Monday, December 31, 2012

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand SCENE!

I have spent the last 10 days not touching the lap top.  I've used my Kindle Fire HD as a way to access Facebook and Twitter.  My iPhone has been for email.

My time has been spent smothering my son with love.

2012 has been an amazing year.  My son starting talking, he crawled, stood, and walked.  He runs through the house, babbling and learning words so quickly now.  He went through his second surgery and came out of it okay.  There was some trauma, but he's overcome that, and now feeds himself and drinks out of straws.

I made a trip back to CA that helped cement for me that I really miss my family but this move was the best decision.  Working from home is the greatest thing ever, and this quiet life is something I would never trade for anything in the world.

We filed bankruptcy, bought a van, and are slowly rebuilding our credit in order to move on with our lives.  In the next 60 days we will be moving into a house, one that we intend to buy in the next 2 years ourselves.

The speech therapy people will not need to be an option.  James has learned more words, and in the end has shown us that he knows more than we thought he did.  If he brings you his wooden puzzle pieces and you identify the animal, he tries to make the noise.  Do you know how adorable it is to tell him he has a goat and he laughs, touches its face, and says "baa baa"?

He has also discovered the usage of Skype.  He played with my mother the other night, making noises with his hands and mouth, which she mimicked and applauded.  The next morning when he saw the screen he indicated his mouth to play again, waiting for me to turn it on for him to play.  We'll be spending more time with this technology now that he can interact more.

The next year is so full of possibilities.  We are on the right track now, and hopefully will be able to keep marching along.  I'd hoped to get back to CA in May, but it may be more for Halloween due to our move.

But we will get back there. 

So, to those of you who read, thank you for stopping by.  Have a safe and happy new year's eve, and i will see you in the morning!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Twas the Friday Before Christmas....

And the world hasn't come to an end.

I guess we should pay some bills then.....

You know what the greatest thing about being on a tight budget is?

The amount of presents to wrap is limited.  I've done the shopping, things are under the tree, and there isn't anything else coming that I have to worry about wrapping.

I've also completed all grocery shopping, so we won't have to leave the apartment for a story until the 27th.

See that?  I avoid the extra crazy!

Well, if you don't count the family gathering tomorrow night.  But that's a different type of crazy.

It's also my last day of work for 2012.  Thanks to the way the holidays lined up, I don't work again until January 2nd.

I foresee a lot of naps in my future.

Now, if it would only snow a little...

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Keeping It Smooth





I don't know when it happened, but the men closest to me all chose to be bald.

The first one to do it was the husband of a friend, both of whom I went to high school with.  His logic was that he recognized what was happening, it was a part of his genetics, and he decided to embrace it rather than fight it.

I don't think we were even 30 when that happened.

The other two, who are so close to me that I made sure my son met them both, did so on their own as well.  Not necessarily for the same reason as my friend's husband, but regardless it worked for them.  I don't know why, but when they say bald is beautiful, they are right.

We've asked them about how they keep it shaved, and they've shared.  They shave themselves, their wives do it for them, and normally it's just with a basic razor and shaving cream.

When I saw this from The Art of Shaving I was immediately thinking of them and how great this would be as a gift for them:

This is gorgeous, right??
 

I guess in my mind I always pictured them with some cheap disposable thing, and this just makes it look so much more....grown up. 

I had to say it.  We just attended our 20th high school reunion so there is no denying it.

Did I mention they both wear a goatee most days as well?  This would actually be pretty nifty for that as well.  My husband may actually enjoy something a little more like this one since his shaving is at the last minute when we decide to go out.

The joys of being a stay at home parent, right?

Are you looking for a gift for someone who would appreciate an actual shaving kit as opposed to the nearest can of shaving cream and razor?  Or something more like my husband, quick and clean for the last minute shave on the way out the door?  This is the way to do it!

You really should visit their site and look around.  Right now, to help with holiday shopping, they currently are offering some great promotions for you, all through December 30th.

There's Free Ground shipping and $15 off your purchase of any The Art of Shaving Full Size Kit, until 12/30/12 with Promo Code: 15offFSK at checkout.  Or 20% off your purchase of The Perfect Shave Solution. Valid unitl 12/30 No code needed. Discount automatically applied at checkout when you purchase a full size Pre Shave, a full size Shaving Cream or soap and bowl, Shaving Brush, Razor and After Shave. Plus Free Ground Shipping and 10% off ProGlide Power Save Set, through 12/30/12 Promo code: 10PowerShave.


Get shopping!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Just Like That - More Grey Hairs!

Did you know that Einstein didn't speak until he was 2?  My mom says they joked that it was because he had nothing good to say until then.

James has his words.  He also works on his Jedi skills by signaling to things he wants as if he can will them into the palm of his outstretched hands.  It reminds me of Kevin Smith in Mallrats.

You get bonus points if that reference was instantly a picture in your mind that made you laugh.

So, we went to the Cleft Lip and Palate clinic to follow up with them.  It's been 7 months since surgery, and I was excited to show them how well he was doing.

But they are saying he doesn't have enough of a vocabulary.  That he should be saying more words.

He is 18 months old.  He says our names, a few key phrases that we recognize since we are with him, and can identify Boba Fett in his Star Wars ABC board book.

They asked if we wanted to do early intervention and have someone come work with him.  Which stressed me out and had me worried we were doing something wrong for about a whole minute.  Then I thought about him and us and realized something.

How do you work with a kid who doesn't talk in front of strange people?

Since yesterday, he has started saying "roun, roun, roun" as he spins in a circle.

Which means he can say it but just doesn't want to all the time.

If he hadn't been born with the cleft lip and palate, and these clinics weren't there, no one would question his talking.  Or not talking to be correct.

Why does he have to grow up so quickly for people?

He'll talk soon enough, and we probable won't ever be able to make him stop.

For now we turned down the offer.  We go back in March, and I'll probably turn it down then.  I want him to get to it when he's ready.  Not because the system says he's supposed to have a vocabulary of 15 words by this age.

As long as he can communicate with us for now I think that's okay.  I'll make sure he can make his acceptance speech as president of the Galactic Federation when the time comes, don't worry.

Meanwhile I need to look for a bottle of hair dye to mask the bunch of white hairs that this and the family stuff from yesterday caused.  I am SO looking forward to a quiet weekend!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The One Where I Break My Rule....Cause I Need to Vent

I apologize for length in advance.  But I am so beyond ticked off this morning.

You see, I'm a planner.

I also love the holidays.

Thanksgiving is where I hit my stride.  The turkey, the stuffing, the sides, and even desserts.  I love doing it all, lining it up so that everything hits the table warm and fresh.  Empty plates afterward makes me so excited because I know that everyone enjoys my cooking.

Christmas has always been second to it.  I don't know when that happened, but it did.  While I still make sure my tree goes up, the decorations are set up, this is more for James now than anything

I love that he looks at his tree and lights.  I'm excited just thinking about him opening presents and playing with his great grandparents with his new things on Christmas Day.

I'm just so sick of the family bullshit.

When we moved out here, I tried to find a way to be a part of both sides of the family.  After we were pregnant, this was something I wanted more than anything because it was important to me that James knew his family.  This is a huge bunch, and there are generations here that he would learn so much from.

One side has always accepted me.  I've  been a part of everything, and now my son is so entrenched in their lives that he loves being with them.  He wiggles out of our arms to play with them, and they love him so much that you can't help but see it.

The other side I thought had accepted me.  But in the last 14 months I have come to accept the fact that I am not one of them.  There are no invitations to gatherings or birthday parties, with everyone "assuming" that just because they all get together that we know to join them.

Kinda hard to do when you hear about it hours in advance, or are expected to have known about it via some random FaceBook comment.

The worst? 

When plans are made around me and no one asks if we will be there or gives any information about a time.  Then we are told we were expected to be there.

The point that broke me?

A girl's trip was planned.  It was supposed to be the sisters and their kids.  Since this isn't my mom we are talking about, but my MIL, I was not thinking to be included at all.

But then the trip turned in to her, her sisters, their daughters, an ex in-law of theirs, an almost daughter-in-law plus her daughter and I think her mother, and somewhere along the lines one of the boys who was too young to be home alone.

Was I hurt?  Yes.  My son and I were never included or asked to join.  I wanted him to be a part of this family, whom I actually admire and like, but nothing.

After that, and an incredible crying jag over wishing we could be anywhere but here, I told my husband I was done trying.  If any of them wanted to see us they could reach out to us.

Which is so the opposite of the other side of his family.

So, now we are at Christmas again.

Grandma asked me over a month ago if we could do a brunch here on Christmas morning.  They want to see their great grandson open presents and then stay and visit with him.

I jumped on it.  This is me at my element again.  Cooking, hosting, and enjoying family in our home.  James enjoying all the attention and getting to play.

A month ago, people.  We made these plans a month ago.  We have never been invited to do anything on Christmas with the other side of the family. 

Our first Christmas, I was 17 weeks pregnant and it was snowing, so we got a ride over with the grandparents to the in-laws house, opened presents, and then headed home.  As the rest of the family was headed out, my MIL mentioned where there were headed to and asked if we wanted to join them.  We had no car, it wasn't safe for me to drive any way, so we headed home.

Last year I visited the nursing home practically every weekend where James' great-great grandmother is.  I sat with them every Saturday, talked and laughed.  When my family came in November, I didn't go to visit, so when I did resume it the holidays were 10 days away.  I sat as they made plans, assigned dishes, and played with James.  But no one even looked at me and told me what was happening.  No time or any info.

When A found out, he lost it.  He called his dad and told him that we were staying home on Christmas Day and that they could come by to see James any time they wanted. 

They came on the 26th.

This year, after the summer trip, and birthdays, and then Thanksgiving with hardly a blink, my MIL called last night to ask us about Christmas.

I love my husband.  He told her we had made plans because no one had invited us to anything and were going to be home all day.

She proceeded to call my FIL and get upset with him.  I should mention that they have separated.  Dad is joining us on Christmas Day because grandma and I don't want him to be alone.  MIL is more than welcome,  A told her this last night, but it appears that the issue is that we made plans.

You see, somewhere along the line, we were supposed to know that the family gets together at her sister's.  We were supposed to know we were included.  And why were we not going and having everyone at our place?

Gee, you think maybe because that's what we did last year?

I'm done with it.  Over this last year I've come to see that relying on her to be included just leads to being miserable.  James deserves better than being a last minute inclusion on things or completely omitted altogether.

I deserve better.

So, we are forging ahead with our plans.  I've mailed our cards, with our family portrait and his 18 month shot, to each member of both families.

Have we heard back from her, asking when she can see him for Christmas?

No.

Will we?

Maybe on the 26th.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Complete Opposite of Technology

I don't know when exactly, but at some point while in his bouncer, James discovered the art of twirling things with his thumb.

Everything is twirled or spun, and if he can carry it then it goes to the linoleum in the apartment.

Why?

Cause they spin faster and longer there.  Duh!

On Friday, we watched as a light go on in his head.

His great grandfather took us to his company's holiday dinner, and James was included in the gifts for little kids.  Santa presented him with a John Deere bank and a small truck of some kind.

Don't ask me what it was.  My husband recognized it, but to me it was a piece of farm equipment.

James initially went for the wheels, spinning them to watch them go.

But then we put the truck on the linoleum,  right side up, and gave it a little push.

That did it!

He loves making it move along, and has become the typical little boy with his truck in his hand as he rolls it back and forth on the floor.  Add to that a Hot Wheel he had in his room waiting for this moment, and another little car we'd bought him with a monkey in it, and he is having a blast.

We know that one of his gifts this year will be a track set that his little monkey car will fit on, along with 3 or 4 more cars for it.

And I think it's going to be a huge hit!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Proving that Technology Does Teach

I've mentioned before that James loves the iPhone.

Not just holding it, but unlocking it, touching the typewriter buttons to make noise, and even watching the stock ticker go by.

We've had free apps for him from Fisher Price on my phone for over a year now.  There are a few, but he loves the Baby Animals app.

We love it even more after this morning.

At first, it was a great distraction.  Touch the screen and the animal made a noise and a woman's voice identified the animal.  Tilt the phone from side to side and the animal would slide down the screen and giggle.  The screen also knew when he had the phone upside down and would adjust so the character was still standing correctly. 

Want a new animal?

Touch the screen again.

Today we were playing along, and the animals were coming up in their normal order.

And James KNEW THE ORDER.

How do we know that he knows?

Because on top of making monkey noises for the monkey, James likes to growl for the baby tiger.  Before the baby penguin left the screen as he touched it, James growled for the tiger and then launched into giggles.

And of course was ecstatic when we applauded.

My son remembers the order of the animals as they are appearing.  And knows the sound to go with the one he likes.

Technology is winning as far as I'm concerned.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Christmas Tree is Up!

Normally, I put the tree up either right after Thanksgiving dinner or the following day.

This year, we had a family dinner scheduled for the Sunday after and needed the space.  But as soon as they were gone, it went up.

No, I don't have a picture yet.  I need to do that, but am trying to coordinate it with James being nearby and touching it.  Can't you picture that sweet moment??

Though, that may prove to be a little more difficult.

In order to avoid the over usage of the word "no", this year we put up the small 4' tree and loaded it with decorations.  It is sitting nearest the wall on top of our extended dining room table.

When James woke up on Monday, he didn't seem to notice or care it was there.  That's been the case each day.  It's on, he sees the lights, but he isn't trying to get it.

Then this morning, after we both forgot to unplug it all night, my husband made sure to unplug it before James came out for breakfast to give the lights a break.

James ate his breakfast, was let out of his high chair to play, and he stopped and looked back.  He stared at the tree, specifically the Yoda tree topper, and lifted his hand to indicate it and grunted.  Then he looked at me, looked at it again, and did it again.

So, I plugged in the lights.  He smiled and walked away.

Apparently, he has noticed it.  Now to get the camera armed and ready!

Thursday, December 6, 2012

On Sleep and Napping

A few months back, my husband read an article somewhere that talked about sleep for toddlers.

The article pointed out how much sleep on average that children of different ages needed.  It also made a point of stating that just because you let your child stay up later didn't necessarily mean they'd sleep later.  They would awaken when it was time to eat, so if you let them play because they didn't seem tired then you were just setting things up for disaster.

We discussed this after I returned from CA with James.  The time changes he went through made his sleeping patterns erratic, and while he was still a happy boy, there was no real rhyme or reason to his sleeping.

There were attempts to put him down earlier, but they'd last a night or two before he was sounding as if we were torturing him before he finally settled down to sleep.

Slowly, James has once again taken over with leading the way.

He is back to going to bed at 10 each night, waking closer to 9 in the morning.  We still get him in for a nap at 2, and he normally sleeps until 5.

That nap overlaps nicely with the last few hours of my workday.  I get to work on projects uninterrupted while A gets time to do laundry or clean up and then rest himself.

I love weekends when he sleeps in, because we all get to.  It just makes us all happier, you know?

The downside is that work is keeping me hopping right now.  The days are packed, so by the time James is asleep I am exhausted.  I still am up till almost midnight, but some nights I have been in bed and asleep not long after him.

Alone time for adults is hard to come by for now.  But we have his great grandparents to lean on, and we are going to be taking advantage of that soon.  There are movies to go see, and gift cards to be used!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

More Communication, Less Throwing

James' primary way of showing us he wants something or is upset or just flat out angry at something is to throw something.

Considering that the majority of his toys are made of wood, this isn't going over very well with anyone.  We're doing the best we can to stop this habit, but the truth is he just gets frustrated.  He can't tell us what he wants, and doesn't know how else to express frustration when things don't fit.

Along with those wooden toys, he has the normal assortment of battery operated fun that most toddlers have these days.  From a cookie jar shape sorter that sings, to a magnetic farm with music and pieces to fit into it.

It's that farm that is what brings us today's tale in communicating with an 18 months old.

He loves playing with it, and recently figured out how to get it off the fridge and back on.  The pieces that fit into it are magnets as well, and he is learning to place them on the fridge, the oven, the dishwasher, and then into place on the farm itself.

James has also found great pleasure in placing the pieces onto the farm and then throwing the whole thing on the floor.  Why?  Because the pieces pop out and he thinks it's funny.

The problem with that one is that there is a 50/50 chance that the switch that turns the music on/off may get bumped on landing.  If there is no music to accompany the playing then life as we know it is coming to an end.  Or at least you would assume that based on the amount of crying when buttons are pushed and nothing happens. 

This is normally followed with the toy being thrown again as someone reaches full frustration, and then one of us calmly turning it on, pushing the buttons to show it works, and James beginning the process all over again.

Sunday morning, A was playing with him in his room.  James opted to leave him and come out to the living room to play, and A waited back there for him. 

He told me heard the farm, and a crash, and then no noise.  As he waited for the cry or another crash, James did something that apparently surprised him.

Our son brought the farm back to his room, placed it on the floor, looked at his father, and then calmly pushed the buttons.  When there was no noise, he stood, stretched his hand out to it and said, "uh oh" at the toy.

Then he waited for daddy to turn the toy on, test the buttons, and walked away with it to play on his own.

Seriously, the kid is learning daily.  Yes, everything that falls or pops open is told "uh oh" by us.  He now does this himself when he drops something, even if it is just a piece of cereal.

But where did he figure out that indicating the "uh oh" would work to his advantage to get something fixed?

And when will he apply that to everything?

Because I'm tired of dodging wooden puzzle pieces.

Just saying.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Why He Will Wear Onesies FOREVER

The dryness of winter has affected my son.

James has some dry patches of skin and, like any sane person, will scratch them when it irritates him.

This has meant two things:

I've had to keep an eye on the length of his fingernails.  Normally I let this go.  He doesn't scratch himself, and the wrestling involved to trim 10 fingers is bad.  At least with his toes I can put him in his high chair and give him something to snack on. 

I've also had to start using lotion on him.  Something we've never done, not even as a newborn.  He's just always had amazing skin, and there was nothing needed from us.

This itchy skin thing has made James into Al Bundy.  His hands are down his pajama pants when at home, and if we are out the same thing happens.  He is trying to get to his thighs, and also has reached down the back of his diaper to scratch his lower back/upper buttocks for relief.

Now, if you read the title of this post and the story so far you would think that's it.  A onesie will keep him from easily accessing these spots, so if we make sure to use lotion, that would be the end of the story, right?

If only.

This morning, daddy was finishing his breakfast as I made something for myself to eat.  James had been playing in the living room, and suddenly sounded upset.  It was the whine that we associate with him getting a puzzle piece stuck somewhere, like under the couch, where he can't reach.

As I was finishing cooking, A rounded the corner from the kitchen into the living room while saying, "Alright, what'd you lose?"  Then he asked, "Did you poop your diaper?" 

Which was suddenly followed up with, "Oh, holy shit!"

I asked what was wrong and looked up in time to see James being carried back to his room, with one hand held out in front of him, palm up, by his father.

Someone had apparently needed to scratch in his diaper.  His full diaper.  And when he pulled out his hand, he pulled out proof of what he had in there.

Lucky for us that he hadn't had time to touch anything with that hand.

And this, Internets, is why he will be wearing a onesie for as long as he can fit in them.  It's to keep his hands out of his diaper.  Especially when they are filled with poo.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Communication is Key

I don't know when it happened, but James has realized a few things.

First and foremost we know that he knows names.  If I say that "Gamma and Gampa" are here, he tears out of his room, down the hallway, and arrives in the living room with a huge grin for his great grandparents.  He also has proven that if you tell him to give kisses to someone, and use the pre-approved name for that person, he will look around until he spots them and then deliver kisses on the cheek.

To go along with that, he has discovered the art of being a ham.  If he does anything that is followed by praise and hands clapping you can be guaranteed that he will continue to do that for the next 20 minutes.  That includes kissing on the cheek.

Apparently it is all a game to him.

Now we get to add in that he has learned how to indicate he wants something: he raises his hand, palm out towards the item, and stares at you.

This is used for everything from a drink of water to his Honey Nut Cheerios, to even my iPhone or the pad of paper I am using for a grocery list.  It's something he started doing at the beginning of November, while with my sister in CA.  Something clicked when he would indicate the fan over the living room and she would turn it on.  Now it's pretty much the go to for him.

Well, that and hitting what he wants.  Like the couch.

Someone likes to have the couch to himself, going from one end to the other, bouncing on cushions.  Whoever is in charge of keeping him from landing on his head will normally sit on the floor in front of the couch, tickling and giggling with him until he is tired.

Normally we're tired before him.  That last activity can go on for 45 minutes.

Finally comes my favorite new thing for my little 18 month old:

He now attempts to mimic what we do.

The little guy was doing his version of monkey noises, but we can officially chalk up growling when he is asked what a monster says, as well as growling like a tiger when the tiger comes up on his app on my iPhone.  And yes, they are different growls.

But it's not just noises.

There's nodding and shaking the head, waving his arms around like his daddy does when they are playing chase, and then the stomping of the feet.

I even think I heard him humming something that his toy cookie jar had been playing early.

His personality is showing more and more.  He still prefers to be left with his toys to figure them out, stack them, spin them.  Though I have to admit the one frustration we've had that forced us to hide a couple of toys.

James realized that the pictures on the puzzles he had matched the pieces he carried and played with.  I don't know where it clicked, daddy says that he did work with him on them, but it happened.  The problem is that you can tell he knows where they go, but he can't get the animal shapes in all the time.  He is still learning to adjust them to fit, and when it doesn't happen he will get mad.

You wouldn't like him when he's mad.

So, for the sake of all our sanity, the boards are up on a shelf.  He still has all the pieces, and the boards come down so we can work the puzzles together.  When he gets tired of it, they go back up and life is good.

I'll let you know about climbing next time.  That has started. 

We are so not prepared for this.

Monday, November 26, 2012

The One Where He Doesn't Gain Weight

James had his 18 month check up today.

In 3 months he has grown 2 1/4 inches and not gained a single ounce.  His weight stays the same, but his body keeps growing.

I asked the pediatrician if this was normal, and he said not to worry.  The only concern would be if he lost weight, which hasn't happened.  We let him know that his appetite is obviously there.

The kid eats 2 packets of Quaker's oatmeal for breakfast every single morning.

I can't even finish that much.

James is active, though.  Constantly playing, running, bouncing, and spinning.  He spends time stacking things, trying to fit shapes into puzzles, even paging through books.

But he prefers to run and spin.

I love that.  That he wants to explore and play.  It's one of the reasons we moved here to start a family. 

This Spring we'll be moving again.  Into a house, with a yard, and stairs, and room.  He's going to have so much to explore, leaves to gathers, rocks and pebbles to play with.

For now, my wooden spoon will have to do.  He's learned that if he lays it a certain way it spins.

So that's what he's doing.  For now.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Exhausted....But In A Good Way

I fell asleep before James did last night.

Thanksgiving was a success.  Food and family together, eating and talking, playing with James.  It was all good.

And I managed to get all the plates into the dishwasher in 1 load!  There are a couple of bowls left, but they'll be washed with the next batch of dirty things.

Even the trash went out last night!

Today means movies and leftovers and video games.  Nothing productive whatsoever.

This weekend, the tree will come out.

Right now, it's Finding Nemo with James.

Here is hoping you all are enjoying a quiet holiday weekend!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Giving Thanks

We are on a pretty tight budget, as usual, and so we can't do to much in the way of helping others. What I can do, personally, is make time to donate blood.

Monday, I clocked out for lunch and made the drive to a local mall to donate. Of course I parked at one end of the mall and they were at the other, so I quickly trotted past the stores and got to my location.

As I was leaving, I realized that this mall had at LEAST a dozen trees with tags for people to take and purchase something that another family needed or wanted. We've all seen these at malls and even in some offices, and a few years back I actually took one and bought the wanted toy for the little boy who had asked.

What struck me as I was leaving was a tag on one that simply asked for some diapers. That's it. A box of diapers.

I am so thankful for the love and support our families have given us. Our son has so much, and we are still spoiled regularly by everyone. I make sure to always thank everyone when they give James something, make sure they know how much we appreciate them. We had so many diapers when he came home from the hospital, gifts from family and friends, that we didn't buy our first box until he was about 7 months old.

It's Thanksgiving. Today I am making a huge meal for the family here, and will hopefully talk to my family in CA as well. And I will always think of the fact that our son has never been left wanting for anything and it's because of all of them.

And if you can, take a tag and make someone else's life a little easier. I actually think we are going to go look for that tag I saw and make a trip to Sam's Club for a huge box.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

And Now A Break

Not from blogging.  I enjoy coming here and sharing.

No no no.

Every vacation in the last year has been planned.  There were things to do.  People to visit.  Surgeries.  Reunions.

Today I start a little stay-cation.  Just nothing but cooking for the family this Thursday and spending time with James.

Which seems a little redundant to some people.  I work from home.  I play with James throughout the day to be completely honest.  But when there isn't work, when I can turn off the laptop for a bit, then the focus is on him.

He knows the difference.

So does my husband.

I do need to share something that apparently happened this morning while I was at the optometrist.

James was in his high chair, eating oatmeal, and Super Why was on in background.  At the beginning of each episode, the characters identify a problem, and once it's stated they normally respond with  "Oh no!".  As they did this today, James apparently turned to the screen and said "uh oh".

Those moments when we realize he is paying attention are what get us both.  My husband says he couldn't stop giggling at our son, which just made our little ham smile.

I think we have the makings of a future class clown!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Unique and Personal

Want to send a unique and completely personalized greeting card to someone? 

Want to be able to do this for free?

Today and tomorrow you can do that!  Go HERE and see what I am playing with and loving right now!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Seeing It Makes It Real

While I've thought myself as a planner of things, not until reading My Life Map by Kate and David Marshall did I actually PLAN.

The thought of making a life plan or a vision board of some kind is not something I thought I'd ever do.  I've seen others do this for different things, from goals to organizing for a remodel.  And now that I think about it, isn't that really want Pinterest was made for?  Though, admittedly, I pin recipes there more than anything else.

Using this book, I took a look at life in all its aspects and was able to stop and think about where I am, where I've been, and where I hope to be.  This includes everything, from work to play, and even family and friends. 

Have you ever really stopped to think what friendships would be there in 10 years?  I have now.

If you are looking to make changes and need a place to start, pick up My Life Map and work through the book.  Still on the fence?  Head over to the BlogHer Book Club , read more about it, and join the conversation!

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Perils of Traveling

So, we both have a cold.

Luckily this isn't like last time. This time it's just a stuffy nose that is almost gone for me, and James is just starting.

It's been a week since we returned home.  My sleep pattern is finally feeling normal.

James is trying.  He really is.

I remember hearing once that the rule is you need 1 day to recover for every 1 hour of time change while traveling.  While that was the case for me, with the little one it is anything but that.  He still can't decide when he wants to sleep, some days opting for 4 hour naps, and we are at the mercy of the sleep whine.

Have you heard of it?

It's the noise - the constant, incessant noise - made by a child who wants to sleep but the parents aren't sure if that is the case because they've only been awake 2 hours and shouldn't need to nap yet.  It's this whining noise that seems to be coming from the very core of the child, and if you hear the noise then you have exceeded their expiration date and have only moments to get them to bed.

If you miss that moment, they may suddenly have a burst of energy which will only delay a bigger meltdown.

I really am sick of that noise.

So we watch the clock.  Time it from when awakes, and estimate that perfect sweet spot.  The one between when he isn't tired enough to nap and might just yell and throw things from him crib and when he is too exhausted and will do nothing but cry for 20 minutes before crashing from pure exhaustion.

It's a delicate balance, but we're managing it for now.

Well, as well as you can manage it.

The joys of parenthood.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Whose Bright Idea Was This??

Okay, I understand why there is a Daylight Savings Time thing.  It made sense long ago.

Now?

Not quite as much.

At 17 months, James has gone through 3 time zones overnight, changed seasons from CA's version of Fall to VA's version of Fall, and now his schedule is all over the place.

This is just nuts.

We all need a nap.  It's the only thing on the agenda for this weekend.

Naps.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Tales From the Flip Side

Well, James and I made it to CA and back again. 

The trip out was easy.  He did well on both flights, getting antsy on the second one because he wanted to run around.  Luckily we shared a row with this wonderful woman who had 2 children at home and had traveled alone with them.  She told me not to worry about him, and played and talked to him even when he interrupted her reading.

The actual time on the ground was great.  I spent plenty of time with my sister, got to meet my niece's husband and talk with him, spent time with my mom  and brother, and met the children of my friends who are younger than James.

Biggest surprise: my aunt flew in from Indiana to surprise us and meet her great god son.  That was just the best.

I learned that change is not easy for someone so young, and bombarding him with change without his dad made it hard for him.  Since we've been back he has slept 12 hours each night and 4 hours each afternoon for his nap.

That is an insane amount of sleep, but he apparently needs it. 

My high school reunion was okay.

The people who mattered most to me were at my table.  Dinner was okay, though not worth $75 for a chicken breast and a scoop of mashed potatoes.  I will never understand the need to have a DJ there to blast music.  I would have preferred time to talk to people.  In the end, our group spent most of our time in the hallway, talking where we could hear one another.

The flight home was not the same as the one out there.

James refused to sleep.  We were on a red eye flight.

That's all I am saying about that.

I honestly have never seen him attempt to climb out of his stroller until he caught sight of his daddy at the airport waiting for him.  That was just the greatest thing.

Now we are readjusting to life again.

James misses his Aunty.  She played with him all day, and you can tell he misses that level of attention.  His appetite is back in full swing, and he is sleeping like he would prefer to hibernate.  His daddy is having to get out of vacation mode, and that's been like waking up slowly from hibernation.

Today is a better day, the best one since we returned.  And it will keep getting better.

Next trip will be via train and all 3 of us will be together.  I think it will be easier on all of us, and if so then we will be doing more visits, maybe even directly to Disneyland and then have them meet us there for a family vacation.

Time will only tell.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Anxious

I think I've told this story before.

When I was in the 1st grade, a boy wrote me a note that he liked me.  I had a crush on him as well, so that was a good thing, but I apparently couldn't handle the pressure.  My mom says I was sick to my stomach and missed school over that note.

Tomorrow morning I will check in for the flights to CA online.  Then I will do laundry and pack our things.

James and I leave Thursday morning.

My husband was worried I was coming down with a bug due to the numerous trips to the bathroom today.

I told him about my 1st grade crush and that I'd be fine once I was on that first flight. 

I love flying, and can sleep through the worst turbulence.  That won't be as easy to do when traveling with James alone, but I still will be able to be comfortable in the air.

But right up until we begin to taxi down the runway I'll be watching what I eat and staying near a restroom.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Oh, Sandy....baby....

We live in a corner of the Roanoke Valley, shielded by a mountain that is part of a national forest.  That mountain has saved us from brutal wind storms that knocked power out in other parts of the county.  I blame it for us not seeing more than 1 day of snow in the last year while my in-laws saw 3 days of it plus hail and other interesting forces of nature.

Both of our homes are on opposite ends of the county, with that mountain protecting our side.

Which is why I don't think Sandy will be so bad to us.  Those storms just might give us some snow for Halloween, but otherwise it's just so cold out.

But Sandy is doing me wrong in other ways.  Or might not.  This storm is so all over the place that for now I think I'm safe, but I'm still crossing fingers that it will be okay by Thursday morning.

You see, I need to fly out from one town in NC to another, and then I will be headed to CA for 5 days with my family and friends.

If she shifts her path and starts heading south, this could end badly.

Truthfully, I love flying, and this doesn't bother me at all.  My husband hates flying, and he is nervous about this whole thing.

And he isn't even going with us!

So, for all those in her path, stay safe and dry and keep your loved ones close.

I'll be here staring at the websites tracking her progress, and hoping Sandy decides to leave.  Soon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Today's Mammogram

I've heard the worst you can hear about mammograms in general.  How uncomfortable it is and how it hurts when you are squished like a pancake all in the name of screening.

This was not that bad.

Believe it or not, the worst part of the whole thing was that the "gown" they gave me was meant for someone at least 3 sizes smaller than me.  And at least 2 cup sizes smaller as well.  Luckily I am comfortable keeping my arms crossed in front of me for extended periods of time.

We arrived about 15 minutes early, signed papers, and then took a seat.  At exactly 9 they called me back, had me strip from my waist up, and then I put on the gown.  I had a locker for my clothes, and I kept the key on me.

I sat in the small waiting room watching something on HGTV for about 10 minutes.  And then the party started.

Since this was my first mammogram, the woman doing it went over what was to be expected.

During a normal screening, 4 pictures are taken, 2 of each breast, and then results are mailed.  Due to the fact that the doctor had felt something, I would be having a diagnostic exam.  On top of those 4 pictures, my right breast had another 3 taken, and then I would be having an ultrasound.  I'd have the results of everything before leaving them.

She was very careful to explain that thanks to modern equipment it would be quick, and I shouldn't be uncomfortable.  There was no longer a need to flatten thing in order to get a clear picture, all I had to do was keep still and that would do it.

And she was right.

There was no discomfort for me, it took about 10 minutes total for all the pictures, and we chatted the whole time.  Her granddaughter is the same age as James, and we were comparing notes.

The pictures were uploaded for the doctor to review, and as soon as he had done that she came in to let me know what was happening and let me know that the ultrasound tech would be in for me.

The ultrasound was a breeze, I met the doctor who was reviewing everything, and he completed 1 final exam manually and then with the ultrasound wand.

All told, I spent an hour there from the time I was taken back to the moment I walked back into the main waiting room to tell A we could leave.

They'd reviewed everything.

"Normal glandular tissue."

Isn't that the greatest thing you have ever heard/read????

Friday, October 19, 2012

Finally!

The biggest struggle we've had besides the whole sippy cup thing is trying to get James to feed himself.

The joy of him not doing that is that we have never had to worry about him putting things in his mouth.  Nothing could force him to do it, and while that was great and all, I worried about his skills.

On Tuesday, we had dinner here, ran a couple of errands, and then decided to visit at his great grandparents house.  By the time we were nearing the end of our visit, he was ready for a snack.  His great grandma and I decided to experiment.

After he was shown some Honey Nut Cheerios, he did his normal thing of walking at you with his mouth open like a baby bird waiting to be fed.  But this time, instead of feeding him directly, we both made him put the one he had in his hand into his mouth.

There was a fight at first, but after rounds of applause from everyone there, he grinned and did it without fighting.  Still not on his own, but at least he let us bend his elbow for him.

Yesterday, as he sat in his high chair after breakfast, I decided to see how well it stuck.

And wouldn't you know it?  All I had to do was tap the wrist that had the Cheerio in it and he automatically put it in his mouth and grinned.

Then he just started eating as he played in his chair.  Using both hands!

Mind you, when he is done with eating they end up on the floor.  But that's what he is supposed to do!

We brought home a container of his new cereal the other night, and I'll be getting more in different flavors to try next week.  This also will make snacking while traveling in 2 weeks so much easier for me!

As his great grandmother reminded me, he was going to do it when he was ready to.  And once again, he is doing just that.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

I Was Actually Nervous About Reading This...

I have a confession to make:

When I first opened the email about this BlogHer Book Club selection, Diary of a Submissive by Sophie Morgan, I hesitated. 

I wasn't sure about the material, and couldn't decide if I would honestly be able to read the book and write about.

Now, I'm glad I did.

In Diary of a Submissive, Sophie Morgan very openly and honestly talks about her life.  More specifically, her sex life.  That openness is refreshing, though I admit at times in the beginning it made me a little uncomfortable.  But as I continued reading her story, I became interested in what she learned about herself and how this was a part of her that she became comfortable with.

Now, I haven't read any of the other books that have swept the nation in the last year.  I'm not a prude, but I couldn't understand the fascination.  Not until it was explained in a way that wasn't something fictional and instead felt like a conversation with someone.

I honestly would recommend the book, but do want to warn that there is some explicit details that may not sit well with everyone.  In the end, it's necessary to get the full feel of what is happening, and understanding the writer.

Still not too sure?  Please visit BlogHer's page here to get more information about the book and join the conversation!  I really don't think you'll regret this one.

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Maybe It's All the Pink This Month

I am proud of the fact that when asked about family medical history I can normally say that other than some diabetes we are all pretty damn healthy.

It's kinda nice.

This month is best know for Halloween, but a close second is that it's Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  We are doing our little part here by saving all of the pink yogurt lids from James' daily snack to mail in.  It's not a whole lot, but it's something, and everybody can do a little something.

My favorite this month has been seeing football players, coaches, and referees with the pink on the field.  It's everywhere, and it's a sign that people are aware of breast cancer and that it's a very real problem.

Due to The Colonel being out on medical leave, my annual exam for all things womanly was pushed from August to September.  Then jury duty happened, and the next available appointment was for today. 

Side note: If it really is this nuts to get an appointment then I start to think that being an OB-GYN might be a great career choice.  It really is just nuts, people!

I have to share something that I think I wrote about before.  I'm not sure, and it may be TMI, but it made me laugh this morning.

At one of my first exams, back in my teens, the doctor said I should know that I have a long birth canal.  This is relevant because a normal speculum isn't that long.  In order to see my cervix, a normal speculum has to be inserted upside down, which means I get pinched by those handles.  I don't need to explain in detail how much it HURTS to have a hair in that area get stuck and pulled, right?

So, every since then, I have made it a point to tell my doctors that I need the large ones.  Did you know that they make them in large?  The duck bill part that is inserted is longer, and it makes life better for everyone involved.

Today's appointment was with another doctor who saw me while The Colonel was on vacation towards the end of my pregnancy.  She had literally just touched me with the cool metal when I jumped and yelled wait.

For the record, no good to scare the doctor and nurse at that moment.  I thought she'd dropped things when she shot her hands up in the air and looked at the nurse to make sure she saw that I wasn't being harmed.

Once I explained, a large speculum was warmed, the exam went on, I was allowed to get into my clothes, and then run out to pee because she had pressed a little hard at some point.

Before all that happened, there was the breast exam.

Which resulted in my having to schedule a mammogram for next Tuesday.

Due to a small lump she felt on the lower right quadrant of my right breast.

My husband says fatty tissue.  My best friend says probably a small cyst.  My mom is lighting a candle for me.

Am I worried?

Not really.  Not today.  Ask me again after next Tuesday and I may tell you that the tension headache went away as soon as the examine was done.

That's what I am focusing on.  That after the exam is done I'll come back here and write to you about the excruciating details of my first mammogram and then tell you there was nothing to report.

Just keep telling me that that's what will happen, okay?

Friday, October 12, 2012

Just Something to Share

When we were at the hospital for James' surgery in May, he shared a room with a baby who was having physical therapy with a staff teacher.  The first day, James watched and listened to her playing with the baby, but with it only having been a day since surgery, he wasn't up to doing much.

That second day, she invited James to the play mat, and I sat with him on the floor.  She shared a truck (happened to be the same one he had at home) and a wooden puzzle.  James was ecstatic to be playing, and the baby she was working with looked excited to have someone else playing on the floor.

I mentioned that I loved the puzzles, and she told me she had ordered them online.  She went on to tell me that she orders a lot of the things online for the hospital, and is always looking to get a good deal to save them money.  Her favorite thing?  She had signed up on eBates and was taking the money they refunded to buy more for the kids.

Fast forward to September, and I had to start looking for shoes for James.  I remembered her mentioning eBates, so I went to look at the site.

Since then, I've earned a $10 gift card to Target just for signing up, and so far 1 check for $5 thanks to a referral I made to someone else.  So, that's $15 back, and $35 spent on shoes, and I have another $5 pending plus the percentage back from the cost of the shoes that will be sent to me in November.

At this rate, his shoes will be paid for.

So, I'm just writing this all out so you know that it's for real, and that I have actually received payment from them.

And if you are like me and wanting to save money this Holiday season, you may want to try it.  Just click HERE and start by signing up.  All you have to remember to do is go to their site to find the store first, use their link to the store to shop, and then wait for the refund check.

Yes, it really is that simple.

I am not receiving any compensation for this post and I really do use eBates for all our online shopping now.  If you do sign up using my link above then I will get a referral credited towards my account, but even if you don't want to do that, you should at least give them a try by visiting them directly.  Happy shopping!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Holiday Cards!

So, as usual, I am ordering holiday cards to share with family and friends.  And I've been perusing the Shutterfly site, and also was asked to share something with you.

Curious?  Go HERE and see some of my new favorites.  Leave a comment and you may even win a special something from Shutterfly!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Is It Starve A Fever, Feed A Cold?

Can you even say you are starving your child these days without someone calling some authority to take them from you?

Technically, you aren't doing the starving.  It's just that when there's a fever involved, sleep and laziness take over all primary functions.

Last week, I thought A was going to have a nervous breakdown about James' lack of appetite.  We'd finally got him to drink using straws, he's eating less baby food daily, and suddenly he just stopped everything.

We did make sure to attempt some baby fruits and yogurts.  Those he would swallow while curled up on one of our laps as the other circled with a spoon.  He never ate a whole container at once, so we had a shelf of half eaten things that we rotated around, and nothing went to waste in the end.

You could tell when the food had hit his system as he suddenly would have energy and demand to play. 

Have you ever seen someone with a fever spin in circles and then collapse into a giggling mess?  He'd do it two or three times and then be too tired to do it again.  I wish I hadn't been laughing so hard that I'd thought to record it.

As he started feeling better, he had more of an appetite.  He still didn't want food though, just yogurt and fruit, and so we just let him lead and didn't fight.

By Sunday, he was showing no signs of anything being wrong.  Well, if you didn't catch a look at him after he ran around for a bit or sneezed.  If you saw him at those moments you'd wonder why no one had invented something to catch the snot that runs out of a toddler's nose.

For the record, my husband used to hunt deer.  He's dealt with cleaning it and everything.  He isn't squeamish.  But one look at the amount of stuff running out of James' nose and he lost his appetite and gagged.

I admit to giggling at him over this.  Until James sneezed on my hand.

Anywho.

So Sunday, after playing for 2 hours at his great grandparents' house, James didn't want to nap, and by dinner time appeared to be as energetic as he had been that morning.  I knew I wanted to give him something that he would swallow easily, but with some protein so that he felt full, and warm to help melt his sinuses.

The only thing we had was chicken flavored ramen soup.

So I made egg drop soup.

All I did was beat 1 egg in a small cup, and as soon as the timer went off because the noodles were done, I slowly poured it into the pot as I stirred.  As soon as it was all in, and I confirmed that everything was cooked, I cut the heat and then added the seasoning.

James ate almost all of it, including the broth, without any hesitation.  There were only a few spoonfuls of noodles at the bottom of the bowl.

And since then has not stopped eating.

Example:

Dinner last night consisted of a tub of peas, a tub of a baby dinner, the last 1/2 jar of fruit, the last 1/2 container of yogurt, and several ounces of water.  Then when we sat to eat, James came and ate about a serving worth of noodles in alfredo sauce.  And then about half a slice if Italian cream cake that was on my plate for dessert.

He didn't ask for anything else, but woke of this morning demanding breakfast.

Do girls eat like this?  Cause I don't remember my nieces eating like this.

I fear for his teenage years.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Counting Down

Normally at this time of the year I am muddled down with work.  My job always gets busier at this time, and it has since I was 18.

Wow.  20 years.  That's a long time.

This time around, my workload isn't as bad.  There's just enough work to keep me busy, and at the same time there is no rush and I have time for James.

He is learning daily, spinning in circles until he falls on his butt and giggles, playing with his wooden puzzles and actually trying to get the pieces in the right places, and following and mimicking us more and more.

As all this goes on, I keep looking at the calendar.  Time is flying, almost too fast in some ways, not fast enough in others.

He grows every day, and that I wish I could slow.

But my brother will be here this weekend.  I've not seen him since leaving CA, and I cannot wait for some time with him.  To introduce him to his nephew and watch them play.

His girlfriend is coming, and after the 24 hours we spent with her in August, I'm actually just as anxious to see her as well.  She fits so perfectly in our family, almost as if she's been missing all along, and getting time to talk and laugh again is making me bounce in my seat.

Three weeks after they arrive, James and I will be headed back to CA for a short visit.  I'll be at my 20th high school reunion.  He'll be meeting people that I can honestly say I've known longer than half my life.

Oh, October.  I knew I loved you for a reason.  Now let's get to the good parts, okay?

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Who Knew Snuggling Could Be Hazardous to Your Health?

James is in the middle of his first cold.

For the most part he has been pretty good.  His appetite is not really there, but we do make sure he is eating yogurt and fruit and drinking water.  Tonight he even had some vanilla shake.

He's been wanting to snuggle, laying on us while on the couch, and sleeping on his daddy.  Which is something he hasn't done in at least 6 months.

While I've been enjoying this snugly period from the little toddler who won't stop, I feel that I've become a victim.

Last night my throat was sore.  This morning, the runny nose and fever.

Needless to say that when James decided he wanted nothing more than to sleep on me during his nap today that I didn't have the strength to say no. 

And slept with him off and on.

It looks like A will be next in line with this, and hopefully we will all be clear of it by next weekend when my brother arrives.

Have I learned my lesson?

No.

Because no matter what happens, no matter how busy I may be, when that little boy comes to me with a snotty nose and feverish face, saying "mama" and indicating he wants to be picked up....

Well, he wins.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The One Where He Is Forced To Wear Shoes

Well, we did it.

I found the perfect pair of shoes at Stride Rite's website, on sale for $35, and in his size.  I measured his feet twice, checked for width, and then jumped for joy after I received the confirmation that the order was received.

They arrived yesterday during his nap, so I opened them and prepped them for later.

Once he was awake, he had something to eat, drank some water, and then was changed for an outing to run errands.

And the shoes went on.

He stood in the middle of his room, staring down at them, and looking at us as if we'd gone insane.  He bent over and tugged on them.

I had to take his hands and lead him out of his room and into ours so I could get a fresh shirt and tennis shoes on.  He just stood there in the doorway, looking at the shoes, then at me, then back down.

Daddy prepped his bag with snacks and diapers.  I finished and walked down the hallway, opened the front door, and then called to him to come down and walk out with us.

He didn't budge.  Not even when we stepped out.  Not even when the neighbors dog came to the open door and barked at him.

I had to go back down the hallway, take both of his hands, and slowly lead him to the door.  He walked carefully, still unsure as to what we'd done to him.

20 minutes later, we were at his grandparents' house, and he was set down to play.  It took another 30 minutes before he was his normal self, playing in their living room and kitchen, taking magnets from the fridge.  Walking in his shoes.

He did it.  He wore shoes.  He even kept them on after coming home until it was bedtime.

Today we are at home, so they aren't on.  Tomorrow, we'll put them on again and wear them inside to continue to get him adjusted.

Baby steps.  Just taking baby steps as my baby shows me more and more that he really is a toddler now.

Monday, October 1, 2012

A First For Us

We are spoiled.  We know this and are so grateful.

James has great grandparents who adore his every move, and they regularly show up with clothes and toys and snacks for him.  He has always had enough clothes for everything, some times too much of it, and often things that he maybe only wore once or twice.

The seasons have definitely shifted in the last 2 weeks, to the point where he actually needs socks to wear inside and out, as well as shoes.  His pajamas, which he's worn since April, are all short sleeved, and so not practical for someone who still doesn't stay under the covers when he sleeps.

So we bit the bullet.

You know how people say that having a child is expensive?

They weren't kidding!

In the last 5 days we have spent roughly $100 on things he needs.  And we aren't done.

He now has 6 sets of pajamas with long legs and sleeves, 6 pairs of white crew socks to wear with the 1 pair of new tennis shoes we ordered, and 4 pairs of socks with rubber grips on the bottom for wearing inside so he doesn't slip.

He still needs at least a hoodie and then a warm coat, a hat to keep his ears and head warm, and a couple more long pants and long sleeved shirts.  Not to mention at least 3 blanket sleepers for when it gets REALLY cold this Winter.

While standing at the checkout on Saturday night, I looked at A and said this was the first time in 16 months that we had to spend money on James for clothes.  Between hand-me-downs and gifts from my mom and sister and nieces and brother and then A's family, James has been clothed and comfortable for almost the first year and a half of his life.

Yup.  Spoiled.  All of us.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Success At Last!!!

So, after almost 4 months, James is drinking liquids without a wrestling match, and almost completely on his own.

After the cleft palate surgery, making him take a bottle was torture for everyone involved.  Sippy cups did no good either.  He wanted nothing in his mouth, and proved to be stronger than we thought when it came to fighting it.

Since most of his liquids came from his baby food each day, we didn't worry at first.  But his transition to more regular foods have meant that something had to be done.

And then he discovered chocolate milkshakes.

Yes, I'm a horrible mother.  But he liked them, and it gave me an opportunity to teach him to suck through the straw and not just have me feeding him as if he was a baby bird using a dropper.

Last week, during dinner out, the waitress brought him a kid's cup with a straw.  We didn't think it would work.  He had been fighting just drinking liquids because there was more effort involved.  The milkshake was thick and stayed up in the straw, so he was able to sip and not have to wait for the drink.

But he did it!

So we brought his cup home, and now he is drinking a few ounces with each feeding and laughing.

Next up, finding a sippy cup that has a straw, will not leak, and he will hold.  Then he'll be all set to fly to CA in November!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

He Thinks He's Old


The biggest news for the adults in this household is the purchase of a newer vehicle.

Yes, we traded in the 1998 Lumina for a 2006 Dodge Grand Caravan.

We, ladies and gentlemen, now own a mini van.

So, this last weekend we found ourselves wandering around WalMart, and playing in the electronics department. As James and I were wandering and babbling to one another, my husband went through a bin of CDs and found me something.

The Best of Journey. And it's the original Journey, with Steve Perry doing vocals.

Our new car has a cd player, so we went out to head home and immediately opened it to listen to on the way home.

Halfway there, from the passenger seat, my husband looked at me and smiled.

"I'm in a mini van with my wife, driving home with my son, and listening to Journey. I am officially old."

This had me laughing so hard.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Now There's Money On the Line!

One of the down sides to this remote working thing is not getting to participate in office stuff.  I actually miss some things, like company lunches and taking breaks with people.

My normal break buddy is more interested in my making him a pancake than any real conversation.  He has a thing about syrup, and the more that is poured on the happier he seems to be.

When I got the email about their latest office thing I replied back and asked if remote employees could participate as well.

Remember in August, when I had this amazing goal to continue to lose weight by starting the exercising thing?

Didn't happen.

I'm lazy.

I'm still at the same weight I was.

But this email gave me the final push: cash.

They've started a Biggest Loser competition, with bi-weekly weigh ins, and in December someone would be taking him money.  Originally it was to be 1 winner for most percentage of weight lost, but thanks to the generosity of the big boss, there will be 2 winners, one for the percentage, and then one for most weight lost.

Each winner takes home $250.

So now, when I would rather snooze than hit the treadmill, I think about the extra money for Christmas.

Amazing how that makes me want to move, right?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sometimes You Should Look Up

I've just read Linwood Barclay's Trust Your Eyes and I honestly loved the ride.

The book moved at a great pace, kept you wondering about what was unraveling before your eyes, and then ended in a way that made me blink and go back to read the last few pages again.  I wasn't expecting it, and I closed the book in a little bit of shock.

It's more a mystery/thriller for this month, and Trust Your Eyes really delivers it.  And for my cousin who checks these things: It's not too long, so you'll be able to read it quickly and not be left wondering what's happening for too long.  I know suspense and you don't normally mix!

Please, come check out more on the book here and join the conversation with the BlogHer Book Club!

This is a sponsored review for the BlogHer Book Club. While compensation will be forthcoming for taking the time to write about the book, the opinions stated are all mine and mine alone

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Hello, September

I am ready for Fall.

Kinda.

While the weather change will be a welcome, I'm not looking forward to what I anticipate will be a fight with James.

He now heads for the door when it opens, and has gotten comfortable enough to walk over the threshold.  The outside world means rocks and leaves, and as those leaves fall to the ground he will be in heaven.

But as the weather changes, he will be burdened with something new:

Shoes.

We tried to slip on some to try on and the look he gave me was enough to let me know that it's going to be interesting.  And that we will need to look for velcro because he has this fascination with laces.  And pretty much any piece of string. 

He likes to lay them flat and straight and see if they move.

I dunno why, but he laughs at them, scrunches them up, and then does it again.

The best part of THIS Fall?

My brother is coming.  He will meet his nephew, who is going to love him!

So, let's get a move on and change seasons!

Friday, August 24, 2012

This Week's "Thing"

James is pretty focused when he plays.  Actually, it's almost a little too intense some times.  He just seems to fixate on one thing and plays and plays and plays.

There are some sure fire ways to get his attention though.

Turn on an episode of Super Why on PBS.

Stand by the door with keys and ask if he wants to "Go, Go, Go!"

Sing his special song we made up for him.

Open the door to our bedroom, which is one of two doors that are kept shut during the day for his safety and our sanity.

And finally....

Open the door to the bathroom in the hallway.

I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never really use the toilet alone unless we are at Target and A has him in a shopping cart.

It's really about 3 things:

1) The door is closed so when it opens he HAS TO GO THERE immediately to see if anything has changed.

2)  He has discovered the toilet paper and thinks it's interesting to pull on and make twirl.

3) There is something about the swirling water as the toilet flushes that is just amazing.

That last one is the one that cracks me up.

He will walk in with a toy and go sit on the bath mat on the other side of this huge bathroom and play.  But the second the flush happens, he is on his feet and making a beeline to the toilet to look in and see the water go down.

Heaven forbid you attempt a courtesy flush because he will walk up to you and smack your knee.  He expects you to stand so he can look in and watch before continuing with your business.

For his first birthday, the great grandparents bought him his first potty seat so we'd be ready for him.  I'm thinking that I will be opening it this weekend.  He is in no way ready to start, but as long as he is in there, it doesn't hurt to teach him to sit, right?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Days Don't Seem Long Enough

A typical day begins with the sounds of a happy morning person playing with toys.  He wakes between 7:30 and 8 each morning, plays until he has had enough, and then begins pounding on his wall while calling for us.

From that point, work for us both keeps life moving until I log off at 5.  James is active, plays a lot by himself, but has days where he needs us.  It means that when his nap rolls around we are both ready for 2 hours to focus on things that we can spend more than 10 minutes on before someone wants to "help".

By the way, when did he realize that helping was something that he could do?  He wants to be in the cabinets and touching things and pulling out pots and pans.  We've given him an old set of plastic tubs and lids, and if I am in there cooking, he is in there cooking from one end of the kitchen to the other with me.

His bedtime is later than we like.  Normally 9, but a couple of times almost 10.  We manage to stay up until at least 11, occasionally 12, catching up with things, and then falling sleeping.

Only to have someone pounding on the wall calling for us in what seems like the blink of an eye...

Monday, August 20, 2012

Getting Space

Well, we did it.

James has room to play in his room.

This has been something we talked about for a while. Mainly so that he could play with his bigger and noisier toys all day if he wanted.

We weren't sure how he would like it, but as is the norm for him there was no reason for us to worry. He is perfectly content to play there and then bring things out to us. It's giving him more freedom to grow.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Our Week via Instagram

I wish I had a good reason for not writing this week.

What it boils down to is that after having 3 days off work last week, plus the weekend, James was not ready for Monday.  I've spent all my spare time with him.  He is just today getting back to not wanting to sit on my lap or stand next to my chair whining for me to look at him and play.

This week, we took advantage of the pool in our apartment complex for the first time as a family.

So here are a few from this week.


This is the face I got when standing between him and the pool.



After playing in his floating turtle, he was excited to play on the steps and splash us with water.


There was something that caught his attention as I took the picture.  James always looks so serious when he observes things.


They couldn't stop laughing last night.  After 3 trips to the pool, James is very relaxed and lounges in his turtle.  He also has started kicking in the water, and laughs as he drifts.  I don't think he realizes what he is doing, but it's funny to watch.

Finally, I have to share what I bought this week.  I've been saving my pennies, and after a successful sale on eBay, I ran to Journey's and purchased my first pair of Converse in years.


Yes, they are purple. 

Yes, that is Catwoman on the left shoe.

Yes, that is Batgirl on the right shoe.

Yes, I am as excited as you can possibly imagine over these shoes.




Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Will My Hormones Ever Be "Normal"?

The summer of 2010, I lost enough weight to beat PCOS.

I use the word "beat" because that's what it felt like.  In the end, I think I just tricked my body long enough to ovulate and then conceive.  My hormones actually did their job, and my son is truly the best part of that whole thing.

This time around, I've lost more weight than last time.  Roughly 15 pounds more so far.  I'm still on birth control pills, so my cycle should be predictable and happen right when the white pills take over for that last 7 days in the pack.

Should is the key word in that sentence.

Over the last 2 months my cycle has been the oddest thing.  I attributed it to the hell that was the first part of May, and then to James being in the braces and dealing with that.  I kept saying that once things went back to normal that I'd be fine.

Haha. Hahaha.  HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

I think I am averaging a short cycle every 2 weeks.  The time between them are emotionally draining for me.  I fluctuated between weepy and bitchy, and some times both happen at once.  My husband has shown that he is really patient with me as I alternate between wanting to be with him and then not wanting to talk to him.

Based on the last month, I think it may be evening out.  My next annual is in September, and moving it sooner isn't an option because of scheduling for the doctor.

I honestly thought I was having another version of post partum, but is that even possible 14 months later?

I'm holding my breath until September 6th, and then I guess we will see.  In the meantime, I'm starting a list of things that make my mood shift.

It's for the safety of the entire family.  Trust me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Fascination

James has shown us that he wants to examine things.

Since he still isn't putting things in his mouth, we let him play with leaves and rocks and grass and twigs.  He is a typical little boy, wanting to play with everything.

This seems to have fascinated some family members.

He is the youngest of the families on both side, and the next closes to him is 2 years older.  She is a beautiful little girl, but likes being the center of the attention.  She also had a habit of eating mulch, so couldn't be let out of sight from what I heard.

We took James to visit his great granny last week, and he spent the time walking around with a small shell he found, then a leaf, and eventually a rock.  He would change them up, but he played quietly, and everyone just watched him walking around.  There was no tantrum, no need to keep him busy, no need to reprimand.  He just does his own thing at his own pace and is excited to see how things work when he puts them on different surfaces.

I really think the family has never seen one of the kids be like this.  His great grandma and great grandpa tell everyone that he is the easiest baby they've ever watched.  They take him to their place and he swings and swims and babbles at them for hours.

We love watching him at home with his things, doing what he wants with his toys, and pulling us to the floor when he wants that from us.

He is so fascinated with everything around him.  I don't think he realizes how we've become so fascinated with him and his quiet ways.

Friday, August 3, 2012

And Suddenly We Like Sports!

Prior to life as a couple, I loved going to baseball games and hockey games.  I never liked watching them on TV because it just wasn't the same.  That and the announcers annoyed me.

Football I could do on TV.  I was normally in it for the Super Bowl ads, though.  I remember sleeping through many a game, waking to see the ads, and then dozing off again.

My husband really has never done sports.  He says that if James decides to play something that he will be there for every game, and help him any way he can.  But until then, if I turn on the Super Bowl, he turns on a game on his computer.

Last Friday was the opening of the Olympics in London.  This is another thing I love to watch, the music and performers, and then the countries being announced as their athletes take the field.  It's amazing to see it all unfold.  I missed it in 2008 because I was getting married, so this year I wanted to sit and watch.

And I did.

Saturday morning, after James watched his show, I switched to see what was on. 

I don't know what happened.  Between volleyball and swimming and gymnastics, I was drawn further and further in to it all.  I was yelling when we won or advanced, and complaining when people got in our way.  It was more than I'd done in a while for any sport, and the next thing I knew, A was sitting next to me. 

Over the last week, we've watched more competitions on TV than I can count.  We are playing a trivia game through an app for points, reading about the competitions and results, refreshing web pages like crazy to see what happens next.

Somehow, in 7 days, we've become people who like sports.

Will it last past the Olympics in to other televised competitions?

Probably not.

But that's okay.  We need the break in order to come back to this in 2016 when the games are in Rio.

Maybe we should get a bigger television set....

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Weight Loss 2012 Update

Well, 32 1/2 pounds have come off without any real effort on my part.  I officially weigh 257 pounds.

I'm eating healthier, not fighting cravings, and pretty much still a bump on a log most days.  James keeps my moving, but that is evened out by the need for a 12 pack of tacos from Taco Bell.

Don't ask me about that last one.  I don't know why, but last month we were getting one of those a week (at least) and splitting them.  Not just for lunch.  We are talking about a weird craving at 9, after James was asleep, and we'd sit on the floor with the box between us watching TV.

No, we don't smoke pot.  This had nothing with the munchies.  It was just I HAD TO HAVE THEM NOW thing and luckily A just said go for it.  He actually drove out and bought them a couple of those times and he hates driving anywhere.

I still think they are better than a Big Mac for me.  But probably not.

My weight over the last 6 weeks has fluctuated within a 3 pound range, and I realized that I had hit that point where just eating right wasn't going to cut it.  I'd have to burn calories.  Move my body.

Exercise.

So this morning, when I opened my eyes at 7, rather than roll over and try to squeeze that extra hour of sleep in, I got up.

Oh, treadmill, I've actually missed you.

I walked 1.25 miles using the Fat Burner program on the treadmill, listening to music, and felt good.  I walked back in to the apartment in the best mood, and arrived in time to see James wake up.  The endorphins kept me bouncing, so I changed and fed him, all with A looking at me funny.

The plan is to keep this up, and continue to lose those 2-3 pounds a week.  If I can manage that over the next 13 weeks, I will be be about 230 pounds.

Why that time frame?

Because I've decided to go to my 20 year high school reunion.

California, here I come!