Our family is growing in many ways... Growing in numbers, knowledge, parenting skills, growing in love, in our faith, growing our culinary skills (if you can call it that), growing without gluten (some of us), growing green...........

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Camden's Glasses...

I keep failing to get this post up. Not like it's a big long one or anything... I have no good excuse.

Camden's been saying for a while now the he needs glasses. We've been saying, no...you don't. Last eye exam, his eyes were perfect. And he's always said he WANTS glasses. So, when he says that it takes a few moments for his eyes to adjust when looking up from a book or down to a book...we tell him that's normal. But we go for the exam. He's due anyway.

And yes, he (barely) needs glass. But get this...he needs READING glasses. My TEN-year-old needs READING glasses. I can't get over it. It's been a couple months, and I still think it's funny.

And yes, they did already get broken and have to be replaced. (Thank goodness for the warranty!) It wasn't actually his fault, either. Ryan put the glasses, in the case, NEXT TO Camden's backpack one evening, so Camden would see them in the morning...instead of putting them IN the backpack. The first person to notice was not Camden but Aiden... He can definitely open the case and get them out. Snapped them right in two. Camden actually cried. (Don't tell him I said that!)

What's not funny? How cute he looks with them on!! I mean, I already knew he was a good looking kid (and I don't just say this because I'm his mommy...I say it because it's true. Too true.), but he looks even better with the glasses, if that is even possible!

Check him out:

They also came with magnetic sunglasses to go over the frames. Not sure how often he'll be using those, though. He literally only needs the glasses when he is reading (which is really quite often) or in school.

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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home again, home again

...jiggety jig.

We're back home from having Christmas in Kentucky. It was a very hectic time, but, as always, it was worth it. It might not have been so hectic if we had those three days that were spent waiting in NC instead of relaxing in KY... Yeah, that big snowstorm that came through VA and WV kept us home three days longer than planned. Our route goes right through where snow made for some really bad snow conditions, especially through the WV Turnpike, which was closed the day we were supposed to be on the road. Some people were stranded for 26 hours... I'm glad we made the decision to be stranded at home and wait it out. So, instead of leaving on Saturday, me and the kiddos left the house Tuesday morning. Ryan had to stay back to work and fly in Wednesday evening. I was nervous about the long drive by myself because Aiden really is not a great car-rider, especially on those long trips. But someone must have been hearing my prayers because the trip went way better than expected. That little boy who never sleeps more than an hour on these trips (that can take over 12 hours....) slept for a full (exactly) THREE HOURS right in the middle of the drive. Wow. Camden and I kept things silent for fear of waking the little guy up. We managed to stop in WV to have lunch with Ryan's dad and then again in KY to drop some luggage off at my mom's before driving another couple hours to my dad's. We weren't sure if we would make it to his house or not (that's where we were supposed to stay during the time we were stuck at home), but we made such good time that we managed...Aiden started to get cranky shortly before arriving. We left the house at 7:30am and arrived at our final destination at 7:30pm. But we made it, at least!

During our five days of visiting (not including the two days of travel), we managed to be in five different cities and see all of our family and some of our friends (but not all we had hoped to see). I told you it was hectic! The boys got plenty of gifts, as did we. It seemed to be the year of books for me and Ryan. We both came home with a ton (that we had asked for, of course). Now...we just need to find the time to read them all!! ;) We also enjoyed seeing the grandparents open their gifts. Among other things, they all received copies of a photobook of Aiden's first year and some pottery item that the kids made for them (either with handprints or thumbprints included, of course). But mostly, it was just wonderful to be with everyone. It's also the only time I get to see my extended family, since we live so far away. While some might say they would just as well stay at home rather than be so rushed and drive so much (most places we visited were about two-hour drives), I wouldn't do it any other way. Family is too important, so we make the trip...and look forward to living closer and being able to relax a bit during the holidays one day. Driving all over Kentucky, I was also reminded of how beautiful that state is. I kept wanting to stop the car to take pictures... All of the fields with cows grazing, the horse farms, the sunsets we got to see, everything. Beautiful.

Here are our pictures from all the Christmas celebrations (and some other events that happened to take place in December). I didn't take as many as I normally do, and somehow I missed pictures of some of the people we saw (sorry about that!). You'll notice Camden is missing from quite a few. He WAS with us for Christmas, but everywhere we went...he quickly disappeared to play outside or in another room with other kids. Aiden's always stuck with us, so there is no shortage of pictures of him. It was a lot of fun with him this year, especially because he really figured out the whole gift-opening concept. Hopefully next time we travel, he'll also figure out that he doesn't need to wake up at 4am every morning...

Now...next year...we are definitely getting started earlier. I'm putting it on my calendar. We still have yet to get the boys' tree ornaments (!!!I feel so terrible!!!), a tradition we have where they each get an ornament every year, symbolizing something that was important from that year. We have one picked out finally for Aiden on etsy (it should not be so hard to find a star ornament...), and we had one to get for Camden, but Hallmark sold out long before we knew about it. Christmas totally snuck up on us this year! We barely got our family photo album ordered in time... Camden's Christmas pjs had to be shipped to Mammaw's house, so he didn't get them until we were there (just in time to wear them on Christmas Eve, at least). Cards barely made it out in time. And we were just behind on so much. Next year, right? Seriously, it's going on the calendar in August or something. Once I get around to getting the new calendar out and writing in it...

Ok, enough talk. Here are the pics.
2009 December

I hope everyone else had a very, very Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Sixteen Months

A little late. Not unusual. I'm going to stop apologizing when I get things up later than I mean to b/c...well, things get posted late more than not, so....let's just roll with it. I don't think any of you really care, right? ;)

Aiden turned 16 months old on Dec 6th. This past month wasn't a HUGE month with lots of changes really. That could be due more to the fact that he was sick a lot and we were so focused on what was wrong and how to fix it than other things. (I also noticed that while most months I take about a thousand pictures, this past month...there were less than two hundred, even with a holiday. So, yeah...our priorities were a bit different during November.)

  • Aiden just loves his Guess How Much I Love You book. Actually, it's Camden's from when he was a baby, but we use it for all bedtime readings (naps and nighttime). Aiden has definitely come to expect it by now and will ask for it before we get it ourselves. He also asks for it just about any time he is in his room. We keep it on the shelf, and he'll point and beg for it. He's loved the book for a while now, but NOW, he will act out some of it, too. He will stretch out his arms and say something that sounds more like "shisshh" but is supposed to mean "this much" (like they say in the book...I love you this much.) He'll also reach his hands up high and say the same thing. And when we get to the page where Big Nutbrown Hare kisses Little Nutbrown Hare, Aiden makes a kiss noise (he also does it on the last page b/c both Ryan and I kiss him again at the end).
  • Bunny is becoming more important, as well. When Aiden wakes from a nap or in the morning, and we pick him up, he turns back to the bed and signs "bunny" and reaches for him. I've also noticed him cuddling with Bunny a lot more than he used to. He'll hug and kiss him, and when he's lying down, he'll hold him close, too.
  • Another favorite book is Kiss Goodnight. Aiden will read that, say "kiss," and make kissing sounds all throughout it (but not when he kisses one of us...go figure!).
  • Aiden likes to put lids on things - lotions, pots and pans, ANYthing that has a lid...he has to put it on (even if you want it off).
  • Puppy dogs...well, the barks from puppy dogs. We don't actually go up to any of them but can hear them from the house (our neighbors have dogs in their fenced-in yard). Aiden will bark and make the sign for dog. He also is starting to turn his bark sound into the word "puppy" - hard to believe they can sound alike, but if you heard him bark...you would get it.
  • Drawing. He figured out that when you put pen to paper...something stays on the paper! I've always let him try to draw on cards before we send them out, but he never really made the connection. Now he does, and he wants to do it ALL the time! Markers aren't such a great idea yet, though. He will try to take the lid off...even if you have already taken it off, which means he's just grabbing and pulling at the marker itself. Or he'll try to put it up to his nose. I think he does this because he knows he's not supposed to; he'll look right at me as he tries to do it.
  • Stuffed animals that talk/walk/play music/etc when you push buttons on them. He has all these toys that you turn on by squeezing their hands/feet/bellies, and we would have to always push them for him. But he now can do it himself, and he is quite proud of that accomplishment! He loves playing with these toys even more than before. (And it's nice for us because he can do it without us!)
  • Not sure this qualifies as a favorite, but Aiden sure does it quite a lot! Pinching and scratching! (Definitely not a favorite for the rest of us!) If he doesn't want you too close, boy, he lets you know it. We're working on squashing that behavior. If I'm holding him and he does it, I put him right down. He'll get upset (because he wants to me to hold him), but I won't pick him back up until he signs that he'll be nice...and after he signs it, he actually is nice. If we tell him to have gentle hands, he'll gently pat or rub our faces. So, he is getting it. We're also trying to get him to say or sign "no" or "stop" more often - so that he can use that as a way to express he doesn't like something instead of hitting or pinching. (I would certainly prefer that.) He's learning to test those boundaries, that's for sure. Another thing that's not our favorite...us telling him "no" tends to get the opposite response we want - laughing! We can use our meanest voices and faces (even Ryan!), and he somehow thinks it's funny. That's not what you want...
  • Clacking his tongue against the roof of his mouth.
  • Pointing out people's ears, mouth, eyes, noses...you name it. He likes to actually touch them when he shows where they are. And watch out if you try to get him to do it with you because when pointing out where your nose is, he'll try to point in it if you let him (not that he's trying to pick your nose, he just likes pointing where the opening is). When showing you where HIS eyes are, he squints them and makes the cutest face.

Least Favorites
  • Diaper changes. The nasty rash he got all over his body last month also included the diaper area. And it's not so much fun to be wiped and all that where you have a rash, especially when it happens multiple times a day. So...diaper changes have become a little less fun for him.
  • Not being able to fit a lid on something. He'll get all the pots and pans out, and if he has the wrong sized lid for something (which means it won't fit right), he gets really annoyed.
  • Taking anything away from him (he has a tight grip!).

New Developments
  • As I mentioned, acting out parts of his nighttime book and stretching out his arms (Guess How Much I Love You). He doesn't just do it when we're reading the book but at any point throughout the day he'll do it.
  • When I nurse Aiden and I'm switching sides...moving him from one to the other...I'll say "switch!" so he knows what is happening. Now, he says "shisshh" (yes, just like when he's trying to say "this much," but he's trying to say "switch." They do sound alike even when you say the right words.). And he's even made up a sign for it. I guess he gets it from me picking him up and moving him over - he'll put his hands together (as if he picked something up) and move them from side to side quickly as he says "shisshh." Sometimes if he's emptied one side, he'll look up and say it and do the sign all on his own. Or I'll tell him to let me know when it's time to switch, and he'll tell me when it's time.
  • SLEEP! I mentioned this in the post I wrote a few weeks ago about The Sleep Lady. Aiden has improved so much with his sleeping - going to sleep, staying asleep, etc. He has even went without nursing once or twice (during the night)!! The first night he did that, I woke up the next morning and was REALLY confused! I haven't NOT nursed during the night since before he was born. We'll see if this can become something consistent soon! He's pretty much waking just once or twice, but going right back to sleep most times (as soon as one of us goes into the room). Ryan is taking over most of the nighttime wakings now so that Aiden will be more likely to not nurse. I think this has been harder on him because he isn't used to waking at night. He says he is tired a lot more, and...well, I know how he feels! I think he sometimes forgets that I really do get it and that I've spent almost a year and a half going no more than two hours without being woken up. When you sleep through that, you don't really understand what it really feels like. So, it's a new feeling to him these days. I hope to soon be saying that Aiden is sleeping through the night - as in not waking between going down at nighttime and getting up the next morning with no waking in between (not the technical definition of, what, five hours of sleep...ha). We're really pleased with how he's been doing so far!
  • This one's for you, Mammaw Melly...Aiden now will blow kisses!! One night I blew him a kiss from his doorway, as he got ready to read his nighttime story with Daddy. And...he blew me a kiss right back, making the smacking sound and all!
  • I'm pretty sure Aiden's vocabulary is about to explode any day. He really watches closely and intently when you sound out words. He'll watch how you move your mouth and will try to mirror it. Sometimes he thinks it's hilarious if you slow down the word so he can better see how to move his mouth. He'll try to make the "lalala" sound and other words. He does already say a handful of words, but we think we'll be hearing a lot more really soon!
  • Aiden was away from BOTH Mommy and Daddy for the first time. He stayed with MaMaw Sharon while we went out to see the Phantom of the Opera. We were away for 5 hours (even seeing a matinee). He went down for a nap and amazingly slept for two hours (!!!) without waking, and then he played with Camden and MaMaw until we returned home, not fussing or asking for "milk" or anything like that. Of course, very shortly after I was back in his sight, he was signing "milk" like crazy! (And even though it ruined his dinner, I let him nurse, of course.) We all survived. We had a nice date out, acting like adults, and the boys had a fun time with their grandmother.

(He's actually trying to get the hat back on here.)

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Must See

I didn't do a whole lot of Cyber Monday shopping, though I bought a few things on our list. I did snag one really great deal on amazon.com, though. This cd/dvd was highlighted as one of their main deals for that segment of time. I clicked to find out more and saw a video of one of the songs. I was sold before seeing a quarter of the video. The whole album is good, but I wanted to post this video. You might have seen/heard it, but in case you haven't, check it out. It's beautiful.

"The act of playing music with people of different cultures, religions, economics and politics is a powerful statement. It shows that we can find ways of working together and sharing our experiences with one another in a positive way. Music has the power to break down the walls between cultures, to raise the level of human understanding." ~ Mark Johnson, founder, Playing for Change

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Sleep and Skin Setbacks...

So, as I mentioned, Aiden got sick and then was visited by the teething fairy again (two upper canines this time). The past two and a half nights, he has been back in our bed, after becoming inconsolable in his own bedroom. We held out for a while because we really don't want him to get back into the habit of being in our bed and nursing more often (after he's been doing SO well!!), but it couldn't be helped. The first night, he was sick and didn't nurse much like I worried...could have been the Motrin helping, though. The next night, he did nurse more than he has been. And last night, he was in his bed until about 4:30...but had been up a lot before then, so we finally gave in because WE needed some sleep, too! Hopefully he'll sleep better tonight, and we'll get back to where we were. On the flip side, he's been napping better the last couple days. Probably because he is so stinking exhausted from being up a few hours in the middle of the night the past few nights. You can even see in and around his eyes that he's lacking some much-needed sleep. :( Poor guy. It can be tough being him sometimes.

On another note, not sleep-related but skin-related... We're still having problems with his eczema flare-up. The rash is actually looking worse again in some areas, even though we're applying his lotion extra - each morning and night, and we're using the steroid cream still. We're attempting to see if the latest health/skin issues could be related to him starting to drink straight cow milk. We're taking him off all dairy for the time being to see if things clear up. After my post about him being so sick lately, a number of people have commented on facebook (my posts are exported there), and it seems a lot of other mamas and kids that we know have had milk issues that affected colds and skin problems. And we've read about these being related sometimes, so we're going to see if that's the case with Aiden. We began thinking there might be a link with the milk a little while back. Maybe there is; maybe not. It's worth a shot, though. Something has got to be the culprit...and something has got to make things better. Nothing else is different in his routines with eating (other than the milk), skin-care, laundry-care (we do cloth diaper, too, but we have been using the same detergent since we started almost a year ago), or anything else that should have any relevancy.

Have any other ideas - bring them on. We're getting desperate here.
Here are the pics I took of Aiden the other day when he had his fever and was just not his normal active self. This is really the first time he's had a fever (well, he had one a really LONG time ago, when he was just a few months old, but it wasn't but a degree or so high and was from teething), and this really took it all out of him. Thankfully, whatever he had seemed to last just a day. After that..teething set in again, so he's still quite clingy with mommy, just for a different reason.

Anyway...here's the most adorable and pitiful thing ever. Makes me want to just hold him tight, kiss him all over, and rock him in my arms!

You can see he really doesn't feel well. :(

If you really know Aiden (and his sleep habits...), you know something like this NEVER happens! He just laid there...and fell asleep (while we were watching The Little Mermaid - I broke some big "no tv" rules because there is only so much you can do when all the little sick guy will do is lie there on or next to you all day long).

Friday, December 4, 2009

What's Up with Aiden??

Ok, so I've mentioned a couple times that Aiden's been sick a lot lately. In case you're wondering what in the heck has been up, we'll try to briefly tell you.

First, he has had a ton of colds over the last few months, but we're starting to wonder if he really is dealing with allergies. When he gets sick, it lasts for a long time, a few weeks or so; he's always been like that. Then he'll be well for a couple days before catching the next bug. We could put him on Zyrtec to see if that helps next time he gets sick, but we're hoping to try some other preventative measures first. A friend mentioned Zyrtec making her child, close in age to Aiden, very sleepy (as in he slept ALL DAY and night), and when we were in to see Aiden's dermatologist the other day, one of the doctors told me that for this age, Zyrtec is actually more often used to help with sleeping... I would rather not induce sleep with my toddler with medication. I would rather not use medication unless necessary anyway, so we'll go for all the other home remedies first and see how that works.

Then...Aiden up and got a minor infection that quickly turned major. He has such sensitive skin, and sometimes we forget that because we take such good care of it and it is almost always so soft. When he gets any type of rash (esp in the diaper area), it immediately turns into an infection. Normally, we can treat it and it goes away, just as immediately. But this last time, that didn't happen. It got worse each day. After calling the doctor, we were told to keep doing what we were doing and to add in another cream on top of the one we were using - and to call back in a week if it wasn't better. That was a Thursday, and we were in the office on Monday...because the rash had continued to worsen each day and had spread over his entire body. It had become a bacterial infection by that point. We were given two antibiotics (Aiden's first time taking any antibiotics) on top of an ointment to use on the rash. BUT...he still continued to get worse. Ryan and I were getting very worried. Another call to the doctor's office at the end of the week had them telling us to just give the medication more time to work. But it didn't seem to do that. The next week, we emailed the dermatologist (before we were seeing the regular doctor) with details of dates and recent pictures. He called in a different cream.

That seemed to do the trick. We saw improvement overnight and were really impressed. And relieved! He explained that the infection had also combined with his eczema had made the rash worse. We've been doing some more research on eczema and have read a number of interesting things. For one, an infection such as what Aiden had can very quickly get worse and spread over the entire body. (Hmmm...sounds familiar.) They are more prone to these infections because of how sensitive their skin is and how their body reacts to them. Also, children with eczema can get sick more often because their system is putting energy into dealing witht he skin issues. So, basically their immune system is weaker, leaving them more prone to getting things like...(dum, dum, dum)...colds. Or allergies. Or asthma (which has not been an issue, and we hope doesn't become one).

Aiden's dermatologist had us come in this week for a follow-up, and we're glad he did because after the rash cleared up...it came back. Not as bad as it had been, but we were worried that it was back at all. It happens that this time, the rash is just from his eczema flaring up - not the infection returning (whew!). But the eczema flare-up isn't disappearing as quickly, even with the cream, and it's very irritating to Aiden. The rash from before would wake him up often when he was sleeping, and just drove him crazy! He's had some similar problems with itching this time, too. But hopefully it will be under control again soon.

And THEN...he must have picked up some virus at the dermatologist. The clinic is inside Duke Hospital, so there are all sorts of things he could have been exposed to, even though we took our own toys and all (he still touches things in the waiting room and exam room...). He woke up the next day with a fever of 102, which later went to almost 103. No other symptoms other than throwing up first thing after his morning nursing and then lying around all day and snuggling with Mommy (Aiden is not typically a snuggler - he's too busy!). He was quite the Mama's boy, wanting to be held almost every minute he was awake, which was understandable. He ended up back in our bed last night, too, because he would scream if I tried to put him down to sleep. He just wanted to be next to me; he did sleep rather well in the bed and didn't wake as often as I expected him to (but that could have been the Motrin helping with that, of course). I wouldn't have minded too much if he had, though. We were worried about him getting dehydrated b/c he wouldn't eat or drink anything and only nursed a couple times. I hated seeing him so under the weather. He kept signing to me "hurt," but when I asked "where"...he would just sign "where." (He hasn't quite figured out that he's supposed to show me where!) That was a little heartbreaking - to know he was hurting somewhere but not where. Today he's doing better, though: no fever, playing some, eating and drinking a bit more. So, maybe it was just a 24/48 hour thing and not something worse.

I'll have to post a couple pictures I took yesterday while he was sick. He just looked too pitiful. I even broke some big rules and put some movies on, since all we were doing was sitting on the couch... I'm on the laptop right now, though, so I'll have to get on the other computer to upload the pics.

Maybe after this we can focus on being healthy for a little while? That would be nice! I'm not sure how Aiden feels about all of this, but I feel like we've been quarantined in the house for the last five or so weeks... A break would be nice. Our fingers are crossed!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

The Sleep Lady

So...we've been trying a new approach to teaching Aiden to sleep better at night. I haven't written about his sleep much lately. For those of you that have been reading the blog for a long time, you might remember me posting about all of his sleeping troubles earlier on and some of the things we did to try to help, mostly taking tips from the No-Cry Sleep Solution. We had some successes with that approach during different times (sometimes developmental milestones would interrupt and making things harder, as would be expected), but it's not currently working. In fact, Aiden has been having more and more difficulty getting to sleep at naptimes, and he has still been waking up at least every two hours at nighttime (after sleeping for about three hours the first stretch). Sometimes he wakes more often, even hourly, and once about four am or so hit, he was almost always waking hourly or more often, wanting to nurse a lot from that point on. I do appreciate the NCSS approach. Even though Aiden hasn't been a great sleeper, we wouldn't change much about how we worked with him. I think a lot of it is just how HE is (esp when Camden was a great sleeper, and I've tried to do things similarly with both of them). From birth, he would fall asleep after nursing for five minutes. No matter what we tried, we couldn't get him to stay awake to nurse and go to sleep on his own afterwards. I think that hurt him and set him up to want to nurse to sleep even more. We haven't been nursing him to sleep for a very long time; we've always tried to ensure he does not fall asleep that way. But I think his personality has not been very conducive to being an easy sleeper. I have changed my way of thinking about babies and sleep a lot since this little one arrived!

In case you're wondering, I've been against Cry-It-Out from the start for many reasons. I just don't think it is good for a baby to be left to cry, raising their stress hormone levels (which isn't good for many things), and reinforcing an idea that you are not responding if they cry out to you. As a child gets older and can understand more, that might change some, but I still don't feel it's right for us. Do I think CIO is necessarily going to scar a child for life? No, not really (depending). But I'm not comfortable with it, so I choose not to do it.I know many people like that approach or feel it's right for them. I'm not here to argue against it or say it's the "wrong" way. It's just not our way.

Well....I actually did recently try it. And it totally backfired. I tried it for two days for naptime because things were getting so difficult, and I was at the point where something had to give. And when Aiden got to the point he was really crying, not just fussing or crying a little bit, I went into his room where he CLUNG to my neck and would not let go. He was nearly impossible to get back into the bed, screaming when he saw me putting him into it and just holding me tighter. If I mentioned going bye-bye for the next few days, he would grab onto me and cry. He totally got what it meant, and he letting me know that he was NOT ok with it. I was not ok with it, either. So, for a week or so, his mattress was moved to the floor so that I could be nearby and he could still fall asleep. It worked better, but we didn't want to leave the mattress on the floor.One thing I noticed during that time, though, was how uncomfortable the crib mattress is. Have you tried laying on one of those things? Aiden has gotten used to sleeping on our tempurpedic mattress every night, so I can see how going from that to his crib might not be the most fun experience. You try it. I wouldn't want to do it. So, we're on the lookout for a crib mattress topper made from memory foam. That might help even more. (Maybe he'll sleep straight through once he has a comfy bed...who knows!?) And yes, I am aware that would not be safe for a newborn to use (there is a reason those mattresses are so firm), but it's perfectly safe for a child his age.

Enter The Sleep Lady. A friend of mine, Melissa, who feels similarly about teaching her little one to sleep (without crying), told me about this approach, and I was very interested, to say the least. Google "The Sleep Lady" (Kim West) - you'll find all kinds of wonderful things said about her! I requested the book from the library, and we've been working with Aiden based on what she recommends. Basically, you gradually make changes in how you put your little one to sleep. You start by sitting next to the crib, reassuring the child that you are nearby, touching them if needed (but not constantly or consistently). If they cry and you need to pick them up, you do it - but then put them back down when they are calm. After three days, you move the chair farther away, to the middle of the room. Three days later, even farther. Etc, etc. Eventually, you are out of the room and baby is going to sleep on their own. It's not guaranteed the baby won't cry, but he certainly isn't left to cry on his own, and you are there for reassurance. You just don't rock the baby to sleep.

Night one.... It took nearly an hour for Aiden to fall asleep. He played for a while, walked from one side of the crib to the other. When he started to really get tired, he tried to fall asleep standing up. He stood right in front of where I sat and placed his head on the crib railing, trying to sleep just like that so he could be as close as possible to me. It was rather endearing. I finally put him down after he almost fell over a couple of times (he was seriously falling asleep standing up!), and he went right to sleep. There was a little fussing, but no actual crying. That night, he woke a few times but went back to sleep on his own. He nursed once in the middle of the night. In the early morning, Ryan brought him to the bed. I had conflicting feelings about how we should handle that. On one hand, he wakes often to nurse, and we both need our sleep. We also want him to learn to sleep in his own bed all night. On the other hand, oh how we love having him there to cuddle. (Yes, Ryan, too.) And it's nice waking up with him and being able to relax in bed together for a while before having to get up (versus getting up to get him out of the crib). Anyway, Ryan brought him to the bed this first night...and I quickly decided that was our last night co-sleeping. I'm not sure if it was because he hadn't nursed much that night and was suddenly next to me, being reminded that milk was within reach...but he demanded to nurse for the next two hours, getting very angry if I stopped and unlatched him. So, that was that. From then on, he has stayed in his bed.

After that, Aiden actually got sick, so we didn't stick to moving the chair away. She even recommends staying where you are if the child is sick and not moving until they are better. And we weren't comfortable pushing something new on him while sick. But he has continued to do really well. We've had some nights where he was up at 4am and had a hard time getting back to sleep (as in up for an hour or two), but on average, he might wake once around midnight and go right back to sleep as soon as one of us shows up. He wakes to nurse around 3am and goes back to sleep after that (in his crib). We thought about stopping the night feedings altogether, but Aiden insisted he nurse once. I mean, he actually is HUNGRY, and it's obvious the way he eats. But then he will typically be back to sleep until around 6am. He is waking a bit earlier, but he is also sleeping a lot more, so he feels more rested earlier. If we get to sleeping straight through, waking an hour early won't be as big of a deal. Now, like I said, not every night is like this, but he has improved so much - and it happened immediately! He might fuss a bit some nights, but he is not actually crying at all. (If he does cry, we get him and comfort him, but that's rarely needed.)

We also haven't been doing well about staying at the "designated" spot when he wakes up during the nap or during the nighttime..but this is mostly because of him being sick and uncomfortable. Part of him being sick has to do with a really bad rash, and it's made it hard for him to sleep some nights/naps, so we have been standing by him if needed. He's still doing remarkably well, though.

Naptime is improving, as well. As I type this, I am sitting in a chair outside of his bedroom door...and he just layed down and went to sleep. I have been sitting here for about half an hour, but that's fine. It's not expected that he immediately goes to sleep. That's not the point. The point is for him to learn to do it on his own, as I gradually get farther from his room and eventually am not needed nearby. (Do you immediately fall asleep when your head hits the pillow? I know it takes me much longer than 30 minutes... And actually, since he's in his room now, my insomnia has kicked in, and it's becoming harder for me to get to sleep. But that's a different issue.) When I put him in bed for naptime, he'll play some. Then he usually dirties his diaper (thanks). Plays some more (with a new, clean diaper on, of course). Drops his Bunny and blankets onto the floor. Walks around - sometimes jumps around. And then goes to sleep. It's such a nice change from the frustrating routine before where we would both almost be in tears before he fell asleep! And naptime length is getting better. He will often wake after an hour but go right back to sleep when I show up. He's actually had a few naptimes that lasted about two hours with no waking. Shocking!

Another amazing improvement? Sometimes at night, while Ryan and I are still awake, we have heard him wake up over the monitor...and then put himself back to sleep. No crying or fussing at all. THAT is incredible.He's never done anything like that before.

Some things I really like about this book and the approach...
  • Kim West (The Sleep Lady) is an LCSW. I like that she has a social work background and this isn't just based on her opinion or made-up nonsense.Me having a background in social work doesn't have anything to do with this, except for the fact that I get that her background actually has merit and is relevant to this topic.
  • You do not have to read the entire book! You read two intro chapters and then skip to the chapter based on your child's age. Three short chapters. That's all! She has chapters for various ages up through five years, I believe.
  • She encourages you to reassure your child and do what you are comfortable doing with your child.
  • If the child cries and you want to pick him up, do it! You don't have to cut any of the snuggling or close parts of your routine out. You might just do things at different times so that you aren't doing too much for the child once he's in the bed.
  • It's a gradual process so that the child learns you are nearby and he can still go to sleep on his own. While it is stated that there might be some crying...we have not experienced actual crying. My friend, Melissa, hasn't either.
  • We have learned that Aiden can do much better than even we expected. We have been very pleasantly surprised with his abilities to go to sleep on his own.
I'll keep you updated. We've been doing this for a while, but like I said, Aiden's been sick, so we haven't been as firm in the approach as we might have been if he wasn't. I plan on posting some about what all he's been dealing with the past month of being sick soon. We have an appointment with his dermatologist today, where we hope to find out some more, and I'm waiting until after that to post. But regardless of all of that...we are beyond thrilled with the results and Aiden's improvement in getting (and staying) asleep so far. (Thanks, Melissa!!!)

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This Thanksgiving we stayed at home - our very first one with just the four of us. Camden was only out of school for Thursday and Friday, and the traveling just wasn't justified...two days on the road and two days visiting didn't make sense. So, we stayed at home. It was nice, though we did miss being with our families. It's normally a time where we visit and see people we see rarely, which is one reason I like Thanksgiving so much. We had a Thanksgiving lunch with all the traditional foods and just hung out all day, taking it easy. Nothing dramatic or fancy. It was an easy-going day, and Ryan and I even topped it off with a glass of wine before bed. I haven't had a sip since Thanksgiving 2007. That's what pregnancy and a very frequent nurser will do to you. ;) Since we started working with Aiden's sleeping, he is now consistently sleeping from 8pm until around 2 or 3 without nursing (meaning he does wake around midnight very briefly but goes right back to sleep). I hope to post soon about the sleep training. We're very excited about it.

Yesterday we were going to put up the Christmas decorations (no Black Friday shopping for us; no thank you!), but we realized that we finally had to give up our old tree and trade it in for a new one. I have a strict no-Christmas-until-after-Thanksgiving rule, so none of that happens until the day after. I LOVE Thanksgiving. It's the one holiday where it's all about being with the people you love for that one reason. No commercialism, no expectations with gifts... I like to give Thanksgiving the attention it deserves.

But now we're busy getting in the Christmas spirit! Ryan is getting ready to go pick up the new tree, boxes of decorations are all over the living room, Christmas music is blasting, and we're all together at home. We even have some company for the weekend. MaMaw came down to help out today... Ryan and I are going out together for our first date since Aiden was born. It will be Aiden's first time being away from both of us at the same time; his first time with a sitter. And of course, not just any sitter would do! ;) For our date, Ryan is going all out, and we're going to see The Phantom of the Opera. I haven't been in years, and Ryan has never seen it (the movie does not count - it compares in no way). I'm not sure if he purposefully got tickets to something that I would not be able to resist or get refunded at the last minute (haha!), but his plan is certainly working because we will be walking out the door without a baby shortly before 1 this afternoon. We did get afternoon tickets because Aiden still has to nurse before bedtime; hopefully if he misses an afternoon nursing, he won't be upset, but we weren't going to chance the bedtime nursing. I'll let you know how it goes! I am a bit nervous, I'll admit it, but I'm also really excited to be going to see the opera and doing something adult with my husband. :) I think Aiden knows something is up, though. As well as he has been sleeping lately, he was up almost hourly last night. Hmm...

Friday, November 20, 2009

Fifteen Months

My not-so-little 15-month-old

A little late on this, but we've had so much going on, I'm happy to get to it at all! This past month has been full of traveling and sickness, so I'm sure many of Aiden's likes and dislikes will have to do with those things....

Favorite things:
  • Animals and making animal sounds, especially growling and roaring! He's really been into reading books that are about animals, too. We visited a petting zoo at a pumpkin farm and the NC Zoo this month, and he really enjoyed both. He has the cutest little baby roar I have ever heard. It makes all of us laugh and grin each time we hear it.
  • Refrigerator magnets. He has the bottom half of the fridge to himself, basically, and he has a few magnets that are there for him to play with. These include a tiger magnet I already had and some other magnets we got at the zoo...again with the animals...they're a hit!
  • Cars. The kid loves cars, especially those little matchbox cars. A few times in the past, Camden has considered getting rid of his huge collection of them, but I've managed to convince him to keep them for future siblings. Glad we did! Camden has actually decided he likes them once again, and whenever Aiden finds his way into Camden's room...he tries to snag yet another car from the stash! He will just stand around rolling the cars and trucks on the window sill, the couch, the ottoman, a bookshelf...anything at the right height for him. It's nice to have a couple small toys that I know will hold his attention for long periods of time, especially for when we're out and need to have something stashed in the diaper bag for emergencies!
  • Grandparents. We have gotten to see almost all of them for at least a little bit this past month due to a planned visit and one unplanned visit. He is learning to remember everyone and knows they are all fun! (So...when is everyone going to come visit us again??) ;)
  • Candy - in the wrapper. After getting some candy in his little trick-or-treat bag on Halloween, Aiden thought it was too much fun to put the candy in and out of the bag and to just play with the wrappers. He has no idea there is anything IN there, and we're perfectly happy to keep it that way.
  • Peas! I have never seen a child get so excited over eating peas! He will actually jump up and down and shake his hands when he sees more peas that are on the table and not yet on his tray. He wants them that badly!! He also really likes dishes with squashes in them...pumpkin, butternut...it's all good.
  • Swinging. The funniest part is that while swinging, he will look so serious. You might actually think he's not having fun and wants out, but if you attempt to stop the swing, you will discover that you are very wrong. I've noticed that Aiden looks this way a lot, though. It often does not mean he doesn't like something. He's just a serious-looking kid; very observant and focused.
  • Mum-Mum snacks. I heard about these from my friend, Becky, and then happened to see them at Whole Foods. We've had to eliminate some of Aiden's favorite snack foods due to the allergy issues, and these are completely egg-free and wonderful to toss in the diaper bag on the way out the door, just in case! And he loves these things!!

Aiden likes dropping things over the side and then peeking over to see them.

Least favorite things:
  • Long car rides. He's never been a fan, and no matter how often we go on these long rides, he doesn't seem to be getting used to them. Quite the opposite. He's also not a fan of napping on these long car rides. Or being in the car when it's dark outside. Instead of sleeping...he gets scared.
  • Milk from a sippy cup. Not that he hates it, but it's not his favorite. We were just recently told we could give him cow's milk again. He wants it from our glasses, though. Or sometimes he'll drink it from his cup with the lid off, but only sometimes. And it's even rarer that he wants it with the lid on. (He's never had a bottle, so that has nothing to do with it.) Mostly...he just wants what WE have. Doesn't matter that he has the same thing in his own cup... Funny kid.
  • There really isn't a lot Aiden doesn't like. We're really blessed to have such a great kid (sleeping habits aside). He is typical in that he doesn't like someone trying to prevent him from doing what he is trying to do... But I've also noticed that if I take the time to explain that I understand what he wants to do and why he can't do it, he actually calms down some. We've noticed a difference in how upset he gets when we don't explain this versus when we do. Tantrums aren't that bad just yet. (I know, I know...we have time for that to develop more...)
  • Going down for naptime. This has gradually gotten worse and worse lately. We had a good routine for a while, and then he was getting molars and lots of colds and...there's always something, it seems. He would end up almost falling asleep when he nursed, but it was working ok because I would put him in his crib before he was actually out. I would pat his back for a moment, and he would be asleep in no time. (Sleeping long enough is another story.) But I've noticed he wants to nurse longer and longer and is having more and more difficulty going to sleep, sometimes taking an hour (after nursing). It can be quite frustrating for Mommy. Sometimes Aiden thinks it's fun, sometimes he is really trying to go to sleep but just can't seem to get there, and sometimes he fights it like crazy. At the end of the month, I put the mattress on the floor so I could sit next to him, which is what he really wants. We're going to have to come up with another plan soon, though... (more about that when I get some time to write about it)
  • Baths. He's used to taking a shower with Mommy, but we're changing some of our morning routine, and it means Aiden is taking baths more. He's fine with the bath..it's the rinsing his hair that he doesn't like. I think he prefers the shower over that.
New Developments:
  • Learning how to walk down steps. We visited family a couple times this month. One grandmother has a short half-step between a couple rooms and another has two regular steps between rooms. It wasn't long before Aiden mastered going down either.
  • He's also realizing that he can get hurt if he falls down those stairs. He wasn't scared with a couple steps, but back at home...he refuses to go down the stairs, even with a parent in front of him. He will stand up, reach out his arms, and whine for you to carry him. He won't budge otherwise. Well, he will sometimes turn around and go UP instead...
  • Aiden can also get down from the bed. Our mattress is on the floor without a frame at the moment, since we're co-sleeping at night. There is something to prevent him from rolling off the side of the bed, but he has learned to shimmy down past that and scoot off the bed by himself. The day I took his 15-months pictures, he decided to show me that he no longer had to sit for those pictures...and he proceeded to roll onto his belly and scoot right off of that chair and walk away. Great timing.

  • More signing! It is really amazing and totally crazy how quickly babies pick these things up. I can show him a sign once...and that's all it takes! I haven't counted how many signs he knows at this point, but I would say it is twice what he knew last month or close to twice. We are hoping to get some of the Signing Time videos for Christmas to work on some new ones (hint, hint). ;)
  • Animals and animal sounds are big hits, and he picks them up so quickly, too.
  • Remembering what is in certain books and anticipating what happens next. I can say a word or phrase from one of his books, and his face will light up as he looks at me (sometimes those eyes are really wide, like he's thinking, hey...I know that word!), and he will go and get the book it was from. Or I'll be reading a book, and right before I get to a certain part, he'll do the sign for it or a sound from it. One example is from his Big Words for Little People. There is a page about "privacy" - and it says something about wanting to be alone to do weird dancing (and we jiggle like we're dancing) or needing to pee (and I do the sign for peeing). Before I say those phrases, he'll start dancing and grin at me or do the sign for peeing, which he thinks is hilarious!
  • Aiden now says "mama" alllllll the time. When he wants something or wants me, he'll put his hands out towards me and say "mamamama" in the cutest little voice ever. Sometimes Ryan will go in to check on him at night, before he is in our bed, and...although he's supposed to try to get Aiden back to sleep without me nursing Aiden...he'll show up at the door of the bedroom with the little guy in his arms. "He wants his mama," he'll say, in his own cute little voice. (I want to tell him he was conned.) What really happened was he went in to get Aiden, and Aiden pulled one of his cute "mamamamama" stunts, and Daddy is whipped and gave in. But it is hard not to do that; it's just the sweetest thing. I think all mamas will agree that is the sweetest word in the world. "Mama." It also seems that "dada" is not heard so much around here anymore. Hmmm. He seems to have switched one out for the other.
I know there is more that I am missing, but we've just had too much going on for me to remember it all right now. (It's been a rough couple weeks here.) I've had this open and drafted for...three or more days now...and am just getting to finishing it, so I think we'll just leave it as it is at this point! Maybe this next month will be a better one....or should I say the next one, seeing how we're halfway through the sixteenth month by now!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take a Moment...

to hug your children extra tight and thank God they are alive and well.

Then take a moment and help out some fellow parents who are not so lucky this evening.

A mother and father lost their baby boy to SIDS on November 10th. While I do not know the family personally, they are part of a really tight-knit online group I am a member of. We all have decided to get together and round up donations to help cover the cost of the funeral, which is going to be very expensive. This is such a minor thing and a huge thing at the same time. Helping with the expense will really take a heavy burden off of the parents, who are dealing with this HUGE unexpected loss. But at the same time, we all wish we could do something more.

If you are interested in sending even $5 to this family, it would make such a difference. A little here and there really adds up. I know we wouldn't be prepared if, God forbid, we had to deal with something like this all of the sudden. I doubt many of us would be...

Christopher laughing with his Mommy

One of the group members set up a website for this family. The family did not ask for any help, but we, as a group, wanted to step up to the plate and do the only thing we could, the majority of us being hundreds or more miles away. There are pictures of Christopher, the four month old that passed away, and his parents. There is also information about the funeral arrangements. You can donate from this site (money goes directly into the mom's PayPal account) :

We cannot imagine how horrible it would be to wake up to this kind of nightmare. Words cannot describe the tragedy of losing a child, and I'm sure there are few words that can offer comfort. It is such a devastating situation that we all worry about and we all fear. This was their child. This was their only child.

If you are not led to donate, please, please pray for this family! They so need your prayers.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

How to eat a pomegranate....

Yes, that's really what this post is about. Well, how to open one and get those little pieces of goodness out, to be more specific. I've had several people ask me how I do it recently...mainly because I have said that it's easy to do and doesn't take but a minute. But most places that tell you how to open them say to soak them and then pull out the seeds...blah, blah. NO! That takes way too long. And I would rather spend more time eating than opening. And with the fact that these babies go FAST in our house, the method needs to be super-quick.

A few years ago, before I had ever even eaten pomegranate, I saw Marth Stewart show how to do this. If you have ever spend time doing it the long route...you will be kicking yourself. For all of you that have done that, that avoid eating pomegranates because you don't want to go the long route, or for those of you that don't eat them just because you don't know how to open them...here you go!

Click HERE.

Sorry...I can only post the link, not the video. I'm fairly certain you don't have to have facebook to see it, but if not... You score the pomegranate - cutting around the fruit as if cutting in half one way, and then again as if quartering it (don't cut through!! Just cut through the edge. You don't want to waste any of those morsels inside!). Then pull apart the four pieces. You might have to use the knife to pry a bit. Next, you take one quarter, hold it over a bowl (might want to be a bowl with good, high sides, and you might want to put it in the sink...just in case some juice makes its way out. That stuff stains.) - with the skin facing up and the fruit facing down into your palm. Take a big wooden spoon or something similar...and you basically whack the seeds out of the thing!

Not only do you get the fruit out quickly...but you take your frustrations out at the same time. Who knew pomegranates were good for your emotional health, too?! ;)

I know these things are SO good for you and there are tons of ways to use them in recipes, etc. We just eat them straight. They don't last long enough to do anything else with them! And they're the perfect size for little Aiden, no cutting necessary.

Friday, October 30, 2009

I'm falling way behind on my posts lately, and I have a bunch that I am intending to get up...one of these days. We've been sick with colds lately, for one thing. Aiden got a nasty cold while we were visiting family not long ago. He was well for, I'm not kidding, two days when he caught another cold! This one was courtesy of big brother, bringing germs home from school, I suppose. He has a hard time taking seriously warnings such as "stay out of Aiden's face," "don't touch his food!" (hello?!), etc, etc. I think seeing how quickly Aiden got sick and how bad this cold was helped. And then I caught it, of course. When Aiden is sick, he tends to sleep as close to me as possible...as in, he hugs my neck and puts his nose and mouth right up next to mine! How could I NOT get sick?! But it's impossible to stay away because having me so close helps him, which is too important to me, especially when it helps him get to sleep...and we both need that badly! I'm currently trying to keep it from turning into a sinus infection...not sure how successful I am quite yet. It's questionable.

And we recently had a death in the family. My grandmother (my stepdad's mother), Grandma Strode, just passed away last weekend. We knew it was going to be soon, but it was sooner than expected. We're currently in Kentucky. We made it in time to go to the funeral. Ever notice how that is such a good way to see extended family that you haven't seen in a while. Sad circumstances, yes. But it's always great that everyone shows up (which is how it should be) and comes together to be there. We got to meet a couple new family members - my step-brother's new baby boy, Loxley, and my step-sister's even newer baby girl, Ella. Plus, we didn't make it to Christmas at with my step-dad's family last year because we needed to be with Ryan's grandmother who was in the hospital and close to passing away, so it was nice to see everyone and let them meet Mr. Aiden. Aiden and Grandma Strode had actually been able to meet. We stopped and visited this summer when we were coming to Kentucky. We wanted to spend some time with Grandma while we had the chance - and we really wanted her and Aiden to meet. I'm so glad we made that happen! You can't wait on that kind of stuff because you don't always have "next time."

Aiden trying to share a toy with Grandma Strode

So, we came to Kentucky for the funeral and to be with family, but we're also staying for Halloween since we're already here and Ryan won't miss any extra work because of it. He already had to take off through Friday for all the traveling - a full day on the road each way - so we figured why not stay and relax a bit instead of rushing back. I'm taking advantage and trying to rest up a little to get well. I don't really feel like sleeping until 10am counts as "sleeping in" if I don't get to sleep until 1 or 2am because I am sick and then am up every hour or two with a sick or hungry baby.

And we're not really getting to relax too much with the boys underfoot. Aiden, who remembered he could manuever steps last time we visited family, has decided he can now go down all on his own, too. So he tries to practice that as much as he can. I think he's more comfortable practicing at both my mom's and Ryan's mom's because they each have some areas that just have one or two steps separating rooms. That means we have to stay right with him, esp when every now and then he sits down to slide down the step...and he's not quite in the right position. He gets it right most of the time, but...

So, we'll get back into our regular routine sometime. Surely. We've also been having some naptime struggles with Aiden, and I'm really hoping to kick into gear and get him back on track - or on some kind of track! - once we get back home and things calm down. I think all the traveling and all the colds this past month haven't helped with things. And sometimes he needs one nap a day and sometimes two... It's been fairly frustrating and time-consuming. We'll figure something out. Hopefully. (And hopefully soon!)

Anyway, that's the story with us lately. A very busy time, and blogging has just had to take a backseat, whether I wanted it to or not.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Allergy Confirmation and Update

We took Aiden to the allergist on Tuesday and got some definite answers. We already knew what we would find out, but confirmation is a great thing.

First of all, we were very impressed with the doctor. We went to Duke Allergy, Asthma, and Airway Center (which is beautiful with a huge pond that goes right up to the walkway around part of the building...almost level with it...and a fountain that Aiden would watch from the huge window in our exam room), and when the doctor came in to see us, he had clearly read through Aiden's entire history very thoroughly. He knew all about his IP diagnosis and discussed that with us some - usually we have to tell doctors about this, and they often have not heard about it. He really impressed us with that and then with his knowledge of up-to-date things concerning allergies and research. This guy was really on top of his game. And he was great at what he did and answered all of our questions thoroughly and patiently. (In case you didn't expect this, I am one of those that goes into appointments with a list of questions and things to discuss... Surprised?! Probably not.)

Anyway, moving on... First we did the skin test. We had some concerns because while we've heard stories from people with NO problems at all, we've also heard from people that have had all sorts of issues on the other extreme. But the doctor reassured us, and he was right. Aiden never even flinched while the test was being administered. I actually had to ask the nurse if she even pricked his skin! They tested only for egg this time, for various reasons, and did a control for histamine reaction and a control with saline. These tested for possible false positives or false negatives - and Aiden reacted just as you would want, so we were confident with the results from the egg test. He walked all around the hallways shirtless during the test. He obviously was not irritated in the slightest. BUT he also immediately showed a reaction to the eggs.

We talked with the doctor about what all this means, and we also did a blood test and should get those results back next week. He explained to us that with an allergy like this, you go all out with restriction. It's an all-or-nothing approach. That means that even if a food is labeled as being free of eggs but "processed in a factory that also uses eggs"...that food is a big no-no and should be treated as if it has egg in it. Why? Well, you never know if they really do keep things separate. Even if they make a good effort, you never know when you will get a product that just happened to be exposed to the allergen. OR you don't know if Aiden has some tolerance level and will slowly build up to that and then have a bad reaction. This all makes sense. It also cuts out a LOT of foods we thought were ok. (Even if he's had them in the past and has not reacted...keep in mind the reasons I just listed to understand why he can no longer have them.)

Another issue is the flu shot. Now, we've been on the fence about the flu shot(s) for a while now. I won't go into all of that right now b/c that's not what this post is about. BUT the flu shot is cultured in eggs. That doesn't mean he couldn't get the shot. It does mean there is a lot more to deal with to get it. He would have to go to Duke Hospital and get a skin test with part of the vaccine. If that shows that he is ok to get the shot, he then gets 10% of the shot. Wait another half an hour or so...and then he gets the rest. Keep in mind this would be his first time getting the shot, which means two doses. We would have to go through that again. And if we were to give him the seasonal and the H1N1 vaccines...that means 4 visits to do this. And at least two skin tests and 6-8 shots. At the hospital, which is about 40 minutes away. With lots of time waiting while there. That's easy with a toddler, right? And he's not in a high-risk category, especially being at home with me and still being breastfed on demand. You can probably see why we're debating whether to go through all of this with him. Besides, they're out of the vaccine at this moment anyway. Guess we have time to think. Honestly, we're leaning more towards not doing it, though.

As I said, we also did a blood test. After being at the office for over an hour, Aiden was starting to meltdown...getting tired, wanting out of there, wanting to nurse...and then he gets to have blood drawn on top of that. He was PERFECT for the visit for the first two hours, but you can see why he would have a problem with that last part. Why the blood test when we already did the skin test and know the results? They might be able to find out if he is also allergic to cooked egg (which we kind of already know after the test with the cooked muffin on his cheek, but still...). Also, they test his blood level. If a certain result is found, we could do a food challenge (also at the hospital) in 6 months or so. If it does not come out below a certain level, that means we need to wait another year and do the testing over - no food challenge before then.

When we got home, I went through our pantry, separating the foods with eggs (or labeled as being processed by a place that also uses eggs) and foods without. We have a few places to call b/c they don't label well and are in question. But I had a visual showing me that this actually does cut out a lot of foods...a lot we thought would be ok for him. We'll deal. The hardest part will be traveling (maybe more people should just come to us...make it a heck of a lot easier on us!), parties, going out to eat... I've seen what a challenge this can be with my mom and all her food allergies, BUT because of that, I've also seen it is quite possible! So, I know we can do this. We've already tried some egg replacements. Some have worked just great, some ok but not as great...that's how it goes. Some foods just won't be the same but might just have to work! Luckily, Aiden is starting with these restrictions so young that he won't know any better. ;) And odds are good that he will outgrow the allergy by the time he is five years old.

I think I covered it all... If there is more to share after the blood results come back, I'll share then.

I have a few pictures from the visit, but something's up with blogger, so it's taking forever. And it's late - too late already. So, I'll try to post them tomorrow night or Monday. We're off to the zoo tomorrow, so we'll see. If you want to see them now, along with a cute video taken with the camera, click HERE and view the last pictures in the album. The video is of Aiden finding a way to keep entertained while waiting in the exam room. He was so well-behaved! (Up until that last half-hour, of course, but who could blame him at that point?!)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Proving me wrong

Do you ever feel that children are just out to prove their parents wrong? I constantly feel that way...

Yesterday I said in my post that Aiden won't even work with me on going down steps on his bottom or crawling backwards. I've even tried showing him he can scoot off the bed. But he just doesn't pay attention and wants to do things his way.

Well, just this morning, he is lying there next to me on the bed (bright and early, of course). He was on his back and starts kicking his feet like crazy. I'm thinking what is this kid doing??? He was right next to the edge, but we have this thing that goes in between the sheet and the mattress to keep him from rolling off, so he was kicking that but going nowhere because he couldn't get over it. He managed to scoot down enough to get past that and was sliding right off the bed. I grabbed him just in time to help keep him from falling on his face as his feet hit the floor. But he would have been fine without me - I was just surprised!

Then...he did it all over again to show Daddy!

Out of curiosity, I put him on the steps earlier to see if he could come down some of them. He kind of did... He made it down a couple. He would kind of sit and kind of scoot his foot over the edge. Once he gets near the bottom, he just reaches out for the top of the gate and walks down the last couple. I tried again later, and he was just mad, wanting me to hold him, and walked right out - into my arms, of course, since I was there to catch him. But boy he didn't care that he was on the stairs!

Anyway. Totally proving me wrong. As usual. It seems as soon as you say something is a certain way, they up and change it on you.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Catching up...

I've been MIA on the blog for a while, I know... We've been very busy traveling to visit family, dealing with colds and teething (together they are quite fun, let me tell you), pumpkin farms, soccer games, allergy testing, dentist appointments, dead cars... You get the point. Busy!

We spent a week with Ryan's family last week. It was nice to have a little downtime, as much as you can have with a toddler that is into every little thing at a different place with much to explore. ;) My favorite part...with others around to entertain Aiden, I actually got to shower, dry my hair, AND fix my hair every day. Nice. It was also great seeing Aiden interact with all the granparents. He really had a blast! Least favorite...Aiden was up more than once an hour just about every night. We were going to have him sleep in the pack & play while we were in the full size bed. That didn't work, so we were all snuggled close in the bed instead. Aiden was teething with his fourth molar and then he caught a cold...so he also discovered that he loved using half of my pillow to lie on. (He is continuing to love that, as well.) That was all fine. Just meant no sleep for mom. He also was quite clingy at night from the teething, so he practiced sharing...his cold...with me. We did get to have some fun visiting with the grandparents, going to the park, seeing some of Ryan's close friends, and just not having to watch the clock as closely as usual. Plus, we got Camden back! :) He had been to visit his dad for a couple weeks and then was visiting my dad for a few days. It's always great to have him back with us again. AND when picking him up in Kentucky, we spent a couple hours at my mom's to work on Aiden's costume. Yes, that's right, she was able to help make his Bunny costume after all!

While visiting, Aiden decided he would have everyone read books to him over and over - but not sit still for many of them. At home, he'll just sit through entire books, no matter how long. While there, he would sit through a page or two at a time! He also decided he would once again go up stairs. He hasn't even attempted that in quite a while, even with encouragement! And he learned how to go down stairs, too...small ones. He will hold onto the wall and slide his foot over the edge of the step down the front of it, to the floor. When on the big stairs, he forgets to do that and just attempts to walk down! I don't know how others teach their babies to scoot down on their bottoms or bellies...I've tried and he just won't go for that at all.

Once back home, we were thrown back into it all. No easing into it. But we had a fun weekend full of soccer games and a visit to a local pumpkin farm. The farm was a HIT. Lots of fun stuff for the kids - both Camden and Aiden's age. And the tractors were all running on vegetable oil - how cool is that?! We really had a great time and will definitely be going back there again. Anyone local looking for a good place - it's Philip's Farm in Cary. Some info here, and get a coupon here (print up more than one, too!).

Then Ryan's car decided to die. It's finally back on the road again, but it spent a couple days in the driveway first, which complicated life a little bit for a while.

We also had Aiden's big appointment with the allergist. That's for another post so I can focus on that. Not for this smorgasborg...

And today I took both boys to the dentist. Aiden's first dentist visit ever and Camden's first time to this one since we moved. Good news and bad news... Bad news is Camden might need braces soon because the last dentist messed up. We have such bad luck with dentists. Long story, but when he was younger and we were sent to a ped dentist for a cavity (one of those that didn't let the parents back with the kids - I was not comfortable with it from the start and have since NEVER left him alone)...they did a root canal instead (b/c of insurance and money - you can't imagine how furious I was when I found out). Couple years later, that tooth had to be pulled. A space maintainer was put in; it popped out this past spring, and the last dentist said we didn't need another because the next tooth was close to coming in and the other teeth wouldn't move into the space. Apparently that wasn't true, and the teeth are already moving. Sooooo...we get to go to the orthodontist to see what they say. Joy. Good news was Aiden did a FABULOUS job, which wasn't too much of a surprise. The kid loves brushing his teeth! When they laid him back to check his teeth, he just let them...twice. He did get mad and fuss after the dentist pushed on the gums where the molar is coming through. You can't blame him for that!

Sorry if this sounds all jumbled and thrown together. It kind of is.

Instead of posting some pics, here is the album of our pics online. Everything's there. :)
2009 October


Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Blogging for Change - Blog Action Day '09: Climate Change

Today I am blogging for Blog Action Day 2009: Climate Change. What does that mean? Thousands of bloggers everywhere are blogging about the same issue on the same day, writing based on our individual interests/knowledge/experiences/etc. Learn more about it all here.

My take isn't going to be an in depth discussion about something complicated. No, I think in order for many of us to get involved, things need to be simple, easy. So....in light of that, I want to post on the many different EASY ways to get involved. Lots of little things that can add up to make a big difference. That's how I started...with one little change here and there. Before I realized, we had made MANY changes. I thought I would share some of those little changes for those interested. Please comment with your own to add. I'll try to keep it short and sweet by listing the things we do.

First of all, cleaners are easy to start with... Keep those toxic, bad-for-the-environment as well as bad-for-your home/children/etc. out of your home. It's easy to get non-toxic, biodegradable cleaners that work and work well. I'll share some things we do/use. Some of the things listed might make you wonder what they have to do with the climate...but think in terms of packaging, transportation, waste, etc...

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Homemade green cleaner. This is our go-to cleaner. It is so easy and quick to make; you probably have the ingredients in your home already; and it works so well. Many have told me how much they love this after passing on the recipe. Recipe here.

Biokleen Bac Out. This is the best stain remover I have ever used. I've used it on carpet stains in our old aparment -stains that were there before we moved in and remained there after being professionally cleaned. I put this stuff on and followed the directions, which said to let sit for 5 minutes and blot out. I didn't think it would work, but thought this was a good test. Ummm...totally came out. I've gotten out berries, tomatoes rubbed into clothes by a baby, and so much that otherwise would have never came out. You can even use this with cloth diapers. This stuff works - without scrubbing. You can get it at Kroger's, Whole Foods, many other places.

Dr. Bronner's Soap. What a cleaner this stuff is!!! You can do so much with this stuff - from washing hands, cleaning clothes, household cleaning, body wash, even use it as a toothpaste. Now - I have not personally used it for anything other than cleaning in my house, but I have heard of others who have used it for all of these things. It cuts through it all. We use it to clean the tub by mixing it with a little baking soda to make a paste. You don't ever have to scrub - rub it all over, wait a while, then wipe it off...sparkling clean. You can get this in all sorts of scents. I like citrus. We get ours at Whole Foods. I've heard it's at Target near the makeup aisles.

Baking Soda & Vinegar. These two cleaners can take care of most of your household needs. Really, they can. You can even unclog drains with these two and some boiling water. Try it. No need for those highly toxic cleaners to do that. There is so much you can do with these, I won't even bother going into detail. Try a simple google search - you'll find more than you need to know!

You'd be surprised at what you can use to naturally get rid of pests, too. Any time a single ant has come around, we've used my homemade cleaner to keep the area super, super clean. It works well because it has borax in it. We also sprinkle borax around the area they are coming in - and they stop! They hate that stuff. Here in NC, we can get some really huge spiders in our home. Spiders scare the crap out of me. A friend suggested this to get them out, and it works. Plus, it's fun for the older kids - Camden immediately wanted to use it outside to see spiders and other bugs. No need for a spray in the home, which I wouldn't want around the kiddos.

Green Clean. This is a great book, taking on each room in the house and telling easy ways you can clean your home using green methods. The book itself is waterproof and stain-resistant. Throw it in with all your cleaning products and always have it on hand.

Laundry - We use Country Save, a great biodegradable laundry detergent. Works great, doesn't have ingredients that might irritate those with sensitive skin (e.g. someone with eczema, like some in our family). It's even a top one recommended for cloth diapers. Instead of fabric softener in the dryer, we use dryer balls. Do you know about all the stuff that is found in laundry detergent and softeners...stuff that stays on your clothes. Read up on it sometime. You might want to switch, too. If you really don't want to give up fabric softener, I've heard Ecover is great and can even be used with cloth diapers.

Dishes - We recently made the switch to ecofriendly dish detergent for both handwashing and in the diswasher. We use Ecover. I looked into this a lot before settling on a brand to try, after hearing negative reviews about many brands (from what I've heard, Seventh Generation is not a great one...just fyi). Ecover consistently had wonderful reviews. Even skeptical Ryan admitted - after the very first use in the dishwasher - that the dishes came out CLEANER than they ever had before, even with something like Cascade. We also use the Ecover soap for handwashing dishes, and they both work really well.

Get some of these for your liquid hand soap. Foamers make the soap last longer, which is nice for you and your pocket book, but they also help keep extra plastic bottles from being used, keeping more of them out of the landfills. They also keep the kiddos from using too much - and the foam makes washing hands a bit more fun and easy (and less messy). You can actually put other kinds of soaps in them, as well - for the shower or other areas in the home. And get those big bags to refill soap bottles...and these will save even more money, plastic bottles, and last quite a long time.

If your neighborhood collects recycling, then there you go. No reason not to join in. It's been made easy for you - simply put the reyclable items in the garbage can for those items instead of the other can. If your neighborhood doesn't collect recycling, like our old apartment complex, you can get containers to collect them and then take them to the recycling center once a week. Sound like tough work? It's not. Really. This is what we used to separate our recycling when we lived in the apartment. There are three different bins that stack and open easily to toss things in. To take them, simply put each container in the car, and drive it on over to the center. Easy peasy. (I can't stand that phrase, but it's true.)

Biodegradable garbage bags?? Yes, there is such a thing. These are great! Order them with the amazon.com's subscribe and save to get free shipping and a discount. When you recycle, you end up with lots less garbage to toss, so the tiny extra cost for these bags aren't even noticeable.

Speaking of bags, get some of those reusable ones for your groceries. Everywhere sells them, usually for 99 cents or so. I like the ones from Whole Foods that are made from other recycled plastic bags. And in case you always forget them, put one of these in your car/purse/diaper bag (that's where my extra is). We put the bags in a location we will see when on our way out the door - and a couple left in the car, too. After a while, it becomes second nature. And keep in mind, this doesn't just go for groceries...but any kind of shopping!

Ok, getting kind of personal here... But for the ladies, try using the Diva Cup instead of tampons/pads. Why? None of the chemicals/bleaching agents (yes, those are in tampons/pads...which go where?! Exactly...), they're reusable (not gross - you clean them, duh), and save a TON of money and keep a TON of tampons/pads from landfills (which IS totally gross...think about it!). Find out more info here. Please try it. You'll never look back.

In line with that, check this facial cleansing method out, too. I've been doing this since I first became pregnant with Aiden. Save $$, do good for your face, improve your skin quality, quit using harsh cleansers that aren't good for you anyway, and reduce waste (get rid of many other items you use with this one method). Try it for a month and then see what you think. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Groceries... Buy local and organic when you can. Why? Save the earth from some of that fuel. Support local sources. And help keep some of those pesticides from being used - from the earth and from the food that goes into your mouth. When you can't do both...try to decide which is more important. Check out this site to see what the Dirty Dozen are (the top foods to buy organic b/c they are most affected by those nasty pesticides) and the Clean 15, those lowest in pesticides. Try to buy the Dirty Dozen foods organic when possible. Have a local farmer's market - visit it!! You'll get fresher items at a great price. (But not always organic, so decide which is more important.)

Diapers - go cloth. It's easier than you probably think. And there are so many styles and types available! I assure you, these are not the cloth diapers your mama (or grandmother or greatgrandmother...) used. Not ready for that kind of leap? Try gdiapers. Biodegradable insert, non-plastic liners, no chemicals or bleaching agents (yes, those are in disposable diapers...the part that goes against babies bum)...better for baby and the earth. Can't lose there. We actually use cloth liners in our gdiapers. It's a great method b/c we can switch to the flushable inserts if we need to for some reason, which doesn't happen often but it a nice option to have. Another thing you can do...use cloth wipes. We add our own soap solution to help clean baby's bum, but you can just use water. Disposable wipes include fragrances and other ingredients that can actually irritate, while we choose what we use with the cloth. And cloth is super cheap.

Outside, we use recycled rubber mulch in our flower bed. Sure, it may cost a bit more upfront than other store bought mulches, but it doesn't need to be replaced as often, so it lasts much longer. The color doesn't fade. It's ecofriendly and looks great!

Paper towels. We still use them some but barely. We reuse washcloths and towels. Easy.

Food - buy in bulk instead of smaller packaging. Instead of getting individually packaged items, like snack pouches, juice boxes, small yogurts, water bottles...buy those in larger quantities and divide them up in reusable containers, especially when packing a lunch, like both Camden and Ryan do each day. Not only will that save money, but it keeps the extra packaging from the landfills. Also...cook! Buying less premade foods, prepackaged, and processed foods is less costly, better for you, and better for the environment.

Baby food - make your own! Not only is it very healthy, and you get to have complete control over what you feed your little one, but there are many benefits. You can use all organic foods and still pay less than buying already made baby foods. You have fresher food. Many think babies that eat homemade baby food eat a better variety and aren't as picky, as well. That's been true for us (and I have my first child that was fed baby food to compare, too). You don't have to deal with all those little jars/plastic containers, as well. Your baby, your pocketbook, and the earth will thank you. You don't need those books with fancy "recipes." Just steam and puree or mash. Some foods..you just mash. ;) Here is a great website for tips; we used this site a lot.

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I know there are more things we do. Some of it has become second nature at this point. Little things here and there easily become habit. Now it's your turn.... Please share some things you do, little or big! And then be sure to head on over to these sites to check out more about climate change.

EPA - http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/

We Add Up - enter the huge giveaway that includes tons of awesome prizes... http://www.weaddup.com/climategiveaway

Blog Action Day - find other blog posts and learn what BAD '09 is all about http://www.blogactionday.org/

Looking forward to seeing your comments and tips!