boy lacks motivation. If a toy is just slightly out of reach, he's all, "Meh, I didn't want it anyway." Speaking of toys, his current favorite playthings are the giraffe his sister gave him at Christmas (it hangs off the stroller, but he'd rather nom on the plastic ring), his play saucer, computer cables and power bricks, whatever cup I'm trying to drink from, the pup, and Kaycie. Not that he's seen much of K lately, but that's another post.

The newest thing on our agenda has been spoon practice. Yes, our pediatrician was all "Blah blah start with grains at 4 months blah blah..." but after talking to her about why we start that early I decided to do the same thing I did with K - wait until 5 1/2 to 6 month to start with the baby food. If you haven't noticed, I'm not one to push my kids into their natural development as quickly as possible. I have a firm belief that they'll get there on their own if I give them time and encouragement, but don't feel the need to force it.  Instead of spending two months struggling with teaching him to eat, I waited until he was ready and giving us the evil eye every time we sat down to eat without him.  When I did sit down and feed him the first time, he took to it like a true velocipotamus.

He's now eating carrots, sweet potatoes, peaches, banana, green peas, avocado (which he loves but his tummy can only tolerate in very small does) and most recently, mango. Yes, I'm making his baby food, just like I did with K. Next up will probably be green beans. It'll be another month or two before he's ready for more creative foods. And hopefully he'll start getting biters in soon. No teeth yet, although he drools like crazy so surely he's thinking about it.

Going back and reading about K at this stage is hilarious. Most of it I could just copy and paste for Luke. Granted, I did a combined post for 6-7 months for her so I'm getting an idea of what to expect over the next month with L. One stage we seem to have missed (and lets hope it stays that way) is the big fear of grandfathers that K had. Holy moley did we hate that. Luke seems more laid back. He's never really gotten upset about anybody manhandling him. I'd also forgotten that K showed signs of being left handed at this age, but she's since become very much right handed.

Of course, now there's the big green elephant in the room that we didn't have to deal with for K - Luke's follow up neurosurgeon appointments.

We went for his MRI on Friday. I don't even want to talk about the nightmarish eight hours we spent at the hospital. But he was a trooper, never really complaining even though he wasn't allowed to eat all day and only got short, restless naps a couple of times. I was amazed at how well he held up. They sedated him to do the scan and we'll see the doctor on the 27th to get the results. I'm seriously hoping this is the last time we have to do this. His pediatrician hasn't seen any signs of developmental issues that concern her, I haven't seen any signs of any issues that concern me...  The last time we saw Dr. Lancon he told us the part of the brain that was damaged affects speech and language development. Lately he's been squealing and jabbering at us like he's got something very important to say, so I'm hoping that's a good sign.

So what's next for our little man? Learning to drive, of course...

(And I realize that I probably need to do an update on K since she turned 2 1/2 in June, but that would require me to actually SEE her. She's been home all of 3 days in the past two weeks. She spent more time with grandparents than at home in June. I'm not complaining. She loves those grandparents and it's totally mutual, so I hope she squeezes every bit of joy she can out of them!)

Friday, July 6, 2012

Bad Sign

Captain's Log: Star Date Unknown

I logged on to my computer today to find that I have lost two months of my life.

My Bloglines has exploded with nearly 4,000 unread posts.

Pinterest has forgotten who I am.

Facebook is full of re-posted crap I don't even want to wade through.

My blog suggests my six month old just turned 4 months.

What the hell.

I'm not dead, folks, I'm exhausted. We've gone through several weeks where nobody in my house is sleeping. Not Luke. Not Kaycie. Not Casper. And definitely not me. I've been in survival mode and I'm barely managing that. This is literally the first time I've turned on my laptop on gotten online in weeks. If I can't do it from my phone I just don't do it. And blogging from my phone isn't really easy.

I haven't even taken my camera out of it's bag in over month.

I have read nothing but certified trash on my Kindle.

If it requires brain cells, it's just going to have to wait.

Thankfully the grandparents have been coming to our rescue or I would probably be locked up in the looney bin by now. We've been sharing custody, especially of Kaycie, all summer. I don't think we've had her home more than about 10 days in a row since school was out. She's at my parents' house this week with her BFF cousin Robin. Every time I call to check on her I hear squealing laughter in the background. I don't think I'm missed. And I'm ok with that.

The only reason we're having this conversation now is because Luke chose this week to take pity on me. He's slept through the night until 6:30-7:30ish the past two mornings. With K gone and Casper banished outside at night, this has allowed me to become almost something close to what might be considered human over the past couple of days.

Unfortunately, this development led me to believe I could dink with iTunes to sync the music on my phone today which may very well lead me back into the abyss within the next five minutes.

In the meantime, I miss my peeps. Hope you guys are hanging in. I'll try to swim to the surface next week to give you the up-to-date on Luke's six month checkup. Later in the month we should be having another MRI and his follow up neurology appointment. Frankly, I have no worries about the little man. He's a pretty happy camper.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Velocipotamus Update - 4 Months

My little dude isn't exactly little.

Luke turned 4 months on Friday and today he went in for his checkup.  As expected, he scored 90th percentile and up on all his stats.  He's 16lbs 11oz, 26.25 inches. Ummmm. That's bigger than K was at that age and I called her a giant.

 I'm really glad I made myself blog updates for K at different stages. It helps me realize that things sucked when she was 4 months old, too. Last night I was up with Luke at 3:30 thinking, "What the heck made me think I could manage two of these? I was doing good to manage one. I'm not going to survive this..." Today, after going back and reading the post about K at 4 months I have to say I feel better about things. I don't think it's any worse this time around, and I survived it before, and she turned out pretty funny, so... Maybe there's hope!

That said, Luke's becoming quite a bit more alert. He's taken an interest in things around him, especially people. He hasn't shown an aversion to any grandparents yet, so I'm counting that as a positive. He demands attention now and at times will only be happy if you sit and talk to him so he can talk back. He likes his new saucer although he's a bit suspicious of some of the animals on it. He is less suspicious and more enamored of his feet. Well, his right foot anyway. It's fascinating. And he's pretty convinced he can eat a bottle and suck his thumb at the same time. I'm not entirely sure he can't. Another favorite past time is playing peekaboo, which means he can pull anything over his eyes and then fling it off. He thinks that's pretty darn funny.

He's a pretty big fan of his sister and the feeling is mutual. Kaycie still loves to help with Luke. She wants to check on him and if he's mad she wants to tell you how to fix it. She also likes to force feed him his paci. She also likes to share... well, she likes to share her illnesses anyway. They've both been sick for the past 3 weeks. Today we're buying a nebulizer, because there's no point in renting one. My poor kiddos will never outgrow the nasty allergies that plague us here in MS. 

I blame his ickies for the fact that he hasn't been sleeping well, but the reality is that he has never really made a habit of sleeping well. The blissful weeks of K sleeping through the night early were clearly a fluke. Luke's not having it. My MIL likes to say that Greg didn't sleep through the night until he was like 9 (okay, usually it's more like 2 but still) and I fear Luke may be following that path. Heaven help me, I may not survive after all.

Sure I will. Eventually they'll be teenagers and sleep all the time, right?

Mash Up - Mother's Day Edition

* I'd like to start with a big ole high five to my hubby for an awesome Mother's Day yesterday. Last week he took K to the store and let her pick out a flower for me - a beautiful yellow mini rose bush that we planted in the front flower bed.  The only mini rose I've ever had was a pink one I got for my 18th  birthday. It's still living in the same flower bed. Then Sunday morning he got up with the kids - starting at 2:45am (because my kids have decided to be freaking nocturnal...) and let me sleep until nearly noon. Then I got an awesome gift - a set of 3 specialty lenses that fit my iPhone camera! What? Yup. I've played with the macro a little bit but can't wait to get outside and see what I can do with the wide angle and fisheye. Oh, and the best parts - he unloaded the dishwasher, provided me with food, and entertained my little ones. It's good to be me.

* Today's lunch time conversation with K -
Me: You want pasta or couscous?
 K: Couscous! No... RED BEANS!!!
Me: What???
 K: Red beans! Red beans!
Me: Really?? 
So yes, I made my kid red beans and rice for lunch today. Again. We had the same thing on Friday. Such a weird one.

*I made bread pudding with my mom on Saturday. I want to make more. On a related note, I've put on 20lbs since Luke was born.

* A little over a week ago we got the news that our former minister, Ross, had passed away. I was deeply saddened by the news. He was one of my favorite people on the planet. He was the one who helped me reconcile a God that I believed in with a church that I didn't trust. He was the reason I was baptized at age 28 at Galloway. He believed very strongly in the New Testament promises about loving your neighbor and being good people to the best of our abilities without judgment or scorn for others. This is a lesson too many Christians need to hear. I have friends who are atheists who act more like Christians than some Christians I know because they genuinely care more about other people than about punishing others for sins they think are bigger than their own. I wish my atheist friends could have heard Ross preach. I think they would have liked him. He had a way of reaching people that I've never seen before. The Sunday after he died a letter from his wife was read during the church service. She told us all that he had been battling severe depression since December and took his own life. I've had a post open on my desktop for a week wanting to say a dozen things about that, but I find that I can't. So instead I'm going to leave it at that and link up to an archive of posts I wrote that mentioned Ross.  And here's a quote from one of those posts that I've been dwelling on the past week:
The real meat of this sermon had to do with the presence of Evil, how it works in the Bible and how it works in our lives today. He talked about how if everything is perfect in your life, you're probably praying to the wrong god. If you're focused on God, you're probably attracting negative attention from Satan, who likes to create hardships for God's people. He told a story about how if you're already spiritually dead, Satan has no reason to attack you, and you can go on with your life thinking all is good because you have everything you want, not realizing you don't have everything you NEED.

Friday, May 4, 2012

What I'm (Re)Reading

This isn't my usual "What I'm Reading" post because to be honest, the vast majority of what I've read lately has been pure fluffy garbage. My brain can't handle much else these days. But after watching a video of the 25th anniversary performance of Phantom of the Opera a few weeks ago I decided to download my favorite book to my Kindle. I've read the original Gaston LeRoux novel, and I've watched just about every adaptation on television, but my favorite version of this classic story is Phantom by Susan Kay. It tells the history of the the Opera Ghost, from his birth, and provides motivation and reason for his psychotic behavior. It's a fabulous book and I've worn out my paperback, reading it at least eight times. For the record, I wish I'd kept reading the paperback because the Kindle version is so full of typos it's embarrassing. It's like they scanned it with really bad OCR software and didn't bother to proof it afterwards. Awful. But that's not my point.

It's a long book and every time I read it I find something new that gets my attention. This time around it's been a quote that I posted on FB a few minutes ago:

" whose moral integrity I respected even as I pitied their religous misguidance. They had no hope of heaven, but here, on this earth, I saw no reason to deny them civility or friendship. I could not hate with the indiscriminating simplicity of my servant."

I posted that portion of it knowing it would be a bit misleading. The full quote I highlighted actually reads, "I shared his (the servant) beliefs, but not his contempt. I knew there was no God but Allah; I accepted that no infidel would ever be admitted to paradise - and yet I had made many friends in the Catholic missions in Persia, men whose moral integrity I respected even as I pitied their religous misguidance. They had no hope of heaven, but here, on this earth, I saw no reason to deny them civility or friendship. I could not hate with the indiscriminating simplicity of my servant."

I should point out that each section of the book is written from a different POV. This section is in the voice of a security chief in Persia covering the years 1850-1853. The quote is from Nadir's trip to Russia in search of the great magician (Erik)to bring home to entertain the royal family. He and his servant are watching Christians in front of the churches on the road and making an observation that speaks more to Nadir's character than to any religious theme in the story.

Two things struck me about this quote. First, the irony that it's showing the disdain of Muslims for
Christians where here we tend to see the disdain of Christians for Muslims. Second, how often do we deny civility or friendship to people because we believe they have no hope of heaven? Is that our call? Too often we hate with indiscriminating simplicity. On this earth, we should offer that civility to everyone.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

There and Back Again

Just to catch up -

Saturday Greg left for California.

Thirty seconds later I left for my parents' house. A sanity saving move, to be sure.

Last night we came home so that K could go to school today.

Tonight we'll pick Greg up at the airport (God willing. If he's delayed you'll find me whimpering under my bed).

The trip Greg is on is the same conference he goes to this time most years. Last year I went with him (the Tampa trip) but this year with the velocipotamus being so little (relatively speaking) and the cross country flight (expensive) we decided I'd skip San Jose and maybe go for Austin next year. Let me just say thank God for grandparents. Last night in the few hours we were home I nearly lost it. Sleep did not come easily last night. And I am counting down them minutes until Greg gets home.

As for our adventures in Philly... I took a lot of pictures of things that aren't my children. And some that were my children. But that'll be largely covered on the photo blog and possibly a future post here. Right now I gotta get everybody dressed t get K to school. We are soooo not going to be late for that...

Monday, April 23, 2012

Told You.

Okay, so you know in the post about the iPad I talked about how K was fascinated with letters and I was wanting to do some more structured activities around that? I printed out some alphabet color pages and she's colored on some off and on all week and we put a few on the fridge to admire. However, nothing on the fridge will stay, as she will walk by and take it down two dozen times a day. So today when she wanted to put one on the fridge I couldn't find any of the animal magnets I'd been using. I was stumped until I remembered that I'd bought a box of wooden alphabet magnets a while back and was holding on to them until a good time. I figured this was the perfect time. I found them, dumped them out and spread the upper case letters out so she could see what all she had. Aside from helping with some of the coloring (every time she colors I have to color too) and holding the papers so she could put the magnets on, I had nothing to do with this:

I did have to move some up to the freezer because we were running out of room. You can't see it, but under each letter is the printed out letter for each page. She lined up the magnets like a puzzle for every one. I didn't help her find the letters. I didn't tell her what to look for. I didn't even tell her to use the matching letter to hang the pictures up. She was all over this today. We spent an hour working on this project and she was stoked about it the whole time. Yes, I think it's time to do more structured school activities with her...

Sunday, April 22, 2012


And that about sums up my feelings on potty training a stubborn 2 year old with a 3 month old baby in the house while both of them are sick. I will pay somebody to come potty rain my daughter right now. Or to feed/bounce/diaper/attend to my son. Either one.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Yes, We Are Those People

We bought Kaycie an iPad.

Let me clarify.

As I mentioned in my last post, Kaycie had been using our older Android tablet and we hated it. It was frustrating to everybody. Lately she'd gone from telling me "I CAN'T DO IT!" when it took forever to load or force closed on an app to telling me, "I have to wait and be patient..." Sigh. At least she learned a little something about patience, but it was making me crazy. The apps for my iPhone were considerably easier to use (due to the responsive touch screen) and there was a much better variety, so we decided to suck it up and buy an iPad. It was an educational investment. And since Greg already had an iPad2 courtesy of a work thing (although it belonged to him, not his employer) we decided to upgrade him to the new iPad and let Kaycie and I share the "old" iPad2.  Yes, we've ordered one of those indestructible cases for it. It should arrive today.

It's ironic. For Greg's birthday last year we bought me a Kindle. For my birthday this year we bought Greg a new iPad. Hmmm.

Anyway, Kaycie is crazy about the new tablet. It works a million times better than the old one and I've downloaded a ton of apps. She's learning to add. She learning how to put letters together to make words. She's learning how to write letters and numbers. She's playing memory matching games. She has apps where she can create music. I think her favorite games are the puzzle games. We have a lot of puzzle games. It's absurd. I don't even show her how to use it, really. I downloaded a bunch of apps last night and she just started playing with them today on her own. I haven't shown her that it has a camera yet. She'll flip out. That girl loves to cheese things.

What are her favorites? Right now she's spending the most time playing these:

Preschool Monkey Lunchbox
Monkey Math
Giraffe's Matching Zoo
Letter Quiz (tracing letters)
There are a lot of new ones she hasn't had time to really try out yet.

She's really loving this thing and seems to enjoy the learning process, which I love. I'm thinking about doing some more structured things with her, particularly with the alphabet since letters are a big favorite right now. The other day she had me write out the words Kaycie, Mama, Daddy, Luke and Casper on a piece of paper. Every time I wrote one she pretended to "squish" the letters together to build the word (like they do in Word World). It was the first time I saw her exercise the idea that you put the letters together to make words. Then she hung the paper up on the refrigerator. We've repeated that activity the past two days. 

In a perfect world I would be doing more "school" with her now and signing her up for 3 year old preschool next  year. I'm totally amazed at the woman who runs this blog and home schools her three kids, including one who just turned 3. I know I'll never be disciplined enough to do "school" with K. And I didn't want to sign her up for preschool yet because let's face it, she'll be in school for so many years of her life, will it hurt to wait a year to start? No. And I don't think she'll be "behind" because let's face it, she's pretty darn smart as it is. She'll probably need a year of it to get the structural aspects down and learn how to sit through lessons and stuff, but I don't think she needs it at three. That said, she enjoys this kind of stuff and I should do some more stuff with her. So I think I'll be on the lookout for some fun alphabet activities and work on one letter at a time with her. I've already printed out some alphabet coloring sheets and she loves them. Seriously. The kid is insane. Here's hoping her love of learning will last until she actually gets to school!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Mashup - Birthday Edition

** A couple of weeks ago my MIL offered to babysit for us on my birthday. It took me a full five seconds of thinking about to realize that it was April and yes, my birthday is this month. I hadn't put a moment of thought into it. Sigh. I'll be 37. I'm feeling much older these days.

** What do I want for my birthday? A family picture of the four of us, all cleaned up and looking nice. I'd hoped to do this at Bill's wedding but Luke slept through the whole thing, Kaycie was grumpy (it was smack in the middle of  nap time) and I was crazy busy doing wedding pictures. But I still want some good family shots. I don't know who I'll get to push the button on the camera, but I've started putting some thought into where I want to do it. I'm also not holding my breath that it'll actually happen. Getting everybody to cooperate is a challenge at times...

** Meanwhile, Kaycie has become such a fabulous big sister. She insists on giving Luke toys every time she finds one of his. She'll put it in his bouncy seat or in the crib or set it on  his tummy. She knows exactly what the Easter Bunny brought him and tells me about it every day. She makes sure I know when he needs a bottle and she insists we take him in the kitchen with us when she's helping me or we're eating. I was a little afraid she'd go the other way and be upset about losing my undivided attention but in fact she's a wonderful little caretaker to her brother. Big sigh of relief.

** I HATE our Android tablet. Kaycie loves to play educational games on it (matching, tracing letters, counting things, color games) but the touch screen doesn't respond well at all. And it keeps locking up on her, which as you can imagine frustrates a two year old. I have to reboot it periodically in the middle of her game because it's just not working well. If the iPad wasn't so dang expensive I'd buy her one.  This is the technology she'll be using most of her life, she might as well learn it now. And the games she's playing are really awesome. She's gone from doing puzzles in letter shapes to drawing her letters with her finger. Shes TWO. But she loves this stuff. I've downloaded a bunch of books to the Kindle app for her and she's figured out how to get to those too. She's a smart girl. Anybody want to toss me $400 for a new iPad?

** I mentioned a few weeks back that I was contemplating a change in birth control. Turns out I know nobody who uses the method I was contemplating, but I did something totally against my nature and decided to do it anyway. My regular doc was on call and crazy busy so instead of waiting another month I decided to let another doctor in the clinic do it. When I talked to Dr. E about it before the procedure he said "IUD's are the bomb." No really, that's what he said. He also said it was basically the same effectiveness as getting your tubes tied without the surgery. Awesome. I started it April 6, the procedure took literally 3 minutes, and I haven't put a whole lot of thought into it since. I should be covered for ten years at which point I should at least be getting close to menopause. Wow. Now I'm feeling even older...

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

3 Month Dinosaur Update

 My little velocipotamus turns 3 months old today.


Seems like a whole lot longer than 3 months since my little man showed up and plunged us into craziness. Luke's growing up.

You'd never know this little guy spent two weeks in the NICU. Somebody must have told him that he was turning 3 months old today because he suddenly grew out of his 0-3 month clothes during lunch. Literally. I went to change his diaper after lunch and couldn't snap his outfit back. It was too short. I could barely get it over his head to change him into something else. Talk about a growth spurt.

He's doing bigger boy things, too. He's smiling and talking and utterly fascinated by the ceiling fan in his room. He spent an hour watching it yesterday. He's also intrigued by his mobile and that handsome baby in the crib mirror, who also follows him around in the car mirror. He likes baths but hates naps. If he's not moving, he's not sleeping. It can be the bouncy seat or the car, doesn't matter, but if he stops moving his little eyes pop right open. He doesn't get upset much unless he's hungry or has fought the sleep too long. He does seem confused by the white furry creature that keeps licking him. He'll soon learn that Casper is a great toy.

Reading up on his development in Wonder Weeks tells me we're on track. His appetite has slacked off with his 12 week developmental growth spurt. He doesn't sleep as well either, unless of course he's moving. He is suddenly more alert and interested in his surroundings. Lights. Things that move. Loud noises startle him. He wants to eat anything he finds in his lap. His coordination isn't there yet and he can't quite catch that thumb he wants to chew on, but he's trying very hard. Yesterday he grabbed a right on the toy bar over his bouncy seat, although I don't know if it was intentional or accidental. Either way, once he grabbed it he held it in a death grip for a long time! He's got awesome head control and likes for me to pull him up by his hands into a sitting position. I think we're a couple of weeks away from needing to break out a play saucer for him. 

And did I mention he's starting to make awesome expressive faces? I just love that. :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012


A few weeks ago one of my oldest and dearest friends told me she was facing the end of her nearly 15 year marriage. A week later she found out she was pregnant, multiplying her fear and stress by about a million. Two days ago I was chatting with her and told her that I wish I knew what to tell her, but to just hold on to every moment she has right now. It's not over until it's over.

Yesterday another sweet lady I know ran out of moments. She lost her husband to a long term illness. They knew it was coming and she had some time to cherish the moments of their life together, but I can't imagine the heartbreak of knowing there won't be any more.

My brother got married a couple of weeks ago in what appeared to be one of the happiest moments of his life. I hope he holds on to that moment over the years to come.

All these moments make me want to hold on to my own. I want to have a nice dinner with my husband tonight. I want to enjoy every moment with my kids, capturing things like K singing her favorite song ("Tinkle Tinkle Wittle Staaaa", if you didn't see the video on FB yesterday). I want to enjoy the moments with my parents and inlaws. I want to hold on to the moments I had with my grandparents. I want to find that picture of my Grandma Reese staggering into the back bedroom at 4am to tell me and my cousin Lynn to BE QUIET AND GO TO BED.

I want to remember to thank God for every moment I get from here forward. No matter how many there are, I know there won't be enough of them.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Mash Up - Mah Na Mah Na

* I think I mentioned before that my brother was getting married on St. Paddy's day. It was a fantastic wedding, very small, very informal, and everybody had a good time (including my bother, which was amazing in itself). Kaycie wore her garage sale princess dress (somebody else's pageant dress that I paid $5 for) and had her own bouquet courtesy of the bride. I posted pictures and more info on my photo blog, so I won't go into it too much here, but I wanted to say congratulations to my bother and his new bride and her kids, who think my bother is super awesome. I couldn't be happier for them all.

* One of the problems we've been having with Kaycie lately is her fear of going to bed alone. Our routine is that Daddy reads two books, Mama reads too books, then sleep. But for the past couple of months that hasn't been the end of it. She'll beg me to stay with her and freak out if I leave. I've been spending a lot of time sitting outside her door every night waiting on her to go to sleep. Naps have become a nightmare for me, trying to get her to stay in bed while dealing with Luke.  Last week Greg may have stumbled on a solution to that problem... Kaycie got a Tag, Jr reader for Christmas. I figured it would take her a little while to figure out how to use it and get interested in it, which was fine. My theory at Christmas is to get stuff she would gradually play with over the year. Brilliant plan. Over the past few weeks she's taken an interest in the reader. One night last week she wanted to take it to bed with her and Greg was like, "Sure!" Fast forward to last night - Daddy read two books, Mama read two books, then Kaycie read two books with her reader, all by herself. As long as I agree to come back and check on her, she's fine as long as she has her books. About two or three trips in to check on her and she was asleep. All by herself. The same process worked for naps today. Mama read two books, Kaycie read two books, and I checked in on her a couple of times until she fell asleep. I can't even tell you what a relief it will be if this a transition to a much better bedtime situation!

* Something I hadn't mentioned before was the fact that I had pretty much been on a hiatus from one of my favorite websites - Pinterest. There's been a lot of controversy over their Terms of Service lately and after I read them for myself I had some concerns. They had the right to sell any of the images pinned on their site and had some pretty harsh language about copyright protection. This is a problem since a lot of people either inadvertently or on purpose, don't always give proper credit to the things they pin. I try to check things before I repin them, but you just never know. So for a while now I've quit pinning things at all. I still browse the site from time to time but I've been inactive. This week I received an email from Pinterest saying they'd updated their TOS and fixed some of the issues. I was quite relieved to see the fixes, as well as seeing their willingness to respond to the concerns that have come up. I feel better enough about it to start pinning again. Perfect timing on that, since my new iPhone has an app for that...

* Greg's cousin Rosey and her daughter Meagan have opened up a children's consignment and gift shop in Forest called Smarty Pants. They started this project right around the time we decided it was safe to get rid of all of Kaycie's old clothes, so I managed to send them five boxes of stuff. Even after I sorted out the stuff I knew they didn't want and they sorted out some other stuff they couldn't use I still had over 100 items to sell. To be honest, I wasn't really concerned about making money off the clothes, I would have given them away if I'd known anybody having a little girl any time soon, but I did want to help them build some inventory to open the store. They opened on Friday and  I already had over $11 in pre-opening sales! That's awesome, because as they've gotten more little stuff in Rosey has started emailing me cute things that would fit Kaycie. I have a feeling I will be spending all my credit as fast as I make it!

* Kaycie has become a little obsessed with the Muppets movie that just came out on DVD. She loves Muppets. Saturday I was downloading a couple of songs from the movie to my phone (yes, my old phone, hours before I traded it...) and she started yelling, "The Muppets!" I think that's awesome. Greg's put some DVD's of the original series on our Netflix list. And my new ringtone for my new phone - "Mah Na Mah Na." Too bad nobody ever calls me.

Monday, March 26, 2012

iTunes iSucks

I bought an iPhone. This isn't exactly news worthy, except it was a big thing. I'm not a big Apple fan, I hate their computers and despise iTunes. Other than iTunes, I like my new phone. I'd like it more if I'd thought to make a list of what was on my old phone before I traded it in. Whoopsie. Things like my grocery list. And all the notes. And my calendar. And the apps I use... I suppose I'll get it all figured out eventually.

The first thing I did was drop it so that it totally black screened on me and wouldn't do anything. FAN-tatic. I did a little googling and managed to reboot it. Then I immediately ordered an Otterbox, which should be here Wednesday.

 And I still hate iTunes. I think part of the problem is that we have four computers (including a home server), an iPad2 and now my iPhone all trying to sync. It's not working. It took Greg, who is a geek, entirely too long to figure out how to get the music off our Amazon cloud into iTunes. He finally got everything moved and synced then I discovered that you can't easily create ringtone on idevices. Nope. On my old Android phone it was a couple of clicks and any song you own can be a ringtone. With Apple products you have to use a song you bought from iTunes and blah blah blah then sync it to your phone. Or, the easiest way, pay another $1.29 to download a premade ringtone even though you've already paid to buy the song itself. That's what I ended up doing, even though I was pretty ticked about it. But then I spent 20 minutes getting a "can't download this item" error on my phone. I ended up downloading it to my laptop and synching it to get my ringtone. Except that screwed up my playlists. I want to scream. I still don't have it fixed, but Greg got it to play my music and said as long as I don't push any other buttons to make it exit that screen I'd be fine. Fantastic. I thought idevices were supposed to be simple to use?

On the bright side, I'm happy to have access to several apps that weren't developed for Android. Like Ticket to Ride, a game Greg and I love to play on the iPad and with the board game. Now we can play against each other as long as he has the iPad close by. Eventually he'll get an iPhone and it'll be even easier! I also downloaded things like Instagram and the Pinterest app. Danger, Will Robinson, Danger!

The truth is, I'd never really wanted an iPhone until I heard the reasoning behind why the company that makes Ticket to Ride refused to make an Android version. It's all about quality control. Since Android is an open platform, anybody can make a phone that runs it and that gives you lots of options. It also gives you a wide variety of quality and specifications on each phone. It also means if you buy a phone today it'll be outdated in three months because another company will release a better model. For this reason, a lot of new apps wouldn't run on my old phone because they were geared to newer models with faster processors. App makers have no control of the finished product because it varies depending on which phone you own. For more complex games, like Ticket to Ride, you don't want people thinking your app sucks when in fact it's the quality of their phone. Making apps for idevices makes it easy, there is a very limited number of options for the device it runs on and you pretty much know specs you're developing for. That makes sense. Then I read the biography of Steve Jobs, which was a much better book than I had expected, and while it didn't make me want to drink the Apple kool aid, it did make me appreciate the quality behind the iPhone and iPad. I understand the idea of the closed system and I understand how it promotes a higher quality product. I don't like the idea that consumers are too stupid to make the right choices in technology and therefore shouldn't be given a choice of hardware, operating systems, or system software.

And I still hate iTunes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Two Months

So Luke is officially two months old as of yesterday. All the 8 week drama that I anticipated is coming to light (see the last post) but the good stuff is starting to come along as well. He's starting to realize he can make other noises than just crying. I think he startles himself sometimes when he "talks" to us. He's holding up his head like a champ, pushing off my shoulder like he's running away, and did I mention he's totally making facing and trying to smile?

I can't remember if I posted his stats from his 8 week checkup. He was 13lbs 1/2oz (90th percentile) and 24 3/4 inches long (95th percentile). Clearly I don't do little babies, and he's not inclined to lose any of his chins any time soon. :)

Mr. Sandman, Bring Me a Dream...

Not only can I not get either of my children to sleep, the dog has joined in the fray.

It's taken over two hours to get Kaycie to sleep the past two nights.

Luke's been staying up past midnight (as in 1:30-2:30am) lately. Then waking up every two to three hours begging to eat but only taking a couple of ounces before passing out again.

And of course Kaycie is still waking up from nightmares most nights.

Last night I had a little break between Luke falling asleep at 1:30 and waking up again at 3:30, so of course Casper woke me up twice. Because he has a death wish.

Speaking of death, who told my daughter about dying? One night over the weekend she woke up and I asked her if she had a bad dream. She said yes. I asked her what it was about and she said she was dying. HUH??? Yesterday I told her it was time for nap and she said, "No, I'm not dying." Ummm...  the only mention of dying in our house has been in reference to the battery on her tablet. I'm not sure how she would have made the connection from that to herself, so I'm thinking she picked it up somewhere else??? No idea. Totally stumped on that one.

It doesn't help that they're both sick. And let's not even talk about the time change this past weekend.

As a result of being in a sleep related Hell, I've resorted to drinking coffee most mornings, something I haven't done in nearly 15 years. Hopefully when this is over I won't have much trouble breaking that habit again, because we can't afford it. Coffee is expensive.

Finally, I'm experiencing a tiny bit of stress (compared to the enormous stress of sleep issues lately) over my brother's wedding this weekend. I'm supposed to be taking pictures and I just don't have a lot of confidence in my skills. I mean, I take cute pics of my kid, but that's easy and if it's really off one day I can always try again later. This time around there's adults and posing them and more of a one-shot mentality. And really bad indoor lights. And at least one uncooperative subject (i.e. my brother) and potentially uncooperative weather (i.e. no sun or outdoor photos). I know it'll be ok, but I want it to be good. I want enough good pictures to be able to put together a little photobook for them. That may not happen. Especially if I haven't slept in over week.

I'm going to stop whining now. I've been told that God doesn't give you more than you can handle but it occurred to me in the middle of the night last night that He'll clearly push you to the very edge before letting up. I'm there. I had two minor meltdowns last night over the sleep thing. Figure a major one is not far away.

And I should totally point out that I know it could be much, much worse. Kaycie could be less accepting and more jealous about Luke. As it is, she's think he's pretty novel and likes to help. She doesn't get very jealous and has only gotten  mad at me once for not immediately stopping his lunch to play with her. And let's face it, Luke could still be in NICU. Or worse, he could have last long term issues from brain tissue damage. So it could definitely be worse.

Did I mention it's spring break so Kaycie doesn't get to go to school this week? And it is supposed to rain all week? 'Cause that makes it better...

Tuesday, March 6, 2012


So after posting earlier about Kaycie's developmental leap I began to notice that Luke was sleeping all day. Literally, he'd wake up to eat and go right back to sleep. All. Day. Hmmmm. So I grabbed my book and flipped to the next chapter and see that his next leap is due around 8 weeks. That would (doing math in my head...) TOMORROW. Uh huh. And after reading through part of the chapter I see that this particular leap is a big one and usually comes with lots of insecurity and fussing and crying and demanding attention. Looks like it's time for Luke to punch his ticket on the crazy train! Yee haw! Pass Mama the Valium...

No Men Allowed - TMI Alert

Ok boys, if there any reading this, go check out a sports site or something because you don't want to be a part of this. Seriously. I'm going to talk about birth control, so go away.


Ok, ladies, any of you have any experience with the copper IUD called ParaGard? I've been on the pill since getting married (with the obvious exceptions) and frankly I hate it. As you can imagine, remembering to take it every day is a bit of a challenge for me (although I've done super well over the past month! A newborn will have that effect on you.)  There are some relatively minor physical side effects that I don't care for and won't go into detail about. We're 95% sure we're done with the baby making, but I don't want to do anything permanent. I was reading an online discussion about birth control in general and the two IUD options seemed to be the hands down favorites. Since Mirena is hormonal based, I don't think it would solve my side effect problems and to be honest I don't like the idea of not having a period most months. I would spend a fortune on pregnancy tests and live in fear.

From what I've read, the PG IUD is non-hormonal and can last ten years. The only major side effect I've seen mentioned is a heavier than usual period during the first three to six months for some women. I talked to my OB's nurse this morning and she uses Mirena but has a friend using ParaGard. She said they are both very happy with them. I'm waiting on the billing office to call me and let me know if our insurance would cover it and how much it would cost out of pocket. Some people have made the point that their insurance covered the device but not insertion, because it does so much good if you carry it around in your pocket! Anyway, I was just wondering if anybody around here had personal experience with it and could share an opinion. I'm guessing it's not overly popular in this area.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Imagine That

As most of you know Kaycie has had a major sleep setback since Luke was born. I put her in bed, go thought our usual routine and then she panics if I leave the room. She's also started waking up in the middle of the night crying and coming into our room. I've chalked it up to everything I could think of, starting with the obvious - we brought a new a baby home. I blamed it on separation anxiety from me being in the hospital and then everything being topsy turvy while Luke was in NICU. I did a little research and found that it's apparently normal to see a sleep regression at 27 months (which she hit the day before Luke was born). I've come to the conclusion that it's a combination of all of that with one more big thing thrown in...

One of the best books about baby development I've ever read is The Wonder Weeks, which I've posted about before here and here. I didn't get it until Kaycie was nearly a year old and it only follows developmental leaps through 18 months, but once I figured out the signs it was easy to continue to diagnose leaps after that. It occurred to me recently that the 27 month sleep regression and the insanity she went through a while back is probably due to a developmental leap. All of the sudden my baby girl has an imagination. Before she would play with her toys in a very factual way - she'd name or count her animals, talk about their sounds, etc. Over the past two weeks her dinosaurs have started having conversation and tap dancing and inviting each other to tea. Her Little People toys have to ride the school bus and take naps. It's a whole new world of play for her. BUT, if she can suddenly imagine her toys doing all new things, she can also imagine all new things hiding in her closet and under the bed.

I think she's having nightmares, but I don't think it has anything to do with me or Luke or the environmental changes in our house. I think it's because the section of her brain that controls her imagination has clicked open and she's overwhelmed. Meanwhile, the section of her brain that lets her communicate these feelings is still locked down pretty tight. I did a little Google research and found that there is a whole school of thought on this issue and I'm probably on target. I don't think she's actually having separation anxiety related to me, as it doesn't really matter who stays with her as long as it's somebody. Greg, my mom, her 7 year old cousin Robin... She just wants a warm body in the room with her at bedtime. This weekend we were at my parents' house and she slept through the night with no problem both nights, but she also had a roommate both nights.

The problem is, I flat refuse to start the habit of sleeping in her room or letting her sleep in ours. We'll deal with the issues until she grows out of them. We've made a little progress and I'm now able to sit just outside her door while she goes to sleep instead of at the side of her bed. She doesn't get up and play or try to get out of going to bed, in fact she usually goes to sleep easily and quickly as long as somebody is there. But the minute I get up to go to the bathroom before she's asleep she comes up screaming "NO MAMA HAS TO STAY!" and goes into a panicked crying fit. And when she wakes up in the middle of the night she's only crying about one out of every three times and usually settles back down quickly with a few sips of milk and sixty seconds of my presence. She just can't quite do it on her own right now.

The worst part is that she and Luke have sync technology. She'll wake up at 2, he'll wake up at 2:30. Or 4 and 4:30. I'll get him fed and back in bed, she'll be up an hour later. This is what's killing me right now. Last Thursday my mother-in-law drove from Sebastapool to hang with the kids while I took a three hour nap. Over the weekend Greg and I abandoned both kids to my mother (and father and brother and sister-in-law-to-be and her three kids...) and drove ten miles back to town to check into a hotel and sleep. I slept for about 15 of 24 hours from Saturday to Sunday, and that probably would have been more if we hadn't had to kill 3 hours before we could check in and then had to check out by 11.  I really think I could have made it 20 of 24 hours under better circumstances.

From what I've read, the sleep issues at this development stage can go on for a couple of months. I'm not sure if I should start counting from when she quit going to sleep easily on her own or from when she started waking up in a panic during the night, but either way it should be winding down in the next couple of weeks. Theoretically.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Why We Need a Twelve Step Program

Greg goes back to work tomorrow.

We have been exceptionally lucky to have him home for seven weeks. However, this extended leave has left us with a problem.

Hi. My name is Susan and I'm an addict. My daughter is also an addict. We are addicted to having Greg home.

Tomorrow is going to be bad. I accept this now. Not sure what made me think I could handle a high spirited toddler and an infant by myself. Maybe if I get started now I can get them both dressed and diaper bags packed and everybody in the car in time to go see Greg for lunch tomorrow. Because Kaycie is going to need a Daddy fix.

Meanwhile, I am grasping on to the idea that tonight will be the first night ever that both of my children sleep through the night at the same time. It's been bad enough with Greg and I playing rock/paper/scissors to determine who gets up with which child during the night. With Greg back at work I really don't want him to have to deal with it unless it's absolutely necessary. Hopefully with the "regular" routine getting back on track Kaycie will settle down and start sleeping again. Let's just pray I survive until Wednesday when she'll have school again...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Trivia - Who Am I?

Some of these pictures are Kaycie. Some are Luke. Can you tell them apart??

 Picture 1:

Picture 2:

  Picture 3:

Picture 4:

Picture 5:

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Mash Up - Head Above Water Edition

As you might imagine from the previous post, things have been a little overwhelming at our house lately. Thankfully we've had lots of help from grandparents or else I would be in an institution by now. And there are a few really awesome things going on outside the realm of my kids, hard as that is to believe...

My  mom retired at the end of last week.

My brother is getting married on March 17.

My BFF Lauren is coming to visit for the weekend in... about 5 hours (woo!).

I have a whole list of other friends I haven't seen in way too long that I should be able to see next week!

In the "If you don't laugh you might cry" file, yesterday Greg and I were eating our romantic Valentine's Day dinner at Cane's Chicken Fingers when we saw that another guest  had left their cup on their table when they left. There's a current promotion going on where you collect peel-offs from the cups to win free stuff (which is how we got our dinner, a free combo meal) and we're pretty close to getting more free stuff, so we were debating nabbing the cup to get the peel-off...

Greg: You distract the other customers and I'll go grab the cup.
Me: What should I do, flash them??
Greg: We're in a restaurant full of nothing but women...
Me: All of whom are better endowed than I am. We need a new plan.

Sadly, we didn't get the cup. An employee beat us to it and threw it away. But we did collect more off our own cups and have a free sandwich combo waiting on us. We've already gotten the free 3-finger combo and a free tea. We also have a free extra finger and a free toast. We spend too much time at Cane's.

I hope to do some photography while Lauren is here to play assistant this weekend. I want to get some shots of the kids together, and some announcement-worthy shots of Luke (which is long over due). We'll see how that works out.

Updates on Kiddos (Luke Turns 1 Month Old!)

I'm not dead yet. And that's saying something.

I'm a few days late on the 1 month update for my little man. One month. We've had him for two (now three) weeks. Feel  more like years at this point.

Luke's doing well. He's eating and sleeping and pooping, which pretty much fulfills his job description at this point. He finally passed his hearing screen, was pronounced perfectly healthy at his initial pediatrician visit, and topped out at 9lbs 3oz and 20 3/4" at his 2 week pediatrician appointment. He's seen the pedi-cardiologist, where he was up to 10lbs 6oz at 3 weeks old, and been discharged from them with no problems (after two echocardiograms and an ECG).  Today he had his follow up MRI which we will get the results for on Monday when he sees the neurosurgeon at St. Dominic. Hopefully that will be the last of the baby appointments for a while. Or at least until his 2 month check up and shots.

He's an uber-calm baby, which is a very good thing because his sister is wackadoodle. She finally seems to be getting over her bedtime and bath time panic attacks. She has been getting up an hour earlier every day for the past few morning - first it was 7am, then 6, then 5, then yesterday morning it was 4... Today she did sleep until 7 again, so hopefully we're back on track there too. Yesterday was the culmination of a built up psychosis explosion. Her behavior has been getting worse with the blatant defiance and whining, but yesterday was off the charts awful. She tried to climb the drawers in her chest of drawers and pulled it down on top of herself (during nap time, I might add). She climbed the back of her little recliner and accidentally flipped herself over and landed on her head. She ran face first into a wall. She tried to climb into Luke's bouncy seat and got in trouble, so she looked me dead in the eye and started climbing back in. I pulled her out and told her no. She looked me in the eye, smiled, walked around to the side I wasn't blocking, hopped in, grabbed his pacifier and stuffed it into her mouth with a giggle. That got her in time out. She would ask for something to eat, I'd fix it, and she'd fall in the floor in tears because she didn't want it. This stuff went on over and over all day. I nearly burst into tears on more than one occasion because she was making me nuts on a whole new level and I didn't know what to do with her.

We had been having trouble with her begging for attention as soon as Luke woke up and needed something from us, but this was going beyond that. A few days ago when she was winding up Greg had made a comment about the possibility that her cough medicine was effecting her behavior. I didn't think much about it at the time, because it seemed that it had been going on longer than she'd been sick and she'd taken the medicine back in January without a problem. But she only had a couple of doses back in January and last night I got to thinking that she'd been on the medicine for 7 days already, maybe it was causing some of the issues. I know my friend Allison had noticed problems with some meds her daughter had taken causing behavior side effects a while back, this could be a similar thing. I didn't give her any last night or today and so far she's been her usual chipper, relatively well behaved self.  Suffice it to say, she will not be taking Rynex DM any more.

Greg goes back to work on the 27th, one week and two days away. I'm dreading that day more than I can possibly tell you.

Friday, February 3, 2012


Me: Luke sounds like a baby dinosaur when he cries.

Greg: Well, your friend Denise did suggest you might be expecting a velociraptor.

Me: **Gasp!**  You're right! I forgot! He's a veloci-potamus! Makes sense. Kaycie as cunning as a raptor.

Greg: That's not good. They gang up and attack on packs.

Me: We're doomed.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Meanwhile, Back in KaycieLand...

I haven't mentioned a whole lot about what K is up to over the past couple of weeks. I've been a bit distracted. Let me take a moment here to point out a couple of things.

She hasn't done well with all the craziness of the past week. She's hanging in there, but her schedule's off and she's had grandparents here a lot. Greg has been home, which is weird for her, but we were gone for three days at the hospital and since then we've been coming and going a lot. This is not part of our normal routine, to say the least. She had gotten to where she loved going to school and would basically kick me out of the classroom if I stopped to chat with her teacher when I dropped her off. The past couple of weeks she hasn't wanted to go and this morning she actually cried and clung to me for dear life (which, of course, set me off as well). Hopefully we'll be able to get her back into some type of routine and provide a little more consistent environment over the next few weeks. She needs it.

Meanwhile, she's starting to scare us a little with her crazy intelligence. I can't speak to what two year olds are supposed to do, but she seems to be making some pretty big leaps with her abilities. In addition to figuring out that she can climb just about anything, including the wall, she has suddenly started coloring in a more focused manner (scribbling over individual objects instead of just across the entire page) and drawing "people." I wouldn't have known they were people if she hadn't pointed to them and told me they were Mamaw and Papaw. She's also started asking to watch Mickey Mouse Clubhouse - but requesting specific episodes. And the kicker - she can use our Android tablet. Things we never taught her, like how to turn on the video player and watch MMC. I downloaded a few toddler games for her a few weeks ago but she's had trouble playing some of them, like the letter puzzles. Then one day this past week she started doing them with very little trouble at all. Now she can find the aps, start them, select which game she wants, and play them. Then she'll exit it and turn on a tv show. Seriously. I'm a little freaked out by this. Partially because it seems weird to let her use our phones and tablet, but she's pretty careful with them and I figure in her world using electronic devices is a skill she's going to need early on anyway.

I read a thing in Parenting Magazine the other night that said the average two year old should be able to make simple two word sentences. Ummm. My kid is making 5+ word sentences and combining them into conversations. She's very opinionated and likes to share those opinions verbally. She's also learning multiple-syllable words. Like chandelier. She learned that one in the lobby at the hospital. She also remembers songs, loves to sing them, and sometimes makes up her own songs and dances. And did I mention she's reading books to me? She can look through several of her favorite books and recite them to me, especially if they are rhyming books. The magazine also said she should be able to count up to three objects. She can get to ten, and sometimes higher although she tends to stall around 14.  One of the toddler games she likes is connect the dots, and she can complete the ones with up to 23 dots. 

This afternoon she had been playing puzzle games on my phone and apparently figured out how to send a text to my dad and emailed Greg...

And in the time it's taken me to type this she's taught herself how to adjust the volume on the videos on the tablet and downloaded two games from the market. Sigh. Hope they were free!

Anybody out there with a two year old know if this kind of stuff is normal? I really don't know...

A Brief Update on Luke

I know most of you have followed the updates on Facebook, but I wanted to post something just so I'll have the info later.

Luke's done great over the past few days. Wednesday night he got moved into one of the "private" little rooms in the NICU. Can I just take a moment and have appreciation for the fact we're at Baptist where they have private little rooms in the NICU, along with an awesome staff, calm atmosphere, and respectful policies? I love that we can visit any time around the clock except shift change (6:30-8 morning and night) AND that they will close the NICU to visitors if they have a new admission or any serious problem with one of their babies. A couple of times we've gone up there right as they were closing for an admit, and my mother-in-law had to leave once because they were admitting a baby. I'm ok with that. And if they have a serious complication they need to deal with, I totally respect the fact that they don't want visitors back there getting in the way. I'm sure we disrupted things quite a bit the day Luke was born and I'm glad they closed it so there weren't distractions while they got him stabilized. If it inconveniences me a little to have to wait or come back later, I'm ok with it.

Sorry for the little detour there. Anyway, since they put Luke in a room we were able to let Kaycie back to visit with him for a minute. She wanted to hold him but had to settle for holding his hand and helping me hold the bottle to feed him. Then she wanted to go back to the waiting room to play, because that's just way more fun. :)

He had an MRI on Tuesday and the word from the neurosurgeon was that he wasn't concerned by the size of the clot and didn't think it would have any long term effect. He couldn't tell if there was any subdural bleeding (inside the brain instead of on the perimeter) but if there was it was minimal and shouldn't cause any additional problems. He wants to do a follow up MRI in a month and will be seeing Luke for additional visits after he is discharged. I feel good about that.

Since then he's gone two nights without any major breathing episodes requiring oxygen, so today the doc said we could start the countdown. Today is Day 1. He has to have five good days before they'll send him home, so if all goes well we're looking at next Wednesday, exactly two weeks from when he was born. 

I'm pretty excited about that.

Today he weighed in at 8lbs 13oz. He's a growing boy. :)

Earlier this week the we began discussing the financial issue of this little emergency detour. It won't be cheap, but we'll find a way to deal with it. The part of the discussion that hit me pretty hard was when Greg pointed out that it's a really good thing we didn't buy the house we wanted a year or so ago.

We were very, very, very close to buying that house. It was a little over our budget and it would have made things pretty tight, but we could have managed. It was a great house. Perfect for what we wanted, really. The layout. A big extra "office" area. Large living room. Big master bath. Awesome deck off the back. Great neighborhood... But we just couldn't get comfortable with buying it. When the guy who had a contract on our house kept having to delay because he couldn't get his financial records in order, we took advantage of the opportunity to back out of both contracts. It was so hard to do at the time, because we wanted that house and we really really wanted out of this one. But it just. Didn't. Feel. Right. I've never regretted making that decision, but it always seemed weird that it felt so wrong when everything was perfect. I think I'm starting to understand. Now we're facing some monster bills, but we have some extra savings and a little extra room in our budget. We also have a paid for house that we can refinance if we need to. Medical bills of this nature can bankrupt people. I know that too well. But right now it's not real high on our list of priority concerns. We will take care of it one way or another. I can't tell you how nice it is to not have to freak out about that.