Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blessed with a nap.

We are still here. Somewhere.

This week that just passed in the blink of an eye was very hectic. I think a lot of it was that we went to B'ham to see Eli (he had a weekend pass to come down that far with another driver) and I didn't have the weekend to prepare for the week coming up. Also, this week I was just so tired. Every day.

In that time frame, we had friends who came over and loved us. I was able to spend some time kid-free doing things that needed to be done, that I wanted to do. Friday night, three of my girl friends and I went to go see Tango Inferno, a performance by professional tango dancers, with four tickets given to me by the school superintendent. Saturday afternoon, some church friends came by to sit with the kids while I ran errands and took dinner to our friends who had a baby one week ago. Saturday night I was invited to a Ladies' Night Out at a friend's church (free babysitting). It's probably only 20 minutes from here, tops, but after about 45 minutes of driving the little back roads of Alabama and winding up right back where I started without finding what I was looking for or doubling back on any roads, we gave up and came home. I had left my phone at home to charge so we were literally out in the middle of nowhere, in the growing darkness, with no gas stations or anything else around. Just driving and singin the alphabet song at the top of my lungs to vent my frustrations. I got suspicious at some point and consulted the atlas that we always keep in the car and realized that I was nowhere near where I thought I was. I was very frustrated--even more so when I realized that both children were asleep (someone stopped singing her ABCs with me), and it was an hour before bedtime. I made it back in town, got myself a mini Blizzard at Dairy Queen, and headed home. Needless to say, I was asleep by 8:30 Saturday night.

If only that had helped. Oscar decided to wake up every two hours, all night long. 10:30. 12:30. 2:30. 4:30. 6.30. I was a zombie at church today, and I made sure the nursery peple kept O awake so that we could all take a long nap. They kept him awake, but he was asleep before we even left the church parking lot. So, we grabbed Little Caesar's on the way home for a quick lunch. ["How about pizza for lunch? Is that okay?" From the backseat--"Yes! Yes!"]. The Lord has blessed us today, and I just woke up after two hours of nap. Both children are still sleeping. Hallelujah! I feel sorta' human again.

The week coming up will be just as hectic. I wasn't observed at work last week, so I feel very certain that it will come this week. I already have high anxiety levels. Please keep me in your prayers.


Friday, February 18, 2011

Before Bed Routine

I was talking to my mom last night and I mentioned that this week we've done pretty well getting everybody out of the house before seven in the morning (well, except this morning, but it's Friday, you know?) even on days when I woke up at six. She was amazed that I could wake up that late and still make it out the door on time and I said, "Mom, it's the before bed routines."

That's right. I have a list of things that I do before bed every night so that should the morning start off late, for one reason or another, it won't be hectic. This routine is written on my bathroom mirror in window crayon so that when I'm brushing my teeth at night, I can double check my list and make sure I'm ready for morning. I do most of this after the kids are in bed (7 o'clock bedtime).

And here it is, my before bed routine, tweaked from the Fly Lady's to fit my life:

1. Pack O's lunch.
2. Shine sink, which includes doing dishes.
3. 5-minute room rescue, usually the living room, putting up E's toys.
4. Put out a "hot spot" – 2 minutes, usually the kitchen counter and the breakfast table
5. Put items on my "Launch Pad" for morning/load the car.
6. Put phone on charger, if needed.
7. Find my keys.
8. Check my calendar for tomorrow's events. Also, look at my perpetual calendar (Power of a Praying Parent) and pray for my kiddos..

9. Lay out clothes for tomorrow.
10. Brush teeth/wash face/take meds.
11. Go to bed at a decent hour (9 o'clock is the goal!). I deserve my rest.

Yeah, so that's it. Seems like a lot, but I started small, with just shining my sink every night, and I've added things little by little, and I can't tell you how peaceful my life feels when I can start the morning without being frazzled. I am especially grateful when I have two cranky children in the mornings, or when Oscar wakes up for the day earlier than I anticipated (before six!) which throws my morning routine off a little bit.

One thing I have been doing is picking out the kids clothes for the week ahead. One night during the week I run a load of kids' laundry. Then, on Saturday, I pick out clothes for the next week, including socks (man, I hate finding socks that match, especially at the last minute). My sister suggested that I use a shoe organizer to store the clothes "tacos", and I thought that was a splendid idea, so I went to Target and found a 10-pair shoe organizer that sits on the ground has fabric bins. Five bins for each child, for five days of the week. I have noticed that Sundays are a little hectic if I haven't picked out clothes for the little ones, so I think I'm going to get better about that now, too.

Anyway, that's how I make it out the door with two little kids before seven, even if I wake up at six.

Hope this helps someone. Credit to the Fly Lady and all her common sense.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Taking Care of Business

For a couple of years now, I have been asking Eli about getting wills drawn up, and after much delay, we finally got it taken care of during Christmas break.  It's not morbid.  It's responsible.

I did something today that I also have been meaning to do for a long time.  I now have life insurance (don't get any ideas).  I'm not getting any younger, and now that we have two children and a mortgage, it was a necessity.  I have inquired before but never followed through, and it has been eating away at my mind since Elsie was born…almost two years now?  I don't have the level of life insurance that I would like, but I figure that something is better than nothing, so the amount I got is enough to pay off our mortgage in the event of my death.  I jumped at this chance because I don't have to do a health assessment to be covered through my work, it was reasonably priced, and coverage started the minute I signed on the line.  It's 30-year term insurance, which is portable should I change jobs, and I got as much as this plan would offer, though it is only about 1/3 of what I need.  Like I said, though—something is better than nothing.

I also have invested in some long-term disability insurance through my school.  Why did I do this, you might ask?  When I had Oscar, I had to take some time off of work for maternity leave, and while I didn't end up using any unpaid days, I did use up all my sick days and personal days, and borrowed from the sick bank, so that now I am 15 days in the hole—I have to pay 10 back to the sick bank and then come up with the five that I originally donated.  We only get nine sick days per year.  That means I will have to use all of my sick days for the next school year and a half to get back my time, and that's assuming that I don't have any children who get sick, requiring me to take time off of work to take care of them.  All this to say that when we're ready for #3, in another couple of years or so, I won't have six weeks' worth of sick leave saved up.  I may have paid back my five days (Lord willing), which will allow me to borrow 15 total again (and I'll be in the same pay-back predicament), but that's only three weeks of leave.  So I will have to be out of work, unpaid, to take the rest of my maternity leave.  (I came back to work when O was 7 weeks old, and that just felt too soon.)  This disability insurance has maternity coverage that will cover up to five weeks of missed work (7 weeks for C-section or other complications).  Additionally, there is an accidental death benefit associated with the policy that should cover my cremation, if needed, so that my life insurance will actually go to covering the mortgage.

What is it they say about being able to sleep at night?  I think I will rest easier.  I'm not done taking care of business.  There's still stuff to tweak, but for now, I know that I have done something to take care of my family should I become disabled or die.  Again, not morbid—responsible.

Monday, February 14, 2011

My Valentines (pics) and O's Doctor Update

We don't really ever do anything huge for Valentine's Day, but it's still lonely without him, you know? So, it was really sweet when I got some two-lips from 1-800 Flowers at school today--a vase full of kisses. My students didn't get it. I laughed. And it really made my day.

You know what else made my day? Receiving two valentines first thing this morning with prints of my two littlest Valentines. Our babysitter is an amateur photog, and she surprised all the mamas with sweet pictures of their babies. And it's just in time, too, because as I was making O's six month post, I realized I haven't taken pictures recently. Before I share those with you (she gave me the digital files also), I want to recap O's doctor's visit today.

At six months:
Weight: 16 pounds, 14 ounces
Length: 26 inches
Head: 17 3/4 inches

To compare, here were Elsie's six month stats:
Weight: 16 pounds, 14 ounces
Length: 26.5 inches
Head: 18 inches

Dr. ST said she wasn't worried about O not rolling over, that he may just skip it altogether since he's working on being a pretty good sitter. We discussed introducing solids and getting him to sleep through the night while Daddy is away. So, we'll see.

Now, without futher adieu, my two smallest Valentines:

I'm in love all over again and again and again (see, times 3, one for each of my Valentines).

Saturday, February 12, 2011

6 Months of O

No way.



My baby is six months old?!? Where did the time go?

This must just be how it is with every child, particularly every child after the first. Everyone is growing up so fast. Remember when I was agonizing about him not being 12 weeks old and he couldn't be in the nursery yet? Man, that was so last year.

My little boy is looking more and more like Elsie's little mini-me these days. There's a picture of her at six months on the mantle, and if you put him up to it and take away all the pink that Elsie is wearing, then you almost wouldn't be able to tell them apart...almost.

I think the most startling transformation has been in me, though. I suddenly like babies. Not all babies, mind you--just mine. But that's a huge step in the right direction. Elsie was my guinea pig, and at the time I just tolerated babies (I loved her, yes, but I didn't really know what to do with her). And now that I have a toddler to compare the baby to, I'm thinkin' babyhood is the way to be, because toddlerhood is a mess. So, Oscar is really benefitting from my experimental motherhood/parenthood with Elsie. They are both totally amazing, though, even with the screaming and crying and poop.

So, today I was giving Oscar a bath, and Elsie came in and saw this. She left the room and came back with a bath toy and small travel-sized bottle of baby shampoo. She thrust them toward me and said, "Her," which is here way of saying "here," because I evidently say "here" when I'm handing her something. (Eli pointed this out to me.) I laughed and took them from her. Where did she get the shampoo? I do not know, but she knew what it was. See? Amazing.

Oscar has his six month doctor's appointment on Monday. We get to see Dr. S T this time. We haven't been able to get an appointment with her since O came into the world (we've seen her around at church at Christmas, etc.) so I'm excited. She's just pretty spec-dang-tacular. Personable, agreeable, positive. The other doctor we had been seeing is also very good, but she's no SST.

Milestones for O this month:


I would like to say that he's rolling over like a pro, but I would first have to be able to say that he's rolling over, and I can't say that. He has done it before, but he's just not doing it now. So... I feel quite certain that, in proving once again that he is not Elsie, in one fell swoop he's going to flip over and crawl over to the coffee table, pull himself up and then cruise around. And then within a couple of days he's going to walk on his own. I just know it. He's saving it up.

He is, however, starting to sit like a pro. He still tips over from time to time, but those muscles are definitely gaining strength.

We *finally* used up all our size 2 diapers. He's probably been too big for them for a month, but I had so many left that I couldn't bear to waste. And just in time for Luvs to change their #3 diaper style to green and purple monkeys. I guess Blues Clues is passe'.

Also, Oscar has started uttering noises. Before he was cooing (and it was oh so cute), but now, sometimes I can't tell if it was O or E who made a funny sound because they sound so similar. He's going to be a talker to. We're doomed Doomed DOOMED!

As for solid foods, Elsie was given solid foods on her six month birthday. I think I'm going to save this first foray until next weekend when we are in B'ham visiting with the love of my life, who has his only weekend pass of his absence to come down that far and no farther.

We're making it here. One week down...not counting the rest.


Monday, February 7, 2011

21 Months

My little girl is still in the midst of the vocabulary explosion. In the morning, during breakfast, she will start proudly labeling everything on her tray. "Mik" [milk] "cup" "omeal" [oatmeal] "anna" [banana] "poon" [spoon]. Speaking of spoon and oatmeal, I've been letting her feed herself without freaking out about her getting oatmeal all over her clothes. Some days she only drops a little bit down her front. Other days, I wonder if she was at all successful in getting any into her mouth. But she is persistent. We laugh because when she drops some in her lap, she tries to pick it up and put it back in the bowl--when our first instinct is to put it in our mouths. She's so tidy, even when she's messy.

Last night we had dinner at our neighbors' house--steak and potatoes. Elsie pretty much ate my piece of steak as fast as I could cut it into small enough chunks for her to chew. And then she kept saying "more meat". I finally had to give her some baked potato so that I could also enjoy the fabulous carne.

Today, in the car on the way home from the babysitter, she drank all her milk and started asking for more. My hands were tied, of course, because we were in the car with no milk nearby, so I kept telling her we were almost home. By the time we pulled into our driveway, "more milk" had turned back into "more meat", and by the time we were in the garage she added a "more juice" in there, though she hasn't had juice (at least from me) in a long time.

More stuff:

-She is becoming more and more aware of dirty diapers. The other night she came and showed me a diaper (Eh-see's dyter, she says) and then lay down on the floor in my bathroom waiting for me to change her. I had to run and get wipes--it was a change to not have to fight her!

-She hates brushing her teeth, or having them brushed for her, but loves spitting in the sink. So, at least the trauma ends on a high note.

-She got a "Hide 'Em in Your Heart" CD from her Sunday school teachers and we listen to that frequently now (I'm dreaming these songs, people--it's scary) and she likes to sing along...sometimes. But it's cute when she does, because it's surprising.

-She has been carrying my Cabbage Patch (a preemie boy named Vick) around and mimicking what I do with Oscar. She pats him on the back and bounces with him. It's pretty cute. She sits down with clippers and tries to cut his nails. And she lays him on the floor and tries to change his diaper. She also puts the baby doll in the jumparoo, the bouncy chair, and the car seat carrier attachment.

-The other day I had to take the SpaceSaver Highchair off the chair and put it on the floor. Elsie thought that was the perfect place for her doll. Later I hear her saying "eat, eat, eat" and when I went into the dining room, there was a plate of plastic cakes from the Say Please Tea Set on the doll's tray. The next night, I gave her some animal crackers, and when I walked by the dining room after returning from the front door, she had put some crackers and her actual milk cup in front of the baby. Now, when you give a fake baby fake food, that's one thing...

So we're still just a-be-boppin' around here, usually to the tune of the ABC/Twinkle Twinkle.

I can't believe my baby is almost two!