Wednesday, February 29, 2012

That Awkward Moment

Since finding out about my grandma being in the hospital on Sunday, I've been pretty emotional.  I'm a bit of a crier to start with and this turn of events has not helped.  I've been focusing on working, taking care of James and Adam, and going about my everyday life, which has helped me keep my emotions in check.  But this morning things came to a head.
I had to take Albert and Mac to the vet.  Taking both boys at the same time seemed like such a great idea.  I thought to myself when making the appointment, "I'll just knock the visit out, it'll be GRAND!"  Cut to me, on the floor of the guest room, crawling under the bunk beds and cursing at the cat.  He was hiding from me and I was getting more and more upset.  So what did I do?
I screamed and yelled and threw things (namely the cat carrier).
Then I yelled more.
Then I cried.
Then I finally got the cat into the carrier.  I threw a towel over him and shoved him into the crate.  Take that.  Of course that was after I'd disassembled the bottom bunk and moved half of the room.  But the cat was in the crate, so close enough.
After that I was pretty proud of myself.  I pulled myself together, stopped cried, wiped my sweaty brow and walked outside where I came face to face with my neighbor.  My neighbor who probably thought there was a domestic dispute going on in my house.  I looked at him sheepishly and asked if he heard me screaming.  He said no, he just heard the cat, so I hope he's not lying.
Note to self: freak out less.
On an upside, Albert behaved like a perfect (purrfect) angel for the vet.  He is now up to date on his shots and doesn't appear to have an upper respiratory infection like Sassy.  Mac received his booster shot from his visit earlier this month and we came back home.
All in a days work.

The Nap Mat

My little boy is growing up so quickly!  Last week, Rhonda told me that James no longer naps in a Pack N Play, he naps on a nap mat like the rest of the big kids.  He insists on napping in whatever room Rhonda is in, but its amazing how fast time is flying by!
He's going to be off to college in no time!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Staying strong

On our way home from hiking Sunday, I got a message from my mom on my cell phone.  My uncle had called her to let her know my grandmother (my mom's mom) had a stroke.  I believe that my aunt was with her at the time and they went straight to the local emergency room.  The local hospital couldn't do a CT scan on Sunday, so they moved her to a larger hospital about an hour from home when they were able.  My grandma has been in poor health lately, she's fallen more and more and broke her arm 2 weeks ago.  I don't know if the stroke could be at all related to her arm, but her health seems to be on the decline more and more.  After my mom got a little more information, she called me to let me know she'd be flying out Monday morning and that she would update me as soon as she could.  After I couldn't get a hold of my brother, I called my dad.
Although my parents have been divorced for some time, I knew that he would want to know and I knew that he would make me feel better.  My dad is good in an emergency, he stays calm, rational, and supportive.  Its funny for me, my parents are two very separate people.  They live on opposite coasts and obviously have very different lives, but Siskiyou County, California remains in their shared past.  My dad's brother actually works at the local hospital where they first took my grandmother.  So I talked to my dad for a bit and we continued our drive home.  Since then we've been sitting and waiting.
I haven't gotten an update yet this morning, although I know my mom made it to Medford, Oregon last night.  I'm sure she was exhausted from 12 hours of traveling, but her plan was to go straight to the hospital.  And I don't really know what to do with myself.
I want to be strong and hold it together, but inside I'm so scared and worried.  I'm obviously worried about my Grandma, who has been such a strong, fighter of a woman my entire life.  She's a breast cancer survivor and has lived most of her life with only one lung.  She held it together after her husband died 15 years ago and managed to travel the world while she was able.  There is also worry for my mom and aunt.  I know they are both so upset and I wish there was more I could do.  But in the end, nothing I do can change the situation, which is a hard realization.  Sometimes, all you can do is try to stay strong.
My brother and I with our Grandma, August 2009

Monday, February 27, 2012

He's a hiker!

Ready to go!
Yesterday we went hiking at the Jug Bay Natural Area in Upper Marlboro.  Its just north of the Merkle Wildlife Sanctuary, where I spent many weekends with my family when we living on Andrews Air Force Base.  PG County is a mostly urban mess, but there are some areas, near the Patuxent River that are still nice and quiet.
So we set out with Adam's dad, John, and his Golden Retriever "puppy", Snow and did some hiking.  Although, I should have put myself in charge of the map immediately, as John had us walk 2 miles extra due to some poor navigating.  But we had a fun time and James was all over the place.  Once we were away from the roads, we let him out to run and he was so into it.  Adam held his hand for some of the hike, but most of the time he was very independent and really enjoyed himself.  For awhile, he wouldn't let go of one of the maps, so that was pretty cute.  He probably could have read it better than his Grandpa...  
As I was taking these photos of Adam and James, I couldn't help but think how much I love these two.  

Adam hikes in a full length wool coat and makes it look good
Off he goes!
Mac, James, Adam, Snow, and John

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Wednesday Weigh In

I haven't done an update in awhile on my weight loss efforts.  Its been a slow road lately, I haven't been super dedicated, but I haven't gained anything back.  My weight loss ticker is still up to date (finally, I haven't updated it in awhile and then I came back around to the same weight that it says.)  So I am trying to eat smaller portions and not over indulge in junk food.  I have cancelled my Weight Watchers membership because I just wasn't using it.  So I am going to go it alone for awhile and see where I am.  On March 11th, I am doing the Shamrock 5k with my girlfriend Candi, and I have been training for it.  I am due to run 2.5 miles at some point today and have been working to improve my time.  I can't believe I signed up for another 5k, but I've been progressing and its nice to go out and run/jog/walk and clear my head.  Long term I know that running is not the sport for me.  My knees are killing me and now my hips have started to hurt also.  This doesn't really surprise me, I have had problems with my knees since high school and pounding them into the concrete is certainly not helping.  The hip pain is new, but I know it has to do with the same issues (tight tendons, long bones, one slightly longer leg/body alignment, and weight) that cause my knee problems.  Some of those I can correct, but others are just the way my silly body is formed.  But we will see how I am feeling after the 11th and go from there.
My saving grace with my running regimen has been my new iPod Nano.  I super love the Nike Plus Fitness Program and really have lucked out with this iPod.  The story behind it - I was reading on "the facebook" and noticed a friend of mine had posted something about Apple recalling 1st generation iPod Nanos due to a battery problem.  Well, Adam bought me one about 5 years ago and I used it for a few months and then started using his larger (and out of use) iPod (Adam, unlike the rest of the known world, has issues with Apple and iTunes and prefers to use Windows based media applications....)  So I got out my old iPod, mailed it into Apple, and they replaced it with a brand new 6th generation iPod.  I still have my Classic iPod (so old that it still has a clicker wheel) to listen to in the car and my new Nano to use when I run.  I love it, I just start the fitness section, tell it if I want to walk or run, select how many miles I want (or a time or amount of calories) and hit the start button.  It lets me pick a shuffle of songs or a specific mix of music and off I go!  When I'm done, it tells me how far I went, my time, and the mile splits.  Amazing.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Bedtime used to be one of my favorite times of day.  For obvious and not so obvious reasons.  The obvious being that I like to sleep myself and James' bedtime put me closer to mine, I like to have some adult time to unwind and talk to Adam without interruption, and I really like knowing that James is getting the rest his growing body needs.
And then we get into the not so obvious reason - James is (was?) awesome at bedtime.  After about 15 months, we took away his night time sippy (so that brushing his teeth at bed was actually accomplishing something) and bedtime was a breeze.  Snuggle in the chair, look at a book and wait for James to ask to go to bed.  Literally.  James would point upstairs and say "bed?" and then I'd take him up there and he'd fall asleep.
It was amazing.
And now its over.  Ok, I don't know for sure that its over, but it seems over.  We do all the same things and James does all the same things.  Except now, after he asks to go to bed and gets up there - he freaks out.  Screams.  Cries.  Yells.  He does not want to go to bed.
I know this is fairly normal.  I know he's been teething, which certainly doesn't help (and may even be the only reason for this change).  And I know that I can't complain when I've had so many good months.  But those good months make this even more difficult.
When he cries, we let him go for awhile.  He is old enough to "cry it out" but he's too stubborn to actually do it.  So we snuggle with him in his room, I sing a few rounds of Twinkle, twinkle and we hope for the best.  Its been taking between 15 - 60 minutes for James to go down for the last week.  After awhile, he settles down and falls asleep.  Whoever is in his room quietly sneaks out and we spend the next half hour holding our breath that he's actually asleep.
If this is a teeth issue, I hope its resolved soon.  If this is a toddler issue, I hope it doesn't last long.
Momma needs her sleep too, James.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Arrrr, me mateys!

On Saturday we took James to his first birthday party.  Since we don't have a lot of friends with kids, we haven't had a lot of opportunities to takes James to parties and I have to admit that I was a little apprehensive about it all.  But it all turned out fine and we all had a great time.
Joel, from daycare, turned 4 and had a pirate themed party.  His mom teaches 3rd grade, so it was well organized, with lots of activities for the kids.  Everyone from daycare came, as well as a few other kids.  We got to witness first hand what Rhonda has been telling us about everyday.  James plays with the big kids and he plays hard.  I was amazed at not only how well he keeps up, but how much fun he has with all his friends.  Some of the activities were walking the plank (a plank was set up over a baby pool of balls and a stuffed alligator), decorating cookies, swabbing the deck with toy brooms, a treasure hunt to find a chest full of goodies, and pin the chest on the map.  Then lunch was served, chicken nuggets and french fries.  I was really happy with how well organized the party was and amazed at Jeannie's patience.
One of the funnier things at the party was the cookie decorating activity.  James was sitting at a table with 2 other kids when realized that there was a bowl of M&M's in the middle of the table.  Once he saw them, there was no point trying to stop him, those M&M's were going in his mouth.  James proceeded to eat the whole bowl, which made him very happy.  Also on the table were some little gold doubloons that were made of foil, basically.  James got one of those in his mouth and I quickly tried to get it out.  He bit me while I was after it, so I figured that he would live with the doubloon in his stomach.  Not my best parenting moment, but I'm assuming its passed by now.
Overall, we had a wonderful time and James took a good nap afterwards!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Another week has flown by

Time is certainly flying these days!  I could say that in every blog I post, but I guess I really felt it this week.  But with that said, I will now tell you about the cutest thing I've ever seen.
Yesterday, when I picked James up from daycare, Kippy's mom, Amy was there to pick him up also.  They were getting ready to leave and she said to Kip, "Say bye to everyone!"  Kippy ran over to James, gave him a big hug and huge kiss!  Amy reminded him to be gentle, since he can be a bit over zealous, but Kip didn't need any reminders.  They just gave each other the nicest hug.  I know I have told many stories about "Nippy Kippy" but he really is a sweet kid.  I almost welled up with tears at how cute that hug was.
Rhonda also told me about how protective James is of Baby Landon.  Usually Landon is picked up by his mom or dad, but on Wednesday, his grandma came.  Well, when she went to reach for his infant car seat, James wouldn't let her pick him up!  He didn't recognize her and stood there, holding onto the handles, not letting his buddy Landon go anywhere.  Rhonda said he eventually moved and obviously Baby Landon made his way out with grandma, but I really laughed at how protective James was.  I know one of these days he will make a great older brother!

Monday, February 13, 2012

You know... the usual

Life has been moving along as usual for us.  Each day is a routine that feels very familiar and comforting and everything in our family feels nice and settled.  Which is not to say that the usual is boring or not hectic, because it is, but I really love our family dynamic and our life in general.
James has been continuing to teeth, making sleep rough.  He's been up every other night or so, sometimes for longer than others.  It can be frustrating to feel like there is nothing we can do to help, especially if we've already given him pain medicine or teething tablets.  Sometimes the only thing that helps is a snuggle from mom or dad and while I can appreciate that, it can be tiring.  Adam has been busy at work and my busy season is starting, so we've been trying to savor slow weekends.
This weekend was an exciting one though.  We saw Adam's mom on Saturday, she is in Virginia doing training for her new job.  For dinner, we all took James to his first hibachi restaurant.  He was entertained by the show that the chef put on, but was not happy when he lit the whole grill on fire.  After the "woosh" went down, he proceeded to cry until Adam took him out of the high chair and comforted him.  It was pretty funny actually, the look on his face was "what the hell, guys?"  But he enjoyed the food afterwards.
On Sunday, we bought a new car, which was the highlight of the weekend.  My car was getting fairly old (6 years) and while it was functioning just fine, we knew that if we waited longer to trade it in, we wouldn't get much money for it.  So Carmen the Elantra is gone and we now have a 2012 Chevy Equinox.  Its an SUV and much larger than I'm used to, but the gas mileage is actually better than my old car.  I'm so excited to have something so new and shiny!
So its Monday morning and we're all back to work and daycare.

Thursday, February 9, 2012


I posted awhile ago about how James loves the word "mine".  He still says it a lot and thinks that most things around the house are his.  James yelling "mine" is actually a source of entertainment and now I think he says it because its funny.
Well, the other day, Adam and James were practicing counting.  Adam or I will say a number (or letter or color) and James will repeat it.  Well, every time they got to the number nine, James would get upset.  We weren't sure what was going on, but he'd get this upset face and grab the mini books that they were counting.  After a few rounds of counting to ten and James getting mad, we realized that he thought Adam was saying "mine" and not "nine".  So Adam repeated nine a few times, really enunciating the NNN sound.  James didn't quite figure out what Adam was saying, so the counting was fairly short lived that evening.  I'm not sure how we're going to differentiate between the two words, but I suppose we will figure something out.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

20 month milestones

How is my little boy possibly 20 months old?  Adam was looking at his baby pictures over the weekend and I absolutely bawled over how big my baby has become.  I believe my exact quote was "he doesn't even need me anymore."  Yes, that was a bit melodramatic considering he wouldn't let me out of arm's reach this morning.  But that's ok, its nice to be wanted!  After looking at James' pictures, (and crying) Adam proceeded to show me a "baby" picture of Mac (the dog).  I almost cried again.  I'm a mess!

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Feeds doll
Yes, James will do this!  I only because Rhonda and I talked about what a silly milestone it was and then a few days later, James was doing it at daycare.
Takes off own clothes

He certainly tries to, but they aren't all the way off yet.  He's a big helper when getting dressed or undressed though, he knows where to put his arms and legs through, will give you his foot for socks or lean his head in for a hat.  I'm sure he will be getting naked on his own any day now.
Dumps an object in imitation, such as throwing garbage away

Yes, James will do this also.  He's a big fan of helping, so he'll give you something to throw away and will now put it in the trash can himself.  The only problem is when he starts throwing everything away.  We have been watching carefully, so hopefully nothing important is in the can!

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Learns words at a rate of ten or more a day
Its hard to quantify how many words James is learning.  He'll repeat just about anything you ask him to, so does that count?  James picks up on most anything you're saying, so I guess this is a yes.  Maybe he just pretends to understand?  I have to throw in a proud momma moment, the other day, Adam asked James what color a stack of yellow blocks was and he said "yellow" like it was no big deal.  Duh, mom and dad, of course I know what color those blocks were.  He also got blue correct and sort of got a red out when asked about those blocks.  I had no idea he knew any colors yet, but I guess sitting down for preschool time with the big kids does have its benefits.
Can walk up stairs (but probably not down)

No, although he tries and it freaks me out.  

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
May start exploring genitals
Yes, James definitely is interested in his little man parts.  It makes diapers changes interesting and entertaining all at the same time.
Draws a straight line

Straight lines are the only kind of lines James really draws, but he's still more interested in eating crayons than drawing with them.
Names several body parts

I'm not sure if he's naming them so much, but he can say nose and tummy.  I'll call this 50-50 for naming several body parts.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Remember when?

Remember when I said I wasn't holding my breath for James to get more canine teeth?

Well, I should have.  He got 2 more within a week.  I am really ready to be done with teething!  But I'm sure he'll get all his canines and then launch into his 2 year molars.  Such is life, we have got to roll with the punches.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Dear extremely clingy toddler,

Mommy loves you. I promise. But I really hope you aren't sick still. You've been on antibiotics 20 of the last 35 days and I really want you to be well. Maybe it is just your teeth, you grumpy boy.

Your momma

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Baby jeans

Buying clothes for James has been interesting.  For awhile we were getting a lot of hand me downs from my nephew, who is 4 years older than James.  We would supplement the clothes we got with a few things here and there, but buying for little babies is pretty easy.  You get a few onesies, some footie sleep and play outfits and some socks, no big deal.  For the record, I have never bought James "jon jons" or jumpers, because I think they look like girl outfits, even if they are baby blue!  But now we are on the last of our hand me downs and have been buying James "big boy clothes".  I try to get things that all match, basic things like t shirts and sweats or jeans.  He wears polo shirts and has overall shorts for the summer, but mostly jeans and a long or short sleeved t-shirt gets it done.
James finally fits his 2T jeans - it took awhile because of his tiny short legs.  He is built like Adam, who is over 6 feet tall, but wears a 30 inseam.  Stubby little legs!  I went yesterday to order a few more pairs of jeans (and a Valentine's Day shirt, obviously) and found something hilarious on  They make different "cuts" of jeans!  We could pick from loose, regular, boot leg(!!!) or SKINNY jeans.  I thought this was absolutely hilarious, checked the jeans I'd bought some time ago, and ordered the regular ones.  If James has an opinion on the matter later, we can make a change, but I was cracking up at my options.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Its a miracle!

For the last 6 months or so, changing James' diaper has been an adventure.  He doesn't want to lay still for the entire diaper change, if at all.  We've had many messes get out of hand and have had a lot of frustration due to his wiggling.  Let's face it, no one wants to change a diaper to begin with, let alone get the mess on their hands or all over the baby.  So if Adam and I are both home, we tend to double team the diaper changes.  Although, James does have a talent that his father loves - he will literally wait for Adam to leave the house before pooping. After dinner, we get James into his pajamas and then Adam takes Mac for a walk.  During this time James and I play or do his bath and brush his teeth.  Its not uncommon for Adam to walk out the door and have James dirty a diaper within the next 5 minutes (especially if its a bath night).  I don't think there's a dad poop phobia on James' part, its just the way his schedule works.  So maybe its Adam with the hidden talent of poopy diaper avoidance.....  Now that I think of it, that's a lot more plausible.
Back to the subject at hand - wiggling out of a diaper change, often using a full on alligator death roll.  But in the last 3 days or so, when I tell James its time to change his diaper, he grabs a book or his sippy and LAYS DOWN!  Are you kidding me??  Its a miracle!  Now, he will still get wiggly at the end of the process, if its taking longer than any toddler deems necessary (so like 30 seconds or so), but this is a marked improvement and I hope that this change becomes a habit.