Thursday, December 29, 2011
Nick is spending a lot of time assembling Henry's gift from Jo Ellen. It's a parking garage, and he's going to love it. Assembly is a little complicated. Nick said people who did not have experience or a variety of screw drivers would be really frustrated. On a related note, thank you Doug for the comprehensive screw driver set. It's the gift that keeps on giving.
I am looking at our Christmas gifts and realizing a few things. First, I bought more than I thought, and probably more than I intended. Second, I bought far more for Henry than Georgia. If she were good at math, she would realize I spent several times more on her brother than I spent on her. I don't think she'll actually be able to calculate a comparison. Third, we're going to need to get rid of some stuff to make room for this new crop of toys. Fourth, I didn't get anything educational (except Christmas books). Fifth, I love giving stuff to my kids. Cars and trains make Henry so happy. Lastly, the circus tent is bigger than I thought. It was probably a bad idea. Oh well. It's assembled and I lost the receipt anyway.
Realizing another thing. I've lost the play dough. Where did I hide the play dough??
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Sunday, December 25, 2011
We were really there because I have guilt for cheating my kids out of Christmas, and treating the mall like Disneyland was supposed to make us feel better. I think it worked. I said yes to almost everything Henry has ever wanted- we bought a toy, rode the train, got a smoothie, rode another ride, ate chicken nuggets, and sat on the coin operated rides without putting any money in because the change machine was broken. Pretty fun.
Then when the mall closed (I was surprised by how many people were still there), we headed to the hospital to have a quick visit with nick. I also got a peek at the ER, but that's another story.
Friday, December 23, 2011
As an early Christmas present, Jo Ellen gave Henry a camera specifically designed for kids. He loves it. He has taken about a thousand pictures with it. There is only one slight problem:
Friday, December 2, 2011
She is a rolling machine. She wiggles away across the floor or crib by rolling side to side. Once she decides what she wants, she is on the move and there is no stopping her.
She is very close to sitting up independently. She can sometimes do it for a while, but you never know when she is going to topple.
He favorite thing is to suck on her left them while holding my hair in her right hand.
She is tiny and sliding down the growth curve to 10% for both weight and height, weighing 13.1 pounds last week.
She seems to have realized that she and I are separate people, which has also meant that she is very unhappy about left alone in her crib. Sleeping-wise, this has been hard on everybody this last week.
Still no teeth, and I like it that way because her gummy smile is just so cute.
Throws up on everything still, but it seems to be not quite as much as before. But still, nothing is safe. She throws up on people that hold her at church every week. Her spit up is more noticeable after she's eaten brightly colored baby food, such as carrots.
She loves to feed herself Baby Mum Mum rice rusks, which are basically starch surf boards as baby snacks. It is difficult to eat anything with her nearby, as she will try to grab it.
She's getting up on all fours. I don't know how long it will be until she figures out army crawling.
It's so cute when she sticks her toes in her mouth. That usually only happens on the changing table.
Overall, her skin has been great! She has one tiny patch of eczema behind her left knee, but the rest of her looks and feels like normal baby skin.
She continues to have a wonderful, fun temperament, but we see a lot of hints that she is stubborn and impatient. Those are all qualities that can serve her well.
She loves to grab things and put them in her mouth.
She seems to really respond to music. She has been seen "bopping along" to piano arpeggios.
She has found her voice, and it is a loud one. Before we compared her cute little noises to Gizmo. Now Nick calls her a pterodactyl.
She smiles when tickled, but doesn't usually laugh. We guess she's just thinking, "That's so funny."
I was not going to advertise on the blogosphere that I went to Disney World. But this trip is too memorable and fraught with heartache to keep to myself. Nick was not on this trip, but I thought that with some help from the other adults I was going with I could manage things just fine.
The first day at the Magic Kingdom was OK. Things are slow with little ones in tow, and half the group is constantly staying behind to watch kids while the rest go do something amusing. In the afternoon, I took Henry on the Speedway, where you drive cars on a track. He loved it and wanted to go again. I asked my dad to take him on it a second time while I took care of Gigi. After a little bit, I went to a scenic point to take a picture as they drove past, but I waited and waited and never saw them. A few minutes later we found each other. Henry had thrown up in line, splashing some on my dad's and others' shoes. They had waited with the mess to steer people around it until someone came with the sawdust and bucket to take care of it. Amazingly, my dad STILL TOOK HIM ON THE RIDE.
My dad was laughing about this as he told me, but I know that Henry isn't a casual barfer. When he throws up, he means that he is really sick. I gathered up our stuff and put Henry is the stroller to head back to hotel. Jo Ellen graciously volunteered to come back with me. As soon as he was seated in the brand new stroller, he proceeded to reenact the famous scene from the exorcist. The ensuing mess was so disgusting. He shirt and pants were just caked with food from two days before. As he was throwing up and screaming, he was scraping off his tongue like he does when he eats something too spicy. We again had to find the man with the sawdust and bucket. An innocent bystander also gave me some baby wipes- bless that woman. So now I was leaving the park with a boy stripped down to a diaper sitting in the back of the stroller, because the front of the stroller was all wet.
We boarded the shuttle bus after just a minute of waiting. Henry was crying and insisted on me holding him in the baby Bjorn, and since it's tough to argue with a naked two-year-old, I did. The ride from Magic Kingdom to the hotel should have been about 15 minutes. About 15 or 20 minutes after we boarded, we pulled into Animal Kingdom. That's a whole different theme park, which was not our destination. It also was closed two hours previously, so it was a ghost town. But I figure the driver knows what she is supposed to be doing, and sometimes shuttles do have intermediate stops. About this point we reach absolute meltdown. Henry throws up all over me, because for some reason he refuses to throw up in a bag, and since he's in the baby Bjorn, he's basically throwing up down my shirt. Gigi is screaming bloody murder as Jo Ellen holds her. I think the other passengers felt more pity towards us than annoyance at all the noise.
15 minutes after Animal Kingdom, I yelled up to the driver "How long until we're at [the hotel]?" I hear her say 5 more minutes and something about "got turned around," but I think she can't mean that she was disoriented, because she's the professional driver here. I figure the words must have made more sense if I had heard the whole sentence, which I couldn't, on account of my two screaming children. 10 minutes after that I asked again, and when she answered, I yelled back that I couldn't hear her over my two sick, screaming children. It was shortly after this, as we were approaching Epcot (a third theme park) that she pulled over at a gas station for directions.
It was when she announced this to the passengers that one came forward with a map and gave her verbal directions on how to get to the hotel. About 10 minutes later, we finally arrived at the hotel. I cannot describe the horror of the half hour of two screaming children whom you can do nothing to reassure while being lost on the shuttle bus from hell. It was much worse than it sounds. The ride was supposed to be about 15 minutes, and our meltdown didn't really start until 20 minutes in and continued for the rest of the 50 minute duration, so I felt this ride from hell was all this driver's fault. I have never wanted someone fired before, but I did as I got off that shuttle. The driver apologized and said it was her first day off training, "and come back next year and I'll be much better." I don't think she'll still have this job next year.
Once at the hotel, we worked on keeping Henry hydrated. He threw up periodically until about 4:00 AM. The next day Gigi was sick, and by afternoon we were concerned enough we came within an inch of taking her to the hospital. If I hadn't done a research project in nursing school on oral rehydration I would have taken her in sooner, but I felt that an IV wasn't needed yet, so we decided to continue to monitor her and she started to improve. It helped that I was able to consult Nick over the phone. The next day the other kids were sick. The day after that, half the adults were sick. The day after that, we went home, and the last kid to get sick threw up at his destination airport. The culprit was probably Norwalk virus.
Makes you jealous of the trip, right?
Monday, October 31, 2011
Highlights of trick-or-treating include the family that gave out cans of Diet Coke and watching Dallas walk around in his Storm Trooper Costume. Low points include Henry reaching his breaking point before falling asleep, and realizing I've lost the key to my brother's car.
Friday, October 14, 2011
My friend Natalie was here for a 48-hour visit, which made for an awesome birthday. We took our kids to the zoo this morning, grabbed lunch (Portillo's for the adults, chicken nuggets for the kids), and then she had to head back to Toledo. I left for the zoo before Nick was home from work (a 27 hour shift), so when I returned I discovered his quickly made sign, roses, and a promise for a birthday celebration later. The bottom of the sign says "Celebration to follow . . . date undetermined."
Tonight we had a very low-key dinner, and because I didn't want to make a cake, we used a cinnamon roll from yesterday's visit to IKEA as the birthday cake. I realized after I blew out the candles I hadn't made a wish, but that's OK, because I pretty much have everything I've ever wished for: Nicholas, Henry, and Georgia. It's been a wonderful year.
Monday, September 19, 2011
Sunday, September 11, 2011
I think they did a great job of making the cabinet look like it had just always been that small. The made it out of the larger cabinet they removed. I only wish we had done this sooner.
A picture of me as a baby, next to a current picture of Georgia. My mom said she was holding me up in this picture, underneath my dress and maybe pulling on the dress. I'm not sure how old I was at the time when it was taken. Georgia is three months, two weeks, and two days old.
Friday, September 9, 2011
Henry has figured out that he can't tell us no when we've given him a command, so now he tells us "I don't.". Now that Georgia is sleeping in the crib, Henry wants to sleep in the crib. He took his nap in there today, watching the mobile.
Wednesday, September 7, 2011
Monday, September 5, 2011
|Georgia at Two Months Old|
|Henry's wasn't exactly cooperative for this, as you might guess from his expression.|
I printed 4x6's at Costco and the came back looking dark with high contrast. It took me a second to figure it out, but the problem is I had ordered from the kiosk at the store and didn't turn off the "Auto Color Correct." Normally I order from home, and have the color correct turned off. If you have professional pictures you're printing, turn Color Correct off, because the photographer has already fine-tuned them and has the color as it's supposed to be. All an automatic setting can do in that situation is mess it up. With the color correct off, they look great, and now I have them on my wall.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
To know my mom is to love her, and to love her is to accept that she
writes on everything with a sharpie. You can't get mad at her because
most of the time it's reasonable markings and conveys useful
information. She writes the dates she bought them on her appliances
and The dates when she made a recipe and notes how it came out. She
will write your name on your property for you, whether you wanted it
labeled or not.
Occasionally she labels something that I wish had been kept pristine,
but mostly I'm just grateful for the lessons on sharing important
information in writing, dating every piece of paper you ever write on,
and "If you value it, put your name it." Property she values and has
labeled includes (but is not limited to): electronics, pillows, camp
chairs, coolers, pans, shovels, strollers, buckets, books and charging
cables. If you can't write directly on something, use a luggage tag.
I have my diaper bag, camera bag, and stroller labeled this way. I
bought an engraved tag on eBay (a small pet tag) to attach to Nick's
newest stethoscope (bought to replace a missing stethoscope).
"If you value it, put your name it," will be put on her headstone some
day. But it's true. This week I found out that Nick had recovered our
stethoscope that had been missing for months. He was able to get it
back in part because he could say, "This is mine, it has my name on
it." You really can't stop thieves, but honest people can't get
something back to you unless you've put your name and number on it.
Anything you lend to someone should be marked.
Keep the information where you can use it. Today I picked up our
minivan after it spent nearly two weeks at a body shop. They must
have disconnected the battery, because the radio wouldn't work until
I put a security code in it. If you don't know the code, you have to
pay the dealership to put it in. While stopped for a train, I pulled
the users manual from the glove box- my mom had written the code
inside. I listened to NPR the rest if the way home.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Nick has just started his third rotation of his second year of residency. Two nights ago we were all in by at 9:15, but at 9:16 Nick's phone rang calling him to a North Suburb hospital for a pediatric surgery. He got home at 1:30 in the morning, and left again about 5:30. He just finished a rotation at the burn unit at Loyola. He really liked his time there.
Georgia is just about three months old. Incredible! She rolls from back to front like a champ, throws up on everything, and smiles a lot.
Henry is using a lot of full sentences. He is getting more jealous of Georgia's stuff and is constantly taking away her blankets and rattles.
My daily picture blog is now a year old. I have posted a picture for every day, though sometimes I wait a little while to post them. Most the pictures are bad iPhone pictures, but the journal aspect of the project has been really nice for me. I looked back at several months of activities in just a few minutes.
I'm still behind on everything. I haven't sent out birth announcements, and wondering if I've waited this long, should I just wait for Christmas Cards? Also, I haven't been productive at all in my church calling, Primary secretary, but I'm going to dive back in this week and start to be helpful.
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Any suggestions out there for things I may not have tried to make it less traumatic for both of us?
Things tried include toys, varying water temperatures, bribery, bathing with him, showers (big failure there), and bubbles. I am hoping that someone out there has a panacea.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Georgia is growing quickly. I think she's close to 11 pounds now. I've had to put away some of her 0-3 month clothes but most still fit. She smiles now. She is much more laid back and cries much less than Henry did, and probably less than he does now too. I didn't realize he was a relatively hard baby until I had her to compare. She's over her baby acne, her eyes are a non-descript hazel color. She has nice eye lashes but not as impressive as Henry's. She sleeps for a good five or six hour stretch at night, but unfortunately the stretch doesn't begin until about 1:00 or 2:00 AM. She takes a power nap about ten at night, then wakes up and wants to be held for a couple of hours. But when she finally gets back to sleep, we both get some good rest.
She likes a binkie. She hates to be swaddled. She likes to sleep with her hands above her shoulders, and demands that her legs be free to kick. She likes her swing a lot. When I'm desperate for her to sleep, say around 1:30 AM, I ignore all the baby book advice and put her in the swing and let her fall asleep. Whatever it's costing me in batteries, it's worth it (and we're still on her first set of Duracells.)
Henry's vocabulary is exploding every day. He is constantly saying things that leave me wondering where he learned that. It's a little more difficult to put his skin medications on as he's fighting me and screaming, "Just stop it, mom. Stop it!" General crying is far easier to ignore that specific instructions. He loves showing off all the words he knows as we read books. He loves to point to the pictures and tell me what it is.
He can follow simple instructions, when he chooses to. We now send him to grab something from another room or pick something up. He gets distracted sometimes, but often completes the task. He loves to do puzzles, and I think it will be very few years before he's better at it than I am. (I'm not good at puzzles, but he seems to have aptitude.)
Henry loves books. His favorite right now is A Mouse in the House by Henrietta. We read it and find the hidden mouse on each page at least once every day. I just ordered the sequel. He also loves Thomas the Tank Engine Books, and really any book. He always manages to talk me into reading a few extra ones at nap time and bed time.
When he says "my turn," he really means, "Give that to me, and you're never going to get it back." He's pretty good at consistently saying thank you. He can't say "Henry" understandably, but is very clear saying "Georgia."
Right after Georgia was born and we had a month of guests, I was very frustrated at every turn with Henry. He was constantly telling me no and fighting every thing all the time. Now that we're settled into our new normal, he's much more pleasant and agreeable. Elements of the terrible two's are still visible, but I'm no longer tempted to exchange him for a different model.
Sunday, July 10, 2011
Without Nick, church was not really smooth sailing when I had one kid, and adding a second has not made it any easier. Getting ready is the hard part. I swear the two kids are conspiring against me since they know they have me outnumbered. When I woke up this morning, I knew we'd be a little late. We ended up being an hour and a half late.
Girls are harder to get ready because there's pressure to make sure their outfit matches and there's accessories involved. Boys are harder to get ready because after you get them dressed you turn your back for a second and suddenly they have no shirt, socks or shoes on anymore.
Henry didn't exactly sit still, or be quiet, but he wasn't terrible. Georgia has needs, but is completely reasonable. The bottom picture is Henry rolling all over the floor of the Mother's Room. This is after he was using the diaper pail as a drum.
Saturday, July 9, 2011
I was talking to someone who asked me if Georgia was difficult. I described her very pleasant personality and explained that Henry was actually the harder one to care for right now. Being two-and-a-half is a very dangerous time in his life. He can climb up anything, open nearly everything, but has absolutely no judgment. The man's reply was a perfect summary of Henry, "so it's kind of like living with a raccoon."
Does he need a rabies shot?
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Georgia at about Five Weeks
Four the first month of Georgia's life, we had family staying with us almost every night. We had a steady stream of visitors from moments after we came home from the hospital at 9:00 PM on Friday night. My parents were first (here five days) followed two hours later by Harry & Lucy (36 hours). Patti and Stan arrived in the area that same night, but didn't come over from their hotel until the next morning, and they went back to STL on Tuesday. The best visitor was Nicholas. He worked a thirty hour shift that Sunday, but then started a nearly two week paternity leave. (He would like to thank liberal politics and gender equality for making this possible.) We didn't think something like this could happen, so we're very grateful that it worked out the way it did.
Harry and Lucy ended up driving the old, faithful '92 Honda, with its single working door, back to Utah via Mt Rushmore and Devils Tower. The night before they left, Harry went to Walmart and bought an oil change kit, window tinting (which they applied to the outside of the car for easy removal upon arriving in Utah) and new wiper blades. We all knew it had no radio, but we were sad when they discovered miles into the trip that the air conditioning had died. Fortunately it was unseasonably cool so no one melted.
Since Georgia is the first granddaughter, everyone went a little nuts shopping for clothing and accessories that did not have dinosaurs, heavy equipment, vehicles or sports on them. During our day in the hospital (we were there about 27 hours total), Nick ran back to the house to take care of a few things, like the dog for instance. On his way back, he stopped at Babies R Us and bought her several pink things, including a ridiculously expensive dress. Just FYI, my standard for a ridiculous newborn dress costs $30. My mom and Aunt Patti went shopping and each came back with new clothes for Georgia. Family bought her clothes, neighbors brought things, and friends gave things. I've been amazed at how generous people have been to us. She has so many cute clothes, that even though she goes through several outfits a day, she always looks fabulous.
A day after my parents left, my sister Katie came for 36 hours. About 36 hours after her departure, my brother Dallas, his wife Shannon, and their three boys arrived here by car via Mt Rushmore and Devils Tower, and most importantly West Des Moines, Iowa. With them, we went to the Museum of Science and Industry, and briefly visited a Parish Festival where Maggie Speaks was playing. I just kept Georgia in her car seat and so no one breathed on her or touched her. See Dallas's blog for a much more exciting summary of their visit.
The day after they left, Nick's mom and sister came, bringing with them cute things for Georgia and a present for Henry. Debbie even made Georgia a beautiful crocheted dress. We all visited the art museum and Millennium Park on that Saturday, then that evening, Debbie and Samantha watched Henry while Nick and I attended the Residency Graduation Dinner, with Georgia along for the ride. I was a little nervous taking Georgia to a rather formal event, but she stayed underneath the table in her car seat without making a peep. People were very surprised at the end of the night to find out she had been there the whole time, wearing her ridiculously expensive dress. Nick received an award for being the best resident teacher, as chosen by the medical students who rotated through surgery this year.
On Monday, he went back to work and the rest of us headed to the Happiest Place on Earth [for Nerds], the Museum of Science and Industry. It's so big and wonderful, I still haven't seen all of it. Debbie and Sami left that evening, and about 24 hours later, my Aunt Jo Ellen, aka Toots, arrived for her two week visit.
Monday, May 30, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
This planter, that currently functions as a bird's nest, is on the front of our house, sheltered by our little porch. It hosts a robin that spends almost all her time sitting on three bright blue eggs. I try not to use the front door too much because it spooks her, so I wait until she's not on the nest to grab my mail.
I think that she and I are a lot alike right now. We're both sitting around waiting for our offspring to appear. We should savor this time before the real work begins, when babies cry and need things and wake you up several times in the night. I want to savor this time, but the two-year-old woke up at five this morning, which feels more like newborn hours than toddler hours. And since the birds start chirping outside my bedroom window at about that time, I'm guessing the robin didn't sleep in either.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
So, loyal readers, both of you, in the comments give your best guess for when this baby will show up, what gender it will be, what size it will be and suggest a name appropriate for the predicted gender. Actually, suggest lots of names. I'm worried we'll leave the hospital with the birth certificate filled out as "Baby Johnson."
For his actual birthday, he spent much of the day strapped into his car seat driving from Utah to Southwest Colorado to visit Nick's grandpa Buddy. (Henry's middle name is after this grandpa.) We did get him ice cream in Moab to celebrate. It was a bit reminiscent of his first birthday, when he spent all day in his car seat, first driving around Chicago neighborhoods looking at houses and then making our way back to St. Louis. But once we arrived in Colorado, we made up for the drive by having fun on an awesome playground and visiting Nick's aunt Reba.
Our family was very generous with presents. He loves the cars, trains, balls, and puzzles he received.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, April 4, 2011
Zinsser wallpaper removal products, most importantly DIF, an enzyme gel solution that dissolves the glue. We would recommend DIF and the Paper Scraper. The Paper Tiger wasn't really useful because we were able to pull the vinyl coated front off the wall in one piece, leaving the backing glue and paper exposed and ready to absorb DIF. It's still lots and lots of time-consuming work, but we were able to get it off without damaging the wall. This experience makes me hate wallpaper even more, though. You should have to buy a bond when you install wallpaper, to ensure that you're the one who eventually takes it down. Otherwise the bond would cover its removal, because I feel like the last homeowner left us holding the bag of this house with all it's outdated and unattractive-in-the-first-place wallpaper. Also, they should be shot for painting the ceilings in the house the color of the walls. It's bad enough that my bathroom is bright yellow, but it's worse that the ceiling is bright yellow. Ceilings should NEVER, NEVER be anything other than flat white paint. So over the next few years, we have four rooms of wallpaper to remove and a household of ceilings to paint. Now, the fun part. I need to pick a paint color. There are some creative constraints here- the formerly wallpapered area is only the lower half of the stairwell. The upper half would require professionals to paint because of the very tall wall, and the fact the ceiling (two stories off the ground) is painted the wall color. We're not ready to hire professionals right now, so we're only painting what was previously covered with wallpaper. The question is do we go with a color very similar to the upper half of the stairwell, paint the walls the same color as we painted the living room/hallway last fall (a warm off-white named "Toasted Cashew"), or pick something bolder?
Leave suggestions in the comments please.
Also, a public shoutout to my brother Sam. His gift of a gently used computer allowed us to watch general conference on an actual TV, while sitting on couches, in our own home for the first time since we moved out of Utah. Thanks also for Dallas's technical support.