Wednesday, December 29, 2010

She Sells Seashells by the Seashore

Last week we met Ariel at the beach. Alex was hoping to get in the water, but it was a little to chilly for that. Instead we looked for shells and dug in the sand with Aiden.

Ariel brought Toby.

Aiden and his Uncle Alex

Auntie Ayo gave him the ole chase'n'poke.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Wednesday my dad moved Aiden's tree swing to the front yard. We had it in a tree in the backyard on a lower limb. I wanted it to be on a higher limb so the swing would go farther. Travis has been so busy with work lately, that he hasn't been able to fix it. My dad knows more than I do about hardware, so he took care of it for us.

This tree now has less than half the number of leaves it had the day this photo was taken. We had some windy weather on Christmas Eve that took care of that.

As soon as G-pa climbed that ladder, Aiden was all over it. He sure likes to hang out with the guys.

I think Aiden likes his new swing.

G-pa had his turn pushing Aiden on the swing too.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Tuesday in Photos

Wow. This past week has been a BLUR. Travis still has his hernia. The doctor didn't think the surgery was an emergency, so I'm not crazy worried about it at this point. The hospital clinics were closed from December 20th and they don't open again until January 3rd. Hopefully the surgeon will call during the beginning of next week.

At the Boardwalk...

Skylar passed out right before we got on the train.

Alex and Ariel walking down a lit tunnel.

Aiden and G-pa check out a bright arch...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

A Week Off

I've been out of commission for a few days since my family has been in town. I found a couple minutes to get out some stuff out.

First off, Travis still has his hernia. The surgeon is yet to call him. Apparently a rush "order" on a hernioplasty isn't that big of a deal. Travis tried calling himself. They took his information but said that the doctor has to call him to make the appointment. So weird.

My dad and brother got into town Saturday night. They were supposed to come on Friday, but the roads were too icy for travel. My mom got in Saturday night, also, but she went to my sister's house. Sunday I baked cookies and then we did some shopping. Travis had to work Sunday night, so he stayed home and attempted to nap.

We went to Toys R Us for the first time with Aiden and he LOVED IT. I never doubted that he would like that place. It has just never crossed my mind to go there with him before. My dad wanted to get an idea of which Elmo toys Aiden likes best. We set him down in front of the Elmo display and let him go at it. He ran up to the first box and screamed "Melmo!" Then he'd pull it off the shelf, notice the box behind it and do it all over again. Needless to say, we left with a few Elmo in tow.

That night we went to the softball game, since I had help from both of my parents. Their team needed another player, so Alex got out on the field for the first time in three years.

Monday I baked cookies and we did some more shopping. I made chicken noodle soup in the crock pot for the first time. I thought it was really good, except I didn't realize I had forgotten salt until the end. Easy to fix.

Tuesday, the temperature soared to 80 degrees, so we got outside as much as we could. Aiden played in the yard all morning. My dad came up with a plan to lengthen Aiden's tree swing. I had absolutely no idea how to go about doing it so it would be safe and Travis has been working too much to have time to do it lately.

After Aiden's nap, we drove up to the Kemah Boardwalk. We met Alexa, Blair and Skylar for coffee and a walk in the great weather. The boys had a great time running around together. Blair showed Aiden the ropes. We saw boats and ducks and lots of people. Aiden seemed to be a little wary of the loud rides, but we got around them. We even took a ride on the train. Aiden seemed to enjoy it, although I think it went a little fast for him at times. He likes to stand and observe things, so a moving train moves a bit quick. He didn't freak out about it at all which was nice to see.

That night we went with the whole family to the Dickinson Festival of Lights. It's free and it is HUGE. Aiden did seem a little overwhelmed occasionally, but for the most part he enjoyed walking through the park himself. The only hiccup was on the ride in when a cop that was "directing traffic" yelled at Travis to learn how to drive. Travis yelled back at the cop about something, that including calling the officer a "dick". Not nice.

We finished the night off by eating Christmas cookies and watching Scrooged. I haven't seen that movie in forever. I had forgotten about much of the show. Plus, I'm sure it was different since I was watching the movie for the first time as an adult. HA!

I think this morning my dad and I are going to work on the tree swing. Travis is working all week and my brother stayed at Ariel's last night, so it's just us and Aiden. We've had the windows open for a few days now. It is very nice, but I keep having to remind myself it's almost Christmas!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Holey Hernias, Batman!

Santa came a little early for Travis this year. He got his very own hernia! Brace yourself Internet, for I am going to explain what a hernia is. Basically, some event occurs that causes a tear in the stomach muscles. Then the abdominal organs (generally the intestines) are free to move in and out of the abdomen.

We believe Travis' defining moment was last Thursday when he was throwing up all morning. He said he felt a pull in his groin, but assumed he just pulled a muscle. It wasn't until Monday (after working all weekend and playing a game of softball) that he noticed the bulge. The next day he called to set up an appointment to have this most-likely-hernia checked out by a professional. I went with him to his Wednesday afternoon appointment. The doctor confirmed our fears.

Since his intestines still move in and out freely, the doc was not seriously concerned. He said the repair could wait, but there are many serious complications that could occur which would require an emergency surgery. If the intestines get stuck out, they could get a blockage or the blood flow could get stopped off. Both of these would result in necrotic intestines. That would be an even bigger surgery. This is exactly why we have insurance, so he is going to go ahead and have the repair done as soon as possible.

For the moment, he is still allowed to work and go about his daily life. He is not supposed to lift over 30 lbs, which means he can still carry our son. If it ever hurts, he is supposed to stop what he is doing immediately. He has a cough. And coughing is painful. Having a full bladder is painful. Taking large steps is painful (like when he skips rungs on the ladder).

We have to wait for the surgeon to call us to schedule the pre-op visit. The Internal Medicine doc told us to give the surgeon a call on Monday if he hasn't called us yet. They put a rush on the appointment for Travis. Not because it is life threatening, but because he works a manual labor job.

While it will be a huge bummer for him to be in serious pain during the holidays, I am actually hoping he will have the surgery soon. I will be home for the next two weeks. That means I will be available to help him out in his first few days post-op with daily activities. My family will be around to give us a helping hand as well.

Our main concern at the moment is how we are going to pay for all of this. Travis does not have paid sick leave. The recovery time for this procedure is 3-6 weeks. Then on top of having half our income, we have to pay for the surgery. It's going to be a rough couple of months - that's for sure.

I sense the Grinch returning...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Is it Friday yet?

Do you remember when you were a kid, that feeling that you got right before school let out for the summer? The anticipation of running through corn fields, climbing trees and chasing your friends around town on bikes?

Well, I have that right now.

While I won't actually be doing any of the aforementioned activities, I do have many other things to look forward to. My mom, dad and brother are supposed to get into town on Friday night. We have my holiday work party Friday night, sans child. Friday is my last day of work until the New Year.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Sister's Tree

This is the first year for both Ariel and Robert to put up a Christmas tree in their home. There's always something that prevents them from getting the tree: apartment is too small, they go out of town for Christmas, money is tight...

Well, money's always tight, but they went ahead and got a tree anyway this year. We celebrate Christmas with our parents separately every year, so this time we are doing one at Ariel's and one at our house. They went ALL out for their first time. They have 12-foot ceilings in their current rental house, so they bought an 11-foot tree to fill the room. Eleven feet is exactly twice as tall as I am.

They are learning a few things as they go. For instance, you need to saw off a couple inches from the trunk so the tree will continue to take up water throughout the holiday season. Unfortunately, they didn't learn this until they'd had the tree up for a week, so it was horrible dry by the time we went to decorate it. There were needles everywhere by the time we were done.

While the boys were outside sawing off the bottom branches, Ariel and I hung garland and lights on the banister. Then she had little holly berries for us to tuck along the garland.

After the tree was back in the stand, as straight as we could get it, we strung about 100' of white lights. Their tree topper is a gorgeous gold jeweled star. I'd really like to get the same one in silver for our tree, but I've decided I will only get it if I can find it on sale after Christmas.

(Everyone's in their softball uniforms.)

Ariel and Robert bought red and gold bulk ornaments and then they picked up several sea turtle ornaments. They are sort of forming their own theme for the tree. We had to place some of the turtles in front of poinsettia flowers so they would stand out from the green branches.

So pretty!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

On Schedule

Almost every morning, I pass a man on the walk from my car into work. He is a nice, chatty guy. We joke, in passing, about how we need to switch parking spots.

Before I pass Chatty Guy, I pass a number of people walking on the Seawall. There is a woman walking who, no matter the weather, always wears jogging shorts. That is a feat in itself, since there are usually gale force winds coming off the Gulf - with or without chilly temperatures.

There is also a man, who walks briskly with his German Shepherd. He is an older gentleman with a mustache and a buzz cut that never seems to grow longer than a couple inches.

In the evening, on the days when I pick Aiden up from daycare, I pass a large bearded man riding his bicycle down the same stretch of road.

We have a routine. There are a few variations on the routine, but for the most part, our weekdays are each the same. Aiden thrives on that routine.

Sunday afternoon, we went over to Ariel and Robert's. Travis went with them to their softball game, so they were gone for a couple hours before coming back for pizza. Aiden had already eaten his dinner, but he sat in my lap and ate an entire piece by himself before heading to bed.

After Aiden was down, we proceeded to put up Christmas decorations. We had wine and the Christmas music was playing. It was a nice, relaxing evening.

We made plans to be there past Aiden's bedtime, so we decided to stay the night. Ariel lives close to my work and since Travis would be passing the daycare to get to work, he brought Aiden in the morning. 99.99% of the time, I take him to daycare. Travis has to be to work an hour earlier than I do, so unfortunately, that meant Aiden had to wake up 45 minutes earlier than normal.

For Aiden, that equates to a morning full of crankiness. His teachers informed me at the end of the day, that he had cried inconsolably all morning. He had three bite attempts, two successful. He went into timeout four times that day.

Needless to say, Aiden needs his schedule and he needs his sleep.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Aiden's Friends

It has been months since we have spent any time with Kate and her parents. I have been wanting to put together a play date for while now too. So I put two and two together and got a 4-child-1-baby play date!

Each of the parents brought a little snack and I provided drinks and a few child-friendly snacks. It was a really laid back event starting after nap time and ending before bedtime.

Here Kate and Nadya watch on as Luke and Aiden share the farm:

Linsey is 5-months pregnant with a girl, so she took a little time to admire 2-month old Skylar with her mommy, Alexa:

Nadya was reaching through the farm with a monster hand, making Aiden jump back and laugh hysterically. Kate caught on quick:

Alexey showed Luke how to properly use the dump truck:

Chris and Zach take a child-free moment to snack and catch up:

Big boy Blair pulled the train into the kitchen so he could have some space to play:

Every one trickled out as the evening wore on. We hadn't seen the Ramby's since their Florida Thanksgiving trip, so it was great to see them as well. Little Skylar has put on some serious cheek-pinching-chub since the last time we saw her. I almost didn't recognize her!

Friday, December 10, 2010

The Grinch Who Stole MY Christmas

I've been feeling a little Grinch-y this year and I'm not sure why. (Please listen to this video while you read this post.) I'm having such a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit. At first I thought it was because it was too hot out. But then it cooled down and I realized that wasn't it. Then I thought it might be because I didn't have Christmas decorations up yet. But then we put those up last weekend and it didn't help. I keep trying to listen to Christmas music in the car, but I'm just not into it.

Maybe it's because I won't have any snow in my life this year? Maybe it's because my family is not here yet? They should be trickling in over the next week, so maybe that will help. With or without Christmas, I am looking forward to seeing my parents and brother. Travis' parents won't be able to make it this year, which is a little sad. But, it means that we HAVE to go to Illinois next year.

Tonight I'm going to sit down with the DVR and see if I can find some Christmas movies to record. Maybe that will help scare of this Grinch?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

I need a shoulder rub

Travis kept me up from 4 to 6 this morning, throwing up. Aiden cried from 6 to 7 am. The clouds are gone, so the sun was back in Aiden's face during the entire drive to the island.

Travis went to work this morning because if he doesn't work today, then he probably won't get his overtime for working late every day this week. I know how he feels, but it was silly because I know he can't work if he has to stop every 15 minutes to vomit.

His boss sent him home after 30 minutes.

Not sure what's wrong with him. We ate the same meal last night, except that he had ice cream just before bed. So I'm not confident that it's food poisoning. If it's a stomach bug, I REALLY don't want it and I REALLY don't want Aiden to get it. UGH.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Dog Days Are Over

This morning I was in the bathroom getting ready while Aiden was playing in his bedroom. He said, "Momma?", which is actually unusual in the morning. He's not much of a morning person. I was setting my makeup down to go see what was wrong when he started screaming crying. I realized his scream was a little muffled, so I started to panic a little. I found him stuck behind the futon in his room. He wasn't hurt, but I could tell it freaked him out a little.

Last night we were rolling the ball back and forth to each other. He always sits right in front of me when we do this, so we've never been very far apart. I decided to slowly move myself backward throughout the game to see how far he could accurately throw the ball. Keep in mind that he can't throw it from his hands to mine. The ball bounces along the way. But! He was able to get it to me from 10 feet away! It was getting to the point that I worried it might be too far away for me to get it back to him. If you know me at all, you know I don't have a sporty bone in my body.

The video is a little whacky, but I LOVE the song. Watch it. Or close your eyes and just listen to it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

All Lit Up

Travis is working late all week, so I am picking up Aiden from school at night. Usually I drop him off and Travis picks him up. That means it will be a little more commute time for me this week. Last night we didn't get home until a little after 6 so it was dark out. Aiden got to see the lights on the house for the first time. He just walked along the front of the house pointing at the lights saying, "igh, igh". That's how he says 'light'.

When we got in the house, we took a moment to show him all the lights inside the house. I think his favorites are the blinking, colored lights we have hung in the bathroom. They have a music box that plays Christmas music. It's a little cheesy, but it reminds me of when I was a kid, so it has a certain nostalgia that I like to keep around at the holidays. Actually, my dad bought us that string of lights years ago.

Aiden points at each light and says a different color. He doesn't really know which one is which yet. Most of them are 'boo' (blue), some of them are puhpooh (purple; and there's not even a purple light on the string!). We're working on the rest.

Next was the Christmas tree.

He was more interested in the ornaments than the lights. Ironically enough, he recognizes most of the animal ornaments. He points at each fish (I have an ocean/beach themed tree) and says "ish", he points at his sheep ornament and says "baa" and then he points at the seahorses and says "aaaaaaa!", which is his version of 'neigh'. Gah, I love that kid.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Day with a Tree

We dedicated our Sunday to Christmas decorating. But first, we needed a tree. I did some research the day before on where might be the best place to buy a Christmas tree from, based on price and availability. Last year we went to cut down our own tree. It was a lot of fun, but the tree itself wasn't really worth the cost. Instead we went to a garden center near our house that has a ridiculous amount of trees for a ridiculously cheap price tag.

We decided to go with a short needle tree this year. Every year in the past we got a long needle tree. I've heard they shed easier and honestly, it's a little difficult to get the ornaments on each branch. It didn't take us long to find the perfect tree. It's about 6.5' tall and it was so full that Travis didn't have to stuff cut branches in any gaps this time. HA!

On a side note, the maple in our front yard has started to change colors. It seems that the leaves all fall out at the same time somewhere between Christmas and the New Year. It's the only tree in our yard that actually changes color before losing it's leaves. All the other trees' leaves turn brown then fall off. It's just not as fun.

After we got Aiden laid down for his nap, we began decorating the house. Travis put lights on the house, while I did garland and lights on the fence by our driveway. I find it a little difficult to get into the Christmas spirit down here in Texas with the balmy temperatures. It helps a little that it cooled down this weekend. I wore a jacket while we picked out our tree, but it was too warm for the jacket in the sun while I put up the garland.

I can't help but see the irony in the Christmas garland next to the green grass and palm trees...

We have this tiny niche between the new and old cabinets that we have been trying to decide what to do with. I think we're going to try to find some sort of a recycling bin that might fit in here that won't be an absolute eye sore. Until then, it's Aiden's play niche.

We invited Ariel and Robert over to help decorate the Christmas tree. I was really hoping Aiden would get to be a part of that, but we didn't have time before his bedtime. Instead, Travis and I sat with him while "he" hung his first Christmas ornament from last year. The best part is that it's a sheep - his favorite animal of all time. He didn't stop baa-ing until we got him to bed.

Ariel, Travis and Robert played softball before coming over to decorate. I fed them spaghetti with garlic bread and wine. While we decorated the tree, we ate Rice Krispie treats and chocolate hazelnut Pirouettes. Of course I also forced everyone to have a mug of homemade hot chocolate. Needless to say, we weren't the most lively bunch come 10 o'clock.

I love the Christmas season!

Friday, December 3, 2010


I like finding entertaining websites. I usually check them daily for a while, then forget they exist. But check it out if you need some funny in your life. It has regular posts of text messages that have been altered by auto-correct.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Best Screamer in Class!

This past Sunday evening, Aiden and I went to watch Ariel, Travis and Robert play softball. They play in a league on a team for Ariel's work and it's a weekly thing. I used to enjoy going. I would sit outside, drink a beer and eat a pretzel while they played their one-hour game. Things just aren't the same with Aiden. I've actually decided that I'm going to stop going, unless I have a friend to go with. Otherwise it is entirely too stressful for me to enjoy any of it.

Aiden is a toddler who only learned to walk six months ago. It is this shiny, new thing that he is still perfecting. Which means there is no way to get him to just sit in one spot while we watch the game. Sometimes I can get him to stay in a certain area, but I still have to follow him around so I can catch him when he falls down the concrete stairs or cover his head when a rogue softball flies our way.

On top of this, I have to keep an eye on my purse and Aiden's diaper bag. That doesn't leave room for much game watching. This last trip was a doozie. We had FOUR balls hit within feet of where we were standing. Two were pop-ups from a game and two were from a team that was practicing throwing the ball back and forth. None of them hit us thankfully, but it was a close call each time.

Then, in the last five minutes of the game, Aiden was running and fell. He wasn't able to get his hands in front of himself in time to fully catch himself, so he whacked his forehead REALLY HARD on the concrete sidewalk. There was an audible thud and a delayed cry while he inhaled the maximum amount of air his lungs would allow before letting it out in a horrific scream. Ugh. It was heart wrenching.

There was no blood. That was good, but at first I couldn't tell where he had hit himself. Honestly, it wasn't until the next evening when he came home from daycare with a bruise blossomed on his forehead that I realized he'd hit his head and not his nose. I was stressed out from all the chasing and trying to get Aiden to eat the crappy food they serve there and keeping an eye on our stuff. I'm not going back again unless I have someone to help me. Or if it's a championship game.

Tuesday, Aiden came home from daycare with a goose egg where his forehead was bruised. Turns out, he fell down again and hit his forehead on the floor. I don't know if it was a really hard hit again, or if it swelled up easily because it was already damaged. Either way, it's a sad sight. Now every time he taps his forehead on something, severe sobbing ensues. This morning he was trying to fit through a door that wasn't open all the way and his forehead rubbed the door jamb. Just rubbing it resulted in a good cry. Poor guy.

The last week was pretty rough again with Aiden. The molars that had been trying to work their way through his gums finally broke all the way through. There were weeks with just the points of each molar coming out of his gums. Thankfully, there is no longer little patches of tissue in the middle of each tooth. YUCK. Since yesterday, he seems to be in a much better mood because of it.

His teachers did inform us yesterday that Aiden is the loudest kid in the class. He yells the loudest when they are outside and he cries the loudest when he is hurt or mad. He seems to have developed this horribly high-pitched keening. Gah. It's the worst when I'm holding him. Ahhh, parenthood!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Facebook Status

Here are a few funny Facebook statuses from my friends as of late...

"It is inappropriate to tell knock knock jokes to the homeless."

"Stop staring at me Jimmy Wales!"

"You know you're officially getting older when your son asks you, 'Daddy, why do you have train tracks across your head?'"

"Monday = headache"

"Not sure why Micah just ran through the living room carrying two eggs."

"I don't know if it's just me, but don't you think 'LOL' in texting is pretty much the end to the conversation? Meaning, that is all you say back or get back... Crazy times we live in... LOL"

Happy Facebooking!