Sunday, January 8, 2012

never thought this would happen

Once again, my blog has been neglected.

Two days after my last post, I got a positive pregnancy test. The pregnancy passed uneventfully for its first half. We discovered a marginal placenta previa at my 20-week ultrasound, and planned on checking it again in six to eight weeks.

That next check never happened.

My membranes ruptured at 23 weeks, and I was placed immediately on hospital bedrest. They were going to keep me pregnant as long as possible, with the ideal goal being 35 weeks, at which point they would induce. But at 25 weeks and 5 days, I went into unstoppable labor and my sweet baby Jonathan Gabriel was born by emergency c-section.

He lived 27 days.

I pumped during his time in the NICU, and he was able to take some of my milk, but then got an infection and had to stop all oral feeds. The effects of the infection were just too much for his little body to handle, and he lost his fight for life on Christmas Eve of 2011. We were heartbroken.

We are back into a new normal now. We will never stop grieving in our hearts, but will continue walking with God and thereby make it through the days, weeks, months and years to come. We will welcome another child if God chooses to bless us that way, but not now. Not this soon. Even if Jonathan had lived, we would not feel that our family was complete at only three children.

Tim is still at Schwan's. His route has been adjusted a few times and he is now only working nine days out of every two weeks instead of ten. We are happy that he now has every Saturday off. His sales are increasing, but very, very slowly. I've been able to grab a few more transcription contracts to help out, and plan on going back to work this week.

I'm also continuing to declutter. I had hoped to get it done before Jonathan got here, but with the surprise hospital bedrest, that didn't happen. But now that I'm not making daily trips up to the NICU, I have a little more time, so I'm trying to do a little bit every day.

I'm also going to declutter my body, too. For the first time in nearly six years, I'm neither pregnant nor nursing. It's hard to remember how to eat for one. A few people have recommended My Fitness Pal online to me, and I like it so far. My six-week follow-up appointment is tomorrow, and I'm going to ask the doctor then about exercise, since I've never had a surgical birth before. I have been feeling fine, though, so I should be good to go.

I'm also going to ask him if there was a reason for my water breaking so early, and if I can do anything in the future to try to reduce my risk of that happening, and what signs I can watch for to see if it would be more likely to happen again. I will no longer have a blissfully innocent pregnancy. And unlike early miscarriages, I won't even have a "safe week" that I can get to where I can feel confident that the rest of the 40 weeks will happen.

They might not.

But I love children and love being pregnant and if we are blessed with another pregnancy, I will be thankful for every day, every hour, that we have with that baby. Every moment is a gift.

Monday, June 20, 2011

losing it and gaining it

Losing weight and gaining work, I mean.

Tim and I are starting week 7 of the Couch to 5K plan that I mentioned in my last post. We would be on week 8 now, but we each had separate setbacks causing us to re-do a week. We haven't lost any weight yet, but that is dietary, so we're going to try to eat healthier now, like if we want some ice cream, just do the recommended 1/2 cup serving size (it's TINY!) instead of a big bowlful, and try to do more veggies instead of chips, etc. The workouts are hard, but doable. My main problem is that with nearly any type of exercise I do, I get bored. I even try to do my routine while watching TV and even that doesn't help the time go faster, even if it's one of my favorite series.

In regards to gaining work, Tim's pay still is not increasing at the rate we originally hoped it would. He did have his super weeks and had a "bonus" of sorts during those weeks b/c of a few days with some super sales, but now he's back to normal, and normal isn't much more than nothing. It would be nice if a better job for him would fall out of the sky, but I don't think that will happen, so I've accepted that the transcription that I do needs to be a permanent fixture in our lives. I can handle that.

I just need to finish getting my routine in line and the apartment organized so that instead of putting out fires all day, I can actually feel like I'm accomplishing things. It's a long, slow process, but I just need to make time daily to do SOMETHING towards that end goal. It will be so worth it.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

spring moves on, some progress on some projects

Well, so much for my goal of wanting to blog at least every two weeks. Maybe I should write it on the calendar so I'll remember, or coordinate it with the Saturdays that Tim works (every other Saturday) or something.

Benjamin's continuing to add more words to his vocabulary, including "pray" and "amen." We are still doing elimination communication with him, and he's dry for almost every nap and while sleeping at night, now, and even stays dry while I take him to the kitchen for a drink of water first. He wakes up with a greater need to drink than a greater need to go potty, so I let him sip a bit first and then tend to his other needs. :) I don't have any high hopes of him being 100% potty trained early or anything, but it's been nice to have him go in the potty even on occasion, and hopefully when the time DOES come for him to be potty-independent, it will be a relatively smooth transition.

Lydia continues to read pretty much whatever she can get her hands on. Our trips to the library to refresh our supply of books are more and more frequent. Also, when Tim and I watch TV, we usually turn on the closed captioning so we can keep the volume low and don't bother the neighbors (or a sleeping Benjamin). And Lydia will occasionally read the closed captioning, too, or at least give a valiant effort. I got her a "preschool workbook" in her Easter basket this year and she's enjoyed going through that and learning how to follow instructions with a worksheet instead of just drawing whatever. She also had her first cut-and-paste experience and it went well. It didn't take her any time at all to learn how to use the scissors.

I did finally get some more done in decluttering. I still have to do the bathroom, my bedroom and my closet, but the kitchen, dining room and living room are about 95% done. It is a HUGE improvement over what it was before. Here are a couple of before/after pictures.

Dining room before:

Dining room after:

Play area/living room before:

Play area/living room after:

There is also a couch in the living room that was piled so high with yarn and coats and random stuff that you couldn't even really tell that there was a couch there. But now the couch only has pillows on it, and people can actually sit there. :) I don't want to relax too much because the bedroom and closet are going to be HUGE projects, but I feel a little more able to breathe now. I can sit in the living room or dining room and feel peace instead of getting stressed out because of the clutter.

Tim and I have started the Couch to 5K running plan this week. It builds up with gradually-increasing runs until you can run enough to run a 5K race straight through without walking. I was SUPER sore after the first workout, and the soreness lasted for three days, but I stretched properly after the other two workouts and feel better now. I'm looking forward to doing this program. I want to be able to play actively with my kids for longer than 10 minutes at a time before I get out of breath. And if I happen to lose a pound or two, then I won't complain. :)

Tim's sales at his job have not increased noticeably yet, and the backlog in my transcription is gone (so now I have to log in at just the right time to see if there is work available), but we are still making it. Just because I am a spreadsheet nerd, I started tracking Tim's sales, since he is on a 14-day rotation, so we could see if there were any trends on a particular day or not. So far, there haven't been, but he's only been on each new day for about 4-5 times, so it's still too early to really tell. He's been easily making the sales goals that the company has set for him each week, but those goals aren't quite high enough to be our personal sales goals. I believe the sales will still increase. He has a couple of "super weeks" coming up, and hopefully should have some great sales during that time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

march? it's march already?

I'm still wondering what happened to February. I'm still keeping up on Facebook, but I will try to pop in here twice a month to make an update, maybe with pictures, maybe with videos, since there's really only so much that can be said in the 420-character limit that Facebook imposes on status updates.

Benjamin is walking all over the place now. He started walking slightly later than Lydia did (at 16 months instead of 15), but like her, he took only a very short time to go from 100% crawling to 100% walking. He is also talking quite a bit, saying "words" like amen, cup, diaper, potty, and banana.

He also had surgery a few days ago to remove the cyst under his eyebrow which had been there since birth. He looked great right after surgery (he woke up MAD but calmed down once we were in the car), but then over the following couple of days, his poor eye got bruised and swollen.

The swelling is gone now, but the bruising remains and is working its way out. I had no idea that eye surgery would cause that much bruising and swelling. He was such a trooper though and didn't let it slow him down at all.

The daily Bible devotional that someone passed along to me has been helpful. I have skipped a few days, but try to read every day during naptime, while it's quiet. And since the quarter is new, I've also gotten on the ball with doing Lydia's daily readings as well. I do hers with her at bedtime, in between her prayer and her other story.

She is turning into quite the reader herself, though, and I have to hold the Bible away from her while I read it, or else she will get distracted looking for words on the page that she knows instead of listening to the story. She loves going to the library and getting new books. Here she is reading one of them (and hubby and I had not read this one to her before this video at all - it was completely new to her).

And here she is reading some out of her children's Bible.

She is also into writing. She wrote this note for a friend of hers. It says, "Happy birthday to my friend Aaliyah and Lydia."

Since she's so into reading and writing, I am going to get her a dry-erase writing practice tablet for Easter, along with a fat preschool workbook that I'll do with her. The workbook also includes cutting and pasting, which she hasn't done at all, and coloring specific colors, which she hasn't done (she has colored freely, which is good, but I think it's time for her to also be able to follow instructions).

She continues to amaze me with the way her mind works and the things she says and does. I am part of an e-mail list for Christian ladies, where we take turns sharing some spiritual e-mails that we write. I wrote one when Benjamin was a newborn, outlining how we should be like a newborn, but then since then, I've been stuck on topics. I sent an e-mail to the organizer and she sent back some suggestions, one of which was to take some of the things that Lydia says and find a spiritual application for them. So I am doing that, and less than a week later, already have several ideas to outline.

I have gotten very, very little done on the decluttering front. It's just so hard to do with two little kids running around all day. I am trying to still do some every day, but sometimes a week goes by and I've done nothing, and the clutter grows during that time, which just further demotivates me. The last time we had people in our home was right after Benjamin was born, when people brought us some meals, and since I was newly postpartum, I had a reason for the mess. But before that, I can't remember the last time we had people over. I want to be able to have people over again, but not if walking through our apartment is going to be hazardous.

Hubby has taken it upon himself to lose some weight, and he's been making slow but sure progress in that arena. It helps that I pack his lunch every day now instead of him grabbing some random fast food wherever he's at (and this is also helping our checkbook as well). I, on the other hand, have gained weight and am now at my highest non-pregnant weight that I've ever been. I've been stress-eating and need to stop.

I mentioned some possible changes for hubby's job last time, and those changes have started this past week. And yes, it DOES mean a pay cut for us - and quite a substantial one. The company changed the commission structure and they pay a tiered commission on daily sales now instead of weekly sales. Overall, they pay out more commission now than before, but the base is significantly lower now as well. The pay cut will remain until hubby builds up his route. A couple of days are already built up to a good level, but others lack a good $500 in sales before it will meet our needs. And his new salary, by itself, is now not enough for us to live on.

We've cut our budget where we can, but I am stepping up working now as well. My play food sales are flatlining, but I am still doing transcription. The company that pays me better rates has actually been backed up for weeks. When I log in, there are pages and pages of jobs available, whereas before, sometimes I could log in and there be either nothing or just a job or two. So I've been taking advantage of this backlog (since I don't know how long it will last) and doing what I can to help make up the difference coming from hubby's lost pay.

So that working is part of the reason I've been absent on this blog and absent from doing decluttering, but other stuff keeping me from it is Facebook and other online things and various games and stuff. I just need to cut WAY WAY back on those things and concentrate on what's important - God and family.

Monday, January 24, 2011

a new year full of changes

Apparently one of the major changes that I'm making this year is to stop writing in this blog, haha. No, really, I didn't intend to do that. But about two years ago, the hubby introduced me to Facebook, so I've been keeping up there more than here, with little one-liners of what's happening. But there's really nothing like a good blog post, so I made some time today to come back with some updates and some new info.

Benjamin turned one in October '10 with no big fanfare. I made the same type of cake for him that I did for Lydia's birthday, but he was not interested in eating it, or even touching it. Poor little guy was a little sleepy by that time, though, so I blame his lack of enthusiasm on being tired. He is very much into solids now, though, eating whatever we eat. He has three molars partway in, and the last one will break the skin any day now.

He is still not walking independently, nor does he really want to. He likes to cruise, though. He has been cruising since late September (although when he started out, it was more like grabbing randomly at the furniture and stomping his feet, and accidentally moving a couple of inches) and his favorite spot to cruise now is on my office chair. He'll hold onto it and walk around and around and around. I've given him a few haircuts, and it's hard to do that because he's very interested in the scissors and wants to turn around and look at them instead of being still, so usually I either have to be very fast, or have to wait until hubby can help me hold his head still.

I've been trying to sign with him and he did "drink" finally, and just in the past couple of days did "more," but those are the only two he's really done. I'm going to keep working with him though because he still doesn't say much, either. His first word was "cup" which he said at about 15 months old, and he can say "hair" as well (but he leaves off the H and the R so it sounds more like "aaah," lol). I'm still nursing him about 3-5 times a day. I'm also still "teaching him to read." In my last entry, I mentioned the YBCR videos, and we do watch those every so often, but I didn't follow the plan as instructed. I found the Doman method, though, and started that around the time of his first birthday. He loves looking at his words. And I put "teaching him to read" in quotes because maybe he'll learn to read with this, or maybe he won't, but the goal isn't to get him to read early - it's just to help build extra brain connections so that later in life, he will have an easier time learning whatever he wants to.

Lydia turned four in December and is great to have around. She's helpful to me and it's nice that she's getting to be so tall, because I can send her to get things for me that she couldn't have reached a year prior (like socks for Benjamin). She talks a ton. I'll share some of the interesting things she'd said later in this post. But speaking of reading, I've put aside the 100 Easy Lessons for her. They stopped being easy. I think she was too young for something so structured and rigid. So I started up the Doman method with her as well (and still show her the YBCR videos occasionally as well, when I want to show some to Benjamin). And I've also gotten better about reading to her. Every couple of months or so, I go out to the library and get a big stack of early reading books, then at bedtime, I have her go pick one out and read it to her (this was a new habit for me to get into, reading to her, because usually I would have just put her to bed). After I read her a book a couple of times, she starts to memorize it and/or recognize the words, and can read it most of the way by herself. She also plays with her foam letters in the bathtub and makes words that way, some real, some not so real, haha.

Re: reading my Bible more. This goal is still in progress (and always will be), but I shared some struggles that I've been having in this area in my current season in life with a friend of mine, and she passed along a daily devotional book to me that I've been finding helpful. It really is just what I need - something daily and directed. So often, I may sit down to read but not have any plan, and not have any idea what to read on that particular day. So having something that already tells me what to read is helpful. I still need to work harder on doing Lydia's Bible lessons with her, though.

Re: saving for a house. The house is not happening this spring. :( We looked into renting a house (just to get out of this tiny apartment), but even that would be more than we can afford right now. I am still doing transcription, but one of my jobs lost their big contract, so that cut down my typing opportunities. I am still making play food (and other items) to sell, though, and finally stocked my Etsy store, and also continually update my Facebook Fan Page.

Re: housework. Since we are going to be in this apartment for a while, I finally lit a fire under myself to do some massive decluttering. I've done a little bit so far, but there is still a ton of work left to do. I try to do something every day, even if it's just something tiny like removing the unneeded items from a single drawer. My end goal to have everything done is May-ish. Hubby is also attempting to get in shape by May as well.

Re: exercising. I took a break from walking outside for the winter, but haven't done any additional exercises. I need to make time to do even the 1-mile walking video that we have, since that would probably be better than nothing. Lydia probably would enjoy doing it with me.

Hubby is still working at Schwan's. Some big changes are coming to it, though, which he'll find out more about on Thursday. It could end up meaning a pay cut for us, though, if he doesn't continue building his route appropriately. But he's gotten a fire lit under him as well and had a decent day on Saturday, doing some route-building. Two weeks ago, he also applied for Safety-Kleen (where my brother-in-law works, but he works up in Utah), but the only thing we've heard from there is that they've received our application. As each day passes with no further contact from them, I keep thinking that that is not the right path for us.

Now, here are just a few of the hilarious things that Lydia has done/said:

8/1/09 - I opened a can of biscuits this morning and arranged them on a baking stone. Then I turned my back briefly to wash off the "essence of biscuit." When I turned back around, I saw that Lydia had made off with one of the raw biscuits and taken a bite out of it. And she liked it.

9/24/09 - Benjamin wasn't due until 10/5, but this was at the "any time now" phase. I asked Lydia if she thought the baby would come in September or October. She said, "October. Just a little bitty October, okay?"

11/19/09 - I was checking Lydia's emerging molars, and she asked me what's in her mouth. I told her "teeth" and then she said, "My teeth are growing up." Meanwhile, Benjamin spit up a tiny bit while he was laying around, and Lydia said that he "spilled."

1/23/10 - Tim (while eating trail mix): "Here, Lydia. Try a Craisin."
Lydia: "Mmm. Can I have another crazy one?"

3/2/10 - You know the song "If You're Happy and You Know It." You also know the song "Oh Be Careful." Lydia combined the two, and was singing, "Oh, be careful little Amen what you do." She then followed that verse up with "Oh be careful little claps what you do" and "Oh be careful little stomps what you do."

4/29/10 - "That's the screamer, see? That's where the sound comes out, right there." We were at the mall and Lydia was talking about a speaker in the ceiling.

5/25/10 - I went to get Lydia out of her room (she had not slept at all) and found that she gained some weight during her naptime. She'd opened up her dresser and donned 4 shirts - 3 long-sleeve and one short-sleeve - all at once.

7/24/10 - Sometimes I bring Lydia on my early-morning walks. She likes to look at the roly polies (or pill bugs) with great interest. But if I suggest that she hold one so it can tickle her hand, she is all "no, thank you." She's afraid of them. On our walk yesterday, she found one and I picked it up and asked her again if she would like to hold it. She said no, and walked a few steps ahead of me. I knew she wouldn't change her mind, so I tossed it into the grass (which Lydia did not see me do). Lydia walked a few more steps and then stopped and looked at me and said, "Can you put it down?" I guess she wanted to make sure I wouldn't sneak up with it and trick her into holding it, lol.

7/28/10 - I've been teaching Lydia to say "excuse me" if someone is blocking her path. Just now, she said, "Excuse me. I have to get in your way." Um, not quite the lesson objective that I had in mind.

8/18/10 - 8/18 - Lydia noticed tonight that my phone shows a picture of my mom (who the grandkids call Rae Rae) when in a call with her. We were coming in after church tonight, and I had a bag of clothes for Benjamin with me. Lydia looked at Rae Rae on the phone, then at the bag of clothes. Then she held the phone over the bag and told Rae Rae to "Look!"

10/5/10 - We were at the store. I was looking at the dry-erase markers and Lydia was looking at the pencils. Then she takes a pack of them off the rack and turns around and says, "Here you go!" and offers them to a random customer who was walking by, lol.

11/8/10 - I was teasing Lydia while filling up her milk cup. First I said that the pitcher of water was milk. She said, "No, that's water." Then I grabbed out a little baggie of coffee grounds. She said, "No, that's ... that's ... that's dirt for coffee." LOL

12/2/10 - Lydia's first Bible reading of the new quarter is Exodus 1. I got about halfway through verse 2 when she suddenly interrupted me and then went on to name the rest of the 12 tribes of Israel by herself, lol.

Here are a few pictures and videos:

What do you MEAN the food is gone already?

Expressive Benjamin

Lydia reads Eddie the Racoon

Lydia crochets some "sausage" balls

Thursday, September 9, 2010

sticking to things

I'm either nine months late or four months early for New Year's resolutions, but now is as good a day as any and there's no time like the present and yadda yadda. I have a lot of things that I need/want to stick to, that I'm having trouble with. So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Reading my Bible. There is always room for improvement here, but right now, there is a LOT of room for improvement for me. I don't know how I slipped out of the habit. I used to read some every day, before breakfast even. I need to get back into it. I am full of turmoil about certain things and need His peace and instruction and wisdom to fill me up to overflowing.

2. Transcribing. Hubby and I talked to a realtor briefly a few days ago, and found out that the "good" news is that it is possible to buy a house with only 3.5% down (plus closing costs). That amount is a doable goal to save between now and next spring/summer. The bad news is that it will take diligence on my part, since most of that savings will be coming from my transcription while we live on just hubby's income. The problem is that I will sit down to do a 10-minute file (which should only take me 30-40 minutes) and I'll do two minutes then check my email. Then I'll do another two minutes and pop on Facebook. Then I'll do another 90 seconds and go grab a snack. And the work easily turns into an hour or more, but if I just sat and did it start to finish, it would take no time at all and I'd be done and could move on to another file or to housework or whatever.

3. Housework. I need to continue getting organized. I have spaces and stuff and stuff that needs to go and stuff that needs a space. I can sometimes think in my head what needs to be done, but then it can't be done when I think about it because it's too big a task or the kids are in bed and it involves leaving the house or this or that or the other. What I really need to do is just take 20 minutes and walk through the house, looking in all the cabinets and closets, and make a list of everything that needs to be done and set up a timeframe in which to do it. Because really, the things need to be done in a certain order, so I need to get to it and figure out in what order the things need to be done, then I can actually DO them.

4. Teaching the children. This is both for their Bible work and the secular work. Lydia has a daily Bible reading for her class, and a memory verse. I usually remember to do her items about an hour after she's in bed for the night. I need to do it earlier, maybe after I do her reading lesson. I am still going through the 100 Easy Lessons book, but only doing a lesson for 15 minutes at a time, then starting the same lesson the next day. She was starting to take up to 45 minutes just to do part of one lesson (leaving off the second story reading, and the writing) and it was stressing me out. So now I just do 15 minutes. And I am teaching Benjamin, too. I'm trying to be observant of him and what he's looking at and thinking, and help expand on his thoughts. I also finally put into use the Your Baby Can Read set that hubby's mom got us shortly after Benjamin was born.

I had tried using that with Lydia when she was about six months old, but it didn't "work" for her. I was excited about it at the time and it might have had results if I had continued the program, but we ended up moving about a month later and then had the start of our long spell of spotty employment four months after that, and doing a baby-reading program just wasn't very high of a priority.

But anyway, earlier this week, I finally took the items out of the package that hubby's mom had got for us. It ended up being the "Deluxe" kit. So not only did we have the five DVDs, but we also had a book for each DVD, a set of sliding cards for each DVD, a big set of flash cards, and a few other things. This kit also included an extensive "Parent's Guide" booklet and DVD. I read the booklet and watched the DVD. There are a LOT of less-than-stellar reviews of this product and a lot of naysayers ("Why would you want your baby to read early?" etc.), but the booklet and the DVD addressed so many of those common concerns.

I don't force Benjamin to sit and watch the DVD. Sometimes he wants to stand, instead. Ha, ha. That was my lame attempt at a joke, there. But seriously, he seems to like it. I sit and watch it with him and do the actions (lift arms, touch nose, things like that). And he loves the extras in the kit, too. This evening when I was showing him the sliding cards (these cards have a word on them, then they "slide open" to reveal a picture illustrating the word), he would start to squeal in anticipation of the picture being revealed.

The recommended schedule would take seven months from start to finish, but the booklet said that an older baby may be able to start recognizing the words before the "scheduled end" of the DVD viewing time. It told me of things to watch for to see if that is happening, and if it does, then I can move on to the next DVD early. I don't anticipate being able to do this with Benjamin, but I can see how it could happen with an older toddler. Lydia can already read most of the words on the first DVD. I'm sure that the 100 Easy Lessons that we've completed have helped her with that, but we haven't even been watching the DVDs for a full week yet, and she can already read the words on there. I can't advance to the next DVD for her, though, until Benjamin is ready, so I think that these DVDs and the 100 Easy Lessons will be a good complement to each other.

The program creator's own daughter was on the parent's DVD for part of a Q&A session with some people who were using the program. And I think it's sort of like a weight-loss ad, where such and such a person lost 50 pounds in two weeks and then the fine print says "Results not typical." I don't think that Aleka's results are typical, but if my kids can read a portion of how well she could, then I will be happy. And she didn't just read well over her grade level. She read FAST. It came out in the DVD that she read the entire Harry Potter series -- the whole SERIES -- in ONE day. I consider myself a pretty fast reader, but there's no way I could do THAT. And because she read so fast, she had a ton of time to do other things besides read and study.

5. Exercise. For a few months, I have been meeting up with another babywearing mama three times a week to go walking with her. I need to keep it up. I feel a little better on the days that I do it (but tired, since I get up earlier than normal so I can walk and be home by the time hubby goes to work). But if one or both of us need to cancel for whatever reason, I need to make sure to still get some activity in on my own. We have a set of Walk Away The Pounds DVDs that hubby likes to do sometimes, so I may do that on my "off" days.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

august is gone

I'm not sure what happened to August, but I managed to let it slip by without any blog post at all. I blame Facebook. It's hard to sit down and write a big ol' blog entry, but so easy to do a quick status update.

Anyway. Benjamin's eczema is doing MUCH better. I picked up his fourth homeopathic remedy to try on 7/28, and by 8/11, he was better. It was only a slight improvement, but it was noticeable. He continued to improve over the next several days.


After (and this is his "bad" side):

His skin didn't clear up totally, though, and started getting worse again, so I gave him a second dose this past Sunday. The remedy he's on is a slow-acting one, so I'm watching it for improvement. I also had been off dairy, but went back on it about 8/1 because of being out of town. I had my doubts that it was dairy causing his eczema anyway, and I'm even more sure that dairy's not a culprit because while on this remedy, his eczema improved, despite me being back ON dairy (after being off for nearly six weeks).

I am still practicing part-time elimination communication with him. He is doing really well with it and on days where I offer the potty enough, he will hold it and wait for me to offer again. I don't expect him to be potty trained early or anything (far from it, given my struggles with Lydia, lol), but I just want to let him keep the idea in his head that a potty is an option. And this one day, I was letting him go potty, and Lydia came in and watched him and then tried to make the sign for "toilet" at him. She stuck her thumb between her fingers, made a fist, then shook it at Benjamin and said, "Potty! Potty! Potty!" It was so cute.

Lydia, on the other hand, had a ton of accidents around the trip, which is understandable. It was kind of ironic, though. I hadn't packed any Pull-ups for her, on purpose, b/c she did so well on the trip to Oklahoma. Well, the first two nights were disasters. So on the third night (and for the rest of her trip) I put her in Pull-ups. And of course, those were dry in the morning, lol. Then when we got back home, I put her back in undies, and was rewarded by a wet bed again for two nights. But now she is back to normal and is doing great.

Speaking of our trip, I do have several pictures from it, but first I'd like to talk about Lydia's reading again. I had dropped off the 100 Easy Lessons because of scheduling conflicts and the trip and everything, and tried to pick it back up again on Saturday. The "easy" lessons (we're in the 60s somewhere) are turning into long and hard ones. So what I'm doing now is setting the timer for 15 minutes and then if she's not done with the lesson, I put the lesson away and we'll do more of it the next day. Then I pick out a book and read her a story. I am a bad mom b/c I haven't been reading to her like I should. She needs that from me.

Anyway, on to the trip pictures. Here's Lydia with my Granny and Grandpa.

Lydia with her new outfit from Rae Rae (my mom) (and the funny thing about this outfit is that the hat and jumper came from two different places... but doesn't it match perfectly?):

Lydia in an Oklahoma wheat field sunset:

Water babies:

I'm still slowly working on getting organized. I moved some small furniture around and threw out some large boxes so far, and can now move on to some small things. A few immediate items are to clean out the bins in the "window" between the kitchen and dining room, organize the pantry, and go through the paperwork box. I hope to get those accomplished this week, amid transcription and a play food order.

Benjamin is crawling. He is now doing a proper hands-and-knees alternating crawl, but this video shows his early attempts. He seemed to just move whatever limb he was thinking about, lol. And even now, when he gets excited, he will forget about his legs and try to crawl just with his arms, which just gets him to a belly flop. :p He is also learning what "don't touch" and "come to mama" mean. I especially figure that the latter is easier to teach him now, when he actually WANTS to be with me. And "don't touch" is taught by a lot of repetition. He gets mad at me, but after about 10-15 tries and being told "no" and being removed from the item, he gives up and finds something else to do. Then 10-20 minutes later, he tries again. haha. But I will persevere and prevail. On the teeth front, he still just has those 6 teeth that he got months ago, with no more looming on the horizon yet. He is finally mostly sleeping through the night again, only waking up once most times (which is MUCH better than the 5-6 times per night he was doing in late July). He can "talk" a little bit. I think he's said "all done" before, when he was on the potty, and after he was, you know, all done. lol. He only did it a couple of times, though, and hasn't really said anything else (not even "mama" or anything). Anyway here is his video. :)

And here is Lydia, enjoying a... "drum" lol:

Saturday, July 24, 2010

nine month stats and high school memories

Phew, I just managed to eke out another entry for July. Go me, haha. I might be able to squeeze another one in next week, depending on how busy things get. I barely find time for all the stuff I "need" to do, and then blogging is just extra.

Anyway. Well, after all that whining about potty training in my last post, I now can't remember the last major accident that she's had. She is really doing great, even for #2s and everything. And last night, she asked if she could wear undies to bed instead of a Pull-up and I asked her if she was going to keep the bed dry, and she said yes, so I gave it a try (she'd already been in undies for naps for quite a while with no incidents). She woke up dry. So we're trying it again tonight, too. I hope I don't jinx myself by saying that it's done, haha.

I'm still doing elimination communication with Benjamin, too, still very part-time. He's still not a whole lot closer to crawling than earlier this month, but he will very rarely get up on his hands and knees, briefly. And he is a GREAT sitter, now. I can set him down, and sometimes he'll stay just like that for an hour or more. But if I lay him down, he will roll all over the place. We had his nine-month appointment this month and he is 27" long (but I think he might be a smidgen longer) and he weighs 15 pounds and 14 ounces. The weight gain is quite a bit from the last time he was in the office. He's still quite the peanut, but it's apparent that I make tiny babies.

Some of the busy-ness that I mentioned earlier is because I am trying to get the apartment cleaned out of random stuff that we just plain don't need anymore. Papers will be the most challenging thing to go through, I think. I am a saver and a hoarder, lol. But there are a few small pieces of furniture that I want to move around to hopefully make the whole place a bit more organized, so we can start having people over again without them feeling like they've walked into clutter city. It's hard, though, because I have all these big ideas but then no time between all the other normal stuff like the kids and the cooking and the cleaning and the laundry and the transcription (and the blogging, haha). I have started getting up early 3 days/week and going walking w/ a friend (and B, but leaving Lydia at home) and those days feel more productive to me overall.

We went to hubby's high school reunion last weekend. It wasn't a huge turnout, but the two people he wanted to come, came, so we got to see them and then a few other people. There was a short meet-and-greet at the school on Friday night, then a BBQ lunch on Saturday and a fancy dinner Saturday night. At the lunch, they had rented a bounce house. Lydia went in there for all of about 30 seconds before getting terrified and wanting out. She's also scared of the roly polies (or pill bugs) on my morning walk that I sometimes take her on. She'll sit and watch one all day long, but if I suggest she hold it, she gets terrified. I don't know how I ended up with such a fearful child. I wonder if she'll grow out of it at some point.

Hubby wants to teach a Bible class up at church at some point, too - but not the adult class. He wants to teach the middle schoolers. The class slots are assigned several quarters in advance, so he's already thinking about who he wants to ask to teach with him.

And here are another couple of videos. This first one is just Lydia being three, lol. It's pretty typical of how she acts all day. ALL day, lol. As a matter of fact, she's actually quite calm in this video.

And here's B laughing at me when I go up and down. It took me a bit to get his attention away from the camera, but the wait is worth it. :p

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

books and bathrooms

Hm. I really need to get better at this blogging thing. One post a month does not make a very updated blog, lol. Anyway here is my first -- but hopefully not last -- entry for July.

I've been feeling a little down on myself lately. Fun events have happened, but they were events that I didn't get to go to. My schedule was open. It was an event that I would have greatly enjoyed. But I wasn't invited (and usually the hosts were people who I thought were closer friends than I guess they really are). I only found out about these events later, when the pictures or a mention of it was posted on Facebook or something. It's hard to just suck it up and move on, but that is what I need to do. There ARE people out there who love me for who I am, and I can't be invited to everything. It does still sting a little when I hear of yet another event that went on without me, though.

Lydia is doing well. I've actually started homeschooling her. :) There is a book out there that Tim's sister gave us called "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons. I started it with her a couple of months ago, and she really likes it and caught on pretty fast. It's really a great book and I've heard lots of good things from others who have used it on their children. Here's a little video of it in action:

But as well as she's doing with that, she's still not doing so well with potty training. She still has about 3-4 #2 accidents a week. I don't know what else to do with her. I can't find any pattern as to what causes them. Sometimes it's when she's busy playing, but that's not the case for all of them. I'm really at my wit's end with it. What makes it worse is that she has absolutely no qualms at all about going in the potty. She'll try if I ask her to and will almost always go (and we're still talking #2s here). I feel like I almost need to remind her ever half an hour or so, as if we were in the beginning of potty training instead of near the end.

Benjamin, however, is doing well with his "potty training." I'm able to let him "sit" on the big potty now (without a seat insert), so that definitely makes the cleanup easier, since I don't have to dump out and clean the small potty each time. I still offer just based on timing, but there are some really good days where I only use like 3 diapers all day long. If this continues to go well, I may get him some tiny undies for his first birthday. Having those would definitely make going potty in public a LOT easier than it is with a pinned diaper.

I did go off dairy and have been off it for about 3 weeks now. I had worse cravings this time than I did last time. But I am introducing some goat's milk and some raw cheese, and both of those seem to be tolerable. Benjamin was also extra fussy right after I went off dairy, but that fussiness ended up being caused by his teeth... he was working on numbers 5 and 6. He's really starting to get quite the toothy grin. :)

He's also increasingly mobile. Still not crawling, but he's getting closer. I'm guessing that he'll at least be army crawling by the end of this month. He can almost get up on his hands and knees. He sort of does it w/ a "straight" bottom, like if he is doing girly-style push-ups.

Another book that I've been reading is "Raising Your Spirited Child." I don't think Lydia is "spirited" per se, but she does have some of those characteristics. I'm taking that book and hopefully finding a bit of meat, then I can spit out the bones. But anyway, there was a chapter about introverts and extroverts, and that chapter was helpful to my relationship with Tim of all things. See, he is the poster child for extroverts, and my picture is in the dictionary next to introvert. That chapter explained a lot for both of us, and we kind of know better how to relate to each other now.

Friday, June 18, 2010

off dairy again

I emailed B's homeopath a few days ago, since she wanted to hear from us about two weeks after I gave him the remedy. His eczema had cleared up some, but it came back, so she had me give him another dose and also suggested that I go off dairy again, this time for six weeks. Tim's high school reunion is in 4 weeks, so that weekend should be pretty interesting as far as meals go. I went through pretty severe withdrawals the first couple of days, but seem to be feeling a little better now. I'm a little nervous about getting all my calories, though, since dairy was a huge part of my diet. A lot of what I ate either was dairy itself or it had dairy in it. I picked up some almond milk and some soy ice cream. So far the almond milk seems fine (not sure if I like the unsweetened one or not, I may try coconut milk next time) but the soy ice cream made me feel a little nauseous afterward. I'm not holding out a ton of hope on dairy being his trigger since I did try it previously. He is showing some improvement, but that could just be the next dose of remedy doing its work, and not the dairy at all.

Not a whole lot else going on. I am finding it hard to keep on top of my chores, especially laundry. I keep saying that I will fold the clothes after "just one more load." But then while that load is washing and drying and being put away, another dirty load seems to just appear out of nowhere. Part of my problem is that I am still doing some transcription and have tried to do a little extra to help with B's medical bills from his recent tests, and for his visit to the homeopath. Plus, we need to gather together a few funds so that we have a small lump some so we can possibly go shopping for a large item next spring.