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.