Tuesday, May 26, 2009

We're in!!

Greetings from a pile of boxes. It seems like so much preparation has led up to getting us here, but I'm writing from our new house! (on a shaky internet connection, so bear with me over the next few days)

I cannot say one more thing without first giving a huge honkin' SHOUT OUT to all of our friends and family who have helped us make this transition, not just this past weekend, but for the past month. I'm afraid to name names, because there have been so many that I'm worried I would forget someone. But you know who you are! THANK YOU to everyone who painted, cleaned, drilled, put things onto a truck, took things off of a truck, packed my kitchen, unpacked my kitchen (yes, I did neither), brought us food (in two days of moving I didn't have ANY fast food, if you can believe it), and also fed, bathed, and entertained my KIDS, so that Brian and I could do all of the above. Shew. It's been quite a month.

But here we are. And moving day could not have gone more smoothly. We had done so much ahead of time that when the Big Day came, we were completed unloaded at the new place by noon. Done. I couldn't believe it.

It'll take a few weeks to get out from under these boxes. I'm also gearing up for a yard sale this weekend, from which I'm hoping to get cash for the things I'd like to have in the new place (lamps, rug, shelves in bathroom, etc). So it feels busy. But we already really really like it here. There are so many great things about it (a safe place to ride bikes! a downstairs bathroom! a garage! doors that latch shut!). I've realized recently, however, how much I thrive on social interaction. We've been here for 2 nights and I'm already thinking, "Boo...I don't know anyone in this neighborhood."

So far the kids really seem to like it, too. We pulled into the driveway today and Katy said, "We're home!" not "the new house." Weird, does she already understand that we're here to stay?

And I know! So many of you have asked to see pictures, but darned if I'm gonna post any until it doesn't look like a tornado came through. Soon enough, I promise!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Your Third

(a day late and probably a dollar short. this week has been crazy.)

Katy, my dear,
Three years ago, you made your dramatic entry into this world and our family. That day feels like it was forever ago, because literally every single tiny aspect of my life has changed since then. And I wouldn't have it any other way.

In some ways I could say, "OMG! I can't believe you're three!" But in other ways, "two" has seemed like an inaccurate description of your age for many months. The difference between 24 months and 36 is worlds apart, and you are such a little person these days. It blows my mind.

You insist on trying everything yourself, including dressing yourself, getting in and out of the car seat, and getting your own milk. You have thrown some serious fits over not being allowed to buckle yourself into your car seat.

You are such a social being, it's incredible. When we go to the park, you instantly pick out some unsuspecting child and claim them your "friend" for the day. If that kid doesn't work out, you pick another one. You want to be in the middle of whatever Daddy and I are doing. Sometimes that slows us down in a significant manner, but I know one day we'll long for your company in this way.

You are SO HAPPY almost all the time. It is my favorite part of parenting, to witness the joy that you have throughout the day over the simplest things. The only exception to your happiness is when you are not getting what you want (i.e. to stay up past 8, endless carbo snacks, or giving your brother a turn with one of your favorites). You can protest pretty intensely, in order to even out that joy I mentioned.

I have loved seeing you develop a relationship with David this year. Just in the past couple of months, you are starting to play together, and now you are asking him, "David! Do you want to play kitchen with me? Do ya, huh, huh?" until I bring him over. One of my greatest hopes as your mom is that you guys will be close as you get older. There is nothing better than strong bonds with siblings.

It is such a thrill to watch you develop into a "big kid" before my eyes. I love every stage more and more and I can't wait for what's next. (Let's hope you are potty trained soon and that we have a good start in preschool in the fall)

Your third birthday is one I will never forget. Days away from moving, we wanted to pause and celebrate, so Daddy took the day off work. He stayed home with David in the morning while you and I went to the zoo - just the two of us. This was such a special treat, and we had a marvelous time. I couldn't believe how well you climbed up in the gerbil tube park area. But while we were at the zoo, David slipped out of his cast - again. Daddy didn't have a car seat to take him to the doctor and had to borrow a car from Pam. They took another x-ray and decided that he was healed "close enough" to leave the cast OFF - after only 2 weeks! We were thrilled but also feeling nervous that he is unprotected after such a short time. You and I enjoyed lunch at Culver's on the way home from the zoo, complete with your very own "sunset" (aka sundae). My favorite moment from the morning was when we were walking along, holding hands, and out of sheer excitement you leaned over and kissed my hand. Oh, I wish I could package that sweetness.

During nap time, Daddy and I had scrambled to get a babysitter to go take care of a situation with some furniture that we purchased for the new house. When we returned, you opened your gift, my first leap pad, and were so excited that you didn't even want to leave to get your favorite tacos and play at the park. But after another evening of fun, we put you to bed and continued to run around preparing for our move this weekend. What a crazy and memorable day!

So happy birthday, baby girl. You are an incredible kiddo, and I am sincerely looking forward to your fourth year. I think it will only get better and better.

Love you,

Monday, May 18, 2009

Bring It: Seasonal Allergy Advice

Until a few weeks ago, I counted myself in the lucky camp that did not suffer from seasonal allergies. But for the last 4 weeks, I've had a scratchy throat, runny nose, and I can't stop sneezing. I was hopeful at first that I had caught one of David's colds, but as the weeks went on, I had to concede that I think I have allergies.

So what's the deal? Am I destined now to suffer every spring and summer for the rest of my life? How long does the season last? Are there ups and downs? What are the best remedies? I've tried generic Zyrtec and Claritin, which both helped but didn't provide complete relief. Is it possible that it's related to the fact that I've been emptying closets and stirring up all kinds of dust in this house for the last month?

(BTW - T minus 5 days until we move. Yikes!)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Concept of time...

Lately bedtimes have been a struggle. A BIG struggle. One of our attempts to explain to Katy WHY she has to go to bed is to say that we all have a bedtime. Hers is 8:00. So what time is it? "8 on the clock," she says. That's right: time for Katy to go to bed. I've attempted to explain that 2:00 is naptime, but she doesn't seem to distinguish the two and gets confused. "No, Mommy, it's 8 on the clock."

So today we had lunch with my sister, and in the car on the way home, Katy and I had this conversation:

Me: When we get home, Katy, it's naptime.

K: It's 8 on the clock.

M: That's right.

K: Where's Aunt Mel?

M: She's in her car.

K: Where's she going?

M: To her house.

K: She's going to her house to go to sleep, too. It's 8 on her clock.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Hey! Look at my kids!!

Not much meat in this one, folks, pretty much just pictures and videos of my kids. First I wanted to show you the protraits we had done at JCPenney recently for Katy and David's birthdays. I mentioned that I think we must've been the third person this girl had ever photographed in her life, and it was a very disappointing visit. But it's a lot of effort to get them all dressed up and make the trip to the studio timed perfectly around naps, so we picked the best we could and went with it. I'm pretty happy with the one of the two of them together.

My step mom Sue made the dress that Katy is wearing in the last one. It was a flower girl dress for her great-niece in her other niece's wedding, and she labored pretty intensely on it, so it was fun to get Katy's picture in it.

Also, a quick David update: on Monday while my mom was watching him, he woke up from his nap and had slipped out of his long arm cast. I took him in and the ortho doc said he had never seen a kid do that before. Is that strange? So they made him another cast, and this one is made with that waterproof lining - have you seen these yet? They are somewhat sticky so it is staying in place better on his arm, which is good. But the coolest thing is that you can get them wet! I gave him a bath tonight and the cast was completely submerged and it was fine. It's really weird. And someone told me today that they saw a kid in the swimming pool with one on her leg. Who knew...
So David was taking a few steps here and there before he broke his arm, and then I thought he'd be crawling until the cast came off. But now he's figured it out again and is more readily taking steps. But unlike my daughter, this kid requires proper motivation. At the risk of appearing to be training a dog, I can only get him to walk to me by offering treats. Observe:

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

3 year olds: party of 4

Even though Katy doesn't officially turn 3 until next week, I wanted to have a party for her before our move got really chaotic. I knew that Katy would have a blast this year having a "friend party" with several of the kiddos she considers BFFs. So I invited 3 of her little buddies and their families. Bonus: their parents are good friends of mine, and Oma and Opa were there to help.

The kids seemed to have a seriously good time, and I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed myself as well. It was so sweet to watch them have such a good time and see the excitement on Katy's face throughout the celebration. The party was also bittersweet in some ways. Two of her 3 friends live right on our street, and the 3rd one lives just a couple of miles away. I know that once we move, we won't see them as often, and that makes me incredibly sad. But for today: we party!

Of course it starts with the cake! Katy requested a snake cake, and I found this recipe online.

The birthday girl, wearing a new dress from Oma!

Strange coincidence: Katy and Brooklyn, in the middle, will be 3 on the same day. Jack and Ella, on the ends, will be 3 on the same day this July.

We got lucky as the weather cleared up just in time for the party.

Jack was such a trooper with all those girls! He and Katy are such good buds.

Katy was so excited to have 3! candles!

Oh, that face!!


David enjoyed this cake better than his own birthday cake.

Brooklyn's sister Maddie will have her own birthday cake soon!


The girls put on princess clothes and had a dance party. It was absolutely hilarious. I also love the Dads holding the Next Generation in the background.

These mommies switch babies (born 3 days apart) - to appreciate the size difference!

Friday, May 08, 2009

When a cast is the highlight of my week...

I've been counting down the hours until our orthopedic appointment next Thursday, when we would be able to get rid of David's splint and bandage "sling" and hopefully get a cast that would allow him some more mobility. The splint has been stressful to care for and keep in the right position.

Then last night the splint slipped so far out of alignment that I reached back to my splinting skills from OT school and removed it entirely to rewrap it. But I didn't feel confident about it, so I called the ortho doc this morning, and they said to come on in. And guess what??? We got a cast!! I am SO excited, this is such a relief, and I feel like a large weight has been lifted from my shoulders.

David has been in a much better mood since we got it - he can crawl and move and do what he needs to do. He's still a little uncomfortable, but it's a big improvement. Yay cast!!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The Other Stuff

The past couple of weeks have had some highlights, other than broken baby bones. Here we go:

**Katy has entered the age of the Whys. Everything I say is then followed by, "but why?" It makes for some interesting conversation, in which I am asking myself, "Hmmm....why IS that?" Here's one from the other day:

We were walking past a duck pond and she spotted a duck turd (sorry, that's the best word I can come up with) on the ground.

K: Mommy, can I pick this up and feed it to the ducks?

M: NO! That's not duck food, it's duck poop! Don't touch it!

K: Why?

M: Because poop is very dirty. Usually poop goes in the potty, but ducks poop on the ground.

K: Why?

M: Because they don't have a potty. And they don't know any better.

K: Why?

M: Only people poop on the potty. Animals poop on the ground.

K: So they can get a sucker?
(She's got a point there, at least they didn't go in their diaper)

**Speaking of the potty: we're in a major "two steps back" mode. She keeps telling me that she likes going in her diaper, that she doesn't want to use a potty. And in my current state, I'm not pushing it. Once we are settled in the new house and have a new routine, we'll get something going.

**David is maturing on a daily basis. Baby signing finally clicked for him and he's using a few - all food related, of course. He loves the sandbox, dancing to music, climbing (obv), and doing whatever his sister is doing. He colors (really makes marks!), drives cars around on the floor (making a sound that resembles "vroom"), and points and squeals at every animal he sees. He's such a cutie and I feel so sorry for him because he is mad at the world right now. It's frustrating for us all.

**One day last weekend, the kids stayed with my step-mom at our house while we were painting at the new house. When I walked in the door, David was really excited to see me, so I stood at a distance from him and held my arms out. He surprised us all by walking 6 steps right to me! I couldn't believe it! And then he did it several more times of the next couple of days. Unfortunately, now with his arm bundled up, he doesn't have the balance to do it, so I guess we'll be delayed again for a while.

**I took the kids to get portraits taken at JCP for their first and third birthdays. We debated about whether to go to Portrait Innovations, because I think they do a much better job overall, but they are significantly more expensive, and we've had good luck in the past with JCP. So we went, and it was our worst experience yet. The photographer was brand new and she gave no direction - we were placing the kids ourselves and asking for props. Truly ridiculous. In the end there were a few decent pictures so we bought some, but JCP is just a shot in the dark sometimes.

**After posting our place for summer rental on craigslist, we had 3 groups of people who really wanted to rent. I am blown away at how it all worked out. So we have until May 31st to be out of here.

**So the BIG ONE: last Friday, we closed on our new house! It's a done deal, we now own 2 properties! Everything went well and we felt very excited about it. The weekend following the closing had a few highlights of its own:

--My sister-in-law called me five hours after closing, and I was standing on a ladder stripping wall paper from the bathroom. It was only a double decker border, but it took several hours to remove - what a pain!

--We painted Katy's room, the master bedroom, and 2 bathrooms, finishing up with the basement floor. We could NOT have done anything even remotely close to this without my Dad and Sue helping us all weekend (with childcare and hard labor).

--Of course, as with any home purchase, as soon as you get the keys, you discover a few problems. So far, knock on wood, they've been minor. First, there was a fist-sized hole in a pipe that had been covered with duct tape (how did that pass inspection?). Then, we quickly noticed that we have a groundhog (or gopher? same diff?) making himself very comfortable under our front porch.

--We instituted the Van Plan. We have moved the car seats from the van into the Corolla and removed the seats from our minivan. Every day, we (and by "we", I mean "Brian") load the van with stuff and take it to the new house in the evening. We're hoping that this will result in a reasonable work order come moving day.

**There's still so much to do that it feels overwhelming. With all the extra attention David has needed this week, it's been all I can do to keep up with the day to day, let alone packing and moving. It feels like I am standing in the middle of work zone with my hands tied behind my back. Of course, I'm certainly happy to meet the needs of my Bubby, but this moving task feels impossible at times. Let's just hope that his follow-up appointment next Thursday (why is it so far away?) brings good news. At LEAST can he please be relieved of his arm being attached to his body? Because that's really stinking frustrating.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

To complicate matters...


I have at least 100 other things that I need to tell you about the last 2 weeks, not the least of which is that we closed on our new house. There has been plenty going on around here. And then last night...

We were playing in the front yard (still at the old house, we haven't moved yet), and David was climbing up the steps of the small plastic slide, which he has been able to do by himself for about a week. He's been climbing like crazy lately, and I keep finding him in all kinds of predicaments like this one:

So he's climbing on the slide, and I was standing right next to him, and I reached into my pocket for my phone for a second and he fell to the ground. It was so quick, and didn't even seem like a hard fall, but he landed on his arm in a weird position and I was instantly afraid of an injury because of the way he was crying. But we tried to calm him down to see if he was just scared. After giving some Tylenol, offering dinner, and waiting for the pediatrician to call, David and I were headed to the urgent care. (Brian stayed with Katy).

I think the part of the evening that made my stomach drop the most was walking into the urgent care waiting room. It was packed full of people - most of whom were wearing face masks. I thought, "great, we have a fall and now we'll get the swine flu." But I was able to calm down enough to get through evening full of traumatic exams and x-rays.

The end result is that David fractured his wrist. The right distal radius, to be exact. He has a soft cast/splint that he will wear until we go to the orthopedist in 10 days. Then they will decide if they need to cast, etc.

Worse than the cast, though, is that for all waking hours, David's splint has to be bandaged to his body like this:

This means that he can't crawl, has trouble playing and standing, and is generally MAD at the world right now. (I know this is hard to tell when he sports such a cheesy grin in all of his photos, but truly, he is miserable) Ten days is such a long time, and we're in the middle of moving and having a birthday party for Katy this weekend. Ugh.

I feel about this big. How could I have let him fall when I was standing right there? Why am I always distracted by my phone (ahem....and my computer)? The word "negligent" keeps running through my head as I hear some of the statements the nurses made: "We've never made a cast this small." "We don't usually see fractures in kids this young." and "You were here before?" I should've had my hands on him...he's only 13 months old...still a baby.

But at the end of the day, it's just a small fracture. It could be much worse, and I know he'll be fine. The next few weeks will be frustrating, but he will be fine. I'm thankful for that...

I'll be back soon to tell you about the other 100 things...