Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Things Kids Say...

Ella is very creative and seems to have quite an imagination. She is really getting into "playing pretend" and it's very cute watching her make her animals talk and interact. This evening, after Nate was in bed, Joe, Ella, and I were playing with her barn (which makes several animal sounds that Joe likes to imitate) and small animals. Ella has also recently become very interested in her money and piggy bank. (See previous post.) So, as usual, Ella had her money in one hand, while playing "farm" with the other. Joe asked her what the farmer was going to buy with the money. Ella replied, "Piggy poops." Joe asked her where the farmer would buy piggy poops. Ella quickly replied, "The poop store." Duh, Joe. Shortly thereafter, Ella used Joe's back as a trampoline and my legs as a bridge. Hopefully we tired her out a little bit. It poured down rain all day, so we couldn't get outside. Unless Ella is exhausted, she seems to have a little trouble falling asleep. Lately, she has been crying a lot when we leave, but as soon as we go back up to her room, she stops...so she's playing games with us. We decided to try this behavior chart. If Ella can go to bed without crying, yelling, getting out of bed, etc., she earns a sticker. After accumulating 5 stickers, she gets to pick out a prize from the Dollar Store. She did earn a sticker last night, after going to bed perfectly, but lost it this afternoon after she pulled her chair over to the door, took the chart off her door, and ripped it in half. Oh well. Maybe tomorrow. We also got her this new nightlight, as she seemed to be frightened of the dark and of shadows. Here is a brief video of Ella counting to 5 in Spanish:

video


This past Thursday, Joe and I had a night out! Our favorite babysitter, Sam, came over to watch the kids so Joe and I could go out to dinner and to a concert downtown. We went to a new restaurant called Stir Crazy, and had some delicious Asian inspired dishes. Afterwards, we went to see one of our favorite groups, "Girlyman." Funny name, I know, but AMAZING music. Click here to listen to a sampling of their songs. I first discovered "Girlyman" when they were the opening band for the "Indigo Girls" about 5 years ago. I bought their CD and got Joe hooked, and we've seen almost all of their Wisconsin shows since. And to top it off, we got home to 2 kids sleeping, a clean kitchen, and a babysitter doing her homework. Great night!

On Saturday, we took a little day trip to Madison to visit our friends, Scott and Jenn. (They are the ones responsible for Joe and I meeting.) They are expecting their first child in September, so I hauled a large tote of my maternity clothes for Jenn to sift through. She took a lot off of my hands. Yay! We got to see their house for the first time and had lunch there while we waited for the rain to stop. We were finally able to get outside and despite the cold, rainy weather, we headed over to the Henry Vilas Zoo. The best part about this particular zoo? It's free! Many of the animals were hiding due to the bad weather, but Ella still enjoyed running around. We didn't have a jacket for her, so we had to purchase an over sized sweatshirt in the gift shop. Whoops.

This morning, I met my sister-in-law Liz at a church to participate in a clothing exchange. Basically, you just bring in a bag or two of children's clothing, and leave with a bag or two of different children's clothing. I found some cute things for Nate for this summer and some things for Ella for next year. Not a bad deal! I met Joe and the kids at our church, and then we had a typical Sunday afternoon...lunch, laundry, naps, errands, the usual.

It's really amazing the people you can connect with through blogs. I have been following a couple different blogs lately. You can find links to those blogs on the left hand side. Many blogs are written in order to keep people updated on the health of a child, or maybe the health of the writer. Some are written to update family and friends on a pregnancy or the road to a pregnancy. Lately, a particular blog I have been following, Kayleigh's Story, has really touched my heart and has made me re-examine my faith. I can't even find the right words to describe the way I've been feeling about it. All I know is that I've been thanking God, every chance I get, for my two beautiful, healthy, amazing children. How did I get so lucky?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

HACKED!

Did anyone receive a strange e-mail from me lately? Telling you to shop on-line and save 30%? Well, I'm not sure how that happened or where that came from! I apologize! My Hotmail account was hacked, that strange e-mail was sent out to all of my contacts, and then my contacts were erased. Crap. And, my poor mother thought I was ignoring her! For some reason, Hotmail was not letting me reply at times. Whatever. I'm done with Hotmail. If you'd like to e-mail me, please do so at my new address: afdietrich@gmail.com.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Joys of Breastfeeding (said with sarcasm)

Ugh...I have mastitis. I started feeling like someone had kicked me in the chest about two days ago, and then the redness began. I called my OB/GYN on Saturday morning to tell her my symptoms, and she said it sounded like it could be mastitis, but to wait the rest of the day to see if it improved. It didn't. My doctor actually called ME back later that evening to see how I was doing. She ended up prescribing me high-dose antibiotics that I have to take 4 times a day for 10 days! Doesn't that seem like a lot? Fortunately, the drugs seemed to have done the trick. I felt better by Sunday morning. I find it strange that this happened 6 months later, rather than in the first 2-3 weeks, like I've read about. On a positive note, the biting has improved.

Ella has learned how to take off her clothes. ALL of them. She apparently learned this new skill while she was supposed to be taking a nap. I went upstairs to check on her (as I had heard her yelling quite loudly in her room) and found her completely naked, standing at the gate. All I could do was laugh. It was the funniest sight! This girl will do anything to avoid taking a nap. Seriously, why don't kids understand that sleep is so awesome? Nathan's naps leave something to be desired as well. Some days he only takes two 30 minute naps. From what I've read, that is not nearly enough sleep for a baby his age. I try to be consistent with his naps, but I also don't want Ella to suffer...meaning, having to stay in the house a lot to try and get Nate to nap. He has been going to bed at night fairly well, but has been waking up 1, if not 2, times during the night to feed, and he seems legitimately hungry. I'm just going to go with it, and hope that as he gets older, the nighttime feedings will decrease. For about 1 week, he really was sleeping through the night. It was nice while it lasted.

This past weekend was a busy one! Saturday was beautiful! Sunny, high 70s...it felt like Spring. We started the morning off with breakfast with our friends Alison and Sean. I lived in the same house with Alison for 2 years during college. She and her husband now live in West Allis (only about 10 minutes from us). We try really hard to get together once a month, but it had been almost 3 or 4 months since the last time! Alison is a nurse and works at the same hospital as I do. As usual, Ella put on a great show. Whenever anybody comes over, Ella likes to "show off," either by climbing on the outside of the stairs, or standing on the couch, or really doing anything she's not supposed to. We were able to get to the park and even did some yard work. Lots of flowers are starting to come up around the house. Our friends Brian and Jenny came over Saturday evening for dinner. And again, Ella was the star of the show. Both kids went to bed and we were able to have some adult conversation. On Sunday, the cold, rainy weather returned, so we were looking for things to do. It's always hard trying to keep Ella occupied when we're cooped up in the house. We decided to try a place called Monkey Joe's. At first, Ella was a little scared of the really big blow-up slides, but by the end, she was a pro! It was so much fun watching her climb up and slide down all by herself. She's such a big girl! And forget the toddler area...she was right there with all the "big kids." We're going back this Wednesday with Aunt Liz and cousin Henry. Here's a video of Ella going down one of the small slides:

video

Today was another cold, rainy day. So again, I was trying to think of something fun for us to do. A few months ago, the newspaper published this article, and I decided to try one of the places mentioned. We visited Lotza Fun Room this morning, and it really was "lotza fun!" Except for one other little boy, we were the only ones there. We had the whole place to ourselves! And now it's nap time. I think I'll probably have 30 minutes of naps overlapping before the fun begins again for the evening. Is it 4:30 yet? (That's when Joe gets home on Mondays!)




Sunday, April 19, 2009

Laughing Baby!

In my opinion, there is nothing sweeter than the sound of a baby laughing. Here's a short video clip of Nate laughing at Joe. Who knew Joe was so hilarious!

video

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Painful Subject

Literally...a painful subject. Nathan has the cutest two bottom teeth. It is just adorable to seem them poking through when he smiles! I am still breast feeding and would like to continue to do so for another 6 months if possible. However, with the newly emerged teeth, new problems have also emerged. Namely, biting! And he really CHOMPS down. And then turns his head to the side. And pulls. I have asked several friends about this situation and have posted on a few message boards. The answer seems to be unlatching Nathan and saying, "No biting." If that doesn't work, I've also read and heard that I should stop the feeding and put him down for a few minutes. The first time he bit me, I yelled out in pain. I looked down at Nathan, hoping that I hadn't freaked him out, and all I saw was him smiling up and me and laughing. Nathan, this is NOT funny!

I nursed Ella for 6 months. That was my goal, and I was ready to stop at 6 months. Mostly because I got the stomach flu and just didn't have the energy to breastfeed, so it seemed like the right time. Nathan turned 6 months on April 12th, but this time, I don't feel ready to stop. I enjoy our time together and it makes me sad to think about stopping at this time. So, until further notice, the breastfeeding will continue. Plus, the highlight of my day at work is pumping near the morgue.

Nathan is 6 months old, and without sounding too cliche, it has gone by so fast. Half of a year. Nate will be a 1 year old in another 6 months. It's really unbelievable how much he has changed. He rolls tummy to back and reverse, is starting to sit unsupported (but tips over quickly), and is trying new foods. The little guy tried avocado for the first time tonight and seemed to like it. I am still making baby food for Nathan and blended up some bananas, pears, apples, and avocado this afternoon. While I was steaming the pears, I accidentally waited too long and ended up burning the bottom of the pot. The whole house smelled like a camp fire and I completely ruined the pot. We had to just throw it away. The house still smells. Here is a video of Nathan trying a "Baby Mum Mum." It's basically a rice wafer from the health food store. He did pretty well!

video
I took Nathan to the pediatrician this morning for his 6 month well-baby check-up. His stats are as follows:

Weight: 17.1 lbs. (50th percentile)

Height: 27 1/8 in. (75th percentile)
Head Circumference: 45 cm (80th percentile)

I was actually a little surprised that his weight was only in the 50th percentile. I guess I'm used to Ella's 100th percentile numbers! Nate had to get two shots, one in each thigh, and an oral vaccine. He did great! He did cry when the needle first went in, but he stopped as soon as I picked him up and started smiling. What a trooper!

Joe and I have had 3 days with just 1 kid, and boy, it was a piece of cake! Don't get me wrong, I DO remember having just 1 child, and it WAS hard. But, adding a second child changes everything and it's so much more than just twice as hard. But I digress...Ella stayed up at Joe's parents after Easter with my sister-in-law Liz and her two boys, Dylan and Henry. They had a blast! They had activities planned, made trips to the library and fun park, and had a sleepover in a "tent" in the living room. It was like summer camp! Ella has so much fun with her cousins and I'm really glad they have such a good relationship. Growing up, I was very close with my cousins and always hoped that my children would have similar relationships.





We spent Easter in Stevens Point with Joe's family. It was nice to spend some time with with my sisters-in-law, brother-in-law, and my nephews, especially my newest nephew Harry. He has changed so much in the past 2 months and is such a cutie. We had some very nice conversations! Harry mostly just looked at me and cooed. On Easter Sunday, we all went to church. I was a little nervous since we usually drop Ella and Nathan in the nursery at our church. Ella just isn't used to having to be quiet and still for over an hour. But, luckily, all the kids behaved very well. I nearly choked on the incense and got Holy water in my eye. When you go to a Catholic church, and you're not Catholic, it's always an interesting experience. I felt silly sitting by myself in the pew when everyone else went up for Communion. My nephew Dylan asked, "Aunt Allie, why didn't you go up to get a piece?" I hoped he was talking about a piece of bread. I wasn't sure how to answer that question. I suppose I could have said, "Well Dylan, I was more or less brought up Lutheran, became Presbyterian when Uncle Joe and I couldn't agree on a denomination, and then switched to Methodist after we moved and couldn't find a Presbyterian church we liked in our area." Instead I said, "I'll tell you later." I never did. I think he forgot.

I am currently reading, "Down Came the Rain" by Brooke Shields. The book is about her struggle with post-partum depression. It is so sad. First of all, she and her husband had to deal with infertility, which I've learned a lot about from friends, and I'm convinced it is one of the most difficult and heart-breaking conditions. So after she has her daughter, a baby she has been waiting for, for a long time, she feels hopelessly sad and unfit as a mother. Reading this book is hard, probably would be for any mother. I have dealt with depression in the past, and post-partum depression was a real fear for me. Luckily, with both children, I did not experience post-partum depression. Sure, some days I felt tearful and frustrated, but those feelings passed, usually within 24 hours. It is just amazing to me how hormones can affect a person. I guess my point is that I feel incredibly lucky to have two healthy children. I just look at them and feel my heart swell. I know, cheesy, but I can't think of a better way to describe it.

During our few days without Ella, Joe and I called a babysitter at the last minute to watch Nate while we went to see a movie. I don't even remember the last time I saw a movie in a theater. It was wonderful! We saw, "I Love You, Man." It was hilarious! The popcorn was good too.

Today brought a glimpse of Spring and it was exciting! Being able to get outside with the kids is great. Joe and I took a walk with the kids this afternoon. It was the first time we had both kids in the double jogging stroller, and it was HARD! It's a good upper body workout, that's for sure.

Here are a few pictures from Easter











Friday, April 10, 2009

Planting of the NUKs

We finally did it! Ella is NUK-free! I had read about "planting pacifiers" in a recent "Parents" magazine article and thought it sounded pretty clever. Joe and I talked about it for days before we actually did it, and when the time came, Ella was more than willing to participate, as you can see below:

video


On my way home from work the next day, I had to stop at Michael's to buy some flowers to stick in the ground where the NUKs were planted. Ella told me she wanted a black flower to come up. A black flower? I was actually able to find one! Phew! Ella was very excited to see that her NUKs had indeed produced flowers, including a black one.

She asked for her NUKs the first night, and was a bit tearful, but by the second night was only talking about how she had planted them. The dentist recommended that we get rid of the NUKs since she could see that her teeth were being affected by them.


Ella was such a big girl at the dentist! Normally, 2.5 year olds sit on their parent's lap while the dentist checks their teeth. Not Ella! She wanted to lay on the chair. Works for me. The dentist, who specializes in pediatric dentistry, counted Ella's teeth and then applied a fluoride treatment. They don't do a cleaning until around 3.5 years old. The dentist did say that it looked like Ella did bump her front tooth, which is why it is now discolored. It will stay that way until she looses it. Hopefully it will be one of the first teeth she looses. It's not that noticeable to other people I'm sure, but I can really see the difference.


Since we're on the topic of Ella, I'll share a funny story that happened last night. Joe had to work late, so I had to put both kids to bed...a task that I am getting much better at, I might add. I had tucked Ella in and came downstairs to check my e-mail. Joe came home a few minutes later and went upstairs to change. All of a sudden, I hear him call to me, "Al, you have to come see this." Oh boy, never a good sign. As I get to the top of the stairs, I see that Ella's light is turned on. She had gotten out of bed, pulled her chair over to her dresser, climbed onto the chair, grabbed her piggy bank from on top of the dresser, got down onto the floor, proceeded to OPEN the piggy bank, and began to line up all of the coins! This kid would rather play with coins than sleep. Doesn't she realize how great sleep is?


I have the most wonderful news to report...Nathan is SLEEPING THROUGH THE NIGHT!!! In case you missed that, Nathan is SLEEPING THOUGHT THE NIGHT!!! Can you tell that I'm thrilled? I am seriously so proud of him. After a rough two weeks of sleep training, we are able to put Nathan into his crib awake, and he falls asleep on his own, with little or no crying. Being able to do that feels amazing. Both kids are in bed by 8:00pm at the latest, which gives Joe and I some time to ourselves now, without having to run up and down the stairs to soothe Nathan back to sleep. With all this extra time, I am able to do wonderful things, such as wash my face or read a few pages of a book. Fantastic!


Last weekend we drove to Michigan to visit my parents. I had this grand plan to drive at night, so the kids would sleep. "Parents" magazine told me to do it. For the most part, it worked. I only had to climb into the back one time to give Nate a bottle. He slept most of the ride. Ella watched "Dora" and slept for a few hours. When we arrived in Northville, it was 1:00am. Both Ella and Nathan were awake at that point. Nathan went back to sleep easily, Joe passed out almost instantly, and Ella was all tucked into her bed. I had a little glass of wine to unwind and was about to go to bed when..."Mommy?" "I's awake." Crap. After several attempts to get Ella to go to sleep, I gave up, and Ella and I pulled an all-nighter. How that child stayed awake late long, I'll never know. She played quietly and I caught up on "People Magazine." I'm very up-to-date on all current events now. Thank you Ella. It was a very short visit, but worth it. On Saturday, many of my aunts, uncles, and cousins came over to visit and to watch the Michigan State basketball game. I was finally able to meet my cousin Dan's little girl, Teagan, who is 3 months old. Such a cutie!
Unfortunately, I have to work this Saturday, so Joe and the kids drove up to his parent's house this afternoon. I will drive up tomorrow after work. I am home ALL ALONE. I don't remember the last time I was completely alone in the house for more than a few hours. It's so quiet. I should be relaxing, but I feel like I have to take advantage of this time and clean, do laundry, empty the dishwasher, etc. At least I had some uninterrupted time to update my blog. The dryer just buzzed. Better go fold the clothes. Happy Easter!