Sunday, December 30, 2012

Golden Birthday

I officially finally celebrated my golden birthday... 29 on the 29th! I have been excited about this birthday for as long as I can remember.... for some reason, it's always been special to me.

I got the best present a working mother of 2 children under the age of 27 months could ever ask for, a night out with just my husband at a hotel in downtown Charleston, with the opportunity to sleep in the next day!! Eric and I were just talking about how much we would just love the chance to sleep in once in awhile. It's not even the needing a babysitter at night for us to go out and enjoy time together, the worst part is the 5am wake up call from our littlest alarm clock. If we could only talk someone into babysitting at 5am, then we could truly enjoy an evening out. So, this came at a perfect time. My wonderful mother booked us a hotel room for downtown, and was willing to babysit all night and all morning too!

We got to our hotel on my actual birthday around 1:30pm, went to get some lunch, then were able to check in early to our room. So what do you think we did? Napped! It was a glorious 2 hour nap. We woke up feeling refreshed and ready for a big ol' night out on the town.

However, we are in such a pattern of eating early and going to bed early from our daily routine at home, we ended up eating dinner by 6pm. Yes, on our date night. It was quite humorous. Eric had originally got reservations at a surprise resturaunt for 7pm. I told him that was way too late, I'd rather eat earlier, so he changed it to 6pm. We got to Rue de Jean (we'd never eaten there before, and let me tell you, it's another wonderful downtown resturaunt!) at 5:45ish, and they had our table available. So, we sat down, ordered a few drinks and ordered our food too. Little did we know how quick their service would be... we had our meals before 6pm! It was funny, and we got a good laugh about how much times have changed.

We then went to get a few drinks at a bar before heading back to the hotel, and we were asleep by 10. Yes, party animals. We got to sleep in until about 8:30am, which was amazing. We had a nice breakfast out, and were home to our babies by around noon.

Thanks again mom for giving Eric and I a break... a much-needed one.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Aiden's Eight Months Old

So, another month has gone by and Aiden is just getting happier and happier. He wakes up smiling, goes to bed smiling, and will smile for just about anything and anyone in between. He still loves being outside more than anything, and thankfully, we've had quite a warm "winter" this year so he's been able to be out more than normal. This month, he had his first trip to Ohio and got lots of love and cuddling from family, which was great to see.

What he's up to...
- He's smiling and laughing all the time. Especially with daddy.
- He claps a lot lately, and it's so adorable. He seems so proud of himself when he's doing it.
- He still isn't crawling, but he's seeming more and more interested... and a little less ticked off when he's on his stomach these days...
- He loves to feed himself, his favorite food are Gerber Crunchies, any flavor, but it's about all he can have because he still has no teeth!
- Ever since sitting up has become his favorite thing, playing with toys has become a favorite, too. He loves blocks (putting them in his mouth of course), and the toy remote is his all-time favorite. Although, if he could have the real remote, he'd be in heaven.

This month went by so quickly with traveling and preparing for Christmas, but we can't help but realize how much our little man is growing up! I look back to posts about Alli as she was growing month by month, and realize how much we wanted her to grow and do and learn and explore, and as much as I want that for Aiden too, I can't help but want to hold on to these baby snuggles as long as I can.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Sandy Hook Shootings and Holding Your Kids a Little Tighter

On December 14, 2012, 20 year old Adam Lanza fatally shot twenty children and six adult staff members at Sandy Hook Elementary School in the town of Newtown, Connecticut. Before driving to the school, Lanza had shot and killed his mother. After killing students and staff members, Lanza committed suicide by shooting himself as first responders arrived. The masscare was the second-deadliest school shooting in United States history, after the 2007 Virginia Tech Massacre.

No mass shooting has every effected me quite like this one did. These were children. I know that in some sense, all shooting victims may be someones children, but, these were innocent 6-7 year old's that were just spending their day at school. After watching the news religiously that day and evening of the shooting, I couldn't help but hold Aiden and Allison extra tight that night. It's truly events like this that can make you realize how precious life truly is. How quickly it can be taken away. So, as they both went to bed that night, we held them both a little longer, gave them both extra hugs and kisses, and held each other a little tighter as well.

The morning came around a little too early, around 5:30am... Alli was crying out for us. Instead of being frustrated, tired, annoyed, etc... I ran to her. She gave me the biggest hug, and I proceeded to try and tell her it wasn't quite time to wake up yet. She wasn't having it, and wouldn't let go. I then did something we haven't yet done, but we hope to have a tradition every Sunday morning. I brought her down to our bed, and she cuddled up with us, and fell asleep. For another hour and a half! I never thought that would happen... but I couldn't have been more comfortable, happy, or at peace. (I had also gotten up around 6am to breastfeed Aiden and then put him straight back to sleep, so I had my share of both my babies, and truly couldn't have been happier to get up and do it.)

I feel like I always need to keep this is mind whenever we wake up with them in the middle of the night or at the crack of dawn, whether they are having a bad dream, hungry, etc... just being so appreciative of life and how fast they grow up. I will never get enough of the cuddling... I hope they don't grow out of that anytime soon.

Aiden's 1st Trip to Ohio... our first long trip with two babies...

This is an extremely late blog entry, and I appologize. We have been super busy the last few months, and are now trying to catch up with all that has gone on in our lives.

For Thanksgiving this year, we took the first long trip back to Ohio with two babies in tow. We debated over and over about when to leave and how we should go about making this trip. We finally decided that we'd take a quick nap, throw the babes in the car around 1am, and hit the road. Our thought was that Alli would fall right back to sleep and Aiden... eh, we weren't too sure about what he'd do, but we were hoping for the best. So, the night came around and we got the car packed up and threw the kiddos in... and off we went. To our surprise, Alli stayed awake. The entire drive. She maybe slept 30 minutes. Aiden fell right back asleep and was great for most of the trip. He had his moments here and there... but overall, he was great. Alli on the other hand, was a train wreck. Meltdown after meltdown. We were just exhausted.

We got home, and thankfully had plenty of hands to help take care of them while we got some rest. We had a great time visiting all of the Findlay family, and Aiden got to meet his great-grandparents and his grandpa Ron for the first time. It was incredible to see them all with him, he was wonderful for everyone. He sure loves to be held and cuddled... a lot more than Alli ever did. After a few days, spending the holiday with the Woggy Fam, and having a belated 2nd b-day for Alli-Ru.. we got an amazing visit from my best friend Jamie and her sweet boys. I got to meet her baby Brennan, and see how big Owen has gotten. I had such a great time seeing them... and only wish we were closer all the time. After that, we headed down to Cinci to see some of Eric's fam. Alli & Aiden both got to meet their Great Uncle Hank, and then we went to Tatsy & Pops' house, where they got to see their cousins Max & Charlie... and the Cinci family as well. We had a great trip home... with minimal sleepless nights (every once in awhile there would be a rude awakening through the night, but, for the most part, they did great!), and we made it out of Ohio without any sicknesses.

On our drive home, that was a different story. We managed the drive home with very few stops, and by the time we got to SC, we thought we were in for smooth sailing. However, Alli was just kind of out of sorts. She wanted to cuddle in the car, so, illegally, I did it. She then proceeded to vomit all over me. I'm talking all over her, all over me, all over everything. Of course, Aiden was fast asleep. So we proceeded to pull over on the side of I-26, where I stripped, stripped Alli, and of course, Aiden woke right up and was screaming bloody murder. What a nightmare, the whole 30 minutes left to go home was just a wreck. But, we eventually made it... and we were so thankful.

All About Aiden

Aiden is almost 8 months old, and he's getting so big! He loves to sit up and reach and play with toys, eats 3 full baby food meals a day, still can down bottles like a champ, and has been consistently sleeping the same hours as his big sister (7pm-6am). Still no teeth, which is just shocking to us as Alli had so many by this time. But, as we soon realized after having Aiden, all babies are different and I know he will do things on his own time. It is obvious that he is the baby of the family, and he knows it.

A few weeks ago, I took Aiden to have pictures taken all by himself. I have never known what it's like to have a true sibling growing up, living with me all the time (no disrespect to my step & half bro's, love you guys!), but I really had the spotlight all on me most times. So, to say I feel bad for Aiden that most of his pictures have been with big sis stealing the spotlight would be an understatement. So, off we went to get pictures of just him. And oh goodness, I think especially when he's all by himself, I realize how handsome he truly is and how many hearts he's going to break. Especially mine when he leaves me someday...

Thursday, December 13, 2012

I should have known…

So I might have been just a tad quick to compare my daughter’s recent behavioral transgressions to those of a bipolar schizophrenic.  She’s still smack dab in the middle of the “Terrible Twos” (given that she started this phase when she was about 18 months old), but Mommy B and I made a discovery last night that has put everything in perspective.

Three words: TWO YEAR MOLARS

Not just one, or even two… no, in true Alli fashion, all four molars are making their presence felt in her tiny mouth as you read this. This explains so much of what’s been going on recently – and I literally gasped when I made the discovery last night. But first, time for a flashback…

When Alli got her first tooth (at 5½ months old), we were a little surprised at how early it came in. But a week or so later, her next one came in also. Then a couple weeks passed and she was up to four. The next eight came in like gang busters, one right after another. She literally went from four teeth to eight in the matter of about 3 weeks. We could always tell she was getting more teeth because she became irritable, would get a snotty nose, a little more drool and softer “deposits” in her diaper. These are all natural side-effects of teething, which I didn’t know until my RN of a wife told me so. Good thing too, because I was starting to worry something else was wrong with her. And just like clockwork, just as Mommy B and I were about to hit our breaking point, out popped a tooth (or two). We’d both look at each other and feel awful for losing patience with her when all along she was just in pain from a tooth (or four) burrowing their way to the surface of her tender gums. My sweet little girl would turn into an absolute basket case for a day or two, then the pain would pass and she’d be back to normal.

Alli basically had the majority of her baby teeth completely in before her first birthday (if I recall properly). This has turned out to be a double-edged sword. On one hand, she’s been able to eat solid foods for as long as I can remember – which has been a good thing for the bottomless pit that she is. On the other hand, it’s caused Mommy B and I to forget what teething was like. After all, it’s been over a year or so since she’s gotten any new ones in. We knew the two year molars would be arriving any day, but when they didn’t come early like the rest of her teeth, we kind of forgot about them. And since Aiden hasn’t gotten any yet, it was the old “out of sight, out of mind” adage. Mr. No Teeth, meet Ms. Lots of Teeth.

So there we were, standing in the bathroom last night brushing her teeth – which Alli usually does on her own these days. She handed me her toothbrush and I decided to give them a once-over just in case she missed a spot. She opened her mouth and as I was leaning over her to give her teeth a swish, I saw the points of her bottom-right molar poking through her gums. I literally gasped, put my hand over my mouth and looked directly at Mommy B. In an instant, she knew what I had discovered. I grabbed Aiden from her and she took Alli into the bedroom for a closer look. She began feeling around in her mouth only to discover that both her top molars had already broken through and were about a quarter of the way in already. Both bottom molars are just under the surface and will be breaking the rest of the way through any day now.

Holy cow, girl! No wonder she was such a brat a couple days ago… it coincided precisely with when her top teeth were probably bursting through her gums – and we had no idea. Not to mention that she’s had a really snotty nose and a pretty productive cough lately. We just thought this was a sign of the changing weather patterns this time of year. Everyone gets a runny nose and a little cough when the weather changes, right? Yeah well not everyone has 4 molars coming in at the same time.

She’s been acting better the last couple of days, and go figure… the worst part is over now! I’m rather surprised she never mentioned anything about her mouth hurting, since she tells us about every little scrape or scratch she gets over the course of her day. She’s such a sweet girl normally, and to think that we were going to have to deal with her attitude for the next year or better (everyone says the Terrible Threes are worse!) was too much for Mommy B and I to bear. But alas, there is clarity in the wake of chaos. I should have known…

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

I live with a bipolar, schizophrenic little person…

Or so it feels when you have a 2-year-old in your house. No Followers, I wasn’t referring to Mommy B in the title of this post… I was referring to the walking contradiction that is my lovely daughter Alli.

As Mommy B has mentioned in previous posts, Alli is rather prone to the “Terrible Twos” meltdowns these days. But it goes beyond just your basic temper-tantrum. The whole series of events is a real mind-teaser, and it truly tests the limits of your sanity. Let me indulge you in a perfect example of what I’m talking about.

Last Saturday was the first “regular”, non-event filled weekend we’ve had at home in a few weeks. With traveling for Thanksgiving and the Reindeer Run and other various things going on, Mommy B and I were looking forward to last weekend to get the kids back into the groove. Most notably, taking Alli to gymnastics class on Saturday morning – which I’m sure she’d been missing the last couple of weeks. So Mommy B and I agreed that she would take Alli while I put Aiden down for a nap and got some stuff done around the house.

About an hour later, Mommy B pulled into the driveway with an utter look of defeat on her face. I asked, “Are you OK?” She replied by telling me how horrible Alli behaved at gymnastics class. It’s only a 30-minute class, and she spent at least 10 minutes of it face-down on the ground throwing temper tantrums. She wouldn’t listen to the teacher’s instructions, didn’t want to participate in the activity the teacher had planned and just wanted to run off and do her own thing. While I appreciate that she’s using her imagination and wanting to exercise her independence, a structured teacher-led environment isn’t the best place to do so. The other kids sat quietly and performed the stretches the teacher instructed, while Alli was having nothing to do with it. She yelled and screamed and cried for much of the time – all of which get amplified by the echoes of an empty gym. Mommy B felt totally embarrassed that it was her kid misbehaving in such an awful manner – especially since it seemed that all the other kids weren’t having any issues listening and following directions.

I tried to remind Mommy B that every kid goes through this type of thing, and every parent gets embarrassed in public with a temper-tantrum-having, bad-head-throwing, flailing-arms-and-legs-around-on-the-floor child at one point or another. Mommy B was so horrified at Alli’s behavior in those 30 minutes that she considered never taking her out in public again until she reaches age 10. I told her that sounded a bit extreme, until Alli continued this behavior for the majority of the morning and afternoon.

Everything was “No, Mommy! No!”, “Go away, Daddy!”, and the like. Any time we asked her a question, we got the negative response. “Alli, do you need to potty?” “No Daddy!” “Alli, do you want to eat some lunch?” “No Mommy!” “Alli, it’s time to go upstairs and take a nap.” “Noooooo!” While these types of back-and-forths may not sound like much – most parents know what else comes along with them: the forcing her into the bathroom so she’ll use the potty, the dragging her over to her table so she’ll eat lunch, and the kicking and screaming carrying her up the stairs to her room for nap time. All the while we’re trying to entertain and care for Aiden, even though he can sit up and somewhat entertain himself.

To make matters worse, she’s been starting to take a swing at the nearest adult when she really doesn’t want to do something. I don’t know if she picked up this bad habit from the other kids at school or if it’s just a natural response at this age – but hitting is something Mommy B and I simply will not tolerate. So each time she responded with “No, <insert parent’s name here>, no!” and a right hook to one of our thighs, it was straight to the time out chair (thanks Aunt Bacon, we’re getting quite a lot of use out of it these days). Needless to say, Alli spent quite a bit of time there that day.

But the difficult part about the whole scene is afterwards… when she comes out of time out. We tell her to say that she’s sorry (and what she’s sorry for) and to give the respective parent that she verbally abused and slightly maimed a hug. She slowly walks over to us and in the most pathetic, remorse-filled voice says “Sowwy <insert parent’s name here>,” and gives us a great big hug. It literally melts my heart every single time, and it’s damn near impossible to stay mad at her. Until 2 minutes later when the entire meltdown process starts over again…

As Followers can tell, it was quite an exhausting morning and afternoon. Then evening came around and Alli seemed to be turning the corner. The meltdowns had subsided and were becoming fewer and further in between. She actually sat and ate her dinner while I fed Aiden his baby food (which he devoured, duh!), which was rather surprising given that she hadn’t sat still all day.

Then she did something that I’ll never forget. With her bowl of applesauce in hand, she climbed up into the chair I’d been sitting in to feed Aiden and began spoon-feeding him her applesauce – completely unprovoked! Mommy B and I turned around to find her spooning little bites of applesauce into his mouth as if she’d been doing it for years. Followers should know that we’ve never taught her how to do this – never sat her on our laps and helped her feed her little brother. So not only did she figure out how to climb up into my chair on her own (without spilling her bowl or losing her spoon), but she mastered the art of feeding an infant just by casually watching us do it.

I was so impressed by the whole scene that I had to get out my phone and start recording it. Mommy B grabbed the video camera out of the closet and began filming as well – because we both quickly agreed that we may never see this act ever again, so we better have some visual proof that it happened at least once. Alli would take a bite of applesauce for herself, then give another to Aiden – putting the spoon perfectly in his mouth (not too far in that he gagged or choked, but far enough that he could get it all) and holding it there just long enough for him to get it all. Rinse, repeat. Once the applesauce was gone, we handed her a bowl of sliced carrots – which she took out one by one and placed in front of Aiden so he could grab them and put them in his mouth as well. Given that he had just downed a whole container of baby food, we had to put a stop to things so he wouldn’t explode. Afterwards Mommy B and I were able to get them both in the bath and off to bed without incident – which was a relief.

After they were both in bed and Mommy B and I came back downstairs to unwind, we both just looked at each other – completely dumbfounded at what had occurred in the last 13 hours. Alli had gone from complete psychopath to serene angel and back again so many times that we lost count. Wikipedia defines Bipolar disorder as “a mood disorder in which people experience disruptive mood swings; these encompass a frenzied state known as mania usually alternated with symptoms of depression.” Hmmm, that sounds rather familiar…

Hopefully by now Followers are picking up on my sarcasm here – I’m not saying that my daughter really is bipolar nor am I trying to diminish the harsh reality that people who truly have Bipolar disorder must face on a day-to-day basis. But any parent of a two year-old can relate to this story. The mood swings of a toddler pull you in so many directions that it’s often difficult to keep up. We try not to take it personally or let it bother us, but it can be hard. I try to remind Mommy B to have a short memory with this kind of stuff… because Alli does. You just have to roll with the punches (no pun intended) and try to keep in mind that one day they’ll grow out of it.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

The holiday season is definitely my favorite time of the year. It's somewhat hard to get in the spirit when it's 70-80 degrees outside, and Eric is putting the lights on the house in shorts and no shirt, but, I'm not complaining. I can tell my blood has thinned quite a bit already, and I'm less and less tolerant of the cold.

Anyway, this past weekend we went and got our Christmas tree, and yet again, just like last year, Scarlett is on patrol 24/7. I think she thinks that there is going to be a squirrel coming out of it at any moment. And Alli is obsessed with the lights we have hung up on the tree and across the mantel. Eric and I did our annual Target trip to fill up the stockings, where we spend $20 and have to get neat/unique/funny/etc. gifts to fill each other's stockings. And this year, I got to do Aiden's, and he got to do Alli's. I'm so excited to look in them on Christmas morning and see what's inside.

We also are going to have a lot of family down here for Christmas this year, and I couldn't be more thrilled for Alli and Aiden. (And of course, I'm happy to get to see them all, too!) I'm so glad they will get to see both Pops and Tatsy, Aunt Bacon, and Grandma Nancy for the holiday. And hopefully, this means we'll get some time away, just the two of us, too.

Oh, and I forgot to mention... my golden birthday is coming up in a few weeks too... 29 on the 29th! It truly is... the most wonderful timeeeee of the yearrrrr!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Reindeer Run

Eric's new place of employment, The MIL Corp, was one of the corporate sponsors for the Reindeer Run downtown. This 5K benefits the MUSC Children's Hospital... so it was a no brainer for us to get involved and take the kiddos to participate in their first "run" and fundraiser. We dressed them in their matching elf outfits, Eric was dressed as Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation (my all-time favorite movie!), and we had a great time. Alli only had a few mini-meltdowns, but otherwise was great for the whole walk. Aiden was of course a gem, being that he was outside. The kid could live outside, I swear.

We had a great time for a great cause.