Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Not a good day

Today has been an awful day. Actually, it started late last night. We had family in town for the holiday (I'll talk about this some other time), and after dinner I noticed that my dog was sitting on the floor and panting pretty hard. I checked her closely, and it didn't seem like she was in any significant distress. Over the course of the evening, I kept watching her, and her labored breathing and panting continued. We called the emergency hospital, and based on their recommendations we decided not to bring her to the hospital. Over the course of the night, we called the hospital a few more times to ask questions about when we should worry. Right before we went up to bed, she refused to eat her food (and my dog NEVER skips out on food). I started to get especially concerned. At 4:30, she woke up with a coughing/hacking sound and seemed very restless. She was no longer able to sleep, and she was back and forth between the bed and the floor every few minutes. Her panting was still fast and labored, neither one of us was sleeping, so I decided to just take her to the emergency hospital and make sure she was okay. I actually thought she was having a hair ball issue like last year, but that maybe it was blocking her breathing in some way.

Long story short...she is in congestive heart failure. There is fluid filling up in her lungs, and they put her in an oxygen tent and on diuretics to try and reduce the fluid and make her breathe more comfortably. The cardiologist is coming in to the office today and will examine her and run an echocardiogram. Based on that, we should know if her heart problem will be manageable with drugs or if this is it for her.

I left her at the hospital at 6:00 am to come home. I've checked on her several times, but I really don't feel like they are keeping me sufficiently updated. I may just get in my car in a bit and drive back over there to get some answers if someone does not call me back soon.

When I got out to the car...I noticed that there was a HUGE dent in the front bumper. It was my husband's car I was driving, and because of the location of the dent and the way I was parked, I'm fairly certain it must have happened the other day (on Sunday). So, on top of the fortune we are spending to try and save my dog, repairing the car will cost another small fortune. Oh...and I spoke to my midwife when I got home this morning, and it turns out that I failed my one hour glucose test (that I took on Friday). Yup - not good news. I've decided not to bother with the 3 hour test - I'll just go on the gestational diabetes diet and monitor my sugar with the finger pricks (as appropriate).

So...can I crawl back in bed and hide? I still have to cook dinner for 8 tonight, and all I want to do is curl up and cry. Please no more bad news today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The ants are marching...again

Once again, the week has just flown by! I originally planned on posting again last Wednesday night, but seem to have gotten waylaid by life. So, today's post will be a nice "catch you up" post again.

Let's start with last Wednesday night...when I discovered ants. Yes, ants. Everywhere in Micah's bedroom. It was disgusting! They were swarming on the floor near his crib, and around the ottoman, and they even made it all the way up to Micah's changing table. We took out the organic ant spray (made from mint oil) and we sprayed everything down. I was creeped out by the thought of Micah sleeping in a room with all those ants, but I hoped the spray would keep them at bay. I came downstairs after we put Micah to bed to do a complete survey of the house to search for more ants. I was relieved to see that there were no ants in any of the trouble spots from last year...however, the ants were swarming in the living room corner where we keep most of Micah's toys. We took out the mint oil spray and gave the region a bath.

Thursday morning, we called the exterminator bright and early. Lucky for us, he was able to come see us later that day. Micah and I left for class at noon and stayed away for a few hours while he set out to conquer our ants. He managed to treat the problem outside, and told us we should expect the problem to dissipate quickly.

Thursday night was date night. My mom arrived around 5:30, and DH and I decided we needed another practical errand-running night. We decided to go check out the Mazda car dealership to test drive the Mazda 5 and the CX9. I have to say, we really liked the CX9. It is loaded with features, very comfortable, and a smooth ride. Our only concerns, however, were the mileage (it has the lowest mpg of any 3 row SUV we have test driven so far), and like the other 3 row SUVs, we would not be able to access the third row with two car seats installed. Mazda also does not offer any decent lease deals on the CX9, so leasing the vehicle is expensive (although it is priced well for purchasing). We just do not think we want to commit to buying the CX9 with such low gas mileage - we feel confident there will be better options over the next few years, and do not want to be locked into this car long-term. We also test drove the Mazda 5. It is an interesting vehicle - it looks more like a mini minivan (kind of a cross between a minivan and a station wagon). Because the middle row only has two captains chairs (and a sliding door entry), there is access to the two rear seats even with two car seats. The gas mileage is great, but the car is fairly stripped down - no electric seats or any of the amenities I am looking for in a vehicle. The price was really good, so DH and I did discuss if it made sense to replace his Prius with the Mazda 5. For now, we think we are going to hold off on doing that, but we definitely think the Mazda 5 is an interesting option for a family vehicle.

After our car adventures, DH and I had a quick dinner at a nearby restaurant. Nothing fancy, but they do have a great salad bar there. We were home by 10:30. I did a quick canvas for ants, and I mostly only saw dead ants (eww!). I cleaned up the carnage, but I was relieved that the exterminator managed to tackle our problem.

Friday was a busy work day for me. I think the day passed before I even had a chance to blink! DH picked Micah up from daycare around 5:30. We quickly fed him dinner and the two of them went off to services. They got home around 7:30 pm...just in time for us to give Micah his bath and put him to bed. After our long week, DH and I were exhausted, so we had a wild evening...we curled up on the couch to watch tv, and fell asleep ridiculously early!

I woke up early Saturday morning and had to scoot out early to help run a training session. DH kept Micah occupied for the day while I worked. I got home around 2:30 or so, and Micah was asleep. When he woke up after a nice LONG nap, we played together. The weather was so beautiful that when DH suggested that we all take a quick bike ride around the block, I instantly agreed! DH bought me a new bike for my birthday last summer. The original bike he purchased was a little too tall for me, so we ended up ordering a different bike. We did not pick that up until late October/early November. Since I had just found out I was pregnant and we were uncertain if the pregnancy was going to hold, I never got a chance to ride my new bike before the bad weather hit. So, around 4:30 pm, DH hooked the bike trailer up to his bike, we loaded Micah inside, and the three of us took off for a bit of an adventure.

I should have known that DH and I would not think of a "quick ride around the block" the same way. I expected to head over to the local bike path and do a quick loop and come back. DH thought we should head downtown and bike past the stores. I followed his lead...we went down the street, through the park, down by the restaurants and back out to the main road. I expected us to head up the road and back towards home, but DH had other plans in mind. We kept going...and going...and going. A number of times I reminded him that I was pregnant and not in the best of shape and suggested we should head back home. But, DH said it was just a short trip and we should keep going. We ended up biking over a mile to the Barnes and Noble, and we sat outside for a bit to catch our breath (okay, so I could catch my breath). We then started the long trek back home...uphill. I can only say that I definitely overdid it. By the time I got home, the contractions were going crazy. I know it was only a 2 or 2 1/2 mile bike ride, but that might not have been the smartest thing at 27 weeks pregnant when dealing with pre-term contractions.

I drank lots of water, lay down, and started popping the Indocin to control the contractions. I felt a little better after an hour or two, but the contractions continued strongly all night. DH decided to run to the store while I put Micah to bed - there was a huge sale at Toys R Us on Pampers (for every 2 packages we purchased, we got a $20 gift card, plus DH had $5 off coupons for each box of Pampers). I think DH might have bought out the store - he brought home 6 jumbo packages of diapers!! I crashed pretty early because I was so exhausted and uncomfortable.

I had no idea when I woke up on Sunday that it would be a completely packed day. My morning started off when Micah woke up at his usual time. I made him a yummy breakfast of pumpkin pancakes, and we spent some time playing and watching Sesame Street. My contractions were still going pretty strong, so I popped some more Indocin and tried to drink a lot of water. I got a call from my friend, and we decided we would meet and catch up a bit. I put Micah down for his nap around 11:45, and my friend showed up at noon. We decided to walk downtown for lunch. The weather was gorgeous, and we went to an organic salad place for lunch. We chatted, we caught up, and then we picked up a half dozen cupcakes to bring home. Yummy! I picked up a cookies and cream cupcake, and chocolate peanut butter and a triple chocolate cupcake. My friend got a chocolate peanut butter, a red velvet, and a cookies and cream cupcake. Unfortunately, the cupcakes melted a bit on the walk home. Once again, my contractions started to kick it into high gear - perhaps a 2+ mile walk on the heels of my bike ride was a bad idea?

Micah did not wake up until a little after I got home. He played and flirted with my friend a bit before she left, and we waited for our friends to arrive for our play date! They showed up around 5:00, and we walked over to the neighborhood park. The boys played on the swings and the slide and had a fantastic time. Micah was so funny - he loved the swings, he enjoyed eating some sticks and dirt, and then he figured out how the slide worked. I was so amazed by my little boy - he figured out how to climb the stairs, run over to the slide (where Daddy was waiting to reposition him to safely go down the slide on his belly) and I would catch him at the bottom (this slide is a "big kids" slide that ends a few feet above the ground - Micah was like a little torpedo hurtling down that slide!). What amazed me was that after the first time or two of trying to climb back up the slide, Micah knew to run around to the back of the jungle gym and climb the stairs to slide down again. Unfortunately, Micah was having so much fun that he threw a tempertantrum when we told him it was time to leave and bundled him back up into the stroller.


We got home in time for dinner and a little more playtime with our friends. Shortly thereafter, we got Micah ready for bed. I think DH and I crashed on the couch early again. My contractions were pretty intense, so I tried to relax, hydrate, and take more medication.

Monday morning, we were back to the grind. Micah went to daycare bright and early (and tried to carry his own lunch bag to school):




I had a full day of work (and attempted bedrest) ahead of me while I tried to get the contractions back under control. My home health nurse arrived in the afternoon to give me another shot. I really hate these shots, and my butt just hurts!! I wish I knew if they were helping at all. I then had to go see my cardiologist for my annual appointment. I got home in time to put in a few more hours of work before Micah came home.

I have to say, Micah has just been absolutely adorable lately. I mean, that kid is cute all the time, but sometimes he is just so beyond adorable I don't even know what to say! Lately, after bath time when I comb out his hair, Micah has been stealing the comb from me...so he can comb my hair! He sits and laughs and smiles while he combs my hair, and I love it! He has also adopted a new phrase..."Uh oh." Micah LOVES to say "uh oh" now, and it just makes me laugh.

Tuesday was another good day. We woke up at our usual time, then quickly headed off to our music class. Micah seemed a bit out of sorts - a tad on the tired and shy side, and he really did not feel like participating in class (except for the bubbles segment). Micah loves to chase the bubbles and pop them (and he says "bubbles" over and over again). Right after class, we loaded into the car and headed north to visit my SIL and Micah's two cousins. It took us about an hour to get up there, and we decided to meet them at the Olive Garden. The kids were great. They ate bread sticks, we ordered the three kids pizza and chicken fingers to share, and we munched on soup and salad. Micah was not much in the mood to eat. He had a piece or two of pizza and a bit of chicken and a few beans from my soup. He mostly just threw the food on the floor. After lunch, we went back to their house. The kids played together in a toy house, and they played with bubbles (well, Micah mostly spilled the bubbles while he tried to make bubbles). We finally dragged them inside, and they spent the day playing together. Unfortunately, his older cousin was not happy with Micah's idea of sharing. She kept building a stack of blocks and he would knock them over, much to her annoyance. His younger cousin, on the other hand, enjoyed stacking the blocks for Micah to knock over. The kids ate snack food together, and around 3:30 we hopped in the car to head home.

DH gave me a bit of a break in the evening while he fed Micah dinner. We played for a while longer after dinner and before bed. Once again, Micah went to sleep quickly and easily. We, of course, fell asleep on the couch again.

Micah woke up right on time again this morning. We gave him some breakfast, got him dressed, and went to meet his daycare class for his first field trip! Now that they are older, they will be going on a field trip once each month. The first field trip was to a creative playspace. I've been meaning to take Micah there for quite some time, but this was our first trip. It was actually a wonderful experience! It is a series of rooms with all interactive activities. There is a fire truck and a pickup truck for the kids to drive, and a grocery store complete with carts, fake food and a cash register, a dress up room, a beauty parlor, a sandbox area, an ice cream shop, an animal room (with birds and bunnies the kids can touch!) and so much more. Micah was not so sure about the bunnies - he seemed intrigued and even tried to touch them a few times, but he was kind of shy. It amazes me...he goes NUT for every kind of dog, regardless of size, but cute little bunnies make him a bit nervous? He seemed to smile at how soft they were, but he just did not know exactly what to make of them. There are a also a number of rooms with activities...art activities, baking activities, cupcake decorating, etc. Micah decorated a tree today, and then they went into the back "music stage" room for a story hour.

Well, Micah fell in love in the music room, and he became my little "rock star." First, Micah saw a guitar. He walked over to the guitar, picked it up, and tried to play. Then, he noticed the strap and put the guitar around his neck. I think, if I had allowed it, he would STILL have the guitar around his body! He spent the next half an hour playing the guitar, and the drum set, and the piano. My little man is definitely a musician...and he has rock star hair to boot! We are definitely going to have to buy him a guitar. After several hours of fun (and a handful of tears because mommy ripped him away from his music stage and guitar), Micah headed off to daycare with his class and I came home to get some work finished. It was actually a fun morning, and I loved seeing Micah on a field trip. I have a feeling we'll return there again. DH and I were terrible parents and forgot to bring the camera. A few of the other parents took some photos - hopefully, they'll send us copies soon and we can post them for you to see our little rock star!

Tonight, I took some video of Micah eating dinner. I always swore I would never post anything that included any hint of my awful singing voice, but I just had to show you how cute Micah is. He started to sign the Itsy Bitsy Spider tonight, so I quickly grabbed the camera and tried to tape him. Naturally, he started to smile for the camera and got a bit shy. But, he did a few of the signs, and he signed more, and then he finished off the video by saying "bye bye!"



In other news, Micah has also been a bit obsessed with books lately, which is a wonderful new development. He keeps bringing me books to read to him - particularly the ladybug book, and his all-time favorite, Dr. Seuss' The Foot Book. I think I've read that book to him over a thousand times now, and I am certain I have it memorized. But, I love that HE loves the book and wants me to read to him. He has started pointing at things in the book, and I like that he picks out the books he wants to hear and comes over to me and climbs into my lap. How sweet is that?

Micah has been fixated on a few new toys (thanks to his Aunt and cousins for the hand-me-downs). He has one of those popper "lawnmowers" and he loves to push it all over the place. He also has a new cash register that he finally knows how to work. It is actually a fairly complicated toy. There are three different colored coins (yellow, orange and red), each marked a different denomination. The coins must be inserted into the corresponding color slots at the top of the register, and you have to pull the lever to drop the coins down. Then, you have to push a second lever to either send the engaged coins out the side of the register as change or into the drawer for a sale. If you want to open the drawer, you have to turn the handle on the side. Micah has consistently figured out how to insert the red coins and he knows how to push the sale and change levers. He still can get a bit frustrated when the yellow and orange coins do not fit into the red slot, but I think he'll master the process in another few days.

We finally have weaned Micah from his bottles...and from the Zantac! He is now officially Zantac-free, and he seems to be handling it just fine. Tonight I managed to videotape Micah doing the motions to the Itsy Bitsy Spider (well, some of them...after doing 3 renditions before I turned on the video, he suddenly became more interested in eating dinner and smiling for the camera, but he did finish off the recording by saying "bye bye!").

By the way, did any of you watch the Jamie Oliver Food Revolution special? It was pretty horrifying to see what all these people were eating there, and even worse to see how resistant they were to serving good food to the children. It got me questioning whether I'm serving Micah enough good foods. Micah gets a good assortment of healthy and organic fruits and vegetables. We try to only give him whole grain breads, but we do serve him some processed foods (crackers, luncheon meats, fish sticks, chicken nuggets, soy nuggets, veggie burgers). We do give him fresh-made food most of the time (and I make his hamburgers and turkey burgers from organic meats and veggies). I should be better about cooking full dinners - making more meals from chicken or beef, or even making and freezing my own chicken nuggets from scratch, or the fish sticks. I guess I am going to try and get motivated to make more good food for Micah - and try to only use frozen food that I make from scratch instead of the occasional pre-packaged (albeit organic) foods.

One last note...I'm officially in the third trimester! I can't believe how fast this pregnancy is flying. I'm now 27 weeks pregnant, and hoping this last trimester goes well for us. I have to go get my gestational diabetes test done on Friday (I'm SOOO not looking forward to that). I also have another progesterone shot on Monday, an OB appointment next week, and a cervical length check and growth scan. Not to mention that it is Passover next week, so we have family coming in to celebrate. I'm still dealing with contractions and nausea, but hoping that we get good news at our next scan. Twoey is definitely getting bigger and stronger - she has been kicking and bouncing and rolling all over the place. I got a few belly shots this week - unfortunately, they are pretty dark.





Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spoke too soon....

After Micah's fussiness last night, I hastily declared Micah "asleep for the night" at 9:15. Apparently, I spoke too soon. DH & I were catching up on the DVR, reviewing the architectural plans and discussing child care challenges last night. Right around 2:30, I started to get a bit sleepy. I turned to DH and said "I think I'm going to call it a night after we finish watching this show." About 3 minutes later, we heard this LOUD wailing over the monitor - yup, Micah woke up screaming. We gave him a minute to see if he would roll over and fall back to sleep, but no such luck. DH went upstairs and spent about 20 minutes cuddling with Micah and trying to coax him back to sleep. We tried a little more Tylenol, but Micah just needed to come down and cuddle with his Mommy.

We sat with him for a while longer, and around 3:15 we tried to put him back in the crib so we could go to sleep. No such luck! Micah started screaming his head off again, so we brought him back out of the crib and into bed with us. For another hour, that boy was going! He did not want to nap or cuddle, he wanted to play. Poor DH - I could barely stay awake, and someone needed to make sure Micah did not dive off of the bed. Around 4:15, DH tried to put him in the crib one last time. Micah definitely cried and fussed, but he eventually fell asleep (I think, perhaps, after I dozed off). He slept until 10:00 this morning. All I can say is...I'm glad the grumpy baby had daycare today! I hope tonight gets easier. I'm sure the poor little guy didn't feel well from the vaccinations...and his erupting teeth.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Whirlwind, 15 month checkup and Twoey

What a crazy day we had today! Micah is not quite back on schedule yet since we changed to daylight savings time. Last night, he was exhausted but would not go to bed before 9:15. He was falling asleep, so we took him upstairs at 8 to give him a bath and put him to bed. When we put him in his crib, he started to wail. We gave him a while to calm down, but the poor thing worked himself up into a state of absolute hysteria. He just wanted more time to cuddle with Mommy. We ended up bringing him downstairs to cuddle and relax a bit. After another 40 minutes, Daddy was able to take him upstairs and put him to sleep. Not surprisingly, he slept until 9 am this morning.

Because Micah slept in, we were in a bit of a rush. We fed Micah a scrambled egg, cereal and a banana for breakfast. I quickly got him dressed and at 9:30, we raced off to class. Micah danced, played an instrument, and thoroughly enjoyed himself. By the end of class, he was clearly exhausted. We drove back home, and Micah immediately went down for his nap. I made a quick business conference call (it was insane here - the phone would not stop ringing, the cleaning lady showed up, the landscaper who was working on removing our broken trees/fallen fence damaged by the blizzards arrived to start working, and the architect showed up early for our meeting - I can multitask with the best, but this was a bit much!).

Our meeting with the architect was...frustrating. We were not pleased with some of the proposals, and any time we raised a concern, he kept telling us to "take a chill." For me, that phrase was like waving a red flag in front of a bull. After a frustrating 2 hour meeting, we realized we were late for our doctor's appointment with Micah. While trying to graciously throw out our architect, DH worked on waking Micah up from his nap while I quickly packed up a lunch for him. We raced off to our appointment and arrived about 10 or 15 minutes late...oops.

Micah was such a good boy at his 15 month checkup! The doctor was lovely (and he made sure to flirt with her). She kept telling us how sweet Micah is, and he showed off his walking and eating skills. She asked us about his language development and we discussed the kind of foods he eats (and doesn't eat). She checked out his teeth (she admired his 6 teeth and told us it looks like there are another 2-6 on the way). We talked about the vaccinations and his sleep habits, and she told us Micah is doing very well. He weighed in at 20 lbs 9 ozs (3-5%) and he was 31 3/4 inches tall (50-75%). Micah got three vaccinations today - MMR, chicken pox and Hepatitis A. His first shot was in his left thigh - he looked a bit perturbed when the nurse stuck him, but he did not cry at all. When the nurse stuck him for the 2nd shot in his left arm, he again looked a bit surprised and maybe mildly annoyed, but he did not cry at all. The third and final shot was in his right arm. The nurse warned me that the shot would likely sting. She stuck him again, and once again, he seemed a bit irritated at her. When she actually started to push in the vaccine, he started to scream. He was MISERABLE, and I felt awful for him. It took us a bit to get him to calm back down again - actually, I bribed him with a carrot/apple crusher, and that seemed to soothe him.

We arrived back home just in time for the babysitter to arrive! Today, Micah's babysitter from last summer was home from college for Spring Break, and she agreed to come by to watch Micah while we went for an ultrasound. We also discussed re-hiring her for this summer, and she agreed! We are so excited that in May she will be working with us again on Tuesdays and Thursdays (and we may decide to add more days than that later). After catching up a bit, DH & I headed out for our ultrasound.

Today's ultrasound was just a cervical length check. Last visit, my cervix measurements ranged from 3.3 - 3.7, with most of the measurements in the 3.5 or 3.6 range. Today, the measurements ranged from 3.0-3.3. In pregnancy, they like to see the cervix long and closed, and do not want to see the cervix drop below 3.0 cms. Once you fall below 3.0, you are in the "danger" zone. Naturally, when I saw that the measurement had dropped down to 3.0, I was a bit concerned. We met with the doctor to discuss the changes and my continued contractions. At this point, he is not ready to aggressively work to stop the contractions. He is hoping the shots will help a bit (although I've seen no evidence of that so far), but until my cervix falls below 3.0, he does not feel they are a cause for concern. My fibroids also grew a bit - he thinks the contractions and the size of the fibroids are related, and the fibroids may be why the shots do not seem to be reducing the contractions. For now, I am still not officially on bedrest, and he feels I am doing "great" for 26 weeks pregnant. He seems confident we will be able to keep Twoey in place long enough to finish baking...my concern is about how miserable things might get for me. I know...selfish. I just know that dealing with all those contractions and trips to labor and delivery and the medications and the bedrest was MISERABLE last time - it was a terrible 8 weeks. I'm dreading doing that all over again. I think the anticipation makes it worse - I know what to expect now. I really hope we can be more proactive and reduce the bedrest time. I wish I could say I left that appointment in good spirits...but I'm actually kind of dreading my next appointments and feel like bedrest is looming ahead. For now, I am going to try and enjoy what time I have left on my feet, and try to "take it easy" as much as I can.

After our appointment, we came back home. We found Micah and the babysitter playing outside and finishing up a walk. They had a wonderful time together! We came inside, said our goodbyes for now, and went back to playing. We fed Micah chicken nuggets for dinner. At first, he refused to even try it, but he eventually ate 2 of them and 1/2 a peanut butter sandwich. We decided it was a successful meal! DH headed off to a meeting, and Micah and I stayed behind to play before bedtime. He had been awake without a second nap since 1:00, so by 7:30 Micah was pretty cranky and grumpy. I picked him up and took him upstairs to change him into his pajamas. We cuddled for a bit, and right at 8:00, I put him to bed. For the second night in a row, Micah became hysterical - he did NOT like leaving the comfort of Mommy's arms for that crib. He screamed for a while, and I eventually gave up and went and got him. He had a rough day - no sleep, vaccinations, etc. We came back downstairs and curled up on the couch together, Micah laying across me and sucking his thumb.

I had the television on with American Idol in the background. Micah LOVES American Idol. He was smiling at the songs, swaying back and forth to the music, and he even clapped a few times. When Casey came on, Micah sat right up and hopped off the couch. He reached into his basket and grabbed his kazoo and started to play along with Casey. He then started to mimic Casey's guitar playing, and Micah did his own version of an "air guitar" - he strummed his belly! He was so cute dancing, playing the belly guitar and the kazoo, and clapping. Finally, at 9:15 I thought Micah was completely exhausted, so I took him upstairs and tried once again to put him to bed. I gave him a hug, told him night night and gently put him in the crib. I held his hand for a few minutes and kissed his forehead. I slowly pulled away and left. He fussed for a few minutes, but finally crashed for the night. I hope this grumpiness is just teething and that it will pass soon!

What a day...I can't believe it is only Tuesday.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

I Saw Micah Kissing....

Sometimes, there are moments that I could just scoop Micah up into my arms and squeeze him tightly and kiss him forever because I cannot get over how adorable he is - the simplest things just make my heart swell. I just want to take those moments and bask in them forever, but it seems they have a way of passing in a heartbeat. We had one of those moments last night.

I was sitting on the couch with DH and Micah was busy playing. I got up to walk into the kitchen to grab something to eat, and all of the sudden, I heard this noise. It kind of sounded like kissing, but I thought it could have been sucking, too. I walked back to the living room, peeked around the corner, and there was Micah, his hands firmly grasping his Elmo doll and holding it nose-to-nose in front of his face, kissing Elmo squarely on his mouth. I just about died - it has to be one of the cutest things I've ever seen! I asked Micah if he was giving Elmo kisses, and he smiled at me before he resumed kissing and hugging Elmo. Micah spent the better part of the next 20 minutes kissing Elmo. It's official...Micah is in love with Elmo, and I can't say I heard Elmo complaining.

In other news, Micah is 15 months old today!! I can't imagine where the time has gone. Micah is running now, not just walking. He climbs into everything (and is especially fond of standing in tupperware containers). I wish I could grab a picture of that, but he just doesn't sit still long enough. He loves to play his kazoo, and he now has 6 teeth all broken through (and it looks like another 2-4 on the way). He recently discovered his long eyelashes - sometimes he just sits there and yanks on them. It makes me laugh - I can't imagine that it doesn't drive him nuts.

Micah has been getting picky about eating the last week or so - I'm not sure if it is a phase or because of the teething. Some days, we can barely get him to eat anything at all, and other days he'll eat a ton of food. We've also noticed that he is refusing to eat several "reliable" favorites - like bananas. He will still eat the freeze dried bananas, so it may just be a texture/teething thing. He still loves oranges, peaches, apple sauce, strawberries and grapes. We have been working on expanding Micah's food horizons - he now eats peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, cream cheese and jelly, and cream cheese and olives. We've been trying to give him more lunch meats/deli slices, and he seems to love fish sticks. I have not been experimenting as much as I planned with chicken (he is kind of hit or miss about eating that). We did try giving him sweet and sour meatballs, and he seemed to like it, but he has been a little less willing to eat melted cheese sandwiches and pizza this week, but cheese sticks are at the top of the list. He also loves crackers - Wheat Thins, Cheez-Its, graham crackers, etc. We still haven't tried the mashed potato croquettes or risotto cakes, but we have the ingredients ready to go.

Micah is just over 20 lbs now (still a tiny little thing) but I think he is quite tall (considering his weight) - perhaps 33 inches or more! We have our 15 month checkup on Tuesday, so I'll have the official stats then. I think he will get his MMR vaccine at this visit, and perhaps chicken pox as well (we did not give him the chicken pox vaccine last time). I have read in some places that the chicken pox vaccine is not safe to give to anyone in a household with a pregnant woman - I need to verify that before we make our decision, but if it is safe for me, we will likely give him that vaccine as well. My little guy is still only in the 12 month (or 6-12 month) size. We have several outfits in the 6-9 month size I have not completely pulled from his closet, but those are definitely starting to get a little short in the sleeves. There are a few things he can "get away" with wearing in the 12-18 month (or 18 month) size, but they are still pretty big on him. I have purchased him all 12-18 month (or 18 month) sized clothing for the summer - I think that should be the right size.

As for talking - Micah has a number of words, and he is beginning to mimic us more often now. He regularly says hi, bye, mama, dada (or dad), nuh-nuh (for the dog), night night, ball and bubble. He signs more, all done and milk, and he will say (on occasion) Elmo, Big Bird, bang, uh oh, and a few other words. He seems to understand a lot of language - he'll bring me things when I say "bring that to mommy," and he will go pick up certain toys that I mention by name. He is starting to know his body parts, but he does not always respond (sometimes he prefers to smile at me with an expression that says "Mommy, you need to learn that I do not perform on command." He knows to clap and to wave in response to those words, and he likes to play the "belly drum." He does know where his head and nose are, and I think he understands the word hand, too. He is so curious about everything - he inspects and investigates everything, and he is always trying to climb onto or into anything he can.

So, in honor of Micah's 15 months, here are some pictures:

Playing the Kazoo and clapping:


Stealing Daddy's tie...







Fun with tupperware:

And some video for good measure:

video
video

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fancy Dinner

Last night, DH and I went out on our regular Thursday night date night. For the first time in a while, I actually showered and got dressed up nicely. We just went to see a movie and grab a quick bite to eat, but it was wonderful to actually go out, just the two of us, and spend some time together. We saw The Blind Side and we both thought it was great. DH will probably kill me for saying this, but he bawled the entire way through the movie :). I was melting - the movie theatre was about 5,000 degrees, and all I could think about was how I was roasting!

As I thought about it, I'm not sure DH and I have done many "real" date nights since November. We were caught up in holidays, and then date night was suspended when my grandmother fell, and then we were in Florida for my work, and then we lost most of February because of blizzards. I was thinking back to the last date night I could really remember, and I realized I never posted my update about that dinner. So, this is a post from November, one of our better date nights ....

I haven't had much time to post lately - between my morning sickness, Micah's fever and teething, and all my work, well, I'm drowning and way behind in everything! Last Thursday night (November 5), DH & I went out for a nice dinner with friends for our "date night." My mom and dad stayed with Micah (we almost canceled because he had a fever), and off to dinner we went. The restaurant is about 40 minutes away, and it is relatively new in the area and has been receiving rave reviews. To top it all off, the chef is one of the contestants on Top Chef, so we were dying to go eat there. We ate in one of the tables in the kitchen, and we had a 6 course tasting menu. The food was DELICIOUS, and the chef was very kind to us and even came over to talk for a bit.

I was able to select a vegetarian menu. We started off with a bunch of meringues served on these ceramic spoons - it was an opening "salad" of sorts - I had a beet meringue, a lettuce with caesar dressing meringue, and an onion meringue. It was pretty fascinating! The textures and the flavors were amazing. We then had several other delicious bites of food - a sorbet, and a few other things. I have to be honest, I'm not sure I remember now what all the different bites were, but each one was delicious! These bites were just our "amuse bouche" - not even part of the 6 courses being served.

Our opening course was a soup - the vegetarian menu had this AMAZING shitake mushroom soup with a foam and just a hint of chili oil running through it. The meat-eater menu had a clam chowder. The soup couldn't have been more perfect! The second course was a goat-cheese filled ravioli with a brown butter sauce. The meat eaters had a choice between the ravioli and a duck liver dish. The duck liver was served with little toasted breads, had some pistachio nuts and a vanilla foam. The third course was a scallop dish for the meat eaters, served with forbidden rice. The vegetarian menu had the forbidden rice and some mushrooms. The forbidden rice was unbelievable! My one friend had red quinoa instead of the forbidden rice, but it was extremely salty. We did inform the chef...apparently, to apologize, he threw in an extra course! For most of our table, the extra course was quail. To be honest, I have no idea how that was prepared, but all the meat-eaters seemed to love it. I was given an assortment of vegetables - different colored cauliflower, beets, potatoes and squash and farro. It was heavenly, and so full of flavor. The fourth course... was a pork belly dish for the meat eaters. The fifth course was an eggplant dish, prepared a few different ways. Some of it was grilled, there was a sous vide eggplant, and a deconstructed eggplant parmesan, and an eggplant caponata - basically, chopped up eggplant and tomatoes. It was delicious! The meat eaters had a pork belly dish that was apparently quite decadent. For dessert, we were given a white chocolate mouse, some bitter chocolate cookies, some chocolate caramel, a cannelle of chocolate ice cream, and bitter chocolate shavings. We were given a little bonus dessert of mini ice cream sandwiches.

It was an incredible dinner, and it was so much fun to watch the chef in action in the kitchen. He even came over and spoke with us a bit! What an amazing night.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fear the Squirrel

So, here is another post from way back in October that never quite made it to publication....

Micah and I were sitting in the living room, and I decided to take him to the window to look outside. There was this cute little squirrel running around the yard, and he ended up coming right up to the window! He was looking in at us and hanging out on the window sill. I thought Micah would love getting close and touching the glass - he is so dog crazy that I was sure the love of animals would transfer to the squirrel.

All I can say is Micah did NOT like the squirrel. When he caught sight of it, he got very upset. He started crying and trying to get away and hide. I was kind of amazed to see him so fearful - it was a brand new reaction for him. I also thought it was so interesting that he differentiated betweeen dogs (which he loves) and squirrels.

So...fear the squirrel. I wonder if he'll still feel this way about squirrels this spring.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Ouch!

Today was my first P17 shot. At our last appointment, I talked to my regular doctor about the other doctor's recommendation for the shots. He said he was not sure they would help any, but he felt they could not hurt. He suggested we give them a try, at least for a few weeks. I was pretty disappointed, but agreed to do it. I was hoping he would say there was no way they would help, but no such luck! My insurance approved the shots last week, and today the home health nurse came for our first appointment.

The nurse was quite kind and patient, and we started off by filling out a bunch of forms. I talked to her about my phobia, and she seemed quite supportive and understanding. I used numbing cream before she arrived, and she said it would be no problem to inject me in the numb area. After setting everything up, I lay down on the sofa and DH held my hands (partially to be supportive, and partially for the safety of the nurse!). She talked me through the steps, wiped off the injection site, and then started sticking me. The numbing cream did its job - I really could not feel the needle going in at all. She gave me regular updates about how much longer the needle needed to be in (1/4 finished, 1/2 way there...). She stayed calm and steady, and that definitely helped. Poor DH - I might have broken a few of his fingers with all of my squeezing! I did okay - I did not yell or cry out, but I did start doing this panicky shallow breathing that got faster and louder as the shot continued. I think it made the nurse nervous and she sped up the rate of the injection. Towards the end, the shot started to sting a bit.

I'm now sitting here on a heating pad, with my rear stinging and sore. I cannot believe I have to do this for weeks on end :(. Thankfully, the nurse did not seem afraid to return next week. I hope this at least makes a difference.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Car Troubles, Daycare Woes, Renovations and Baby Update

CAR TROUBLES

This is another long update...I'm woefully behind on my blogging activities. I thought I'd start off with an update about our car situation. The good news is, our "car troubles" are not mechanical. Three years ago, DH and I both needed new cars. DH had a 17 year old car that was falling apart (and unsafe for a family) and I had a leased vehicle that was reaching the end of the agreement. We did a lot of shopping and hunting and evaluations, and we decided to buy a Prius for DH and lease another vehicle for me. We wanted to have one smaller vehicle and one bigger vehicle, but we really did not know enough about our family-to-be to decide how BIG a second vehicle we needed, especially since we suspected we had fertility treatments in our future. We decided to lease an SUV, and we got a great deal on a mid-sized SUV.

So, here we are, three years later, and my lease is ending again at the end of the month. We have one child and one on the way, and we are fairly certain that our family will be "complete" once Twoey arrives. DH and I are back to car-shopping, but we do not seem to be on the same page this time. I tend to have a "mine" v. "yours" mentality about cars. I have a car and DH has a car, and we each primarily drive our own cars. When we go out as a family, we either take the car that makes the most sense, or we take the car of the person who will be driving. The bigger more comfortable car should be the one we use for family vacations. DH, however, has a different approach. He thinks the smaller more fuel efficient car (his) should be the primary car that we drive, and the bigger more comfortable car (mine) should only be driven when absolutely necessary. DH tends to bike and walk most places, and he has this knack for blocking my car into the driveway. As a result, I'm always the one driving his car, and I hardly ever get to drive my car. My car is 3 years old, and it has fewer than 12,000 miles on it!

Obviously, I want to get a car that I enjoy and DRIVE it. DH thinks we should get a minivan that mostly sits in the driveway and I should just drive his car unless he is using it (which would mean that sometimes I'd get stuck taking a big huge minivan into the city for meetings - I cringe when I envision trying to maneuver the minivan in a downtown garage). We've been looking at SUVs with a third row, minivans, and the same size SUV I am driving now. Most of the time, we do not need the space in a minivan. It would be nice if we could take my parents or friends out to dinner along with the kids in one car, or to have everyone together in one car for a vacation, or to possibly bring a babysitter with us on vacation. We will now be traveling with a double stroller, 2 pack-n-plays, and an assortment of other junk. We should be able to fit all of that in an SUV (without additional passengers). With all of that in mind, if we get the minivan, we will buy it, but if we get an SUV, we will likely lease again because we *may* want to get a minivan next time around.

Test driving is fun! My parents have helped out by babysitting Micah. On Sunday, we checked out three dealerships. We quickly stopped by the Volvo dealership to check out the Volvo XC90. We thought it was expensive, with limited features, and the third row would be impossible to access with two car seats strapped in the middle row. We decided to skip the test drive and we moved on to Honda. At Honda, we looked at the Pilot and the Odyssey. The Pilot (a 3 row SUV) was roomier than I expected. It would be possible to strap two car seats side-by-side in the middle row and leave the end seat open for a person to sit and access to the third row (although I am worried about the wisdom of putting the two kids so close together in the car - I have visions of Micah throwing his sippy cup at Twoey's head, or reaching over and pinching her because he thinks it is funny). There are also latches in the back row, so it is safe to place a car seat in the third row if needed. The middle row slides forward and backward, and there was a fair amount of leg room for both the middle and third rows. Our biggest concern was that with the third row up, there was hardly any trunk space - we could never go on a trip with all three rows in use and fit in luggage, too. BUT, with the third seat flat, there was an amazing amount of trunk space. After examining the car, we took it for a test drive. The steering is power-assist and it feels a bit heavy. The car does feel much larger than I am accustomed to driving, but it was easy to park. I thought it was a bit sluggish on acceleration and definitely on the noisy side. All-in-all, it was better than I anticipated, but I'm still not sure that it is a car I want to be driving.

We then took a look at the Odyssey. I'm extremely hesitant about the concept of having a minivan right now, but I can absolutely see the benefits. The side door slides open and closed, and the seats were big, roomy and comfortable. The Odyssey only has room for two car seats in the middle row, and it is unlikely we would be able to fit a third person in between the car seats in the "mini" seat. If we leave the middle seat out, there is easy access to the third row, and easily room for 2-3 adults to sit in that third row. There are also latches for a third car seat in the rear row. Even with all three rows up and full, there is plenty of trunk space. The Odyssey was less noisy to drive than the Pilot, but felt like a huge boat to me and it was a bit difficult to park. The rear view mirror also seemed a bit small for the vehicle. We loved all the amenities, and I think it even handled a little better than the Pilot, but it, too, was a bit sluggish on acceleration.

Our next stop was at Toyota. Yes, I know a lot of people are worried about Toyota right now, but I'm not. I believe they are great and safe vehicles. As for the acceleration problem - well, I drove a 1984 Chevy Cavalier and it used to take off and accelerate without warning all the time, too. Not just my vehicle, but everyone I knew with the car. I feel like these issues have been going on in cars forever, and with the attention perhaps all vehicles will become safer. Chevy never admitted or fixed the problem, and I have to say I was relieved when my car was finally totaled in an accident. Okay - stepping off my soap box now :). We checked out the Highlander (SUV) and the Sienna (minivan). The Highlander handles nicely, but I did not think it offered anything better than my current vehicle. The third row was largely useless - it was small, it would be impossible to access with two car seats installed, and it left no trunk space when the seat was up. We quickly decided that the Highlander was not likely the right car for us. We then turned to the Sienna. It has some amazing amenities, and really had most of the same benefits as the Odyssey. The seats in the Odyssey looked more plush and comfortable than the Sienna. We LOVED the backup camera and the crash avoidance system, and it was loaded with all kinds of technology. It felt much smaller than the Odyssey when we were driving it, we thought the acceleration was a bit better, and the rear view mirror was a significant improvement over the Odyssey. There was also a storage pocket for the middle seat in the second row. Consequently, we decided that IF we get a minivan, we will likely get the Sienna over the Odyssey.

Last night was our date night, and before dinner, we went to test drive the Acura MDX. It is the luxury version of the Honda Pilot, but definitely smaller. We really liked the MDX - it handled well, it was loaded with amenities, and it was comfortable and spacious. We do think that, like all the other three row SUVs we have been trying, with two car seats installed, the third row is essentially rendered useless. In a pinch, we could pull out a car seat or try moving them next to one another to utilize the third row, but we would rarely actually do that. The MDX has more trunk space (with the third row flat) than my current vehicle, and in theory we could utilize the third row when we need it.

We have a few other cars left to test drive. We are going to look at my current car, the hybrid version of my current car, and perhaps we'll go look at the Mazda as well. Fuel efficiency is also key to DH, and pretty much all the cars we have looked at thus far are far less fuel efficient than my current vehicle. So many decisions to make, and so little time! I really wish I knew what to do about the minivan v. SUV. If any of you out there have two kids and would like to give some advice/experiences, I'd love to hear it!

DAYCARE WOES

As you know, we've been struggling with how to handle child care with two children. Right now, Micah is in daycare three days each week. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we try to balance the time between work and Micah. Most of the time, Micah wins that battle and very little work is accomplished (more so for me than for DH, but his work schedule is also affected). This has been a challenge trying to work full-time - we juggle our meetings, try to multi-task, we rely on my father and a babysitter to fill in hours for us on occasion, and we shift a significant amount of work to the evening hours. Next year, we planned to continue Micah in daycare three days a week, and he will also begin nursery school two mornings a week. I'm not sure how much additional time nursery school will give us for work - perhaps a few hours each on Tuesdays and Thursdays.

When we learned we were expecting a second baby, this threw a major wrench into our status quo. We decided to place Twoey on the wait list for the same daycare where we have Micah, and we began to discuss whether a nanny would make sense. Daycare here is EXTREMELY expensive. Full-time daycare for two children could easily cost more than most people make in a year, and is really not a reasonable option for us. Part-time daycare for two children would be a little more than half the cost of full-time, but DH is concerned about whether we can really sustain this schedule with our work (and with two kids). Our biggest problem is that we cannot figure out if we can find a nanny until we are much closer to a start date, but, unfortunately, we have to start making our choices now. Micah's daycare requires us to commit to next year now. We have to sign an enrollment agreement for Micah by the end of this month, and once we sign that enrollment agreement, we are committed to next year. If we cancel any time from April through September 30, we forfeit our deposit (which is equal to a full month of daycare). If we cancel AFTER September 30, we can get our deposit back, but we must give 30 days written notice and pay for that final month (so we could give notice on October 1 and withdraw Micah from daycare as of November 1).

To add to our worry, we just got a call this week that Twoey has been accepted to daycare...as of September 1. We have to turn in our deposit and enrollment agreement for her as of March 31 (before she is even born!) to secure her spot. If I am not ready to send her to daycare in September, I have to pay to hold on to her spot (we were hoping to keep her out of daycare until January). So, we would be paying for four full months of daycare that we may not even use. If we cancel and pull them both out of daycare before September, it will cost us two deposits (the same as one month of daycare for two children).

While we are struggling with our decision about daycare, we are now revisiting the idea of a nanny (perhaps full-time). That would free up more hours for meetings and work, and I could also be more flexible with my down time - if I unexpectedly have a block of hours free on a Wednesday, I could choose to spend that time with one (or both) of the kids. My biggest fear is that we will pull Micah (and Twoey) out of daycare in favor of a nanny, but then we will not find a nanny situation that works for us and we will be...well, screwed!

When we checked into nannies the last time, we were concerned about the cost. A full-time nanny for one is significantly more than full-time daycare for one. However, a full-time nanny for two is about the same cost as a full-time nanny for one. There is a WIDE range of nanny rates. Nannies obtained through an agency are extremely well-qualified, but definitely out of our price range. Most of the other nannies in the area are quite expensive, but may be within the outer range of our budget. It is possible to find nannies who are less expensive, but many of them do not speak English well or may not be legal immigrants. We would love to find someone who is legal, speaks English well, and is wonderful with children. Even more, we would love to find someone who will work for a little less money than the going rate in our area. We would be willing to take fewer hours (maybe only 35) instead of the 45-50 most full-time nannies expect.

We have also considered getting an au pair. Au pairs are MUCH less expensive than in-home nannies, but they are young (usually 18 or 19) and they would have to live in the house with us. We are a bit uncomfortable with the idea of having a stranger live in our house with us, especially a teenage girl. Because of our living situation and restrictions on the age of the children au pairs are permitted to care for, we would likely not be able to get an au pair until January. I've heard a lot of drama stories about au pairs and the trouble they get into here in America and dating, and I'm just not sure I'm ready to be responsible for a teenager!

So...once again, we're stressed about child care. Feel free to chime in and give opinions and suggestions!

RENOVATIONS

We have signed up with an architect and are now working on final plans to renovate our house. We are hoping to add a bedroom and an office upstairs, an office, a new living room and a new family room downstairs, and expand our basement. If all goes as planned, we hope to break ground in May and if everything is under cover, we *may* be able to move back to the house in September. The renovations will still be ongoing in the addition, but the work would be complete on the existing part of the house. I'm nervous about moving in May again, and we will have to move back only 4 or 5 months later with a newborn. What a mess!

TWOEY

This week, we had an appointment with the midwife and with the maternal fetal medicine specialist. I am 24 weeks pregnant now, and Twoey is doing great! She is growing right on target, and I'm hanging in there. I'm still dealing with morning sickness, and my weight is not increasing, but things are progressing well. My contractions have been a little better the past two weeks, and my cervix seems to be holding somewhat steady. It was 3.5-3.7 at 22 weeks, and it was in the 3.3-3.5 range at my last ultrasound.

We met with my primary doctor, and he would like to continue doing the cervical length checks every two weeks. He also thought that getting the P17 shots might not be a bad idea. He said he could not promise they would help, but they certainly couldn't hurt. My insurance approved the shots and I am just waiting now for my first appointment. I'm extremely nervous - I'm nervous about the shots, I'm nervous about the pain, and I'm nervous about the side effects. I just wish I believed the shots would actually help.

So, here are the pictures we got from the ultrasound. The tech took most of the pictures in 3D, and we finally got a few good looks at her.

Flashing us a grin:

Some more face shots:





Sucking her thumb:

Showing her "girl" parts:

MICAH

Last, but certainly not least, is my update on Micah!! I'm amazed every day by how much he is growing and developing. He loves to play and laugh, and he just does such silly things all the time. He is not only walking everywhere, but he RUNS now, too. He is into everything, and just constantly busy. He spends most of his days trying to destroy the tupperware cabinet - walking through our house these days is like navigating a tupperware obstacle course.

I have been working on trying to break out of our food rut and diversifying Micah's meal options. Over the past few weeks, Micah has tried a peanut butter and jelly sandwich (he LOVES peanut butter), a cream cheese and jelly sandwich, a cream cheese and olive sandwich, fish sticks, a veggie hotdog, and cold cuts (turkey, chicken, bologna and corned beef). We have purchased arborio rice to make risotto (and then form them into cakes) and powdered mashed potatoes so we can make mashed potato cakes (I'll mix in some veggies and cheese). We bought chicken fingers and some chicken tenders and fish so we can make more diverse dinner options for Micah. I have the ingredients for sweet and sour meatballs, and I plan to make that for him soon. We have tons of organic fruit leather for snacks, too. So far, he seems to be loving everything. I have even been trying to "spice" up some of our regular breakfasts. This week, I made apple blueberry cinnamon pancakes for Micah.

Apple Blueberry Cinnamon Pancakes:
Use a regular pancake mix - follow the instructions for mixing pancakes
Add 1/2 cup applesauce
Add 1/2 cup blueberries (can use fresh, frozen or dried)
Add 2 tsps cinnamon (or more for bigger batches)
Add 1 tsp vanilla
Mix and pour your pancakes on the griddle for cooking!

These were a big hit - DH loved them, too. We still serve the pancakes for Micah with yogurt and pureed fruit on top instead of syrup or honey, but maple syrup or honey would work great on top of these, too.

Last week, I met up with an old friend from high school, who happened to be in town with her new baby. We ended up shopping at the mall, and I went on my second shopping spree for baby clothing since Micah was born! I bought him a bunch of clothes on sale for the summer. The Children's Place was running a HUGE sale - I got several shorts for about $4.80 each. I also bought him several things at Gymboree and there was a new store out of South Africa and I got him this adorable little track suit.

So...that is my update! Thanks for hanging in there.