Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Kindness of Others

I have an incredible family. I love them all dearly, but from afar... I am on one edge of the country, and they are about 3,000 miles away on the other side. Google maps will tell you that you can make the trek from my town to theirs in one day and twenty-two hours, but I'm pretty sure that's only accurate if you're carpooling with a robot that doesn't need to take breaks to eat or sleep. Point is, they're super duper far away. While modern conveniences like Facebook and texting and cell phone calls help keep us all in touch, it's not the same as having them here, in my neighborhood, available to pop over at any time. Especially not when you're about to birth a baby.

I also have incredible friends. Friends that are so kind and supportive that you'd think they were family. Friends that do so much to show that they care, it makes you wonder what you did to deserve them. Friends that are local, that have become an adoptive family of sorts.

I am in awe of these friends, especially recently. So many people have rallied around us to show their support of our expanding brood through countless selfless acts. Throwing incredible baby showers. Coordinating meal drop offs and childcare pickups. Volunteering to spend time with me and the little one to help me heal from my c-section once Ryan has to go back to work. Offering to take Ethan - not to get him out of our hair, but to do something fun with him so that he'll know just how special and loved he is. Taking time off from work to be at the hospital when baby brother is born. They give, and give, and give, with open and sincere hearts. These amazing people are like family to me, and I appreciate them more than words could say. Asking for help is not one of my strong suits, and right now I am surrounded by people that just "do" without waiting to be asked.

Let's face it - when you get to this final stage of pregnancy, and definitely once you have a fresh little newborn at home, you may not want to ask for help, but you most certainly need it!

(And this shot is a month old, so imagine what I look like now!)

Perhaps it's the lingering scent of Thanksgiving turkey, or the holiday tunes that play in the background of sappy commercials, or the fact that my little family is about to change in such an amazing and dramatic way, but I can't stop thinking about how important it is to have a strong, supportive, loving family. Be it through birth, marriage, or friendship, the individuals that I have in my life right now have been blowing me away, and I can only hope that I am as good to them as they are to me!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

We had such a lovely holiday! It started with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which, as it turns out, no one in my house is interested in besides me (I know, it's absolutely un-American, but those boys of mine are total party poopers). Ethan was mildly interested when the Buzz Lightyear balloon floated by, but outside of that he was much more into playing with his wooden train tracks. And, while we're on the subject of the Macy's Parade, can we digress for a moment and talk about the fact that Newsies is now on Broadway?!?! What?!?! I was ridiculously obsessed with that movie back in the day. The performance of "King of New York" alone was enough to make watching the parade worth it. My boys don't know what they're missing.

Given that we're exactly two weeks away from meeting baby brother, I kind of cheated my way out of cooking this year. I cooked a turkey, but most of the side dishes were purchased from our local boutique supermarket already prepared. Call me crazy, but spending hours in the kitchen peeling/boiling/mashing potatoes and making complicated recipes from scratch does not jive with the big baby belly and end-of-pregnancy pains and fatigue.

We did most of the cooking preparing while Ethan was napping, but once he woke we pulled a stool up to the counter and let him "bake the bread" (roll up all of the crescent rolls and put them on the baking sheet). We set the table with "fancy" plates and real silverware, dimmed the lights, and lit candles. Music played in the background as we talked about holidays and family, and I almost burst into happy tears several times. I was too busy enjoying the moment to take any photos, which is a testament to how absolutely wonderful the evening was.

However, a Notch blog post would not be a Notch blog post without *some* pictures. As per usual, I'm horribly behind in posting (It's been over a month! Yikes!), so I have a few catching up photos cued up and ready to go.

Here's Ethan as a scary green dinosaur (don't let that goofy grin fool you - he's a vicious beast).

He began asking for a dinosaur costume back in August, I broke down and bought it for him in September, and he intermittently wore it around the house all through October. We got some serious mileage out of that zip up dinosaur suit.

While this was taken with an iPhone camera in my office, and not with one of Ryan's fancy cameras in just-the-right setting, I figured I should post it anyway. This year for Halloween I dressed up as Mother Nature (ba dum ching!). My amazing friend Stacie spent hours with me coming up with the concept and making the skirt and headpiece. I also wore it to Ryan's office Halloween party and when we took Ethan trick-or-treating, so I suppose I got some good mileage out of this costume as well!
I will do my best to post once more before baby brother arrives - I have some recent(ish) belly shots to show you, and should do so while they're still relevant!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Hey, kid - I like you.

I had a pretty fantastic afternoon. I went to pick Ethan up from preschool, and his face lit up when he saw me. He did a little happy dance when I walked into his classroom. He then ran around to all of the kids in the room and gave them an enthusiastic "Bye bye, (insert kid's name here)!!!" He handed out hugs to his friends like they were candy.

He told me clever things as we walked to the car, got in all on his own, and tried to buckle himself in, stating, "I need to help Mommy." He tried to tell a funny joke. He sang me "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" as we drove out of the parking lot. He danced with gusto to every song on the radio, shouting with glee, "This is my FAVORITE song!" with each new tune. He giggled at me whenever he caught me glancing at him through the rearview mirror.

He asked if he could help me close the garage door when we got home, and asked his stuffed dragon to help me as well. He thanked dragon for being so kind. He requested pizza for dinner and gave me a huge hug when I said yes. He helped me put away the baby clothes that I washed today, and stumbled over the word "onesie" in his cute little voice as he handed me each tiny infant item.

I looked at the boy who has been my only baby for so long, and realized something. I obviously love him. But I also really like him. I enjoy hanging out with him. I think he's funny. I adore his gentle heart and the way he turns a phrase in his adorable, awkward three-year-old dialect. I dig each of the faces he pulls that are so undeniably Ethan.

I love his spunk, his spirit, the way he throws himself head first into discovering everything this world has to offer. He's a pretty amazing kid, and I'm super lucky to be his mom. And when lucky little baby brother gets here, he's going to have a pretty incredible role model.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Newsflash: I'm not Superwoman.

"I was always hearing talk about golden mystical baby things and precious time,” she recalls. “And I was like, ‘Who are you talking to?!?’ If you could see me naked, you would weep. Children are like crazy, drunken small people in your house.” ~ Julie Bowen, star of Modern Family, on her pregnancy.

I bet I'm not the only mom that can totally relate to this quote! Don't get me wrong, pregnancy is an amazing thing, and definitely worth it, but honey, it ain't no picnic! And while children are beautiful, wonderful, incredible little miracles, they do wreak havoc on your life, your house, your sleep, your schedule, your everything! It's really refreshing to hear people tell it like it is.

I try to take it with a grain of salt, but when I read an article about how Jessica Alba got her pre-baby body back in two weeks, or hear Giselle Bundchen talk about how childbirth “wasn’t painful, not even a little bit,” I can't help but have two simultaneous reactions: mostly smug eye-rolling, with a dash of motherly guilt. I start with the thought of, "of course it's easy to get your baby body back when you have a nanny, personal trainer, and a chef to prepare all of your meals" (though, to be fair, I have no idea about the status of Jessica Alba's household help). But there's a little voice that sneaks into the back of my mind that says, "You could try harder. You could exercise, eat better, keep the house cleaner, be more mellow."

We had a bit of a scare with preterm labor this week. I started having contractions that were 2-3 minutes apart, and ended up in the hospital on Monday night. Thankfully, with the help of doctor-ordered temporary bed rest, all seems to be well now. I won't lie and say that it's been a horrible experience, lounging on the couch and taking mid-day naps. But is has been hard being home all day, faced with everything that I want to do. The floors need to be swept and mopped. The bathrooms need to be cleaned. There are areas of clutter that are awaiting organization. I make the mental list of chores while sitting in front of the TV eating a bowl of ice cream, and the voice in the back of my mind comes back. "You could try harder. You could exercise, eat better, keep the house cleaner, be more mellow."

I think I'm going to listen to that voice... but only the last part. I could be more mellow. I could come to terms with the realization that I can't move at the same pace that I once did. I will spend more time at my desk when I return to work, and less time running around the halls. I will ask for favors. I will not try to tackle everything myself. I will take my amazing husband up on his countless offers to do whatever it is that I need. I will mellow out for my sake, the baby's sake, and the sake of my family. I will listen to my body and slow down. I will take care of myself. I won't feel guilty about it.

(And, because every blog post needs a picture, here's a recent belly shot. Sorry baby brother, we're not going all out on the maternity photos this time like we did with Ethan. I won't feel guilty about that, either.)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Nursery Rhymes Creep Me Out

Ethan sang me a new song this afternoon. It's a common tune that he thinks goes a little something like this:

Flea flying mice
Flea flying mice
See how day one
See how day one
(incoherent mumbling)
(more incoherent mumbling)
(continued incoherent mumbling)
Flea flying mice

I think we all know that the real story goes more like this:

I'm kind of okay with him not knowing that those poor visually impaired rodents met with a violent end. I don't fancy myself super sensitive, so I'm sure that some of you reading this are with me on the creep-out factor of most nursery rhymes. Humpty Dumpty? Dies. Jack who went tumbling down a hill? Probably dies. And Jill may have too, for that matter.

Some of my least favorite classics:

Goosey Goosey Gander
Is an old man refusing to say his prayers one night justification for throwing him down the stairs? Seems harsh.

Rock A Bye Baby
Call me crazy, but a cradle crashing to the ground after a gust of wind is not the most comforting image to fall asleep to.

There Was an Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe
Overwhelmed by the parenting responsibilities of many, many, many small children, the woman starves and beats them.

Ladybug Ladybug Fly Away Home
Your house is on fire and your children are gone?!? *shudders*

I realize the purpose that nursery rhymes once served. I get the necessity for oral tradition and coded messages due to political persecution back in the days of yore. But these are the days of free speech, and the internet, and social media. We'll slap ratings on our TV shows and movies and censor video games, but tell the most awful, depressing tales to our young impressionable children. I'm totally guilty of reading nursery rhymes before bed, or singing lullabyes to Ethan that are less than wholesome. Chalk it up to nostalgia, but even though some of the poems give me pause, I can't really picture childhood without thinking of Mother Goose.

But today, in the car on the way home from preschool, I took a quiet stand. As much as it drives me crazy when people sing the wrong lyrics to songs, I let Ethan belt out what he probably thinks is a song about a flea circus. In all honesty, I'll go right back to reciting poems about locking people up inside of London Bridge or imprisoning wives in pumpkin shells if Ethan requests a nursery rhyme book before bed.

But today, for a brief moment during our car ride home, I preserved a little bit of his innocence.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's a Boy (and other news)!

I've been trying to think of a witty way to convey over a month's worth of updates, but I'm coming up with bupkis.

Should I do an alphabet-themed post?

B is for it's a BOY!
C is for... ugh, this isn't working for me. Way too cheesy. Next!

Should I do a poem-themed post?

The days have flown by and the posts have built up,
And now I have so many things to write about that I am having trouble figuring out where to start and it's super overwhelming and makes me put off posting at all which just perpetuates my problem and...
(Uh oh, that doesn't rhyme. Epic poem fail.)

Should I do an all-photo post?

Yes! That's it! I'll let the pictures truly be worth a thousand words! And then all I have to come up with are the captions. Which is good, because - stick a fork in me - between going back to work and finishing grad school and being pregnant and having a toddler at home, I'm so done. *sigh of relief*

Aunt Mary came to visit us this summer!

Yes, I said summer, and yes, she and Ethan are all bundled up on the beach. That's San Francisco weather for ya.

Ethan had his first visit to Fairyland, where he rode the carousel all by himself! Good grief - I blinked my eyes for one quick second, and now he's all grown up.

We found out that we're having a boy! I decided not to post the pic of his baby boy bits so as to respect his privacy.
But trust me, it's a boy!

We also celebrated Ethan's 3rd birthday, with a special boat birthday cake made by Aunt Mary! Oooohhh, aaaahhh!

And, just because I don't want to leave anything out, here's a quick list of happenings that didn't manage to get captured on film in pixels:

- Ryan got an AMAZING new job! He's now the Senior Photographer for Monster Cable. He handles all of their product photography for packaging and marketing, as well as serves as a celebrity photographer, capturing shots of some of Monster's endorsement partners. So far he's photographed Neil Young, ProHoeZak, JYP (the #1 pop star in Asia), and Chris Botti. Next up are Manny Pacquiao and Lance Armstrong.

- As we'll be needing our third bedroom for a nursery soon, Ryan's office has moved out of the house and into the in-law unit in our backyard that was converted into a studio! It's a great space that not only gives him the room that he needs for freelance work, but will also serve as our guest quarters when out of town visitors arrive.

- We had a bit of a speed bump over the summer when we got the news that the baby only has a single umbilical artery. Apparently, babies are supposed to have two, but our fetus is a minimalist. Our OB sent us to be checked out by a geneticist and a perinatologist, as the single umbilical artery can be indicative of genetic abnormalities, heart problems, or kidney problems. After a bonus ultrasound and some blood tests, everything that can be checked before he's born checked out just fine.

- I designed, and redesigned, and reredesigned the nursery decor with my friend, Stacie, and finally settled on a non-theme theme for baby brother's room. Ethan's theme was monkeys, and this time around I wanted to focus on colors and patterns instead. However, the room has slowly evolved into a woodland theme, but not in an overly obvious way. I'm creating some custom art pieces for the wall, and Ryan spent an entire weekend assembling furniture for me. It's all coming together!
Now all we need is the baby...

Friday, July 15, 2011

Thanks a Lot, Pregnancy Expert.

My weekly pregnancy update email contained exercise safety tips today. Amongst a list of obvious others, the following movements were banned: "deep-knee bends, jumping, bouncing, or herky-jerky dancing."

I have watched every single season of So You Think You Can Dance, and have never ever seen anyone choreograph a herky-jerky. I took dance classes for years, but never studied the herky-jerky style. What in the world is herky-jerky dancing?

herky–jerky (hûrkē-jûrkē) adj: Spasmodic, not smooth or graceful: marked by sudden movements or changes.

First of all, I may have moments when I lumber like a newborn giraffe while simply walking from point A to point B, but I'm quite graceful and not at all spasmodic when dancing, thankyouverymuch.

Second of all, are you serious, What to Expect When You're Expecting email update? Do you know what we breeder types tend to do after we've had a baby? Keep breeding! That means that there's a high degree of likelihood that when we're pregnant, it's not our first time at the rodeo. We probably have small children at home. Small bendy, jumpy, bouncy, dancing children at home.

Now, the last thing I want to do is to put my baby in any kind of risk. I am a strict pregnancy ban rule follower: no soft cheeses, no seafood, no alcohol or caffeine. No roller coasters, no hot tubs, no contact sports. No sky diving, no marathon running, no bungee jumping.

But no regular jumping, either? Really? And how do you expect anyone with an almost-three-year-old to get through the day without bending down to pick something up at least fifteen times? Should I, for the next couple of months, ignore the "bend with your knees, not with your back" rule, so as not to break the "no deep-knee bends" pregnancy rule?

This particular "helpful" pregnancy email was absolutely not helpful. Send me advice that bans cleaning bathrooms, or orders me to adopt an all frozen yogurt diet, or something that I can get behind. Because this little nugget of wisdom officially puts me in my first awkward position as the parent of two children, and forces me to choose who is more important: the adorable little firstborn who wants me to pretend to be Tigger and bounce around the house with him, or the unborn child who I haven't met yet, but already love. Old blood vs. New blood. Risk vs. Reward. Ethan vs. (insert yet-to-be-named baby's name here).

Not cool, Heidi Murkoff. Not cool.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Weekend Getaway to Monterey

What do you do on a holiday weekend when your friends are getting married in a beautiful seaside town? You make a mini-vacation out of it! Ethan sensed the pomp and circumstance of the situation when Ryan loaded two suitcases, a daypack, a diaper bag, and the dog's bed into the car. With wide-eyed excitement, Ethan spent the better portion of the drive shouting "road trip adventure!" and dancing like a maniac to the overplayed pop songs that blared over the car's stereo.

Ryan and I always joke that since he's the photographer in the family, there will be little to no photographic evidence of his existence when Ethan grows up. Flipping through our family albums, I'll look like a super fun mom, and Ryan will look like... well, nothing. Nonexistent. Learning how to use (and not be intimidated by) his fancy professional cameras has been on my to do list for some time now so that we can remedy that situation. In the meantime, there's always my little digital point and shoot to fill in the gaps!

I present to you now actual photographic evidence (*gasp*) that Ryan is indeed an incredibly involved and amazing father. Sure, the pictures aren't as nice as the ones Ryan takes, but I think that content far outweighs quality sometimes - especially when my boys are having so much fun together!

The fun continued at Megan and David's wedding. Ethan had a wonderful time exploring the venue (read: insisting that one of his parents accompany him on expeditions to find ramps to run up and down, flower petals to throw into fountains filled with giant Koi, and gardens with mazes of pathways seemingly made for an energetic almost-three-year-old). We did manage to get him to sit in his seat long enough to snap a few photos:

(Why we never, ever think to hand the camera over to someone else to get a family shot of the three of us is beyond me. I suppose it has a lot to do with the fact that we usually have one of the aforementioned fancy intimidating professional cameras with us. Sigh.)

It was much easier to keep him entertained once the music started. That kid is all about the beat. The louder, the better. We took him for a few spins around the dance floor, and the trusty iPhone video camera was on hand to capture his pas de deux with Daddy.

Ethan was so cute in his little argyle sweater vest, and the poor guy was subjected to random kiss attacks from Mommy and Daddy throughout the evening. He thought he looked pretty snazzy as well, and insisted on wearing his "diamond shirt" again the following morning.

Side note: I hope it wasn't lost on you that his goldfish crackers coordinated with his napkin. That was no accident, my friends. That was 100% Ethan, who insisted on trading napkins so that he could match his snack with his linens.

He is so his Mommy's son.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Ever since we moved to the Bay Area, Ryan has been working freelance from home. Ethan and I have been spoiled by all of the time we've been able to spend with him and the flexibility that this has created for our family. When I had to go back to work when Ethan was two months old, Ryan was able to arrange his schedule to provide most of the childcare. It was easy to plan for family vacations, as we only have one schedule to work around. Best of all, Ethan had tons of father and son time, and got to go on lots of adventures like this:

Ryan starts a new job tomorrow, which will take some getting used to around here. It's an amazing opportunity (full-time commercial/advertising photography jobs are hard to come by!), and Ethan and I are so proud! That doesn't mean we won't miss having him around, though. Call us selfish, but we really enjoy our time with him!

Especially this little guy, who absolutely adores his daddy.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Baby Notch: The Sequel

Finally! After what seems like forever (but was really just a little over a year), Ryan and I can happily announce that we're expecting another baby! We've had so much support throughout our journey, and want to officially thank everyone who was there for us through all of the ups and downs - especially the downs.
We love you!

Quick preggie stats:

- At just about 12 weeks, I am already showing! Big time! At three months now, I look like I did at four or five months with Ethan.
- I'm super sick. Ryan says that I was this sick with Ethan, and thinks I blocked those memories out. I maintain that this time around is worse. Either way, no fun.
- I'm also super tired. In addition to the pregnancy fatigue, I'm working full-time, going to grad school full-time, and chasing after a toddler. I'm usually asleep before the sun goes down.
- Notice that "being a wife" is not on the list of things I'm tackling above. Poor Ryan has to pull his weight and mine around here. Cooking? Forget it. Grocery shopping? I can't stand the look/smell of food. Cleaning? Ha! Best. Husband. Ever.
- We do want to find out the gender, but won't be able to until July 27th. Just like last time, we'll tell you if the baby is a boy or a girl, but will be keeping the name a secret.
- Our due date is December 15th, but since we'll be having a repeat C-section, we'll likely get to meet this little one a week earlier.
- Ethan does not yet know that his world will soon be turned upside down. We've started talking more about babies around here, but he has no idea what he's in for.

Come to think of it, Ryan and I don't have any idea what we're in for, either! From jealousy issues with the firstborn to how to manage two kiddos at one time... anyone with good 2nd baby tips is welcome to send them our way!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Peter Cottontail Has Left the Building (About Two Weeks Ago)

Okay, I have a confession to make. I am so far behind with this Easter post that I actually considered back dating it. As though writing that this post was published two weeks ago would fool anyone. After Ryan called me out All on my own, I came to the conclusion that honesty is the best policy. So here it is. A post about Easter, over two weeks late.

Ethan participated in his first Easter egg hunt last year, which some of you may remember from this post (which was on time, by the way). He sort of understood the point then, and after 365 days of growth and development I was sure that he would be super jazzed about searching for eggs this year. With that in mind, we scheduled not one, but TWO Easter egg hunts this year. The first one was a community event at a local park, and the second was a small private affair in our own backyard.

For those of you who have read The Hunger Games, here's a quick description that may sound familiar:

- A mob of kids formed a ring in the grass, surrounding all of the Easter eggs and shiny wrapped candies, laying in the grass in plain sight (Cornucopia style).
- The Head Gamemaster counted down from 10 over a loudspeaker, signaling the participants to smash their way to the center with an enthusiastic "GO!!!"
- At this point, all rules of civility were off. Elbows were thrown, kids were pushed to the ground, necessary sacrifices were made to obtain that candy at all costs.

(For those of you who haven't read The Hunger Games, read it! It's fantastic! And then come back and reread this post... it will mean more to you than it just did. I promise.)

As for my little fighter? He just stood there, hands behind his back, taking it all in. Watching the other kids act like fools for little plastic eggs. Sixty seconds later, it was all over, and his basket was empty. Total Easter egg hunt fail.

Easter morning, we set up our own Easter egg hunt in our backyard. Oma hid the eggs, and together with Pa-Pa helped Ethan find each and every one of them, on his own time, without injury. It was much more our speed. Ethan opted to gather eggs in his Zebra backpack instead of an Easter egg basket. He ate the candy in each egg as he went along, and had a great time.

After the Easter egg hunt, Ethan found his Easter baskets (without competition), free to tear them apart all by himself. And that's exactly what he did.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

An Outside Day

Disclaimer: At some point in this post, I'm going to complain about the weather. This will seem ridiculous 1) to those of you who know how incredibly gorgeous the San Francisco Bay Area weather tends to be, or 2) to those of you who live in places that are still getting ice and snow this time of year. But stay with me - my complaints are justified, I promise.

My toddler has the energy of a tasmanian devil. Of all of the fine qualities he's known for, sitting down quietly and calmly is not one of them. This kid is a mover and a shaker, always on the go. He's also a guy's guy who likes to run around outside, drawn like a magnet to exploring all of the dirtiest areas of the yard. It's for all of these reasons that the past couple of months or so have been so incredibly difficult for us him. Once a year, like clockwork, we hit our rainy season. A good nine months out of the year are sunny and dry, but the other three are nothing but straight rain. For days and days and days. And days. Which means no playing outside. If you also have a tasmanian devil toddler, you'll understand the horror of the previous sentence.

Thankfully, we've *finally* crossed back into beautiful weather again, and decided to take advantage of it today. From the time he woke up until it was time for his nap, we spent the ENTIRE DAY OUTSIDE. It went a little something like this:

8:00 - Hop in the car, picnic breakfast in tow, drive to the park
8:05 - Arrive at park, greeted by furry dog park patrons
8:07 - Set up breakfast on a picnic table by the play structure
8:10 - Lose breakfast to a sneaky golden lab who jumped up on the table and made off like a bandit with our bagels
8:11 - Move to a different picnic table, finish breakfast
8:30 - Play on the slide and watch the doggies
8:45 - Back into car, head to watch our friend coach baseball
9:00 - Arrive at field, watch game, hang with Coach in the dugout
10:30 - Head back home to pick up Daddy for a picnic lunch
10:45 - Collapse on couch, suck thumb, watch Backyardigans
11:00 - Head to Castle Rock Park for more outdoor adventures
11:15 - Picnic lunch in an open field
11:50 - Run around the park, climb hills with Daddy
12:40 - Head back home for a much needed nap

Doesn't that sound delightful? It absolutely was. And here are the pics to prove it (minus the early morning breakfast picnic with the doggies... too busy defending our food to snap any shots!):

Good riddance, rain. Thanks for making our hills so green... but really, you won't be missed.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Everyone in my house is a red hot mess.

Ethan went to his first trial day of preschool a couple of Fridays ago. In four short hours, he learned all about sharing... germs. I can't prove it, but I'm pretty sure that an adorable little girl with a not-so-adorable faucet nose shared her cold with my otherwise healthy little man. By Super Bowl Sunday my poor kid was just not himself. By Monday he was a mess. He was supposed to start preschool on Tuesday, but we decided to keep him home for the week. On Tuesday evening, Ethan was sleeping about 15 minutes out of every hour, spending the rest of his night in a heap of tears. When his fever hit 104.9°, I called the advice nurse at Kaiser. She told me to bring him in to the ER when his temp reached 105°.

Isn't 104.9° practically the same thing as 105°? Sheesh.

We gave him ibuprofen, and his fever broke. I thanked my lucky stars that we had avoided a middle of the night hospital run.

An hour later, at about 3am, Ryan's back started bothering him. Really bothering him. Writhing around in agonizing pain bothering him. I made another call to the Kaiser advice nurse, and we were told to make an appointment in the morning.

By 4am, Ryan was certain that he needed to go to the ER. I gathered my poor sick boys, loaded them into the car, and drove to the hospital. Since Ethan was in such bad shape, we just dropped Ryan off at the hospital entrance and came back home. After putting Ethan back to bed, I tried to get a bit of sleep myself. I kept waking up, checking my phone for a text or call from Ryan. When a message finally popped up, it wasn't what I expected.

Kidney stones. My husband's back pain was actually caused by a stone moving from his kidney to his bladder. Poor guy.

You can probably get a pretty good picture of what the rest of the week looked like. We're actually all still recovering from it. Even though I wasn't the sick one, I feel like I survived a major illness. I guess that's what sleep deprivation will do to you. Ryan of course ended up with Ethan's cold once he recovered from his kidney stones. Heaven forbid he catches a break after going through what I'm told is the male pain equivalent to child birth. And Ethan? He's over his cold, but is contending with the transition to preschool this week, which has thrown him (and me) for quite a loop.

But that's a post for another day. I'm still a red hot mess and just don't have it in me.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Great Potty Training Adventure

Ryan is an incredible father. Seriously incredible. A Superdad, really. But every superhero has a vulnerability, and the thought of potty training is my husband's kryptonite. Thankfully, I have tons of potty training experience as an occupational hazard. That's [one of] the great thing[s] about our relationship - his very few weaknesses are my strengths, and my innumerable weaknesses are his strengths. I'm the yin to his yang, and he's the PB to my J. Together we make an unstoppably perfect pair.

We decided to start tackling potty training over the winter break, when I'd be home for two whole weeks. That, I thought, would be just enough time for me to intro the concept, establish a routine, and hand off the torch. I prepared ahead of time, investing in potty training books of both the resource (for me) and picture book (for Ethan) variety. I bought two giant clear containers and filled them with M&Ms and marshmallows for rewards. I picked up plenty of stickers, a timer, two different types of potty seats, and "special" post-potty Winnie the Pooh wipes for clean up when my little Winnie goes poo. I was ready.

And Ethan was not.

He was definitely into the potty books. He actually requested them as his bedtime story night after night. Our interactions went a little something like this:

Me, pointing to an illustration of a toilet: "What is that?!?"
Ethan: "Pee pee potty!!!"
Me: "Yeah!!! Whose potty is that?!?"
Ethan, excitedly: "ETHAN'S PEE PEE POTTY!!!"
Me: "Yeah!!! Do you want to go sit on your pee pee potty?!?"
Ethan, after a pause: "NO!!!!!!!"

So, in a nutshell, he's not exactly taking to it like we hoped he would. We've made a bit of progress - he went from being scared of the potty, to waving hi to the potty, to eventually sitting on the potty. But that's about it. Needless to say, I haven't had to break out those Winnie wipes yet.

(Don't let that cute little grin fool you - that's a reaction to the "special treat" he earned for sitting on his frog, not pride in his potty accomplishments.)

We'll get there. I figure that he'll eventually be potty trained sometime between tomorrow and when he enters kindergarten. Either that, or we'll have to homeschool him. But I guess we can cross that bridge when we come to it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday Celebrations

Oma found a great gingerbread train for Ethan to decorate this year! He did a wonderful job of sticking the candies onto the frosting... until he realized 1) He had candy in his hand - CANDY!!! and 2) The frosting was also ridiculously delicious.

The play food from Mima and Poppa was a huge hit.

So was the fire truck from Pa-Pa!

Ethan soon figured out he could combine his two loves, and spent the better part of Christmas morning placing play food onto the ladder of the truck and pushing it around the house.

We celebrated New Year's Eve with the fabulous Hoke family. One of us had the brilliant idea to turn our babies into New Year's Babies. We made a little paper sash, broke out the cameras, and prepared for a productive photo shoot. The kiddos had a different idea. They both hated the sash and refused to wear it. Should have seen that coming. After about ten minutes and a lot of M&M bribes later, we managed to get this shot:

Not exactly what we were going for, but I like it all the same. Happy New Year!