Friday, February 26, 2010

Munchkin Updates

Shiphrah Grace - 2 years, 3 months old
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Still tiny (23 lbs, 30 inches) but growing up every day. Speaking in nearly complete sentences sometimes (mostly phrases though). The other day I was changing pants and she looked at me with a very concerned look and said, "Mommy's knees! Uh oh, what happened?" Haha, for the record there was nothing wrong with my knees, she's just not used to seeing them bare apparently. She's getting a little better at her eating habits...she'll now eat most fruits and some vegetables. Pasta is still iffy and meat is hit or miss, although last night she did eat a good chunk of steak. Silly girl LOVES salads and anything that goes in them, and will even eat lettuce plain if I give her some while I'm fixing a salad. I've gotten her to eat cheese quesadillas and bean & cheese burritos, but only if I let her dip them in Ranch dressing. Oh, and she'll eat anything with ketchup too. We're planning on starting potty training any day now...some days she seems more than ready (grabbing her diaper or telling us before she goes). I'm just dreading the fight I know will happen when I try to make her sit on the scary, tall toilet. (We have a potty seat, but she hates the height.) I just really don't want to resort to a little potty because that means she'll never go when we're away from home. We moved her to a toddler bed almost two weeks ago and she's been doing amazingly well. As long as she has her paci, dog, elephant, and blanket, she's a happy camper. A few times she's gotten out of bed and tried to play during naptime, but mostly she stays in bed once we put her down.

Kirk Micah - 11 months old
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Kirk will be one in just over two weeks and I cannot believe how fast the time has flown! I constantly forget just how old he is and then he surprises me with how smart he is. He's very close to walking, or at least standing up on his own, and I expect he'll start right around his first birthday (like his sister did). He babbles constantly and tries to say words like "hi," "Dad," "thank you," "kitty," "Penny" (the cat's name), "Schatzie" (the dog's name), "Shiphrah," and "all done." I say "tries" because he's not really saying them, per say, (except "hi" and "Dad") but if you can interpret the babbles you know he's trying. Kirk hates pretty much every veggie, although he'll eat peas and a slice of cooked carrot or two if you sneak it in his mouth. He likes fruit though, despite the fact that it doesn't agree with his tummy well. (He's having the same diaper issues that Shiphrah had at this age...I have to be really careful how much fruit he eats or he gets really bad diaper rash.) Other than some yogurt and such here and there, he's mostly graduated completely to finger foods. He's a very happy baby, for the most part, although he still yells himself to sleep most nap times and night times. He won't take a paci, except to play with, so I figure the yelling will continue for a few more months at least. He drinks about 8-12 ounces of whole milk a day plus 8 ounces of orange juice and water.

Baby #3
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Still unnamed, although we haven't found anything we like better than Gideon so far. I'm 22 weeks along today and starting to really "feel pregnant." The boy is wiggling a lot these days and starting to settle into a routine of wiggling most when I'm trying to fall asleep. I've also started getting a few Braxton Hicks contractions here and there. I have to take the dreaded glucose test at my next appointment (I always fail it) and I'm debating eating next to nothing before I go (and drinking a lot of water) since eating breakfast hasn't helped at all the previous too times. (Officially I have to eat "something" though.) I keep telling them that a tiny person like me will never be able to handle all that sugar at once, but they still insist that the results are accurate. (I've always had trouble handling large amounts of sugar...I can't even eat an orange or a handful of grapes without getting super-dizzy and nauseous. I'm not diabetic though.)

Well, Shiphrah has a poopy diaper and is waiting patiently for me to change it. Unfortunately Kirk is asleep in the nursery, so I have to sneak in there quietly to get a diaper because I have none out here. Here's hoping he stays asleep!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

My Little Cowgirl

We went to the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo last Monday (President's Day) for a fun family outing. Admission is always just $1 on President's Day, so aside from the outrageous parking ($10), it was a relatively inexpensive activity. Well, inexpensive until we happened upon the CUTEST pair of boots for Shiphrah and then had to buy a little cowgirl dress to match.

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She loves her Daddy! ♥
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Friday, February 19, 2010

A Lovely Valentine's Day

We don't usually make any "real" plans for Valentine's Day (mainly because it's too hard to find babysitters) but we did go out on a date the week before. For the day-of, I bought Avery some of his favorite candy bars, wrote him a sweet card, and bought him some M&M cookie ice cream sandwiches for a later-in-the-day treat (he LOVES anything with ice cream). I also picked up some little goodies for the munchkins...a little stuffed monkey with candy for Shiphrah and a little toy truck for Kirk. Avery surprised me with some tulips on Saturday morning and then some roses and daisies on Sunday morning (and a sweet card, of course!). He also got Shiphrah a red rose that she wanted to carry around everywhere. I made heart-shaped eggs and pancakes for breakfast (all on my griddle! I love griddles; although they are a PAIN to clean.) After church we went to lunch with Avery's family to celebrate his sister's birthday (the 15th) and then Avery stayed up for an hour or so with me while the munchkins napped. He only got about five hours of sleep that day, but it was well worth the lovely alone time we had.

And the post wouldn't be complete without pictures...

Our lovely breakfast.
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The lovely red tulips.
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My roses and daisies (which sadly are getting thrown out today).
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Shiphrah and her red rose (and monkey from Mama).

Kirk wouldn't pose with his truck (he kept throwing it) so this was the best shot we got.
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I ♥ Valentine's Day!!!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Minivans...what is your favorite?


I posted this as a poll on Facebook and then figured I'd come over here to give it a try. We are growing out of our Toyota Echo as soon as Baby #3 (still nameless, by the way) is born. We have about $1K in savings and $4K in tax refund money to put towards a new (to us) vehicle. We also have the Echo to sell if we need to (worth about $3K or so). After considering several types of vehicles (Suburbans, SUVS, and minivans) we think we have finally settled on getting a minivan (although Avery is none too happy about driving a "mom car" ). Now the question is, which one? Here are our top three choices:

1. Dodge Caravan

2. Honda Odyssey

3. Toyota Sienna

(There's also the Nissan Quest, Chrysler Town & Country, and a couple of others.)

The Dodge is by far the cheapest. (We're paying cash, so minivans in our price range are 4-10 years old.) In fact, we could get a decent one without having to sell the Echo. Which would be nice only because we'd have a back-up vehicle if Avery's ancient truck ever bites the dust. But Hondas and Toyotas tend to last longer and are a bit more reliable. (We're looking at a good $2K or more just for those names though.)

We need the minivan to last us until we outgrow it. Which, at the rate I'm going, could be as soon as four or five years from now. Plus, we have other expenses to save for, including buying Avery a better vehicle (his is a 1995 Nissan pick-up) and eventually buying a new home (down payment) or remodeling our current home.

So what do you think? What's your pick for favorite minivan?

(Also, is there a better time of year to buy a car? Because we can start shopping anytime between now and July. Just wondering if you can find better deals at a certain time of the year.)

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The end.

After a very painful nursing session this morning, I have decided that we are done. Kirk has only been nursing once a day (mornings) for the past month and it's been getting harder and harder to keep him interested. It really only worked if I brought him back to bed with me and we lay there with the lights off. But recently even that has been frustrating, especially since his "nursing" is really just chewing on my nipples for ten minutes. TMI, I know, but I'm surprised I held out this long. When he was born I had planned on going at least a year, if not longer. But with getting pregnant when he was six months old, my supply had dwindled down to almost nothing. I probably would have stopped earlier but he refused bottles and it took him a long time to learn how to drink out of a sippy. Once he got the hang of that, we went from nursing every two hours to about three times a day. From there he quickly grew disinterested and dropped the nap time nursing and then the nighttime nursing. I had been holding on to the morning session, hoping to reach his 11-month birthday (Sunday). Three days short is pretty close though. All together I'm proud of myself for making it this long. Shiphrah was only exclusively nursed until she was five months old and I stopped all together with her about a month later. So eleven months is a record for me. :-) I've always wanted to be one of those mothers that nursed until the child gave it up, but with my body seemingly on a 15-month pregnancy cycle, that seems pretty unlikely.

But hey, my boobs are my own again!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A reprieve from rainy weather

I'm exhausted and really should be in bed, but lately I've been having trouble falling asleep when so many thoughts are whirling around in my head. In fact, I've recently discovered the joy that is Unisom and am afraid that I am rapidly becoming addicted. So, in an attempt to rid my brain of all these thoughts and fall asleep naturally tonight, I thought I'd blog.

The weather has been absolutely breathtaking the past two days. January and February are typically our "rainy months"...or as rainy as South Texas can get. This year it's rained more than it has since the spring of 2007 and I think we're at twice the rainfall levels we usually are this time of year. So needless to say, we're all a little tired of the rain. Yesterday and today we got a nice reprieve from all the rain. It has been sunny and breezy with a high of about 65 degrees. Perfect weather. Yesterday the kids and I got out to go grocery shopping, but other than that we didn't really get to take advantage of the nice day. (It was still really muddy out from all the rain.) Today it had dried out considerably, so I decided to take the kids to the zoo for the afternoon. We have a family pass and since we can also take up to five guests for free each visit, I invited my neighbor Missy and her 1-year-old son to come along (she's also pregnant and due a few weeks after me). Her husband works nights so both of our husbands were sleeping and we like to get the kids out of the house so they don't wake their daddies up.

Now, I knew it was risky going to the zoo on a Saturday, in the afternoon, on such a pretty day, but I was willing to fight the crowds for an hour or two of getting outside and enjoying the weather. As expected, the whole city had also decided to go to the zoo for the afternoon, but there are several overflow parking lots so we parked in a nearby stadium parking lot and walked the quarter mile down to the zoo entrance. (Note I said "down," this will come into play later on in the story.) Once we got inside the zoo, the crowds were actually manageable so we were able to maneuver to my two favorite toddler-friendly areas: the petting zoo (which is really just a bunch of goats, but Shiphrah loves it) and the toddler zone (a lovely mini-zoo specifically for kids under 5, with a little river for the kids to play in when it's warm out and plenty of fenced in open areas for them to run around). We had to wait in line for a few minutes at the petting zoo, but it was worth Shiphrah's excitement at getting to brush the goats (they have a little bucket of animal brushes for the kids to use) and my amusement at watching her carefully select a brush, chase a goat down until she could brush him a few times, and then return to the brush bucket to repeat the process (each goat had to have his own brush). Sorry, no pictures at this point (I can't really take pictures very well and keep up with two kids, haven't learned that trick yet), but here's a few pictures of her with the goats from our last visit during the summer months:

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Here she is examining the bucket of brushes...

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Very carefully selecting a brush...

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And now to find a willing victim.

After the petting zoo we headed over to the toddler zone and let the munchkins play in the grassy lawn for a few minutes. I only got a couple of pictures with my cell phone, but hopefully Missy will share some of hers with me.

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Our three munchkins hanging out together (Kirk just wanted to stare at the grass the whole time).

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Playing on the alligator teeter-totter together.

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Kirk and Micah enjoying some boy-time. (Micah is about 3 months older than Kirk.)

By then it was getting to be naptime and Missy was getting hungry, so we headed out of the zoo and back up the hill to our cars. UP. THE. HILL. Pushing a double stroller. Oh my goodness, I have not exerted myself that much in months!! I felt like such a wimp! But when I told Avery about it later, he couldn't believe I had made it up the hill, so I felt better about myself then. (It's a really steep hill!) So yeah, my legs are already feeling sore and I'm certain I will wake up very uncomfortable in the morning.

Speaking of waking up, I really should get to bed. Thanks for helping put me to sleep, y'all!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

In defense of selective vaccination...a comment.

With the news of the vaccines-autism study being discredited all over the place lately, I knew it was only a matter of time before someone I knew and respected came out and said something that frustrated me. Now, I'm not going to argue whether or not the study should have been discredited or whether it was a good study to begin with (for those who don't know, it was discredited for a possible conflict of interests, although science could never replicate the results anyway), but I am going to take offense at the suggestion that parents who do not follow the government-sanctioned vaccination schedules are idiots who buy into sensationalist theories by celebrities like Jenny McCarthy and Jim Carrey. Here is the comment I left on this person's blog:

Avery and I had a childhood friend who developed seizures after her 2-year-old vaccines. Those seizures eventually killed her when she was 13. Just the fact that things like that CAN happen (the doctors agreed that she did happen to have an adverse reaction to the shots) gives me pause before I say yes unconditionally to all vaccines. I know vaccines have a purpose and I know some are necessary. My kids have had the DPT shots (primarily for the pertussis vaccine), pneumococcal, and meningitis vaccines. However, we have decided that the others are merely superfluous. The MMR vaccine is created using aborted fetuses and none of those three diseases is dangerous for an otherwise healthy child. Chicken pox is also harmless to children (although if my kids haven't had it by their teenage years I will probably suggest they get the shot) and I see no need for my babies to get the Hepatitis B vaccine when they will not be sexually active for many years (and it's efficacy wears off after 6-10 years anyway). We also don't follow the prescribed timing for vaccines either and feel more comfortable spacing them out so the child isn't getting large doses of chemicals injected into their tiny bodies at one time.

I do NOT believe that autism is directly caused by vaccines. I do, however, believe that many childhood ailments, such as autism, ADD, ADHD, extreme allergies, mental illnesses, etc. are caused partly by a combination of several factors: lack of a healthy diet (including overuse of artificial infant formulas), overexposure to chemicals and unnatural substances (through vaccines, hormones additives in foods, hormones in our water, hormonal birth control, etc.), artificial and chemically engineered foods (artificial sweeteners, preservatives, over-processed foods, etc.), and the overall weakness of the body's immune system. For example, some autistic children have found their symptoms drastically reduced when they changed to all-natural diets.

(I'm going to interject here and say that my point in talking about my theories of the causes of childhood ailments was not to say that it's a parent's fault if their child is diagnosed with autism or bi-polar disorder [obviously random genetics have something to do with it too], but to point out that there are quite possibly external factors that might have contributed to those ailments and we as parents shouldn't throw up our hands and say "oh well, so sad.")

Anyway, my point is to say that I (and many others like me) are not believers in the "all vaccines are EVIL" theory. However, every time a doctor tells me I should give my child a measles vaccine, I must consider this: am I willing to to inject my child with harsh chemicals (mercury or aluminum [which has been proven to increase the risk for Alzheimer's btw], and formaldehyde), antibiotics, and a killed measles virus that will lower their immune system for several days making them susceptible to any disease-bearing germ they may come in contact with...all to protect them against a disease that has a 1 in 10,000 chance of killing them IF they contract it?

Please tell me my thought process AT LEAST makes sense to you. Of all people, you should be sympathetic to what it's like to be a concerned parent who wants to do best by their children. You don't believe in being brainwashed by the government or anyone else in telling us what's right for our kids.

(Forgive any's late and past my bedtime.)

I know we've been over this issue time and time again, but I wish more people (parents and non-parents alike) would be understanding towards views different from their own. I may disagree with you over a certain issue, but I'm not going to call you a moron behind your back and think you're an awful parent for believing what you do! If you have weighed the risks of vaccinating versus not vaccinating and made the decision to get all the vaccines, more power to you, at least you made an informed decision. But telling me I am "willfully ignorant" and following sensationalized myths is liable to get me a little ticked off.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Stream of rambling

Stomach bugs suck and I cannot emphasize the word SUCK enough. I hate that ever since I started having kids, my immune system has been shot. I catch nearly every stomach bug that goes around and I catch a cold about five or six times a year. No flu yet, and for that I am grateful, but seriously...I used to never get sick! I seem to always catch these stomach bugs right around the 18th week of pregnancy. Had one with Shiphrah, Kirk, and now this baby. Being pregnant and having a stomach bug is extra horrible because my body is telling me I need to "EAT, DRINK, EAT" and my stomach is saying "NOOOOOOOO"! This most recent bug wasn't one of the really bad ones (I only threw up 3-4 times and the "other" stomach issues were minor) but it takes my stomach FOREVER to recover after being sick. I got sick late Thursday night and then tried to eat some chicken noodle soup the next evening. Mega-nausea alert. Tried again for breakfast Saturday morning. Laid out on the couch again. Felt better that evening and took the kids grocery shopping and out to dinner. Sunday morning: home sick from church...stomach NOT happy with the previous night's meal. Ugh. It's like, get better all ready! Thankfully it's now been a week and I'm happy to say that I am 100% recovered. Finally.

Despite feeling awful most of the day Sunday, I had an amazingly energy-full day on Monday. I did several large loads of laundry, swept the floors, and finally finished all of the dishes in the sink (I'm embarrassed to admit that some of them had been there for THREE weeks). Tuesday I felt poorly again...probably just worn out from overdoing it the day before. Wednesday was a little better, but down with a nasty groggy headache most of the day. Today has been good, although I'm still feeling a bit sleepy and wish I could take a nap. (Opted for a shower instead.) It's rainy and dreary around here and that's not helping my alertness either. We're out of bread, eggs, and yogurt, so a trip to the grocery store later is a must. I was hoping the kids and I could get out before 4, but since they fought their naps and just finally went down a little while ago, that's looking unlikely. My dad is in town working at his San Antonio office today, so he's coming over for dinner (not sure what we're doing yet). I'm super-excited about that!

Well, my oldest munchkin apparently is still not sleeping, so I've got to attend to that.