Thursday, December 11, 2014

He's not broken after all!

It turns out the 2 year sleep regression was truly a regression. It lasted about 2 weeks and although I'm probably mushing it by typing it. Sleep in our house is back to normal!

What the regression looked like:

  • fiercely protesting against bedtime
  • bedtime pushing later and later
  • multiple night-time wake-ups (up from a typical zero)
I also have to take into account two viruses and one trip and the beginnings of two year molars that definitely contributed to the difficulties, but his recent language explosion was definitely a factor. He can now tell me "more milk," "more stories," "more sing songs," "outside," "Daddy," etc. Usually, he is rewarding for using his language. Now he's having to learn that just using your words doesn't necessary equal getting what you want.

It was a slow progression of these "mores" and request that led into the full-blown regression for us, but thankfully, it has passed (for the moment).

So here is our current (blissful) routine:
  • After bath and a little tv time (and several countdown warnings), we say goodnight to mommy, daddy, and the dog, get his blanket and milk and go into his bedroom. He knows to shut both doors on the way, to turn the lamp on, light off, and get in the chair.
  • We've are working hard on having Daddy read one book before I come in. He's in a major mommy faze and this is a struggle that we are determined to win. (And we actually keep all doors open and lights on until I come in.)
  • We read a total of 3 books, so I read two additional when I come in. Current faves are: Frozen (duh); Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site; Goodnight Gorilla; Thomas (grr); and Goodnight Moon (yay!).
  • Then we say night-night to the books and say night-night light, turn off the lamp and sing songs.
  • I sing 3 or 4 songs. Currently: "Let it Go," "Silent Night," "Hush Little Baby," and "Lullaby." He's become quite picky about his songs and says "no" if I start singing the wrong one. "Rudolph" is a firm no these days. During songs, he eventually turns over and snuggles on my, often dripping milk onto whatever I'm wearing. (I'll take it.)
  • I give a 5 minute, 2 minute and 1 minute warning for "It's almost time to go in Dylan's bed." The times are extremely loose, but I try not to say 1 minute until it's really time. He often says "no" and sometimes I repeat "yes" over and over, but usually I just ignore. He gets pretty upset when I refuse to get him more milk. Probably because I used to open the door and go get more milk. Now that I'm pretty happy with his weight and food intake and I know for sure that it's a stalling tactic, I'm being totally firm and saying "All done milk."
  • Then I say "okay it's time for Dylan's bed," I push down the foot rest on the chair and carry him to his crib.
  • I pause there and let him lay on my shoulder while I hum one more round of lullaby.
  • Then, I tell him I love him and to sleep tight.
And for the past 3 nights, there has been no peep and no night-time wakings. We've even gotten bedtime back to a little before 8:00. It feel amazing and I hope hope hope it continues!

Monday, December 8, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Manipulation

Dylan has figured out the ultimate manipulation technique. He says "mommy cuddle." He says it toward the end of bedtime, he says it when I'm leaving, and he says it whenever we go upstairs near my bed. How do I possibly refuse a request for cuddles??

He's a smart little guy.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Struggling with bedtime

We are going through some kind of sleep something over here. It could be the new virus that finally put D on albuterol and got us a pulmonology script. Or it could be the two year molars that are just starting to push their way up. Or maybe it's Dylan's new vocabulary and awareness, but we are struggling. Bedtime at best was right under a half an hour, but lately it's been pushing an hour or longer. And Dylan has a ridiculously strong mommy preference right now and I'm just plain tired!

So last night I was solo-parenting as I do a few nights every month. And usually it's fine because Dylan typically sleeps through the night. But last night I started bedtime at 7 and he wasn't down until 8:45 (way far outside normal). But then he woke up at 12:15 and I was up with him until 12:45. Again not a common occurrence, but happens sometimes. BUT THEN he woke up at 5!!! This has happened twice ever...all in the last two weeks. He typically gets up close to 8. I leave for work at 6:40 at the latest and I get up as late as possible because I hate mornings. But today I was up at 5.

The day went ok, but at 6 pm or so I hit my limit. I'm beat. Luckily Daddy's home tonight. But we still had to figure out a way to have Dylan not freak out that I wasn't putting him to bed. Usually I leave the house, but I was in no mood to sit and wait somewhere for an hour or so. We discussed me pretending to leave then sneaking back in through the garage. But we ended up with the truth. Mommy's going to bed, so say night night. He wasn't thrilled, but I think it made sense to him somehow.

He's not asleep yet, but I hope we both are within minutes. Wish us luck.

Night night.

Oh shit I hear screaming.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Thanksgiving Week

I wasn't happy with my post yesterday. Before that post, I wrote a draft titled "Blogging Rut." I do have some ideas, but a lack of spare time has really hampered my creativity!

But my nanny provided me with a better post topic yesterday afternoon. So consider this "Microblog Tuesday."

Dylan and I had a wonderful time during my week off last week. We left right after school Friday for a quick trip to Big Bear, went to the zoo Tuesday, just hung out on Wednesday, and so on. It was a great week. 

When I got home from school yesterday, our nanny said that Dylan was quite disappointed to see her when he woke up yesterday. He was asking for his mommy. (He says "mommy" now...where did that come from? And when he doesn't want to nap it's "Mommy where are you?" over and over and over.)

Her comment made my day : ).

Monday, December 1, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Black Friday, etc.

I've never shopped on Black Friday as an adult. First, I value sleep way too much. Second, I am not a split-second decision type of person. I often visit a store 3 times before buying something. Third, I despise crowds. But...

my amazing little sleeper has been quite the opposite recently. And on Black Friday, he woke up at 5:45 am for the day (versus between 7 and 8). So we snuggled (and watched Frozen), but then I figured we might as well shop a bit.

I picked a strip mall near our house (Old Navy, Marshalls, DSW...). I still wasn't ready to try a real mall and I also didn't need anything in particular. At about 8:00 the parking lot was pretty open, Old Navy was 50% off (no deals any of the other places) and I got some clothes for myself, my sister, and Dylan at a great price!

Dylan fell asleep in the stroller and I felt like people would be thinking that I dragged my sleepy child out for my own benefit, but all in all, a pretty good first experience.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


that DH let me sleep in since I was up for almost an hour with Dylan last night.

that Dylan is starting to string words together into sentences even if he now repeats "mommy where are you?" instead of napping.

that Frozen occupied the boys (D and his cousin) long enough for the adults to eat a nice relaxed dinner tonight.

that my mom is watching Dylan tomorrow night so that DH and I can have a night alone. We were going to do Vegas, but now we're staying in town and might just go to the movies...

that I spied Dylan's cousin putting his turkey headband on Dylan's head.

that my family lives nearby and I get to see them all the time.

that I have this little's pretty sweet.

Monday, November 17, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - It's World Prematurity Day

I'm wearing purple to celebrate this little miracle boy. I cannot thank the doctors, procedures, techniques and medicines that kept him alive and allowed him to grow into the amazing little boy he is today. Have I mentioned that he sings now? Mostly "let it go, let it go, let it go...."

He is a 25 week miracle.

(The picture on the left was actually taken about 5 or 6 weeks after he was born. It was very slow going at the start. The top right is in June when he was 16 months adjusted and bottom right was last week at 22 months adjusted.)

Monday, November 10, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Love

I cannot get enough of my little boy (I'm sure you all feel the same...I mean most of the time.) He can count to 13 now. Where did that come from?

Here's his "cheese" face.

Monday, November 3, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Walking Pneumonia

But I guess they don't use that term any more, it's Atypical Pneumonia now. On a related note, I might have beaten the ER as a trigger. I went there for myself yesterday because I really couldn't breathe. That in itself was pretty scary, but no flash-backs. They "right-backed" me which was nice and a chest X-ray confirmed Atypical Pneumonia (treated with antibiotics and an inhaler).

Since Dylan and I have both been battling this really annoying cough for 2 plus weeks, I figured he needed to go in too. He got his own Chest X-Ray, a really nasty whooping cough swab and gets to join me with a diagnosis of pneumonia. At least it's not the really scary, high-temp kind and I don't even think he knows anything is wrong. And our After Hours Peds department is easy and efficient which is so helpful.

Halloween was fun, but Sunday was not.

Monday, October 27, 2014


So we took Dylan to the ER last weekend. It was all kinds of stupid. He was crying when walking all of a sudden and grabbing at his knee. We tested him over an hour or so, then I called nurses connection which takes forever and they said to go in. We checked a couple more times to see if it was still happening and it was, so then went in on a Saturday night.  (By the time we got back into the actual treatment area, Dylan was completely fine.)

This was our first time at the ER. Every other time we'd gone to after-hours peds which is a normal pediatrician in a normal office. 

Of course primarily I was terrified of all of the extremely sick people in the ER. Like the teenager who had a 103 fever and looked like death. Or the 4 sorority girls who were getting checked after after a girl at our local University had just DIED of meningitis. 

So Dylan and I kept to ourselves in a quiet area while Mr. GG went to get us dinner. I didn't let Dylan out of the ergo.

But then suddenly I was crying. With real tears. (Not like sobbing, but it was real.) And I was a little surprised. My brain couldn't stop replaying the night I went into pre-term labor over and over in my head and the emotions of that night: fear, panic, disorientation, all came rushing back.

My friend had dropped me off at the entrance to the ER, but there are 3 entrances to the hospital, just one of which is the ER. I went to the ER door, but there were so many people. And I was crying. And bleeding. And it just didn't feel like the right place. Do you go to the front of the line? Wait? I'm not the kind of person to just go in and be all hysterical. It may sound really stupid that I didn't go in, but no one had prepared me for what to do in that situation. So I went in a different entrance instead and I think I went up to the L&D floor, but I can't even actually remember. After wandering around crying, finally a pregnant lady helped me to the triage. 

So I was in the ER, with Dylan, and kept seeing myself hesitate at the entrance and imagining what would have happened if I had walked in. I truly felt the same helplessness and fear.

I'm great in general, but I doubt certain parts of my experience will ever leave me. Luckily, I have very few triggers, but revisiting the "scene" was pretty intense. I just wish I had known what to do that night.

If 1 out of every 8 babies are born pre-term? Why don't we talk about it? And what to do if it happens to you? I understand it's scary and pregnancy is already a time of worry, but actually going into to pre-term labor is much scarier than worry. Why don't we take hospital tours earlier? Or talk to everyone about the NICU? 

What I went through was terrifying and traumatic, but I also think the system let me down. 

November is prematurity awareness month. Go to the March of Dimes and show your support.

#MicroblogMondays - Halloween

I've always been the person who stresses out over what to dress up as for Halloween for a month, then throws something together at the last minute. I'm a high school teacher and it's fun to make the students do a double take. But this year, my costume is basically already done - a whole five days early!

And it's because of Dylan. Halloween is so much more fun with a little one! He and his cousin are going to be Batman and Robin and although it probably cost more than a costume from China (or maybe it was my sister and my inexperience buying fabric), it turned out perfectly. I did all of the pattern cutting and felt work, my sister and mom did the sewing.

We took Dylan to an event on Saturday night and he was obsessed with the dance floor. I can't believe that he's already a little person...who can dance!

Monday, October 20, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Cousins

I captured this sweet shot of Dylan and his cousin playing the piano together the other evening.

Since Dylan will not have a sibling, I am so thankful that he has his cousin and he's just 3 months older (actual age) and 7 months(adjusted). They are just starting to really play together and it's so cool to watch.

I know that Dylan wouldn't have this cousin if I didn't have a sister (who I am also very thankful for). But maybe D and B will be even closer than brothers? Maybe B will have a sister in the future which is special, but just not quite the same.

No matter what happens, they have each other and it makes my heart happy :).

Friday, October 17, 2014

A Little Bit of Snuggling Goes a Long Way

This would probably be part 3 in my marriage chronicles if you were really keeping track.

For the past week or so, DH has been snuggling with me in the morning. (I get up around 6, he gets up after I leave.) It so simple and so small, but it follows me into my day and I catch myself thinking happy husband thoughts.

Marriage is not the easiest thing in the world and ours has its ups and down, but snuggling...that is pretty easy. Go try it!

Monday, October 13, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Hot Diggity Dog!

Otherwise titled: "Just a little DIY."

We had Dylan's second birthday this weekend. I love arts and crafts, but I don't do them because I don't have the time, and I love me some Pinterest, but I don't like to stress myself out beyond reason. So I added just a few simple touches to Dylan's party: a Clubhouse sign and a Clubhouse picture with Dylan's name on it. They are just made from construction paper and exactly follow the pins, but I had fun making them (about 2-3 hours total). My mom made the gift bags and putting Oreos into the cupcakes for Mickey Ears (crushed Oreos on top) took just 10 minutes. I bought a cupcake stand, piñata, plates, and happy birthday sign.

Dylan loves the hot dog dance which DH had playing throughout so he danced the party away!

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Two Years Later

Some days I will look at my Blogger Stats to see which posts people are currently reading. And when it's been awhile, I'll click on that post too. Earlier this week, I clicked on my IVF posts and kept reading through the pregnancy posts.

You know, like when we found out that our two transferred embryos had turned into four babies.

I don't really need to look back at the controversy aspect of it anymore. I'm completely over it I think. And I get it. But I don't for a second wish that I had done anything differently (past the decision to transfer two embryos). And I have this amazing son to show for it all.

So instead, I have been looking at it in a personal way. It's sad to see how such an exciting time (the first 6 weeks) turned into the opposite. Yes, I was incredibly thankful that I was pregnant, but all of the excitement was replaced by physical sickness and fear. I was incredibly scared of having a higher order multiple pregnancy (only 3 of the babies continued to progress normally). I was scared of reduction. I was scared about losing the entire pregnancy.

After the reduction I felt a great sense of relief. And I enjoyed the following 10 weeks. But the scar of the preceding months was still there. So I don't think it was the same unadulterated joy that many other women feel.

And then I went into labor at 23 weeks and time basically stopped. I definitely didn't enjoy the 17 Magnesium Sulfate and painful contraction-filled days of hoping that I wouldn't go into labor.

I never had a chance to even consider a birth plan, so I wasn't fazed by the actual birth which surprisingly was able to be vaginal (but in the OR just in case). I definitely can't call it a beautiful or amazing experience. I was just happy that the 20+ doctors in the room (maybe that's an exaggeration, but not by much) delivered Dylan safely and took care of me well and especially happy that I heard him cry and got to touch him before he was taken to the NICU bed that was already waiting for him.

Is it a coincidence that all of this is coming up on the 2nd anniversary of his birth? Probably not. I think for the past two years I've focused on how thankful I was that everything turned out so well when the odds were not in our favor. And I think now I'm feeling more anger at what was lost in the process.

What we went through was amazing in so many ways and in a weird way, I appreciate it. It was very special to watch and help Dylan develop through such tough odds. But I still marvel every day at the people who have perfect term babies and hold them after birth and breastfeed and bring them home a day or two later. Many of them don't get how lucky they are. I don't want anyone to have to go through what we did, but it's just a weird feeling watching how it is supposed to go. And I don't for a minute pretend to think that many people don't have traumatic birth experiences or severe medical issues that have nothing to do with prematurity.

And that brings me to an article I saw on Facebook yesterday about a couple pregnant with quads after trying for a baby for 7 years and transferring 2 embryos. They are excited (and shocked) and are planning to have their four babies. And I hope beyond hope that everything goes perfectly. There were quads born during our NICU stay and they were released after like 2 weeks in perfect health. Amazing! But I worry for this couple. I just hope everything turns out okay. And I wonder how often this happens? How many other people out there had quads (or triplets) after transferring 2 embryos? One couple per year? More? Do we not hear about because it's rare? Or common? Or because many of the couples reduce the pregnancy? I think there needs to be more data collected so that people undergoing fertility treatments have as many facts as possible.

I didn't have a third trimester. I barely felt Dylan kick and I definitely was not able to bond with him before he was born. I was a zombie during weeks 6-13 of my pregnancy and hooked to machines and IVs for weeks 23-25. I spent what would have been weeks 25-27 staring at my tiny 1lb 15oz baby and touching his head to comfort him. During week 27, I finally got to hold him, but not again for quite awhile. During week 28, I waited through his heart surgery (PDA ligation). That was on Halloween. I cried through Thanksgiving, but smiled as the head Neonatologist dressed up as Santa a few weeks before Christmas. That would have been week 32. By his due date, I knew he was still not ready to come home and that's when the bitterness got worse. It was all borrowed time before then. He finally came home 5 weeks after his due date, two weeks after our 5th holiday in the NICU, Valentine's Day.

I am angry about what I went through and I think about it often.

But now I have a two year old. He walks and talks and eats and laughs and smiles and dances. He dances! I can't say that I wouldn't change parts of our journey if I could. But I sure wouldn't change my little Angel.

Happy Second Birthday Dylan!

Monday, October 6, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Sunday Morning Date

I took Dylan to eat breakfast at Einstein's bagels yesterday. One, because I needed to get out and two, because it's in the same parking lot as Home Goods.

But Home Goods is actually a fantastic spot for a toddler! There is so much to see, animals, shapes, colors, you name it.

We turned one corner and Dylan yells "clock," or actually "cock," and then we find all of the other clocks in that section.

I let him feel the texture of all of the different pumpkin art from smooth glass to rough twigs.

And I couldn't leave without seeing if they had any good children's books. I got I Love You Through and Through (for my nephew); Good Night, I Love You; Raffi's The Wheels on the Bus; and the real score, The Day the Crayons Quit. 

Very successful and fun-filled morning for mama and son.

Friday, October 3, 2014


Dylan has a lot of hair and he has had quite a few haircuts. Four to be exact. And I hate them so very much. I have visions of long surfer-boy hair. But it doesn't work so well when the hair is poker straight (like mine). And so after a nearly 2 year battle, Dylan is getting a short hair cut for his 2nd birthday next week.

Haircut #1 was a pretty short cut. We evened out all the baby hairs. I pretty much hated it and was very sad.

Haircut #2 was an interim cut to make it look more stylish while I grew it back out. I was pretty happy with the stylist and results.

Haircut #3 was a reaction to my father cutting Dylan bangs while I was at work. I am still not over it. And my Dad still thinks I've let Dylan's hair grow just to spite him. Again, pretty good stylist. Pretty good results.

Haircut #4 was a trim for family pictures. But it was probably the worst of the four cuts.

All of these cuts were at one of those fancy expensive kid's cut places where they get to sit in airplane chairs and watch movies. But this time we are going to my stylist. She has a toddler nephew who she watches once a week and although his hair is long and curly, I'm putting the fate of Dylan's hair in her hands. (And yes, I'm nervous about it.)

Sure you could take this as just some petty little thing in life, but for me it's not. I look and think about his hair just about every second I'm with him! If something unfortunate happens to his hair, I feel bad about it and dwell on it. I hate how his bangs are always in his eyes and I feel like I've ruined tons of adorable pictures, but I really wanted the long hair thing to work.

So I'm giving up and giving in. But when Daddy wasn't home I gave him his first ponytail while I still have the chance : )

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

My New Stressor

My job.

I have used this space to talk through all of the stress and anxiety of infertility, pre-term labor, and a long NICU stay and I have avoided talking about work for a variety of reasons.

But today my shoulder muscles are locked tight and I am extremely stressed at 8 am. I even warned my husband that I was already really tired and stressed (so expect a less nicer version of me today and please get home early if possible!).

I've been a high school teacher for about 10 years, but this year I took a new position as a Literacy Resource Teacher. I still get to teach two periods a day (I say "get" because that's the fun part), but now I am responsible for coordinating literacy for all teachers in my large 100+ teacher school. I know literacy. I think I'm pretty good at translating it to others even in non-English classrooms. But I'm also having to deal with politics and difficult people on a daily basis and I don't like it!

I hear information that I can't tell anyone (which is a skill I have been practicing; it does not come easily to me).

I create plans in collaboration with people only to have the same people disagree with the plan when we're finally supposed to get the work done.

I tip-toe around some extremely irrational people.

I gently try to move adult professionals in the direction that I want them to go without them noticing because they would prefer to do nothing at all.

They make toddlers seem easy!

And I think the biggest change for me is being responsible for so many disconnected things at the same time. In the past, my stress has come from planning my classes, trying to get grading done, etc. It's always been a ton of work and stress. But in the end, I was accountable to myself and the students. I was putting the pressure on myself. Now I have like 5 different jobs (including the first one) and people that I am accountable to outside of the classroom.

Ok and last. The system. The freaking educational system. I really want to affect change. If I didn't, I would just sit in my classroom and teach AP English which is a lot of work, but a lot of fun and extremely rewarding. But I have stupid ideals and I want to actually make a difference in the world, blah, blah, blah...but it's so freaking hard to make anyone do anything different. I could start my own school...and I might. But I really want to help the public school system where the majority of the kids are. Gosh no wonder I'm stressed, I'm trying to change the world, and people are assholes. : )

Let me just take it down a notch and focus on today. And Dylan.


Monday, September 29, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Sick : (

Oh the never ending mind game of wondering when is the right time to pull the trigger and take your sick kid to the doctor...

We have been so lucky that Dylan has not been sick too often in his 2 years of life, but we've also taken lots of precautions to make this happen: nanny, restricted winter activities, extra worry, etc. But he's sick now and it's the first cough he's ever had and it's in his lungs and I'm freaking out because it sounds a lot like the Enterovirus (which has already had cases confirmed in my County).

I haven't taken him in yet because he's acting normal (like singing in between coughing) and he's eating and drinking okay (not great) and he doesn't have a temp, but I'm just waiting for that additional factor to push me to take him in.

Bedtime is the worst, breathing-wise, which is hard because I know he's better served sleeping than crying in a doctor's office...but then everything improves in the daytime and the cycle starts over.

So we wait.

(Please don't worry that I won't take him in...I absolutely will if there is no improvement, he has retractions, clear wheezing, or any other scary bad worsening symptom.)

What is #Microblog Mondays? See the original explanation here.

Monday, September 22, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - blogging after baby

I think it's really interesting to see which bloggers continue to blog post kids. I needed to blog to get me through IF as did they, but I think I needed it for more than that.

I'm a sharer. That's how I process my thoughts and my life and it's not good enough just to write it down. I need other people to hear me. I can't explain exactly why. It's probably some terrible narcissicistic attention-seeking behavior. But it keeps me sane so I sure am thankful for it.

I miss the ladies I was in the trenches with, most of whom rarely blog anymore, but it's also fun finding new connections on the other side.

Happy Monday!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - Yeah!

"Did you go to gymnastics today?"


"Was Daddy there?"


"Did you have fun?"


We are having real conversations! (Kinda...he also said "Yeah" to "Did you go swimming today?," not true.)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Of Toddler Love and Communication

We are still in the midst of a very exciting language explosion in our household! It started with signing more, then continued to expressing no or "no, no, no, no, no" (in a sing-songy voice), and then finally progressed to mimicking. Dylan has always said new words whenever he wants too, usually after a lot of repetition by me, but almost never mimicking me.

Now that he mimics, I can prompt his language so much more easily! Say "up." "More water?" And my favorite is practicing "love you." I've tried "I love you mama" too, but two syllabus is his max.

But last night, during my favorite time of the day, the first 20 minutes of bedtime (the last 5-10 minutes suck and often consist of him sticking his fingers in my nose, mouth, ear, eye, trying to get out of the chair, asking for more books, crying for more books, begging for more milk because he knows it delays bedtime and then finally some strong but usually brief protest crying), he started singing with me!

It start with Pat-a-cake. On some of the longer words like "man," he would say them with me and he would even do the motions. Then we sang "Wheels on the bus" and he did all of the motions without any prompting!!!

It is beyond cool when you see proof that your child has learned something in the past and is now doing it independently for the first time. Then I get excited, then he gets excited and my heart explodes.

And kisses. I cannot get enough of Dylan's kisses. Dylan's current method of kissing is a long closed-mouth kiss while grabbing the back of my head with both hands and pulling me towards him. Aaaaah! My dad watched him yesterday and he would come up and kiss me, then run over to Gramps and kiss him, then come back to me. Magical.

Can he please be a big sappy mama's boy for the rest of his life?

(It's nearly impossible to take a picture of him hugging or kissing me and I also don't have my camera out when we're singing songs, so here's our latest selfie.)

(And the Instagram version. I love how he's sitting like a big kid in this huge chair.)

Monday, September 8, 2014

#MicroblogMondays - More

Dylan learned how to sign more which is awesome. But now he signs more all the time, but without attaching the word to what he wants more of! He's frustrated because he knows he's communicating. I'm frustrated because I want to reward his effort, but sometimes I don't know how. And the worst times are when he asks for more books after his allotted 3 at bedtime. How do I say no to more books?!

(Using the remote and pretending it's a phone. "Hello?")

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Summer is over, but it was awesome.

I worked yesterday. I'm working today. And so summer is over... (But I'm apparently a much better non-summer blogger so that's good.)

I don't have much time before a vet appt and then a few hours at work, so I'll do a quick picture post.

The children's museum, the zoo, Sea World, parks, splash pads, cousins, Chargers Fan Fest, walking, BBQs, swimming, craziness before the fireworks. It's been a blast!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

And finally, at 18 months adjusted...

We have a walker!!!!! 

After refusing to practice for months and months, Dylan was finally okay walking while holding hands about a month ago and he would use push toys occasionally (but rarely). Then he was okay with one hand or finger. Then he finally took a couple steps at a time and this week he's now walked across an entire room! Finally!! 

I cannot say that we did anything differently (except not letting him crawl in public places, like the zoo...he had to walk), he's just ready now, I guess.

Belle posted about how babies get more clingy when they are hitting big milestones and that's been totally true for Dylan the last couple weeks. He's a Daddy's boy, but he's been super clingy with me, not letting me put him down at all sometimes (and I'm not complaining!). And he even started saying "mama" - FINALLY!!!!!

He's had quite a receptive language explosion over the last month or so, but he's finally trying knew words expressively again. He's currently practicing the difference between "truck," "trash," and "tree" which fascinates me! And he's just about mastered "all done" which is helpful.

His stats at his last appointment were: 31.75 inches and19.5 pounds, but he's steadily growing out of clothes even though he has the tiniest hips and waist ever. Were still shooting for 20lbs by 2 in October (real 2).

Summer has been a whirlwind so far and there are 5 weeks still to go!

With his BFF cousin B at the park.

An evening walk at the cove with mama.

Turning on the sink in the play kitchen at our favorite kid's store. (Had to replace his shoes that Stella ate.)

Just a cute face, food and all.

Dancing with Dad way past bedtime on the 4th of July.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Keeping it real: Summer Edition

I've always tried very hard to tell it like it is on this blog, but I've been worrying that maybe I've had too much positive lately. Long time readers will know that I do not consider myself domestic in any sense of the word. And like many women, I feel grossly inadequate with a nice helping of guilt, just about all of the time.

So what's not perfect in my life today?

1) I let Dylan watch TV...and not just 15 minutes on weekends. I think the average is probably 45 minutes a day. And it's mostly for me. Sometimes he really watches, but most times I just want to sit on the couch for a minute. And I'm mostly not worried about it. I think some of the shows are kinda cool nowadays. And I think we do plenty of other types of stimulating activities in a day.

2) I look at my phone too much. I try to hide it in front of Dylan, but sometimes I don't. It's not constantly in my hand and I try to keep it away from me as much as possible, but I still check it A LOT. And it's rarely important and so I do feel bad about it.

3) Dylan's laundry is all over my kitchen table. And it's only clean because my mom watched Dylan on Monday and did it. But I still didn't put it away! And my laundry hasn't been touched in a very long time. I own A LOT of underwear for this exact reason.

4) I don't cook. Still. I actually read an article recently that made me feel much better about microwaving most of what I feed Dylan. I mean the meals are still healthy. I give him frozen or fresh veggies and fresh fruit with the frozen meatballs, but it's almost always microwaved. I did cook once last week; stirfry, but it wasn't very good.

5) I don't talk to Dylan enough. I mean I'm an English teacher and I know the importance of talking and reading and early exposure to language, but I like quiet time too. I do feel guilty about this one, but I don't actually think it's that bad because I talk to him a lot, just not constantly, we read a lot, and maybe he likes some quiet time too...he seems to!

6) Oh and the running I was planning on doing 3 days a week? Twice. All summer. DH is on a health kick diet and I'm drinking wine and eating ice cream and stressing about wearing a bikini at pool parties. But eff it. I'll do it eventually.

7) And actually my house is pretty clean right now. But that is only because I hosted a wedding in my backyard last weekend band I HAD to clean it and my mom helped, A LOT. But normally my house is not clean. And I didn't clean up the puke stain from my bedroom carpet where my dog puked up a bunch of leather from the 5 pairs of shoes she ate when we went out of town for the night. And let's not even start on my car...

And that's reality.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

All-American Baby

This weekend was a whirlwind! 

2 Birthday Parties
2 BBQs
3 swim days
1 adult dinner out

And I'm pooped!

Oh and the keeping Dylan up for the fireworks experiment was truly an experience. He stayed up fine, but got CRAZY between 8 and 9, watched 2 minutes of the fireworks peacefully, then needed to be up and about (looking at trees and bicycles, etc.). He was in bed by 10, but it definitely created a weird nap day on the 5th (which was basically all crying and no nap), but I think we're back to normal finally today.

And just for the record, going to a party with a toddler is some kind of weird social sweaty torture where you have mini snippets of conversations with people and you end up with weird sticky spots all over yourself. It's like you're near people being social, but you can't actual be social yourself. And it's tough having an opinionated kid who doesn't walk yet, but wants to be everywhere and in everything.

I'll leave you with my all-American model baby. (New favorite pic alert!) He was actually dressed up for the USA soccer game this day, but it's timely.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Cutest thing!

We are in the middle of Hand, Foot and Mouth (post to come) so things are not totally awesome here, but the cutest thing happened when D was going to bed tonight and I just have to share.

We went in sat in the rocker like normal, but he was pointing at the closet. I had no idea what he wanted and told him to go get whatever it was. So he crawls over (he actually has taken a few actual steps this week!) and puts his hand on the dresser drawer that holds his blankets. 

He already had one blanket, but he wanted one more! I thought it was the cutest thing ever. His A&A blankets have been his lovey for months, but it's just now turning to obsession level. He will take them with him around the house (holding blankets is a huge motivator for walking) and randomly lay down on them. He has to have all of the blankets that are currently out. This weekend it seems to often be three. So I guess one is just not enough for him any more. And holding blankets is the best motivator for walking!

I'll take a blanket obsession any day! I have about 12 A&A blankets and he loves them all equally. Easy peasy and so comfy! He takes after his mama :)

(During the fever stage of HFMD...)

Monday, June 23, 2014


It's a given. Being a parent = worrying. About food. About milestones. About danger. About the future.

But somehow I think we all think we are the only ones who struggle! I guess struggles feel the most isolating. (And we all know about the evil social media perfection syndrome. The hard stuff doesn't get as many FB posts. Probably because it's not usually possible to take a picture of your kid while they are melting down before bedtime. And allergies and illnesses and delays are hard to quantify.)

I do think there is a lot of honesty out in the internet though. I think I've been very honest, although I still worry sometimes when I post too many "perfectiony" posts that I'm leaving out the day to day reality.

So let's be real today. 

My biggest parenting struggles:

Meals - Constant pressure to keep it high calories but not constipating, to get the iron absorbed without calcium intake, to try to serve healthy foods, organic foods etc.

Bedtime - I've still got a great sleeper, but bedtime is getting longer and longer with more and more tears. Every time I succumb I feel like I have ruined bedtime for the rest of eternity. Ugh.

(I'm not going to put milestones on my list because although I think about it often and it's uncomfortable being on the low end of the spectrum, I just know that it'll allbr okay and that D is developing well.)

And I'm not even focusing on my constant struggle to try to cook, to try to keep the house somewhat clean, to get te laundry done, to get the laundry out away. I'm the opposite of a born home-maker and the struggle is REAL!

So what are your biggest parenting stressors. What makes you feel like you are the only one who understands?

Let's do some therapy!

Thursday, June 19, 2014

A Summer SAHM Schedule

I had a great school year this year, but I am so excited that it's finally summer time! I truly love that I get to be both WOHM and SAHM. But while I love both, being a SAHM is hard! And I'm also really hard on myself. So I'm going into this summer with a plan.

The hardest thing for me is deciding what to do each day and with a toddler, if I haven't decided by 8:30 am, we won't be out off the house until naptime! I knew I wanted to have a schedule (and I'm not a Type A scheduly type of person) so the night before my official first day of SAHM-dom, I spent some time planning our weeks.

First, I broke down a typical day:
8:00 - Breakfast
9:30 - Snack
11:00 - Lunch
12:00 - Nap

So I figured I could have 1 or 2 activities in the morning, always out of the house and one in the afternoon that didn't require driving.

Then, I started with things that are scheduled. I'm joining a play group that meets Mondays at 10:30 and library story time is on Fridays at 10:30. Perfect. I also really want to get into an exercise routine and that would need to be a morning activity, so I plugged that in on M, W, and F.

Next, I listed all of the short and longer activity options: Sea World, Zoo, Children's Museum, Park, Beach, etc.

4:00 is the toughest time of day since my energy and motivation are lagging and traffic is bad, so I decided that would be craft/new activity at home time or a trip to the neighborhood park with the dog.

Here's my finished plan:

I don't expect to stick to this religiously or anything, but now when I'm wondering what to do, I have built in options already planned.

I'm on naptime of day 2 and we've already run at the bay, shopped at Trader Joe's, taken the dog to the park, and gone to the zoo! Not bad. (And I even got a blog post in. Score.)

The next goal is being productive during naps, but I'm trying to go easy on myself which is hard since I feel like I really have to make these two months count.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Stats @ 16.5 months adjusted (20 months actual)

Dylan is currently 19 pounds and 31 3/4 inches. Technically he hasn't gained anything since our last appointment a couple of months ago, but he's fitting in new clothes because of his height so I'm pretty happy with his progress.

It's challenging to dress Dylan. He can wear 12 or 18 months sleepers. He can wear 6-18 month shirts (18's a little big, but not terrible). But he is just barely growing out of 3 month shorts and some 6 month shorts are just too big! But pants are the hardest. His largest pair of jeans is Children's Place 6-9 months and they kind of stay up. Most days he wears 3-6 month jeans. So basically, he rocks capri pants. (But if this is the worst of our problems, I'll take it!)

Feeding is going great. We're off Prevacid and Dylan loves to eat all kinds of foods. Current favorites: cottage cheese, peas, black bean patties. And he FINALLY learned how to suck from a straw so the world of smoothies is now wide open.


I've been slightly concerned about Dylan's speech, mostly because of trying to compare Dylan with other babies and stories on the internet, so I want to share what my Ped said to hopefully make some of you feel better. Basically, Dylan occasionally says some single words, but not frequently and most of what he says is "eh." But every word spoken counts even if they never say it again. So even though he's not speaking in complete sentences (slight exaggeration) like some of his peers (mostly female), he's doing just fine.

Dylan really has had a language explosion recently. About a month ago, he answered his first question, "What does a cow say?" and I almost cried. But now, he knows when I'm asking a question which is cool, but every. single. answer. is "Eh." Even to the original, "What does a cow say?" But I guess this is normal. Recently he's been saying something like "dah" for "yes" which is a differentiated answer to a question, so that's good.

I'd say he has about 10-15 words, but let me spell them out so I have them for the future:


(notice that mommy, mama, and mom are not on the list...maybe he think I'm daddy too? : /)

He basically does not mimic, although it has happened a couple of times.

And his receptive language is fantastic. He responds nearly 100% to "Can you give hugs?" He is responding to his name much more frequently than before, probably 75% of the long as nothing else super interesting is going on. He will wave bye bye on command occasionally. We can say "Go get your blanket" and he will crawl to it and go to his room if he's sleepy. If you ask about a light, he'll look up at it. So all in all, he seems to understand a lot.

And it is AMAZING how nice it is to be able to communicate with him more (and get responses and communication from him). It changes everything.

Gross Motor

Dylan is still not walking, but I'm not really concerned. He has actually let us start practicing with him a little bit over the last week or so. What has worked best is walking on grass toward a ball that he then "kicks." But he still refuses to do push toys and refuses to practice walking most of the time. So whatever...he'll do it when he wants to. He's extremely coordinated and has great balance, so it'll come.


Dylan does tantrum a bit, but so far we haven't had any fall to the ground type and usually then don't last more than a minute or two. He responds really well to warnings i.e. "In a minute we are going to go inside." "Ok, it's time to go inside." I know he has no clue what a minute is, but the repetition of inside helps him understand that he has to get out of the drivers seat of the car soon. (Standing in the driver's seat and pushing all of the buttons is his absolute favorite thing to do in the world. We made him his own set of fake keys today because he has to have keys in his hand and he definitely understand where the key is supposed to go in the car. Thanks, Dad.)

But in general, he's just a super fun, happy kid. We get tons of smiles and laughter. He loves to read books and definitely has opinions on which ones he wants to read. Current faves: My Truck is Stuck, Baby Quiet Baby Loud, Llama Llama Nighty Night, and Fuzzy Duckling.

I'm hoping I can get back to a more regular posting schedule since it's ALMOST SUMMER! I'm changing roles at work next year and I've been kind of doing two jobs at once and it's been really crazy.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

This guy.

Can I do a wordless Friday instead? Never mind, I can't do wordless ever...

My new favorite picture:

He gets the funniest look on his face when I put the glasses on - and then takes them immediately off.

Well and since it's Mother's Day this weekend, let me share a precious moment we had tonight. We sit in the rocker in his room before bedtime and tonight, after books, I decided to make a funny sucking sound and go after his ear. He thought it was then funniest thing I have ever done and kept leaning his ear toward me so I'd do it again and again. I will never get over the joy I feel when I hear his unrestrained giggles! 

I love being this boy's mama :)

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Falling Back In Love

If you read my Valentine's Day post, you'll probably realize that our marriage has been work recently. Or maybe not even work as much as two people living parallel lives united mainly by our love for our little boy. I don't know if it was infertility or having a preemie or the regular newborn lull or just us in general, but we've been struggling. And any one of those factors would be a valid source of stress in a relationship.

But...we don't have any huge issues, no infidelity and definitely not hatred. We just have a piling up of lots of the little things. He thinks I nag all the time. I don't think he cares about me. We're sarcastic instead of truly friendly or loving. (And there is very little going on physically between us.)

I think the low was January though. We've had occasional conversations about the state of "us" and each time, we have tried a little harder. The first step was doing more things as a family on weekends. Family outings are fun, even if they're small. It's really different and special to feel like "a family." An outing might be a trip to the park or a long walk around a golf course or a trip to Costco. We're also planning our first Disney trip for next month!

And we've taken another step forward in the last week or two. (Admittedly, I'm initiating all of this, but I think he needs me to right now and it's abundantly clear that the energy and effort one person expends yields similar benefits in return.) I'm trying to do more around the house to keep it clean (he's much, much neater than I am and messiness just causes an underlying level of constant frustration on both our parts). I made dinner last night! I've started kissing him good-bye before I leave in the morning (he's still in bed) like I used to do when we started dating. We're cuddling for a few minutes before we go to sleep... I can't tell you how huge this one is! It feels nice and loving and normal and like old times.

I never expected marriage to be perfect or not be work and I know for many marriages, this is one of the hardest times (we also are in our 7th year which is also commonly a tough time). So I'm willing to truly work on it and I look forward to what our relationship will be months and years from now.

I absolutely want to be married to my husband and I'm pretty sure he feels the same. He's a fantastic father and a really great person. I'm pretty sure he believes the same about me.

We're just working on being a great husband and wife.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Zero Iron.

So I never really got around to my iron post. It got too detailed, so I gave up. I'll try to give the quick version here.

We learned after our last blood draw that Dylan has ZERO iron. Ferritin should measure at least 30, and his was ZERO. Shit. He wasn't showing any of the symptoms of anemia like fatigue or excessive paleness, but it can also cause mental delays so needless to say, I was freaking out and have learned a TON about iron in the past month or two.

Note: Pinterest is not God. My nanny told me that Pinterest said that Watermelon is high in iron. It's not. Do your research! (Or read the rest of this post.)


Iron is really all about absorption so although some foods have a lot of iron, if it's not easily absorbed, it doesn't matter. Heme iron, mostly from meat products like beef, is the most easily absorbed. Plant sources are not as easily absorbed.
  • Calcium inhibits iron absorption.
  • Vitamin C aids iron absorption.
Our problem was that Dylan was eating a lot of high-fat dairy to help his weight gain. So now we focus on dairy in the morning and evening and sometimes at lunch, but snack-time is dairy free. Our nutritionist said to keep dairy about 2 hours away from iron drops. This is also why Pediatricians want toddlers drinking less than 24 ounces of milk per day. Dylan was only drinking about 12 but got lots of other sources of dairy.

This list of heme and non-heme sources is from the Cleveland Clinic
The following foods are good sources of heme iron (from animal sources): 
  • Chicken liver
  • Oysters
  • Clams
  • Beef liver
  • Beef (chuck roast, lean ground beef)
  • Turkey leg
  • Tuna
  • Eggs
  • Shrimp
  • Leg of lamb
The following foods are good sources of nonheme iron (from plants):
  • Raisin bran (enriched)
  • Instant oatmeal
  • Beans (kidney, lima, Navy)
  • Tofu
  • Lentils
  • Molasses
  • Spinach
  • Whole wheat bread
  • Peanut butter
  • Brown rice
The following chart from Harvard is even better since it lists the amount of iron in each type of food. Harvard Iron Content Sheet


Toddlers need 7mg of iron a day and babies need 10mg. Since Dylan's so small and has zero, I figure he needs at least ten. Three ounces of beef has just 2 mg of iron. It would take Dylan an entire day to eat 3 ounces of beef! So although we are trying to up the iron in his foods, he absolutely needs a supplement. (Iron supplements are typically drops.) Dylan won't drink OJ, the best iron-complement, but I found a 100% juice option that has a good amount of Vitamin C that he is okay with. I give 1ml of iron 2x a day.

So meal-time is a puzzle in our household. We try to:

1) maximize calories
2) keep dairy time away from iron time
3) add lots of vitamin C (not his favorite foods)
4) get enough fiber and water in to prevent constipation

But we are managing...

Our go to Vitamin C sources are strawberries and juice. Dylan seems to be starting to like oranges, occasionally, but they are not his favorite.

Dylan has always liked meatballs, so we are focusing on red meat more than chicken as a protein source as well as beans. But fortified cereals are actually an excellent source of iron, so Cheerios are back in the Dylan's snack cup! But like I said, getting him to take the iron drops (it's own challenge) is the most important part of our day.

Last...I learned that acid reflux medications can also inhibit iron absorption, so we tried cutting Dylan's dose in half (only morning time) and he seems to be doing okay.

Anyone else dealing with challenging nutrition issues?

Monday, April 28, 2014

Busy, Busy

We went out of town thr last two weekends in a row so things have just been really busy. Flu season in CA ends around the end of April, so we've be slowly venturing out and about. First, a community Easter egg hunt. Then a birthday party and the Aquarium of the Pacific. It's scary getting out of our protective cocoon, but I really want Dylan to get some interaction with kids and I want him to get to do all of the other normal kid things. We skipped two winter birthday parties and have never been to Gymboree or story time at the library and I don't have a regular play group... But this summer we at branching out!

We stayed at a family member's house last weekend, with Dylan in a Pack n Play in the bathroom. Bedtime was tough but overnight was fine. This week we got a cheap suite hotel so we could watch a movie after Dylan's bedtime.

I highly recommend the Aquarium of the Pacific if you're ever in Long Beach!