Saturday, May 31, 2008
Charlie, on the other hand, is now beginning to eat more again. We just don't know what's going on with him; he's always been stuffy and sounding like he has drainage. Ped. said that will get better. He even had some what we thought was wheezing/rattling in his lungs - yes, folks, having asthma myself, I know that that's serious. And I know he will have allergies and asthma because I do, as well as my birthmother before me, and her mother before her (the only medical piece of information my parents ever got). Anyway, he was doing his usual thing yesterday, taking 4-5 oz at a feeding. And then came 9:00pm. And he took TEN ounces. Almost 11, actually. And then he took maybe 1/2-tablespoon of rice cereal.
He woke up at 4am and took another 5.5oz. And then at 9am another 4oz. And then at 10:30 was crying because he was hungry. I sure wish this kid would take an actual feeding, because now I'm suspecting he's falling asleep before he's actually full.
Ah well. The adventure continues. We saw Indiana Jones IV last night. Charlie went with us and was supposed to sleep the whole time. Instead, WE spent the whole time pacing the back of the movie theater because he was wide awake and cried every time we put him in his carseat. Too much traveling during the day, I think. Anyway, we won't try that trick again. The movie was a fun way to see Indy one more time, though. Roman is off visiting my parents this weekend, along with my niece and nephew. My parents will be exhausted! Doug so graciously let me sleep until 10am. It was beautiful. So all told, I got 12 hours of sleep. I feel like I'm ready to take on the world... or at least, clean my house.
Thursday, May 29, 2008
So I packed up the boys and headed over there. It was fun. Roman was a little unsure of the dunk tank, and actually said he wouldn't want to make a person fall into it. Sweet. He loved the bouncer though, and once the 7th graders cleared out he went through it probably six times. I went through once, just to be a good sport. All this excitement, plus Daddy coming home and a visit to a friend's house complete with trampoline on Wednesday, enticed Roman to actually SLEEP today during quiet time. He was in there almost 2 hours, I have no idea when he fell asleep.
Charlie is beginning to take a little more at feedings again, around 6oz today. He also has begun burping up a lot of mucus tinged with formula. He has a lot of stuffiness issues, and I wonder if he's got drainage that is filling his tummy. If it continues or doesn't get better, I'm definitely calling the ped.
Now I'm going to talk about my other love, scrapbooking. Photo organization, to be exact. I’ve been spending my free time reorganizing my photos. I bought a book called “Photo Freedom” by Stacy Julian. I have a previous book of hers, “The Big Picture" in which she convinced me to (almost) let go of chronological scrapbooking. It’s been hard though – even though I have divided my books into categories rather than years, I still find I am scrapping chronologically & by event.
However, I have taken a major step thanks to Photo Freedom. I have reorganized ALL my photos into categories. No more monthly folders for me, except for the “Charlie” “Roman” and “Family” pictures. Everything now gets separated into the following categories:
About Us (insights into our personalities)
Everyday Life (called “Things We Do” in the books)
Celebrations & Holidays
Places We Go
People We Love
I found that the Everyday Life is going to be the fastest growing album. I was concentrating so much on event-event-event, but I found the pages that Roman likes to look at the most are the “what was I like as a baby?” pages. Those that described his toys, or his moods, or silly things he does or says.
I also finally took advantage of the beauty of Photoshop Elements (besides that I can create digital pages) and have “tagged” my photos into categories. So I can click on the “Roman” tag and all pictures of Roman come up, regardless of month or year. Or, strangely enough, I discovered a need for a tag called “food.” Click on it, and there are close to 15 photos of us with food. Interesting.
So, it’s moving along. I’m not getting many actual pages done, but #1 this is easier to do when I’ve only got 10 or 15 minutes to spare at a time, and #2 hopefully it will cause me to scrap in a more timely manner. Such as, “Celebrations & Holidays” can be up to date, even if my “Places We Go” is still stuck in June 2007. I can scrap photos that are relatively recent. And Charlie can actually make it into my scrapbooks before 2009 rolls around. Assuming I can let go of the chronological bug.
I don't know what's gotten into him, but since camping Charlie has reverted back to only taking about 4 oz. at a feeding. Growth spurt over? So is my sleep. He wakes consistently 3.5 hours in the evening. I am so, so tired of seeing 2am. 2:30am. 3am. 3:30am. 4:00am. And no, I can't nap when he does during the day. I have an almost-5 year old who can handle about 1.5 hours of rest in the afternoon before starting to bother me. And most days, having to follow Charlie's schedule, Roman's rest is not at a time when Charlie is sleeping. So no, well-meaning advice-givers, I can't just "nap when they do." Go to bed early? Sure, I'll go to bed at 9pm. And spend absolutely no time connecting with my husband. Ever.
I know I'm just tired. But I have no patience to deal with the kids, I have no energy, and I just want to (insert swear word here) sleep. More than 3 hours at a time. Please.
Wednesday, May 28, 2008
Monday, May 26, 2008
Memorial Day used to be called Decoration Day. The first actual observance of a "Decoration Day" occurred in 1865 when freed blacks reinterred Union soldiers at a former Confederate prison, from the mass grave the Confederates buried them in into individual graves. Then the following year, a large number of blacks returned to the site, decorated the graves, and then held a parade with lots of singing and dancing following.
By that time, of course, communities throughout the South (and a handful in the North) had begun honoring their dead from the Civil War; in Mississippi, strangely enough, they held their own Decoration Day in 1866 honoring both Confederate and Union dead. It eventually evolved, as many holidays do, into a 3-day weekend meant for camping, picnicking, and car races.
However, being a history lover and America lover, I always take time to honor the soldiers who have given their lives so we can continue to enjoy our camping, picnicking, and car races. Memorial Day is for honoring soldiers who died during military service.
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Saturday, May 24, 2008
We're heading into town later this afternoon for some window shopping and a chicken dinner. Tomorrow - more of the same. I love camping here because they have activities for the kids running all day. Yesterday Roman made "sand art" and today they're doing tie-dying, although we would have to buy a shirt if we decide to do it. We are allowing Ro to go out on his bike without us, and he loves the freedom. We love the quiet. Although he doesn't stay away too long yet, and I think that's okay. There are a ton of kids here - and a ton of dogs, including a little yippy one next door that never stops. There is a dog show in town this weekend so I guess that's why everyone seems to have one.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
We have gotten advice regarding feeding Charlie, and I thank people for it. Please remember that while we may look like professional child-raisers, we have never had an infant before. We have no idea what we're doing until Charlie is, like, 10 months old. Or 10 months adjusted, anyway. So advice is good! We were recommended to try our fingers as he's used to the sucking... try only one meal at a time first... and feed after a bottle is totally finished, so there's no "hunger pressure" on any of us. All good ideas. I think we will try again after Memorial Day - camping is not the time to introduce something new.
We keep standing in awe of Charlie's size. We are amazed that he is in outfits that Roman wore when he came home at 9-1/2 months old. I mean, Roman was 19 pounds then! But then Doug and I were reminscing slightly at dinner. Roman was at the bottom of the charts. He was 19 pounds, but only about 19 or 20 inches long. Oh yeah... it comes back to me. I looked at our homecoming picture at the airport and thought - the only difference between Roman then and Charlie now is that Roman was feeding and could sit up. Size-wise, communication-wise, all the same. Huh.
Anyway. I've been attempting to feel guilty about putting Charlie in disposable diapers, as many of the blogs I keep up with are very pro-cloth diapers. I even did some research on biodegradable disposable diapers, but it turns out that in America, it doesn't matter - we landfill everything, even if it is biodegradable. Which is really the issue. The only reason to go with that type of disposable is that it is made out of eco-friendly materials rather than all plastic and gooey gel. Of course, instead of the gooey gel it's some sort of wood pulp mixture, so now you're cutting down trees to wrap your baby's butt.
However, I just may try one of the brands I saw from Sweden that is sold at Target. I mean, there's no way I'm doing cloth. Despite all the good reasons for it, I am a total convenience-gal. Especially with a second child in the house. And I don't feel guilty about it, although I probably should. But maybe if I use diapers that are made out of eco-friendly stuff, then at least it's a step in the right direction. As long as we're not cutting down too many trees to make them.
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
Charlie kind of liked it, although he pushed a lot of it out of his mouth. The ol' tongue-thrust still in action. After a few bites, though, he was getting hungrier. And the cereal wasn't coming fast enough.
However, he really did like sitting in the highchair - although I think it was more because he loves looking at his Daddy.
We tried again at the 10pm but it didn't go over very well. I tried again this morning and Charlie definitely did not want any part of it - pushing it out of his mouth and crying. Even when we fed him formula first to "take the edge off" before trying cereal - no way. So I gave him a regular bottle at noon and he was happier. I just don't think he's hit the developmental place with tongue/swallowing to be able to eat. Did try to mix it in with a bottle to make it more "filling" but the brand of nipples we're using (Avent) make it very difficult, and Charlie couldn't get any out.
In Roman news, today is a good day. Yesterday was a bad day. Thank goodness for a good day because it makes me forget the attitude of yesterday. Since Tuesday was all about Charlie, Roman really acted up. Today I made sure to spend time playing with him (and prayed for the patience to do so) and he's in a much better mood, and I'm getting more done because I "did my time." I have definite opinions about playing with kids (since when is mom the sole playmate? Whatever happened to boredom becoming the spur for imagination?) but I'll have to blog about that another time.
What did crack me up today was Roman's mind getting more creative, or precise, depending on your point of view. We're going camping this weekend and Roman is thrilled. He's already gathering things to take with him. He had picked out a couple videos to watch along the way, and wanted to bring his flashlight and some Hot Wheels to play with. I told him to go put them on the stairs so we would remember to take them up. This is how he put them on the stairs:
They honestly were in almost perfect alignment, right up the center of the steps. What a funny boy.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Charlie is between 25-50th percentile for 4 monthers – and that’s not adjusted! For his adjusted age he’s way off the charts (in a good way). He’s 14 lbs, 1 oz. He is also 24 inches long! We were told to go ahead and start rice cereal mixed with formula; if he takes that well, we can move on to veggies and fruits in 2 weeks. She said we should mix ¼ cup cereal with 8 oz formula, and try to give by spoon. Heh. So that’ll be fun. If he doesn’t take by spoon, we should give it with our fingers at first. Double-heh.
He also got 4 shots and one oral vaccination. Poor baby. Good thing he won’t remember it. Roman was very concerned for Charlie, and even said “I feel sorry for Charlie for getting those shots.” He rarely shows empathy, so I was impressed. Another concern has arisen – “increased tone” in his legs. So we’ve been referred to Early On, which is a taxpayer-funded program in Michigan for little ones. They will send a physical therapist through the schools out to our house for an evaluation. Basically, his legs are stiff and difficult to manipulate; his knee reflexes are much more than what they should be. Hopefully they’ll just give us some exercises to do rather than have to see a PT on a regular basis.
Charlie also has developed a flat spot on the right side of his head; funny, because on his back he looks to the right, and on his tummy he looks to the left. But we have to start forcing the head to the other side. Over the next 2 months we should start seeing him grabbing for things, rolling, and commando-crawling. It is physical things where we will see the preemie-delay most readily, she said.
So we’re going to start fun with cereal this evening and see what happens. Exciting! And I have a lot of phone calls to make, because I also have to make an appt. at a pediatric retinal specialist (different than the other one we saw) for a one-time visit.
Monday, May 19, 2008
Second, an interesting article about Putin's Russia came across my radar from a friend in Colorado. The essence I got from it was, the government will continue to be corrupt (and the classes continue to grow farther apart) as long as the people stand for it. What many don't understand about Russians is that they stay as far away from government as they can. They are so introverted. A great illustration about this came at a local museum we visited in Ekaterinburg. All of the museum displays were symbolic of a Russian's life throughout history. At one part, we entered an area where there was a door that was closed and locked. No way through, we'd have to turn around. "Ah," said Ilyana, "it looks closed. But Russians have a way around this." And then she opened a little door within the door. And that led to more doors. But these doors also swung backwards or forwards, or you could push part of them aside like a maze, to get through the solid-looking doors. As Ilyana said, "although under communism it appeared that things were at a dead end with only one way to go, a true Russian will always find a way around it."
So it doesn't matter if the government is corrupt; it doesn't matter out in Siberia, at least, if the economy is up or down. Russians make do as they have for decades, no matter what is happening in Moscow. The government can do what it likes, make whatever laws they like; out in the country where the real people live, they have their own customs and ways around things. I can't see the Russians rising up in indignation; where we were, at least, they were quite aware that the government was a failure but as long as it didn't affect them personally (many still affected by the purges of Stalin) they didn't complain.
And now, for our house. By our scale Charlie's 15 pounds; we'll get the true numbers tomorrow. So Doug finally brought the crib out of storage and set it up Sunday night. Of course, he doesn't want Charlie actually sleeping in it; that would mean he's growing up. So he will take naps during the day in it, at least through this weekend when we're camping.
And the outside of our house is finally the way I want it. Flowers were planted in the front as the weatherman says it's 40s or higher from here on out at night. Isn't it wonderful? Although I guess you can't really see the flowers yet. So admire the new light and mailbox, and the burning bush has been moved to a better location, and the railing on the deck is much more attractive than it was.
And lastly, I did some planting of my own today. Some leftover soil, and we had bought some of those "sprinkle seeds" of North American wildflowers. Thought it'd be fun to do with Roman. Well, he's afraid of bees and didn't want to come outside in the first place, and when he did he refused to touch the soil. Or the plants. So you can see who helped me!
Hopefully the wildflowers come up. Roman has 3 sunflower seeds that are starting to grow, so I had to repot them as well.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Luckily he continued to act normal, did not go to sleep, and once he calmed down he continued to be a happy child.
Karma had its way, however, on Friday night. As I was bending down to hug Roman goodbye (Doug and I went OUT!) Roman decided to jump up into my arms. I went down, Roman went up, and his head knocked my lower lip into my top teeth. Lots of blood and some tears (mostly Roman's) later, I just have a nice bruise and some swelling. I still had a good time, though, meeting with the "young couples" for a third time from church.
Other drama in my life includes the fact that I had made an entire baby album on Snapfish. I worked on it for 3 days, but as I clicked the button to "place order" tonight the button kind of "grayed out" and I couldn't do anything. Couldn't go forward, couldn't go backward. I refreshed the page (assuming nothing tragic would happen because I had saved the book so many times) but half of my work disappeared. The pictures are all on the pages I placed them on, but ALL the journaling... gone. So I have to go back and journal the entire d*$# thing again. 18 pages worth. I am not happy.
We did start shopping for Roman's birthday however, which he keeps reminding us is in June. He is at the gift-quarantine portion of his life, however; no buying anything for him about 6 weeks before a major gift-giving event. He is not pleased with this. So he keeps begging us to go to McDonald's or Burger King so he can get a toy.
Roman also is surprising us by reading. A lot. I know he has memorized a few simple words, and he can sound out 3 and 4 letter words pretty well. This evening watching tv, however, he said, "Funniest Pets and People is on next." How did you know that?, we asked. "Because that's what it says on the screen." What does it say above that? Long pause... "Next." Oh, my gosh. When we ask him to sound things out, he has to be in the right mood. But the other day he also sat in Charlie's room and read the Curious George lift-the-flap book that we just got. Like, actually read it. That boy is amazing. He also informed us at dinner that 1/1 is equal to 1, and 44/44 is equal to 1. We're not sure when he began solving fractions in his head, but the boy is an Einstein. He has already told us that Math will be his favorite subject, followed by Science.
Charlie? We have a ped. appt. on Tuesday for his 4-month checkup and I'm anxious to ask a few questions, namely about food. We assume we must stick to his adjusted-age for introducing solids, but the boy is taking 8 oz. at each feeding. It seems perhaps he needs something more filling, like rice cereal or applesauce mixed in. We'll see. I also took a picture of him in the bassinet, which will prove the crib needs to be introduced very soon:
He's practically end-to-end in it! That outfit is also a size 3-6 month, but in all other outfits, he's now safely in the 6 month sizes. Chunka-Monkey is what he is. Since he's supposed to be only about 7 weeks adjusted, you know. And the best part? For 3 nights in a row, he has slept on average 6-7 hours. From 10/11pm to about 5 or 5:30am. Woohoo!
Thursday, May 15, 2008
1. Try to have at least one thing to do a day. Especially if it means putting your kids in a nursery for a short amount of time (see: tennis, bowling from my own childhood)
2. If you have nowhere to go, you MUST enforce time in their rooms for the kids. It must last at least one hour, so you can watch an entire soap opera. (I'm considering picking back up with Days of Our Lives.)
3. Cooking dinner is actually "me time." Do not let anyone disturb you when you are cooking dinner/me time. Sometimes you have to start prepping at 4:30 for a 6pm dinner. Even if it's browned pork chops & french fries.
4. Have a glass of wine as you are prepping dinner. Or two.
5. Even though dinner is "me time," don't let the other family members know. Act like it was a lot of work, and you need to go sit down and relax after dinner.
6. Parents should rule the radio. It's the only tangible part of the day that you can truly call your own. Every once in awhile, grant the kids their own music. But remember - your happy music can make rough patches of the day okay. (Currently, I'm listening to oldies '50s & early '60s music. And what a better mood I am in. Nothing like a little Chuck Berry or the Drifters to pick up a spirit.)
And the great experiment in staying at home continues...
Tuesday, May 13, 2008
Roman is also starting to eat like a pig again, which means yet another growth spurt is coming. He had 2 lunches yesterday. I gave him a hot dog, crackers, cheese, and a Go-gurt. He devoured it and asked for an identical lunch. I gave him everything but a second Go-gurt, and he ate that all as well. Wow.
For dinners our struggles have minimized for now. I am trying much harder to cook things that Roman will accept. He has stated he likes ground beef, so I got online and got a bunch of casserole ideas. I also pulled out some old classics from my mom such as "Mac-and-Cheese with hot dogs casserole" and "easy goulash," as well as cooking up ye ole Hamburger Helper. I also made my very first grilled cheese sandwich last week. Yup, you read it right - I have NEVER cooked a grilled cheese sandwich. I had to call Doug to find out how to do it! (I knew it needed butter, but I didn't know if I had to do something fancy with it.) I didn't like them when I was little, and then... you know. Anyway, here's proof that it turned out good!
To go along with this, I finally bought myself a nonstick frying pan. When we married 8 years ago, Doug insisted on the fancy all-stainless steel cooking set (read: not nonstick). I warned him then that I preferred nonstick for so many reasons, the main one being I tend to burn things! I finally decided that after suffering for 8 years, I could spend the $20 and buy a darn nonstick pan. And oh, it's so beautiful!
Sunday, May 11, 2008
My Mother's Day was just how I like it. Quiet, no big deal, but at the same time I had quite a bit of time to myself. My fabulous husband watched Charlie most of the day - which isn't a hardship, actually - and Roman slept 1-1/2 hours for a nap and played on his own for quite awhile as well. Had some nice pictures taken, too.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
This was my first class - 3 12x12 pages and a mini-book.
Second class - a 6x6 album of cardstock, and the white center is actually 8 envelopes which you can store photos or memorabilia in. Very cool. Instead of Disney, I'm going to use mine for when Roman goes to a fair (we have the opportunity to go to 2 this summer).
My frame doesn't look like this (different papers), but it was really easy to make. I bought another kit just cuz it's so cool. The first 2 sections have transparencies in the window, so you can embellish or add more photos.
This is one of the things I'm really excited about. It's a 10x20 wall canvas kit. I got one about "family" too in burgundy shades. Rebekka had left a canvas behind and I've been wanting to do something with it, so thought I'd try a kit first to see how I like it.
I also bought a couple 8x8 acrylic albums and a chipboard album that the pages spell "birthday" so I can make Roman a little album for his first "buddy party." It occurs to me that I don't talk about my hobby much here, so I will try to do that more. I will maybe post some layouts in another day or two. Tomorrow is dedicated to sprucing up the outside of the house.
Wednesday, May 07, 2008
I feel terribly guilty. Although not too guilty that I don't stop him. It's (mostly) PBS & Nick Jr., with Spongebob thrown in sometimes. I have begun exercising a little control, turning it off more often and telling him to go play. He likes to then follow me around and talk. Constantly. And we were making good headway, until I was struck with the mother of all sinus infections. So I'm tired. I'm very cranky. I just want Roman to be quiet and leave me alone for a little while. So I let him watch videos.
Apparently this is acceptable for a new 2nd-time mom, according to a mom I talked to yesterday. She's a parttime teacher as well, with a 5 year old boy and elementary-age girl. She said she was surprised I even get up and around before noon. I laughed... those days are more often than you'd think.
So I will try to be better. Because now that Charlie is becoming more alert, soon will come movement... and the real work will begin in earnest.
Tuesday, May 06, 2008
Saturday, May 03, 2008
First we stopped in the Imagination Station, where a big Duplo Thomas had been built! Later, Roman came back here and spent all his time playing with the Duplo tracks and trains that were set up.
It was finally our turn to ride Thomas!
And then we had our picture taken with Sir Topham Hatt, the controller of the railway! Roman very graciously invited Charlie to be in the picture too.
Roman also wanted to ride in a Model T. We ended up in a 1923 hack, built on the chassis of a Model T but used to transport people from the depot to respective hotels in Detroit. Our driver was a young woman who was very personable - she is studying for her Masters in historic preservation, and was thrilled to have landed a job that usually goes to older men.
We got home very worn out, especially me - I laid down for a 2-hour nap, I was so beat! The rain held off most the day, just getting us a little wet at our last stop (custard station). Roman was great all day, and even when he was visibly tired he did not have a meltdown. Charlie charmed everyone he met, of course. He loved the swirling lights of the carousel. He looked at them rather pensively, but wouldn't stop staring. I should put in a link here to say this was at Greenfield Village, one of the coolest places in Metro Detroit.
Thomas is a steam engine, hip hip hip hooray
He chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-..... as he rides along the way
And when we hear that whistle, it can only be one train
Our favorite little engine, Thomas is his name!
Thomas the Tank Engine rolling along....
(pictures upon our return tonight!)
Thursday, May 01, 2008
It was a very interesting, educational, and shocking visit. The realtor had some great ideas that we hadn't thought of, but the price analysis.... gah. First, here's the list of things we would have to do to put it on the market today:
FRONT OF HOUSE
Replace lights (2, front and side)
Paint front door fresh coat of white
Fix screen door jamb
Touch up deck stain/dress up handrail to make it look "permanent"
Buff hardwood floor
Refinish hardwood floor (try to get “ring” out where previous carpet was tacked down)
Replace roman blinds (wider) to cover drapery holes
Strip wallpaper & paint (can limit to window-wall if necessary, but I think the whole thing has to be done)
GENERAL FIRST FLOOR UPKEEP: Paint touchups, bedroom floor varnish touchups
Paneling on ceiling (paint or not?) so it can be “finished”
Rip up cat-stained carpet area, replace with linoleum squares
Paint floor of workroom grey
Gathered curtain at shelves under wet bar
New “duratub” between washer/dryer
Some of this we had planned for this summer already (tub and hardwood floors), and a lot is simple elbow grease & a big trip to Home Depot. But the garage.... ah, the garage. Based on the price comparisons we saw, we would not get our $$ out of a garage at this time. So at least we know that, and can spend that money on other things.
Pricing... we would have to list it well below what we paid for it. In fact, the realtor said that we won't see a good profit (like, what we could have had the market not turned) for another 5-6 years. That caused an interesting conversation, both with her and with each other. Lots of food for thought, as they say.