Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hurry Up Already!

Well.  Isaac is fashionably late!  We're still waiting!  Today was a lovely day.  The sunshine was out most of the day.  There was a nice breeze blowing so it wasn't too unbearably hot.  It's 10:00PM, and we still haven't had rain yet.  We've been waiting on this storm for what seems like forever, and I am OVER. IT.  It seems like we've been waiting for forever.  I mean, this is worse than waiting on a baby to be born!  Like Abbie said, "This is even worse than waiting to find out if you were having a boy or a girl!"

I'm just ready for it to get here and get out of here.  The latest projected path shows the eye coming right over us.  But this storm still hasn't done what the weather experts predicted so only time will tell.  And it looks like time is what it's going to take.  The latest news reports show increasing wind and rain for us throughout the night with the worst of it tomorrow afternoon.  Maybe.

In the meantime, we had our own little hurricane party today.  Abbie came over to play.  She was a dream!  She entertained Mason and Hannah Kate for several hours, and I got so much done!  It's really important to have a clean house while you're waiting on a hurricane; it just makes me feel better!

Here are a few pictures from our day:

Monday, August 27, 2012

Deja Vu

There are actually so many titles I can think of for this post . . .

The Calm Before the Storm:  Just in case you haven't heard, we're expecting a visitor within the next couple of days.  His name is Isaac.  But today was a beautiful day!  The sky was clear, and the weather really was gorgeous.  Just look at our sunset tonight!  Stunning!
This is your trampoline on Isaac:  So yesterday after church, I gently reminded my husband that we have a trampoline in the backyard and that since he was leaving this morning to go to Houston, something needed to be done with it "just in case" because that wasn't something I could deal with by myself.  I approached the subject as, "Do you have any ideas for what we can do with the trampoline?  I don't know what's going to happen, but I just don't want it to blow into one of our windows."  He talked about turning it upside down, but we have the net around it, and that wasn't the easiest thing to do.  I suggested moving it into the garage, but the garage wouldn't be big enough without moving my Tahoe out, and I didn't want to do that.  And then the conversation stalled.  Later I realized that he'd gone outside and taken the net off.  I thought he was going with plan A.  But then he ended up disassembling the entire thing.  Now it's in the garage. 
Making Preparations:  This morning I had my 6-week post-op doctor's appointment.  My plan after that was to go to the store to buy some bottled water.  That was the only thing I didn't have that we needed.  While I was at the doctor's office, my friend was already texting me the stores that no longer had bottled water.  I feared I had waited too late.  I avoided all Wal-Marts and Targets and then heard that Winn Dixie still had water.  So that's where I went.  Even though I had a loaf of bread in the pantry, I decided to buy another since we might be eating a lot of sandwiches the next few days.  Here's what I found on the bread shelves:
All that was left was maybe 20 loaves of white bread.  So I got a loaf.  I've never purchased white bread.  We always eat wheat bread.  But I have to admit that white bread makes the best grilled cheese sammies!  Store shelves aren't the only things empty.  Most of the gas stations in Baton Rouge are currently out of gas.  I didn't have to worry about that either, as Seth filled up my Tahoe this weekend.  School is canceled tomorrow and Wednesday.  We aren't sure yet about Thursday.

So why Deja Vu?  Mason was born July 13, 2005.  Katrina (we are on a first-name basis; no need for "hurricane" here) arrived August 29, 2005.  Ellie was born on July 16, 2012.  Isaac will arrive August 28 or 29, 2012.  Note to self: No more July babies!

I've thought a lot during the past couple of days about the events that occured in 2005.  Obviously, Katrina was a much bigger storm than Isaac will ever hope to be.  But Katrina caught us off guard.  My bestie and another dear friend had arrived in Louisiana to visit us and to meet Mason.  They flew in on Thursday night.  The next two days were filled with fun and laughter and just catching up.  Saturday night Seth and I wanted to take them out to eat at one of our favorite restaurants in Baton Rouge.  We noticed that traffic was pretty bad for a Saturday evening.  And then when we were in the restaurant, we began picking up on conversations going on around us.  When we got back in the car, we immediately tuned our radio to a local news station.  That's when we first heard the news about Katrina.  I'm not sure where we'd been or what we'd been doing those two days, but we had totally missed it.

By this time, the New Orleans airport was closing, and mandatory evacuations had begun.  Traffic was horrible by this time.  Once we got home, we immediately began calling the airlines and searching the internet to see if we could get the airline tickets changed.  We knew Barbara and Meriam needed to get out of here quickly, but they weren't scheduled to fly back to Georgia until Monday.  That was the day Katrina arrived.  It took a couple of hours, but we were finally able to get a ticket for Barbara to fly out Sunday afternoon.  We weren't having any luck with Meriam's ticket though.  We discussed driving to Houston so she could fly out of there.  We discussed leaving that night and driving to Georgia.  But with traffic the way it was, the nightmare was only just beginning, and we knew those options weren't realistic.  But at the same time, I knew we needed to get Meriam home.  And then we decided that she would just stay with us through the storm, and we would get her home afterwards.  Late into the night, her husband was finally able to secure her a ticket for a Sunday afternoon departure.  So we went to bed and woke up the next morning to go to church.  After church we went to the airport.  Barbara's flight was scheduled to leave first and Meriam's later.  I was going to wait with Meriam, but we finally decided I needed to go ahead and make my way to Seth's parents' house.  Barbara and Meriam both made it home that evening.

So besides the fact that Isaac may be a little friendlier to us, and my sweet friends aren't here . . . I feel like it's 2005 all over again.

We were without electricity at our house for about a week after Katrina.  But Seth's parents were farther away from the storm and didn't ever lose power for an extended period of time so we stayed with them.  Other than a few missing shingles and some water that came in under our front door, we had no damage to our house.  I need not tell you the devastation and destruction just down the road in New Orleans.  That city and her people were forever changed.  I'll never forget the images, never forget the stories of the people I met during that time.  I hope to never experience anything like that again.

Having said that, yes, to those of you who have asked, the storm is headed (right now, at least) right towards us.  But it is no Katrina.  Actually, Gustav was a much worse hurricane for our area, as the eye passed right over us.  But we were living in Mississippi at the time (2008) so we weren't here for that one.  And that was the last hurricane for Louisiana.  The last hurricane we experienced was Katrina, and that was seven years ago.  We expect winds and heavy rains, but we are absolutely safe, and we are fine!  It's inconvenient, yes.  The worst part is losing power because it's summertime in south Louisiana, and it's hot and humid, and it always seems to take F O R E V E R to have power restored.  I'll not even get into the story of the generator we don't have; I'll only say that is a priority as soon as this thing is over with!  In the meantime, I'll just be so glad when all of this is over with!

But this little one has no idea what is going on around her.  She has been giving me some of the biggest smiles lately.  It's been difficult to capture them on camera, but I managed one this morning as we were getting ready to leave.  I could just eat her up with a spoon! 
I don't remember the sermon our pastor preached the Sunday after Katrina hit, but I'll never forget the Scripture.  I have it marked in my Bible.

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His tabernacle and set me high upon a rock.  ~Psalm 27:5

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Sleeping Beauty

Guess who slept through the night last night?!
And guess who did NOT sleep through the night last night?!  This Momma sure didn't! 

During the past couple of weeks, I would nurse Ellie and put her down between 10:30 and 11:00.  She would wake up around 3:30 for another feeding and then sleep til morning.  That was actually a really good schedule for us.  And since I never have any trouble putting her down, we would be awake thirty minutes at most and then asleep again.  Last night I did the same thing.  I nursed Ellie closer to 10:00 and put her down to sleep.  I remember waking up twice, both times catching my breath so I could listen for her breathing.  When my alarm clock went off at 5:30 this morning, I immediately jumped out of bed and ran to her cradle to check on her because I realized we hadn't been up during the night to nurse.  And, of course, she was sleeping soundly.  I remember doing the same thing with Mason . . . being so nervous those first few nights that he slept through the night.  He was around six weeks old at the time.  And Hannah Kate, well, I never had that experience with her because she never really slept!

I can't wait to see if she can do it again tonight.  But something tells me that if she does, the same thing will happen.  I'll still wake up several times to check on her.  I'll be glad when I can get a good night's sleep though.  I began to realize this week how tired I am. I am not exhausted.  As long as I'm busy and active, which I am most all day, I am fine.  But if I slow down and take a break, I begin to notice that I really am tired.  I was reading a book to Hannah Kate earlier this week, and I kept dozing off in the middle of the book!  It was crazy.  Poor Hannah Kate kept yelling, "READ, Mama!"  Well, not yelling really.  But she was rather emphatic about it, and I don't guess I blame her.  And then yesterday she wanted to play a couple of board games, and I kept falling asleep during her turn!  And then when it was my turn, all of a sudden I'd hear, "It's YOUR turn, Mama!" 

Oh, these are such fun times!  Really, they are.  Ellie is just the lovliest little thing, such a good baby!  And my biggies are so sweet.  I think we're all a little tired as we've had to adjust to our new schedule now that Mason is back in school, and we have homework and dance lessons and a new routine to get used to.  I wouldn't change any of it!

Today was definitely one of "those days" for sure!  Mason has been complaining the past couple of days about his ear again (you know, the one he got the end of a q-tip stuck in for who knows how long!) so I'd made an appointment for him to see the pediatrician this morning.  She wanted us to follow up with her in two weeks anyway, but now it's been three weeks because I just couldn't fit a doctor's appointment in last week.  With school and the doctor's office being in two different towns in two totally opposite directions, it isn't easy.  After I got dressed this morning, I had a few extra minutes before waking the children.  For some reason, I checked the news, which I NEVER do.  But I'm so glad I did.  There was an accident at 4:00am this morning that closed the interstate both ways.  If you're from here, you know what I'm talking about.  If you're not, just imagine I-75 in the middle of downtown Atlanta being closed both north and south bound . . . during rush hour traffic when everyone is trying to get to work and to school . . . and just imagine the side streets.  I debated on whether or not to cancel the appointment, but when I checked the traffic cameras, I thought I could get to where I was going without any problems.  Of course, I didn't think it all the way through.  What would normally take us 20 minutes took an hour and 20 minutes.  We were 20 minutes late for our scheduled appointment time.  It didn't matter though.  Our pediatrician hadn't even made it there yet!  Our appointment was at 8:15.  She arrived a little after 9:30.  The good news is that Mason's ear is comletely healed from the last incident.  But he did have some more wax in there that was bothering him so that had to be removed.  We were out of the office before 10:00 and then I had to figure out how to get us back across to the portion of the interstate that was open and to school.  I finally dropped him off at 10:38.  That was a miracle considering how bad traffic was.  I hate that he missed two hours of school, but there was just nothing I could do about that.  And then, after all that, I forgot to get a doctor's excuse for school!  So now I have to go back.  Needless to say, it was a frustrating morning.  And just in case you're wondering, the interstate is still closed and will be closed through the night.  What a mess!

So at five weeks and one day old, Ellie slept through the night for the first time!  She's such a sweet girl.  She's smiling at me more and more now, especially in the morning times and when I'm changing her diaper.  I tried to capture her smile on camera today, but I couldn't quite get it.  She's holding her head up really good now and focusing on objects.  She enjoys her play mat.  And so does someone else, as you can see.  Let's just say Ellie gets a lot of "face time!"
Ellie and I went to church again on Sunday.  We aren't going to Sunday School yet because she's always nursing during that time.  But it works out because then I'm able to play the piano and sit through the worship service without having to leave to nurse her.  This past Sunday I noticed that she got a little fussy in her infant carrier so Seth had to hold her.  He is an usher, and I knew it was nearing time to take up the offering.  I wasn't sure if he was going to put her back in the carrier or motion to someone else to take his place.  Since my back was to where we sit, I didn't know until I saw him come to the front of the sanctuary that he was going to take up the offering.  I half expected to see Ellie in his arms, but she was not.  I figured he put her back in the infant carrier.  So after I finishing playing the offertory, I got up to go sit down.  Imagine my surprise when I saw Mason sitting on the front pew holding Ellie!  It was the sweetest thing ever!  So, of course, I had to get a picture.  Ellie has the best brother ever!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Ellie: One Month Old

Dearest Ellie,

You are one month old today!  I can hardly believe it . . . it seems like you have always been with us.  Yet it seems like just yesterday you were born!  You are the perfect addition to our family!  Sometimes I feel like I need to pinch myself to be sure this isn't just a dream.  You have been our dream come true!

At one month old, you are wearing a size 1 diaper.  You smiled at me for the first time last Sunday and have done so several times since.  I'm still waiting to capture that sweet smile on camera though.  Your new thing this week, besides the occasional smile, is blowing bubbles.  You went on your first outing last Sunday (not including doctor's appointments and grocery shopping).  I took you to church.  You were definitely the center of attention, and we were welcomed with such excitement.  You slept through the entire worship service.  You are such a sweet baby, so happy and so content most of the time.  You sleep a lot!  You nurse a lot, too.  During the day, you're still nursing every two hours.  At night time, you are able to go a little longer.  Two nights ago, you even slept seven hours without waking up to nurse!  You just might be sleeping through the night pretty soon.  But even if you don't, I don't mind.  As soon as you nurse, you go right back to sleep.  You love sleeping in your cradle.

When you were first born, your daddy and I both said you looked like Hannah Kate.  While you still favor your big sister, I've also come to see a lot of Mason in you during the past couple of weeks.  But the one thing that sets you apart from both of them is your mouth.  You still love to suck your bottom lip up under your top lip.  I just love it when you do that!
You have the bestest big brother and big sister.  The first thing Mason does everyday when he gets home from school is look for you.  He is also the first one to rock you in your bouncer seat if you are fussy, and I can't come right away.  He loves to hold you.  You always seem to just melt in his arms.  And he smothers you with kisses every night at bedtime.  Hannah Kate must tell me a million times a day, Ellie is just so CUTE!  She is so anxious to share her room with you.  She talks often about teaching you how to write your name and playing dolls with you.
Our first month with you has been pure bliss.  There is nothing else I'd rather be doing, no where else I'd rather be that at home with you and your brother and sister.  I love the three of you more than you'll ever know, more than I ever thought possible.  What a blessing you are!

I love you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

What's missing in this picture?!

Finally.  Mason has been hot-to-trot for past the couple of years now to lose a tooth.  Many of his classmates have been losing teeth since kindergarten, and Mason often asked me when he was going to lose a tooth.  I'll be honest.  During our last visit to the dentist, I asked Dr. H about it because I, too, was wondering why it was taking so long.  She just smiled and said he'd probably lose a tooth before his next visit, and she was right.

Sunday morning a week ago, Mason came bounding down the stairs while I was nursing Ellie.  There were several things wrong with this scenario.  First of all, it was early.  Really early.  Mason does not get up that early unless someone makes him.  Second of all, he didn't have his blanket in his hand.  And third of all, he was really chipper and already mumbling a hundred miles a minute.  Mason is not a morning person.  Before I knew it, he was all up in my personal space asking me to feel his loose tooth.  He was so excited.  So for the rest of the day, he came to me every five minutes or so for a tooth check.

Mama, is it almost out?

Mama, see how loose it is now?

The next day he left to go fishing in Cocodrie with PawPaw and MawMaw.  I was a little sad thinking he might lose his tooth during his trip, and I would miss it so I put a ziplock bag in his suitcase and told him to be sure to save his tooth and bring it home.  He came back three days later with that tooth still in his mouth.  The next few days passed with little talk about the tooth.  I think he thought the tooth would just fall out by itself.  When he realized it might take a little push and a shove, he was quick to just forget about it.  It probably didn't help that my husband explained to him that his gum would bleed when his tooth came out.  I think at one point he offered to tie a string around it and yank it out.  Just what every kid needs to hear.  Lovely.

And then yesterday I couldn't stand it any longer.  When I picked him up from school, I noticed that his speech was a little strange because he kept messing with that tooth.  Besides, it was just barely hanging on and sticking way out of his mouth, so much so that even when his lips were closed, you could see that tooth poking through.  Well.  Maybe I exaggerate.  But seriously.  Something needed to be done.  It's times like these when I really needed my husband to be at home.  But he wasn't.  So it was all up to me. 

Before going to bed, I asked Mason if I could wiggle his tooth.  I then asked him if it was okay if I went ahead and pulled it out.  To my surprise, he said yes.  So I grabbed a kleenex and gently pulled the tooth right out.  Mason was so excited and insisted we put it under his pillow for the . . . er . . . um . . . Tooth Fairy.

I hadn't really thought ahead to the Tooth Fairy.  But I do know that recently several of my friends' children have been disappointed because the Tooth Fairy "forgot" his (or her) duties.  And you would know that I'd spent my last one dollar bill yesterday afternoon during a drink stop at Sonic.  I searched my secret stash and found one though.  And the Tooth Fairy didn't forget.  Mason retrieved a one dollar bill out from under his pillow when I woke him up this morning.  And you would know that my husband had advised the Tooth Fairy that she needed to take into account INFLATION.  Trust me.  A second grader knows nothing about inflation.  My second grader, in particular, was rather amused by that dollar bill he found under his pillow this morning.  But I know he has the Tooth Fairy all figured out.  And that's okay, too.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Time to Dance

Hannah Kate was so excited today to finally don her tights and leotard.  It was her first dance lesson of the new dance year.  Her ballet slippers and tap shoes from last year no longer fit, and all the hand-me-downs we were given were too small also so I took her yesterday to get new dancing shoes.  She also picked out a new leotard and skirt.

I was combing through the rack at the dance store and pulling out several leotards for her to look at.  The rack is "strategically" placed where she, too, can see all of the leotards and dance outfits.  So she was going through each one as well.  I showed her the ones I had picked out, but I could tell she was not impressed.  I wasn't sure why.  They were not over-the-top, but they were a little more than simple.  She tends to lean towards over-the-top sometimes so I usually have to offer some very specific guidance and suggestion.  I was very surprised when she pulled out a plain leotard.  There was nothing on it, not even a skirt.  I asked her if she was absolutely sure that was the one she wanted, and she was adament.  And then she showed me the back of it . . . she was so excited . . . she wanted it because it has a "bow" in the back.  When we came home with it, she took a picture of it with her camera.  And then she asked me to be sure to take a picture of the back of it, too.
She picked out a simple skirt to go with it, although the skirt does have a little rhinestone detail on the front of it in the center of the waist.  So she was really excited about that, too.  And, of course, she wanted to pose . . . my beautiful ballerina!
Hannah Kate enjoyed her class today, but we have been moved to a Thursday class so we'll be back on Thursdays again this year.  She'll be in the same class as most of her friends from last year.  I thought I would like dance class earlier in the week being that Thursdays are my worst days.  That's the day I seem to be the most tired.  But the advantage of Thursdays is that there is less homework than the other days of the week so I think that actually works in our favor. 

Due to the new school schedule, I have to go pick Mason up from school on dance days because he would not get off the bus in time for us to make it to dance.  So I have to leave here at 2:45 to pick him up in the carpool line.  After I pick him up, we drive the 15 minutes or so to the dance studio, which means we have an hour to wait before Hannah Kate's class starts.  She then gets out at 5:30.  So by the time I came home, fixed supper for Mason and Hannah Kate, nursed Ellie, navigated bath time for three children, finished homework, nursed Ellie again and put the biggies to bed, it was after 9:00 before I had an opportunity to eat supper.  That's a really long afternoon and evening, especially for a Thursday.  But I'm going to figure it out, and I think I'll be glad her class is on Thursdays again this year.  My main concern was really Ellie.  But she actually slept the whole entire time.  Ellie is teaching me that I really don't need to worry about her.  She always seems to do whatever it is I need her to do.

As much as I miss the laid-back ease of summertime, I do look forward to all of the school and extra-curricular activities that Mason and Hannah Kate are involved in.  I can't wait to see Hannah Kate's costumes for this year's recital and find out what music she'll be dancing to.  I can hardly believe this is already her second year of dance lessons.  Time seems to escape me so quickly these days.  These children are growing up right before my eyes.  I feel like if I even so much as blink, I'll miss something.  I'm trying to savor every moment and every memory.  In the meantime, it is time to dance. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

My Lefty

HAPPY LEFT-HANDERS' DAY to my lefty!  Pa, my daddy's father, was left-handed.  My aunt is left-handed.  And my Mason is left-handed!
Y'all, I'm serious.  It really is Left-Handers' Day.  And, believe it or not, it's not a Hallmark holiday (although I'll bet they have a card for it!)!  Left-Handers Day was established on August 13, 1992 by the Left-Handers Club.  I'm not kidding.

According to their website:

The Left-Handers Club was formed in 1990 aiming to keep members in touch with developments, make their views known to manufacturers and others, provide a help & advice line, to promote research into left-handedness and development of new left-handed items. Since its formation the Club has gone from strength to strength with members all over the world and is highly regarded as the foremost pressure group and advice centre on all aspects of left-handedness.  On 13th August 1992 the Club launched International Left-Handers Day, an annual event when left-handers everywhere can celebrate their sinistrality and increase public awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed. This event is now celebrated worldwide, and in the U.K. alone there were over 20 regional events to mark the day in 2001, including left versus right sports matches, a left-handed tea party, pubs using left-handed corkscrews where patrons drank and played pub games with the left hand only and nationwide "Lefty Zones," where left-handers' creativity, adaptability and sporting prowess were celebrated, whilst right-handers were encouraged to try out everyday left-handed objects to see just how awkward it can feel using the wrong equipment!  These events have contributed more than anything else to the general awareness of the difficulties and frustrations left-handers experience in everyday life and have successfully led to improved product design and greater consideration of our needs by the right-handed majority - although there is still a long way to go!

Who knew?! Well, now you do!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

2nd GRADE: Day One & Jitter Juice

Sometime in between Cocodrie, the water park, homemade peach and blueberry pie and Ellie's arrival, summer came and went.  Yesterday was Mason's first day of 2nd grade.

Again, it's obvious that no one from the school board contacted me concerning the school calendar.  Otherwise, I would've advised them NOT to schedule the first day of school on a Friday.  I mean, that's the day of the week you usually look most forward to.  But instead we spent the week not necessarily looking forward to Friday.  My husband said it ruined the whole week.  Alas, it arrived.

I was a bit anxious for our first morning.  I wasn't sure how our school routine was going to fit in with Ellie's nursing schedule.  But it all worked out.  This year is a little different in that Mason's school day starts an hour later.  The good news is that we don't have to get up at dark thirty anymore.  But I will miss him getting home by 3:00.  Instead he'll get home around 4:00, which means there will be little time for outside play once homework is finished.  But I think we'll enjoy being a little more laid back in the mornings since he won't get on the bus until after 7:00.  Yesterday morning, however, I decided to take him to school.  Before we got out of the truck, I asked him if I could pray for him.  His response.  Nah.  My response.  Close your eyes and bow your head because I'm going to pray for you anyway!

Even though he'd been saying he didn't want to go to school, we had a great morning.  He got right up, ate his breakfast and got dressed.  He marched right into his classroom and found his seat.  It sure was hard for me to leave him.  But I did.  And then I waited anxiously all day until he got off the bus.  He actually came down the driveway with a smile on his face.  He had fun on his first day of 2nd grade!

Now.  Mason is not a very detail oriented person.  And he loves to talk.  As a matter of fact, I don't think he stops talking from the time he wakes up until the time he goes to bed.  We aren't sure where this comes from.  Seriously.  We all know my husband is a man of few words.  And I don't talk THAT much.  Really.  I don't.  Not as much as Mason.  But as much as he talks, you still have to fill in the blanks and ask a lot of questions.  And you still may not have the whole story or a story that makes sense.  So I have to be creative when asking questions about his school day.  I asked the usual questions and got not a whole lot of information.

Then I went through the folder in his backpack.  There was a packet of information and a poem labeled Jitter Juice.

Have you heard of Jitter Juice?
It's magic and it's yummy!
It makes the butterflies fly away,
right out of my tummy!
The bubbles in this silly juice
will help you not to worry.
So grab a cup and drink it up!
Hurry!  Hurry!  Hurry!

Isn't that the cutest?!  So I asked Mason about it.  And, come to find out, they made Jitter Juice in class!  When I asked him what Jitter Juice was, he said his teacher mixed up ice cream and Sprite, and they all drank it.  Upon further questioning, it sounds like she used either strawberry ice cream or maybe strawberry sorbet.  After everyone in the class drank a cup, they took a class vote to find out who liked Jitter Juice and who didn't and made a tally chart.  How fun!  Now that's a really cool teacher who is going to give a classroom of 2nd graders ice cream and Sprite on their first day!

I'll be honest.  I sure wish I would've had some Jitter Juice yesterday!  I think (No.  I KNOW.) I was more nervous than Mason was about the first day of school.  I think I'll still have the jitters for awhile . . . at least until I'm a little more confident in our morning and afternoon routines (I haven't mentioned that Hannah Kate starts dance again this Tuesday, which means I'll have to pick Mason up in carpool every Tuesday in order for us to make it to class on time . . . and that's already stressing me out.) . . . but I already know 2nd grade is going to be a great year!

Now to stock up on Sprite and strawberry ice cream!

Saturday, August 04, 2012

Settling In

We spent the past week settling in, or at least trying to, to our "new" routine.  Basically that means that Seth was out of town all week, and I was here by myself with the children.

What can I say?  It seems like Ellie has been here with us always.  Her big brother and big sister are never far away.  I think I'm going to have to create a chart to keep up with whose turn it is to hand me a diaper (although, for some reason, no one wants to CHANGE the diaper), pick out pajamas, hold the baby.  And I'm certain that Ellie is as fond of her biggies as they are of her.
I was spoiled the first two weeks of Ellie's life.  Even though my recovery was more difficult than I ever imagined it would be, Seth was with me the first week.  And last week my parents came and stayed several days.  I was on "bed rest" at the time, and they both were a huge blessing to me and the children.  I don't know how many games of Pictureka! they played with Mason and Hannah Kate, but I'll bet they don't care if they ever play that game again!  They helped with our meals and even cleaned my house and kept up with our laundry.  But the thing that meant the most to me was the time they spent playing with Mason and Hannah Kate.  I hadn't yet been able to do that since I'd come home.
But, as I mentioned earlier, all good things must come to an end.  And our regular, normal, everyday life ensued this week.  Monday began with a doctor's appointment for me.  That was actually the first day I was feeling better, the first day I could say with confidence that I wouldn't be hurting and sore for the rest of my life.  My check-up went well, and Dr. W told me I could start driving again.
Ellie and Mason both had check-ups on Tuesday.  My mother-in-law was my chauffeur again so we all loaded up to go to the pediatrician's office.  Nothing is ever "uneventful" around here.  Last year we had a lot of difficulty with wax build-up in Mason's ears.  I took him to the doctor many times to have his ears cleaned out.  But in recent months, he hadn't complained, hadn't been bothering with his ears.  Sometimes I noticed him favoring his left ear though so I asked Dr. K to check that carefully just to be sure there wasn't any wax build-up.  Well, there was.  And so the process began.  It took a little while, and Dr. K continued to carefully work, as she said she could see a rather large piece of wax in his ear.  She finally abandoned her whatever kind of tool she was using and got a pair of tweezers.  She then asked me if I ever put q-tips in his ear.  I explained that I definitely do not do that because of all the trouble we've had with his ears.  The only thing I put in his ears is drops.  Then she said she could see something "fibrous" in there.  And that would be when she pulled out a long, thin strand of something.  She pulled out another and another strand until we had four altogether.  At that point, I asked Mason if he'd been sticking q-tips in his ears.  Well, of course he has.  So I began to gently explain to him that he should not be doing that.  His response?  "Well, Daddy does it."  Well, that's just fine because I'll be having a conversation with Daddy when he calls me tonight!  And, at that moment, Dr. K pulled the ENTIRE END OF A Q-TIP OUT OF MASON'S EAR!  I am not kidding.  I. was. mortified.  I honestly have no idea how long that piece of cotton had been stuck down in his ear!  But at least it explained why I had to repeat myself ten times for him to ever hear me!  I just can't believe it didn't bother him, can't believe he never said anything to me about not being able to hear in that ear or feeling like something may be stuck in that ear.  But other than the cotton in his ear, Mason had a great check-up!
And then it was Ellie's turn.  Little Miss Piggy gained 9 ounces in one week, bringing her weight up to 7 pounds 14 ounces and surpassing her birth weight of 7 pounds 9 ounces. 
In the meantime . . . I noticed Monday night that I was unusually cold.  I bumped the thermostat up to 80 and sat covered in a fleece blanket while I was nursing Ellie.  I didn't think too much about it.  It was odd; I'm definitely very hot natured.  But I thought it was probably my body continuing to recover and adjust after giving birth.  After one of Ellie's middle-of-the-night feedings, I noticed that my whole body was aching after I crawled back into bed.  Again, I didn't think too much about it.  Tuesday morning as I was getting ready to take everyone to the doctor, I was cold again.  And I wasn't "feeling good."  I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I was really more focused on the children than I was myself.  During the ride to the doctor's office, I was cold, I felt weak and I was just aching.  It was all I could do to get out of the truck and walk inside.  But, again, I pushed all of that aside to focus on the children and their appointments.  I was relieved to finally be back home and thought it actually felt "good" outside.  I believe the heat index was 109 that day.  So at that point, I knew something was really wrong.  I took my temperature, and, sure enough, I was running a high fever.  I sat down to think about what it might be . . . after all, I'd just been to the doctor the day before, and everything was fine . . . and then I knew exactly what it was.  So I called my doctor to tell her what was going on, and she agreed.  Mastitis. 
Have you ever felt liquid fire running through your veins?  Well, that's what mastitis feels like!  And in all the wrong places!  But thank goodness for antibiotics and a sweet friend who picked up the medicine for me on her way home from work so I didn't have to go all the way back to Baton Rouge.  I pushed on through the rest of Tuesday, and I was feeling better on Wednesday.
And then Wednesday evening was a big night for us.  Mason and I went to his school for orientation.  The first day of school is next Friday.  Really?!  What happened to summer?  I'll be honest.  I was dreading the start of school.  I guess you could say I have too many bad memories from 1st grade!  I'd been praying throughout the summer that the Lord would place Mason in the class that's best for him with the teacher that's best for him, preferably a teacher who can really help and encourage him this year in reading.  That has proven to be most challenging.  There are five 2nd grade teachers, but I knew only one of them.  And the one he got was not the one I knew.  So after the presentation in the gym, we headed over to find his classroom and meet his teacher.
And, can I just tell you . . . God answered my prayer in the biggest of ways.  I am absolutely IN LOVE with his teacher.  She is so full of passion and vision, and it's obvious that she loves what she does.  She gave a brief presentation to all of her parents, and most of it had to do with reading, reading strategies and her plan for reading instruction.  When she showed us copies of the dolce sight word list and Frye's phrases, I wanted to sit down and cry but only after I'd kissed her feet first.  Several months back, I enlisted the help of the greatest elementary school teacher I know, my Aunt Harriette (or Aunt Hair-net as I used to call her when I was little), to help me know how I could better help Mason in reading.  She gave me the dolce sight word list and Frye's phrases, which is what we've been working on this summer.  So when Mason's teached pulled those out and explained them to us, I knew it was going to be a GREAT year!  Reading seems to be her "specialty."  Last year her class wrote and published a book with their own artwork and original story.  She said they are going to do the same again this year.  She also had folders for all of us parents, candy on each desk for the children.  I also heard from another student that she's known to bring donuts to class every once in a while for everyone.  Her classroom is so kid friendly, learner friendly.  So we are definitely going to have a fabulous 2nd grade year!  While I think reading will continue to be our biggest challenge this year, I am confident that Mason's teacher is really going to make a difference in his progress and overall attitude towards reading.  That doesn't mean we're ready for school to start, but I guess it has to.
Thursday was another big day.  I had to go to Miss Machita's to register Hannah Kate for dance classes.  She'll be taking tap and ballet again this year, and she can't wait for classes to resume.  We (yes, all three of the children and I) stood in line for TWO. HOURS.  So by the time we made it home from that, I was ready to crash.  But I didn't.  I made it!

I can not believe we have only one week left of "summer" (meaning before school starts).  Nor can I believe that Ellie is almost three weeks old.  She's still the dreamiest baby ever!  She still sleeps alot . . . as you can see here . . .
She is nursing every two hours.  I'm hopeful she'll stretch that to three hours soon, especially during the nighttime hours.  But I can't complain.  After she nurses, she goes right back to sleep so I really do wake up every morning feeling rested.  She is pure joy.

I was able to catch her with her bright blue eyes open a bit a few days ago . . .
I think she's beginning to look a little less like Hannah Kate now.  She actually looks like Mason AND Hannah Kate to me.  Today though she especially reminded me of Mason.