Saturday, October 30, 2010

Playing the Toy Piano

Our son was really enjoying his toy piano this afternoon. Someday I hope to get a real piano and give him some beginning lessons.


I often forget that I can't rotate video, and I'll shoot with my camera "up and down" instead of side to side. So you'll just have to tilt your head if you want to see it right side up, LOL.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Our baby's 4-month checkup

I've always thought my 4 month old was HUGE!! He's actually quite "normal," but my first two babies were always in the 5th to 10th percentiles, so he seems relatively massive.

We had his 4 month old checkup today, here are his stats:

Weight: 15.8 lbs (56th percentile)

Height: 26 inches (75th percentile)

Head circumference: 17 inches (64th percentile)

I have no idea where he gets his "tall" genes. Honey is 5'7", and I am 5'3". All our siblings are taller than we are, so maybe his aunties shared their tallness?
He'll be 5 months old next week, and his stats as a 5 month old are all in the 40-50 percentile range. So even though I think he's a massive hulk, he's pretty average.

He's actually kind of skinny, even though his thighs are rolled with fat.
I think his eyes are going to stay blue! Yay!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Our Son, the Practical Joker

My Honey and our 21-month old son were snuggling each other on the sofa this evening. Our son had a sippy cup of juice, which he drank all gone. He then gave the cup to my Honey, as if to share. My Honey said, "Oh thank you!" and proceeded to drink the empty cup. Our son just cracked up laughing.

Pray for me, because that boy will only get smarter...

Time to Update

It's been more than week since I posted any updates here. Our 21-month-old had a lingering virus, and when he's sick, he's whiny, clingy, and just downright difficult. Everyone in the family except for the baby and me also got sick.

Our son got so much "special" treatment when he was sick, that he has begun to associate crying and whining with getting what he wants. That is frustrating to fix! If he whines and "fake" cries, he has to go to his bed until he's done. It's slowly getting better.

We got our new windows a couple of weeks ago! They are awesome! The only downside I can see with them is that they are so easy to clean, now I have no excuse for letting them get dirty...

The windows are white, and the trim on our house is a buttercream yellow. But now the yellow just looks dusty and dirty. Our goal is to paint our house in the Spring. White trim with black shutters and doors.

I'll try to get a photo up here soon so you can see what I'm talking about.

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Sense of Entitlement

We Americans are spoiled. Rotten.

Ever since LBJ, arguably since FDR, we've looked to the government to solve our problems. Granted, when we were in the midst of the Great Depression, governmental programs were what sustained many families. The Civilian Conservation Corps revamped much of our nation's interior. It was a good program at the time.

Fast forward 70 years to today. Now we are in the middle of the Great Recession, and we are throwing a pity party. Americans who bought way too much house, way too much car, way too much credit card debt, and way too much lifestyle are crying "Foul!" All of a sudden, they can't pay for the stuff they thought they could afford. They are behind on their house payments, but they are playing "chicken" with the bank on foreclosure. Many large banks have looked through their paperwork and discovered technical discrepancies that would make repossessing these homes wrong. As I see it, that's a goodwill gesture of the banks, and they do have every right to take back a property that someone is not properly making payments on. Here is a story that explains what I mean: I firmly believe that if you sign a contract saying you will pay $X to live in a home, then you MUST pay that $X to keep up your end of the contract. You should not expect to live in a McMansion for free, even if the bank robo-signed your foreclosure notice!

Another area where Americans are upset lately is Social Security. Social Security benefits will not see a Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) increase next year. COLAs are tied to the inflation rate. No inflation, no COLA. Many older Americans who rely on this program are wondering how they are going to manage their expenses next year. When they go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the gas station, they see higher prices. They are experiencing inflation, even if the inflation index shows there is none. President Obama is taking a lot of heat for not giving Social Security benificiaries their yearly COLA. But we must remember that it's not his prerogative to grant it! COLA is tied to the cost-of-living index. If you expect Social Security to pay all your expenses, you are either uber-thrifty or you've got your head in the sand!

Even if inflation had risen, I think President Obama did the right thing by freezing the COLA for next year. The Social Security program is in danger of running dry, and some tough decisions need to be made regarding its future. We might need to raise the retirement age, raise Social Security taxes, or cut benefits somehow. Whatever we do to save Social Security will be an ugly, unpopular decision. It might be the end of a politician's career if he/she puts forward a solid plan to save the program. Maybe that's why politicians, especially in an election year, don't want to talk about Social Security. Whatever happens, I do not expect the Social Security program to look like it currently does when I retire. We cannot depend upon our government to take care of our every need!

In my state, there is a proposition up for vote next month. The vote is whether or not we will pay an extra $10 per year when we register our vehicles in order to fund extra trauma centers. Some hospitals with trauma centers are 100 miles away if you are in a nasty car wreck. It's estimated that 700 lives will be saved if we get all the trauma centers we need. I haven't heard any estimates on how many non-car-crash accident victims will be saved. To me, this is a no-brainer. Since we own two cars, we'll pay $20 per year to ensure that 700 car crash victims get the emergency care they need. Or, look at it from a different perspective: Am I willing to pay $20 per year to ensure that MY FAMILY gets the emergency care we need if we are in a crash in Podunk-ville that doesn't currently have a trauma-equipped ER? Of course I am! But you wouldn't believe the controversy around this proposition. They are griping about an extra $10 a year! That's less than $1 a month! How stingy have we become?

My point is this: We cannot maintain our current pattern of governmental benefits. The gravy train will crash, and soon! We currently have a $1 trillion deficit, and a national debt of over $13 trillion. We are robbing our children and grandchildren of their futures if we don't stop this out-of-control spending. We have two choices: we can enjoy lots of governmental entitlement programs and pay the taxes to fund them, or we can enjoy lower taxes without the governmental handouts. That's it.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

I Failed Miserably

This afternoon the Lord gave me a spiritual test, and I am ashamed to report that I flunked BAD.

We were wrapping up a cross country meet, just about to leave, and my two little ones were starving hungry for dinner. A lady I've never met before came up to me and started making small talk. At first she seemed friendly enough, but over the course of our conversation, she got clingier and clingier. She shared her life story about how her husband just left her with four kids and how she had to work two part-time jobs to make ends meet. She talked bad about her estranged husband, but she praised the Lord in His faithfulness to her throughout it all. I could tell she was a Christian woman, but a hurting woman who really needed a friend.

Unfortunately, my kids were getting hungry. My 20-month old kept running off, so I had to chase him down. She didn't pick up on the fact that I really didn't have the time to engage in much more than idle chat, and she constantly followed me around while I chased down my son.

When I did get a word in edgewise, I said, "Well, these little guys are getting hungry, so I need to get them home for supper." Then our conversation went something like this:

Her: (grabbing her cell phone) what's your number so I can call you? (She and I had just shared our first names, so that question set my personal creepiness alarm system on overdrive.)

Me: I gave her our landline number, which is only in use for our DSL, and doesn't ring to any phone.

She then took about 5 minutes to get my Honey's and my names into her cell phone and then actually called our house while we were still there!!

Her: Uh, there's a mistake. The operator is saying your number isn't in service.

Wow, I got caught red-handed in that lie. Big time.

Her: Is this your home phone or your cell phone?

Me: Our home phone.

Her: Do you have a cell phone?

Me: No. (That was also a big, flat-out stinkin' lie. I had my cell phone in my pocket as we spoke.)

Her: Do you have something to write with so I can give you my number?

Me: No, sorry. (Another bold-faced lie. I almost always carry pen and paper in my purse.)

My husband, who was with us during this whole conversation, intervened on my behalf.

My Honey: It could be that our phone line is down because our electricity went out last night.
(It's true that our electricity was out last night for about an hour. But the phone wasn't down because of that. Now I had my Honey lying for me to cover up my three previous lies.)

Then my Honey gave her his cell phone number. While she fiddled with her cell phone to get the new number plugged in, I muttered that I really needed to get the babies loaded up in the van so we could be on our way home. I went to the van.

We waited about five minutes for my husband to finally come to the van, and that lady was walking with him and still talking!

When we finally got on the road to go home, my husband gave me the Biblical reproof I genuinely deserved. He said, "You got caught in your lies. Be sure your sins will find you out!" I tried to justify that I hadn't really lied, since that home number of ours is still technically ours. But in reality, that's not our currently working home phone number. He then remarked, "It's amazing that God didn't let your cell phone ring in your pocket after you lied to her again and said you didn't have a cell phone!" I agreed. I hate it when he's right...and he's always right.

It was quiet in the van for awhile, then he said, "But you're right, she was way too clingy." I asked him what he would have done if he were in my situation. He said, "I would have given her my cell phone number, but just not ever answered the phone when she called." Giving her my real number would have kept me from lying, but somehow it still seems like a mean thing to do to not ever answer it when she calls. And I'm sure she will call. Often.

Have you ever been in a similar situation? What do you think I should have done?

PS. I have repented to the Lord and asked forgiveness for what I did. But somehow I still feel crummy inside.

Our Late-Night Misadventure

Occasionally, our 20-month old son has night terrors and wakes up in the middle of the night screaming unconsolably. My Honey suffered from childhood night terrors, so we sympathize. Two nights ago, around 11:00 pm, our son woke up crying. In his effort to get out of his room, he locked his bedroom door! (He just figured out how to work doorknobs, so there's another area of our house we need to childproof now...)

We tried and tried to get that door open, but no success. We tried everything we knew. We tried to get our son to unlock the door, but he was too frantic, upset, and screaming to figure it out on his own. We took the doorknob off from the outside, but we still couldn't get that door unlocked and open!

Finally, not knowing what else we could do, my Honey just mustered up all his brute strength and busted that door down. It came completely apart! So now our son was in an all-out panic attack from his nightmare, our yelling at him from the other side of the door, and his Daddy busting the door down. And he was too close to the door when it got broken, so he got a small cut on his forehead from the wood flying. (Thank the Lord it didn't cut his eye!!)

It was well into the wee hours of the night before we got everything calmed down and our son back to sleep. Most of the next morning was spent buying and installing a new door. We also got a new doorknob WITHOUT a lock on it. We still haven't painted the new door, but at least it's up.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Smokin' Hot!

Let me just tell you now, my Honey is the sexiest man I know. We've been married 18 years, and he still gets me all ga-ga with the little things he does.

When he cleans the kitchen, he puts a dish towel over his shoulder. There's just something about the way he slings it over his shoulder that gets to me. He knows his way around the kitchen, and he's not ashamed to show it. He scrubs that kitchen cleaner than anyone I've ever known. And he can cook some mean eggs, let me tell ya!

He baby talks to our kids when he changes their diapers. Poopy ones, wet ones, he'll change 'em. I can see the way our babies look at him, they must think he's the best Daddy in the world. I agree. And the way he bends over the bathtub when he's washing our son's makes me want him even more.

Since he's retired from the Army, he let his hair grow out just enough for the gray around his ears and temples to show. Is there anything sexier than that? Well, maybe when he puts on his reading glasses. He looks so intellectual and sophisticated when he's wearing those glasses. Oh wow, that gives me the sweats every time!

This morning, he changed the oil in his truck. He came back into the house smelling like a "real" man, and looking kinda grungy with his oily hands and scruffy beard. He smiled at me, and I got a little weak in the knees. He doesn't even know how sexy that is.

Oh yeah, he's smokin' hot. Just sayin...

Friday, October 8, 2010

A Type of Frog I've Never Seen Before

My Honey was doing some fall clean-up in our front yard yesterday. A tiny frog, about the size of a nickel, jumped onto our exterior wall. I thought he looked pretty neat, so I took his picture:

We have gobs of toads in our yard, and one has even gotten into our house before. But I've never seen this type of frog. Any idea what kind of frog he is?

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Like Father, Like Son

Here is a photo of two boys. Can you tell which one is the Daddy?

The one on the left is my son, the one on the right is my husband around age 2 or 3. The white dog is Stella, our Aussie Cattle Dog/American Bulldog mix.

New Personal Record!

Our 16 year old daughter is on her high school's cross country team. In cross country, the team runs 5 kilometers (3.1 miles) through a wooded or unpaved course. The interesting thing about cross country is that it is both an individual as well as a team sport. The individual runners are trying to run their best times, and collectively their times are averaged together to decide which team earns 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place. There is also a way to earn other points, but I'm not exactly sure how that works. I do know that every time you pass another runner, you earn a point. Every time you get passed though, you lose a point. How the judges keep track of that, I don't know.

Our daughter had a cross country meet today, and she did AWESOME! She set a new personal record of 24 minutes, 1 second for running that 3.1 miles. That's an 8 minute mile!

I am so very proud of her!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Why Should This Kid Be Any Different?

My 3 month-old son has been fighting sleep lately. I thought maybe, just maybe, he'd be my one baby who would sweetly fall asleep on his own. No such luck...

When my 16 year-old daughter was brand new (preemie), we were still in the hospital, and the nurses would bring her to me and scowl, "You need to take this baby--she's fighting sleep and keeping the other babies in the nursery awake." So there I was, hooked up to IVs due to complications, and I couldn't really get up to take care of her by myself, because of meds that made me woozy and IV tubes all over the place. But the nurses would just dump her off in my room as if to say, "Good riddance!" She screamed herself to sleep just about every time until she was one year old. She didn't sleep through the night until she was 5 months old, but I think that was primarily because she was so very tiny. (4 lbs. at birth, and only 15 lbs. when she turned 1.) Now that she's a teenager sleeping is her hobby, but that first year was rough.

My 20 month-old son was no different. He wasn't a preemie, but he fought sleep just as bad. He needed to be physically restrained because he'd flail his arms and legs to keep himself awake. Part of his problem was that his "falling" reflex was on overdrive. I swear that kid would think he was falling even while he was asleep. He'd gasp, wake up sharply, and move his arms up like he needed to grasp onto something. That went on until he was about 4 months old. The only way I could help to avoid it was to swaddle him as tight as possible. I think God gave me a bit of a break though, because he was out of his crib and into a big-boy bed at 18 months old. But he is still a very light sleeper, and suffers from night terrors about once a month. Even when he was 4 months old, he would wake up when the neighbor's dog would bark while she was inside her house.

I know lots of well-meaning moms who told me things like "It's your own fault for making the house too quiet," but that is not true. I never vacuumed or ran a jackhammer while he slept, but I never made anyone be extra quiet for him either. I think it's just my kids' destinies to have sleep problems. Apparently I fought sleep as a baby, and my Honey had night terrors as a child. I guess my babies come by their sleep issues honestly! (This is my mom's and mother-in-law's revenge for all the headaches my Honey and I caused.)

My 3 month-old is starting to fight sleep. At first his sleep issues were that whenever he'd fall asleep, my 20 month-old would pitch a screaming fit, the phone would ring, someone would ring the doorbell, or whatever. Something would always happen to wake him up and start fussing. He used to be so sweet about it, but now it seems like he's been ingrained to not fall asleep deeply on his own. He also has an overactive falling reflex like his brother, but putting him to sleep on his side helps a lot. Even right after birth, he'd need to be held to fall asleep. In the hospital, he wouldn't fall asleep in his bassinet. But once someone (anyone) held him, he'd fall asleep so sweetly and easily. You could put him down, and he'd stay asleep. That is changing now. Grrrrr.

I've always envied moms whose babies just went into the crib and fell asleep on their own. But I never appreciated the well-intentioned advice they gave to me:

"Don't rock him." Really? Like I didn't already know that? But rocking and patting my babies's backs did help them to relax and stop screaming, so I rock them without apology. I think that all the walking and other exercise doctors recommend to pregnant women make their babies fall asleep to a rocking motion before they're even born. They get used to the back-and-forth motion from mom's exercises, and they get hooked.

"Don't make your house too quiet." That's so so so not an issue with a toddler in the house. Even before my youngest son was born, he'd startle in the womb whenever there was a loud sound.

"Make him cry himself to sleep." No way, that's cruel! I will help them fall asleep until they are physically capable of doing it on their own. I know some so-called baby experts recommend it, but I won't do it. Ever. I didn't make my 16 year-old cry herself to sleep, and she turned out just fine. My 20 month-old son usually goes to sleep on his own now.

My kids just aren't capable of falling asleep on their own for a while. So moms, if your babies just naturally fall asleep quietly on their own, please don't give me advice. You don't understand what it's like. I did not "ruin" my children, as evidenced by the fact that they fought sleep even while they were still in the hospital. Sympathy would be appreciated, but advice is not helpful to those of us whose babies fight sleep.

If you are like me, and you do have babies who fight falling asleep, here's what I believe: Our babies are smarter than average, because they are alert and want to learn about their surroundings. They want to be a part of what's going on in the family, not sleeping through it. I really do believe that's true, and it has been a bit (a small bit) of encouragement to me while I was frazzled by my screaming babies.

It does get better, I promise! And when you finally get that precious little one to fall asleep, look into their sweet baby faces. Enjoy that peaceful moment, snuggle them, kiss their angelic mouths, and try to remember every moment of the sweet, hard-earned sleep you've helped them to get. They grow up way too fast.

I can't believe my daughter is learning to drive, she's in high school, and considering what college to attend. She's making grown-up decisions about what she wants to achieve in adulthood. Where did the time go? It was just yesterday that she was a colicky preemie, screaming at the top of her lungs so she wouldn't fall asleep. I'm glad I took the time to hold her when she was swaddled up tight like a burrito, singing to her in a rocking chair, and snuggling her tiny body tight so she would go to sleep. Those days are gone for her and me. Who cares now that she didn't fall asleep on her own?