Sunday, August 23, 2015

#MicroblogMonday - this kid is a fish

We did 8 days of swimming lessons this summer at our community pool. Everyday he begged to go home part way through. He was swallowing water and would only jump from his bum. But by the end of the lessons everything just clicked and now he can't be stopped!

Monday, August 10, 2015

Potty Training

Potty training feels too big to write maybe it's perfect for a Microblog Monday.

Dylan did something new last night. He peed in his car seat. :/ Then he pooped in his wet undies before I'd even changed them (while I was stripping his car seat). 

But he followed that up today with a legit poop in the potty.

Baby steps. (Overall he's doing well, but this is one of the hardest parenting milestones for me to deal with. Especially while moving...)

Monday, July 27, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - Just Keep Swimming

We are in the midst of moving (nearby) and to make a complete understatement, I'm overwhelmed. I found a new preschool for Dylan but they require all kids to be potty trained. There was only one spot left so I jumped on it and just hoped the potty training would be easy. Dylan's doing pretty well, but the pressure of needing it to be done ASAP is just too much, so I'm backing out of the preschool. I feel relieved. I'll write more about these potty training adventures soon!

Friday, June 19, 2015

Silencing the Voice in my Head

Alternately titled: "Trying to be okay with my body." Even as I typed that, I thought it really should be "love" my body, but that seems a lot harder and farther away than "okay with" so that's where I'm at.

I love all of this internet posts about mom bodies and embracing your body. I silent cheer all of these women on. But it's a lot harder to apply the same lesson to myself. I've also probably never gone a day without criticizing my body. If I really broke it down in minutes, it would easily be an hour a day thinking about my arms or my stomach or my back looking fat. I'll criticize the way my shoes look with my outfit. At Disneyland a few weeks ago, I felt so bad about how I looked that I took my socks off for a bit to try to look a little better. I even bought a different shirt to wear. Stupid. I don't want to be this way though. And I'm working on it.

One way I'm working on it, is changing up my wardrobe. I'm working on buying clothes, including swimwear, that make me feel the best so that I can silence the critical and self-conscious voice in my head that makes social events a lot less fun. I'm trying to find the right fit and coverage so that I feel as good as possible. Part of this is buying more "uniform" type clothes that I know I like and limiting my choices.

This is also the year that I officially switch to a one piece bathing suit. Last year was a transition. I still felt weird in a one piece (and probably still will for awhile), but I felt even more uncomfortable in a two-piece. I wish the one-pieces out there were a little more fashionable or that the tankinis worked for short people (the tanks are super wide and hang over the bottoms...), but I'm trying to find suits I really love like designer suits with nicer fabric and support. I've been finding great ones a Marshall's for cheap!

The clothes are helping. And I'm mostly okay with my body right now. I look pretty good in clothes. I'm not a huge fan of how I look not in clothes, but I have a solution for that too...I think.

I don't need to look like a model to be happy with my body. But I'm pretty sure I won't be happy unless I feel like I'm in shape. I've participated in sports for most of my life and have been a haphazard runner/yogi. I took the pressure off of myself and basically gave myself permission not to work out and not to even think about working out for most of the last year. I needed that. But I also know that a) working out is good for my health, b) I will never be fully satisfied unless I am working out an average amount and c) I feel good when I actually do it. It's not easy with a kid though and the only reason I feel like I can do more this summer is that Dylan has a such a set routine AND he's going to start preschool two mornings a week.

What I'm not willing to do: workout all of the time. I've lived with myself long enough to know my patterns and what I can stick to. That means running about 2-3 times a week and getting to about 2 yoga classes a week (Honestly...adding those together sounds like too much, but I'd like to do both). I don't need to start working out every single day to be satisfied with myself, but I need to do something.

What I decided to add was some body-weight exercises at home. I have a few friends who coach for Beach Body. I'm pretty sure I would love Insanity. But I don't feel the need to pay for videos or a system (and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't watch the videos anyway...I just won't). So I found a short routine on Pinterest that is different every day of the week. It seems to use most of the same body weight exercises that are in all of the different programs and seems to focus on a different muscle group each day (while still hitting all of them). And it only takes 10-15 minutes. Now on the one hand, that sounds like not enough time to even count as working out. But it's strength exercises with a bit of cardio that I don't do right now. So I figure adding a bit of that daily (during naptime) and then getting in a few runs and a couple of yoga classes and I'll be set. I still don't know how to do this during the school year though...

What I'm not going to do, diet. I'm not even going to give up alcohol. I don't do super well with giving things up. When I'm not allowed something at all, I obsess. It would probably work better for me to limit myself to two days a week. I am good with rewards and delayed gratification : ). I will basically quit dessert and treats because I don't need them, but otherwise, I'm going to continue what I'm already doing, eating not huge amounts of pretty healthy foods.

I think that's enough for me to accept whatever my body looks like.

It's a daily struggle and I truly do not understand people who say they are truly comfortable with themselves. I'm not and have never been, but I'd like to be and I'm working on it.

Monday, June 15, 2015

#Microblog Mondays - Stress and Being Assertive

This is always the craziest time and it's put the blog on the back-burner, but I do have time for a micro-post today.

I think it must come down to stress...because that's about all I can think about right now.

What's stressing me out?

  • Our Principal is much uncertainty...
  • We are house-hunting. I don't know where we will be living next Fall and we have tons to do before we can list our house.
  • Preschool - I'm going to send Dylan to one by our current house over the summer, but since I don't know where we will be living in the Fall, I can't even research new options or get on waiting lists. This one REALLY stresses me out!
That's it, but it's all very big for me, especially number 1. I have had to be more assertive than I'm used to to fight to be on the panel to select the next one. I'm trying to make decisions based on how I think a man would handle the situation, but as an over-thinker that leads to...A TON OF OVERTHINKING. It's weird to come to the point of more experience and authority in your career and have to deal with more gender-based issues. If I leave it alone, I'm afraid I'll come off as too passive. But if I speak up for myself too strongly, I risk being seen as "bitchy." Trying to walk a fine line has my wound up very tightly. Blah.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Breast Biopsy

I had my guided MRI breast biopsy on Friday. It was a rare super rainy day here...and my sister had been in labor with my new niece since the night before. So luckily lots of distraction meant a lot less stress and anxiety leading up to the appointment.

The hardest part was inside the MRI. Being moved in and out without being able to see anything always makes me a little dizzy. Then I was getting a bit anxious about the enormity of everything and wanted to take some deep breaths to calm myself down. But then you aren't allowed to move at all, so I'm trying to take breaths that don't feel deep enough which feels a lot like the beginning of a panic attack. I imagined myself freaking out and squeezing the emergency button in my hand. But I calmed myself well enough. 

It's also a little weird being 30+ years younger than most other women around, but I'm special like that...

Results should take 2-4 business days so I'll know a lot more next week...meh.

I'm pretty resigned to the realty of it, although I'm definitely hoping for a clear path to not super aggressive treatment. And I want to speak with the experts about this whole mastectomy thing. :/

Oh and literally, my sister had very serious complications during her c section and she's fine now, but it took two hours and extra doctors. Geesh. But my new niece is perfect.

The day after, I was a little worried that I had an infection because I had pinkness over a lot of my breast and it was warm, I also continued to bleed just a tiny bit throughout the day. But I woke up today and everything looked much better.

The pain was not bad at all! I took Ibuprofen the day of before bed, but just one time and that was it. It feels kind of bruised if my breast is pushed or kicked (toddlers are fun...I told him about my boo boo and he kissed it a few times then promptly forgot).

Mr. GG has been traveling a ton and will be out of town when I find out the results this week, but I imagine we'll have a sit down appointment next week if the results are positive which he will be here for. I'm not freaking out, but I'm ready for more information.

Here's the detailed biopsy write-up:
I got there early (it's a little disconcerting walking into a "Cancer Center." Very real.)  and had time to get a smoothie. They told me just to eat a light lunch in case I got nauseous. 

After they brought me back, I changed in the little locker room. I planned ahead this time, so I wore comfy leggings and I brought a nice pair of grippy socks. Both of those things made me feel a little bit more comfortable (and warm). First the nurse explained everything. Then I got my IV. Then one doc came in and explained everything and then another doc did the same! So I definitely had the all of the necessary info.

Here's the process: first I went go in the MRI for about 7 minutes with the breast compressed between two plates. It wasn't super tight though. Then they check the images and pull you out (you stay lying down the whole time, in or out). Best case scenario is they don't see the lesion. But for me, immediately they said, okay I'm going to numb the area because the actual biopsy comes next and in my case was done by hand by a doctor. Some are done by machine. He numbed my breast with lidocaine. One of the numbing needles pinched more than the others and I flinched...and they reminded me not to move, thanks.

Then I went back in for another few minutes, then out again, then the did the biopsy. They took 5 samples with a core needle. I could feel three of them. They felt like needle pricks. Then they place a stainless steel "clip" in the incision to mark the spot of the lesion so it shows up on mammogram. It will not set of airport sensors or interfere with future MRIs. Then they hold pressure on the wound for 5 minutes. Literally. Last, steri-strips were placed to close the wound. which will fall off in about 5 days.

Of course that's not it. Lastly, you have to get a mammogram to make sure the clip shows up. 

Then you get dressed and leave! (I was given small circular ice packs to put in my bra to reduce swelling and bruising and antibiotic ointment and band-aids to cover everything with which I change every day.)

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Library Haul Review #1

*A lighter post for today I think. : )

I first went to the local public library with Dylan when he was about 18 months old. didn't go very well. Since then, I bought tons and tons of books for him, most good, some so so. We needed an activity one evening, so I decided it was time to go back.

And I also think it's going to become a new series since I've enjoyed writing other book reviews: Our Favorite Books Toddler Version.


(I'm going to go on a 4 star rating system. 4 = Love it! 3 = Like it. 2 = Meh. 1 = Dislike.

1 - Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, Mo Willems ***

Image result for don't let the pigeon drive the bus

I'd heard a lot about Mo Willems since becoming a parent and I knew that Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus was one of his top titles. It's cute that the bus driver talks to the reader so Dylan can answer back, and it's funny listening to all of the ways Pigeon tries to convince you to let him drive, but I just don't love it. Maybe when Dylan is a bit older (and more manipulative) it will hit closer to home.

2 - Knuffle Bunny, Mo Willems ****FAVORITE****

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This is definitely my favorite kids book of the moment. In this book Willems draws cartoon characters on top of real black and white photos. It's really nicely done. And there are quite a few reasons it connected with our little family: a laundromat...Dylan loves to go to the laundromat with his Dad. So at the laundromat, the Dad accidentally puts Knuffle Bunny in the washer and he and his daughter leave without it...and she freaks out. She tries to tell him, "Aggle, Flaggle, Klabble!" But she can't talk yet. Dad respond, "Yes, we are going home!" Then she goes into a full on tantrum, at one point "She went boneless." Dylan doesn't get that one yet, but I'm sure all of you parents do! In the end, Knuffle Bunny and the little girl are reunited and she says her first words, "Knuffle Bunny!"

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We really enjoy reading this book together, but the funniest part is when Dylan is just doing his thing and then he looks over at me and says "Snurp" with the cutest smile on his face. Or "Aggle, Flaggle Klabble." I'm pretty sure he knows they aren't real words which is pretty fascinating and he knows that it's funny when he says them.

3 - That is Not a Good Idea, Mo Willems ***

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This one is a little dark. It's written like a "talky" movie with white letters on black pages after images. A fox seems to court a duck so that he can take her home and cook her in a soup. After each fox and duck page, a little chick says "That is NOT a good idea," "That is REALLY NOT a good idea." "That is REALLY, REALLY NOT a good idea" and so on. But in the end, the duck pushes the fox in the pot and she and her chicks eat the soup. Like I said, a little dark and probably suited for older kids. Definitely good to show irony and/or a reversal of expectations. I think Dylan just likes the "That is REALLY NOT a good idea" pages.

4 - Lemons are Not Red, Laura Vaccaro Seeger ***

Image result for lemons are not red seeger

This one is great for young kids who are just learning colors. Each page has a cut out of an object that is the wrong color. "Carrots are not purple." And then you turn the page and the cut out is over the correct color. "Carrots are orange." It's cute and clever and simple also with beautiful painted images. Perfect for a toddler mastering colors.

Image result for lemons are not red seeger

5 - Storm Whale, Benji Davies  ****

Image result for storm whale

This is a newer book and it's really sweet, but Dylan didn't love it (probably suited for older kids). A little boy, Noi,  lives with his dad on the ocean and one day during a storm, a small whale washes ashore. The little boy puts the whale in the bathtub. Eventually he shows his dad and his dad says they have to take it back to the ocean. His dad realizes that Noi is lonely and gives him a big hug. Sweet, somewhat sad story, with beautiful images.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

What it's like to wonder whether you have cancer...

In a nutshell, it's a mixture of feeling sick to your stomach, mixed with moments of shortness of breath, following by long deep breaths. I think that's the basic feeling.

During the first week I did a lot of research. Maybe too much, maybe not. I learned about the stages of Breast Cancer (I'd be somewhere between IA and IIA depending on lymph nodes) and looked up False Positive rates on Breast MRI ("high" but less high for someone like me who repeats it every year). I read a really terrible study that said survival rates were lower for young women than older women, ostensibly because there are different mechanisms behind cancers that appear that early and most research has been targeted toward older women. Luckily I got a really great blog comment from a survivor at that point and I stopped researching (for the most part).

My anxiety seems to peak as I get closer to appointment times. During the rest of the week, I go between forgetting about it and vague worry.

The hardest part is waiting.

One weird thing is that I haven't really told anyone. Just my husband, mom, sister, and my best friend (whom I almost didn't tell). With IVF and all that ensued, I shared left and right. This feels different. Also, I don't really know anything yet.

Here's my timeline so far:

  • April 24 - Breast MRI (at Hospital B)
    • This freaking appointment was at 6:15am! And DH was out of town so the nanny had to come super early. Then they weren't ready for me and I was sitting and fuming. I had also warned them that I can be a hard stick so I was extremely upset to learn the tech would be starting my IV and I even asked him if he was good and said if he wasn't, I wanted to reschedule (it's unlike me to speak up that much). He did a really good job of joking with me and relieving the tension. AND he got my vein quickly and easily. Bonus points. I chose to listen to "Pitch Perfect" on Pandora during the breaks in the MRI where you can actually hear the music. I call the rest a mix between being inside of a washing machine and an electric dance party. It's really weird and loud, but the only part that really bothers me is laying on my face for that long. Sometimes it begins to really hurt, but you can't move. It's also really cold in there. (Wear yoga pants if you ever need to have one because you can keep on any bottoms that don't have metal. I forgot at this appointment.)
    • Later that day I got a follow-up call from my Breast Specialist saying they found a "suspicious" lesion in my left breast at 6 o'clock. She explained the rest of the process and I scheduled follow-up appointments that day.
  • April 30 - Diagnostic Mammogram and Ultrasound
    • Because my lesion was detected on a Breast MRI, the most sensitive type of imaging, I definitely needed a biopsy. Ultrasound is the simplest method of biopsy, they see it, they biopsy it right there. Mammogram is next easiest. They image it, they mark the coordinates, you go (later) to get a biopsy of those coordinates.
But of course neither of these methods worked for me. There is a bright side. The lesion is very small. That is better no matter what. And I can still slightly hope that it just doesn't show up when I go back to MRI. But no matter what, I had the major anxiety leading up to this appointment and then no answers and more waiting.
  • May 1 - Call back from my Breast Specialist
    • She ordered my MRI Guided Biopsy (requires referral to different hospital).
    • I call the Referral Coordinator at my hospital who says to call the other hospital on Monday and to call her back if they don't have the referral by Tuesday.
  • May 3 - Schedule MRI with Hospital B
    • I was very pleasantly surprised to get a call from Hospital B on a Sunday to schedule my biopsy.
  • May 8 - Guided MRI Biopsy
This step hasn't happened yet, but I know somewhat what to expect. IV for contrast like a normal Breast MRI. I'll be laying still for 30-40 minutes both in and out of the tube. I still can't picture how they actually do the biopsy. Is someone on their hands and knees below me? Can they raise the table up high like a car shop? I guess they insert a small stainless steel marker at the site of the lesion to mark it for potential extraction later. That seems pretty weird to me too.

I imagine I'll have results early the next week. That's when the conversations will get much more interesting...

Monday, April 27, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - Breast Cancer? Updated 4/30

What a title right? I've posted before about my BRCA2+ status (the breast cancer gene) and how I go through yearly screening, both mammogram and breast MRI. For years, I've tentatively planned to do the prophylactic double mastecomy, but it's stayed in the future...because I really don't want to do it.

I had my yearly breast MRI last Friday, and I got a call back that same day. Shit. I have a "suspicious" .8 cm lesion at 6 o'clock in my left breast. The call came from my Breast Specialist who manages all of my care and screenings. I'm pretty calm when I hear bad news. I'm getting more used to what it's like, so I knew that I didn't and wouldn't have any questions then, but I would soon after. I needed some processing time.

I immediately called my mom (who survived breast cancer at age 44 and gave me my lovely genes). I had already done a quick google search on the reliability of breast MRI and saw that it's notorious for false positives. I also texted my sister who is also BRCA2+ and talked to my husband.

Then the Breast Specialist called back which was perfect because I was ready with some questions. What is a biopsy like? (It's just done with a needle.) So they didn't see this on my mammogram the week before? (No.) I understand there is a high rate of false positives, but since this wasn't on detected a year ago, that's probably bad, right? (Yeah, it's worrisome.).

I also quickly posted on my BRCA Surveillance FB group to see if anyone else had a false positive. And I got quite a few. I was feeling pretty relieved. In my head, there was a 50/50 chance that everything was okay.

That night I was pretty numb, a little snappy at DH. But finally after Dylan was asleep I sat there stewing because he was just watching TV and I didn't want to bring it up myself. Luckily he did and saved himself from my wrath - although I did explain to him how he was almost about to get a huge diatribe. I couldn't stop myself. But he came through.

I went about my life this weekend. On Saturday, I thought about it almost not at all, but yesterday it started creeping back in.

So last night I did some new (better) research. I'm not in the category of just any person getting a breast MRI, I'm BRCA2+ and I have yearly screenings. Lo and behold, there is a study comparing those exact two groups of people (yearly and one time). In that study, the false positive rate for yearly screenings was just 5.6%. Fuck. A different study placed the percentage at 13%, but still, it's extremely likely that I'm in the big group and have...nope can't say it.

So I continued to research. What are the stages of cancer? I'd be anywhere from Stage 1A to 2A depending on whether lymph nodes are involved. That's based on the size of the lesion (under 2 cm). So that's good. But still Stage 1 sometimes uses chemo and Stage 2 commonly does. Although my survival rate would be very high (high 90's) and I truly don't believe for a second that I will not be cured, my mom and aunt are both survivors and my mom's was not caught this early, I really don't want to do chemo.  I've already wondered if I can have my own (long) hair cut and made into a wig for myself. Then I figured that wouldn't work, so maybe if I donate my hair, I can get similar hair? Damn.

And that also means I'm probably going to have to decide very soon whether or not to do the double mastectomy. And I probably will. I mean if my genes are starting to turn at age 34, do I really want to go through this over and over? And that means that I will lose my nipples and have a cut all the way from my nipple to my ribs on the outer side of my chest. Will it affect my marriage? How will it affect me? Not to mention, it's major surgery and I have a 2 year old.

So on Thursday, I go in for a biopsy. If they can find the lesion on ultrasound, the biopsy will be quick and done right there. If they can't, they try mammogram. If they find it on mammo only, I'll have to go to the main hospital to be biopsied. And if they can't find it on either, I'll have to go back for a MRI guided biopsy at a different hospital. I have heard stories where what they see just isn't there the next time...but I'm not very hopeful for that kind of outcome.

I'm tired just thinking about it.

UPDATE - they couldn't see it on the mammogram or ultrasound so I'll have to go in for an MRI guided biopsy. I guess it's good its so small, but MRIs are no fun and now there's more waiting.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

NIAW - Why I Never Felt Alone

I really didn't ever feel alone. I mean I felt like I was a member of a somewhat small unlucky minority, but I never felt alone.

The biggest reason is that a close friend of ours went through the exact process we did about a year prior to me. She shared every step of her process. And at the point she was going through it, I was already thinking/worrying we might have to too since I had already been trying for a year.

I also knew of multiple people, including my sister, who went through miscarriages while I was TTC. Multiple people talked about them so I knew just how prevalent they are.

I also had a very close friend who had been TTC about the same amount of time as me. She never did interventions and was never planning to (and we both conceived within two weeks of eachother), but I knew she was in the same boat.

I wrote a post years ago detailing how many people I knew in real life that were going through infertility. The numbers are astounding...but the only reason I didn't feel alone is because people were talking.

I started this blog and found the infertility community pretty early in my journey and that really brought everything together. I had support on a daily basis from people who were in the exact same shoes. I never felt comfortable in mom's groups with "regular moms" and now I call many of those IF bloggers friends and many of our children are around the same age.

After I got pregnant, I did post about our struggle in my FB announcement and I immediately got a response from a childhood friend that I wasn't very close to. She was going through IF right was our newborn child photographer (tough job for IF!), and a coworker. I always tell people, they can ask me anything...medicines, doctors, procedures..., but I think the most important part is that I told them I had been there too. That they are not alone.

If you haven't told anyone about your infertility, I encourage you to do so this week. On FB, in person, whatever works for you, because I promise, you will make at least one person feel that they are not alone.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Our Favorite Books - Toddler Version

Full disclosure: I was an English major. I am an English teacher. I have always loved to read and I will do my darnedest to develop the same love in my son.

So far, it's going pretty well!

I started regularly reading to Dylan sometime in his first year and it became the backbone of our bedtime routine sometime during that first year. Now it's always (always) "one more," but I pretty much limit it to three.

Here are our current favorites. And it's amazing how fast they change! Dylan can be pretty fickle with his books!

A Ball for Daisy

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This is a book with no words. It's kind of annoying to read a book with no words when you are tired, but it's actually great practice. Talking about the pictures and asking questions about a book is a fantastic reading strategy. The lessons in this book came in handy when we recently went to a kid's birthday party and got toy balloon swords. Of course they all popped eventually. But we talked about how Daisy's ball popped too and she was so sad, but then she was okay later.

The Little Blue Truck/Little Blue Truck Leads the Way

Little Blue Truck Board Book -  Houghton Mifflin Com - Toys"R"Us

SUCH a cute book! I prefer the original to its successor, but just because they're so similar. The first has more animals and the second vehicles, but otherwise they have very similar language and sounds, and of course and nice lesson at the end. Dylan knows these books well and will fill in the words when I stop in the middle of a sentence. My favorite: Me: "Help! Help! Help! Cried the Little Blue Truck." Dylan: "Beep! Beep! Beep! I'm stuck! I'm stuck!" Now lots of things seem to be "stuck" around the house. Daddy squeezes Dylan, "I'm stuck! I'm stuck!"

Shiny Drivers: Fire Engine Freddie/Ted the Tractor

This are tiny little books that we've been reading forever, but they are still a favorite. And mommy never complains when he picks a 3 page book for me to read before bed! Ted the Tractor makes an appearance in Fire Engine Freddie which is a fun lesson in making connections.

Quiet Loud

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We bought a boxed set of Leslie Patricelli books at Costco when Dylan was very small and I keep adding more when I see them on sale. They are simple and cute, but with lots of fun pictures and situations to talk about. Dylan absolutely knows what quiet means. At night when I start to count (meaning I'm about to walk outside) he says "mommy quiet!" I just added Yummy, Yucky although I wish it included pooping in the tub as one of the yuckies! Fa la la is also really cute for Christmas-time. No, No, Yes, Yes has also provided us with a great way to talk about do's and don'ts around the house. When he had just started talking, I could often hear him rambling, "no, no, yes, yes" in his crib, over and over. Oh...and Potty lives in our bathroom right next to the potty that Dylan occasionally sits on. We've been taking the slow road to potty town. Hoping it'll start to click soon!

Good Night Gorilla

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This is another book without words, parents beware! I didn't know just how great Dylan's obsession with keys and locks would become, but since Gorilla unlocks all of the animals cages throughout this book, I don't think Dylan will ever tire of it. The best part is when the Zookeeper's wife realizes all the animals are sleeping in her bedroom. I don't think I can accurately type the exclamation of surprise Dylan and I make, but it always makes both of us laugh. Then we say "No, no animals, you need to sleep in the zoo!"

Harry the Dirty Dog
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This was one of my childhood favorites and it's exciting that Dylan likes it to. Basically Harry runs away from home because he doesn't want a bath and gets very dirty playing around the city before he decides to come home. Who doesn't like to explore a bunch of ways to get dirty?

I wish I could get him to let me read Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site and I Love you Through and Through, but those are currently out of favor.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

In Need of an Update - 2,5 Years in the Making!

Last month, I actually wrote four posts in one day. I was proctoring a half-day test and I had some very rare free time. But I never went back to edit the posts so they lingered in blog-limbo. It makes me sad not to blog, it's just hard to fit it in right now. But I am going to publish all of those posts from last month in the next few days!

But first, in light of my longest blogging hiatus, I think an update is in order.

Dylan is 26 months adjusted (30 months actual).

He's about 23 pounds, still a little string bean, but getting taller. He's wearing 6.5 shoes, 12 month shorts and 2T shirts.

He talks in full, long sentences quite often. One of his latest: "I'm so excited to go to the zoo with mommy!" Damn, this stage is cool! Last night at dinner he pretended his quesadilla was a pair of sunglasses. Other nights his food is a key or skateboard or truck.

I was thinking we had avoided the tantrumy terrible twos, but we are definitely having some new issues crop up. There is a lot of "mine" and "I need" going around. We don't have any fall down drag out cry fests, but it's getting more difficult to deal with. The nanny said that he's starting claiming the slide at the park and yelling at kids who come near it even though he often doesn't slide down. Eek.

As I posted yesterday, sleep is back to normal, thank the Lord! Starting around 18 months, Dylan was frequently waking up in the middle of the night after a glorious year-plus of almost no night wakings, but for the most part, I think it's done.

Dylan can't quite jump yet, but he's working on it. And he loves to dance. It's the cutest thing ever!

Last night he said "I love you Daddy" at bedtime for the first time unprompted. He still hasn't given that precious gift to me, but I feel it on the horizon.

What else?

Dylan is a pretty fantastic eater. He'll ask for peas for a snack and "more broccoli" whenever we serve it. He's definitely going through a growth spurt and last night he ate about 3 oz of chicken as a bedtime snack! His favorite foods are watermelon and strawberries, but he also loves rice, tortillas, toast and mac and cheese. Last night he said "so yummy" while he was eating and Mr. GG thought it was a compliment to my cooking. Nope, he was eating toast and butter...which I buttered thank you very much.

So far at least, every single stage has been better than the last and I am having the time of my life parenting this little cutie pie. He's funny and silly and smart and cuddly and I love him to pieces.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Daylight Savings and the Near Ruination of Sleep

*This post was originally written on March 17th and I can officially say, that we are back to an 8:00 bedtime with rarely any crying.*

*     *     *     *     *

I thought he was broken. That he would never again go to sleep on his own, without crying. That I would never get more than an hour of downtime before I needed to go to bed myself.

But I think we've turned the corner.

Daylight Savings kicked our butts this year. (And as Timehop kindly reminded me, he went three straight days without napping last year too, so I shouldn't have been surprised.) Dylan typically falls asleep around 8 with the bedtime routine (books, stories) starting around 7:30.

I did try to back things up a bit before Daylight Savings hit, but I was kind of haphazard about it and he pretty much still went to bed at 8.

After Daylight Savings, we tried to do things somewhat normally, so we went in his room about 7:30, maybe a little later, same routine, same everything, but he screamed when it was time to go down (even though he seemed tired, even though he napped at normal adjusted times). So then Dad went back in, then I went back in and sometime after 9, he was asleep. This exact routine went on for about 3 days. Then Mr. GG went out of town...

...and Dylan didn't go to bed until 10, on me. And I debated every minute whether now was an okay time to leave the room, because I desperately did not want to start the process over again. I finally got out at 10:45. Oh and this is after he took a ginormous dump in the bath, while laying down. I didn't notice for a minute and there was poop EVERYWHERE. SOOOOOOO GROSSSSSSS! I had started bedtime later that night, around 8:30, trying to avoid the pitfalls of the previous nights. But no, it was one of the worst sleep experiences  in his two years of life.

My wonderful husband gave me the night off the next night, I went out for a glass of wine and a massage and it felt like a vacation.

The next night was me alone again. Dylan was up to all of his normal tricks, but I went through all of the normal steps...if drawn out a bit...put him down...and he screamed bloody murder. But just for 3 minutes. Then miraculously, he just stopped! 

Since then, we've slowly been getting bedtime earlier, two nights ago was 8:40, last night was 8:25. By the time Daylight Savings screws with us again, we might just be back to 8:00.

I do think what worked best was being firm with him that mommy was going to put him down and not come back in. I guess he told that nanny that he cried so I would come back in! I mean I know that's kind of true, but for him to be able to articulate it the next day? Problem. So I've been firmed, he's put up a brief protest and sleep has won out.

What I told him the last couple of nights is that if he doesn't want to go to sleep, he can think about trucks, or cars, or boats, or helicopters, or the carwash, or dog beach, or the pool, or numbers, or letters or anything he wants to. He puts up a fierce protest at each stage: chair to standing, standing to crib, but once I put him in the crib and leave, he seems to know it's okay and that I'm not going to come back. Hopefully.

If you want a recap of our routine:
  • Phase 1: 3 Books in the Chair 
    • (and sometimes "one more")
  • Phase 2: Light off, stories/songs in the chair 
    • ("Tell daddy's car carwash." "Tell dog beach.")
  • Phase 3: Stand up, rock near crib, song, then counting 
    • (this is the phase of most protest "sit chair!""Go outside.""Milk!!!!!!!" Last night we said milk almost 30 times after every number while I was counting to 30. I just ignored and kept counting after saying No milk.)
  • Phase 4: Put in crib, arrange blankets just right, rub back and count to 10
  • Phase 5: Wine

Monday, March 2, 2015

Words, words, words! (And more words.)

I've been wanting to keep track of this amazing thing called "the language explosion," so I've been trying to log cute, funny, or surprising things Dylan says. And he has been surprising us daily!

The other day we were driving home from the zoo and all of a sudden he says "traffic!" That was in between the constant "green means go" and "red means stop."

Here are some others:
(Dylan burps) Say excuse me!

(Holding two balls and a golf club) Dylan gotted the balls! 

Watch bideos Mommy's phone over there!

It's windy outside! Front door, back door, so many doors!

(While in the bath) Put the water in. Pour. Dylan try it. Mommy try it. More, more water.

D: Look a telescope!
M: What can you see if you look in a telescope?
D: The moon and the stars!

D: Oh no! Um um um um Mommy get the scrubbers down!
M: The scrubbers down? Where are the scrubbers?
D: The car wash!
The car wash is his favorite thing in the world right now. As soon as we turn lights off at night, it's "tell daddy's car car wash." We go through each step...

As the teapot started whistling...
The tea's almost ready!
Oh steam coming out.
Dylan's cup hot, Mommy's cup hot too!
I've only made tea in front of him like twice ever!

Apples. Yum! Yummy!

M: Want mommy to spell a word?
D: Door!
M: D O O R, door
D: Stairs!
M: S T A I R S, stairs
D: Handle!
M: (What?!)

This was pretending a wine cork was a telephone. ELLO!

To say I am loving this stage (and this amazing little boy) would be a vast understatement. 😍

Quiet! #MicroblogMondays

It has been so so long since I've posted and it almost physically hurts to want to blog, but not to. Unfortunately, my lack of blogging is in direct correlation with the amount of stress I'm under at work.

But here's a quickie.

There are lots of things that Dylan does that make him "my child."

He sleeps a lot and well...

He prefers his foods separately...

And he likes quiet.

That's the big one. Last night I actually made dinner. DH was a little tipsy after having man time for most of the day. So he put on music in the kitchen, then the fan on the oven, and the tv in the other room. I could not handle it. I like quiet. If I'm home alone (which is heavenly, but rare), I often work in silence.

And Dylan is much the same. When the tv was on a little loudly, he said "quiet." We stopped using his sound machine after he kept asking for that "quiet." And the blowdryer makes him cry real tears. And I don't think it's a serious sensory issue or anything since some loud noises are ok and he's getting more comfortable with others, but he prefers his mama.

What are some quirky ways you know your kids are "yours?" (I'm sure this works equally well for non-biological kids...half of it has to be nurture!)

We spoiled Dylan with his first Build a Bear yesterday. I'm pretty sure he couldn't care less, but we had fun.

Monday, January 26, 2015

#MicroblogMondays - It's going so fast!

Months ago, I was lamenting that Dylan was behind the curve on language. I was never extremely worried, but he was definitely on the very low side of average.

Now he's speaking in sentences all the time! It's amazing to watch him master new concepts. Right now he's working on answering questions with "Yes I ..." His default it "Yes I did."

Me: "Did you go to the park yesterday?"
D: "Yes I did."

Me: "Do you want more blueberries?"
D: "Yes I did."
Me: "Yes I do."
D: "Yes I do."

Then yesterday,
Me: "Are you excited to see Grandma?"
D: "Yes I am."

Whoa. He got it right!

He'll say things like "Mommy go get it." "There it is." "Right there."

When I ask him which book he wants to read he says, "Red Wagon" or "Ball Daisy" (A Ball for Daisy). He even remembers "Doctor Ted."

It's just all going so fast! And it's so much fun!

Friday, January 23, 2015

Maybe I won't work out 100 times this year.

I basically quit working out for the second half of last year. And it was nice. I  gave myself permission not to always feel guilty about not working out. But it's the New Year and I want to get back into it. I actually decided my goal would be to work out 150 times this year. Then I thought 100 might be more reasonable.

So far my count is 2. And I should probably just stop here!

But let me give you a laugh.

Run 1: I took the dog and Dylan to run by the bay. It was nice. I didn't push it too hard. Dylan didn't complain too much about leaving the park at the end. But then I forgot to put the stroller in the car after the dog and the baby and I backed over it. It's fine, but still. 

Then I went to dinner with the fam at Souplantation and I was feeling quite pleased with myself...until I realized I was supposed to be at my friend's birthday dinner. I ended up getting there an hour and a half late and without a shower. Fail.

Run 2: Approximately two weeks after run 1 (and after a nasty GI bug), I decided to take the kiddos out again. Again, everything goes great. People smile at me while I push Dylan and wrangle Stella (no one ever smiled at me when I ran alone!). And it is kind of super-human to run with a dog and a stroller. I will admit it. You stop for pee/poop, when Dylan drops his water, etc.

But this time, Dylan didn't want to get back in the stroller after the park. The dog knocked the stroller over as I tried to get him back in, arching his back, but not screaming. Eventually I convinced him that it would be fun to lay down in the stroller as I pushed it on two wheels. Win!

But when I went to get the keys out of the stroller, they weren't there. Fuck. Dylan is trying to run in the parking lot, the dog is barking, it's getting dark and it's dinner time. So I call my husband he starts questioning how I could lose the keys, why I didn't put them in x,y,z places. Just come pick us up while we're still alive man!

Luckily, two nice ladies noticed my agitation and asked if I had lost my keys. They saw them just a short ways back. The said they thought a runner would have heard when they dropped...yeah except a runner (well...jogger), with a stroller and a toddler. One of them even went back to retrieve them for me. She's a saint!

Anyway. Night saved. But man, it's work to work out.

This picture wasn't from our run, this was one of the days that Dylan insisted on holding the lease. You see what I'm dealing with...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

We got Whooping Cough

I've been wanting to publish this post for awhile, but I couldn't quite figure out the right tone. Anger? Frustration? Acceptance? I want to go with completely pissed off, but we'll see...

We really need to start playing the lottery, because how many people have experienced as many low percentage situations as we have?

Dylan and I both got a chest cold around mid-October. I had a terrible annoying cough, the kind that is like a tickle or a reflex that you just can't stop, but it was dry. Sometimes it would make me gag and frequently I was unable to talk for a few minutes afterwards. Dylan's was less severe.

Eventually, the cough got a little more phlegmy, but I felt like I was able to get it out and so was Dylan and I was pretty sure it was almost over.

Then it got worse. 

On Sunday morning, I had two episodes where my throat closed up and I couldn't breathe. It was absolutely terrifying. I have never experienced anything like it. So I went to the ER (like I mentioned in a previous post). They gave me antibiotics, an inhaler and a chest X-Ray and diagnosed me with Atypical Pneumonia. (Side note, after awhile, I realized that I could actually breathe through my nose. But it took a lot of concentration to calm down and do so.)

So we took Dylan in to After Hour Peds the same day and he got the same diagnosis, just without an inhaler. But the pediatrician also did a whooping cough swab. She never heard Dylan cough, just talked to me about it. I really didn't think much of it.

And then I got a personal call from our pediatrician on Tuesday night...not a good sign.

Dylan tested positive for Pertussis, Whooping Cough. The implications started flying around in my head. First, I definitely had it too. Second, I'm a teacher, so I needed to inform the entire school. Third, what the fuck? We are both fully vaccinated. I had my last booster right after Dylan was born (current recommendation is 3rd tri...I just didn't have a 3rd tri). Fourth, oh my God, we've been everywhere this month. I have probably infected massive amounts of people. (Dylan's Birthday Party, Pumpkin Patch, Halloween Party, Staff Meetings, District Meetings. Hell, I even shook the Superintendent's hand when she observed my class the day before I found out.)

I know that Southern California is one of the areas with large populations of people who are opting out of vaccines. But I just don't get it. I really don't. Scientists have devoted time and money to create vaccines for diseases that are a problem. And you know who they are the biggest problem for? The people who are too fragile or young to get the vaccines in the first place. Like babies. (I was near, but did not touch, 3 young babies during the time before I was sick.) Herd immunity is a real thing and it works...if enough of the population is vaccinated. I truly think it's irresponsible and reckless not to.

Now anti-vax people will probably say, "well you still got it!" Yeah. Because you didn't vaccinate your kids and it's circulating everywhere in the general population right now.

We are unbelievably lucky about the state of Dylan's lungs. I don't even know how they are so strong, but they are and I was much sicker than he was. But if he had experienced any trouble breathing like I had, I might've had a heart attack.

Anyway. When I informed my school, I found out that I was not the first case and that they had accidentally not informed teachers. That's very frustrating, but it probably wouldn't have changed anything. I just might've gone in sooner and exposed fewer people.

In the end, Pertussis is pretty easily treatable for someone who is generally healthy. One 5 day course of a specific antibiotic will kill it. But the cough can linger for a long time.

Now we're in the midst of a measles outbreak in California. 90% of unvaccinated people get measles when exposed to it. This is scary stuff.

When will people stop thinking they are smarter than scientists, and pediatricians, and epidemiologists?

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Actually, he is broken, literally : (

It's been a bit crazy around these parts.

Dylan has had 3 casts, 1 Urgent Care visit, 1 Ped visit, 1 partial ER visit, 1 Ortho Walk-in Clinic visit, and 1 Ortho appointment in the course of 10 days.

Wow. I actually didn't realize how crazy that list is until I wrote it all out. Five medical visits and 3 casts.

The Fall

It all started on December 29th. Mr. GG had just arrived home from work so I took a minute to use the restroom. I could hear Dylan saying "more Daddy, more Daddy," or something like that, while Mr. GG kept saying "just a minute" (he was trying to take a picture of the Christmas present I got him and Dylan, matching car shirts). Then I heard a loud crash and instant tears. 

I immediately knew it was a big deal and ran out from the bathroom to hold my baby. (I still take him away from Mr. GG when he's really upset. I know I shouldn't, but I do.) Mr. GG explained that he fell of the back of the couch onto the hard wood below, primarily on his head. So we both worked together to try to calm him down. But it wasn't working. So we tried walking outside and looking at Christmas lights. It worked a little, but only for moments at a time. So we tried counting trash cans. We had more success with this as he would count through tears. But as soon as we finished, the cries would be as loud as ever. So we sat in the car for a little while. He loves sitting in the car. That worked for a bit too, but it was cold and rainy, so eventually we needed to go back inside.

We sat on the couch for a bit and he calmed down. But I moved to get him a little closer to DH (I was worried DH was worried that Dylan would never love him again after the fall...he can be a bit dramatic) and that set off another bout of screaming. 

So we called the appointment line and decided to take Dylan to Urgent Care (more than 20 minutes away, in the rain). Dylan kept saying that his arm hurt and we thought maybe he had dislocated his shoulder or something. He was totally coherent, so his head seemed fine. We gave him some Tylenol and headed out.

*     *     *     *     *
Urgent Care

We waited over an hour to be called back and Dylan was wildly trying to run around the Urgent Care center the whole time, fully using both arms. When we went back, the doctor said he didn't even want to X-Ray him because he was acting normal and using both arms.

Over the next couple of days, he kept saying "hurt" and asking me to kiss it. He pointed to his forearm and usually had me kiss his hand. Then Thursday night, the 1st, he must've knocked his arm on something (no idea what...we were all standing nearby) and that started another 30 minutes of inconsolable crying, but this time in front of my entire family. Everyone was upset seeing him so upset. At one point I asked him a question and he said, "Okay mama" in the most pitiful cry voice. So sad.

So I took him in again Friday morning to the Ped and she squeezed above his wrist, he winced and she said that if it was a sprain, it wouldn't still hurt so it was pretty definitely broken.

X-Rays showed that BOTH the radius and the ulna had fractures, but luckily both were simple and not displaced so good prognosis and easy casting. We had to drive to a different facility to get his cast, but I high-tailed it over there to get there before closing so we didn't have to sit in the ER.

Cast #1

*     *     *     *     *
The Aftermath

I waited two days before attempting a bath and let's just say, it didn't go well. I felt like an idiot. I should've known better. We blow-dryed the cast for at least 40 minutes (on cool), but it was still soaked. I called the nurse's line, but they had at least an hour wait for a call back and it was already 6:00, so we headed to the ER. Finally, after we had gotten pre-screened, she called back and said we could go to a walk-in ortho clinic in the morning instead of waiting in that packed, flu-ridden ER. Yuck.

Both of the first two casts were tiny short casts, but when we finally met the actual orthopedist on the following Tuesday, he said he actually needed a full arm cast so that the bones wouldn't rotate. I was really worried Dylan wasn't going to sleep for the entire next three weeks, but he has adapted fantastically well!

He will tell you he fell off the couch, the blue couch, that one (pointing). And that he broke his arm and got a cast. Then he says hurt and all better. And also careful couch. (His language is progressing at lightening fun!)

So it was all a bit traumatic for mom and dad and I still feel a little wary of the sideways glances of other parents whose kids have two perfect, functional arms, but we're doing okay. Just no more baths!

(Dylan does drink as much juice as he wants because he's a peanut and because he rarely drinks more than 2 oz at a time, but after trying Trader Joe's juice, I'm not a fan, just FYI.)

He just decided to randomly lay down in the middle of the floor. I think because the dog was. Then he still wanted to look at the TV. (I'm sure it was something educational.)

Sunday, January 4, 2015


I have never wanted to go back to work less in my life. I spent every single day of this vacation with Dylan with few breaks (well except for his arm, different post) and never once did I want it to end. A super fun two-year old combined with a new not-so-fun job make me a sad WOHM. Wah.

Bye bye morning snuggles.