Friday, May 27, 2011

New Beginnings

Travis got a new job! He really enjoyed working with the guys at the small business he's worked with for the past 6 years (aside from that year stint at the plant), but he had plateaued at that job. There were only five employees there, plus the boss. There was no where for him to move up to, aside from taking over the company. And since three of the boss' sons work for him, the chances of that are really slim.

He also really wanted to find an employer that could offer him benefits that only come with bigger companies. There is a guy that he used to work with that moved to a company north of where we live, so Travis decided to give him a call and see if he liked it there. The friend said it was one of the best jobs he's had and that he could easily get Travis a position there if he wanted to make the move.

Travis decided to go for it. He talked to this friend last Friday morning. He had an interview with the Master Electrician Saturday morning. After two hours of talking, the interviewer said he could have the job assuming that he still wanted to take it and he was able to pass a few checks, including a drug test. Travis' response?

In his best beach bum accent, "Coooolll... What drugs will I be testing?"

No joke. He really said that. In the first interview. And the guy still asked him to come work for them! I suppose when Travis passes the drug test (which he definitely will), that will soothe any qualms they had about him actually being a pothead or something. But still. TRAVIS. Gah.

He signed papers giving them permission to do a background check and to check his driving record on Monday afternoon. They called on Wednesday to say he had the job as long as he could pass the drug test. He did that Thursday morning. Assuming they get the results this week, he'll be starting with the new company on Tuesday!! Wahoo!

The main drawback is that he is taking a small pay cut initially. Eventually he can get raises back to where he was at the last place. Luckily, they have various incentives that might make up the difference, like bonuses, benefits and they even have their work clothes dry cleaned weekly! That's two less loads of laundry to be done at home. I'm actually really excited about that last part because I always feel like I'm competing with Travis for the washer and dryer. That boy does laundry two to three days a week! (He does his own laundry, I do mine.)

Another fun part? Travis will have a three-day weekend! I can't remember the last time he was home for one of these. He usually works holidays like these and most of the time he works the Saturday too.

His new hours might take a little getting used to in the beginning. He will work longer during the week. BUT! He will only have to work one Saturday a month!

Travis' first month will be a sort of training period. He'll ride along with another guy and learn how they do paperwork and when they use the radio (which he didn't have at the last job). After that, he'll have his own truck and will be doing most work on his own. I hope he likes it!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Rough Start

If you do not handle talk of bodily functions well, you should probably skip today's post.

Monday morning was not a good time for Aiden and I. Aiden had diarrhea a couple times on Sunday, which is very unusual for him, but I attributed it to all the juice he drank at the Ramby's on Saturday evening. I rethought that when he began to projectile vomit all over the back seat of my car on the ride onto the island Monday morning.

Aiden started coughing, so I looked in my rear view mirror to check on him. Then the fountain began. I was in the middle lane in halted morning rush hour traffic. The cars couldn't get out of my way fast enough. I pulled over in front of Sonic, which if you don't know the island, is only 2 blocks after the end of I-45. He continued to spew milk during the entire ride from the center lane to the side road, all the while I'm forcefully whispering, "Oh no, oh no, oh no..."

He finally stopped as I was getting out of the car. I immediately jumped in the back seat and assessed the damage. Aiden was covered from chin to knees. His toy train and airplane were lost in the mess. It had sprayed over the edge of his car seat onto the backpack we bring to daycare with his nap time gear and an extra change of clothes (which we needed at the moment). It was dripping down the back of the center console onto my sun screens.

My first thought was how the hell am I going to clean this up? I'm in my car! I didn't even have the diaper bag. I grabbed the blanket we leave in the car and tried to wipe Aiden and the seat straps up the best I could. I took him out of the seat, stripped him of all his clothes and brought him to the trunk of the car to wipe him down with the baby wipes I thankfully keep in the car. After he was as clean as he was going to get at the moment, I pulled the extra set of clothes out of the back pack. I was happy to see they were dry. I don't know why it was so important to me to dress him. I guess just doing the familiar thing. I set him in the passenger seat, desperately hoping he didn't have anything left to cover the front of the car as well.

I tried to wipe up the car seat with the baby wipes, since I had to put Aiden back in the thing to get him home. My attempts were futile. I was barely getting anything off the seat. I finally decided to clean the straps the best I could and then lay another blanket on the seat before setting Aiden back in it.

After he was strapped in, I called the daycare to notify them Aiden would not be in that day. Then I phoned Travis to see if there was any chance he would be able to come home early. I had a HUGE assay to do at work. If I postponed it, I would have to throw away everything I had done already. Not only was that not cost effective, it was a waste of my time. Travis said he would check with his boss to see when he could get off and I started the trek back home.

Travis sent me a text saying he would be off at lunch. I was plenty fine with that because every hour before his normal time off work would be better for me.

About half way home, Aiden started coughing again and saying "ow." I looked fearfully in the rear view mirror to see all color was gone from Aiden's face and lips. Then a little more come up. By this point it was all water, no chunks. Thankfully? I'm not really sure if that is better or worse. All I could do was tell him we would be home soon.

When we got home, I left all the windows rolled down. No sense allowing that smell to concentrate before I had to climb in after it. I gave Aiden a quick bath, then set him in front of the TV with Mr. Lion, his puppy pillow and a blanket. He sat there and watched Elmo in Grouchland one and a half times. He was content to sit and not move for that much time.

I threw out what was left of the milk he had drank that morning. It didn't expire for another week, but there wasn't much left and I wasn't taking any chances.

I went back out to the car to tackle my next task. I pulled the car seat out and set it in the driveway. That way anything that fell off during the cleaning would not land in my car. I took the cover off for the first time ever and threw it in the wash, along with everything else that had been coated. I thought about wiping it down with paper towels and some sort of cleaner, but quickly threw that idea out the window when I thought of the hose. It was the best way to get "things" out of the cracks and crevasses. Next in line for the hose were Aiden's toys and my sun screens.

I need to point out that I am eternally grateful (I have been watching a little too much Toy Story lately) for the car seat protector we have used since Aiden was born. We originally bought it to prevent his car seat from leaving permanent dents in the leather. But now I know it has another purpose: vomit catcher. I didn't have to clean any vomit off the seats of my car, except for the few blotches that had fallen off Aiden when I pulled him out.

I can only imagine what my face looked like through all of this. I'm sure it was the same face I wore the entire ride back from Galveston with partially digested milk coating my back seat.

I cleaned the house while Aiden relaxed. After 30 minutes, he started saying he was hungry. I was really nervous about giving him anything. I gave him 2 ounces of water and one animal cracker. When that stayed down for 15 minutes, I offered him some more. Another 30 minutes after he had finished his snack, he started complaining about being hungry again. I made him some cinnamon toast, which he happily scarfed down and asked for more. I took my time making him a second slice, trying to give his stomach a chance to come to terms with all this food. He ate that entire slice as well, but was sated.

Until an hour later when he started saying, "Eat? Eat? Eat?" Most of what comes out of his mouth is in question form. I was trying to decide what would be easiest on his stomach. No dairy. Nothing remotely spicy. No acidic tomato based anything. Chicken noodle soup it is! Although I drained most of the broth out and it became chicken and noodles with a side of saltines. I gave him some Pedialyte to drink. He scarfed all that down as well.

I was a nervous wreck by this point. I kept thinking I was giving him too much food. But he was hungry. And nothing had come back up yet.

I put Aiden down for his nap at noon, following the same guidelines I used on Sunday. He fell asleep within 15 minutes. Travis arrived shortly thereafter for the swap. He used his "free time" during Aiden's nap to mow the front lawn, since it's been weeks since we've attended the grass. I went to work for five hours, making it home in time to finish dinner with Travis around 6:45 pm. Travis reported that Aiden hadn't gotten sick once under his watch.

It was a long day. Aiden went back to daycare on Tuesday with no illness to report. Phew.

Monday, May 23, 2011


I got Aiden to take a nap in his bed, on the weekend, during the DAY. I couldn't believe it! Ever since Aiden learned how to crawl out of his crib a few weeks ago, napping on the weekend has been nonexistent. I know he's not ready to get rid of naps altogether yet because he still sleeps 2 to 2 1/2 hours a day at daycare.

We had tried EVERYTHING. Letting him run loose in the bedroom (sometimes he fell asleep on his own, sometimes he didn't), laying with him, sitting on the bed next to him and holding him down (horrible)... I thought we were out of options. But then I started thinking about Blair, who sleeps in a big boy bed. Alexa has had some trouble getting him to sleep occasionally and I know they leave his door open a crack when he goes to bed. I decided to ask her why she keeps the door open and how she deals with him getting up. She said that every time he gets up, she tells him to go back to bed. And the door stays open so she can see if he's in bed or not.

We decided to give it a try. We left the door open, I sat on the love seat where I have a perfect view of Aiden in bed and Travis went outside. For one, we didn't want Aiden to be distracted by too many parents trying to tell him what to do. Two, Travis wasn't sure he could handle the game playing on Aiden's side. I told him to go outside and if it worked, then he could try it later.

AND IT WORKED! Like a charm! We laid him down for nap time together, like we do at bed time and used to do for nap time. Travis went outside and I sat on the couch. Every time Aiden tried to get up, I told him sternly, "Get back in bed." After a couple times of that, I told him he could have a book if he stayed in bed. He said okay, so I handed him the book and went back to my perch. Every time he sat up, I went in and asked him if he was done with his book. He always said no and laid back down. It took about five goes with this before he finally stayed down on his own. He pressed a few buttons in the electronic book he'd chosen and then rolled over. I gave him 10 minutes of lying there, shifting occasionally, and then I went in to check on him.

He was asleep, so I laid his book on the ground, covered him up with his blanket, locked and shut the door. It was amazing. The whole thing probably took 20 minutes. I can only hope that we can reenact this feat next weekend. It probably helped that he went to bed late the night before, spent the morning playing outside and went down late for his nap. We'll have to see how it goes next time before getting too confident.

After I had Aiden locked away (last time we left him inside for nap time, he got out of his room and pulled out all the DVDs), I headed back outside to sit with Travis. That morning, we slept in until 8 am (unusual, but expected since we stayed up late) then got up and watched Cars for the first time with Aiden. He really seemed to like it, but I have yet to see serious interest. I'm hoping to get him hyped up enough that he'll want to see his first movie in the theater, Cars 2, this summer.

After the movie, I made breakfast and Travis went out to fill the kiddie pool with water. He came in to eat, then we all headed out to relax in the water. While Aiden was taking his nap, Travis and I relaxed by the "pool".

You can see our veggie garden next to Travis. Some of the plants are doing well (tomatoes and cucumbers), while others not-so-well (onions and peppers). I think I might plant new onions this week. They are doing really bad.

After an hour and a half, I had to drive up to pick up our rings from their bi-annual inspection, cleaning and rhodium plating. On my way back, I stopped at the grocery store for a few items. When I got back, Travis fired up the grill and made our dinner. When we were finished eating and cleaning up, we all hopped back in the pool for a few more delirious minutes in the water. Aiden was so tired he laughed almost non-stop.

Travis and Aiden took a bath while I cleaned up the kitchen. Then when they got out, we relaxed on the couch for 30 minutes watching The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland, a fantastic find by the Ramby's. It reminds me strongly of shows I used to watch as a kid, like The Muppets and Fraggle Rock.

It was an excellent Sunday. I quickly determined the Theme of the Day to be The Lazy Song, by Bruno Mars.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Pixar vs Disney

Speaking of Pixar, I came across an article the other day that pointed out that there is not a single Pixar movie with a female lead. Think about it. There are sidekicks (Dory in Finding Nemo, Jessie in Toy Story), but no leading females. They get close in movies like The Incredibles, but I still felt like the dad was the main character in that movie.

I know that Disney cartoons seemed to favor girls with all the princess movies (Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, The Little Mermaid), but at least they had some male leads (Pinocchio, The Jungle Book, Robin Hood). Although, now that I think about it, I do recall a blog post by a friend where she points out that the relationships those princesses have are not exactly good lessons to teach our chidren. Belle falls in love with a beast that holds her hostage in his castle. Ariel gives up who she is (a mermaid) to be with the man she loves (with legs).

See what I mean? Let a man treat you like crap and change who you are to be what he wants! That's how you will be happy!

Well, I suppose when I think back on Disney films, that's not what I took from them. I liked the princesses with their flowing dresses, frolicking through the woods, oblivious to the danger that was always after them. I think my favorite princess was always sleeping beauty. She had a strong voice and all the animals loved her. That's what I remember. Being outside. Ariel under the water, Jasmine on a magic carpet ride, Cinderella and the pumpkin. Oh and the fairies were fun too.

And even though Pixar is short-handing the ladies, I still love their movies. They entertain me as a parent, as much as they entertain my son. It's WAY better than having to sit through an episode of Thomas the Train.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

All Done!

Well, aside from the decorative metal that I plan to search for this weekend.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

This one's all over the place

So I think I'm pretty much recovered from whatever that two-week long cold was that I had. I'm still dealing with some drainage, as is Travis, which means I probably have a couple more weeks of this nastiness. But at least I don't feel like hell anymore.

Travis didn't know what to do with himself now that the patio is finished. We are taking a break from the yard renovation work so that he and my dad can go over the final plans for the wall. To keep himself busy in the meantime, he bought some cedar and is building an ice box for us to leave on the patio.

I can think of other things he could do to keep himself busy (clean the bathroom, vacuum, dust, etc), but at least he's doing something useful. When he's finished, I'm going to try to find some sort of metal decoration to nail to the front of the box. I'm sure Travis would like to put the state of Texas on the front. I'm going to have to veto that.

Ramdomness: Yesterday, Travis' co-worker sent this picture of Travis with the caption "Squirrel Master".

I am continuing to feel more and more rested. It would probably be better if I would go to bed by 10, so I'm going to make an effort to do that, at least during the week.

Aiden keeps learning to do more and more everyday. It's exhausting really. Here are all the things he's learned to do in the past month:

  • Climb out of his travel crib

  • Climb on top of the dresser in his room (I had to take everything off his dresser)

  • Stand on the railing that lines his bed (so he can see out the window to what we're doing in the yard)

  • Open his bedroom door (but he can't unlock it yet, so that's a plus)

  • Open the back exterior door

Do you see how this can be exhausting? He got a hold of the baby powder that was on top of the dresser after he figured out how to get up there. This is what Travis found when he went in to find out what Aiden was doing:

Here are a few of the things he's been doing lately that I see in a more positive light (meaning NOT exhausting):

  • Walk up and down the stairs without a helping hand (There is a downside to this - he can now jump off his bed and futon, shaking the entire house.)

  • His vocabulary has gone through the roof recently. He says things like, "Callaway's barking," "I break it," "Look Mommy! A jungle!" (when point to the trees on the side of the road)

  • He's in the process of learning how to do regular puzzles, as opposed to knob puzzles.

He has also shown a recent interest in ONE movie. All of my friends with kids a little older than Aiden have complained about their child having an obsession with a certain movie. That means that one gets played over and over again, causing the parent to go insane with Pixar-overload. Aiden's current favorite is Robots. I think it's a cute movie, so I haven't gone completely bat shit over it. Yet.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A Day with Micah

Saturday, Aiden and I drove up to Houston for Micah's third birthday party (Travis had to work). Jenn and Billy rented a moonwalk obstacle course for the afternoon and the kids LOVED it.

Aiden was the youngest kid at the party, but he seemed to do a pretty good job of keeping up with the rest. He had a hard time going down the steep slide by himself, so I did my best to convince him to stay in the jumping hallway (pictured above). A few of the adults took turns getting in there to lift the kids up to make a ball in the basket.

I got to meet a few more of their friends and talk about the stresses of raising a toddler.

We ate burgers and Aiden drank lots of juice. He had a good time laying on Micah's mini-slide. I'd really like to get him one of these this summer, but we'll have to wait and see how the financial situation is after we recover from Travis' teeth repair and the yard renovation.

The boy pictured above (also named Aden) is a mere TWO years older than Aiden. I could not get over how big he is. There was another boy at the party who is 8 years old and he could not believe that Aden was only 3 years old. They were the same height! The other boy was a normal lanky 8-year-old. Aden is built like a linebacker. So funny!

Billy did his best to prevent Micah from blowing out the candle on his cupcake before Jenn could get a picture. It took several tries before they got the shot.

Becky, Billy and David's mom, is standing in back with her dog Coco. Becky was in a horrible auto collision in August 2009. She still has pain where she broke bones and has to walk with a cane, but I was very impressed with her healing.

The rest of the party went well. Aiden got really excited after Micah opened his presents. I made a mental note that Aiden's favorite was the motorcycle toy. Soon after that, we made the trek home.

The best part of this trip, was that Aiden slept on the car ride there and back - about 30 minutes each time. He used to take 3-hour naps, but now that he can climb out of his crib, naps are non-existent at home. I was happy with the two 30-minute naps!

When we got home, the Ramby's were over helping Travis lay out the patio. They brought take-out from Taco Cabana. YUM. Alexa, Skyslar and I chatted inside while the boys were outside. I was complaining to Alexa about how I never sleep anymore. She said that she has to sleep with a sleep mask on so the lights don't wake her up. I have a sleep mask that I got after Aiden was born so I could nap during the day, so I gave it a try. I really think it's working. Even if I wake up from other stimuli, it doesn't take me as long to fall back to sleep with the mask on.

I've worn the sleep mask for two nights now and I can already tell I feel better. I think it will take several nights of good sleep for the real magic to happen, but I've got hope! Alexa also recommended a sound machine. We used to have a floor fan in our room, but it broke about a year ago. The fan would be the equivalent of a sound machine. And Travis would get his cool breeze while he sleeps. I keep meaning to buy a replacement. Maybe it's time.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Best Sunday Ever

I have been so tired. I can't really remember not being tired. I've been trying to figure out why and I've decided it's because I don't sleep well. I was talking to my dad about this problem while I was sick and he recommended taking NyQuil to help me get some rest that might help me recover quicker. The thought of taking a drug that would knock me out gave me anxiety. Travis doesn't wake up for anything. He doesn't wake up for Aiden screaming, he doesn't wake up with me pushing him, he doesn't wake up with his own alarm! His alarm wakes me up, then I wake him up.

Because of that I am convinced that if there is a fire, or something wrong with Aiden, or someone breaking into our house, it will be up to me to wake up Travis and to take care of the situation. I finally broke down this weekend and asked Travis if he would let me have drugged sleep once a month so I can catch up a little. So now, every fourth weekend, I am going to take a Benadryl before I go to bed on Saturday night and Travis is going to get up with Aiden in the morning.

We gave this a try for the first time this past Saturday and it was A-MA-ZING. I set my alarm for 9 am (I didn't want to sleep the day away), popped one Benadryl, threw on a sleep mask (GREAT recommendation Alexa!) and laid back to enjoy the ride. Usually I get up at 6:45 with Aiden. On Sunday, I woke up at 8:30 to Aiden talking in his bedroom. I decided that I felt rested enough that I would just get up with him and let Travis sleep in longer. Sleeping in until 8:30 meant almost two extra hours of sleep and I was happy with that.

I rolled over to make sure Travis wasn't getting up and HE WASN'T THERE. Travis got out of bed and I DIDN'T WAKE UP. We got lucky and Travis was up going to the bathroom when he heard Aiden talking, so he didn't have to worry about Aiden not being able to wake him up. I was a little disoriented when I realized Travis wasn't even in bed. I can't tell you the last time he moved in bed without my knowledge.

I decided I would just lay back and wait out my 9 o'clock alarm. At 8:45, I was awake, but was still feeling the relaxing effects of the Benadryl so I turned off the alarm and just laid there, staring out the window. I finally rolled out of bed at 9:05. NINE OH FIVE. Ugh, it was sweet bliss!

I got dressed, went to the bathroom to brush my teeth and do the morning deed before heading out to the living room where Travis and Aiden were watching Thomas the Train (worst children's show ever, but Aiden LOVES trains). I took Travis' spot on the couch and he ran to McDonald's to grab breakfast for us. It was such a lazy thing to do, but I just happened to be feeling lazy. Actually, lazy isn't the word for it. I was rested and relaxed. Not tired, just relaxed. Not stressing about what the next step in our day was, not rushing around packing bags to go somewhere. Just sitting and enjoying it.

We ate breakfast at the kitchen table, then headed outside to enjoy the cool weather. Travis quickly got to work on the patio. Aiden followed him around with his Home Depot tool belt and tools from Blair's birthday party this year.

I was looking back through my posts and I've come to the conclusion that Travis started digging the trench for the drainage system that will divert water away from our usable yard on April 23rd. Three weeks later and the patio is complete!

After the patio was dusted with sand and watered, Travis grabbed a beer and collapsed on the ground. We let Aiden cool off by playing with the water hose.

Now all we need is the privacy wall to block us from the street view. I realized Sunday evening that we will still be able to enjoy the patio without the wall because we can watch Aiden can playing on the concrete drive while we sit in the shade of the patio.

We christened the new patio with a grilled dinner of Buffalo wings, pasta salad and melon. Aiden was a bit cranky by this point because he refuses to nap these days, but we still enjoyed our meal. I think we both will appreciate not having to walk around the fence to get to the patio. Also, it will be nice to leave our patio furniture out there all the time instead of packing it back in the garage at the end of the day.

I felt like we've been working on the yard renovations for months. Years maybe. I am so grateful to have Stage 2 done. (Stage 1: Drainage system. Stage 2: Patio. Stage 3: Stucco wall.) But, I think Stage 3 will be the most stressful. There are so many decisions to be made about the foundation and the inner make-up of the wall. If we make the wrong decision, the wall might sink and/or crack.

My dad emailed me the post layout yesterday, but I think we'll take a few days off before we get started on that. I need to take advantage of all that rest I got Saturday night!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Sans Crib Casualities

This is how I found Aiden after he finally fell asleep on Sunday during "nap time." Mr. Lion is always by his side during sleepy times.

I think Aiden is getting better at going to sleep now. I don't know if it was because he had a weekend full of NOT sleeping during nap time, or if it's the transitions to mats during nap time at the new daycare.

I have been sick for 11 days now. I have been getting better just a pinch everyday. The weekend before Mother's Day, I developed a horrible cold that was fringed with aches all day on Sunday. I didn't want to move. Thankfully, it got a little better come Monday. Just a little. I was busy on Monday at work, but not so much on Tuesday. I asked the boss if he would mind if I went home sick and he didn't have a problem with it. I almost completely lost my voice Tuesday night. I didn't have the type of sore throat where my lymph nodes are swollen. It was more like my vocal cords hurt. It was a rough night for taking care of Aiden, since I couldn't tell him what I needed him to do!

By Monday this week, I was tired of the constantly runny nose and corresponding cough. Every morning I would tell myself I was going to the doctor after work. The problem is that it's always worse in the morning. Then by the afternoon I wasn't feeling quite so crappy in the head. I was just exhausted. I haven't slept through the night for months. I was a light sleeper before Aiden. After Aiden? Forget it. I wake up every time I roll over. Then I realize I need to pee, so I get up and take care of business. Then the cat steps on my hair when I get back into bed. Then I wake up 10 minutes before my alarm goes off and decided to just lay there until it's time to get up. CONSTANTLY TIRED. Thank goodness for coffee!!

Another thing holding me back from going to the doctor is the fact that when I was growing up, my parents only took us if we were close to death. That means that Ariel was ALWAYS at the ER and I only went for sports physicals. It seemed like every Christmas Ariel was having an asthma attack so severe she had to be rushed to the hospital.

Then one time she was running through the TV room, tripped on the carpet and her head landed on the water spout of our old-fashioned, silver, cast iron radiator. Her head burst open and wouldn't stop bleeding. I was covered in blood. My mom and grandma immediately took her out the door for medical attention. I sat, rocking in my child-sized rocking chair, sure that my sister was going to die. Several staples and mom that fainted and she was good to go!

My mom accidentally dislocated her arm after pulling her off the train tracks when she was young. 5 maybe? Ariel complained that it hurt, but my mom just assumed she was being a kid and complaining. After a day of not using the arm, my parents took her to the doctor to find out her shoulder had been dislocated.

Fast forward several years to when Ariel was in gymnastics. She was jumping on the trampoline when she did a backward flip and landed partially off the tramp. Weeks (months?) went by before they decided it was probably more than a pulled muscle. Turned out to be a hairline fracture in her forearm, at her elbow. She had restricted activity for a while after that.

Needless to say, it goes against everything in my body to go to the doctor. We just didn't do that growing up and I feel like a sissy going there. Isn't that silly? Ha! Well, I'm not usually sick either, so I guess that helps my case. That's why I finally decided to go. I'd had this cold for 10 days and it felt like it would be several more weeks before I got better at the rate I was recovering. Travis has had the same thing, but he's about a week ahead of me. I'm pretty sure Aiden has the same thing as well, although his runny nose doesn't seem as bad as mine.

I picked Aiden up from daycare last night and headed over to the Urgent Care clinic. The best part of Urgent Care is you don't have to make an appointment and you don't have to take off work to go. It's pretty much awesome. Anyhoo, I filled out the paperwork and was waiting to get called back. Travis stopped by to grab Aiden and get him home for dinner.

A few minutes later, the nurse called my name. The doctor said that he didn't see any reason to give me antibiotics at this time. He said that the side effects of the medication would probably be worse than how I am feeling. I wanted to disagree, but there was no point. He did however, agree to call in the antibiotics to the pharmacy. He said if I don't get better in a few days, then I could go give it a try. The prescription doesn't expire for a year, so that gives me plenty of chances to get back there.

In the meantime, I got a steroid shot in the ass. It took a good 10-seconds to get it all in there. I wanted to swat her hands away from my derriere during the whole last half of that. It felt like I was getting stung in the butt! Sadly, that didn't go away after she pulled out the needle. Instead, it got worse. It spread throughout half my right butt cheek, making it very difficult to walk. I'm sure I looked like an idiot taking baby steps the entire way out of the clinic.

The nurse said I would feel much better after 45 minutes and she was right. The injection site is still sore today, but overall the area is fine. AND IT WAS TOTALLY WORTH IT. I had the BEST night of sleep last night. I honestly cannot recall the last time I slept through the night. As I was filling Callaway's food dish this morning, it dawned on me that I couldn't recall rolling over once during the night! Amazing!!

Today I feel permanentely relaxed. I don't really feel tired. It's more like I'd rather just sit here and be calm and that would be just great. I can even breathe! I know my sinuses are not completely back to normal. Food still tastes funny and my sense of smell is still numbed. But I can breathe.

Steroid shots may be a bitch in the beginning, but they are worth the struggle.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Mother's Day

The morning of Mother's Day, we took it easy in the house. We cleaned the sand off our stuff from the beach and I watered the plants. Nap time was a disaster though. Since Aiden learned how to climb out of his travel crib the night before, we didn't even waste time setting it up. Instead, we let him run around in his room until he fell asleep - which ended up being on the floor directly in front of the door.

He woke up shortly thereafter, just in time to go to the Bayou Wildlife Park with the Yeager's. We stopped for Frapuccino's since hot coffee at home just wasn't doing it for me in the heat. We stopped at the Yeager's house only long enough for them to jump in their car to lead the caravan.

After you pull into the gate at the wildlife park, you are instantly surrounded by various ungulates and ostriches. We rolled the windows down and turned off the radio to get a better feel for the environment. For those of you who don't know me that well, I am distressingly afraid of birds. And I can assure you that the larger the bird gets, the larger my fear. However, I was totally okay with that ostrich being on the other side of our windshield. He stopped right in front of our car, so we had to stop and wait for him to continue his stroll. When he finally did, it was towards my open window. I was having flashes of him attacking through my window, pecking at my face and taking off my finger. I quickly rolled up my window and squealed for Travis to do the same for Aiden's window.

Don't worry. We survived.

After we got to the parking area, we left Zach and Kenley in the tram while the rest of us headed over to the petting area. Of course, there were plenty of random gazelle/antelope/deer-like animals lying around on the way.

Right next to the petting area was the giraffe enclosure. The boys really wanted to feed those giraffes. After reading the giant sign that says "DO NOT FEED THE GIRAFFES" we convinced them to give the goats a try.

One of the larger ones kept barrelling over the boys to get to the food bucket. And this black and white one in the lower portion of the photo above kept threatening to head butt when we got close to the female and her kid. Risky business.

After 15 minutes, we hopped on the tram with Zach to see the rest of the animals in the park. The ride kept going and going and going. I was surprised at how big the place was actually.

Linsey was right with me when it came to the ostriches. We both leaned our faces away from the large bird and Linsey made sure to protect her young (little Kenley was sleeping in her car seat the whole time).

Then there was this bad boy:

The tour guide told us that Goliath was new to the park and he did not yet know how to feed from the buckets without getting his horns tangled up in the tram bars. I thought he looked just fine on the outside of the tram.

Aiden seemed very interested in the camels. He thought most of the animals were pretty cool. He kept looking at the ostriches and screaming, "Ducky!" Ha! I even conquered my fears a bit and fed an ostrich. Actually, I ended up feeling more in control when I was feeding them because then I knew were their beak was going. Which was in the bucket and not in my face.

Luke was a little nervous about the horse ride, but he quickly decided riding a horse was totally worth it and gave it a go.

Aiden was not feeling so brave. The woman that walked the horses let us sit him on the bigger one for a photo. That was about as far as he was willing to go.

Check out this log in the pretty algae:

If it was an alligator, it would've bitcha!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day on the Beach

Every year on the Saturday before Mother's Day, we go to the beach. In 2009, when I was pregnant, we went with the Ramby's and in 2008 and 2010 we went with the Luck's. This year, we met the Luck's again and brought Jenna with her two kids.

We were good about applying sunscreen the moment we got everything set up on the beach (canopy, tent, tables, chairs, toys and food). In the end, I forgot to apply any sunscreen to my scalp, so it is scorched. And I forgot to reapply to my back, so that's a little tender as well today. Sara was rocking a serious tan before even setting foot in the sand:

Jenna's son Brian and Sara's son Logan put their shovel hands together to create a castle city:

Aiden was not interested in getting into the water at first, but after watching Logan and a couple other boys playing he hopped right in. I finally had to pull him out after about 30 minutes because he was so cold. He was purple all over and shivering, but he really wanted to keep playing.

There was so much seaweed on the beach. I cleared a path through the dried algae so I could get back and forth without having that stinky nastiness crunching underfoot. The cool thing about the seaweed though, was a couple of the girls found a nudibranch floating amongst the debris. I was talking to a guy at work about that this morning and he said there were tons of them in the seaweed. He freaked out and thought they were leaches though. LOL!

Here were all the girls in our group on Saturday, plus Aiden and minus Landry.

Travis and Jenna, enjoying some fun in the sun...

Travis and the newly thinned out JR...

JR has lost over 80 pounds through diet so far. Sara recently blogged about it, so check out the photos she posted over there.

Jandi is always so great with Aiden.

The best part about the trip to the beach this year, was Aiden's ability to entertain himself and follow the bigger kids around. The worst part was that he got really cranky an hour and a half after his normal nap time, so we tried to lay him down in his travel crib in the tent. He wouldn't have anything to do with it. He cried for about 30 minutes and then sat and talked to himself for another 30. Eventually we just got him back out. At least he sat down and took a break. It was the only time I was really able to get him to eat or drink anything.

Around dinner time, we headed over to the Luck's rental house to shower. It was a great rental house. I'll have to get the number from them if we can come up with a reason to rent a house on the beach. They had travel size soaps and shampoo and toothpaste for the bathrooms. Toilet paper was stocked and they had bath and kitchen towels available. There was a really cute outdoor seating area, complete with radio/CD player and speakers. If you can fill it with a few families, then it is totally worth the price!

Unfortunately for us, Aiden learned how to climb out of his travel crib while we were at their house. We couldn't just lock him in the room because he figured out how to turn the door knob as well. Finally, I broke down and just let him come outside with us. The problem was he wanted to walk all over the place and all I wanted to do with sit and relax. After about 15 minutes of that, I gave up. Travis and I locked Aiden in his car seat and got on the road home.

We got Aiden in bed around 8:30 pm. That's an hour past his normal bedtime without a daytime nap. I think he did pretty good with the lack of sleep. I was more frustrated with his activity level than anything else. All-in-all, it was a great day though!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Another yard critter documented

Some more from my time in the yard:

The tiniest grasshopper... Look closely...

Remember those alien fingers I posted before?

Well, they turned into full-blown, fresh, new palm fronds:

Future home of our new patio:

Travis finished puting in the form boards last night and leveled the soil. The next step is getting a truck load of rock and sand to lay underneath the pavers. We are hoping to borrow a soil tamper from our neighbor, who just laid a patio in his backyard. If not, we'll just go buy one. It's cheaper than renting a compactor and we won't be rushing to finish in a weekend to avoid further rental charges.

Turns out our project might get postponed a bit. We are going to continue the patio, but the stucco wall might not get done as soon as we'd hoped. My dad was supposed to come down to help us build it this month, but work got out of control and now he probably can't come until the end of June. The good news is that takes some of the strain off Travis' shoulders because he was pushing to finish the patio before my dad came. Now he has a little more time to do so. Which is excellent since this weekend is Mother's Day and we have lots of plans, and the following weekend we will be in Houston for Micah's birthday party.

My dad offered to mail us the money so we could start working on the fence, but Travis doesn't have any experience with textured exterior walls. It would be nice if my dad could be here for that, not only for advice, but for the labor as well.

I'll tell you one thing, wall or not, as soon as that patio is down, I'm sitting on it.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

I've got a ticket so ride with me

Aiden's transition into the new daycare has been a roller coaster. When Travis picked him up Monday night, the teacher said he did great all day. Tuesday morning, I sat with him for 15 minutes before leaving and he handled it like a champ. The teachers said he did good again that afternoon.

Wednesday morning he screamed and cried and did NOT want me to go. I told him I loved him and that he would be fine and I left. When I picked him up that afternoon, the teachers said he did not do well that afternoon. They said just about everything would set him off crying. We've seen the same attitude at home.

I'm not sure if this attitude problem is the daycare transition or if it's because he's sick. We've been wrestling with either allergies or a severe cold (congestion and cough) in the House of Ward for the past week. Travis had it first, but then I got it 10-fold. I almost completely lost my voice Tuesday night. Aiden has a cough and I can tell his voice is not at full strength. I'm going to give him some Motrin before school today to see if that helps at all.

I took a few photos of Aiden playing in the sprinkler last week and wanted to share...

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Princess Diana and Prince Charles were married on July 29, 1981. The following year on June 22, Princess Di gave birth to Prince William. I was born a month later on July 13. Then on September 15, 1984, Princess Di gave birth to Prince Harry. The following month, Ariel was born on October 22. My parents felt like their life was following the royal couple's.

August of 1997, I was gearing up for my Sophomore year of high school. I was sitting in my bedroom at my mom's house, when I caught the news about Princess Diana dying in the car crash. Four years later, I was getting ready for class in my Sophomore year of college, when I got a text from my dad to check the news. I turned on that same TV in my bedroom and sat in that same bed to watch the second plane crash into the World Trade Center, live.

Fast forward 10 years to the huge Royal Wedding of Princess Di's son William and Kate Middleton. Not even three days later, the death of Osama Bin Laden, a major player in the tragedy of 9/11, is all over the news.

I feel like some of the memories in my head will be forever tied together.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Decision to Change

When Aiden was 6 weeks old, I had to go back to work. We found a woman who was a stay-at-home mom, recommended by a friend. It turned out that she didn't agree with the way we were raising our son, and because of that, she refused to do as we asked. We wanted him on a sleep schedule (which he was doing great with at home) that required waking him up if he overslept. She refused. She said, "You never wake a sleeping baby." There were a number of issues and in the end, we chose to switch him to a daycare.

We knew we wanted to do that eventually anyway, so he could have more of a school-like routine and other friends to play with and push him to keep up. Unfortunately, it happened after only two months with the stay-at-home mom.

I really liked his teacher in the infant room. Not so much with the teacher in the toddler room. I have wanted to get Aiden out of that daycare ever since they moved him out of the infant room and into the toddler room. His teacher was never very friendly with me. She always seemed a little bitter. And I felt like all I got from her at the end of the day was all the bad things Aiden had done.

The only reason we didn't move him right away was because I worried about him having to transition too frequently. He was only in the toddler room for a week before I wanted to move him, but he was having troubles adjusting to the one nap a day. Plus he was still getting used to his new teachers, the new classroom and the new kids. Soon after that, there was a biting epidemic at the daycare. Biting happens. I understand that. It's just that I was unhappy with the way they dealt with it. Instead of following the biter(s) around, they just scolded them after the fact.

We went months without any huge problems with the daycare. My main complaint at that point was the amount of television those kids watched. The TV is always on. Always. When I drop him off in the morning, the TV is on. When I pick him up after work, the TV is on. On Fridays, I would come in at various times between 3 and 6 pm and the TV was ALWAYS ON. The only times it was off was during nap time and when they went outside to play.

It was so frustrating. TV is not recommended at all for children under 2 years old. And after 2, they're only supposed to get 1-2 hours per day. Now, I am not completely against television watching for kids under two, despite those recommendations. That said, I don't want him watching it ALL DAY, EVERY DAY!

I refused to let Aiden watch TV in the evenings because that's all he did during the day. On some days, that was really hard. I generally have an hour and a half after I get home, to make dinner, give Aiden a bath and get him in bed. That means there is no dawdling around with the dinner making. I would give anything to be able to turn that TV on Aiden's cranky days to give him some serious distraction while I make the meal.

Well, my time has come! We finally switched Aiden to a new daycare. And guess what? They don't even HAVE TV's. How amazing is that?! Yesterday was his first day, and when I dropped him off, the teacher had big Duplos out for the kids to play with before breakfast is served at 8 am. Imagine that. An activity to entertain the kids that's not electronic.

The daycare/preschool has various activities they do throughout the month that the parents are invited to attend. For example, this Friday is a Mommy & Me Breakfast, in honor of Mother's Day the following Sunday. Then, at the end of this month, the kids are putting on a circus performance for the parents to view. So cute!

They also have ride-on toys for the toddler group to play with when they're outside. And when it's raining, they find some fun indoor activity for the kids to do, like playing with shaving cream. No TV!

The logistics of it are a little cumbersome. The new daycare is close to my work. Since I am always the one to drop Aiden off in the morning, and more often than not I pick him up in the evening, that means I won't have to drive as far. The problem is it's really far from Travis' work, so he will mostly likely never help me out in that area. I'll probably end up making the drive down to Galveston if I ever take a sick day from work. I guess the good side is it means Travis will have to go home and get dinner started. Right?!

Monday morning was rough. I walked him in, checked him in at the computer station and then walked him back to his room. I sat in the room with him for 15 minutes while the other kids shuffled in for the day. He sat at the table and played nicely with the other kids. He cried once when a kid took his stack of Duplos, but I gave him more from the center of the table and he was fine.

The real crying started when I had to leave. I gave him a hug and a kiss goodbye and he seemed okay. It wasn't until I got up to walk away that he started screaming "Mommmmyyyyy!!!" and holding his arms out for me. The teacher got down and gave him a hug and I walked out quickly. I dropped off the start-up paperwork at the front desk and then walked back to his hallway. I didn't have to walk to his room to hear him still crying.

Ugh, it was heart wrenching. All I could think was that I should have sat with him for a little while longer. I wish there was a way to save him from stuff like that, but there just isn't. He will have to go through things in his life that I cannot protect him from. I just need to come to terms with that.

When I was on my drive to work after that, I remembered he had still been sleeping in a crib at the old daycare. The new daycare puts the kids on mats at his age. He slept on the mat a couple times at the old daycare, but I still wanted to give them a heads up. I got lucky and Aiden's teacher answered the phone. I couldn't hear any screaming in the background, but I made sure to ask if he'd stopped crying. The teacher assured me he was doing fine.

I just gotta breathe...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Travis Makes Me Laugh Sometimes

Travis was looking at Aiden's Easter check from Great Grandpa and Great Grandma Hooser (they are so good to Aiden!) when he asked, "Should I wake Aiden before I leave in the morning to have him sign off on his check with a crayon?"