Saturday, February 26, 2011

B and Me Time

Most mornings, Mollie and Baylor get up, have breakfast, enjoy a little play time, and by about 11:00 it's time for Mollie to go back down for a nap.  After I get her down, Baylor and I enjoy a little mommy-son time.

We have a goldfish cracker snack.

And lately we've been playing with Legos, in part because to play with them with Mollie around means to have everything you've built ripped apart by two tiny hands.  She is relentless in her pursuit to tear everything apart, and some days it's a little much for Baylor to handle.  So we've been coping by playing while she's asleep.

Baylor has been into assembling his letter Legos in alphabetical order, so after he got them all hooked together I helped him turn it into a REALLY tall tower.  Which he, in turn, wanted to turn into an elevator by adding a window at the bottom.

Whenever I bust out the camera to take pictures, he likes to say, "Cheese!" and smile a big smile.  So I snuck a picture with him ... he won't be cool with this forever, so I better take advantage of it while I can.

Then he wanted me to take a picture of the TV, so I did.

He usually finishes his fish crackers before I finish mine and asks for a few of mine in his bowl.  I usually oblige.

Funny kid.

His tower accidentally got knocked over, and when he went to put it back together, he started collecting only the vowels.  So we had a little tower instead.

He was pretty proud of himself, as he should be.

He made a little train and got down to get a better view of it.

All the while, I had been assembling like-colored Legos into funky shapes for him.  When he discovered what I was doing, he started putting them together to make an airport.  Here's the finished product, complete with a "consonant elevator".

I thought the vowel tower was also an elevator, which he informed me later it was NOT.

He finally got hungry for lunch, so we headed for the kitchen and made a little French PB & J.  I love my time around midday ... just me and Little B.  

Friday, February 25, 2011

Rant: "Big Baby Bump"

Okay, News Media, hear this ...

If I catch you proclaiming that so-and-so has a "big baby bump" and I click on the link to find anything like this, I will probably lose my mind.

For the record, THIS is what a "big baby bump" should be.  Anything smaller should not be considered very "big".

Thank you, and have a wonderful day!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Judgies: Diet Pop and General Health of My Kids

Hello there!  So, I'm trying very hard not to get a case of the judgies ... you know, when you send out an e-mail that has all sorts of judgmental things in it to specific people because you care about them.  But it ends up not seeming like you care about them ... more that you want to be all holier-than-thou and, well, judgey.

But I found this interesting article that scared me and actually made me want to have a case of the judgies and send it out anyway.  I mentioned it to my husband and even he looked at me like, "Do you REALLY want to do that?".  So, in an effort to not be a judgey to specific people, I have decided that, because I care about all of you, I'm going to be a judgey to everyone.

How's that for awesome?  Here goes ...

I read this article on Huffington Post last week, and I sooooo wanted to share it.  Why?  Because I know a lot of people who drink diet soda on a regular basis.  People that I wouldn't want having a stroke.  (No, there isn't anyone I'd actually WANT to have a stroke ... what kind of person do you think I am?)

For those of you who aren't going to read the article, it says that for some unknown reason, the people in their study who drank pop had a "48 percent higher risk of stroke or heart attack than people who drank no soda of any kind".  And yes, they took into account smoking, waistline sizes, diabetes, and other differences in the groups.

But I refrained because I didn't want to make people feel bad about their choices; they are THEIR choices, after all.  Then last night at dinner, my dad offered my son a sip of his Diet Coke.  (For the record, I love you, Dad!  And usually I am cool with how you grandparent my kiddos.  But this ...)  Yeah, he looked at me like I had three heads when I told him that Baylor most certainly could not have a sip of his Diet Coke.

Here's the thing, I wouldn't have been okay if it had been regular Coke either.  I don't want my two year-old drinking pop.  Caffeinated pop, uncaffeinated pop, whatever.  It has no nutritional value, it will rot his teeth, and it takes away his chances to drink something healthy (e.g., milk or water ... and no, not chocolate milk).  Baylor likes white milk and water, why screw that up, right?  He is allowed to drink juice on special occasions (or apple cider when it's in season ... he LOVES that stuff and I don't blame him), but I don't want that becoming a habit.  Those are my rules, and I'm pretty firm about them.  If you want to give your kiddo(s) juice, chocolate milk, pop, whatever, that's fine.  That's your prerogative.  But if you're dealing with my kids, I prefer you stick to my rules.  And try not to make me feel bad about them.

For myself, I stopped drinking caffeinated pop in 2006 when we started trying to get pregnant; I knew we were going to have a tough time of it as it was, and I didn't want to throw any monkey wrenches into an already tenuous situation.  Fast forward a few years, and I haven't really had much pop to speak of in the last year or so.  I don't like the way it makes me feel after I drink it - all sugar buzzy and whatnot - and I know it's not good for me.  I stick to OJ in the morning and water the rest of the day.   And once I'm done nursing Mollie, I plan on drinking milk like a fiend; it is my favorite beverage, after all.  When I do drink pop, I figure I might as well do it up right, have the regular stuff and enjoy it - I don't like the taste of most diet pops.

And now, knowing how bad diet pop is, I just can't justify it.  It's my choice, and I am comfortable with it, just like I am comfortable not drinking; I stopped when I had kids and I don't plan on pretty much ever drinking again.

So, where am I going with this?  Well, I'll try to sum it up.

What we put into our bodies is our choice ... isn't that great?  But I found out that something that lots of people drink on a regular basis is bad for you.  I didn't think the study was widely-published, so I felt the need to share it.  Mainly because I care about all of you - even those of you I don't know.  You cared enough to read my words so I care about you.  (I care about others who don't read my blog, but they aren't reading this so I guess I didn't feel the need to address them.  It's circular and, quite frankly, I'm a little too tired for circular thinking right now.)  But, regardless of what I think, it's up to you to make the decision about what you put in your body.  I wish I could keep all my loved ones safe and get rid of all the ills in the world, but I can't.  So maybe I'm being a little judgey ... but it's because I care.

As for your kids, I'm not going to lie; I feel a lot little judgey when I see people give their kids things I think are unhealthy.  It's one thing for you to put something into your body, knowing full-well how craptastic it might be for you, but it's another to give something to your kids on a regular basis knowing that it holds no nutritional value.  I'm all for treats every now and then; Baylor loves M&Ms and I employ them when I need/want to.  But I think of childhood as a time to start things out right.  We have the rest of our lives to screw up our bodies.  I hate feeling all judgey, but it happens and none of us are perfect.  Which is what I try to remind myself of when I see other parents doing things I wouldn't do; its their prerogative, and I have to be okay with that.  So, I guess do what you want.  Do your best ... it's all we can expect of each other, right?

Enough with my rant.  Leave comments if you like - I'm prepared for the worst.

Have a happy, wonderful, healthy day!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Eleven Months Old ... Amazing!

Yesterday, Mollie turned eleven months old!  Can you believe it?!  She looked so adorable in the morning that I got out my camera and snapped away.

The sunlight was streaming in the window, and she was all smiles.

Well, a few funny faces snuck in here and there.

She was still pretty tired, though.

I bought some Meijer brand puffs for her and they turned out to be pretty bland, so she wouldn't eat them.  Go figure.  So she patiently waited for me to fix her breakfast.

And then she decided to play with her sleeve.

"Where'd my hand go?"

"Think I can get my shirt off, Mom?"

"Ha, ha, ha!  I'm so silly!"

Unfortunately, we headed out for some shopping at what would have been her nap time, so she missed her morning nap.  Then she decided not to take her afternoon nap, save for a fifteen minute catnap in the car on the way home from the mall.  In spite of not napping, she was quite the curious girl yesterday.

She even tried an independent step or two!

By the end of the night, though, she was ready for a snuggle under her blankie.

And with Oma, of course.

I can't believe that in one short month, my girl will be one!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

In the Genes 2 ...

So, inspired by yesterday's post, I dug up some of my husband's baby pictures today and I thought I'd share a few with you.

This one was my favorite ... Bryson's only a month old here.

Look at that winning smile!

Right here he's about Mollie's age.

And right here he's about Baylor's age.  Ah yes, the man loved chips and dip even then.

Such a handsome little man, my husband was!

In the Genes ...

My Great Aunt Elaine was visiting my grandparents a couple weeks ago when she commented how much she thought Amalia looked like my sister when she was a baby.  After hearing about this from my grandparents, my mom whipped out pictures from when my sister and I were kids to do a little fact checking.

Turns out, Aunt Elaine has a wonderful memory.  Here's little Aunt Christine when she was Mollie's age ...

Amazing, right?  (And wasn't my sister an adorable child?!  A Barbie thief, but adorable nonetheless.)

Then my mom did a little further investigation and discovered that Baylor looks a lot like I did when I was his age.  Case in point ...

Yes, I had a mini-mullet ... I was not in charge of my hair at that particular point in time.  Sue me.

So what do you think?  I should try to get some pictures of my husband from when he was a baby and see who you think the kiddos look more like.  Not that it matters - they are their own people, after all.  But isn't it fun to look at old pictures?

Weaning: Read at Your Own Risk

I was prepared to write this whole long post with questions about how to wean the little lady.  Her first birthday is coming up (she's 11 months old today!!) and I am planning on being DONE nursing on her birthday.  I want a giant glass of milk, with a Shamrock shake chaser, on her birthday, so weaning will have to commence soon so I don't mess this up.  And, though this is the second child I have breastfed and pumped for, I never had to actively wean Baylor; by his first birthday he was pretty much done with sitting down to be nursed and my milk was drying up quickly because I was already pregnant with Mollie.  Since I am NOT getting pregnant again, I have been actively trying to figure out how to do this whole weaning thing.

Then this morning happened.

Usually I get up early every morning, start my breakfast, start up the computer, and sit down and pump for an hour and a half so she'll have milk for her cereal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).  I HATE pumping.  It is infuriating and boring, but I have been doing it for months since I knew it was best for her and I could physically do it.  I also got a fancy electric pump when she was born so I didn't have to use the evil hand pump I used when Baylor was a baby, and I felt pretty good about that.

This morning started out like any other morning.  The routine was enacted smoothly.  Until my pump died.  I think I actually killed the motor.  I tried restarting it.  It sounded so sad and then fizzled out.  This happened several times.  Then it wouldn't start.


So, I begrudgingly pulled out the hand pump and started using that.  After a few hand-cramping minutes I stopped and found I only had a half an ounce to show for it.

Even more awesome.

Yup, so long story short, I am officially stopping pumping today.  Because I have to.

If any of you out there have any advice on weaning a baby off nursing (since we're apparently going cold turkey on the pumping front), I would welcome it!

Now I'm off to do something ... no idea what, though.  I didn't expect to have two hands to myself at any point today.  Hm ...

Monday, February 21, 2011

Quick Cleaning Tip: Lamp Shades

If you have smooth, unpleated lamp shades in your house and are averse to cleaning them (like me), you might find this tip helpful.

Take a rolling lint removal wand (the kind with the sticky paper), and roll it up and down your lamp shade.  It will trap all the dust and remove it with absolute ease!  Yes, it is slightly wasteful as you'll have to throw away the paper, but it works really well in a pinch.  And if you have kids, you can do it while they are still sleeping as it's quiet as can be.

This tip was given to me by my mother, the source of all my wisdom.  Love you, Mom!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

A Stimulating Experience

As I mentioned previously, I have been utterly exhausted lately.  To the point where I'll fall asleep while reading to Baylor ... in broad daylight.  Even if I had a "good" night's sleep (read: no one woke me up in the middle of the night), I was still dragging, unable to pull it together.  I even started getting that tingly feeling you get in your arms and legs right before you go to sleep while I was getting the kids lunch or playing with them.

Unsure of what was going on, I scheduled an appointment with my doctor and he ordered some blood work to be done prior to the visit.  Of course, the blood work came back negative, so I expected the visit to basically be, "Nicole, you need to get more sleep.  That'll be a billion dollars, please."

Luckily, my doctor is awesome and knows my history.  What's my history, you ask?  Well, I have what is defined as "idiopathic hypersomnolence", basically I'm really tired/sleepy, most of the time, for no particular reason.  I can fall asleep quickly; during my sleep study a while back I could be clinically considered asleep in under three minutes - it takes the average person about fifteen minutes to enter "sleep".  I could sleep ten hours and still feel tired.  I am not usually refreshed by sleep or naps, and particularly after naps I experience what is called "sleep drunkenness" - basically I appear to be drunk, half asleep, stumbling around.  (This is precisely why I don't take naps ... you shouldn't be, or appear to be, drunk around your kids, right?)  Oh and, because I have two small children who need me and who I am very happy to be there for, I don't actually get ten hours of sleep a night; I get more like six, seven if I'm lucky and planning ahead.

I also have ADD which, because I do not have the hyperactivity often associated with ADD, can cause you to feel excessively tired when not engaged in something active.  My sleep doctor basically said it's like my brain needs stimulation to keep it going or it just slows down to a sleepier state.

So, what's a girl to do?  My doctor said his wife is likely hypersomnolent like me, and because their youngest child is six, she is able to go to bed at 9:00 and wake up at 8:00 and function a little better.  As he correctly noted, I do not have that option.  Basically, my only course of action, at this particular point in time, was to try a stimulant medication.  We weighed the costs and benefits of it.  It could potentially affect Mollie because I am still nursing her, but the changes (increased irritability, weight loss, unable to get down for naps or bed) would be immediately noticed and would not be permanent.  It also tends to suppress appetite, so there was concern that I would lose weight on this, even though I am at an ideal weight for my stature.  But, if it worked, I would be more awake and able to function better throughout the day.  Plus, the extended release version of the medication he wanted me to try (Concerta) would be easier on my system, particularly my kidneys or liver (I forget which), and seems to be generally well-tolerated.

Armed with as much knowledge as I could, I decided to try it.  The first day, a couple weeks ago, was hell; within an hour of taking it I felt jittery and I had to sit down.  Not a great start, to say the least.  But it got better; day after day I got more used to the jittery feeling and found that if I ate a little more it helped a little.  Some days are still sucky and I just plow through it.  I have to say, though, I think the medication is helping.  I'm not bone-crushingly tired all the time.  Yes, I'm still tired, and the exhaustion can be particularly bad if I haven't had a good night's sleep.  But isn't it that way for everyone?

I have noticed my appetite waning a bit, and as a result I've lost a little weight.  But if I make a conscious effort to eat when I should be hungry, I can hopefully avoid losing any more weight.

So, we'll see.  I'm hoping that once I am able to get a little more sleep this medication will do even more to help keep me awake and focused during the day.  Until then, it's helping all it can.

Kids Say The Darndest Things: Spelling Slip-Up?

Last night we had dinner with my in-laws.  As has been the case lately, Baylor wanted to do some spelling while we ate, so he asked us to spell things (e.g., highway, elevator) and we'd ask him to spell things (e.g., jam, hill).

At one point, my husband asked Baylor how to spell "bus" and worked with him on sounding it out, though I'm pretty sure Baylor could have spelled it on his own from the get-go.  Then, after they made it through B-U-S, Bryson said, "Okay, Baylor, how do you spell "bus"?"

Baylor's reaction?


No, I have never spelled that for him.  As far as I know, no one else has either.  I'm not sure he knew what he was spelling, but he got a lot of laughs out of it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Kids Tonight: Sleepy and Sing-y

I thought I'd share with you a couple of quick stories about the kiddos tonight. Enjoy!

Mollie was particularly tired tonight, and as I was nursing her I could tell she was starting to fall asleep. No big surprise there ... it happens every once in a while no matter how hard I try to keep her awake. What I wasn't expecting, however, was that once she unlatched she instinctively rolled onto her tummy on the Boppy and snuggled in for the night! She looked so adorable all curled up in her sleeping position, but I had to pick her up; she still needed her second set of pajamas on and there was no way I could hold her on my lap all night long. Still, it was so adorable. (I was able to take a picture on my phone, so I'll try to get it on here at some point if I can.)

After coming downstairs, I got some laundry out of the dryer and got a drink of water (okay, and some caramel delight ice cream, too). I was all ready to head into the living room to watch some shows we had recorded and fold laundry, when I decided to turn on Baylor's monitor to make sure he was okay. And he was okay ... but he wasn't asleep.

Instead, I caught him singing to himself! It was so incredibly sweet. He sang, quietly ... sleepily, "Eh, eh-eh-eh-eh, eh-eh-eh-eh-elephant! Eh, eh-eh-eh-eh, eh-eh-eh-eh-elephant! Elephant is a word that starts with E. Elephant! Can you say elephant?"  It's from Sesame Street, right after they introduce the letter of the day.  He never wants to sing in front of us, though he started singing the Itsy Bitsy Spider a little tonight, so it was awesome to hear him just enjoying a little song for himself.

I am such a lucky mom to have two such awesome kids!

Self-Improvement: My First Zumba Class!

Over the past few weeks, I have felt more tired, lethargic, and just plain eh than I have in a long time.  I knew part of it was because I am not getting enough sleep and I have a sleep disorder (more on that later), but part of it was because I haven't exercised in a LONG time.  The last time I did any sort of regular exercise was probably when I was pregnant with Baylor ... almost three years ago.

Yikes, that sounds way worse when I actually type it out.

Anyhow, I saw on Facebook that one of my friends was going to a Zumba class nearby and that it only cost $5 a class.  Not too shabby.  Plus, it met at night (7:20 to 8:20 p.m.) and it didn't conflict with my husband's MBA class.  I decided a couple weeks ago that I would give it a try, but unfortunately for me I came down with Baylor's cold and couldn't attend last week.

So last night was my first class.  I'll be honest, I was pretty nervous all day leading up to it.  As I mentioned above, I haven't worked out in a while and had no idea what my body would actually be up for.  Also, I still have the remnants of my cold, most of which are cough-related; I didn't want to have a horrible, near-vomit-inducing, coughing fit in the middle of class.  On top of the anxiety over my physical readiness for the class, there was the social anxiety of it all; I have always been nervous in social situations where I know few, if any, people.  Luckily, there wasn't much talking going on, and my old high school friend Shannon was there, so it wasn't too bad in that regard.

On the way there, I could feel the nerves creeping up on me, so I started talking to myself.  Nicole, I said, this is no big deal.  You took dance lessons for years as a kid, and you took a couple aerobics classes in college.  You will be fine.  You can totally do this.

Now, this wasn't the first class the instructor had done, so there were a few people in the class who knew all the moves - Shannon included - and the instructor didn't give any tutorial (not that I expected her to).  As the first song started up and the dancing began, I felt immediately lost.  Panic took over my body and I swore I wouldn't come back to the class; I couldn't dive in being so far behind everyone in the class.  But, since I was already there, I decided to make the best of it and follow along as best I could.  After a few minutes, I was muddling through it and doing okay, but I certainly wasn't the best in class.  It was hard watching the girl directly in front of me - basically the only person I could really get a glance of since I was so focused on the instructor - look so perfect at the moves and me knowing I looked awkward at best.  I am a perfectionist by nature, especially when it comes to classes of all kinds, so this was definitely a challenge for me.

It also didn't help that I didn't know all the songs being played.  There was a pattern and rhythm to each set of moves for each song, but since I didn't know the songs I couldn't anticipate what was coming next.  I will chalk this up to being out of the loop because of kids and needing to listen to more wholesome music (read: oldies and Raffi) around them.  The songs I did know ended up being way easier for me to follow along to.

So, how did it go overall?

Very well indeed.  I really enjoyed it, enjoyed moving, enjoyed being challenged, and enjoyed just focusing on me for an hour without little hands pawing at me.  Yes, I missed my kids terribly, but I knew they were safe and happy with my husband so I wasn't worried about them.  And I knew that doing this would be good for me, my health, my energy levels, etc.

I will say that I had a tough time just getting into the class and not thinking so much.  I was totally in my head the whole time, analyzing everything going on around me, even forming blog posts about it all, and it kept me from enjoying it as much as I think I could have.  Hopefully as I learn the steps a little more, I'll be able to just let go and relax both my mind and body.

This morning, I am not sore, but I am wondering what tomorrow will be like.  I remember when we did weight-lifting in high school in gym class.  The first day after you'd be fine, but that second day ... yikes!  I remember calling my mom into my room that second day and needing help out of bed.  Thank goodness Bryson will be home tomorrow.

I have more to write about, more about things I observed while I was in my head while trying to move my feet (not a good combination), but the kids are waking up and it's time to start the day.  Whew!

If you want to see what Zumba is like, check out this video!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

All Sorts of Fun

As I previously mentioned, Baylor got a Playdoh fun factory from my parents for Valentine's day, and he got to enjoy it a bit yesterday.

Squirting Playdoh out in the form of spaghetti is serious business, you know?

Then he wanted to cut letters and shapes out of the Playdoh with cookie cutters, and I just so happened to have some in the basement.  Unfortunately, when we lined them all up in alphabetical order, we discovered we were missing the letter "T".  Bummer!

Then it was time for a little French PB & J.  Seriously, he loves this stuff!

When I told him it was time for his nap, this is the face he made while protesting that he was not tired and that it was not nap time.  Which, ironically, told me that he was indeed tired and that it was indeed nap time.

We went out to dinner with my mom and sister, then we came back to our house to hang out for a while.  In the midst of play, the kids sat nicely for a picture.

Mollie was so excited to have her brother willingly close to her.

Then we got him to kiss her!  I know they won't willingly do this for long ... better take advantage of it now, right?

Snapping their pictures was pretty easy because they were both enthralled by the dog show we were watching.

And Oma bounced Mollie on the leather chair and made the little lady's day.

It's hard not to have fun with these two kids, you know?

Photo Session with Oma and Aunt Christine

I had a dentist appointment the other day, and while I was gone the kids stayed with my mom and sister.  For whatever reason, Mom and Christine decided to take some pictures of the kids.  They were wildly successful!  Here are a few of my favorites ...

Baylor did something he wasn't supposed to, so he ended up in time out for two minutes.  Time out at our house is, currently, him sitting in Mollie's high chair.  It keeps him contained and gives him a chance to calm down a bit.  We'll see how long that lasts.

After time out, Baylor got to go downstairs with Oma (I believe), and Mollie was a little sad that they left.

But she quelled her sadness with a little rummaging through Oma's cabinets.  Ah, there's nothing like emptying a basket to soothe the soul!

Thanks again, you two, for capturing memories in my absence!