Wednesday, September 30, 2009

September Summary

The knowledge that it's almost October and I've apparently only blogged ONCE the entire month of Septmeber is shaming me. It's been ages since I last wrote, and I don't even have any good excuses. Work's been busy, sure, but I've just been lacking in the motivation department when I do have free time. It's strange, too, because I find myself sort of thinking "in blog" during the day - as things happen/unfold in my everyday life, I kind of compose blog posts around them, trying out phrasing in my head. Always very witty, of course. But my follow-through stinks - I either forget completely those perfect sentences I was planning to share with my devoted (clears throat and blushes, as you have no reason to be devoted) audience, or I just run out of time until the occasion I WAS going to write about suddenly seems passe.

So here it is, more than two weeks since my last post, and no clear idea about what to write. Not a single coherent story or thought in my head. I don't even have any pictures, as I am afraid that the transfer would kill my computer, an event I am not yet prepared to deal with. To get over this deadening blog silence, I will just try to hit some bulleted, unrelated points about life in the M household lately:

- First, sleep. Ah, sleep. Or a lack there of. Some of you may nod your heads knowingly and smile sympathetically, remembering what it is like to have a 5-month old. But nay, NAY, the culprit is not Lucy. Or at least, the MAIN culprit is not Lucy. It is, instead, my charming 3-year-old. Really, I don't even know where to begin describing this one. Finn is insistent on calling/crying loudly for us almost as soon as we close the door to his room at bedtime, often multiple times a night until he falls asleep. He has also taken to waking up at random times in the middle of the night or early morning, again calling/crying (usually crying) for us. The calls and cries grow louder and louder if unanswered, to the point where I am afraid neighborhood dogs will start howling. We have tried everything, it seems. Being nice and giving him extra time before leaving his room (but really, who can keep up a bedtime routine that lasts over an hour!?!), comforting him when we go back in, ignoring him, talking sternly to him when we go back in, threatening to take away priviledges/blankets/stuffed animals if he doesn't go to sleep, actually taking away priviledges/blankets stuffed animals, giving him a flashlight to comfort him if he gets scared, giving him extra blankets/pillows/stuffed animals to comfort him, using a sticker chart to reward him for nights he goes to sleep/stays asleep without incident... Yeah, pretty much every strategy has been attempted and FAILED. We are all upset about it, and M. and I have been feeling a bit deficient in the parenting department. I guess at this point we are just keeping our fingers crossed that it's a stage and he'll grow out of it.

- Finn will be going on his very first field trip in a couple of weeks, to a local orchard for some fall-type activities (hay ride, pumpkin patch, etc). The kids will be taken in the daycare's little school bus (well, it's more like a van, really). M. was immediately excited and all for it, while my first thought was "will there be any car seats in the bus?" Hmm, can you tell we think about things differently? When I suggested to M. that we should find out about the car seat issue, he tried to talk me out of it and clearly didn't want to be the "bad guy" that asked. Or the bad guy that might keep Finn from participating if there aren't any car seats. But goodness, Finn is still only 2, I'm not comfortable with him riding in a moving vehicle without a car seat. So I asked, and lo and behold, the daycare has car seats for the bus. Who's over-reacting now, eh? Anyway, sigh of relief and all that, and I've now been asked to accompany the kids as a parent chaperone. If things are slow enough at work, I think I just might.

- Lucy, Lucy, Lucy. Such a happy baby! Ack, I think about her, and I just want to get in my car and drive over to daycare and give her a big, squeezy hug. Good thing it's half an hour away, I guess - temptation removed. But she has, in her own small way, been contributing to the M. family sleep deficit. It's not her fault, really, she's just so darn hungry! 32-36 ounces of formula are apparently not enough for her, so she's taken to waking up around 5 am, hungry. It's clear that we really, really need to get moving on the solid foods. But cereal didn't seem to sit well with her (oatmeal made her poop too much, rice made her have a little trouble pooping, and both seemed to wake her up more at night, probably from gas), and we've only just started introducing some fruits. This weekend we need to move it into high gear and experiment with a schedule that incorporates solids at least twice a day, so that daycare can start helping with the feedings.

- In other Lucy news, she is showing a lot of progress with falling asleep on her own in her crib for naps. She's ready to handle going to bed on her own, and I think the Great Bedtime Unswaddling will occur this weekend, where we see if she can go the whole night unswaddled. We would have done it this past weekend, but she came down with her first cold and we wanted to make sure she would keep her head elevated for drainage purposes - hence, one more week of the Miracle Blanket and sleep positioner combo.

- In A. and M. news, we just celebrated our sixth anniversary this past weekend. Although "celebrated" may be an overstatement as we didn't think ahead about getting a babysitter and going out. But it was nice to relive memories of our wedding (I really, really loved our wedding) and think about all the changes we've had in the last 6 years. Not to get all mushy or anything, but seeing what a great dad M. is has definitely deepened our relationship, and I love him even more than I did 6 years ago. Here's to at least 6 more, right, honey? ;-)

- In news that should be shared by A. and M. but so far has yet to involve M., we are getting back on the "eating healthy and exercising" bandwagon. The muffin tops and love handles in this house have gotten a bit out of control. The plan is for the parent that puts Lucy down (we take turns, I put Lucy down for two nights in a row, and M. puts Finn down those two nights, then we switch) to hit the treadmill whenever possible. So far, I have managed to work out twice since we started this arrangement, bringing my total treadmill workouts since Lucy was born over 5 months ago to 4. Insert sheepish grin here. M. has yet to get on the treadmill, so his grin should be far more sheepish. I am forcing M. to watch The Biggest Loser for inspiration, though he does protest. And I understand the protesting, really. Way too much filler and replay of scenes between commercial breaks, and Jillian's attempts to psycho-analyze everyone are soooo annoying. But I love seeing all the weight losses at the end of the show, and all the sweating and over-the-top working out that goes on. Even though I can't devote my entire day to working out the way the contestants do, I figure if they can lose 10, 13, 15, heck 20 pounds in one week, I should be able to drop a couple of pounds in a month, no? So we watch. And M. complains.

- Finally, Finn's third birthday is fast approaching. Three! My baby is almost three! I just... no, cannot fathom it, can't be true. Anyway, disbelief aside, we are biting the bullet and throwing a proper birthday party for him this year. Somehow he got the birthday party memo, and now that he knows they exist he is expecting one. We're planning on holding it at a local park, so fingers are double and triple crossed for good weather. I am NOT a party planner by nature, but now that things have started to slow down at work I am hoping I can pull it together for baking and goody bag-making and activity planning and decorating. Must channel Martha Stewart, must channel Martha...

So, yes, no coherent way to end a mish-mash of topics, so I'll just go then. And try to be back before 2010 :-).

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Funeral, Family, and First Foods

Things have been hectic in the M. household over the last two weeks. My Grandpa passed away, and I flew home for his funeral. A sad time, but it did give me the chance to see my family and that's always nice. The funeral was sweet, lots of kind things said about Grandpa. It brought back lots of fun memories that I have of swimming and fishing with him at my grandparents' house on the Cape, visiting him at the bank where he worked when I was little, and swimming at their house in Andover. Because Grandpa served in the military, Army representatives presented a flag to my dad and played Taps at the burial - there was not a dry eye around, it was very touching.

I flew solo, and left M. at home with the kids. It would have been nice to bring them, especially Lucy, whom most of my family hasn't met yet. But there is no such thing as traveling "light" when you travel with kids, and it just didn't make sense to bring them for such a last-minute trip.

I came home from Massachusetts, spent 4 hours at work, then had to rush home and take Finn to the doctors. Diagnosis: ear infection. The remaining ear tube in his right ear is finally working it's way out, and that's the ear that got infected. We're not sure exactly how, as he wasn't showing signs of a cold before then. He's doing much better now, but we'll be watching him like a hawk the next few months to see how he does with cold/flu season. Fingers are double and triple crossed that he won't need a new set of ear tubes.

Two days later we had a visit from my maternal grandparents, Mimi and Papa. I think they are still recovering from their exposure to the massive amounts of traffic around here, but other than that, a fun time was had by all. We ventured out to dinner the second night, and a tasty meal was capped off by the worst diaper blow-out I've ever had to deal with. I won't bore you with all the details, but it did involve a very loud rendition of Cotton Eyed Joe and a lackluster dance performance by the wait staff. I think Lucy was just showing her disapproval of the effort in the only way she really knew how.

Work has been beyond hectic for the last month, which is stressing me a bit as I haven't been able to be as "present" for the kids as I'd like. A couple of days a week I end up leaving work a little later than I'd like, and I constantly have work issues on my mind. I'm hoping things slow down a bit in a couple of weeks, but I'm not going to count on it. Oh well, at least it's not boring!

I risked killing my computer completely by uploading some more pictures on it, just so I could share them with you. Not sure how many more it will take before it just quits on me, so here goes!

Mimi and Papa came bearing gifts, including a book for Lucy about a dog named... Lucy

And matching pumpkin hats for both kids

Lucy's lunch time!

We brought the Exersaucer out of retirement, as I feared Lucy was becoming bored with just her playmat and bouncer chair to entertain her. As you can see, she is a fan.

Much of her awake time is now spent putting things in her mouth, especially her fingers.

Lucy decided to stop sleeping through the night, and has been awakening at the awkward time of ~4:30 am. We fear she is not long for being swaddled, as she has been masterfully escaping from the Miracle Blanket, a feat I thought not possible. Regardless, in an effort to try to get her to sleep a bit longer and not consume as much formula, we decided to try introducing cereal a couple of weeks earlier than planned. This is a picture from her first taste. So far, as you can see from the mess, we have not really managed to get her to eat much of it. Oh well, we'll keep practicing about once a day, she'll get there eventually. We're in no real hurry for it to become sustenance.

Finn supervised the feeding effort

As you can, Lucy was not too impressed and was pretty suspicious of this non-bottle, non-pacifier stuff we were trying to put in her mouth

Getting ready for Halloween, Grammy sent me back home with a pair of skeleton pajamas for Finn. He was a bit nervous to wear them at first, but is now loving them. I imagine we'll still be wearing them by oh, next Easter or so at least