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?


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.


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.


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.