Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Ron says that I'm overreacting to the whole near-electrocution incident. He claims that he stuck something in an outlet as a child, and although "it's something you only do once", he lived to tell the story. Hmm, you know...that might explain that weird glow. And that zzzztt sound whenever a mosquito lands on him.

I'm not too sure I trust him when it comes to matters electric, though. You see, a few years ago, I decided to put a garden in the back yard. There's a shed in the back, and the previous owners ran an underground electrical wire from the garage to the shed. At some point, Ron chopped the wire off where it ran into the shed. Since he was able to do that without incident, and the fact that the frayed end had been exposed to the elements for years, he was convinced there was no power in that line. Like a lamb to the slaughter the trusting wife that I am, I started tilling. When I was a few feet away from the shed, I felt a jolt. Hmm, I thought, I must have hit a rock. I picked up the tiller and moved it a few inches, thinking I'd be clear of the rock. Another jolt, stronger than the first. Wow, that must be a really big rock, I thought. I picked up the tiller again, and moved it a couple of feet away. ZZZTTTT!!!! That's when I finally realized that I was getting shocked. That and the fact that I could smell scorched hair (kidding about that part, of course).

I guess getting shocked is not necessarily "something you only do once". At least not if you're me.
I don't even like typing out this story, but I'm hoping Sammy will read this someday and it will help him to understand why I have a head full of grey hairs.

We've been remodeling the basement, and over the weekend Ron was nailing up baseboard in one of the completed rooms. Sammy was very interested in the process and wanted to help, so he kept following Ron and trying to put nails in the holes that Ron had drilled in the wood. That was all fine and good, but then yesterday I went downstairs to clean up all the drywall dust in that room, and Sammy followed me. I turned around just in time, to see him about to stick a stray nail into the wall socket! Every other outlet in that room has outlet protectors, but I think Ron removed those protectors to use the sander, and they never got replaced. Believe me, they are back in now. I keep thinking about how close Sammy came to getting electrocuted - what if I had turned around 10 seconds later! - I can't even go there. I know I scared Sammy, too, because he almost started crying. Usually he ignores me when I lecture him, but he could tell how freaked out I was over this whole thing!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Picture day

Some random pictures, since I'm feeling too lazy to write today.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

This morning, Ron called me at work, and started off by saying, "Guess what Sammy did this morning." My response was, "What?" immediately followed by, "Never mind - I'm not sure I really want to know."

Turns out that Ron was a little busy with Natalie this morning, and Sammy was feeling neglected. I should mention here that she's had a bad cough for a couple of days, which turned into a full-blown cold last night, and we brought her in to Urgent Care because she wasn't acting like herself. And...she has her first ear infection. Big surprise there. But I digress.

While Ron was busy with Natalie, Sammy decided he wanted more orange juice and he was going to take matters into his own hands. Ron walked out into the kitchen to see this layout on the floor in front of the refrigerator: orange juice container (sans cap), Sammy's sippy cup (sans cap), and Sammy, poised to pick up the orange juice. All I could think was, good thing Ron hadn't waited another 30 seconds to walk out there to check on him. I'd still have been finding sticky puddles of dried orange juice under the refrigerator months from now.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

When I was pregnant with Sammy, I said NO WAY was I going to use cloth diapers. Who has time for that? And besides, daycare won't deal with cloth. But I said NO WAY to a lot of things that I now do regularly. The further I get into this mommyhood gig, the "crunchier" I get.

About a year ago, I started looking into cloth diapers. My main concern was the environmental impact of all the disposable diapers we were going through. I was also concerned about all the chemicals in disposables, and the cost of disposables. Sure, cloth diapers are a big upfront investment (especially since I decided on pocket diapers, which are one of the more expensive options) but after a couple of months, they've paid for themselves. And did you know that cloth diapers also have great resale value? Personally, I wouldn't want to buy used diapers for my kids (I wouldn't buy used underwear for myself!) but a lot of people do. So after we're done, I can sell them and get back a lot of my investment. Cloth diapering has changed so much from when I was a kid. No longer do you have to deal with folding & pinning ugly, stained, white pieces of cloth. Today's diapers are downright cute!

When Natalie was born, I put aside the cloth diapers for awhile. It took me awhile to find my groove, with two little kids instead of one, and I just decided I didn't have time to do an extra load of laundry every day. Now I'm getting into a good routine, and I'm going back to cloth. Both kids are in the same size cloth diaper, however, so I knew I would need to get a few more. Besides, they sell a lot of different patterns, so I wanted to buy a couple of cute little girlie ones for Natalie. I so love dressing up my little girl.

Last night I logged onto http://www.weebunzdiapers.com/, and they're having a great end-of-year clearance right now on their Fuzzi Bunz (my diaper of choice). Medium has been pretty well picked-over since it's the most popular size, but I got 5 cute little diapers for $15 apiece with free shipping. Not a bad deal at all!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Yesterday, a friend came over with her two boys. While the older kids were playing, the adults and the baby were in the living room where Natalie was on the floor, trying her best to roll over. She’s been working at this skill with such good-humored patience for the past couple of weeks; it’s been inspiring to watch her. Wouldn’t you know it, I left the room for a minute, and she rolled over. So, it wasn’t Ron or I who witnessed it for the first time – but my friend! She was so excited about her new trick that she spent all night practicing. She’s still in our room, so all night long this is what I heard: grunt, grunt (as she exerted herself) then a few moments of silence, after she’d succeeded. Then, waaaahhhh!!!! because she doesn’t like to be on her stomach for very long. She does know how to roll back the other way, but I think she was so surprised at being on her stomach that she caught herself off-guard.

Last night, I was trying to clean up the supper dishes while Natalie lounged in her high chair and Sammy sat at the kitchen table, finishing his supper. Natalie was tired and started wailing, but I couldn’t get to her right away. Sammy took matters into his own hands and got right up in her face, saying, “Cut it out, Natalie! CUT IT OUT!” I wonder where he might have heard that phrase? Could it be the million and one times that I’ve told him that while we’re driving somewhere, and he’s sitting in the backseat whining because, I’M STRAPPED IN AND IT’S CUTTING OFF MY CIRCULATION AND I CAN’T RUN AROUND AND WREAK HAVOC AND WAAAHHH WAAHHH WAAAHHH.

I was definitely ready to come back to work this morning.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Natalie was hungry as soon as we got home from daycare, so I went straight into the living room to nurse her, leaving my things in the kitchen. Before too long, I noticed Sammy nonchalantly heading for the kitchen. As soon as I heard the telltale sound of my purse zipper opening, I knew what he was into. “Sammy, what are you doing in my purse?” I said. He answered, “Looking at something.” “Okay…what are you looking at?” I said. He waited a moment before answering “Suckers.” Apparently he’d found the stash of suckers I keep in my purse for emergency bribes. I’m so glad he hasn’t yet figured out that telling the truth is not always in his best interests.

I can see that the two of them are going to be such trouble someday. They’re already becoming co-conspirators. I was doing the dishes, while Natalie was strapped in her high chair, and Sammy was at the kitchen table having a snack. When I heard Natalie start laughing, I turned around to see Sammy crawling on the table, trying to reach something I’d left there earlier. I told him to get down, and he did, but a second later he was again slyly trying to reach the desired toy while Natalie laughed him on. And there is nothing that boy likes better than attention, so the rest of the night he was playing up to her, trying to get her to laugh while she willingly obliged.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Fun at the doctor's office

I just remembered I don’t have to work on Monday! That’s one of the best feelings in the world – finding out you have an unexpected day off. It’s not quite as nice of a feeling as your toddler saying “I love you” and requesting a kiss, or your baby smiling and squealing with delight at just seeing your face, but it’s pretty close to the top of my list.

The kids both had well-baby checks yesterday. That was, um…interesting. Sammy panicked and refused to get undressed. After much cajoling and the promise of a sucker when we were all done, we finally got him weighed and measured. When I put Natalie on the scale, she piddled all over the scale and herself. She was tired because she hadn’t napped in over three hours, so she started crying while I was cleaning her up and getting her dressed again. While trying to calm Sammy down and convince him to cooperate, I was trying to keep the binky in Natalie’s mouth and jiggle her to sleep. She finally drifted off, just as it was her turn to be examined by the doctor. And then it was time for the dreaded shots. Natalie screamed so hard her face was practically purple. And Sammy, who didn’t hardly flinch when he got his flu shot a couple of months ago, freaked out and tensed up his leg so tightly that the nurse warned us there was probably going to be extensive bruising. At one time all that chaos would have made me want to gouge my eyeballs out. Now, that’s what I’m most comfortable with – because if it’s too quiet, I know there must be trouble brewing somewhere in Toddlerville.

For some odd reason, Sammy decided the pediatrician's name was Dr. Snowman. Don't ask - I have no idea!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008


It was -1 degrees yesterday morning when I left for work - actual temperature, not even counting the windchill. I thought the tips of my ears might be frostbitten by the time I walked from my bus stop to my office. I remember at least one cat (from my childhood on the farm) that had frostbitten ears, and the tips actually fell off. Wouldn't that be an interesting look for me. Maybe I should start wearing a hat, otherwise I'll never have the option of short hair again.

Natalie picked up a case of pink eye from daycare already, so she stayed home yesterday. Poor girl woke up from her nap, and couldn't open up her eyes! That must have been confusing for her. "Hey, where'd everyone go?" She seemed to feel fine, though. This morning, she woke up at 4:00 a.m., talking and laughing in her cosleeper. I ignored her and she went back to sleep after about half an hour. I am curious what she could find to laugh about in the middle of the night, though.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Not one of my proudest parenting moments

Back around Thanksgiving, Sammy decided to crawl around with his face planted in the carpet. I guess it seemed like a good idea at the time. Needless to say, he ended up with a nasty case of carpet burn. Maybe he thought it would make him look like a tough guy.

It's hard to look tough when you're playing in your little sister's exersaucer.

I know that's not a great picture, but you get the idea. A few days after it happened, his nose scabbed over and looked just awful. It must have itched too because he wouldn't leave it alone, and I could see the scab starting to come off, so I kept getting after him to leave it alone. Sure enough, he ended up pulling off the whole scab, and it started gushing blood everywhere. He was trying to wipe his nose off with the sleeve of his light-colored shirt, and since I had Natalie sitting in my lap, I was having a hard time trying contain the blood and gore without dropping her. Without thinking, I said "dammit" and right away, realized what I'd done but it was too late to take it back. In between his sobs, he started saying "dammit", *sob*, "dammit, *sob*, *sniffle*, "dammit". Yay me, teaching my child his first cuss word.

Then the next day, he was trying to put a blanket over his head and was having a hard time getting it just right. I heard a muffled "dammit" come from under the blanket. What can I say - at least he understands the correct usage of the word.

Friday, January 11, 2008

Elmo Says It's Time to Par-tay!

Today when I picked the kids up from daycare, Sammy wanted me to bend over with Natalie so he could tell her "hi". Then he gave her a big hug and a kiss. Awwww. (They go to the same daycare, but they're in different rooms, so they don't really see each other during the time they're there.)

I just finished the Elmo cake for Sammy's party tomorrow. I thought it turned out okay, considering I went into this project on a wing and a prayer!

I know a couple of you might be interested in how I did this, and everyone else can skip this next part. I started with a regular strawberry cake, and used 1 1/2 tubes of red premade Wilton's icing (using the smallest circular tip) to squiggle lines all over it. I'd normally make the icing from scratch, but the kids insist on being fed & changed once in awhile, so I have to cut corners where I can. Then I found a recipe for fondant, and made up a batch. I only used about 1/4 of it, so unless I was covering an entire cake with fondant, I wouldn't do a whole batch next time. Then it was just a matter of dying the fondant, rolling it out, and cutting the shapes. I couldn't find a pattern for the shapes on the internet, so I just eyeballed it. It's not perfect, but to a 2-year-old's eye, I'm sure it will be just fine.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Sammy's big day

Both kids have colds right now. It's a mild-mannered virus by day, but at night it rears its ugly head and results in lots of coughing. I spent the hours of 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. rocking and administering medicine. I'm not even sick, and this cold is kicking my butt.

Yesterday was a lot of fun. I took the day off from work, and we trekked down to the Mall of America. Sammy was impressed by the sharks and the big turtles at Underwater World. Then we went to the amusement-park-formerly-known-as-Camp-Snoopy to do rides. I couldn't believe it when Sammy stopped underneath the ferris wheel, looked up in awe, and said, "Look, Mommy!" After some discussion, Ron took him on the ride. I really thought Sammy would get up there and freak out.
Is this really my kid?

That figures. He's terrified of Santa Claus, but being 50 feet in the air doesn't phase him one bit.

All aboard!

Sammy eats his birthday lunch of ketchup, with french fries on the side

Of course, Natalie was with too!

Sammy didn't want to miss one moment of his special day, so he refused to nap. That made for some interesting moments. Such as when Grandma Anita called to wish him a happy birthday. I tried to hold the phone up to his ear, and he shrieked, "No! No!" I took the phone back and he started sobbing, "Talka Grandma! Talka Grandma!" So I offered him the phone again, and he pushed it away, shrieking "No! No!" Again, I took the phone back and he sobbed, "Talka Grandma! Talka Grandma!" Ah, there's nothing quite like toddler logic.

Then we had chocolate birthday cake, and opened presents. He instantly fell in love with his Elmo karaoke machine.
Because you just can't hear "Elmo's World" too many times.

In other news, Sammy was so proud of the polar bear he and Daddy made a couple of weeks ago.

Unfortunately for the bear and Sammy, it's been quite warm here lately. Today when we got home, Sammy announced the polar bear was "broken".
My eyes! My EYES!!!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Happy Birthday, Sammy!

Hours old.

Mmmmm...cake. (1st birthday)

Bright & early this morning
(he insisted that Santa be in the picture, too)

And this one's for Grandma, who rounded up this pony for him at Christmas.


Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Natalie's first day of school

I forgot to mention, Natalie started daycare yesterday. I've been back at work for a little over a month, but Ron stayed home with her during December. Besides the fact that it saved us $400 in tuition, it was nice to keep her healthy for that extra winter month. I'm expecting her to come home with her first daycare-acquired illness by the end of the week.

The teachers tell me she had a great day. I knew she would, because she is such a happy and easygoing baby. Apparently she was a big hit with all the teachers & staff. :-)

I could tell she was very excited by all the activity there - she only took a half-hour nap the entire 4 hours she was there, and then only took one more brief nap at home later. She didn't stop talking all afternoon! I guess she just wanted to fill us all in on her exciting day at school.

T minus 1 day

Sam turns 2 tomorrow. I can’t believe how quickly the time has gone! I don’t think I’ve ever written out his birth story, so here it is.

My last day at work was Friday, January 6th. My coworkers took me out to lunch, and afterwards M, an OB nurse, said that she noticed I was having regular contractions. I hadn’t realized it until that point, but she was right (obviously, they were not painful – just tightenings). I went home and slept somewhat fitfully that night, as the contractions were annoying and made it hard to sleep.

The next morning (January 7th) I started timing them, and noticed they were very regular, coming about every 7-8 minutes. Since they were still not painful, we decided to go to the mall and walk around, in hopes of getting things moving. We walked, and walked, and walked some more but they never got painful. Before going to bed that night, they were about 5 minutes apart. Another fitful night of sleep followed.

Sunday, January 8th, I woke up and thought my water was leaking, so we decided to go in to the hospital. At that point, contractions were about every 3-4 minutes but still not painful in the least. The nurse, after doing the test and determining that my water had not broken, checked for dilation and got a shocked look on her face. She called the doctor in, and he checked me as well. They agreed that I was 5 cm dilated but couldn’t believe that I wasn’t in any pain. At that point, they admitted me (it was about 7 a.m.)

My plan was to have a natural childbirth, with as little intervention as possible (hardy har har – fate was laughing at me, in the corner). So I walked the halls, took hot showers, rocked, and did everything else the nurses told me to do in hopes of moving things along. At 2 p.m., 7 hours after being admitted, the nurse decided to check me again. I had not progressed at all. At this point, they gave me a choice: I could either have them artificially rupture my membranes, or I could go home. I know now, I should have chosen to go home, but I had gotten myself so pumped up to have a baby that day, that I couldn’t bear to leave! I agreed to let them rupture my membranes, knowing at that point that I was committed to deliver within 24 hours, one way or another.

Two hours later, they checked me again. There was still no further dilation, although the baby had moved down further. At this point, they wanted to start the pitocin, and I knew I didn’t have much choice so I agreed. It really wasn’t as painful as I was expecting, from other peoples’ horror stories. They kept upping the dosage until it was at the maximum, and at that point it was definitely painful but I could still get through the contractions by doing my visualization techniques (we’d prepared for childbirth with Hypnobirthing classes). By 10:00 p.m., I was only dilated to 6 cm and I was exhausted after having two nights of very restless sleep, so I finally asked for an epidural. Looking back, that was probably the smartest choice I made all day, because it allowed me to get a few hours of sleep.

Just before 1:30 a.m., the doctor came in the room and said the baby was starting to have some big decelerations, and they wanted to get him out right away. Since I hadn’t dilated any further, and the doctor sounded like he meant business, I knew that was the only choice left at that point. Samuel Roger was born by cesarean section at 1:30 a.m., Monday, January 9, 2006.

I’ll never forget his first cry. He sounded indignant and not too happy to be out of his warm, watery home. My first glimpse of him was from across the room, as they brought him directly over to the warmer to weigh, measure, and swaddle him. The first time I saw my baby, my nose was being assaulted with the smell of my own burning flesh, as the doctor cauterized my incision. By the time Ron finally brought him over to me so I could see him, all that was visible was his face poking out from his nest of blankets. I couldn’t have held him anyway, since my arms were strapped down to the table, so all I could do was look into his eyes and tell him how happy I was to meet him.

An hour later, in the recovery room, I finally got to hold him and nurse him for the first time. I finally got to unwrap the blankets and count his fingers and toes. Although I was thrilled to finally meet my baby, I couldn’t help but be sad about the way it all came about. To add insult to injury, the nurses kept telling me that I’d probably have to have all future babies by cesarean section. I know now that’s because this small suburban hospital doesn’t do VBACs – they don’t have the necessary in-house obstetrician and anesthesiologist.

So yeah, the birth experience left a lot to be desired, but the end result of my wonderful little boy made it all worth it. And little did I know then, but I would go on to have a VBAC after all.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Random acts of cuteness

Natalie recently started cooing. When she does this, she gets very animated, as though she’s carrying on a conversation. Over the weekend, she was doing this, and I said to Sam, “What do you think she’s saying?” I should have known he’d have a ready response. His answer: “Dirty diapers.”

There are a lot of birthdays right now in Sam’s toddler room at daycare. He’ll turn 2 on Wednesday; his friend M turns 2 today, and his friend A turns 2 on Thursday. They must have had a birthday party last week for another child as well, because yesterday Sam was digging in the garbage can in our office. He pulled out a rolled-up piece of cardboard, placed it on top of his head, and declared it a “birthday hat”.

He does keep us laughing.

Friday, January 4, 2008

In the beginning

Okay, so this is my third attempt at keeping a blog. I never can quite seem to stick with it, so hopefully the third time's a charm!

I took the bus to work for the first four years I worked downtown, but when I was 8 months pregnant with Sammy, I started driving. You'd think other bus riders would take pity on a hugely pregnant woman and offer her a seat, wouldn't you? Not so much. I am not one to ask for special treatment, but taking a 45-minute bus ride standing up, while going down the freeway, is nothing short of dangerous when you can no longer even remember that you ever had a center of balance. And trust me - there was no mistaking the fact that I was pregnant. I have a short torso, so there is nowhere for my babies to go but out. I think the only question was exactly how many babies were in there.

Then, after Sammy was born, I kept driving because of work & daycare schedules, blah blah blah. Now we have a new arrangement, with just enough of a shift in my hours that there's now a mid-day bus that will take me home again. So I decided to go back to busing. Besides the positive impact on the environment, I am thrilled that I will no longer be spending so much money on gas, plus I have an extra hour and a half in my day to read!

This week, I started taking the bus again. Since the 35W bridge collapse, my bus has taken a detour, so this was the first time I was riding the new route. The morning commute was fine. Fast forward to the afternoon commute. I was standing at what I thought was the bus stop, and I looked down at my watch to see what time it is. Hmm, I thought, I could have sworn the bus was supposed to be here 2 minutes ago. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed the bus line. After two minutes of maneuvering my way through the automated system, I found out the bus was supposed to be coming RIGHT NOW, BUT 2 BLOCKS AWAY FROM WHERE I WAS CURRENTLY STANDING. Uh-oh. I run down the icy sidewalk and get to the intersection just as the bus is going through. Keep in mind, there is not another bus for 2 hours, and it would take me about 2 days to walk home from where I am. So I run the next block, in my high heels, with my breastpump, my briefcase, and my purse merrily swinging away beside me. Thank goodness the bus drive saw me running for the bus, and he stopped mid-block to let me on. I was so thankful - however, we have had a LOT of snow lately, and the snowback separating the bus and me was about 2 feet high. Remember that I'm wearing high heels? OK, good. So I get halfway through the snowbank and lose one of my shoes. I turn around, balancing on one leg like a flustered flamingo, grab my shoe out of the snowbank, and board the bus with one shoe in my hand. I didn't look up to take count of how many of the passengers were laughing at me.

So that was my first day riding the bus. Thankfully yesterday was better.