Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Charity Time

Husband here...

I am not, as a rule, very charitable. But with the end of the tax year upon us, Wife and I decided to make some contributions on the 30th and 31st. So who did we contribute to, and why?


BU Law School: They did a nice job getting Wife a nice job. A gratuity seems appropriate.



Claremont McKenna College: My alma mater. Ethically, I probably still owe them for some...issues...that they could never quite pin on me or my friends. So technically this is debt service.






The Columbus Zoo: Every year, I adopt a black bear for Wife for Christmas. Why? Well, Columbus is my hometown, and my parents always adopted animals for me and my sister. Why a bear specifically? I don't even remember. But I sure liked bears a lot more after we went to Clark's Trading Post a few years back...though that was after the tradition started.



The Grameen Foundation: If you're going to try to help poor people, you should focus on REALLY poor people in the Third World, not relatively wealthy "poor" Americans. I like Grameen because it provides microloans, not handouts, so only virtuous, hardworking people are helped.







Heifer International:
Again, a place that helps genuinely impoverished foreigners. This place has some unfortunate hippy-drippy leanings, but I'm willing to look past that. What's important here is that they give the gift of meat...on the hoof.





American Snipers (formerly Adopt A Sniper): Dedicated to providing American military and police snipers with the tools the need to do their very important job: kill any impoverished foreigners who despite my other generous contributions still don't like us. What charity can you name that does more valuable work than that?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Four Months Already!

The tykes turned 4 months on Christmas Day.  They have grown so much in such a short period of time.  

We took them to the doctor for a well-visit and vaccines.  Ned's stats: 13 lbs, 7 oz weight (50th%), 16" head (25th%) and 25.5" height (25th%).  Penny's stats: 11 lbs, 5 oz (10th%), 15.5" head (not sure %) and 23.5" height (10%).   Ned has thrush which I thought he might have had for a while but since Penny never got it I thought it must be milk residue.  I remember thinking that if I ever got thrush I'd stop BF.  Although I can't BF Penny I'm still breastfeeding Ned but I am dropping my first feeding (3 pm) in favor of some formula/breastmilk mixed bottles for each kid.  I figure it will take a while to wean them. The last to go will be my AM BF of Ned and the before bed pumping.  I figure they'll be fully weaned by 5 months old. 

All of us (including the doctor) are hoping the acid reflux meds help Penny but so far no dice.  It's also a pain to make her wait 20 mins twice a day before eating.  Yes, we could wake her up to give it but she doesn't go back to sleep.  It is also hard to know when she will be ready to eat since we are trying to wait until she is clearly hungry.  Ned continues to happily eat the leftover in her bottles but we aren't giving his bottles to her (because of the thrush). 

The doctor is also fine (encouraging even) with cry-it-out and starting solids.  We all agree we need to wait on Penny starting solids until she is on track for her bottles.  My uncle is a pediatrician and he says the AAP recommendations are changing in terms of what to feed - allowing more types of food and when to - earlier.  Mimi, we'll see if you are right and it helps Ned sleep through the night.  The plan is to start him this coming weekend. 

I couldn't decide on what four month chair photo to use so I did a few photo sessions - one on Christmas Eve, one on the day after Christmas and one on the following day.   For the record Ned is actually much more of a smiler than Penny - she just has amazing presence when the camera comes out.  Plus Ned is so focused on his hands lately it is hard to get him to look at me. You can decide which is your favorite!  





He Did It!

I carefully chose Penelope's outfit today.  She was to wear pants and a shirt given by Grammy and a handmade sweater knitted by Mimi, along with Puma socks that look like pink sneakers (also a Mimi gift) - never before worn.  There would be photos to send to Mimi.   Ned also was put in a cute Grammy outfit. 

7:30 am:



8:00 am:



From 7:30 to 7:50 during a feeding the following took place:
  • Penny had a massive blowout staining the shirt she was wearing (fortunately no damage to hand knit sweater). 
  • Ned puked down the front of his outfit, inside the overalls. 
The only reason I have a photo at all is because they were holding hands in the crib and I ran downstairs to get the camera (hand-holding obviously done by the time I got back). I think Penny is "pointing the finger" at Ned in the second photo (hence the blog post title). 

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Husband!

Today is our 6th wedding anniversary.  On the fifth we were down partying in Washington, D.C. (sorry, Ned and Penny - didn't realize you had been conceived already!).  This year Husband made me waffles (his speciality) and took care of the kids in the morning so I could rest.  Penny watched us eat our waffles (Ned was already down for a nap) and it felt very right to finally have kids with us on our anniversary.  

On December 26, 2002 there was a massive snowstorm much like what we got the other week.  The snow froze to the trees making a picture-perfect winter wedding but fortunately didn't interfere with guests arriving from around the country.  

Here is a photo of the church from that morning that my dad took (the rest of the pictures were by our professional photographer).  This is the church that my grandparents (my dad's) and my parents were married in.  And the same church that I was baptised in.  Church records show that members of my family tree have attended the church since it was built. 



Waiting for Husband to arrive at my parents' house to see me in my finery:



Formal portraits - done prior to the wedding (best decision we made):



We have this one in poster size hanging in our dining room - yes, Husband drank the beer:



My dad walking me down the aisle:



Giving our vows:



We rang the church bells after we were married:



Calla lilies was our wedding "theme".  We put this drawing on the envelopes that Husband spent hours addressing (via computer) and our wedding program:

It has been a wonderful six years.  I like the part of marriage were you do things together - we became full fledged adults together (jobs, mortgage) and now parents.  

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, HONEY!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Letter to Santa

Dear Santa, 

We don't need very much for Christmas this year.  Some new toys would be okay but we prefer breastmilk and friends and family to play and sign with and talk to.  We also want you to bring Mommy the sleep she needs and the patience to deal with us when we are cranky.  Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Could It Be - Teeth for the New Year?

For a while I thought that Penny's refusal to eat was because she was teething - she drools a lot, has a few "flash fevers" and of course refused to eat.  But since it has gone on for a month (as I found in this letter to Penelope) we are going to try the medicine for acid reflux - which is ridiculously expensive!

However, Ned is also starting to have some teething signs - uptick in drool, chewing on hands, flushed.  And tonight he woke up at 9:30 pm screaming.  He's never done that before and it wasn't to eat.  Tylenol settled him down.   I knew once he started teething we'd know it - he's not exactly shy about letting us know something is wrong.  

I hate giving my kids so much Tylenol - we gave Penny a bunch over the last few days hoping it would help with the eating (if teething were the culprit).  The kids are too uncoordinated to chew on teething rings or the ends of toys that have teething pads/rubber ends.  Sucking on cold washcloths also don't seem to help.  Anyone have any other suggestion or should I just suck it up and give them the Tylenol? 

I am not sure I'm ready for this new challenge - we haven't fixed Penny's eating or gotten night sleeping down yet.  In many ways this is like being a law associate - new challenges popping up before you understand the ones you are already facing.  

Holidays - Here They Come!

I'm finally getting into the Christmas Spirit (maybe it was the 7 hrs they slept last night?).  I'm taking a break from wrapping and watching Love Actually.  Next up is making Spinach and Artichoke Dip for Christmas Eve (with my dad's side of the family) and Christmas Day (with my mom's side of the family).  Finally on to packing - I can't believe the amount of kid stuff I need to pack for ONE NIGHT - toys, playmat, bottles, formula, breastmilk, pump, clothes, swaddle blankets, sleep sacks, diapers, wipes, pacifiers...the list goes on and on.  Plus everyone has given them "special" Christmas outfits so I think costume changes are in order during the next 48 hours.  

Here is a preview of the kids wearing one such outfit.  Not enough that I took photos in these clothes for Mimi (my grandmother) - now she wants the kids posed wearing them under the tree!  We'll see what we can do. 



Penny is still not eating very well (I think it has been more than a month) so we're starting her on Prilosec to see if it will help.  I still don't think she has acid reflux but I've been tearing my hair out trying to get her to eat more than 3 ounces a feeding and it is leaving us both in tears.   

We always try to cram so many memories into a few short days but I am looking forward to seeing my preggers sisters and my nephew and the whole extended family.  I will do my best to manage my expectation of memories and the tykes' behavior.  

I should be able to post on or before Christmas so I'll save my "Happy Holidays" until then.  Cheers!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Squeak! Squeak!

Now that Mister Ned (as we often call him) naps so well on his tummy I sometimes get worried whether he's okay and want to check on him.  Under the carpet just outside the door to the nursery is a squeak zone - there is no way to avoid it.  It makes me curse the builder every time.  I told myself before I had kids that I wouldn't be one of those moms who tiptoes around avoiding noise for her kids to sleep.  Yet I find myself doing just that.  I must resist and refuse to be afraid of the squeaks!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

This Little Piggy

Every night I give the tykes foot massages to help stave off the crankies at the witching hour.  This has lead me to examine their toes very closely. 


Husband and I have "normal" toes.  The second toe is shorter than the big toe.  There are no weird small nails or toes that turn in.  However, the kids seem to have gotten Morton's toe - probably from one of their grandfathers.  I don't quite understand - I would have though that normal toes would be the dominate gene.  Ned even has a toe that turns inward.  No flipflops or sandals for these kids!

The Esq. tykes have been doing some new things these last few days - making sure to fit in new activities before they turn 4 months.
  • Ned has been kicking the footpedals on his FisherPrice Aquarium Bouncey Chair very deliberately.  Sometimes he gets his foot stuck outside the pole.  
  • Penny has been playing with toys while on her tummy on the Bopi.  They have both actually SMILED while on their stomachs.   The kids do about 10-15 mins 3 times a day on their tummies and they can lift their heads pretty high and for most of it.  
  • Ned scrunches his legs up and sticks up his butt while on his tummy.  He even pivots a little. 
  • Ned can support a little weight on his legs. 
  • Penny is specific about how she grabs for toys - preferring to grab legs and ears of an elephant she plays with (the one from the earlier post with her grandfather). 
  • Ned's eyes seem to be changing color.  They are turning hazel from the inside near the pupil outward. 
Ned is tuckered out from our play group - he falls asleep in the car and stays asleep - sometimes up to 3 hours (!), with his monkey securely tucked under his arm. 


Penny with Grammie the day of the big storm.  She loves grabbing necklaces. 
 
Playing together on Saturday morning:

Quite the little man:


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Winter Season Firsts

We had our first Esq. tyke fever.  Poor Penny had a fever of 100.8 when I came home from making Christmas cookies.  Fortunately she ate and slept well with the Nanny - although she was a bear trying to get to eat at night.  I'm starting to rethink this reflux - far too many screaming bedtime bottle nights.  If Penny were eating better bedtime for both by myself would be fine but she is horrible pretty much every night.  We'll be talking to the pediatrician about that!  Tylenol seems to be the best bet (after talking to the nurse) and her fever has come down some.  

Husband is also on his first overnight business trip - scheduled to come home Friday afternoon.  Except we are supposed to get a foot of snow tomorrow so I don't think he'll be coming home until Saturday.  Good thing my mom is around and said she'd spend the night tomorrow to help out (and she did bedtime with me tonight).  

I wanted to mention that Ned has been sleeping very well for naps - because I have been (gasp!) putting him on his tummy.  I check on him often and he turns his head/lifts it well so I'm not too worried.  He also has been grabbing and snuggling with his monkey blanket - tucks it under his arm (not near his face).  It is very cute.  He's been all smiles which is awesome.  Too bad he often breaks off breastfeeding to smile at me.  What does he think this is - a water fountain? :)

Sorry, Ned - a few Penny pictures for the crew.  I'll make sure to get some shots of my little man this weekend. 


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Highlights of a Grandparent Visit

My in-laws were awesome.  And I'm not just saying that because they read this blog.  They are soooo attentive to the kids which the kids clearly respond to (and it absolutely spoils them of course).  Penny took most of her bottles from one grandparent or the other and Ned spent a lot of time playing with his Grandpa.   A few special memories: 
  • Being dupped by Penny's bright smile into letting her up early from naps. 
  • Trying to get Ned to smile while the photographer was over. 
  • Stories about Husband as a baby - who apparently did not sleep - AT ALL - as a baby and did not sleep through the night until he was 5 years old.  Shudder. 
  • The number of times Debi had to change Penny's whole outfit after a blowout.  One day she had her third outfit on before noon.  
  • Yummy homemade chocolate cake.  
  • Mounds of laundry folded by Debi.
  • Bill-the-Baby-Whisperer so comfortable that Ned had to take a FOURTH nap before bed. 
  • Grandparents who are convinced their grandkids are the most special grandkids ever.  Agreed. 
  • Mommy, Esq. considering converting the guest bedroom into an in-law haven.  Are they sure they have to go back home?
Esq. Tykes Board Meeting:



Grandpa plays with Penny:



Watching Cash Cab before bed:



Playing with Grandma:



Snuggle with Daddy:



Her shirt says it all:



Not Quite in the Holiday Spirit

Yesterday I was exhausted.  As I tried to fall asleep at 10 pm the following thoughts ran through my mind:
  • Wiessbluth applies to adults too - I'm too tired to sleep but desperately need it.  Trying to swaddle myself in blankets was not working. 
  • I used to be up many nights for work - or go to bed waiting with my blackberry under my pillow for signature pages to arrive from Luxembourg (or wherever).  After about 3 weeks I could usually be found crying (in home office or work office) about how unfair it is to work this hard; how it doesn't really need to get done on this ridiculous schedule; how they don't pay me enough; how I need a life.  But after a few more days it would be over and I'd take a day at home to rest.  There is no rest in motherhood. 
  • I wish Husband had breasts that produced milk. I think switching to all formula soon might not be that bad to share the pain. 
  • Sometimes I don't mind letting Ned cry because it is only fair he shares in my frustration. 
  • Why can't Husband act happier when he gets home from work - he spends less than an hour with the kids.  He can at least fake happy and energetic when I feel like digging a ditch and throwing myself into it after 10 straight hours with them. 
  • How many Christmas things do I have to get done in the next few days? How will I when Ned is only sleeping a total nap amount of 1.5 hrs per day (spread over 3 naps). 
  • How am I going to do this when I go back to work? Will we be living in Third World conditions because Husband can't manage to do a chore without being asked first?
  • Will any of this make a good blog post? Am I a terrible blogger for lying about not blogging about sleep until after Christmas? 
Around 11:30 Ned woke up.  We had decided a few days ago to drop the 11 pm "dream feed" (even though he was now demanding it) because that meant he was eating during the night 3 times (equal to his daytime intake).  Husband was in charge of getting Ned to stay asleep.  Ned screams for a while - Husband, WHERE ARE YOU?  "I thought we were going to let him cry it out".  "Okay, fine.  Are you listening so I can put the pillows over my head?"  "Listen for what?" "For him in case he CHOKES TO DEATH FROM BEING UPSET".  Husband looks at me like I have two heads - actually, I was extremely disheveled and I think a boob might have been hanging out of my very loose/stretchy tanktop since I bounded out of bed into our bathroom to confront him.  Am I wrong, doesn't someone HAVE TO LISTEN? They sleep on their backs.  What if he is crying so hard that he spits up and swallows it wrong and can't breathe?

Husband comes to bed and miraculously Ned stops crying - guess the little stinker doesn't need to eat then.  But I can't sleep.  At all.  I'm pissed at Husband and I have visions of smacking him over the head with his clock radio - because if I'm sleep deprived and can't sleep why does he get to be snoring beside me?  And I wait for Ned to wake up because then I have to feed him.  I try not to look at the clock.  Around 1 am I give up tired of listening to Husband sleeping while I am not and go downstairs to the couch.  Every little light and noise in the family room annoys me.  I think I drop Husband's disc of Mad Men (trying to cover some little blue light on the TV) but yeah, it's been out of its box since before the kids were born so if it is scratched that is his damn fault.  See how mad I am? 

I'm mad at Ned as I wait for him to wake up and need to be fed.  I toss and turn and am pissed at the world.  I hear every little noise the kids make over the monitor (man, they are noisy - sure to wake up any second).  I wait until 4 am and go back upstairs.  Penny wakes up at 4:30 am and Ned at 6 am.  I can't believe it - Ned slept through the night!  And I didn't have one of those magical experiences I hear about when you wake up with alarm in the AM to wonder how you slept so long.  No, I got no sleep anyway because I'm exhausted and pissed. 

I'm tired of being mad and frustrated - about sleep, about chores, about not being able to "catch up" on anything.  And I know last night was a fluke and Ned will never sleep through the night again.  At least it feels that way. 

Edited: Obviously I'm venting here and wanted to be honest with everyone since I admire how honest Snickollet and other bloggers are about their feelings - not all perfect even if we want it to be have have great willpower to try to make it be.  My inlaws are in town right now and are a HUGE help - I can't imagine how I would have felt the last few days if they hadn't been here.  

Edited Again: For those who have called or are worried - it's so nice you care but don't worry.  I'm no longer angry (and certainly not at the kids).  Part of writing about this was to make me feel better.  I'm totally a morning person so all my anger was gone by the time I went in to get the kids (and Ned's adorable grin helps of course).  I wanted to share so other moms don't feel alone about this stuff!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Dammit, Those Christmas Shoes!

Today I had Oldies 103.3 on in the car - a station that plays all Christmas music after Thanksgiving (Husband prefers our Barenaked Ladies and Rat Pack Christmas CDs but he has those in his car and I've been too lazy to burn them).  

What comes on the radio but "Christmas Shoes" by Bob Carlisle.  It reminded me that when discussing must-see movies last week we did not discuss the cheesey movies that air on Lifetime and Hallmark channel during the holiday season - although I appreciate the sentiment that Die Hard is the best Christmas movie.  Last December I billed 80 hours at my Big Firm.  The whole month.  I think it was the reason I got pregnant after 22 months of trying.  I DVRed crappy Christmas movies and drank a bottle of wine.  Each night.  God, that makes me really, really hate how little sleep I'm getting right now - I'm like a walking zombie.  

Anyway, back to the point of this post:  One movie that made for my viewing pleasure was "Christmas Shoes" starring Rob Lowe and Kimberly Williams.  It basically took the lyrics of Christmas Shoes and turned it into a movie.  A movie that made me cry and I only saw the last 30 mins of it.  I thought - wait, they made a movie out of some crappy, cheesey lyrics?  Yup. 

So at first I laughed when I started listening to "Christmas Shoes" remembering how lame the song and movie are.  Then I got teary-eyed listening to the lyrics.  I mean, a kid who buys special shoes for his mom dying of cancer on Christmas Eve?  Damn you, Christmas Shoes!

Side Note: What is with country music trying to make you cry?  Other songs that got non-country airtime are "Butterfly Kisses" (although that one made me want to retch. Shit. Just realized that is Bob Carlisle too - what is with that guy? There is even a book!) and "Live Like You Were Dying". 

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Esq. Tykes Are Ready For Their Close-Ups

Ned took a better nap than Penelope but he was very serious during the photoshoot.  She did well with her smiles but of course when Ned finally smiled she did not.  But through the magic of photoshop Keith (the photographer) promises we'll have some cute photos - even if he has to "swap heads".  I was laughing thinking of the kids heads on our shoulders and ours on theirs.  

Here are some photos that my mother-in-law took of the Esq. family.   As you can see Ned really only smiles when there are toys dangling over his head.  Mommy, Esq. jumped around like an idiot for about 30 mins trying to get the kids to smile.  Also wiping up spit-up and drool - spit-up actually comes out of velvet very easily.  Penny's dress is from Gymboree and her tights (they have red "shoes" on them (adorable)) are from the Gap.  Ned's pants, socks and turtleneck are Gap and vest is Gymboree.  The corduroy pants have a zipper and snap; no "diaper" snaps - real grown-up pants!

I had to scrounge for clothes - so many were put away during the pregnancy and I have no idea where certain things are.  They fit but I have to admit I'm not happy with the "twin-skin" pouch that has taken up permanent residence. 

I have to say, however, that the tykes were very calm and didn't cry.  Calm babies are good too.  So are ones that are hopefully (?!) taking an awesome nap right now, tuckered out from their first modeling stint - oh, wait, I hear Ned, exactly 45 mins - I swear he can read the clock in their bedroom.  Time to plop him in the swing.  [See how I ended up making this about sleep - I have a one track mind these days.]





Managing My Expectations

Today we are having a photographer come to the house to do a family portrait.  It is our Christmas gift to ourselves and the grandparents/great grandparents.  In typical Mommy, Esq. fashion I instructed the photographer to come at 10 am to set up.  The kids eat at 11 am and then they are happy until about 12:30 pm when they go down for a nap.  I thought this would be easier than going to a studio and trying to feed/change the kids there - albeit more expensive.  

Ned (who was a beast last night and got up many times) and Penny are not listening to Mommy, Esq.'s schedule.  Granted, this schedule is based on their rhythms but today they decided that after their initial 45 min nap (until 9:45 am) they would not go back to sleep despite being deposited into the swings.  My in-laws are visiting - the kids hear their voices and want to play. 

Don't the tykes know they need to be pleasant and cooperative for the photos?  That this will record a time in their lives forever?  That Mommy, Esq. will be very disappointed if we can't get them both smiling and happy in multiple photographs? 

I'll detail the shoot later - and if Grandma is willing to take some pictures I'll put some up of the kids in their cute Christmas outfits. 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

We've Created a Monster

We followed the suggestion from Grammy (who did this for her four kids) and from other blog commentators about including an 11 pm feeding to help stretch the kids until morning.  [I promise this is about eating, not sleeping.]  Penny eats about an ounce and she's been sleeping through until morning (two nights in a row!!) and we could probably drop it for her entirely. 

But Ned now wakes up demanding (= screaming) his 11 pm feeding.  And then another at 2:30-3 am and another at 4:30-5 am and then up for the day without eating much at 7 am.  Sigh - it's like he's taken over Penny's middle of the night feeding.  I've not been doing CIO at night because I want to check with their pediatrician but if he isn't eating at 7 am I'm tempted to let him cry at the 4:30/5 am hour.  He goes four hours between feedings during the day but is now down to 2-3 hours at night.  Not sure if this is just to torture me.  Ned is always willing to eat if offered food so I can't tell what these wake ups are for. 

"Who me - cause trouble?"



My mom apparently bought this outfit for Ned but I think it looks girly so I've designated it for Penny.  We saw tons of cute dresses on sale at the mall but I realized that Penny will be crawling soon enough and won't really be able to wear dresses until she can walk. 

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Rainy Day Playtime

I feel like it has been a long time since I've posted some cute kid pictures.  Today was a gloomy day and the kids indulged me in various playtime photo opportunities. 

Husband hates that we have two "girly" Bumpos so I think he'll be relieved to see the interest Ned has taken in football.





Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You Better Watch Out!

Complain on your blog and watch it change. Husband and I were inspired by my previous post to decorate the tree and our fireplace mantle last night.  Turns out we have no plug outside in front of our house so no lights out there. 

The Rudolph in the bottom corner was made by Husband when he was in Webelos. 



In honor of this holiday season I will not be complaining about the kids sleeping - I'll give you an update when they reach their fourth month and hopefully have some good progress to report.  Instead I think we should discuss FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MOVIES. 

As a child of course I watched Santa Clause is Coming to Town, Frosty The Snowman and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer.  Now I tend to watch Christmas movies while baking cookies with my mom and wrapping presents.  Since my parents live nearby those activities occur at their house - helping cut down on clutter at my own.  

"Must watch Christmas" includes: Miracle on 34th Street - both versions, White Christmas (sing-alongs required) and Love Actually.  What are your favorites?