Saturday, December 10, 2011

Artistic endeavors

Sometimes I have a hard time coming up with a title for the blog posts. This was one of those times.

We had a wonderful time with Grandmommy Diane. We went shopping with Romelie and Cori so Grandmommy could get birthday (and Christmas) presents for the girls. Romelie got a jewelry box that you decorate with something like 750 tiny stickers and jewels. It was a fun group project, and we took the extra sticker pieces and stuck them on Rom's shirt. Hence...artistic endeavors...and Romelie is like a work of art herself.

Relevance. There it was.

We also took an extremely cold walk to the park. Romelie and Grandmommy played on the slides while Cori and I huddled together for warmth. And mostly we just relaxed at home. The girls were entertained, Diane and I took turns cooking, and we watched some fabulous movies. We miss you already, Grandmommy!

Now we are pretty much counting down the days until our Houston trip. I have a crazy busy work week ahead of me, so I'm trying to find time to clean, do laundry, and of course finish Christmas shopping! We have the tree up and decorated, too. Time off, vacation, and Christmas...here we come!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Green Bus. By Romelie Dancer.

This is the story Romelie told me this morning:

Once upon a time, there was a green bus. His name was Green. He lived on top of a roof. He loved to make funny faces. His friend was a blue car. His name was Blue. They went on many adventures together where they would change colors. And that's the end of my story.

Anyone know any good publishers?

Friday, November 25, 2011

My big kid

Romelie is 4 years old!

We'll start there.

Romelie was very happy and excited for her 4th birthday. We had a few outings prior to her actual birthday. We went to the MN Zoo the Saturday before. The weather has been unusually warm, which has been amazing, so we hit all the outdoor exhibits while it was still enjoyable. The night before her birthday, we went to the Mall of America to get our annual photo with Santa and to let Romelie use one of her free ride passes. I love our mall Santa, just for the record. He rules at getting kids comfortable and taking a good photo. This year Romelie was just fine with Santa, but Cori was not having any of his presence, so after a couple of tries, we ended up with this pose. Look closely. Notice anything odd?

...Did you see it?

Yup. Those are my feet, my legs, and my hand in the photo. The only way Cori would do the shot is sitting on my lap, with me leaning back out of the picture, which Santa snuck into the background. Hey, it worked, so I'm happy with it. And Rom had a good time on the rides afterwards.

For her actual birthday, we did the same low-key style celebration as Cori's birthday 2 weeks earlier - cake, presents, playtime. "Wow, that kitty cake is amazing!" Thank you. I know. "No, seriously! It looks professional!" Oh, stop. You're making me blush. Romelie loved her gifts and has been playing with each of them in turn ever since. She actually requests naptime/quiet time these days, sometimes as early as 9:30 am; I have to remind her that she can sit in her room and quietly play with her toys anytime she wants!

While on the subject of Romelie's room...we decided to change the kids' rooms around. Cori's room was bigger than Rom's, but it also holds a full-sized bed, so it made sense to leave Rom where she was when Cori was born. However, Rom just needs more space to play. It's hard to keep her room clean, especially during naptime/quiet time, and the bigger space makes that much easier. We still have the full-sized bed in Cori's now-smaller room, for now, so Cori's space is very limited, but she mostly crawls around and plays downstairs anyway, so we're good for now and will eventually get rid of the bed to give her a playspace, too.

Jumping ahead, we had Thanksgiving yesterday with my dad's family. My dad makes an awesome turkey and the best stuffing in the world, and there's always leftovers, so I'm looking forward to more delicious turkey-themed meals in the next few days.

Jumping back...Cori has teeth! Five or six of them! It was crazy...one day I'm thinking, wow, my kid is 12 months old, is she ever going to get teeth? A few days go by without me thinking about it...and then I go to check and there are 3 on top, 2 on the bottom, with more clearly on their way! She definitely is in some pain from time to time, but she actually seems to love using a teething ring (I could never get Romelie to go for one), so that helps a lot.

Cori has also switched over to cow's milk, which has created some serious digestive issues for my poor baby. I don't want to go into too much detail, but her poos are horrifying. Too hard and too large, and she cries for 30 minutes trying to get them out. Aw-ful. Dr. Dukinfield recommended some Miralax, and that seems to be doing the trick - normal baby poos for the past 5 days. Keep those fingers crossed they stay that way, cause otherwise I'm going to continue to blog about baby poop, but in more graphic detail.

Speaking of Dr. Dukinfield, both girls got in their well-kid check ups with him in the last couple of weeks. Cori is 28 inches and 19.4 pounds, so average-to-small for her age (not in a concerning way, of course). Romelie is 46 inches tall and just under 40 pounds, which makes her long and lean. Both of my girls are higher on the height percentage than on the weight percentage, but they do have my genes, so I'm sure that'll change as they get older. For now, they're exactly where they're supposed to be.

And speaking of weight (check out these seamless transitions!), I'm actually on track for my new year's resolution/weight loss goal! If you'll recall, one of my resolutions was to blog an average of 3 times a month, or 36 times in 2011. This...probably won't happen. But I did better than in 2010, so there was at least improvement. I had said my other 2 resolutions were more personal. One, while still none of your beezwax, has been reached successfully. The other I'll go ahead and share cause I'm proud of myself - I resolved to lose an average of 3 pounds a month, or 36 pounds in 2011. On January 1st, I weighed in at 197.6 lbs. Yes, I had just had a baby...2 months earlier. That was a lot for me. My goal, for those who don't care to do the math, was 161.6. As of Wednesday morning, I weighed in at 165. I'm nearly there! A big boost came in the form of a weight loss challenge at my gym. Bally's gave us 6 weeks of free bootcamp (with a $10 entry fee) to lose weight, and the person with the greatest percentage of weight loss won 8 free sessions with a personal trainer. 15 pounds later (lighter?)...I won! Yay. I'll let you know my final weight on December 31. I'm hoping for the high 150s; I can't remember the last time I was in the 150s (middle school? Probably).

And on that note, I'm wrapping this up, because I need to get ready to pick up Grandmommy Diane from the airport! to see you!!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Happy Halloween and birthday and stuff

Okay, many updates are long overdue. But with the updates comes...lots...and lots....of pictures!

Let's go in chronological order. First, a wedding! My high school friend Tim got married early in October and I had planned to go with the whole family to cheer him on. Unfortunately that same day, my grandma Mary fell in her driveway and broke her hip, so I spend most of the day in the hospital with her. I'm happy to report that she had a successful surgery and has since been able to return home, though she is still recuperating, of course. I also managed to stop by the wedding reception for about an hour or so with Romelie in tow and was able to congratulate the couple, have cake and champagne, hear the wedding toasts and dance a bit. The best part was that I got to see Barb, my best friend from school who lives in Arizona and who I haven't seen since my own wedding in 2006. Romelie loved her, of course, and also managed to squeeze in a few dances with Barb and Greg (also a friend from high school, our pediatrician's son, and a doctor himself!).

Next, volleyball is all done for the season. It was a fun year with good players, but I'm quite happy to have my schedule back to normal as, I'm sure, is Chason. Thanks husband!

Uncle Paul was in town! We got to spend quite a bit of time with him and he was kind enough to make me a CD of a year's worth of pictures. After misplacing it for a while (what is it with me and technology?), I now have brand new pictures and videos from Cori's day of birth and beyond, which I will just plug in to the blog randomly whenever I feel like it. Like here.

On October 23, we had a baptism ceremony for both Romelie and Cori at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church. Since Romelie had been dedicated at Corner Church but not actually baptised, our pastor Jamie had said we could have the ceremony for both girls, so we did. We went pretty casual for the clothing but I did get matching cotton dresses for the girls because, well, it is a special occasion. Romelie did surprisingly well (pretty rough on the practice day, but great for the actual baptism, even during the water-on-the-head part), and Cori cried. Which is fine...if I have to pick a kid to lost it, crying infant is a bit cuter than tantrum-throwing 3-year old. My mom, dad, brother, and grandma Mary were all able to be there along with Chason and the girls, which was wonderful, especially since we weren't sure if my grandma was going to be home by then, so I felt very lucky to have her there.

Continuing forward...Chason and I have decided to take the house off the market for the winter. We've had very little interest so far, and it's unlikely folks are going to be banging down the door during the winter months, so we're going to take a break and try again in March or so. So much for keeping the house clean...

On October 28, Chason and I went back to Orchestra Hall (we're so cultured), this time to see Herbie Hancock in concert. Boy, than man can rock a keytar. Don't believe me? Check it out for yourself.








Okay, not the most impressive video, but it's what I've got. I'm still working with the internal memory only on my camera, which means I can record about 15 seconds of video at a time, so I did this on my phone. Again...technology...

Moving on, we have...Halloween! Yay! As per usual, we did pumpkin carving/painting at the last minute, saving it for the Saturday before. I carved a sweet Blue's Clues face into my pumpkin, then totally failed to take a picture of it. Trust me--it was awesome. Romelie painted her pumpkin, though it was pretty cold out, so she only painted about 1/3 of it before she decided it was time to go inside.

On Halloween night, we dressed the girls up and did our traditional trick-or-treat around the great-grandparent's neighborhoods. My grandma Ione wasn't home this year (aww), so we didn't get to see her, but we did go to my grandma Mary's house. We had dinner with my grandma and my mom, who was also in town, and went around the neighborhood with the girls. Romelie was great...she held Daddy's hand and was very polite, not candy crazed as I'm sure she will be in a year or two, and Cori just hung out in the background with me getting compliments on her cute mouse costume. We even got home and got the girls to bed at a reasonable hour. Not a bad night overall.

Next big event...Cori's first birthday! I had actually been looking through the pictures my brother had given me and was amazed at how different both of my girls look a year later. Looking at tiny newborn Cori made me a little nostalgic (not enough to make me want another kid, but definitely had some warm fuzzy feelings going on), and Romelie looked more like a toddler than the little girl she is now. Cori had a lovely birthday. She didn't cry when we sang happy birthday (Romelie had cried when she turned one...more nostalgia), and she went mad over that cake. She grabbed big handfuls and crammed them in her mouth; we had to keep an eye on her to make sure she wouldn't choke! She had a quick bath (the clothing was an absolute mess after all that frosting!) and then opened a few presents with some help from her sister. I like our low-key birthdays. We'll have parties for the girls eventually, but for now, cake and a few presents are all we need.

And that's about it for now (whew!). I'm sure I'll have more updates to share soon...Romelie's birthday is coming up...doctor appointments for both girls...pictures with Santa...and a visit from Grandmommy Diane is only a few weeks away!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Gambling, first words, and a doctor's appointment

I've never been a big fan of gambling.

The first time I ever gambled was at midnight on my 18th birthday. Some friends and I drove up to Grand Casino in Hinckley on the evening of May 8. We had dinner, played pool, and did some other under-18 activities. The moment I turned 18, I proudly brandished my ID and spent the next few hours playing a nickel blackjack slot machine. By the end of the evening (morning, technically), I was up about $13.00. Cool, I thought.

Since then, I have gambled a few times in casinos, but when I start to lose money, I become really miserable. And I'm not talking about hundreds of dollars here...I'm talking about 3 or 4 bucks. If I'm down $4, I start thinking about what I could have spent that $4 on, and I get mad at myself.

Also, as many of you know, I worked in charitable gaming for about 3 years when I was at CLIMB. I worked in a bingo hall for about 2-1/2 years and spent about 6 months working a pulltab booth. I actually liked both of these jobs, for the most part, and enjoyed getting to know many of the customers, but it really solidified my own personal distaste for gambling. I've played bingo a couple of times; it's fun, so I feel like to an extent I get my money's worth in entertainment even if I don't win anything. But overall...not a fan of gambling.

So when Geek Squad called a couple weeks ago to tell me that the Level 2 techniques they used in the attempt to recover my files from my damaged hard drive had failed, and they would need to move on to Level 3 which required another $1000.00 deposit (on top of the $250 I had already given them), and how even this might not produce any of my important files...I had a bit of a panic attack. I was being asked to gamble $1250.00 in the hope that I might get some or all of my family photos and videos (plus music and other stuff) back. If I said no, I was out $250 and all of these irreplacable memories. If I said yes, I might get everything back...I might get some stuff back...or I might get nothing. And it would cost me a minimum of $1250 regardless of the outcome (more if they recovered the files).

I went for it. I gave them a credit card number for the $1000. And then I cried a bit.

The story has a good ending, though...they called a week later and said they had managed to recover every single file, undamaged. And on Wednesday, I got them all back. $1700 later, plus another $75 for a second hard drive (you'd better believe I've already back all that data up to another source and put it in a safe place so I never have to go through this again!!), so it hurts a bit financially...but at least I got everything back. Huge sigh of relief...done.

---

Cori has said her first word. Yes, she's been saying "dadadadada" for a while when she's happy, and "maaa-maaaaa!" when she cries, but I'm calling the first official word for this kid: "uh-oh." About 2 weeks ago, she drops a toy while sitting in her blue chair, and calls out, "Uh-oh!"
Me: Did you just say 'uh-oh?'
Cori: Uh-oh!
Me: (pause...a test) Uh-oh.
Cori: Uh-oh!

At this point, I wonder if it's a real word with meaning, intent, etc. Then later that day in church, she's playing with a toy, drops it the ground, and loudly calls out "Uh-oh!"

Everyone laughs a little, cause it's cute. I grin proudly. Check out my talking baby!! She doesn't walk yet, she doesn't have any teeth still, but my baby says uh-oh. Woot!

---

We had Cori's second appointment with her pediatric pulmonary specialist, Dr. Pryor, a week ago. Based on the last three months, he has officially ruled out reflux, which means no more Prilosec or Xantac. However, this pretty much leaves us with asthma. This can't be officially diagnosed until she's older, probably around 5, because the tests needed can't be done with an infant, and it's possible she could outgrow the condition. Her cough isn't too bad right now, so we are currently medicine-free, but we have a treatment plan (essentially more Albuterol and Pulmacort) as needed. For now, though, we are a simply enjoying not having to use the nebulizer and hoping for the best.

And because I know everyone is missing pictures...here's one I took last night of Cori having her last bottle of breast milk/formula mix EVER! Yes, folks, she starts drinking whole milk today; she's likely already had a bottle or two at daycare. I will still continue to breastfeed if she's interested (mostly we only nurse when she wakes up in the middle of the night; otherwise she prefers the bottle), but she'll be 1 on Wednesday and formula is expensive and the breastmilk has been nearly gone for a couple of months now...so whole milk is on!

I have lots more I could write about (Cori and Romelie got baptised! Uncle Paul was in town! Volleyball...our house...Romelie!), but we also have Halloween and birthdays coming up, so I'll save more news and try to write again soon.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Happy legs

Cori has happy legs.

What?

I'll explain. You know how when your dog is just laying around, but then you say his name and he looks up at you and starts thumping his tail on the floor? Cori does this, but she wags her leg instead. I'll be carrying her around on my hip, and she'll be pretty calm, just watching the world. Suddenly, Dada comes in the room, or Romelie says something from her bedroom, and Cori gets a big smile on her face and she starts pumping her leg.

My kids are so goofy.

It's been a pretty good week. I'm back at work and fully into the swing of things, teaching and starting up field trips. Last week was my long volleyball week (3 games plus an all day Saturday tournament that lasted nearly 10 hours!), so now we're over halfway throught the season. Chason and I went to see Ben Folds play with the MN Orchestra on Saturday night, which was pretty awesome. He's an amazing performer and it was a lot of fun to watch/hear him play and listen to him talk and tell stories. As I might have expected, one of the highlights was his rendition of "Rock This Bitch." This is a request he usually gets for a song that doesn't really exist; instead, he makes up a song as he goes along, using whatever words, genre, etc. that he feels like. And in this case, he improvised a song using the entire orchestra. Which was awesome.

Hey, someone filmed it and put it on Youtube! This is what we saw (though from further back).



Ben Folds = so good.

Romelie and Cori have decided on their Halloween costumes, by the way. Cori is going to be a mouse (okay, I decided that), and Romelie has chosen to dress as a cat. So I swear I didn't plan it, but my kids will be dressed as a cat and a mouse for Halloween. I expect lots of candy for the cuteness which will be oozing all over October 31. And as a bonus, I won't be going into labor hours afterwards this year. In your face, 2010!

No new Cori health updates. Everything is the same - still giving her the medicines, they're still having no effect. On the plus side, we've discovered that Cori sits pretty calmly for the nebulizer if "Animaniacs" or "Sesame Street" is on the TV, so my baby gets to watch about 20 minutes of TV a day (10 in the AM, 10 in the PM). Take that, American Academy of Pediatrics; YOU nebulize a baby twice a day and see what that does to your "no TV for kids under the age of 2" recommendation.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

The teenage years are gonna suuuuck...

Romelie rolled her eyes at me tonight. I kid you not. Rolled her eyes.

This was after a long day of backtalk. I believe I've talked about this issue on the blog before; it's when I say something to Rom and she says it back to me in a rude tone of voice. "Rom, don't stick your finger in my face." "You don't stick YOUR finger in MY face!" "Don't backtalk me." "YOU don't backtalk ME."

There have been a lot of timeouts in the last two days.

Tonight, after a timeout, I was telling her about why it's important to talk nicely, especially to adults, and how adults don't usually tolerate rude behavior from kids, and she rolled those eyes right up to the sky.

How do kids even learn this sort of thing anyway?

Cori had a rough-ish day too (three 30-min naps instead of one or two good naps), because she kept waking herself up with this damn cough. I'm telling you, 10 days of new meds, no improvements, actually makes the cough worse...I'll give it the doctor's requisite 30 days, but I don't know what they're going to say next. We can't just keep trying different reflux and asthma meds forever, right? (Right??)

On a funnier note, Rom wanted to go outside to swim in her tiny, tiny pool this afternoon, and we said okay. Chason was downstairs with Cori, and I went to get a few things to take outside. When I came back, Rom had already gone outside. I went out to find her, and she was butt-ass naked, running in circles around her pool.

So I took her picture.

Take that, teenage Romelie!

(Okay, because my camera isn't working right, I have a disposable camera that I've been using the last couple weeks. Remember those? I'm almost through the roll, so I'll be able to post pictures again soon.)

And my final youtube video. I'm sure everyone has seen this one, but I friggin' love it. It brings tears to my eyes; I can't explain it.


Friday, September 9, 2011

Productivity

Here's what my to-do list looked like this morning:
-Oil change
-Go to bank
-Pay bills
-Dishes
-Laundry
-Make baby food
-Scan photos
-Paint garage door

Here's what I did today:
-Oil change
-Watch How I Met Your Mother reruns

...hmm...

Close enough. Video time! (More substance tomorrow, I promise.)


Thursday, September 8, 2011

AWESOME!

I impulse-purchased "The Book of Awesome" at Target a couple of weeks ago based solely on its title. It's pretty entertaining. It started out as a website, http://1000awesomethings.com/. Basically, the writer just reflects on things that people universally find appealing and expounds on why these things are so gosh-darned great - things like peeling off a price tag in one clean peel, finding money in your coat pocket, and snow days. This has inspired me to blog a few things I think are AWESOME. Here goes:

Rallying as a team to come from behind to win the game. This is what my volleyball team did today. Granted, they went on to lose games 2 & 3, but they were excited and I was proud of how well they busted their butts against a tough team in that first game. AWESOME!

Waking up at 7:00 am and realizing that you, and therefore everyone else, slept through the night. This didn't happen last night, by the way. After Cori's cute moment, it was a rough night. But those rough nights make the nights when she does sleep all the way through that much more AWESOME!

Going through your memory box. Since my company is on a furlough this week, I have been scheduling each day with a list of to-dos. On Tuesday, my big to-do was to go through my filing cabinet and get rid of old or unnecessary stuff (phone bill from 2003? Gone) and actually create files for the piles of paper that have been building since 2005 (birth/marraige certificates no longer just tucked in a drawer, for instance). In weeding through old files, I came across things like letters from college friends, my English thesis, my old headshots (check it!), and the rest of the thank you notes from our wedding that never quite made it out (uh...thanks, by the way). Now I'm feeling nostalgic in all sorts of happy ways, especially for my dear college friends. Love you guys; you're AWESOME!

Getting a good haircut. Ah, haircuts. I actually kind of hate getting my hair cut because I don't have any loyalty to a stylist, so I end up making the same small talk with a new person every time. Also, when the stylist actually styles my hair, I usually hate it (they like to make my hair big and curly...I fight both those things every day), but I generally just lie and say it's great...and then fix it at home. But today, I got a good haircut. Granted, it took about 2-1/2 hours (Aveda Institute - new stylists, so it takes them forever), but it looks good, it was cheap, and my hair is finally manageable again. Plus it cuts my hair regime down even further. AWESOME!

When the movie/play is actually as good as the book/script. I love reading, especially children's lit, and a lot of the books I enjoy end up as films, TV shows, plays, etc. I also love movies, and sometimes a new movie coming out (i.e. The Help) inspires me to read the book before watching the movie (I have yet to pick this one up, but I'll get there...). Reading the book first usually ends one of three ways:


  • I read the book. It's awesome, or at least entertaining. I then watch the movie/play/TV show and it's terrible. "The Nine Lives of Chloe King" is my most recent example. Granted, the book is teen fiction, which I generally enjoy, and the follow up is a pre-teen TV show on ABC Family, so I shouldn't be surprised, but despite how awful it is, I can't seem to stop watching it. It's like "Twilight" all over again.

  • I read the book. It sucks. I usually watch the movie anyway, thinking maybe they found a way to make it better...nope. It also sucks. See "I Am Number Four" for an example (but actually, don't see it. Just trust me...it's lame).

  • I read the book. It's awesome. So I read it again. And again. By the time the movie comes out, I'm nervous that it's going to be a letdown...and magically, surprisingly, it's also awesome! Harry Potter movies 3-7.2, Lord of the Rings, and The Sookie Stackhouse series (True Blood on TV) are pretty obvious choices, but I've got to give props to a really good play, too. I went out to Spring Green with my mom and the girls a couple weekends ago and saw "The Glass Menagerie" while I was there. This is a play I've only ever read, not seen, and it's such a classic, you figure any production isn't going to measure up to your expectations, but this one did.

(Paul was in a fantastic play called "The Cure at Troy," which was intense and emotional and captivating and wonderful. I'd never read it before, so it doesn't fit into my formula above, but that doesn't make it any less AWESOME!)

Saying you're going to write a blog a day for a week...and actually making it happen. Five days down...two to go! Come back tomorrow for new updates. AWESOME!

Talking animal videos. You know you love them too. AWESOME!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Bedtime

Sometimes putting Cori to bed is the worst.

You have to wait until she gets tired to put her to bed, of course, but if you wait too long and she passes tired and moves on to exhausted, then you're screwed. She does not go to bed well. She arches her back in your arms and screams and cries. Nursing helps calm this, unless there is little-to-no milk (which is pretty much the case these days...milk supply is down to maybe 8-10 ounces a day total), and then nursing makes it worse because it adds frustration into the mix. When she finally calms down and starts nodding off, you lay her down with her favorite blanket. She rolls onto her tummy, and you lay her second favorite blanket over her bottom half. You rub her back, helping to soothe her through raspy breathing, cold sheets, or whatever else might be bothering her. She doesn't make a peep, so you quietly walk out and shut the door. Then she cries. Then she stops crying. Then she starts again and doesn't stop until you come and get her. You pick her up, and she instantly stops crying and is asleep in your arms -like *that.* But whether you lay her back down immediately, or wait a couple of minutes, or rock peacefully with her for 15 minutes, inevitably when you lay her back down, she wakes up and cries. Repeat 1-2 more times...then she's asleep.

"Let her cry it out!"
I know. We've tried. She'll just keep crying.

"Try just going into the room and soothing her with your voice but don't pick her up."
Tried that. She cries.

"But when you go and get her, she learns that eventually you will give in to her demands."
I know. You're right. At the same time...why shouldn't I? Yes, it's frustrating when bedtime stretches out into an hour long ordeal, but ultimately, she's a 10 month old baby who coughs herself awake who just wants someone to rock her or rub her back until she's asleep. She knows how to soothe herself to sleep, and when she's not overly tired and can breathe normally, she has no problem with bedtime. Why not let her dictate this one thing?

Besides...sometimes putting Cori to bed is the best.

You can tell she's starting to get tired. Eyes are a little droopy, and she's tugging on that ear. We go into her room and turn on the sound machine. Maybe we nurse, maybe not...eventually we end up with her in my arms, her head resting on the crook of my elbow, her favorite blanket already clutched in her hands. And because she's only sleepy, not asleep, and because she's calm, not screaming and writhing, she looks up at me, and I look at her...and she smiles. But because she's sleepy, it's like everything is in slow motion for her, so it's a really slow smile. When she blinks, it's a really slow blink. If I kiss her nose, she wrinkles it up a bit - slowly. Tonight, she tried to grab my lip, a daytime game that she thinks is hilarious and I think is painful. But it was a sleepy, slow-mo grab, so more feeble than anything, and when I smiled and whispered "ow" she gave s sleepy, gurgly, slow-mo laugh.

And it was the most beautiful moment ever. Seriously, I don't get super mushy or romantic about babies, not even my own, but that was precious.

Thanks to Grandpa Dan for watching the girls tonight since Chason and I both had other stuff going on. It's easy to appreciate these adorable moments when I'm just coming in for the last 5 minutes, and I'm grateful for his willingness to take on both girls on busy nights like tonight.

Speaking of adorable little girls...here's Pearl the Landlady. Most folks have probably seen this video, but on the off-chance you haven't, it's awesome. Warning: adult language.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Imaginary friends

So here's a confession: when I was in elementary school, I saw "Return of the Jedi" and became instantly obsessed with Star Wars. I started collecting the toys, which by then were to be found only in antique stores (this was, of course, before the internet), and I used to play with them as any kid is bound to do. However, and this is where it gets a bit embarrassing...the characters from Star Wars were also my imaginary friends. Yes, folks, I would carry Luke Skywalker, Han Solo, and Princess Leia action figures around with me everywhere I went, and when everyone else left the room, they would emerge, life-sized, from their plastic bodies and we would have lengthy conversations or sometimes just hang out and watch TV together.

Did I mention this was in 5th grade? I don't know when kids are supposed to outgrow their imaginary friends, but it was what it was and I am who I am. Deal.

I bring this up because Romelie has lots of imaginary friends. The first players were Mike, Sully, and Boo (from Monsters Inc) who I had be careful not to step on, say hello to so they felt included, and make room for on car trips. Dora, the Gabba friends, and other movie and TV characters have also made their way into pretend play (this morning, for instance, Team Oomizoomi, which I've never actually seen, were hanging with Romelie in her bedroom). But the oddest pretend friends Romelie has are technically not imaginary, though their personas are. For the past few weeks, Romelie has had a great time playing with Brother, Sister, Mommy and Daddy (or sometimes Baby)...

...her hands and feet.

Yup. Brother and Sister foot, Mommy and Daddy hand (sometimes Baby hand instead, depending on how brave the hand is feeling). When Romelie takes a bath, Mommy hand goes swimming and practices holding her breath underwater. When I cut Rom's toenails, Sister foot is scared so we have to start with Brother foot to show her there's nothing to be scared of. The hands spend a lot of time talking to each other during dinner and playing in or with the food.

It's hilarious. It's adorable. And I'm not going to lie...it's a little weird. But hey - imaginary Star Wars friends at the age of 10. Who am I to judge?

I'm officially on my furlough week, though I still have volleyball in the afternoons/evenings. So far today I have done a load of laundry, emptied the litter box, checked email, and almost completed today's blog entry. As it's only 9:00 and I just dropped the girls off at Jen's 45 minutes ago, I feel okay about this, but I have a very large to-do list staring up at me, so I must move on to something far more tedious. And though this has nothing to do with anything, I have enjoyed sharing random youtube videos that I think are awesome these past couple of days, and I think I will keep it up for the rest of this blog-a-day week. With that, this is the greatest music video ever made. Period.


Monday, September 5, 2011

Chillin'

Turned off the air conditioning this morning. It was already down to 70 degrees in the house so the air wasn't running anyway, but it was chilly enough yesterday to justify wearing a sweatshirt to the park and cold enough this morning that I put flannel pants on. Welcome, fall. I've been looking forward to long sleeves and raking leaves - bring it on!

Let's start with some photos, since I haven't put any up in a while. First, from our trip up to the cabin with Grandpa Dan 4th of July weekend (remember that?), here's an awesome pic of Romelie and Grandpa playing cornhole. Note Romelie's fashion choices. I let Romelie dress herself and really only step in to "fix" things if she's dressed inappropriately for the weather or if I feel like her outfit is too ridiculous for where we're headed (like if she tries to wear an oversized orange tye-died tank top with knee-high green-and-red-striped Christmas socks and too-small purple shorts to church, as she did a couple weeks ago). Otherwise, I figure who cares? She's 3. She can dress how she likes. And sometimes, this is the result.

We've also been going to the park quite a bit in the past couple of weeks. Our local park also has a wading pool which has been drained since this picture was taken two weeks ago, but on this particular day, Romelie was the only kid in the pool, which gave her a bit more confidence than she often has while "swimming." After swimming, we spent our requisite hour or so on the playground equipment. Romelie and Chason tend to do the more active playing while Cori and I sit on a swing or just walk around looking at everything, which is fine by me.

In other news, Cori has started finger foods, which is awesome because it makes dinner time a family experience for the first time since she was born. Cheerios are her favorite, though she's had everything from fruits and veggies to ground beef and chicken to apple pie with ice cream. Yes, I have fed my 10 month old apple pie, ice cream, and pieces of chocolate chip cookie. No, I don't feel bad about this. With Romelie, the first sugar she had was birthday cake, and while she loves candy and treats and desserts, she gets them only on occasion and only in moderation, so I don't see a big problem in letting Cori have two baby-sized bites of ice cream or a few crumbs of cookie considering her diets is mostly fruit, vegetables, whole grains and organic beans.

And finally, I mentioned yesterday that our house is officially on the market. I spent a lot of time cleaning, organizing, packing up clutter, and getting rid of stuff we don't use or need. Chason and my dad took care of landscaping and did some work on the garage. And Ken, our realtor and contractor, finished up our bathroom and kitchen, replaced the carpet on the stairs that the cats had torn up, put a new gutter on the front of the house, and did a few other miscelleneous tasks. Try to ignore the pricing information, but just to see pictures of the finished product, you can click here: http://www.zillow.com/homedetails/2415-W-60th-St-Minneapolis-MN-55410/1887096_zpid/#9. We've had all of one showing so far, but since we're not in an urgent need-t0-sell situation, we're just giving this a try to see what happens. If nothing else, it gives Romelie (and the rest of us!) some good practice at cleaning up after oneself immediately. Wish us luck!

And even though this blog was much more positive and happy than yesterday's entry, I've decided to include another video to inspire infinite happiness in all.


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Technology fail

Not happy.

I had mentioned that the memory stick on my camera has stopped working, so I can only store 7 pictures on my camera at a time. Well, not only have I not fixed this issue yet, but I have a brand-new, much more serious technology issue. My external hard drive has stopped functioning. This is where I store all of my pictures, videos, and music. And it won't communicate with my computer or my work computer. I just brought it in to Geek Squad, praying that it was just a bad cord...nope. So now I'm sending it off to data recovery, which will cost somewhere between $250-$1600.

Technology fail. And personal fail, too. I had been getting concerned about what would happen if that thing ever crashed and looking into ways of backing that very valuable data up (disks, memory sticks, another external hard drive, or internet back up), but before I could act on any of these ideas, it was too late. So even though my "bad cord" prayer failed me, I'm now desperately praying that they are able to recover the data (otherwise ALL of my kid pictures, save what I've uploaded to this blog, are gone forever), and that it doesn't cost $1600. On the one hand, my pictures of my kids are absolutely invaluable to me, so I will pay it whatever it costs and then, of course, make sure I never have this problem again. On the other hand...boy, do I ever not have $1600 laying around right now. Cry.

While I'm sharing about things that make me unhappy, I should share my long overdue Cori coughing update. In short...she's still coughing. We're now at 6 months of coughing, kids.

Medical treatment fail.

At our July appointment at Children's Hospital, we had another x-ray (nothing in the lungs) and an upper GI (no evidence of reflux, which doesn't rule it out...just doesn't prove it) and met with Dr. Pryor, the pediatric pulmonary specialist. The diagnosis was that it's most likely reflux and/or asthma, which is what we had already been told by our pediatrician, but that we should treat with the same medicines we'd already tried for 3 months. Three months of Xantec 2x a day and using the nebulizer to administer Albuterol 3x a day.

Have I mentioned how much Cori hates the nebulizer? Nothing like clamping a face mask to a crying baby for 15 minutes 3 times a day.

Fast forward a month. The cough is not any better. In fact, for the first 2 weeks after starting treatment, the cough was much worse. This may or may not have anything to do with the medicine, but it happened nonetheless. I finally got to the point where I just wasn't willing to continue with the nebulizer and stopped all treatment. I finally called Children's Hospital to tell them this on Wednesday, and they felt like it was time to change to some stronger medicines. So now Cori is taking Prilosec once a day instead of Xantec, and is using the nebulizer to administer Pulmacort 2x a day (no Albuterol at the moment, though we may end up doing both since one is for opening the airways and the other is to treat inflammation). The Pulmocort nebulizes faster (7-8 minutes instead of 15), but comes with a risk of developing thrush, and since we still breastfeed, that's a risk for her and me. We're on day 4, and the cough is definitely worse than it was 5 days ago...but I'll give it a month. And we'll see.

On a different subject, I've clearly fallen behind on my "3 blog entries a month" goal (remember August? Clearly I didn't...). However, my company has decided to close next week with all employees taking an unpaid week to try to balance our budget for the year, and I've been looking forward to taking care of many small tasks that are tough to accomplish with kids around, such as organizing my filing cabinet or getting my hair cut. Ironically backing up and organizing my computer files was going to be on my to-do list...anyway...because I update my blog so infrequently, it has turned into a super long list of essential updates rather than just being able to share a funny story here or a cute picture or video there. Therefore, since I still have tons of updates to share (vising Uncle Paul, new volleyball season, and - big one - our house being officially on the market!) and a bit of time on my hands this next week, my goal is to do a blog a day for this entire week. So check back daily, friends and family, and feel free to hold me accountable if you don't hear anything new until November.

And because I've been so focused on failure with this blog, I'd like to end with a win. Until tomorrow.



Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Feelin' hot hot hot

Clarification: Not hot like sexy. Hot like 100 degrees. I sweat sitting still; I'm pretty sure that's the anti-sexy.

Updates!

The biggest update is in regards to our house - it's getting improved! Ken, who redid our kitchen last summer, has been back fixing up our bathroom and finishing the remodeling of the kitchen since clearly we were never going to get around to finishing it on our own. The tiles and the old yucky crumbling drywall in the bathroom around the shower has been removed and replaced by new drywall and a tall, fancy tub surround. As God as my witness, I will never scrub grout with a toothbrush and Lime Away again! (In this house.)

Honestly, that could be a deterrent for future home purchases, too. The house might be perfect, but if there are a hundred tiles in the bathroom...that could be a deal breaker.

Anyway...

The kitchen has baseboards and a transition piece on the floor from the kitchen to the hallway/living room. We also have holes and weird gaps all nicely patched up and brand new paint in both the kitchen and bathroom as of yesterday. I will take pictures as soon as I get a new memory card for my camera; my old one is dead, which means I can store all of 7 pictures on my camera at a time. Hence the very few pictures here...

Meanwhile, I've been cleaning and organizing like a crazy lady. The biggest accomplishment was that I took our downstairs bedroom which we have used essentially as a storage space since we moved in and turned it into an office space/spare bedroom. I'm happy to say that the room is not only inhabitable, but actually quite awesome now. And it only took 5-1/2 years.

More cleaning is in my future, but for now, I'm feeling accomplished. Pat on the back, me.

Other updates...we've been on quite a few weekend getaways this summer! Three weekends in a row, actually. First to my dad's cabin with the whole family and Uncle Paul, and then up again for 4th of July weekend. Having just been up the previous weekend, Romelie was excited to go back to swim and hike and look for bugs, and Cori was just happy to sit outside and get attention from Grandpa. Then the following weekend Chason went out of town with some buddies, so we headed up to my mom's for a couple nights. We went and picked strawberries (freezer jam!) and then headed to a county fair. Romelie was all about the rides, and I was all about taking a nap afterwards. Hello, too much sun!

On to kiddo updates...Cori now sits up AND pulls herself up to standing. This is both useful (yay sitting up by herself!) and a bit dangerous (she is completely unsturdy on her feet but determined to stand up as often as possible). And she's added "mama" to her vocabulary, but only when she cries, so I'm not sure how I feel about that. Dada when she's happy, mama when she's upset...and really, neither of these are really words, she's just babbling, but it makes me smile.

We are only 2 days away from her big appointment with the pulmonary specialist. I got a description of what to expect in the appointment, and I'm more than a little nervous. Not only does she have to get another x-ray, but she has to have an upper GI test which involves feeding her barium and then pushing it through her body to check her digestive tract. The entire appointment is up to 3 hours long. I don't think anything is going to be painful, but I think everything is going to be uncomfortable and, because she won't know what's happening and why, I'm sure it's going to upset her. Prayers that all this leads to an actual diagnosis and/or treatment would be much appreciated.

I wish I had tons to say about Romelie, but the changes in a 3 year old are more subtle than they are for an 8 month old, I guess. We have our good days (yesterday she cleaned up toys and put them away without being asked) and our bad days (3 time outs on Sunday afternoon and she screamed and cried and banged her head on the wall through all of them). We're still working on listening, using manners, doing what you're asked/told the first time, using nice words, sharing...all the stuff you have to do with pre-schoolers, I guess. And she has good days and bad days.

I have good days and bad days too. Sometimes I can sit and calmly try to help her to make good choices or calmly explain why it's not okay to blankety-blank, and sometimes I lose my temper quickly and yell and swear and storm out of the room. I'm not proud of this, but if I can point out all of Romelie's flaws on this blog, I should acknowledge mine, too. I'm working on the not-swearing thing, and I'm trying to figure out how to better keep my cool when Rom tests my patience. It's pretty ridiculous when you find yourself screaming at at pre-schooler to be quiet.

That reminds me...if you haven't heard of this book yet you should definitely check it out. Even better is the audio book, read by Samuel L Jackson. It's pretty fantastic.

Monday, June 27, 2011

28 days later

Raise your hand if you saw that movie. Raise your hand if it scared the crap out of you. I know, right? Fast zombies are way scarier than slow zombies.

Also, if you actually raised your hand, give yourself a little pat on the back with it. You're awesome.

Technically it's been more than 28 days since I wrote in this thing, but my creativity is a bit off today, and I didn't want to start of this long overdue update getting hung up on a title. Shall we update chronologically? Let's!

On May 28, Chason and I celebrated our 5 year anniversary. Congratulations, us! For our crazy night on the town, we went to dinner at the Mall of America and then headed across the parking lot to see Cirque du Soleil's Ovo. First time seeing them live, which was awesome...however, one of these days I should learn that I do not do well at events where there is the chance of someone getting seriously hurt. Remind me to avoid all circuses, sporting events, and playgrounds in the future.

June arrived, and with June comes grad parties! Henna and fortune telling for five nights, yay! Other than the hours, which are rough anyway let alone when you combine them with an infant and a full time day job, I always look forward to these events. This is in part because the kids are usually pretty awesome, but also because it means Crystal comes into town! Yes, folks, I got Crystal twice in a month. This time she was accompanied by her boyfriend David, and they were both here for about a week and a half, though they took a few days to explore greater MN. While they were here, we did a couple of backyard barbeques, went to Como Zoo, went out for some delicious meals, and generally relaxed and socialized. Come back anytime, Texans!

We also had a chance to celebrate Father's Day with Chason and with my dad. Saturday was Chason's day (which kind of felt like Romelie day, but what are you going to do?). We went to the park, played in a community center rec room, had ice cream, went to a book store, a toy store, and then out to luch, all within walking distance. It was a nice family day...and then I took the girls to church Sunday morning so Chason could have a few hours to himself before we all headed to my dad's house to have lunch with him and some of my extended family. Happy dad's day Chason, Dan, Steve, and all the other awesome dads we know and love!

After dad's day came...summer camp! Last week was a crazy busy week at work because it was the first week of summer camp (2nd and 3rd graders around power tools...gotta love it!), plus there was a teacher workshop, tours, meetings, and other prep work I was trying to help with or participate in. This week is much more relaxed. Yay.

Also last week...Uncle Paul's in town! He came to boot camp with me to my delight and his chagrin, and I spent Thursday with him, my mom and my grandma. This weekend Chason and the girls and I joined Paul and my dad up at his cabin, which was pretty awesome. It was nice to get to spend a lot of time with my family, Romelie had a great time splashing in the lake and hiking around outside, and Cori spent lots of time trying to crawl and discovering the sound "da," which then led to her saying "dada" a lot, but since Romelie's first word was dada, I'm holding out for something new with Cori.

That seems to be the chronological update; on to general news and developments.

Cori's cough is still persisting, so folks have stopped writing it off as "just a cold" and are actually trying to get to the bottom of this thing. It's good because it means we're trying to fix the problem. It sucks because I feel like I'm torturing the poor baby, so far to no avail. She's had an x-ray (nothing unusual), tried Zantec for acid reflux (no change) and albuterol in a nebulizer for asthma (may have reduced the frequency of the coughing, but it's tough to tell, and the sound of the cough itself hasn't changed). Now we have an appointment to see a specialist...on July 22. At which point she will have had a cough for 5 months. Patience is starting to wear a bit thin on this one... (By the way, this is a picture of her at 6 months with Dr. McEvoy, the doctor who birthed her. We love her.).

Romelie is becoming more dramatic, and not in a cute way. For those who know how drama-prone she already is, this may sound hard to believe, but it's true. Her new thing is pouting when she doesn't get what she wants in an end-of-the-world sort of way. Example: Can I have more crackers? No, you're done with crackers for now. I'm still hungry. We're about to eat dinner, so we're done with snacks. (Crosses arms, puts mad look on her face, says in the most angry upset voice she can) Fine! I'm NEVER eating again! "Oh good Lord" is a phrase that comes out of my mouth a lot more these days.

On a positive note, Romelie has been making some very good choices lately. The nebulizer thing required Cori to sit still for about 15 minutes, 3 times a day, while I turned on a loud machine and clamped a mask onto her face which blew chemicals up her nose. Remember how she's less than 8 months old? So that wasn't a lot of fun. But Romelie would (usually) help by sitting in the room with me and making Cori laugh or singing her songs or telling her "It's okay, Cori," which is pretty sweet. She's doing better with self-reliance, and she's even managed to stop herself from going into a tantrum a couple of times. You can see she's about to whine or cry, and then she'll stop and you can actually see her make the effort to rephrase or to add the word please or to use a calmer, nicer voice. Granted, she still throws a tantrum 9 times out of 10, but I really love that 1 time when she "uses her words," as we remind her 50 times a day.

Oh, I know I could add more, but I'm running out of steam. We're going up to the cabin again for the 4th, so I'll update more sometime after that.