Tuesday, January 29, 2013

This may be crazy...

Joe is going to Florida for a week in February for work.

February is one of the worst months of weather in Missouri. Usually, it's cold. Snow. Ice. Yuck.

I am not that crazy about being alone with a 22 month old and 4 month old 24/7 while Joe is out enjoying 60 degree weather, gorgeous beaches,and uninterrupted sleep.

So how about we all drive 12-13 hrs and enjoy the weather and beaches with him.

I am not sure if this is the best idea ever, or the worst,or mostly good with some bad moments, etc.

The thought is that we will drive through the night mostly. Luke has so far done well with long road trips, Matthew sleeps well in his car seat. We will get a beachfront hotel--there are several options in the price range Joe is allowed to spend--the boys and I will spend the days on the beach, obviously too cold to swim but Luke loves just being outside and picking up rocks, then have time with Joe when he is done working. It would be pretty close to free, travel is covered, hotel is covered, food will be close to covered.

Still...two kids under 2 on a roadtrip? In a hotel? On my own with them during the day? 

My first idea was to enlist help via my mom or sister. My mom is a no. She just had her gallbladder removed and can't go away for a week after missing work from that. I haven't asked my sister yet. My fingers are crossed. Otherwise I may try to figure out how to hire someone as a mother's helper there, just to have an extra set of hands. I don't need a babysitter but imagining trying to drag all of the stuff and 2 kids down to the beach for a couple hours, on my own, does not sound super exciting to me. We would save outings for when Joe is around. But the alternative, being stuck in Missouri in the cold on my own with them does not sound exciting to me either.

I have asked around others' opinions. The response is 75%-GO! and 25%-no way. It is too bad we cannot just rent a condo (which are the same rates or even lower as hotels for that week! ugh. annoying.) It would be a no brainer to go if we went the condo route, but that's not going to happen (free hotel vs. paying entirely out of pocket, free wins to my husband.) I am leaning heavily towards going, if nothing else to rain on Joe's childfree parade. (He keeps saying even if he goes alone it won't be a vacation for him...yeah right. I wouldn't trade my kids for anything and would not be able to leave them for a week anyway...but to eat meals without a toddler...sleep...etc. I am going to be way bitter about that if I'm here while he's there. He would be working 8 hours a day, not exactly slaving away.) Anyway, obviously I won't do it if I think it would be miserable for the kids or myself. Matthew is pretty happy as long as he has boobs. Luke is happy as long as he can be outside. I like roadtrips and I think it will be good family time for us to unplug. (Joe working is sort of a good thing b/c we don't do so well together 24/7 in a small space under stressful conditions. I think we'll actually get along better in this situation then we would with our stubborn personalities on a normal vacation.)

Anyway, I am leaning heavily towards going, hopefully with some help, maybe without it. He has to get his plan to drive approved, but his coworkers have done it and said it shouldn't be a problem.

Hopefully it will fall into place.

Friday, January 25, 2013

3 months, 21 months

Matthew at 3 months--

Smiles a lot, at other people and us, loves being talked to and his swing, also loves getting his diaper changed because over his head is a mirror and he gets so excited kicking his legs and flinging his arms and smiling when he sees himself.

Eating every 2ish hours, nursing has been super easy, though he isn't super crazy about bottles, he will reluctantly take a Tommee Tippee bottle. Wakes up about twice a night, not too bad.

He sometimes "talks" or coos and doesn't mind his brother putting his hands all up in his face too much. Does not really like sleeping in a bed/rock n play, when the car stops moving, or loud sudden noises. He did like being "worn" in my baby carrier today.

He's in a mix of 3 month, 3-6 month, and 6 month clothes. Around 13 lbs.

Luke at 21 months
Favorite phrases: "uh oh" "there it is" "bye Joe" "it stuck"

He got his first haircut Monday at a kid place. It went horribly (held him on my lap screaming and crying the whole time even with Blues Clues on), and looks bad...like slightly better than a 5 year old with kid scissors did it. Next time I'll save the money and trim it myself, couldn't turn out any worse or more uneven!

He is hitting and pinching and biting and..."fun".  The more we say no (firmly) or ow, the more he laughs about it. The only thing that works is telling him to be nice and then he stops and pats us and lays his head there. Oy.

He LOVES LOVES LOVES drawing and coloring. With pens, markers, crayons, whatever.  He has used his knockoff magnadoodle a ton the past few weeks. Also obsessed with bubbles and dogs.

Sleeping is still crap. Bedtime usually 8ish, up somewhere between 2-4 for a half hour or so, up for the day around 6am, nap around 10:30am.

Eating is iffy now too. Likes mac n cheese, cheese, fruit, oatmeal, cereal, animal crackers, tacos, carrots and brocoli.

Climbing everywhere and on everything.

A few funny stories:

Luke hates being covered in his sleep and almost always kicks it off or will wake up and get mad. The other day it was really cold so when I was up and he was in deep sleep, I put a light muslin aden and anais blanket over him. A couple hours later he had rolled over and tangled himself in it and was muttering still asleep "stuck! stuck!"

The other day he took my hand and led me to the sliding glass door and said "doggy", wanting me to let Koda in, I opened the door and the second I did he went up to the opening and shrieked very loudly, "DOGGY!" Koda had been about to come in, even with Luke standing there...but the shriek was too much, he took one look at Luke and backed down the steps.

Usually when we go somewhere, I start the car with remote start (best invention ever!), put Matthew in his infant seat, then bring Luke and stuff out to the car, then grab Matthew and snap his seat in the car...2 trips. Today we were about to go out to the car when Luke whined and pointed at Matthew and said "baby" while tugging my hand to the door. "You want me to bring Matthew out now too?" He nodded. Probably he doesn't really care, but he seemed like he did.

He still shakes his head and says no when he really means yes often.

He likes to say "bye Joe" to Joe, which he picked up from Blue's Clues because he used to say bye Joe every time at the end. But now he says it to Joe.

He likes drawing on his tummy especially.

Alright, off to bed for me, have a couple videos to post soon.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Is is spring yet?

Lately, Luke has been ridiculously bad with climbing. I think it's a combination of a lot of things: 1)it's winter and we spend way too much time inside at home (plus someone is usually sick, Matthew currently...again.) 2) He is a toddler 3) His gym class where he has really improved his climbing skills 4) New baby is an attention hog, climbing gets him attention, AND it's really a PITA to interrupt feeding Matthew to stop and get Luke down from the entertainment center.

This has been especially a problem this week because prior to this week, we had a long baby gate all the way across our entertainment center which kept Luke off of it and from pressing buttons. (It was really a superyard that we just made straight all the way across the living room.) He figured out how to climb the superyard and onto the entertainment center. So we moved it, and today was just ridiculously bad. No amount of yelling, time outs, redirection, positive attention, etc. was helping.

After awhile, I got fed up, trapped him in his high chair, gave him a couple markers and a snack and turned on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse while he colored and I fed Matthew. That worked well for awhile, though his coloring got sidetracked by his body art:

He was bad about being trapped in the high chair and also me taking his picture without letting him have my camera. The purple is marker...and here is his tummy "tattoo":

The kid does love to draw and color, though.

Anyway, THANKFULLY, it was nice outside today because Luke was making me seriously contemplate getting a job at McDonalds just to pay to bring him to daycare/a babysitter. It was a BAD day, up at 4 am, again for the day at 6, only took a half hour nap (timed while Matthew was awake), it was just ROUGH.

I bundled both boys up and outside we went. I decided to try to get Luke to sit in the bottom seat of our stroller and figured out how to turn the top seat facing me so I could see Matthew while we walked. It took an animal crackers bribe but once Luke was sitting there he liked it and climbed back in later on his own, so that's good, because Joe would have had a cow if I had to tell him that our new pretty expensive stroller was useless as a double because Luke won't sit at the bottom and the top seat is only for up to 35 lbs and he's already 32 lbs plus I don't really like the baby at the bottom anyway (even though that is supposed to be okay too.)

I ended up splurging yesterday for the car seat adapter so now I can take off the top seat and put our car seat on it. That was the main reason I haven't been using it much for out and about. With as much as we've already spent, for the stroller, and the 2nd seat, I was trying not to buy anything else. But meh, the convenience will hopefully be well worth it, especially this spring and summer when we're out more.

Matthew sleeping up top

Luke holding his animal crackers at the bottom (yes, his coat matches)

FYI, even though our stroller has a really nice one handed push, pushing 30 lbs of stroller and 45 lbs of kids (combined weights), up a hill, is not that easy but makes for an excellent workout.

Anyway, I can't wait for it to be nice enough to go outside EVERY DAY for as long as we can stand it. It is looking like we are going to be logging in lots of pool time this summer because staying inside with Luke for multiple days in a row really stinks.

Luke has thankfully decided he mostly likes his brother. He still does the "bayyybeeee" thing and points or touches him. He likes touching his head/face while we TRY to get him to back off and only touch Matthew's face. Poor Matthew.

 Also, Matthew is getting really big, really fast. I really need to try to catch a picture of him smiling:

Monday, January 14, 2013

Out of the mouths of babes

On Friday as my mom was recovering from her gallbladder surgery, she showed me something my brother wrote for school after asking if he had sent it to me (he hadn't), and with the warning and some hesitation that it "might make me sad". I read it, and cried, but it was a good cry. Then I made a copy of it and brought it home to Joe and he read it and cried too. One of his teacher's comments on the assignment was that it made her cry too. Anyway, I'm going to share a big chunk of it here, going to keep most of his errors as they are although fix the ones I really can't stand to leave as is. I'm impressed, my brother was 13 when Olivia died (and he never "met" her or held her or anything,) he wrote this recently as a 16 year old. I'm really glad my mom found it and shared it with us.


Standing by my brother, we drifted toward the plaza. As we walked, rain hit the top of my head and I felt it soaking into my hair and clothes. The sky was a dark gray color and casted a gloomy feeling over us. It was almost like the sky was mourning with our family. We passed a row of tombstones one by one, as if it were an endless sea.

The ceremony began. The priest began talking; his speech was short but powerful. At the end he said Olivia might not have had much time on this earth, but she still felt the love and care from her parents in God's kingdom. In the center where she was sat a small coffin painted white with flowers resting on it.

Everyone mourned with my sister and brother in law. I knew my brother in law almost my whole life, and I have never seen him cry before. I always saw him as one of those strong hearted men that didn't let anything get to him. That's why it shocked me to see him so distraught and destroyed. I couldn't even imagine the pain he and my sister were going through, but I still felt their pain and mourned with them. People shook his hand, so i thought I would do the same. When I attempted to, he said "Come here Buddy", and I could feel the pain in his voice. It was as if he had been stabbed in the back; I could feel the sting of the cut. He then embraced me with a hug and I hugged him back. My sister was also crying; the feeling of sorrow was overwhelming and felt as if it were suffocating me. It was the worst feeling I ever felt, because I had never experienced such a tragic event in my life.

As I stood there, I realized I would never forget this day, and that this day would leave a permanent scar on my memory. I then said a prayer and bowed my head. I prayed for my sister and brother in law, and my niece that was taken away too soon from this earth. The ceremony was then over and my family and I lingered back to the car. We got in the car and left Jefferson Barracks.


"Nick, do you want to hold your nephew?" I turned my head to see my sister holding her delicate new baby.
I replied, "Yes, I would love to."
"Hold him like a football," my brother in law instructed me. My sister passed her baby to me and I rested him in my arms awkwardly. He was so tiny and fragile. I examined his face,and he was in a deep slumber. Occasionally he would stretch or yawn and move his tiny arms and hands.
"Nick why are you holding him so weird?" questioned my dad.
"It's the first time he has held a baby, so give him a break." My sister said, defending me.
"Nick, how does it feel to be an uncle?" asked my sister. I searched for an answer in my mind. I never really thought about it before.
"It feels good I guess. I'm finally not the baby of the family."
"Alright Nick, we need to leave and let them rest, " said my dad.

I passed Luke back to my sister. My dad then lectured my sister on getting enough sleep and not doing anything straining. We lingered by the door and said goodbye to her and the rest of my family. My dad walked out the door, and I took a final glance around the room. For the first time in a long time everyone seemed happy. That feeling never happens enough and never lasts very long. It was as if we took a break from the world and all its problems. On that final thought, I slid out the door and down the hallway. I couldn't help thinking about the tiny white casket from almost two years ago.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sweet 16

I remember finding out my mom was pregnant. I was almost 13ish, my sister was 11,my brother 10. She came home from a doctor's appointment or test and looked quite upset. She grabbed the phone and went in the bathroom, so we wouldn't hear, to call my aunt. I knew something was up, and the bathroom has 2 doors, one from the main hallway and the other connects in her bedroom, being the nosy kid I was, I sat in her bedroom and listened. I didn't overtly hear, but from what I did hear, I suspected. I think I was mostly in denial too.

When they told us a few days later, my sister and I were mad. We had been sharing a bedroom our whole lives and they had just started talking about building another room in the basement and now that wouldn't happen. I remember saying, you are trying to ruin our lives, aren't you? And Now I'm NEVER going to get my own room!

Our next door neighbor was about my mom's age and had a baby not long before my mom found out she was pregnant. My sister and I were in love with that baby and begged and pleaded with my mom to have another baby. He was so cute, blah blah blah.  My mom said NO, and as we kept begging, ended up telling us all of the reasons why it would be horrible for us if she had a baby. We stopped wanting a baby sibling after that. Little did we all know, we were going to get our wish anyway.

The winter Nick was born was a really snowy year. My mom had a lot of false labor and went in to the hospital two or three times only to be sent home. She managed to talk the doctor into inducing her finally. I remember being excited about the baby coming and also excited that they trusted us (me!) to be home alone (our neighbors and family knew and were probably checking on us). I remember talking to my dad on the phone shortly before Nick came and he said we didn't have to go to school the next day and that he would come and bring us to the hospital to meet the baby the next day. I was really excited to get the day off school, but then more stupid snow came and we had a snow day off anyway. Still, it was exciting.

It was a different dynamic, being a teenager and having a baby sibling. We were more than just siblings. We weren't really parents either but we did a lot of parenting stuff (diapers, putting him in the car seat, making bottles, etc.) just because of our ages and because we liked doing it. Nick slept in our room with my sister for almost a year as a toddler. She actually encouraged it and would go up and get him and ask if he wanted to sleep with her. We babysat him a lot. When I got home from school and didn't work or have practice, I would sometimes pick him up early from daycare. We would play this game where I made him give me directions to get home and would sometimes purposely "get lost" in our neighborhood which he thought was hilarious. He was carted around to all of our baseball/softball practices and games, but I think he mostly liked it and all of the attention he got and all of the different playgrounds. I hated it when we were out somewhere and my mom would walk off and leave me with him, not because he would be bad, but because people would give me dirty looks and assume he was my kid. Nick was just little when my mom tried to teach me to drive in a piece of crap '85 Corolla stick shift...in the high school parking lot. I never did get the hang of it, my mom isn't a great driver (lol-understatement), and I don't think could drive a stick shift herself barely...so that was a disaster. But I do remember poor Nick in the back seat as the car jerked around and my mom and I screamed at each other. He asked if we were going to die.

The hardest part about leaving for college, and shortly after that, moving overseas with Joe, was leaving Nick behind. He started kindergarten that year and would send me pictures with awkward kindergartener handwriting saying he loved me. I still have them. I hung them up on our walls in our den in the Azores to feel a little less homesick. When we moved back, he would come over and spend the night with us just for the heck of it, a lot, which we loved. Now when he comes over it's to help Joe do heavy stuff like mounting tvs on the walls and moving furniture.

Today this kid is 16. He plays football and has a girlfriend (always!) He is funny and a great uncle. It has been awesome (and sad) to watch him grow up. He was a great 'practice baby' before we had our own babies. Hopefully we didn't scar him too much!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Hello 2013

Life has been hectic.

Luke continues to bring home illness every week from MyGym. Last week was a particularly brutal cold that wiped everyone out and resulted in a visit to the doctor on Friday when both boys had bad colds. Turns out Luke had his first ever ear infection (and absolutely no signs of an ear infection, never pulled on his ear, no fever, etc., so I guess it's good I brought him in.) That visit was a particularly hellish experience. Luke managed to run out the door of the exam room while I was undressing Matthew to be weighed. He spent the entire time screaming, along with Matthew, and took 2 nurses to weigh him because he kept throwing his body off. Finally at the end he calmed down enough to eat animal crackers OFF THE FLOOR. It was awesome. Our new-old pediatrician has daughters the same age and he tells me that it gets better after the next four months. And pretty much said that yep, the first 6 months are hell. Good to know that we aren't even halfway through yet. Matthew's the only one still sick and I am really not liking how his cough sounds so we will probably be doing it all over again tomorrow although this time I'll be smart and keep Luke contained in the stroller with cookies or something.

I switched back to the pediatrician we had been using with Luke until Matthew was born. I just never got comfortable with the one we had switched to. She gave Matthew two different kinds of eye drops for "pink eye" that wasn't pink eye. It was a blocked tear duct. And then even when she finally figured out it was blocked tear ducts, she never gave us the suggestion to massage the inside corner of his eye with a warm wash cloth...which is what we were told to do with Luke. I finally did it on my own and his eyes have been a lot better. Then she said he had a yeast infection-diaper rash, but it wasn't and in fact it got a lot worse when I used the stuff. And last but not least, said he had reflux when I tried to tell her I thought his problem was really my oversupply/gas, when the reflux medicine she prescribed didn't help or work, she prescribed something new instead of reconsidering the problem. There were some other things I didn't like, too, but the biggest thing was I lost trust that she had any freaking clue what she was doing. Pink eye is fairly obvious! Anyway, I feel much better now that we are back to our first pediatrician. I was really stressed out about how awkward it would be to go back, with a 2 month old he's never seen, but both boys screaming at the top of their lungs the whole time helped.

I'm not sure if I mentioned that I passed the math test or not, I did! In fact, I placed in college level trig as my "starting math class". Yuck! It took two trips and a long trip walking across campus with Matthew in his carseat (OMG HEAVY...why the hell am I not using my fricking expensive new stroller? Because his car seat doesn't fit in it and it's freaking heavy too.) Anyway, I am FINALLY, officially on the waiting list for the sonography program. Yay. The bad news is that the wait is 2 years. And I'm not exactly sure what that 2 years even means...two years from now...like fall 2014? Hopefully not anything later than that. This put me in a bit of a funk for a few days because I really hoped to start this fall, but I think I'm just going to hang in there. I still need to email and find out for sure. And I need to consider if I'd rather do cardiac ultrasound instead, which might have a shorter waiting list, but it would mean no babies. I did a quick search and there were many more jobs online posted for cardiac ultrasound vs. medical, at least right now. I really want to do OB, but there is no guarantee I'll get to even if I go into "medical" sonography, and there is a good chance I could end up having to do a lot of everything (uh, like testicles, to be blunt).  So maybe switching to cardiac would be a better idea..? Sigh. I am still mulling over this. I briefly considered getting more information about a radiology tech program...like the people who do x-rays and stuff...but they make significantly less money than sonographers, don't have as strong of job outlook, and the program is like 6 semesters so I wouldn't really finish any sooner than I would even if I have to wait for ultrasound. And I'd rather do even cardiac sonography over x-rays, anyway. Complicated.

Besides being sick, the boys have been good. Matthew started smiling on Christmas eve and will now "coo" and talk a bit. Luke said his first sentence yesterday, when he tried to pull his chair out from under the coffee table and he was tilting it upright as he tried to pull it out so it wasn't budging. He looked up at me and said "Uh oh. It stuck." Today he threw me for a loop when he was sitting on thed diaper table and pointed at both of my breasts and said "boods". I was a little horrified, thinking he was saying boobs, then he repeated it again and touched where he was pointing and I realized he was pointing at the Cardinals, on my Cardinals tshirt, and saying BIRDS. Phew. Then today after he finished taking his antibiotic from the oral syringe, he lifted up his shirt and pressed it against his belly. I'm not really sure if he was just goofing around with that or what, but it struck me that he might have been imitating me giving myself lovenox shots in the stomach a long time ago. He was in the room when I did them once or twice but usually I did them after he was in bed, so it wasn't like a regular thing he witnessed. And I can hardly remember that (I stopped them at 26 weeks or something, so a long long time ago). Weird, but the kid is picking up a lot more than I tend to give him credit for. He is also climbing and getting into trouble nonstop and I cannot wait for it to be nice outside on a regular basis because he NEEDS to get out of the house for a bit every day.

Christmas was hectic. Matthew cried all night Christmas Eve (the fake reflux that was a combination of my oversupply and him wanting to nurse nonstop and not take a bottle, I think.) Luke was a hot mess all day Christmas day because of being sleep deprived. So they were both just crazy. He does like all his toys and it's been nice to have some new stuff to play with. It took 3 days for him to open everything (from us/"santa") because he would open something and want to play with it and have a huge fit if we tried to get him to open something else. I turned 29 and had a pretty nice birthday.

My baby brother is turning 16 and will probably be driving in 2 days. I can't believe it. I was holding Matthew tonight and saying it doesn't seem that long ago when Nick was that little. (And Luke!) And Matthew himself isn't even all that little anymore, he's up to 12 lbs 9 ounces as of last Friday, more than double his birth weight. It does go so so fast.

I think my quote for this year will be something I saw from another blogger:
"The days are long but the years are short."

 Because holy cow...the days do seem really really long right now, and I have never been so happy to see Joe home from work as I have the last couple of months. But I know a few months from now I will be looking back on this time in amazement. I can't believe Luke will be 2 in just a few months. Or that it's already time to do Matthew's 3 month pictures at the end of this month.