Monday, February 28, 2011

i thought it would be better...

last year when i went back to school in march (after having the entire year off due to bed rest and maternity leave), i was able to sleep well the entire night before.  i had very little anxiety... jason was going to be taken care of by my mom and stepmom.  i only had to teach 3 months and it was summer.  life was good. 

for some reason, this year i'm having a much harder time going back.  i didn't sleep well the past two nights, plagued by the "back to school" bad dreams... my favorite/worst being my old (super hot) assistant principal walking into my classroom and realized i had no classroom management whatsoever, with kids hitting each other and no one listening to a word i had to say.  needless to say, i got fired.  and then, i woke up and got to see the clock change from 1:59 AM to 2:00 AM.  

i don't even know if school is the problem.  i'm used to being home.  although i have to get out of the house everyday, i love spending time with my little man and watching kayla grow.  i love being flexible in when i get things done.  i love that my house is clean(ish) enough for company to come over because i'm home every day to tidy.  i know i'm going to miss being with the little man a lot, and i'm sad i'll miss kayla's milestones... we're working on laughing and rolling over now.

i figure if i list out the anxiety here, i could eventually make a plan of attack to figure out how to get it all done:

1)  peter's really bad at making doctor's appointments, and i can't make them because i can't go.  i hate having to nag him to get kayla's 4 month wellness, jason's orthopedic, kayla's ent, another wellness for kayla and Jason's 18 month wellness, etc...

2)  i have 2 pairs of pants that (almost) fit, and i tried to glue the hem up on the pair i'm wearing today.  Fail.  I hope i can staple them without people noticing. 

3)  i need to weight watch and excersise.  i showed peter the couch to 5k regimine i want to try... my school district is hosting a family fun run/5k on may 1, and i want to be able to slowly jog it.  according to this website, i need to start training today.  umm... when?

4)  i'm worried that my household duties are going to fall wayside... why should i clean up the living room/clean bathrooms/kitchen/do laundry when i only get to see my children for 3 hours a day?

5)  i'm worried that my students at school are going to not get everything they can from me... my priority ladder is different, but they deserve a good part of my attention too.  i'm just hoping i can figure out how to keep work at work... but that's not very likely.  teachers can't do that.

6)  the one that my heart is most worried about (even though i know that people do it all the time and it's not a logical fear):  jason and i have grown really close.  what if he doesn't need me/want me now that i'll not be with him all the time?  what if kayla stops smiling at me when she sees me because i'm not with her all day?  trust me, i logically understand that what i'm saying is stupid.  i know what i would say to any of my friends if they told me this fear.  however, i'm having a hard time getting over it.

we'll see how today, this week, this month goes.  at least spring break is at the end...

oh yeah, the day i go back to school after spring break?  i turn 30.  oy.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

100 words

I've been feeling sorry for Jason lately because I know he's trying to tell me things, but he just doesn't have the language.  I'm not worried about him, I don't think he has a language delay... I just feel so bad for him when all he can do is grunt or cry.

He has a few words under his belt, and it definitely has made it easier on Peter and I when the little man starts screaming.  So my mission this past week was to try to figure out what I could do to help him.

I bought a bunch of books...  Baby's 100 First Words, Colors, Shapes, Animals... blah, blah, blah.  I then thought of back when I was teaching first grade... we used environmental print to make struggling readers feel like they could read.  Everyone knows that this:

 says McDonalds, this:
 says Target, and this:
says delcious!  I mean, Reese's.

I remember making flashcards so we could make games and use them in projects and helped those kiddos feel confident in their reading abilities.

So, using that idea as my guide, I walked around each room of our house, and made a list of the 100 things that Jason breaks gets into touches uses everyday.

Here's the photo stream on Flickr:  click me to see all the words and pictures!  You'll notice that I only posted 98 pictures... I didn't have any oatmeal or avocados in the house and downloaded those to make my final hundred.

Next, I uploaded the pictures to Walgreens, and I'm going wait for a sale on 100 pictures and print them out in 4x6's.  Also, I made little return address labels with the word so I can stick the word on each picture.  Then I'm going to put all the pics in a cheap album, and go over it with Jason.  I can see flipping through, asking him to find the objects, making a scavenger hunt when he's older, etc...

Hopefully, he'll learn something from the project.  I'm thinking of doing another book of pictures of our family, especially the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc... who live out of town so when we go to see them their faces will look familiar.

The project was easy, anyone with a camera could do it, it easily can be personalized for your child, and was about the same price as a nicer "Baby's 100 Words" book!  Please feel free to steal photos or the idea for your little one.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vati ist nach Hause

translation:  Daddy is home!

Peter has been in Germany since Saturday, and after a 2 hour weather delay, he's finally home!  Jason (as overtired as he was for only taking a 20 minute nap today) was full of smiles for his daddy.  :)

I missed Peter, but so much more than I usually do, and for different reasons.  I missed him because he couldn't play with Jason.  I missed him because he couldn't snuggle Kayla until she fell asleep.  I missed him because we couldn't laugh when Jason did something funny.

But he's home now.  And we have three whole days before I go back to work, and nothing on the calendar.  No places to go, no schedule to follow... just us.

He brought home presents...

a german police car toy that makes sounds 
and has flashy lights when you push buttons.

buttons?!  i LOVE buttons!   
too bad i can't understand a word of what they're saying...

daddy got me shoes!  they're pink, blue and have moons.  
and they shake when i kick.
my daddy is awesome.

mmmmmmmilk chocolate... yeah, they're bigger than king sized.  

One more gift I want to share with you...  it makes me giggle.

This is what German people consider to be a great bath toy.
I call it drunk German hippo with rabies.
(the rabies you can't see... when you pour bubble bath in it, it foams.)
I can't blame Peter for buying it.   I would have too.

Kids are in bed.  Dog is happy.  
I'm thinking it's cuddle time.  :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

kupcake, you say?

When we were pregnant with Jason, and we didn't know that he was a he yet, Peter was nervous.  He didn't want girls.  His reason:  he knew what he was like in high school, and he didn't want to see someone treat his daughter the way he treated girls back then.  My thoughts?  I think he was scared sh*tless.

I gave Peter his son.  When round two came along, I was (not so secretly) hoping for a girl.  I knew we were done with trying for kids, so it was our last shot.  Although I'm sure I would have been happy with two boys (have you seen pictures of my Jason?  he's freaking adorable!), but I think I would have always wondered about having a girl.

I have so many things that I can't wait to introduce Kayla to...
-   tea parties
-  American Girl Dolls
-  Dress up
-  Barbies (with no Ken dolls with heads that fall off when making Barbie and Ken kiss... right Rebecca?)
-  Star Wars (I was Princess Leia growing up, you know)
-  Anne of Green Gables (mostly for Gilbert Blythe)
-  Theater, piano, guitar, etc...

But, that list is selfish.  Maybe she'll like Alonzo Wilder better than Gilbert Blythe.  
but seriously though... how could she not like Gilbert?  Gilbert... sigh... 

Maybe she'll want to play fireman and basketball with her brother and want nothing to do with dolls.  Maybe... maybe... maybe... all I know is I can't wait to see what she likes and who she is.

The best part... she's giving us glimpses everyday.

Kayla loves to be cuddled.  She doesn't like to be jiggled or "shaken" when she's upset, she prefers quiet rocking.   She also calms down when you have her stand up.  I think she likes being part of the action.  She stares at you wide eyed and memorizing your face when you feed her, and she's stopped eating to smile at me.  (melting...)

She enjoys peekaboo, has accidentally pulled on one of her toys on the bouncer to make it sing, and loves the Winnie the Pooh rattle.   We have to buckle her in on her bouncer because she's a mover and will  plant her feet and arch her back and squirm herself right out!   I place her in her crib every night, and wake up to find her horizontal at the foot of the crib.

She's an incredible sleeper (as long as she's swaddled) and will take naps anywhere.  She snores.  Louder than me.  She doesn't fuss very much and apparently seems to roll with the punches as long as you feed her every three hours.   Her cry is so very ladylike, and her little babbles now and then have such a sweet little quality.   It's easy to forget about her sometimes... which sounds terrible, but she's so good and doesn't ask for much.  Right now, it's the squeaky wheel that gets the oil.

She adores her brother already.  Whenever Jason moves, she's watching him.  She even puts up with him sticking a bottle in her eye (what?  he was helping!) and grabbing her bellybutton every time we do a diaper change on the floor.

However, she does not appreciate Jason's "vocal exploration," and cries when she gets startled as Jason lets out an ear piercing scream.

She's so tall... she's filling out the bassinet at her Gramma's house and I don't think we'll be able to use it much longer.   Her feet are enormous.  Her hair is starting to fall out (right now it's dark like Peter's... I wonder if it will stay that way or get lighter like Jason's and mine)  Her clothes brighten the laundry... it's amazing what a bit of pink will do.  And in the right outfit, she looks so grown up.

Everyday she brings me a quiet sense of joy...  Jason's is laugh out loud high pitched squeal joy, but right now Kayla's is quiet.  For some reason, I don't think that will always be the case.  Kayla is already so much more active that Jason was, and I can't wait to see who she will be in a month... 2 months, 6 months, a year... I can't wait until she will be able to join in on our family fun instead of watching it from a bouncer.  I can't wait until she's says mama, dada, Jason...  can't wait, can't wait, can't wait.

However, she's already 3 months... almost 3 1/2... time is flying!   Maybe it's best that we just stand still, and enjoy that baby smell, enjoy her tiny hand wrapped around our fingers, enjoy the smiles...

Oh... and Peter?  He's smitten.  I've been calling her sweet pea as well as Sweet Baby K, but I have a feeling that cupcake is going to stick.  Oh... right... pardon me.  Kupcake.  Peter wants it to be with a K.  :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

finishing up...

In a week from right now, I will have just finished my first day back at work, and it's made me realize all the things that I had wanted to but haven't gotten done.  So, today was all about getting a head start on spring cleaning.  I went online and booked Stanley Steemer to come out tomorrow and clean every square inch of carpeting of our house, I packed up my Valentine's Day gear, cleaned the master bath (well, everything but the shower... I hate cleaning the shower), did 2 loads of laundry, and managed to get Jason and Kayla down for bed without too much fuss.

Now that they're asleep, I need to prepare for my BFF Stanley to come over... there's toys and books and just plain ol' stuff everywhere, and I need to get this house clean.  I know it will ease a lot of anxiety if the house is put together and I'll only need to worry about picking up and light cleaning until spring break where I can do a massive clean again.

Motivation?  Peter's in Germany right now, and I'd love him to come home to a clean house.  I know that a clean house makes him happy, and it would be a great welcome home present.  Also, my two little ones (and my friend's little ones) deserve a nice clean floor to scoot around on).  Jason and Kayla were both helping me clean today... take a look!

i cleaned up daddy's hat!
 i played with cleaned up my toys!
 i cleaned up kayla's button
 i picked kayla's nose... i don't know why she didn't like it
 i didn't help... but i took good naps.  does that count?
jeez... this cleaning thing is hard work!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

old fashioned shenanigans

Auntie The Julie came over today.

And things got ridiculous.  Laugh out loud so hard you almost pee your pants ridiculous.

When planning for our meal tonight, both of us complained about the fact that we have 2 (and maybe really only 1) pair of professional pants to wear to work that fit. 

(yeah... I'm starting work again in a week.  
The scale tells me I'm back to what I was pre-Jason, but things just aren't fitting right.  
Oh dear.)

Whatever.  We wanted to eat.  Tomorrow is Monday, and Mondays are always fresh starts.  

Do you see the justification?

Tonight was all about biscuits and cookies.

First on the menu for Bubbe and Jason... Meatball Bubble Biscuits.  This is an old favorite of Peter's and mine.  Be careful to not overcook the meatballs.  They get hard, and bounce off of the Julie really easy.

Julie had tried a Gorgonzola cheese/bacon monkey bread at a bar near her house earlier in the week, and it had me craving it immediately.  I knew I wanted it, but also knew I couldn't make it to the city this week.  So, I searched and searched the internets for a recipe, but only came up with Gorgonzola monkey bread OR bacon monkey bread.  So... when the powers combined, I am Captain Planet!  we created a fabulous new savory monkey bread recipe.  My mom (who says she doesn't like bacon or gorgonzola) loved it.  Julie and I liked it so much that we posted it on  

Then, for dessert, we made one of the easiest cookies of all time.  It took two ingredients.  Reeses Peanut Butter Cups and 1 egg.  The picture is from (and the recipe can be found at

Now that that's over, something. must. be. done.  Two pairs of pants is not enough.  So, you know how there's a recipe tab at the top of the blog?  I'm adding another tab tomorrow.  That tab is going to be an online journal for the good things I'm doing for myself, including exercise, good food, Points consumed, mental health breaks, etc.  Hopefully, writing them down will help motivate me.  Lord knows my waistline I need motivating.  Is it summer yet?  How about spring?

Friday, February 18, 2011

you said three weeks, right?

It started out as a lovely day.

A play date with Miss Maddie and Ike was on the agenda... we'd have lunch, kids would nap, and then we'd have a very special cake (which has not been cut into yet... I'll post a pic tomorrow).

Lunch happened.  Play happened.  Naps happened (2 hours for both Maddie and Jason!).

Then there was trouble.

Paulina heard Jason on the baby monitor and told me he was up.  I opened the door and walked in to a smiley happy baby.  I go to unzip his sleepsack and get him up for a diaper change.  After I easily pulled his hands out, I realized there was a problem.

I easily pulled his hands out.  There were two hands showing.

Something's not right.

I searched the crib, and smooshed into a corner was Jason's soft cast.

"Paulina!!!!  I need you!!!!"

I knew I needed to call the orthopedic surgeon right away, because he told me that if (or when) the cast came off, we shouldn't go to the emergency room, but to make sure the area was covered and safe from germs, and to go to the office.  His suggestion for covering the area?  A maxipad and duct tape.  

It was 3:00 on a Friday.  I knew there was limited time.

I called the office in Park Ridge, and they transferred me to the office in Fox River Grove, and Dr. Simmons was luckily still there.  He was packing up and ready to go, but said he'd wait until we got there.

Scramble.  Throw stuff in the diaper bag.  Figure out how to dress J's wound... no maxipad here, just gauze and tape.  The only time Jason cried was (once again) because he was hungry.  He usually gets a snack when he wakes up... not today!  Say goodbye to friends.  (THANK YOU RACHELLE!!  THANK YOU PAULINA!!  THANK YOU MOM!) Nearly take off the side view mirror as I pull out of the driveway.  Get to the office in an astonishing 30 minutes.

Dr. Simmons takes one look at Jason, and laughs.  He said he'd see me in three weeks.  It was 54 hours.

I love Dr. Simmons.  I'm so happy we've gotten to know him, because we all know that someone else is going to break a bone sometime.  :)  I ask if it's normal for a kid to break out of his soft cast.  He told me that chubby kids like Jason wiggle out faster than skinny kids.  My son has a lot of squish on his arm, providing more wiggle room.  If the doctor made it too tight, it would cut off circulation.  So... it was easy to break out of.

We decided to go with a hard cast, above the elbow, waterproof and in blue.  It took less than 10 minutes, and the wonderful doctor had Jason smiling and laughing the whole time.  I asked if he ever had a kid bust out of the above the elbow kind.  Yup.  However, he'd never had a kid bust out of the above the elbow waterproof kind, so if Jason does it, it'll be a first.

I hoping we don't get that honor.  :)

Anyway, Jason's adjusting well.  Hopefully, this will be a better match for us.  And, I was able to get a sneak peek at his hand.  He's doing awesome... his hand is swollen, but it looks normal!!!  I'm so excited to see it in a few weeks.

 just because i have a cast doesn't mean i won't cause trouble
 the waterproof insides aren't as interesting as the old cotton ones... 
and not nearly as easy to pick and eat!
 what did i do?  i'm an angel!
check out my blue appendage!
hey!  i look like super grover!

Have you missed hearing about Kayla?  Yeah, me too.  
Did you know she's officially 3 months old today?  
I have a post semi-written about her about how different she is from Jason in my head, 
and I was going to write it today, but Jason stole all the attention.  
Hopefully I'll be able to get it written out one of these days.
2nd child syndrome is way hard, man.  

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

high five

Longest.  Post.  Ever.

But, if you want to know what happened to our little man in the past 24 hours, keep reading!  

February 15, 2011:

7:00 PM -  Jason stays up until 8:00 for a little extra play (and love on) time. 

8:00 PM  - Little Man's bedtime.  Cry a bit when singing him to sleep, and rock him much longer than usual.  Find out out later that Peter was having an emotional moment of his own in the living room.

8:30 PM - Jason wakes up crying for what seemed like no reason.  Maybe he knew?  Maybe he fell asleep in a funny position?  Whatever it was, a little cuddle from Daddy put him right back to sleep.

9:00 PM - Took shower.  Dried hair.  Tried to fall asleep, but it really never happened.  Even though I knew I'd wake up to my alarm, I was too scared I'd miss it.  And I was a bit anxious. Therefore, I saw the clock at least twice an hour between 10:00 and 4:00.  Peter said he slept through the night no problem, but I don't believe him. 

February 16, 2011:

4:45 AM - Alarm rings.  Got up, brush teeth, comb hair, get ready.  Make Little Man 4 different kinds of jello (strawberry banana, orange, lemon, grape).  Do a final check of hospital bag:  sippy cup, diapers, wipes, Glow Worm, extra jammies, t-shirt/pants/socks/shoes, toys, iPad and Kindle.

5:05 AM - Tiptoe in Jason's room.  Whisper "Little Man..." and get eye rubs and a smile.  Quick diaper change, and pack him in the car.

5:21 AM - Leave for Lutheran General.  Jason stays up the entire ride, singing.

6:10 AM - Arrive at hospital.  Get checked in, Jason gets a certificate from the hospital for being brave.  Tear up just a bit.

6:30 AM - Go to the pre-surgery area.  The nurses are wonderful, everyone is so friendly and kind.  Handy Manny and Mickey Mouse keep Jason entertained on the TV.  Then, he gives other patients a good laugh before their surgeries as he toddles around the area and smiles. 

7:00 AM - Dr. Simmons came to talk to us, and let us know a bit more about what actually was going to happen.  Asked us if we wanted the extra thumb because of religious reasons... apparently some religions want to have extra appendages and digits taken home and given a burial.  Jews or Catholics, not so much.  The nurse who would be with Jason for surgery came by, and gave us even more confidence... he said he'd worked with Dr. Simmons before and he's great.  Also, he said the anesthesiologist specialized in pediatrics, and she was great too.  Peter and I both breathed a huge sigh of relief... we weren't too worried about the actual procedure, but more so of the anesthesia.  Met her (forgot her name) and immediately liked her.  She then told the nurse to give Jason a sedative so he'd be really easy to work with.  Little Man was being so so good, but he was STARVING!!!  It was funny... after the sedative kicked in, he looked like he was drunk.  The nurse took him out of his jammies, we did a quick diaper change, and said our love yous and bye byes as he was wheeled away.

8:00 AM - Another nurse took us to the surgery family waiting room, checked in, and got a beeper that looked just like the one at the Olive Garden.  We then went upstairs to grab breakfast, with me joking that I'd like bruschetta, chicken picatta and a lemonade (ode to Paulina... let's see if she reads this).  Grabbed a quick bite to eat, called Mom to check in on Kayla (who was doing awesome staying with her Bubbe), and went back down to wait.  Peter played on the iPad, and I was able to get some reading done. 

9:00 AM - Dr. Simmons finds us in the family waiting room, and told us that the little man was a bit crabby asking for jello, and doing great.  He was able to remove the finger, and had to reconstruct the ligament on the outside of Jason's hand.  Because of the reconstruction, he had to give Jason a soft cast, and made it as 16 month old proof as possible.  He also gave him a shot of Novocaine, and gave us a prescription for Tylenol with codeine.  However, he said that the codeine could make J constipated or throw up... so he suggested that if J could handle it, to rotate Tylenol and Motrin every three hours.  He also asked to see Jason again in 3 weeks. 

9:30 AM - They let us go back in recovery.  Little Man was lying in the crib in a diaper, and sat up as soon as he heard our voices.  He needed to pass the first recovery stage, so they put him in my lap as I sat in a wheelchair.  He was doing just fine, but we could tell he was hungry.   The nurse brought him a small cup of apple juice, and he sucked it up in under a minute.  Then, the howling started.  Little Man was crying from hunger, not from pain.  They couldn't keep the apple juice coming fast enough.  And once again, I was so thankful for Gramma Debbie and Grandma Dee for teaching him to drink from a straw at the mall. 

9:45 AM - We were wheeled into the Phase II recovery room, and the wonderful nurse gave Jason everything he could want:  a personal speaker and Dinosaur Train on TV, Lora Doone Shortbread, graham crackers, and what seemed like a gallon of apple juice.  Happy, happy baby.

10:00 AM - As Rev Run and Elmo were telling a grasshopper to "Hop This Way," (hooray Sesame Street!) the nurses unhooked Jason's IV, did his vitals, told us our instructions, and said we were free to go!  We got Little Man dressed, and went to the car!

11:00 AM - Stopped to drop off J's perscription, got Subway for lunch, and headed home.  As Peter and I called people to give status updates, Jason learned how to pick the cotton out of his cast and eat it.  I love those IKEA bibs that Rachelle found.. they were perfect for hiding J's cast.  And... just a spoon full of strawberry banana Jello helps the medicine go down.

12:00 PM - I leave to run to Old Navy.  Little Man's cast (or club, as Peter calls it) is too big to fit in his long sleeved shirts and jammies, so I went and got him his spring wardrobe a little early.  Stopped at Walgreens on the way home to pick up the prescription.

1:00 PM  - Jason naps.  And naps.  And naps.  Peter and I discuss how anti-climatic the day had been... the only thing that's different is that he realizes he can't use his right hand very well.  He's having trouble pulling himself up, but other than that, it's business as usual.  We were expecting him to be passed out and crabby.  How lucky are we?!  How lucky is he?!?

4:00 PM - Jason wakes up from his nap, terrorizes the house.  He was toddling about, getting into everything he wasn't supposed to.

4:30 PM - family walk time!  It was such a lovely day, we took Basia and Jason out for a nice, long, muddy walk.

5:00 PM - Jason and I cuddle on the couch watching Tom & Jerry cartoons as Peter made dinner. 

6:45 PM - After dinner, we played a bit more, and then got him in his new altered jammies (regular jammies with the sleeve trimmed up a bit)  No bath tonight... we're still trying to figure out the best way to get him clean and keep the cast from getting wet.  Story time, lots of hugs/rocking/lullabies and Tylenol. 

I'm posting this now,  hoping he'll be able to sleep through the night.

I can't believe the strength and pain tolerance my Little Man has... he couldn't of realized what was happening today, but within a half hour of waking up from surgery, he was smiling.  He was a bit crabby, and a bit wobbly as he toddled, but all in all he was so so so good today.

Such heart felt thanks and gratitude to the doctors, nurses, family and friends who got us through today.  Your skill and love made every day for the past 16 months up until today seem easy.  Thank you thank you thank you.

We can't believe it's over.  All the anticipation, the worry, the preparation... done!  In 3 weeks, Little Man will get his cast off.  Now, I'm just waiting for summer!