17 August 2012


At the request of a few, here's a quick update:
So Colorado has been great so far. We got here at the beginning of June and were in an apartment until July 5th. That's the day the movers brought our stuff to the new house. It's been a slow and stead process for unpacking, cleaning and adjusting. Mainly the only places left in the house that need to be straightened are the basement and garage. The basement is not too bad, no boxes, just stuff not organized; really the same is probably true about the garage.

The biggest adjustment to moving here was all altitude based. Exercise for the first 2-3 weeks was a little uncomfortable when I would try to put any real effort into it. I walked around with constant dry mouth for at least the first month as well. My fluid intake increased by about a liter/day during that time period in attempt to stay hydrated. I'm finding now that my fluid intake is about 2.5-3 liters/day depending on the exercise duration for that day, so that's a normal range for me now. Another altitude adjustment was fatigue I think. Around week 2 here, I just felt beat up and had no energy for 2 weeks. I was not sick, just couldn't do anything.

Despite the "abnormal" weather everyone keeps telling us that Colorado is experiencing this summer, the higher temps really are nothing to turn your head about. When you come from a place where humidity is above 75% during the summer months and temps are above 95, then coming here where the humidity is only 5-15%, it's really wonderful every day. Besides, there's not much weather wise that can ruin the view of 5 layers deep of mountains every time I turn my head westward!

Ryan started first grade yesterday and Brayden will start Pre-K 3 half days/week at the same elementary school on Monday. They are both excited about being able to meet some kids. It seems the only bad side to the neighborhood is the lack of children (and younger couples for that matter). Although, coming from our old neighborhood of 30 kids ranging in age from 1 to 21 in a span of 9 houses really sets a high standard. We've got both boys signed up to start soccer next week and then swim classes should start in another month or two.

Gabby is in full force; she's babbling a lot more, walking/jogging with much better balance and stability, learning to keep up with the boys. She loves them to pull her around on blankets and even tries to play ninja spinners with them. She's got a great personality still and aside from the occasional crankiness from me trying to keep her awake too long, she's wonderful!

I'm looking for little odd jobs to keep myself occupied and to try and meet some people. I'm working out about 5-6 times a week now, mainly running with a spin every once and while just to mix it up. My mileage has steadily increased over the last month and my times are looking pretty good for me when you take everything into account. I'm keeping everything pretty aerobic, not really pushing paces right now, but I feel really good with it all! Maybe I'll try some speed work later into the fall or winter and then try a few road races next year. The competitive part of me misses racing, but I'm just not very motivated right now to do anything other than the relaxed "training" that I'm doing. But mostly it's adding the other two sports to the mix that I'm not ready for.

Tim has been getting solid training in for about 2 months now, he's got a 70.3 in Aurora CO in 3 weeks that he's getting ready for. We settled in Longmont CO, which is about 20 miles north of Boulder where he works. He's been biking to work 3 days/week, which is a great ride not to mention the gas savings!! Depending on how this race goes, he's contemplating the IM attempt next year.

31 May 2012

The last 3 weeks

So from Saturday May 12th until May 26th, it had been a continuous uphill climb for dad.  He had been acting more like himself every day as the medications have changed and he's gotten back on his regular medications.  He was down graded again at the hospital in Greenville to a general room.  Mom and Trudy had been trying to get him transferred to Duke for two weeks,where all his heart doctors are and so that he would be closer to home.  Mom and Trudy had been staying in the hotel across from Pitt Memorial the entire time, so being closer to home would be nice.

You wouldn't believe the amount of red tape that has to be cut in order to transfer a patient.  Basically, if there is no medial need, the current hospital has all the facilities and equipment to provide the proper care, then insurance companies will deny claims from the new hospital.  So we were turned down by 3 hospitals in our area for the transfer.  We finally got a plastic surgeon to agree to take dad and he was transferred to Duke on Friday May 25th.

The leg is healing very well, but he's going to need extensive physical therapy.  The skin grafts actually started today and they won't know how many he may need.  We're all hoping it will just be this one.

I've been taking care of all the house "repairs" that the buyers requested and I've been trying to survive taking care of the kids without Tim here.  The housing market in Colorado in the Boulder area is totally a sellers market.  Houses are only staying on the market for a week or two and then it's typical for multiple competing offers...wish that had been the case here.  Although I can't complain because in the end our house went under contract after 4 weeks on the market.  We've lost 5 houses that we wanted, either with them going under contract before we could get ours in, or getting out bid.  We have just put another offer in on a 6th house yesterday and are still waiting for final signatures.  If this one works out, we would close around the 28th of June.

After having a teacher conference with Ryan's kindergarten teacher, I found out that he's actually reading and writing at the first grade level and that he's been working on first grade sight words for the last 2 months.  Math seems to be the same story.

So everything is getting better, settling down and less of a roller coaster.  Now here's to people on the mend, lives better adjusted and being more prepared for mass chaos that seems to rear it's ugly head in our lives when we feel there is no more room for such things.

27 May 2012

It was getting better

Sunday May 6th (continued): Tim and I spent the day getting some running around done for Brayden's party while his parents watched the kids.  I showed up late to my son's party, and he didn't even notice.  There were several people there already and all the kids were playing.  I tried to enjoy watching Brayden "ham it up".  His party was over at 6:30, we went home to put the kids to bed and then I drove to the airport to pick Trudy's husband up.  His plane arrived at 10:30 (I think) and then we drove to Greenville to be with mom and Trudy.

Tim stayed at home; we had planned on leaving the next day to make the drive to Colorado for a house hunting trip.  It was supposed to be a mini "vacation" for us, sort of the last hoorah before we were grandparentless.  I wasn't going with him.  I was going to stay until dad was stable.

It was at this point that we received on offer on our house.  So Tim and I tried to communicate while I was in the ICU waiting room  trying to concentrate on my dad, and we ended up settling with this offer.  Given the same offer under different circumstances, these people would not be buying my house...we settled merely to get the house off of our plate of things to do.

Monday May 7th: Dad's vitals were rocky all day Sunday and most of Monday.  His kidneys were starting to function on their own again, but he was still on the respirator.  The only good thing about that is that he was initiating all of his own breathing and the ventilator was only helping to make it easier once he did.  His blood pressure was still unstable and his heart was back in afib.  It was jumping from 90 bpm one second to 130 bpm next second and then right back down...literally in a matter of 5 seconds the beats were fluctuating that widely.

They were keeping him heavily sedated and on the ventilator until they were sure they didn't need to do another surgery.  I went home Monday night so I could see the kids, but didn't get there to see Tim leave.  I was told that it was an emotionally charged good-bye.  Brayden was sad daddy was leaving, Tim didn't want to leave for numerous reasons and his mother was also there saying good-bye.

Tuesday May 8th:  When I got back to the hospital, they had "woken" dad up, or should we say they had decreased some of the medications so that he was conscious. I saw him and he was still on the ventilator and trying to talk around the tube in his mouth.

They started weaning more meds so he was becoming more and more aware.  And as they did this, the more anxious he got over the situation.  He couldn't communicate with us and you could tell he still didn't understand.  He was taken off the ventilator and again decreased pain meds.  He tried talking with little success.  The infectious disease guys came by ( I can't remember if it was Tuesday or Wednesday) and said that they believed the infection was no longer in his blood stream but they were going to test one more time.

Wednesday May 9th: (mom's birthday) I decided that I would fly out to CO and meet Tim to look at houses for a few days.  Dad was stable but completely unaware of anything going on around him.  He was hallucinating badly and one moment would look at us and know who we are and ask what happened and where he was; and the next moment looked me in the eye and said "would you please go get my daughters Angela and Trudy?"  "Dad, it is me Angela", "No, my daughter Angela and Trudy".

I thought it was better for me to go while he wouldn't recognize that I was gone and then be back in a few days when he was more himself.  As I was leaving the hospital, Trudy's husband Chris got a phone call from his relatives in Indiana that his grandfather had been taken to the ER with "heart problems".  Chris said it was a common occurrence and his grandfather was in his late 80s.

I got home around 12:30, quickly packed, stashed Gabby in the car and Chris dropped the two of us at the airport.  She was a trooper on the flight but when we got there, she was running a fever, not eating and very fussy.

Thursday May 10th (Brayden's real birthday): So Thursday, after looking at houses all morning, we ended up at an Urgent Care to find that Gabby had a virus causing ulcers in her throat.  Then Bowden (Tim's dog- for those of you wondering Tim is a die hard FSU fan and the dog's name reflects as much) was peeing blood, so we took him to a vet.  Thankfully Bowden only had a scratch in his nether region and it was nothing serious....well you know what I mean.  We got back to the apartment where Tim is staying and got on Skype with the boys so we could sing Happy Birthday to Brayden.

Later that night, I got a call from Trudy that Chris's grandfather had passed away and Chris was flying out to Indiana for the funeral...at this point, I'm emotionally exhausted and wanting a "do over" button which would reverse the universe by 8 days where I could tell my dad that I wanted him to stay in town and hang out with me and the kids; so that maybe  90% of this would have ended differently.

Friday May 11th: More house looking in the morning, cranky baby and realizing the real estate market in Colorado is completely opposite of NC.  We went into Boulder and surrounding areas just looking around and I had a few hours of excitement of the upcoming move...a few hours of looking at snow capped mountains from every turn and being able to imagine what it's going to be like to live in such a beautiful place.

Nightly call from my sister revealed that dad coming off his medications was not only causing major hallucinations, but was causing him to have some rage and anger.  The Dr's were very quick to explain to everyone that everything they were seeing was normal for a person of his age (68 years) and considering the medications (both the strength of and number of) and strain his body had been under the last week.

Trudy also sent me pictures of what his leg looks like.  I took gross anatomy in college and was familiar with cadavers and skinning small mammals of all kinds...but when it's your own father, it was a little more unsettling. 

Saturday May 12th:  Tim and I looked at more houses in the morning and then I was back on a plane with Gabby.  I got home at 9:30 Saturday night.    The best news I got was that dad was finally downgraded from the ICU, to the intermediate care unit.  They had changed his pain medications, so he was starting to be more himself  and was asking questions about the accident.  

26 May 2012

It can only get better

This post is going to be most effective as a "calendar" by date.  This will most likely be 2 or 3  posts since it's going to cover the last 3 weeks worth of events.

Wednesday May 2nd: Dad left with a friend of his to go to the Pamlico River fishing for the weekend.
Thursday May 3rd: Around 11:30 pm, dad felt something bite his leg in bed and simply swatted his leg and went to sleep:
Friday May 4th: Around 12 noon, dad noticed a small red spot on the inside of his right leg. I'm unclear as to whether it was before or after this, but at some point my dad and about 3 or 4 others went net fishing in the Pamlico river.  After a trip to a local fire department, dad was told to go to the local ER and tell them he had either a brown recluse or black widow bite and needed antibiotics.  My mother was supposed to be coming over after work to help me get stuff ready for Brayden's birthday party  (set for Sunday May 6th).  I got a call from mom at 4:45 expecting that she was saying she was on her way over; instead it was a frantic call that dad was going to the ER.  I told her I would go with her.

We made the nearly 2 hour drive and found dad in a wheel chair in the ER waiting to be seen.  The spot that started out the size of a dime was now spreading like a rash and covering nearly 3/4 of his calf with spots creeping toward his inner thigh.  When they finally got him back in the ER, the pain for him was at 8 out of 10 and they were not giving pain meds.  I can only say that he appeared to be in the kind of pain I was in with labor for each child (consider I did them without any medication) and I was getting concerned.

The doctor finally came by to evaluate him, by this time it was nearly 8:30 pm and he had been there since 5.  The Dr. didn't say much, just poked a little at the leg and said pain meds were coming and he needed to quickly call some other Dr's to look at this.  I left thinking it was still only a spider bite and brought my dad's friend home.  After I left, dad developed worsening pain, fever, chills, and blisters covering the entire infected site.

Saturday May 5th: 6:30 am, call from mom said dad was "doing fine".  She'd call later when more was known, they had admitted dad to the hospital around 11pm the night before and didn't start antibiotics till then (nearly 24 hours after the "bite).
8:30 am, call from mom said dad was "doing fine" again, but that she might need me to go by their house and pick up a list of his current medications that Duke had just sent them a few days before.
From 9 to 10:30 I decided to go get a workout in at the gym with the kids.  When I got in the car, I had 4 missed calls.  My mom had called twice and Tim had called twice.  Both wanting me to get the list of dad's medications immediately and fax them to my mom.

When I talked to my mom at 11, things had suddenly turned extremely bad.  The "infection" had spread to the top part of his right leg, there was fluid in his lungs, his blood pressure was bottoming out and his heart was going crazy.  My dad has a long history of heart disease (open heart surgery in winter of 95, several cardioversions over the last 5 years, and most recently 2 heart ablations in July 2011 and 3 weeks prior to this incident).  I faxed the papers to my mother and then called my sister to let her know something was wrong and she should probably get to NC as quickly as possible (she lives in San Francisco).

I talked to my mother again at 11:30 and now my dad's kidneys were beginning to fail and they weren't able to stop the infection from spreading.  They called their infectious disease department and now believed that the infections was being caused by the bacteria vibrio vulnificus (http://www.cdc.gov/nczved/divisions/dfbmd/diseases/vibriov/).  They  needed to do some tests on the fluid from some of the blisters to confirm and that would take a few hours.

Tim's parents came over and helped with the kids and with getting stuff ready for Brayden's party, which I just couldn't bring myself to cancel.  How could I cancel a party he had been looking forward to for so long, it wasn't fair. 

Trudy got on the first flight out of SF and landed at RDU at 9:30pm.  Tim and I picked her up and started the 2 hour drive to get to mom and dad.  While in the car on the way there, mom called and said they needed to get dad into surgery now because the infection was stopping and all of dad's systems were failing.  For the first time since his open heart surgery in 95, I got an empty feeling in my stomach and couldn't breathe.  Flash backs of seeing my dad so lifeless on the life support after that surgery were creeping in and I felt like I was 18 years old again, not knowing how to deal with my dad's possible mortality.  I remember just sobbing and asking Tim to drive faster.  We were trying to get there before they took him into surgery and we made it with barely enough time to see him.  He was highly drugged and the mood in the room was very somber.  We left for the waiting room and just sat, empty staring at the walls.  They had told mom that it was at this point a life or death situation and if they had to amputate his leg to save his life, they would do so.

Sunday May 6th: at 2:30 am, the surgeon came into the waiting room; they were able to save the leg.  they had to take 70% of his leg tissue and skin from the knee to the ankle.  As they cleaned out that part of the leg, the infection that has started in his upper thigh cleared up.  They bandaged him up but would have to go in again later on Sunday to do a second surgery and removed more from his ankle and foot.  After 2 surgeries they believed they had gotten it all.  Trudy stayed with my mother and Tim and I drove home so we could be there for Brayden's party.  We got home at 5:00 am and were able to sleep for 2 hours. 

Now the waiting game and another set of emotional turmoil was set to begin.

03 April 2012

How was March?

Well, after an excellent February, March started out spectacular actually. I was doing well and had only missed one day of working out at my last post (18 March) when we found out we were going to move. Honestly, I don't even know how many times I've worked out since then...3 maybe 4 if I'm lucky. Needless to say we've been pretty busy around here for the last 2.5 -3 weeks.

We've painted (a lot of baseboards, doors, rooms etc.), cleaned up our yard with 10 cubic yards of mulching, lots of weeding/edging, flower planting, mowing, fixing lights, cleaning baseboards, window blinds, fans, doors, cleaning carpets, 3 trips to the dump, 3 trips to the goodwill and a ton of furniture moved into the garage to stage the house. Our realtors came last Thursday to take pictures of the house and it actually went live on the market this morning.

You can see our Beautiful home here. As before, if you know somebody moving to the Raleigh NC area...have em' check it out. Gonna miss this place immensely. Now, time to get moving again...in every sense of the word. Physically I need some exercise right now to help with stress and the mushy feeling that has taken over my lower extremities, we need to start looking at houses in Colorado and we just need for this move to be over!

The kids are excited about the idea of being able to pick colors to paint their new rooms and we've instituted the ever helpful calendar for marking days off until we get to leave. We did it with Gabby's due date to help them and now we're doing it for the move. They comprehend making an 'X' through days because they see the progress. The day we're working toward...July 5th.

Now time to get back on track in April.

18 March 2012

On the Move...Again

Ever since I went to college, I have moved nearly every year. Recently it's only been every 2 years and honestly when Tim and I bought the house we're in now, we said "this is our forever house."

I guess "forever" doesn't hold up to job opportunities. Tim and I found out last week that we'll be moving again after three years in what is perhaps my favorite house ever. It's a great open floor plan, hardwoods throughout the downstairs, on a cul-de-sac, fenced landscaped yard, screened porch, great neighborhood and good neighbors. Alas we're headed west...to Colorado. Tim's been offered a great opportunity in Boulder with his current employer, so it's hard to pass up.

We're both pretty excited about it, but very nervous at the same time. Both of our families are here in NC. My parents live about 10 minutes down the road, Tim's parents are a little over 1 hour from us and his sister and our niece live only 5 minutes down the road as well. Having family close has been extremely helpful and nice for the kids to be able to know their extended family, so it's going to be a change for us to not have that. We'll be a bit closer to my sister and her husband, who are in San Francisco, but still we'll be away from everyone.

We are looking forward to the atmosphere, activities, scenery and just a change, but we are not looking forward to having to prepare the house to sell on such short notice. It looks like Tim will have to be out there sometime in mid April to the beginning of May. I'll have to stay until Ryan's school year ends at the end of June. Here's to hoping we can get the house on the market in the next 2 weeks and somebody really likes it!

If anyone out there is looking to move to NC, let me know...there's a great house that I'm going to miss dearly up for sale.

01 March 2012

February Fitness Challenge - how it went

So really the only goal was to work out every day in February and the rule was "anything greater than 10-15 minutes". I have to say that when my friend first made that rule, part of me said, "oh this is going to be easy then...is 10-15 minutes really long enough to constitute a workout?" But honestly, toward the end of the month, I cherished this rule. Two years ago I would have found it ridiculous that I couldn't do at least 15 minutes of exercise a day...but now, with juggling 3 kids, a house and a husband (in no particular order), well it's just hard to find the time or make the time. But that's what I had to do, make the time.

So for the month of February:
1. I worked out 26 of 29 days with a total of 29 workouts. There were 3 days where I did a morning and "after the kids are in bed" workout.
2. There were 2 days where strength training on my living room floor for 20 minutes was my workout.
3. There was one day I ran stairs in my house to get the workout in.
4. I ran approximately 45 miles.
5. I swam approximately 10,000 meters
6. I rode approximately 75 miles.
7. I hiked for approximately 2 hours.
8. I got in approximately 6 hours of strength/core training.

I didn't really meet the goal of working out every day...but what I did do was manage to workout more this month than I have since I was in my regular training. Even though my workouts were not serious training and mostly aerobically based, I found myself really tired and needing rest. This was when I ended up doing the easy strength stuff at my house or taking 1 of my 3 days off. I felt better the farther into the month I got, but it really was mentally exhausting just trying to find/make the time to workout every day.

Another little tidbit, if you count the days prior to February that I had workout, I actually worked out 33 out of 36 days. So it really wasn't bad at all. When looking at March, I jokingly said to Tim "So there are 31 days in March, what should I aim for". And being the loving and encouraging husband he is "30" was the answer....Oh boy.

So I'll try it. I might have to sit down and come up with a schedule that looks the same for each week to help me plan and I will definitely go ahead and put light days in where I'm just doing the strength training at home. As of now I'm 1 for 1....hehe. Problems I foresee for this month, our (or I should say Tim's) race schedule picks up this month and 2 weekends out of town. The other thing is that Ryan tracks out of school at the end of the month so the extra kid in the house will be interesting. Due to this, I'm going to keep the rule of 20 min. constitutes a workout, and acceptable alternatives to the swim/bike/run/weights will be hiking, playing tag, and yard work...okay, maybe not yard work but definitely playing tag....my boys can run fast.

28 February 2012

Celebrating with Ryan

I remember when Ryan was about 9 months old (almost 5 years ago), we gave him a normal bath with bubbles, playing, giggling, hair washing and he went to bed happy. This next morning we woke up, as normal, played as normal and got ready for bath as normal. But this night, bath was anything but normal. Literally every time we tried to put water on his body, he screamed bloody murder. We tried to wash his hair and you would have thought the kid was having his arms and legs torn off. So we just stopped and put him to bed thinking it was just a weird situational thing.

The next night, the same thing...blood curdling screams. It went on for weeks, then months, then years. Bath time was only okay if no water got on his head or in his face. We tried goggles over the eyes, we tried laying down in the water to wet the head, we tried holding a towel over his eyes and face to keep it from getting wet. We tried everything and nothing worked...every night for 4 years was like this. Nothing traumatic had happened, there was no slipping in the tub or face down in the water so that he couldn't breathe. That's the first thing everybody always said "well something must have happened to him"....well it didn't. It was literally an overnight transition.

It was so bad that we couldn't really get him in the pool. He wanted to go swimming, but he was scared to get the water in his face or on his head. So about a year ago, almost as suddenly as it happened, he decided that he didn't mind the water "so much". He wouldn't get hysterical if water was on his head or in his face, he would just sort of hold his breath with his eyes pinched tightly shut until you wiped his face with a dry cloth. Slowly over the summer and into this last fall, he got better and better about it. When we went to the pool, he started telling us he wanted to go down the big water slide. The only problem is that kids aren't allowed to use the slide unless they are able to swim unassisted, there are no life vests allowed down the slide and no adult accompaniment. This is when Ryan started asking about learning to swim.

Tim and I tried teaching him basics, but he never really took to it. So about a month ago, we signed both boys up for swimming classes at the gym. It's only 1 day a week for 30 minutes, but we wanted to see how they would both do. Ryan is in a class by himself, only because no other kids signed up for that time slot, so he's really benefited for the 1-on-1 he's been getting. The first two weeks were a little awkward but he liked it. Proper kick technique, submerging the face, proper way to move arms in the water...and then week 3 something miraculous happened. At the end of class he did this:
And he just kept doing it. Both he and I had the biggest grin on our faces and as I watched tears started welling up in my eyes. It was amazing to watch how excited and happy he was, how proud of himself he was...and I shared every bit of that with him. And since we've taken him back just to play, he's discovering that you can see people under water, he wants to sit "criss cross apple sauce" on the bottom, and he wants to live under water now. He wants to teach everybody else how to swim under water now. Being able to watch your child overcome a fear, be so happy and gain a world of confidence; it's just a feeling I can't describe.

This moment will be a still frame in my mind that I will be sure to remember in 16 years at college graduation, when I'm grasping to remember everything good I can when his life has passed by so quickly. And all of this over swimming under water? Slowly but surely, I'm starting to understand more of this thing they call parenting.

And this was class tonight...swimming unassisted. 4 classes...amazing, my son is amazing.

04 February 2012

February Fitness Challenge

So an old high school friend of mine lives in Virginia and is a fitness manager for their local YMCA. She's a little over 1 year post baby no. 2 and it sounds like she's just starting to really get her routine down for exercise. She posted on Facebook that she has challenged herself to workout every day in February.

Now realizing that these sorts of ventures are hard to do when you're doing them alone, I told her I would join her...sort of an accountability thing. I know that it would be easier if we lived in the same town, but no such luck...so virtual workout partners will have to suffice. It seems she's already faced a few challenges due to unexpected family "things", but I think she's still on track...as am I! I believe the key for me will be my definition of exercise. Some days will be hard due to our daily schedule here, so I'm wondering if a hike at the nature park or playing ninja outside with Brayden for 1.5 hrs would count as exercise??? Somebody say yes so I don't feel bad.

Here's how I've done so far:
1st - 3 mile run followed by a body pump class
2nd - 3.5 mile run (and I "hiked" with Brayden around a mile loop trail, there were stairs involved too!)
3rd - 2000 yd. swim
4th - spin class followed by a very slack body pump class

Tomorrow I'm going to try for a "longer" run. So far I'm really only running about 25-35 minutes at a time with a 45 minute run being my longest some time in December. Hopefully I'll be able to get 45-50 minutes in tomorrow. I wish we had a closed track or indoor track at the gym that I could take Brayden to. Then he could ride his bike while I ran and I could keep an eye on him. There's really no track or trail around here set up like that. Since our treadmill is in the garage, I need to lean on Tim to get it fixed so that I can run while Brayden rides his bike or plays.

I've noticed that after each baby, the point at which I start to feel myself again seems to have a correlation to when I start cutting back on the breast feeding. So for the past week or two, I've started to feel better and better. I'm getting more sleep, I'm not exhausted all day, I'm not constantly stuffing my face with food and I'm still staying hydrated. Hopefully within the next few weeks this will prove to be the case and other than time, there won't be anything too big to keep me from fitting a regular workout in.

01 February 2012

Settling into a routine

So now that the holidays are over and Ryan is back in school, we're starting to come into a small routine. I try to do something "educational" with Brayden after Ryan gets on the bus; letters, numbers, writing just to make sure he's getting some sort of exposure. Then it's to the gym for a little mommy exercise and time for Brayden to go crazy in the "jungle gym" with other boys. We don't do that every morning but when we do go it has to be early so that Gabby doesn't hit that wall.

When we're not at the gym we have days for the park, the library story time or at a bounce house if the weather is bad. We've now got soccer on Friday mornings so our days are getting more structured. Time at home is occupied with pretending to be ninjas fighting the "boneheads" and "snakes" from Ninjago, playing freeze tag, hide and seek or riding bikes and going for walks. Our morning are packed.

After lunch, the kids are down for quiet time and that's when I normally get house work and laundry done. Now that I've gotten to a place where I'm "caught up" on those chores though, I don't have to do stuff every day, so it's nice to have a day or two a week that I can chill out, read, watch tv or even nap ;) Afternoons are "free play" so to speak, getting Ryan off the bus and then dinner.

It all sounds so easy and relaxed but it can be slightly hectic on a daily basis. Brayden just has so much energy and our day really all depends on how Gabby is doing with naps and eating whether our days really go smoothly or as planned the night before. I can't complain at all though, I'm having a great time with the kids and can't think of anywhere else I'd rather be right now. I don't miss working, only a bit of adult interaction; but I am getting to know some of the other at home mommies in the neighborhood with kids our age, so hopefully this should get more social for me as well as the kids.

The other thing I've noticed, is now that I'm getting more quality time with the kids, I'm much more willing to leave for a night out with Tim...I think this makes us both much happier. Life is different but good.

28 January 2012

Little Miss Gabby

Gabby Goo, Miss Queen of the stinky bottoms, Sweetie pie, pretty little goo goo, Gabby Mac...take your pick. They all refer to the same wonderful, beautiful, happy little girl that has taken us all by storm here.

When I look back at pictures of the boys, she could really be Ryan's twin sister in most pictures at similar ages. They've got the same color hair, same hair pattern, same face, same eye color, same ears...spitting image of her older brother Ryan. Every now and then, you can see pictures where she looks like Brayden but for sure it's mostly Ryan.

She's 7 months old next Friday and is full of life. Quick stats: weighing at about 16 lbs now, she's just getting to double her birth weight. At the 6 month check up she was in the 90% height and 43% for weight. She was rolling over at 4 months but until the last week or two, was not doing much else. In the last two weeks, she has mastered being on the hands/knees, sitting up, scooting backwards and finally crawling. A ton of physical milestones in such a short amount of time which explains the interrupted sleep that we've seen lately.

I started baby food at 4 months and she seemed to be doing okay after 2-3 weeks. We had peas, carrots, sweet potatoes, pears, oatmeal, green beans, squash...then all of sudden she said "no more, just milk please"...so it was back to nothing but bmilk. We did find out that she had a contact allergy to cinnamon but that seemed to be it. So until 2 weeks ago, she really only had milk with the occasional bowl of oatmeal. Now she wants the food, but not the pureed food I was making. She wants table food, crackers, pancakes, soft sweet pt. chunks, soft carrots, peas, and especially butternut squash with pears. She has decided that pureed food is not for her.

All of this is fine with me, I'm all about giving her whatever food she wants. My only concern is that she doesn't have teeth yet. Both boys cut their first teeth at 5 months, so the fact that she's 7 and has yet to show signs of teething is weird for me. She is actually chewing the foods I give her better than the boys did when they first starting eating table food, but I would feel more comfortable if there were some teeth to help out the process of processing food.

All this new introduction of food is great news for me; as I am no longer the only source of nutrition for her and as much as I believe in breastfeeding, I'm glad it's coming to an end. I started the weaning process around mid December and within another month we should be done. I'm glad that we made it this long without formula, since both boys were completely on formula by 4 months old, but I'm ready to feel normal again. And honestly, it's just a lot to try and continue with the hectic nature of 3 little ones.

I'm still so excited about this beautiful little girl and everything that is yet to come from having her in our lives and around the house. She's got everyone of us wrapped around her little piggies and I don't know that we'll ever be able to break free from her loving grasp and heart warming glances. Her smiles would make your heart skip a beat...and I'm loving every minute.

Gabby and Brayden

03 January 2012

Ryan's world

Ryan has been "a late bloomer" in a manner of speaking when it comes to his social skills and personality. He has always been a very sweet, gentle boy with very particular taste (or OCD would be more appropriate), socially withdrawn but very curious. He started to come out a little bit right before Brayden was born but things really did change once he figured out Brayden was not leaving.

Sibling rivalry is very much alive between the two boys, for our attention, food, toys, clothes, toothbrushes and even who gets which cup or plate. We try to get them the same toys and clothes...maybe just different colors and something similar enough to where the other doesn't get jealous but most times it doesn't matter, they argue over it or complain about it anyway.

Since Ryan turned 5 in July, we've seen slow changes, fun changes and welcome changes. It could be the age, it could be that he started school and that environment is fostering the changes and it could be the addition of a little sister. He's definitely learning how to be sarcastic and bossy (not the good changes we like) but he's learning how to laugh and have fun finally. He's such a serious little kid. Christmas day was awesome this year. We set up some hot wheels tracks that attach to the wall in his room. He just kept making funny faces and falling on the ground, dancing, giggling; it was cute to see him be silly.

He continues to be that silent, gentle kid and it's only exaggerated by Gabby. They have a loving relationship. I dare say he will be the one she goes to several years from now when she needs to have the emotional support and listening ear; whereas Brayden will probably be the one to provide her with the fun and craziness that she will need to break loose.

Ryan has unfortunately inherited my need to always win at games. I remember my parents trying to have game nights when we were little and we would always have to stop early because I was throwing a fit about not being in the lead or not winning. Ryan is that kid. If we are playing tag, red light/green light, hide and seek etc. he will stop mid game and just start screaming and crying because he didn't win. We have to stop playing Mario Kart or Mario Land because if he doesn't come in first place after a certain number of tries it results in a severe emotional break down. I guess this stuff is hereditary, because Tim and I have always tried to stress that games are about having fun and trying your best...it doesn't work. If the kid ain't win'n, ain't nobody happy.

At some point when he entered is "terrible twos", "thunderous threes" and "ferocious fours" I forgot why I loved the kid other than he was just my kid. I'm sure other parents out there with kids older than 15-18 months can understand what I mean when I say, I felt like he had turned into the spawn of Satan for a while. But we seem to have come to a fork in the road that has taken us back toward that angel that stole my heart for the first 2 years. I can see that twinkle in his eye and hear the song in his voice again...and I'm absolutely relieved and have fallen back in love with my son; just in time for him to be embarrassed by my hugs and kisses no doubt.

Unfortunately, as he is coming out of the funk....Brayden has fallen farther into it. Oh dear Gabby, please just don't stay in it that phase for long when your turn comes, I'm begging.