Monday, September 29, 2008

Quiet

It's going to be slow here for a bit more.  I just got back from my doctor, and have been diagnosed with a case of Strep Throat.  I came down with a fever in the middle of the presidential debates on Friday, which made me pretty mad, and I've been feeling pretty ill since then.  I'll start some antibiotics today, and hopefully will be feeling better soon.

Jules is still faring much better than me.  His nose is still runny and stuffy, but other than that he is in great spirits.  He even managed to sleep all the way through the night until 7:45 this morning!  You cannot believe the relief I felt having so much sleep to myself.  It was amazing.  

Pete is terrified of the cooties, so he's not coming with in air distance of me, and hopefully he'll be able to come out of this unscathed.  I am glad that we're getting this out of our systems now, instead of a month from now when we're trying to celebrate Julians birthday.  (BTW, his invitations arrived today, and I can't wait to get them in the mail, they are adorable!)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Exhibits A, B, and C

There is a reason why you should never spend too much money on a crib.  

Exhibit A, The first victim. Located nearest the changing table and facing the door to his room.  I often find him here chewing, crying, or just waiting for me to come and get him after a nap.

Exhibit B, The second victim.  Located nearest the window, and only attacked after Exhibit A was decimated. I don't often catch him in action at this location.

Exhibit C, victim from the start.  Located along the front rail.  Less chewing, lots of biting.


Luckily when we transform the crib into a toddler bed, the head boards break in half so the damage will be banished to the garbage.  Good thing we already planned on buying a new crib for hypothetical baby #2!

Random Shots

This is crazy bath face.  It happens after Papa pours cup after cup of water over his head while he screeches:

Jules is really getting into books lately, and is sometimes capable of sitting for more than 30 seconds to read:

This boy is a crazy sleeper.  He has taken to laying OVER Ali the Alligator while contorting himself within his crib when he sleeps:

And this is Jules, up way past his bedtime during his sickness, crawling out of a laundry basket he had dropped his blinking pen into.  Cheap entertainment is the best entertainment:
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The Sickness Has Been Banished

Yesterday, after 5 days and doses of antibiotic, Jules was still not himself.  He was on the strongest one he could be, and it didn't seem to be helping.  We were still dosing him with ibuprofen twice a day, and he was extremely fussy, angry, clingy, and generally unpleasant to be around, so I called and got an appointment to get him in yesterday afternoon.  The doctor took a look in his ears, the left was still fine, and the right was looking better, but not as good as it should have been.  She checked him all over to see if anything else was different.  Stomach, lungs, back, legs, nose, mouth, every where.  Nothing was different.  She then suggested an antibiotic shot.  At first I wavered, but she said if the screaming and fussing was as bad as it was, this was the best course of treatment to take, and the one she would take with her own children.  

It would be the first shot without Papa there to hold him so I didn't have to watch.  I wasn't sure I could do it.  I always wonder if we are too quick to medicate our children, especially with antibiotics.  I question whether I am able to make the right decisions for my son since I can't know everything.  It had already been a long day, and I felt at my breaking point with exhaustion and sadness, but I knew what I had to do.  So we waited for the nurse, and I held Jules while he cried with impatience.  It was a bigger shot, and thicker, and he cried even harder after it, but I did it. I nursed him after, and that seemed to help.  Some days it is harder being a mom than others.  Some days I wonder if I am getting it right.  Only time will tell.

He didn't want to go back into his stroller right away, and he was going to have to because we had to walk home, so we went up to the front desk and picked out a red plastic elephant for him to play with.  It would go well with his blue rhino from his previous visit.  Eventually I was able to coax him into his seat and we headed outside.  Once we were out on the sidewalk, we called Papa, and he was able to talk to Julian.  He loves to hear his Papa through the phone, so grins were instantaneous even though he still had tears in his eyes.  

We stopped by the store to pick up something quick for dinner since it was just going to be the two of us.  I grabbed some Amy's Mac, and some steamed broccoli and carrots to go with the left over roasted chicken I had made this weekend.  He ate a better dinner than he had in ages, even trying to scoop some mac off my plate with his spoon.  He seemed so intent on doing it himself that I started putting all the bites on his spoon, and he proceeded to feed himself almost his entire dinner this way, with a 95% success rate of food to mouth!  

And today, well today has been a much better day.  He woke up all smiles at 8AM this morning, after only one wake up all night.  He ate a hearty breakfast with Papa while I went to Yoga, and then took a good morning nap after nursing when I got home.  I managed to drop and break his glass bottle of antibiotics that we were supposed to finish (clumsy mama!), but one call to the doctor and she said as long as he was better today we didn't have to worry about finishing it.  He's done a complete 180, and it's so much better having my happy boy back today.  It hurts me to see him hurting, and not having any control of it, and not being able to help him feel better, but it helps to know that I had made the right decision.  One day at a time I guess.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

For the Baby Book: Fourth Word

Book:  Buh

Jules has become fascinated with sitting on the floor flipping through books.  He loves to turn the pages of his board books over and over again.  He also loves to play with the bottom shelf of our big bookshelf that only contains romance novels.  These books have taken many hours of abuse being thrown to the floor and chewed on, but now he can sit for 5-10 minutes just flipping the pages over and over again as if it were a Flip Book.

Today while I was uploading his library he was sitting in the middle of the living room surrounded by all of his board books saying "buh buh buh" over and over again.  Once I talked with Pete, we realized that he has been saying it for a few days with him as well.

Sickness Has Struck Again

Jules has been sleeping poorly and has been abnormally cranky, sad, frustrated, and clingy for the last week or so.  At first we just thought it was teething, as he's due for some more teeth and was drooly there for a few days.  Then he started waking up screaming in the middle of the night, inconsolable and sad.  Nursing didn't help, water wasn't wanted, he didn't want to lay down to sleep with us, he just kept trying to throw himself on the floor kicking and screaming.  We'd done a little ibuprofen in the evenings prior thinking it would help the teething, but after being awake from 1AM - 4 AM with him last night I realized that this just wasn't normal.  By the end of Pete's work day today I had made an appointment with the pediatrician to get him in right away.

As soon as the doctor came in she reassured us that this was not typical behavior for teething and that something else was definitely the culprit.  This was relieving on one hand because then I felt like we could DO something about how bad he has been feeling.  On the other hand I was sad because I felt like I should have caught it sooner, and gotten him in quicker.  Once she looked at his ears she determined that the left one had been infected, but was on its way to healing itself.  Then she looked at his right one and it was swollen and filled with fluid.  Raging ear  infection present.  She gave us a tougher antibiotic than last time since he'd had an infection so recently and we've armed ourselves with probiotics to help counteract it.

After a big dinner, the first in a while, he's fast asleep now dosed up with the antibiotic, ibuprofen, and probiotics in his water bottle. I am crossing my fingers he'll get better rest tonight, but if he wakes I plan on having medicine at the ready to help with the pain.

Julians Library

I've discovered a cool online program called LibraryThing and I have uploaded the complete contents of Julians current Library!  Now in addition to his Wish List to keep track of the books I want to get him, I can also keep track of all the books he has and reads.  I thought we had more than 188, my guess was 200 - but I was close!

I hope to get my library online soon as well because one of the great things about LibraryThing is that it can recommend books to you based on things your library.  I'm scared to get a total on my own books, it's much more than 200 I am sure, though I love that we have a house full of them.  

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

For the Baby Book: Third Word

Ball:  Sounds like Bah

Since he has a zillion balls, I'm not at all surprised this in in the Top 10 First Words!

Birthday Surprises

I'm so excited today!  I just got word from my BFF Stefanie that she and her son Jackson will be flying out to join us for Julians 1st birthday party courtesy of Nana Joni!  Stefanie is Julians godmother, not so much in the religious sense, more because we want her and her family to play an important familial role in Julians life.  They live back in Bloomington, IN where I am originally from, and we try to see each other at least 2 or 3 times a year.  More if we can swing it!  Jackson is 6 months older than Jules, and the last time they were together Julian was 4 months, and Jackson was 9 months.  Julian was still quite the blob, and Jackson was just on the cusp of crawling.  It's going to be a whole new world when we get them together this time; now Jules is crawling up a storm, and Jackson has begun walking!

Stefanie and I spent a good chunk of our pregnancies pregnant at the same time, and it has been really nice to have someone so close to me be in such a similar spot in life.  It's been invaluable to have her to call for advice and reassurance, but mostly just to share stories about our adorable and crazy baby boys.  We both have grand wishes for them to grow up to be as close as she and I are, even with the distance. 

It's going to be a blast to have them here for a long weekend, and we'll even be able to celebrate her birthday while they are here.  Plus they'll get to come to our rocking Halloween Birthday Bash (more on the plans for this later), so they better bring their best costumes!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Woot!

My blog has been accepted by BlogHer!!!!  I'll soon be 1 out of 2200 other blogs by women that have been chosen to be a part of their community.  Soon you will see some new advertisements on the blog, and hopefully we'll be getting more traffic!  Many of the other blogs I read, that you can see on my blog-roll, are other women that blog with BlogHer.  They are some of the most well written and entertaining blogs by women that I have found.  

Because of this I'm going to be doing a bit of reorganizing to the blog.  I'll be changing the web address soon for privacy reasons, but I'll be sure to let you all know when that happens.  I'm going to go back and add tags to my posts to get them into categories for easier accessibility and start cleaning up my side-bar links.  I also hope to be writing more posts, I've always wanted the blog to head more in that direction, and here is the perfect impetus!  

Yoga and Music

Last week I went and applied for financial assistance to join the YMCA in our neighborhood.  It's only a mile away, on an easily walkable route, so I'll be able to go frequently during the week even when Pete is working and get some cardio in there and back.  They have a great program that helps lower income families afford to become members, and  I was so excited that we qualified. There is free childcare, though it was a bit disastrous on our first try, we're going to keep working on it with him in smaller increments of time.  The big deterrent that I've had from using the base gyms/pools that are free to us is the hour long commute there and back, coupled with their complete lack of childcare.  It doesn't make for a very family friendly opportunity.

They have been renovating and improving the Y for the last year, so much of the equipment and studios are brand new.  The new childcare facility just opened last Monday, and it huge, colorful, brand new from top to bottom, and surrounded by windows so that you can check on your babies easily and from many directions. They have a pool where I can take aerobic swim classes, and Julian can take swim lessons which I'm really excited about.  I think that is going to be one of his birthday presents this year.  We want to keep him comfortable in the water year round so when we go to the beach next year he won't have forgotten how much he likes it.  They also have yoga and pilates studio with tons of classes offered throughout the week, and that's where I will be mostly.  I'm really looking forward to getting back into better shape since having Jules, and having a place Pete can work out that is closer to home and takes him away for less time.  Now if we can just get Jules to be okay with being left for at least an hour at a time....

As many of you who read this blog know, music is pretty important in our house.  I started piano when I was 7, and played for many years.  That lead to playing percussion in a symphonic band and marching band drum line throughout middle and high school.  I absolutely loved it, and it is something that I hope I can pass down to Jules along with a love of sports of course!

We've been exposing Julian to as many different kinds of music and sounds as possible.  He also has a small piano, xylophone, tambourines, and shakers that we encourage him to play often. He loves to shake back and forth and dance when he hears music, as well as bang along on his instruments.  We have music in nearly every room of the house:  his bedroom and the living room have bigger players, while the bathroom and the kitchen have travel speakers - and all of them can connect to our Ipods.  We start the day in the kitchen with children's music at breakfast, and from there it's whatever suits our mood.  There is a high school in the neighborhood that has a small marching band with a drum line that I've started taking him to listen to when they practice during the week and before games.  He loves all of the base, and rocks back and forth to the beat of the music with a huge grin on his face.  

With his birthday coming up I've been searching Amazon high and low, tagging things on his Wish List that I wanted to remember as ideas for his #1 and for Christmas. I came across this Drum Set, and was sold instantly.  It's only 13 inches high, is made from wood and won't take up too large of a footprint, and I think this Band in a Box will be the perfect accompaniment.   Melissa and Doug and Plan Toys have some really great stuff for kids, I love everything made by them we've gotten for Jules so far.  Lot's of wooden toys, with natural/non-toxic dyes and paints, that are incredibly durable.  Some may think I'm crazy to get something that will make so much noise, but honestly - I love it!  I love watching him develop his rhythm, see how loud he can be, see how much he bounces and shakes to the beat.  


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Sunday, September 14, 2008

For The Baby Book

At 10 1/2 Months

2nd Word:  Papa

He says it the most first thing in the morning when he comes into bed with us to nurse and give kisses.  After a few days of positive reinforcement he now says it all day long, and in context.


Skill: Blowing Kisses

I showed him this one day as Papa was leaving for work.  I figured it was a long shot, something that would take him a long time to grasp, but I was wrong, this boy is a kissing fiend!  He blows kisses when Papa is going anywhere, to me, to his friends, basically all the time.  All you have to do is ask him to "Blow a kiss!".

Monday, September 8, 2008

We Have Walking!

Assisted walking that is!  For the last week Jules has been pushing around his little chair that Nana Joni gave him, or scooting the kitchen stool around in front of him.  Then we transformed his little car into a walker and he took off.  Now he spends a ton of time every day walking back and forth through the living room, ramming it into the walls and chairs, and trying to get down the hallway with it.  I can't believe my little baby is such a big boy.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Wild Animals

The after nap hair has been laughter inducing lately, as it thickens and lengthens into actual hair instead of baby fluff.  Usually he looks like a tow-headed chia pet!




As every nap ends Jules begins to babble to himself and play in his crib, tossing his animals and water bottle overboard.  It is a rare day that I hear screams to be rescued.  The upside of this is that he wakes up grinning from ear to cheesy ear, and ready to put on a show for me in his crib.

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The Lost Memory Card: How Lily Got Buried

Somehow a memory card from Jack and Lily's visit got lost in the shuffle of uploading until I found it this week.  These are some hilarious pictures of Jack and Pete burying Lily on the beach.  She requested it, so they made it happen!  It was a ton of fun, and we got some great pictures for the memory books.  Be sure to watch the video at the end, the glee the guys got from this activity is quite visible!


















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School Days








Yesterday Jules and I started our new work routine.  Now, instead of helping with the boys twice a week so they could go to the pool or botanical gardens, we're picking them up from Kindergarten!  It's about a two mile walk there and back, with time to play on the playground before we head home to meet up with the other boys.  Jackson and Casey got a special treat yesterday because Mr. Pete was able to come with me since it was his day off. The loved goofing around on the monkey bars and playing with bugs.  Jules had a blast crawling through the grass, throwing mulch on his head, eating sticks, and playing with the big kids.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Letter to My 10 Month Old

Dear Julian, 

Happy 10 months baby boy!  You have come so very far these last few months, with new skills and interests emerging every day.  You're clapping, waving, kissing, and high-fiving all day long, and you seem so proud of yourself.  You're babbling like crazy, and shrieking - sometimes so loud and high-pitched there almost is no sound.  You even said your first word:  Kisses.  Could there be a better first word?  I don't think so, it just shows how much love is heaped on you every day!

This last month has been a very busy one.  Your Auntie Claire and Auntie Tessa came to visit for 2 weeks and that was a ton of fun.  We spent many hours at the beach playing in the sand, and splashing in the water.  It was so much fun to see you guys interact and get to know each other better.  You even got to stay and hang out with them on your own for awhile so that Mama and Papa could go out by themselves!  They have a webcam at home, so we've been chatting with them over the internet so that you don't forget who they are before they get a chance to come back for another visit, and that is really fun.  You love to wave and smile at them, and perk up whenever you hear their voices.

Right after they left to head home to Indiana, your Uncle Jack and Auntie Lily came down from Philly to visit for a week.  We spent even more time at the beach, and by the end of their trip you had stopped eating the sand and started throwing it instead.  You also got very comfortable crawling through the low surf and swimming in the waves with your Papa.  We built sand castles, had picnics, and played a lot while they were here.  It was awesome, and we can't wait to have them down again to spend more time with you.  

You seem more and more a little boy, leaving a little bit of your babyhood behind as we pass through the days.  When you cruise around on the furniture or throw your soccer ball around you seem so much like a toddler.  And you are aware of so much that is going on, and often surprise me with how much you understand.  You now know many words when I ask you about them:  Papa, Mama, ball, clap, throw, bite, nurses, kisses.  

The amount of food you can put down in a meal is astounding.  You love all things dairy:  mozzarella, cottage cheese, and yogurt.  Fruit is highly favored, especially peaches and plums, but blueberries and bananas are pretty high ranking as well.  Carbs are up there on the list, especially your Joe's O's and pasta.  I am not sure there has been a food that has passed your lips that you have not enjoyed, even lemons are licked with a puckered face and a smile (blame your Aunties for that one!).   You are very independent, and often won't eat anything off a spoon, unless it's the treasured yogurt, so I've had to be creative in making finger food you can eat yourself that meets all of your dietary needs.  You still drink water out of a bottle for some naps, but more often than not your able to use one of your sippy cups.  It's not as easy, but you're a determined little guy.

Sleep has much improved over this last month.  Right at the beginning of August you gave us our first taste of sleeping through the night, and as we've solidified your bedtime routine things have gotten better. 

It goes like this most nights:  
Big dinner
Bath if your really gross, wipe down if not
New diaper and PJs
Nursing while Mama reads two books (BabyCakes and Good Night Moon)
Lights out
Nursing during Songs (J is for Julian, You are My Sunshine, Hey Jude, Hush Little Baby) 
Kisses from everyone
Sound machine on
Bottle of water and laid down for the night.   

9 times out of 10 you're out like a light until somewhere between 6:30 and 8AM, and it is heavenly.  Teething still seems to disrupt some nights, as well as Papa working nights and missing bedtime, so you wake up to nurse around 3 for comfort and security.  It's so nice to know you have found your way with sleep, and I am glad that we have been able to help you learn to sooth yourself, not to mention how much better I am feeling now that I am not so sleep deprived!

Papa has been home a lot this month, between some leave he took for visitors and the way his schedule has been working lately with mid-shifts he's been here a lot during your waking hours.  It has really fostered a close bond between the two of you, and I can see it in how you follow him around and reach for him when he's not close enough to you.  Together you eat meals, take Nico for long walks, and play ball in the living room every day, not just on the weekends, and we feel really blessed for that.  We still fight down the hall to the nursery to see who can get to you first when we hear you wake from your naps, because the smile that is on your face when you see us is priceless.  He loves to spend time with you, especially now that you have become so interactive and playful, and he can make you laugh and giggle like no one else, not even me.

Soon we are going to start planning your birthday party, but hopefully that day will take it's time getting here.  I plan on enjoying these last two months of you as a baby as much as I can.  You are such a joy to be with, and such a treasure to your Papa and I.  I hope you always know how much love we each have for you.

Always,
Mama
xoxoxo