Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wise words Wednesday: Thanksgiving and giving thanks

“The funny thing about Thanksgiving, or any huge meal, is that you spend 12 hours shopping for it and then chopping and cooking and braising and blanching. Then it takes 20 minutes to eat it and everybody sort of sits around in a food coma, and then it takes four hours to clean it up.” –Ted Allen

We hosted Thanksgiving dinner at our house this year (which I think we've only done one other time) so this quote really rang true to me because my mom and I spent more time washing dishes than we did eating! Although I was more than happy to host and very thankful for all the wonderful food and family, I wish the dishes could have done themselves. Maybe next year we can class it up with paper plates and disposable baking trays so I'm able to sit down with everyone and play some games or look at black Friday ads :)

Thanksgiving table setting
My simple table setting: votives and leaves from the yard in mason jars, along with my mom's china and good silver on a table runner I made using a drop cloth and gold spray paint..

It was actually really nice and not too stressful since my amazing mom and awesome family all contributed food dishes. My mom even cooked the turkey (in my oven) so I didn't have to figure out how to do that. 31 Thanksgivings and I've yet to cook my own bird. Wonder how much longer I can keep getting out of it?

Gotta be honest. I don't go gaga over Thanksgiving food. Turkey? Meh. Gravy? No thanks. Mashed potatoes? Had 'em last week. Sweet potatoes? GAG! I do enjoy my mom's cranberry relish and sausage stuffing, and the pineapple casserole my sister-in-law brought, but other than's all about the family time and dessert to me. Yep, dessert is right up there. Between dessert and family time, I'm not even sure which would win in a fight.

Adam's grandma, mom, step-dad, with Lorelai and our niece Raina

Speaking of dessert, I'm 0/2 for the past two Thanksgivings. Last year my chocolate chess pie was a disaster that never solidified for some reason. This year, my no-bake mocha cheesecake was a disaster. I pulled it out of the freezer because I didn't want it to be as hard as a rock, but it thawed too much and turned into pudding. Really yummy cheesecake pudding that was conveniently in individual cupcake liners, but I was so embarrassed. Even as much as I love desserts, I might have to give up. I'll stick to side dishes and appetizers (hard to mess up chips from a bag and hummus in a tub).

And a bonus quote because I couldn't pick just one:

“A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.” –Cicero

I didn't get around to making an official "Thanks" jar like I wanted to (like this), and I totally dropped the ball on getting us and the boys to write down the little things we're thankful for every day in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, but we did write down a few things. I wanted them to not only appreciate the big things like family, but also the little things that they tend to overlook or take for granted. Some of the things we included in our jar are:

"I am thankful for my mommy reading us books" (Aidan)
"I am thankful for the pumpkin muffins mommy made" (Logan)

Adam wrote down that he's "thankful for the smiles and hugs my family gives me which make me feel loved" and I wrote down that I'm thankful for Lorelai's early morning snuggles, the pictures Logan draws for me, and how helpful Aidan is.

Obviously this is just to name a few. I'm thankful more than words can express—our family is just so lucky and blessed. I don't want the kids to ever take for granted how fortunate they are. To be so deeply loved by so many, to have so many opportunities and material things. I want them to understand this year-round, but I'm going to make a concerted effort between now and Christmas to really work on being thankful for what they have and what others do for them. You know, before they get totally spoiled with gifts thrown at them right and left :)

I want to do an angel tree type of thing this year and get the boys involved in the giving aspect of Christmas (we usually contribute through our daycare, hopefully they do something similar this year). Any other good ideas to make sure the boys are thankful, appreciative and focused on giving? I'm all ears. Last thing I want are spoiled brats who feel entitled and don't care about others. We're a long way from that, but I want to instill good habits and that thankful heart while they're young.

why did I not get a picture of all three kids on Thanksgiving???
Why oh why did I not get a picture of all three kids on Thanksgiving???

Monday, November 21, 2011

To cut or not to cut?

Lorelai's hair is kind of crazy. She was born with a bunch of dark beautiful hair and almost all of it fell out except for one long section in the front (remember the reverse mullet?). We've been pulling it out of her face with bows and rubber bands, but she always ends up pulling them out, so her hair just ends up hanging in her face. It's almost long enough to tuck behind her ear, but not quite, so it's just a huge pain. Especially when it ends up with food in it. Or a big huge booger. Yeah. That happened.

Lorelai's hair

The thing is, Adam and I don't want to cut it. Partly for sentimental reasons (it's her original baby hair!) and partly because style-wise, I don't want her to have bangs. I don't want to have to constantly trim them (sharp scissors near my squirmy child's eyes!) and I like the look of side-swept hair tucked behind her ears. Plus, the rest of her hair is still short, so I don't want her to look like a boy.

Decisions, decisions... (opinions welcome!)

Hair in her face
"Hey! Get this hair out of my face!"

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dilaudid and percocet are awesome.

No, I haven't become a druggie. But I was really sick this week and those drugs helped me get through the worst of it. Meningitis is no joke, folks. Fortunately it was just viral meningitis, not the super serious bacterial kind, but it still sucked, and ended up in urgent care and the ER.

Last Friday, I started to feel like I was coming down with a cold. When I woke up on Saturday to get ready for Aidan's and Logan's soccer games, I had a sore throat and an extremely severe pounding heading that lasted for like 30 seconds when I sat up. I took four ibuprofen, but it didn't help at all. The headaches happened numerous times throughout the day every time I went from sitting to standing, and it would stop me in my tracks and I would almost have to breathe through the pain like contractions. They were the worst headaches I've ever had in my life, and coming from someone who suffers from migraines and gets frequent tension and eye strain headaches, that's really saying something.

We got home at 2:30 and my whole body was achy. I took 4 more ibuprofen and laid on the couch. By 3:00 I was in tears and writhing in pain on the couch, holding my head to keep it from exploding. At one point, I had to jump off the couch (against my better judgment) to stop Lorelai from pulling a chunk of hair out of Logan's head (she ended up pulling out a whole handful!) and I experienced a headache that was worse than the worst. I actually got scared for a minute and thought something in my brain was exploding. At that point I figured I should probably call the doctor. I was worried I had the flu because the body aches, including pain in my spine, and general sick feeling felt very flu-like. He asked me a few questions about the aches and pains and told me I definitely needed to go to urgent care--that they were open until 9, but don't wait.

I was (stupidly) going to drive myself because Adam had to stay with the kids, but he made me call my mom and she rushed right over to take me. Moms are the best!! The doctor there said she doubted it was the flu because it's so early in the season here and they don't even have a good sample to test against so they wouldn't test me. But she did test me for mono and ran a CBC. No mono, no elevated white blood cells, but meningitis was definitely on her radar (my mom totally called it). She said they couldn't rule it out there, but if my symptoms got worse, to go to the ER. She diagnosed me with "viral syndrome" which pretty much means, we have no idea what's wrong with you and can't do anything to make you better, but have some drugs for the pain.

I got a shot of Toradol and a prescription for Tylenol with codeine, and went home to sleep. Things were going better until the Tylenol stopped working on Sunday afternoon. The headaches were worse, my aches were worse, my spine was hurting more (severe shooting pains when I tried to put my chin to chest, although my neck itself wasn't actually stiff) and to top it all off, I started to get nauseous. So I called my mom again and off to the ER we went. I threw up in the car, and my mom even offered to hold the puke bag for me while she was driving. That's how awesome she is. (Don't worry, I didn't make her hold it!)

Also, awesome? My kids. The boys were really upset that I was so sick and they took really good care of me, making sure I always had water to drink and telling me they loved me. And right before I left for the ER, Logan handed me this picture he drew for me to make me feel better.

Logan's drawing

Fortunately, the ER wasn't busy at 4:30/5ish when we got there, so I was seen pretty quickly. The doctor there agreed that it sounded like viral meningitis, but the only way to confirm is with a lumbar puncture. He didn't recommend it because he had already ruled out bacterial meningitis based on my symptoms and my white blood cells still being normal (basically, if it had been bacterial, he said at that point I would probably be on a ventilator fighting for my life) so I certainly wasn't going to beg for a huge needle in my spine if it wasn't going to deliver me instant pain relief and wouldn't change the treatment. Since you can't cure a virus, you just have to let it run it's course and manage the pain, so they totally doped me up to get rid of the headache. Dilaudid, benedryl and reglan. Lots of it, apparently. It definitely broke the pain cycle and they sent me home with a prescription for percocet.

I pretty much slept and laid in bed useless all day on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday the aches weren't as severe and the headaches hadn't come back, so I didn't need to take any more percocet. I was even able to catch up on some work emails from the comfort of my couch. Thursday, I headed back into the office. Silly me. I probably did too much, too soon. I realized this after I started to get confused and had trouble concentrating. Honestly, it felt like I was drunk. A very disconcerting feeling when it's been weeks since I've touched a drop of alcohol, and the percocet was out of my system. I left early to go home and rest, and by today, I was feeling much better. Almost back to normal, thank goodness!!!

I feel like such a burden when I'm sick. Adam had to do all the work around the house, my mom had to drop everything to drive me to urgent care and the ER, and my coworkers had to pick up my slack while I wasn't there. I'm just too busy, I can't afford to be sick like that again. 

But with the way my luck has been going, I give it another month before some other ailment knocks me over. In September, it was a severe migraine with aura (vision impairment=immediate doctor visit); in October it was one of the worse stomach bugs I've ever had; then this. Anyone want to place bets on my December illness? It sucks, because I'm not a sickly person, generally!

Please send good and healthy thoughts my way, if you have any to spare!

(Uh, wow. Apparently I had over a week's worth of word vomit to make up for my lack of blogging while I was sick. Sorry for the looong post!)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Baby wipes don't get rid of the smell of vomit.

You know it's almost never a good thing when you see daycare pop up on your caller ID during the middle of the day. Lorelai's teacher called this afternoon to tell me that she had thrown up, so I went and got her right away.

Fortunately no fever, so we're hoping it's just something she ate that upset her tummy, and once she get's it all out, she'll be ok. I got her home and all she wanted to do was snuggle.

sick Lorelai

And then she threw up all over herself and me. YUCK. But you know you're a mom when you care more about how your baby feels than the fact that there's vomit all over your pants and the floor. I got her all cleaned up and changed and tried my best to get the vomit smell off of me with baby wipes, with no such luck.

She felt better for a while so we strolled to the bus stop to get Aidan and she walked back home. I guess that tired her out because she fell asleep snuggling when we got back home.

Sick Lorelai, sleeping

One more vom before dinner (that time I made it to the sink with her), but then she perked up again and was ready to eat. We rocked the BRAT diet with some rice Chex and applesauce. She's bathed and in bed now, so we're just hoping she makes it through the night without any more incidents.

And we're also really hoping no one else gets sick. I'm having flashbacks to a month ago when we were all super sick from some sort of stomach bug that started with Lorelai. Let me tell you, I can't remember the last time I felt that terrible. I have less than no desire to relive laying outside the bathroom door with Logan, us both writhing in pain, or following Aidan to the bathroom in the middle of the night to clean up his throw up and almost passing out from dehydration. It was BAD and seriously can't happen again. SERIOUSLY.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

15 months

This post is late, considering Lorelai turned 15 months on October 29, but since it's one of the well-check milestones, I have to post about it, right?

She's 26 lb 15.5oz (90th percentile) and 31.5 inches (75th percentile). She's wearing size 3 diapers (we're going to move up to size 4 soon) and 18 month pants and shirts, although I just bought some 2T tops so they would be a bit longer.

Lorelai at her 15month appointment

She's still a great sleeper (knock on wood, as usual), great eater, and all around happy baby. She's walking and climbing all over the place. She loves to sit on chairs like a big girl and is working on a circus act of standing on said chairs and balancing precariously. She did a "Look mom, no hands!" but I did the responsible thing and got her down safely instead of getting my camera :)

Sitting on a chair like a big girl

Things that don't make her happy? Getting strapped into her car seat (or being restrained in general), and having to lay still for diaper changes. I'm ready for that phase to be over!

She's got 12 teeth that she likes to help me brush before bed. She still loves to play peek-a-boo, and she's now putting her hands over her face to hide. If she's fussy in the car, one of the ways the boys can make her happy is to engage her in peek-a-boo.

She waves hi and bye and can follow simple commands like "bring me your shoes," "go give your brother a hug," and "show me your belly." She knows where her nose is, and can usually point to her ears and eyes when asked. She reacts when we tell her no, but she doesn't always stop what she's doing. Sneaky little thing.

Oh, and she also still likes her paci at bedtime and on the weekends during naps (or whenever she sees it laying around the house). She doesn't have one all day at daycare though. Not sure when we'll try to break her of that habit...

big slippers
She had fun with Logan's slippers. She's now the proud owner of some hand-me-down superman slippers we found because she was so obsessed with his.

So she's very interactive and can communicate pretty well. She babbles all the time. BUT. Yep, of course there's a but. I'm a little worried (I'm serious, only a little, I'm not freaking out or anything) about her speech development because as of her appointment, she only had 3 actual words: Mama, Dada and uh-oh. And these are the same words she's had since around 12 months. No progress since then. I wish I could remember exactly how many words the boys had at this age, but I really do think they were saying more words than Lorelai is. I know each child is different and subsequent children tend to speak later, but girls also tend to speak sooner than boys, so I just started worrying that something was wrong. Turns out she's at the lower end of normal, but still normal. By 15 months, the doctor said they expect anywhere from 3-6 words. Although she also said that if she didn't have any new words before her 18 month appointment, they would need to evaluate her further. I'm proud to report she starting saying "hi" in the last week. Cross your fingers more words come soon!

I also asked about the peanut allergy and got a referral to the allergist. Unfortunately our appointment isn't until January 5, so we've got a lot of time to wait in limbo until then. In the meantime, we haven't completely eliminated PB from the house (hopefully that doesn't turn out to be a mistake), but we've just been super extra careful to not cross-contaminate anything Lorelai might come into contact with. The boys have been really good about washing their mouths and hands after sandwiches.

Anyway, despite any worrying I may be doing, Lorelai is simply amazing. On a daily basis, Adam and I just can't get over how adorable and sweet and awesome and funny (and on and on...) she is. Can't say enough how much I love this little girl!

Silly Lorelai on her rocking horse
She loves this rocking horse. And balancing precariously on her knees on the top of this rocking horse. Little monkey!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Pumpkin patch

This year for the first time, I really wanted us to all go to a local farm with a barnyard, corn maze, hayrides, corn crib and pumpkin picking...but with they boys' soccer schedules (two games on Saturdays and one game on Sundays), we couldn't work out a good time to go before Halloween.

So we just ended up getting our pumpkins where we always go—a temporary patch on a lot near the grocery store. Lame in comparison to what I wanted to do, but much quicker and the kids don't know the difference yet.




At least this place has bales of hay set up nicely for photos...if you don't mind the power lines dangling overhead and cars driving by in the background. And apparently I didn't mind too much because I have like 4,732 photos to share. (Warning: photo overload ahead!)






Of course the kids don't care about that. All they care about is PUMPKINS!



So many pumpkins, I think Lorelai was overwhelmed.



Or she just wanted me to take the camera out of her face so she could pick a pumpkin in peace :)


Oh no, that's not the one she picked. She had her sights set on a bigger one. One she kept pointing to...


And took off to go check out.


Yep, that's the one!


She was enamored with the huge blow-up pumpkin. Clearly we couldn't take that one home, so she ended up with a much more reasonably sized one instead. Yes, it's one of the ugly wart pumpkins. I think it's cool (plus, none of the small white pumpkins I wanted her to pick out instead looked good at all).


Even if the experience wasn't exactly what I had hoped for this year, we ended up with a pumpkin for each kiddo and pictures out the wazoo. Plus, they all had fun.

But next year, I don't care if we have to bail on a soccer game, we're going to the cool place. If they thought this place was fun, the farm is going to blow their minds!


Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A cat, a ninja turtle and a werewolf walk into a bar...

...and order Mommy a drink because trick-or-treating in the cold rain sucks. Just kidding, there were no bars or drinks involved in our Halloween festivities, but there were office parties, daycare parties, lots of houses and a crap ton of candy involved!

Halloween 2011

I would have loved for the kids to have coordinating costumes, but we ended up with a completely random mix since we let the boys pick their own costumes. Aidan had a hard time choosing between werewolf and some sort of star wars character, but the moment Logan saw the ninja turtle, that's what he had to have. Ironically, he's never seen the show so I don't think he really has any idea who Leonardo is.



Lorelai's costume was a no-brainer--super cute cat costume on clearance at Target for $7.59 because it was an online return. Jackpot! She got rave reviews from everyone because she was just so stinkin' cute. The way she walked even made her tail wag a little :)


We did some trick-or-treating at my work to kick off the Halloween festivities.



Then we went to the fall festival at our daycare this past weekend. Corn dogs, nachos, candy, bounce houses, carnival games, oh my! Lorelai walked around waving to everyone and getting spoiled by her teachers. And of course the boys had a blast.


On Halloween, the grandparents and cousins came over to eat pizza and brave the elements to go trick-or-treating in our neighborhood. We only took Lorelai to our next door neighbors and then she stayed at the house with both of her grandmas to hand out candy. It did stop raining about halfway through, but I was sufficiently chilled to the bone and the boys had plenty of candy, so we just came back to the house to hand out candy for the rest of the night.


Kinda bummed I didn't get too many good pictures (didn't want to take the camera out in the rain). I missed the rainbow behind the clouds as the sun was setting and worse than that, I didn't get a single picture of the cousins! Total FAIL :(  I'm also kicking myself that I didn't get a Flip of Lorelai walking around in her costume. Bad Becky.



Hope everyone had a happy Halloween!

Adam carved Aidan's hand-drawn design, a vampire, into his pumpkin; I carved Logan's pumpkin using Lorelai's hand prints to create the eyes and wings, as he requested. The nose and mouth are his hand-drawn design.