Thursday, September 27, 2012

"The Babies"

We still call them "the babies," even though they're really not anymore.
Luke insisted on a big boy bike for his 3rd birthday and I must tell you, it's hard to deny that brown-eyed boy anything.
He races around the driveway faster than William who will be five in just a couple of months.  But I guess that's how it works, the younger one always trying harder and then succeeding in keeping up with his older brother.
We've seen it before...

Look how proud our little Sammy was!  He was more like 2 1/2 here and Owen was just past his fourth birthday.  It will forever kill me that I was at work too much to really appreciate them at this age, so that makes me even more determined to soak in every moment I have with William and Luke. 
They all say it and it's so true:  It goes by too fast.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Goodbye, Two-Year-Old

I'm feeling a little nostalgic today, as I say goodbye to having a two year old in the house.  Although I'm ready to be done with having babies:  loooong pregnancies, peeing every 15 minutes, OUCH labors, nursing (well, really it was the pumping I could have lived without), sleepless nights with a sick little one, etc, I'm not ready to be done with having toddlers.  Especially this one...
It figures that when you get to #4 he ends up being the sweetest, most good-natured child EVER.  I don't know why he's so good and so laid back.  Maybe it's because he has 3 older brothers so he just kinda goes with the flow.  Or maybe I'm different with him than I was with the older ones.  Either way, I have enjoyed EVERY SECOND of him being two years old and will miss my two year old tomorrow when he turns three.
To celebrate, we went for his very first dental exam.

Look how tiny he looks in that big chair!  He wasn't scared at all.  He watched her clean William's teeth
and then hopped right up in the chair and opened his mouth.  The hygenist was pretty impressed! 
As expected, the dentist told me to try to get Luke to stop sucking his thumb, as it's messing up his bottom front teeth. 
I guess he has a bit of an underbite, too, so they're gonna keep an eye on that in years to come. 
No cavities, though, (for any of the boys, actually) so I was happy about that.

Tomorrow we will spend the day as a family, celebrating the miracle of having this little guy in our lives.  We honestly don't know how we could have ever lived without him. 
Happy Birthday, Luke!

 Smiling for the picture, but I don't miss being this big.


Saturday, September 8, 2012

I'm Not a Dog Person

I'm not a dog person, but I am a Scrabble person...

Dogs do annoying things:

1.  They beg for whatever you're eating
2.  They hog the bed
3.  They slobber and lick WAY too much
4.  They jump up on people
5.  They "crotch" people (OMG, the lab mix I had in high school was the WORST crotcher EVER!)
6.  They never just lay around and relax

Scrabble is NOT like a normal dog.  He does NONE of those annoying things - never has - and I love him for it.  He is the most wonderful dog I could ever hope for and I can't believe how attached I've become since we got him from the shelter 18 months ago.  Best Valentine's Day gift (to myself) EVER!

I had just one complaint about him and it's been remedied.  If we opened the door he would run out like a bat-out-of-hell and we'd have to chase him around the neighborhood, fearing he would attack any oncoming motor vehicle.  He's not a chaser - he likes to jump at them head-on. 

A few weeks ago I learned through one of my clients about these wireless pet containment devices and after a few days of begging, Chris allowed me to order one.  It took about 5 days of working with him, but now Scrabble is perfectly trained.  He stays in our yard and has fun playing with the kids outside, as opposed to the pathetic 10' lead we've had  him on.  It's an absolutely wonderful invention and I can't get over how much happier it's made me - and him, too!

Besides being a wonderful companion for the whole family, he sure is a handsome devil, isn't he?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

40 is the new 80 - Part Two (complete with pictures)

I would never normally put a picture of my ugly feet on the web, but I guess you have to see the toe to appreciate my pain, so here goes....
See the right foot, the middle toe?  I just woke up with it swollen like that one day!  Seriously, it was the weirdest thing.  The "splaying" between that toe and the 2nd one is what convinced me that Morton's neuroma was the culprit (after some Googling, of course).  The picture doesn't show the full amount of swelling, both on the top and the bottom of the foot.  As stated in the last installment of the saga, my limping was so pronounced that within 10 days this is how my left knee looked...
As you can see, the left knee was none too happy with the added pressure I was putting on it.  These pictures were taken at the height of my depression, when I literally couldn't do ANYTHING but sit on the couch and MAYBE get to the bathroom on crutches.  But even that was such an ordeal, I stopped drinking more than the bare minimum amount of water to get by.  After a few days on crutches, the swelling subsided enough that I was able to get by with just wearing a brace.

This was in late May.  I was VERY concerned that I wouldn't be able to enjoy the trip to the cabin I had planned since January.  We ended up going, but I was certainly not at 100% that weekend.

My other concern was that I had two weddings to work, one on June 16 and another on June 30.  The one on June 16 almost killed me.  It was the longest night of my life and I walked away from that wedding feeling like a failure - I knew I hadn't given my best service possible to that bride.  Even though they thanked me, I was completely unhappy with my own performance and couldn't have that happen again.

I finally went to a podiatrist in late June.  After spending $500 in one week at the chiropractor for cold laser therapy that didn't really work, I figured I might need to see a "real" doctor.  When I got there, he agreed with my self-diagnosis and gave me a cortisone shot.  YOWZA, it hurt!  (But all pain is relative after having kids, so I was pretty brave about it if I do say so myself.)

That cortisone shot fixed me up to be able to function for that June 30th wedding but there was still pain.  In fact, there's still pain every day.  I haven't gone back for more cortisone injections, but I will if/when it gets unbearable or if I have a wedding and I don't think I'll be able to make it without medication.  The doctor told me the cortisone is just a temporary relief and that the only permanent fix is surgery, unless the neuroma subsides on its own.  So I keep praying for that.

I did read on some blogs about this "miracle" supplement:  serapeptide.  I ordered those pills and continue to take them every day to keep the neuroma at bay.  My toes now look normal - little swelling and no more seperation between them - but the top of the foot is still too swollen to wear closed-toe shoes.  My niece is salivating, thinking she might be the lucky recipient of my current shoe wardrobe!  It's a good thing this happened in the summer so I can wear flip-flops but I'm getting nervous as the colder weather sets in.

So I will continue to update the blog on how this ailment progresses.  Right now I have good days and bad days.  Today would be maybe a 2 or 3 on the pain scale, whereas last night was about a 6 and it was showing in my lack of patience with the kids.  Being old is NO JOKE!!!  :(

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Early Reading

I always knew that teaching my kids to read would be an amazing experience for me.  I think I looked forward to it my entire life.  I was never one to dream of being a mother, never played with dolls or dollhouses as a child.  But, oh, did I love to read!  I can remember my very first book that I read all by myself:
It was published in 1971 and had these scratch-and-sniff stickers in it that I loved so much.  But mostly what I loved was the sense of accomplishment at reading it all by myself.  I was probably around 4 years old.
My mom claims she never taught me to read, but I think she MUST have read to me as a child.  How else would such a young child learn?  It's that closeness that toddlers crave, they say.  That's what makes a child learn to love books.  Since I was less than 3 years old by the time my mom had two other kids behind me, I'm guessing that if she ever DID stop for a moment to read me a story, those few moments of her undivided attention must have made a big impression on me.
So here I am so many years later, a mom myself with lots on my plate.  From the time my kids were little I had one rule for myself:  no matter what I was doing, if they came to me with a book asking to be read to, I would stop and do it.  That's a difficult rule to adhere to, but I've stuck to it (ok, maybe a few minutes of delay a couple of times depending on what I was elbow-deep in.)
William starts preschool in a few days and he's so excited.  (I will do another post soon about all the schooling that's happening this year because we're trying something a little different.)  Anyway, he will go to preschool five days a week, but for less than 3 hours each day.  That's a lot of driving (20 minutes each way) but I think it will be worth it.  He will absolutely LOVE the interaction with others, especially adults, and hopefully they will give him lots of praise and accolades for how well he reads.  So far, these are a couple of his favorite books:
I loved this one as a kid, didn't you?

William has read every book in the "Elephant and Piggie" series umpteen times.  He loves when he reads the Gerald lines and I read Piggie's parts.  He's even got Luke to do the Piggie parts when I'm not available.  (Luke has memorized most of them by now.) 

I was right in my belief all those years ago that teaching a child to read is the most amazing feeling.  I love that he knows that street signs actually say something now and that he can tell me what store we're going in before I even stop the car.  Four year olds are such little sponges and I think this is such a magic age.  Once again, I'm so glad I'm home to experience this stage with my two younger boys.