Wednesday, November 25, 2009

So Faithful!

I lift up my eyes to the hills -
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip -
he who watches over you will not slumber;
Psalm 121: 1-3

With all praise to God, we can report that we made it to Ohio late last night without sickness incidences. Benjamin is still not 100%, but he was a trooper and did not get sick on the plane or during our 2 hour lay-over in Houston.

Both boys were great travelers. We feel so blessed to have kiddos who obey, do not act-out in public and generally enjoy traveling. Jasper had a blast taking two airplanes. He even thought the turbulence that sent the flight attendants back to the galley for safety was fun. He was almost yelling "these bumps are fun, mommy!"

Jasper always claims the window seat, so Benjamin doesn't get much time there. But since we had to board the plane before Drew and Jasper on our last flight, I let him peer out the window, and he squealed just as much as Jasper does. We happened to be parked right near the entrance & exit to the underground baggage claim area at Houston, so there was a steady stream of baggage trucks with their cars trailing behind them zipping by.

Neither boy slept on either flight, and Jasper tolerated it much better. Jasper was so excited to be in Ohio he was chatting with grandpa the entire car ride home (about 40 minutes). Benjamin did not fall asleep until the car ride home - at 11 pm (local time) ... 3 hours past his bedtime. Then he woke up when we got to grandpa and grandma Gant's house and was very scared of the unusual surroundings. He had a hard time going down to sleep ... at midnight (local time). Poor boy. He woke up at 7am this morning, so it was precious little sleep for him.

This is our transition day. Jasper has gone off to preschool with grandma and grandpa, and Benjamin is napping now. Hopefully it will be a good one! Jon and Kate get in around dinner time. :)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sweet Cuddler

Our poor baby is sick.  No, this isn’t the first time this year or this season or even in the last 2 months.  No, that’s because he’s been sick for all but two weeks of the last two months.  Poor kid!  He’s sounded like he has mucus in his lungs the entire 2 months.  I have said over and over, he sounds mucus-y.  Each time they listen to his lungs and he’s “clear.”  But he doesn’t improve.  He also struggled for a long time with a nasty cough that he just couldn’t shake.  I’ve offered him lots of water, he sleeps in a room with a vaporizer (24/7), and when really congested he gets nose drops (and sometimes the suction).  So, the pediatrician finally put Benjamin on Amoxicillin. 

After 7 days of Amoxicillin his green nose goop was gone, but he wasn’t totally kicking whatever had taken hold of his body, so I went back to the pediatrician and begged for a stronger antibiotic.  Before she was going to just dole out the drugs, she wanted x-rays.  So, Benjamin wooed the ladies at the Radiology clinic and walked all the way from the waiting room into the exam room.  It was funny to walk behind him and watch him follow the technician.  He still kind of waddles while he walks, so it’s cute and comical. 

Xrays were on a Friday, and the following Monday (last Monday) we got a call from the pediatrician that Benjamin has a major sinus infection and a viral lower respiratory infection.  Great!  Can’t do anything about the latter except just wait.  But for the former he was put onto Omnicef for 2 weeks.  Usually this messes with his GI, but for the last week he’s actually been fine … except on Wednesday he started being more cranky than normal and his body temperature started to rise.  It didn’t reach fever levels, but it was trending in the wrong direction.  By Thursday morning it was 100.2 deg.  That seemed odd.  The nurse I talked to on the phone verbalized what I had been thinking: “Omnicef should be taking care of that.”  Uh huh.  By the time he got up from his nap his temp was back in the normal range and he was a happy camper again.  He continued to feel warm (as he has throughout this whole sickness melodrama), but nothing over 100deg, through the end of the week. 

On Saturday morning he woke up with snot residue under his nose.  I noticed, and I wondered.  Then later that night, out of the blue, he woke up at 11pm and cried inconsolably for an hour.  It did not matter what we did – who held him, if we walked outside (usually an instant calming trick), if he had a pacifier, whatever.  At one point he passed big time gas and then had esophageal activity that made Drew and I both run for the kitchen sink thinking he was going to vomit.  Thankfully he didn’t, but we took precautions in case he did.  We covered the couch with a sheet and towels.  We decided to wait a little while and observe him before we put him back in his crib. 

Drew brought the rocking chair into the living room so I could rock him, and that was the first time either of us had been able to sit with him.  He soon fell asleep and then woke a short while later and reached his arms out like he does when he wants to go down in his crib.  So I quickly lay him on the couch and nestled in next to him.  (Drew had let me take a nap earlier in the evening, so I was due to be on nighttime duty.)  Benjamin and I spent the next three hours on the couch, but he wasn’t overly comfortable.  There was no humidity to make it easier for him to breathe, and the couch – while super comfy – wasn’t the right firmness for him – and he kept rolling into the crease where the cushions meet.  So, at 3am, after getting precious little sleep myself, I put Benjamin into his crib and climbed into my own bed.  He spent the rest of the night in his crib without issue, and by God’s kindness Jasper did not wake up (and wake us up) until after 7:30am. 

On Sunday his runny nose was back in full force.  He was sleeping worse than before – waking to cough or moan throughout naps and overnight.  He also sounds mucus-y again.  We’re nearly 7 full days into Omnicef and cannot figure out why he’s regressed.  While he’s quite happy and active right after his naps or once he wakes up in the morning, as soon as he’s tired, he really gets clingy and somewhat cranky.  It’s sad.  I don’t want him to be sick.  I just want him to be healthy and happy.  That being said, his clingy nature can be cute.  He’s still a cuddler when he wants to, and these days we’re getting a lot of it.  I couldn’t reach my camera fast enough to capture a photo of him cuddling with Drew yesterday, but it was precious.  I hope I can remember it. 

Today was an adventure.  He had made little progress since yesterday, except that he made it through the night without issue (yea!).  His nose was running like a faucet, but his temperature what still not breaking (albeit knocking on the door of) 100deg.  He seemed fine enough that I just called and talked to the pediatrician about his condition and got instructions to watch and wait.  I let Mallory, our dear babysitter, come watch the boys as planned and headed out to the salon for a long overdue hair appointment. 

When I arrived home after naptime, I was greeted in the garage by a boisterous Jasper followed by Benjamin being held by Mallory.  Jasper was full of energy and is quite healthy right now.  Benjamin on the other hand was coughing – like he was trying to clear his throat and then all of a sudden vomited ALL OVER Mallory.  I was stunned.  Mallory was stunned.  Benjamin looked sick – like round 2 was coming.  So I said, “go to the sink.  he might throw up again.”  Mallory went running, but thankfully there was not a second round. 

Mallory was a trooper.  For those of you not exposed, vomit smells awful.  Really awful.  She had it everywhere, even in her hair, and she totally did not complain – but was trying to put me at ease about it. 

Oye!  All I could think of was “poor baby, what is wrong????  Why vomit now?  What caused this.”  He had not had anything to eat for about 4 hours.  The coughing was the first episode of coughing he had done all afternoon since Mallory was there.  There is no true explanation.  He looked pale and gaunt for the next hour and took precious little pedialyte.  But about three hours after this all went down, he ate some Cheerios, banana and a dry pancake.  He also washed it down with more pedialyte before konking out at bedtime.  We’ll see what this evening holds.  I pray nothing out of the ordinary, we have to pack.  Tomorrow we fly to Ohio. 

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bedtime Buddies

Both boys took great naps this afternoon – nearly 3 hours a piece.  So when Benjamin’s bedtime rolled around (7pm) and he hadn’t even gotten into the bath, I wasn’t ruffled.  I figured he could go down a little late – maybe a half hour or so.  He went down without a hitch albeit a tad late.  When Jasper marched into the bedroom a little after 8pm, only 30 minutes after Benjamin had gone down, his grand entrance woke our not-totally-asleep one-year-old and set off a chain reaction of events I only knew would happen one of these days.  We’ve never put them down awake together.  Now I know why. 

Benjamin started to cry, hard.  So I got him up in the darkness of the room and held him while I sang to Jasper – all three verses of “Jesus Loves Me.”  Then I prayed with Jasper.  This is standard stuff for our bedtime routine.  When I was done, I put Benjamin down and gave him a kiss.  No problem.  Then I went to Jasper and gave him a kiss.  No problem.   I left the room in silence and heard nothing in return … until moments later when we could hear giggling over the monitor.  Yes, giggling.  Drew went in to find Jasper at the crib egging on his brother in a nighttime laugh fest.  Jasper was warned and got back in bed.  Another warning quickly ensued.  By the third outburst of laughter, Drew found that Jasper was doing this all from the comfort of his bed.  He was staying in bed, just talking jibberish to make his brother laugh.  Benjamin, for his part, was jumping up and down on his mattress and then leaning over his crib rail as far as he could to see Jasper. 

This giggling went on until it was nearly 9pm, which is nearly 2 hours after Benjamin’s normal bedtime.  Something had to be done.  The boys had to be split up.  So, we decided – since he’s been asking to do this anyway – to let Jasper sleep in his sleeping bag in his tent in the office.  Drew extracted him from the bedroom, and I calmed the screaming baby who was none to happy that we had removed his bedtime buddy.  Drew got Jasper all set up in the tent and then somehow let Jasper talk him into leaving the French doors between the office and living room open. 

As I type Benjamin is not making a sound, likely not making a move and is (we sure hope!) sound asleep.  Jasper on the other hand is zipping the tent door open and closed, sitting up in the tent and then flopping his body down onto his pillow and has just this moment kicked his foot outside the tent.  (Drew has gone to investigate.  See a pattern?  Drew is my sleuth.  Sometimes he comes back with the silliest tales that we laugh until our sides hurt.)  Drew and I are in turn sitting in silence and muted light in our living room.  We’d normally be watching Special Report, making ourselves depressed at the decisions being made (or not made, re: Afghanistan) in Washington, DC.  Or we’d be retreating to the comic relief of Accidentally on Purpose – our guilty pleasure.  Instead, I’m typing on the computer and he’s reading his iPhone.  Oh the joys of parenthood! 

… and with too much excitement and not enough self discipline to speak of, Jasper has been put back into his bed in their bedroom at 20 minutes to 10pm.  Benjamin is asleep, and we hope this return to normal sleeping arrangements will have a normal outcome = Sleep! 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Jasper Had a Run-In …

I pray we never have to say: with the law.  For now, his run-in’s are of a more concrete nature.

On Friday afternoon, Drew informed me he’d have to work late.  I decided we could pick up some food and go down to Apollo to have dinner with him.  Since he said a number of guys would be working late, we decided to pick up a group meal from Rudy’s.  When I arrived to pick it up (squeezing it in between a prescription pick-up at Target and two overly hungry boys), we had to wait a little bit.  Considering I had picked Jasper up from a dead sleep in his nap to get over to the pediatrician’s office for a check-up for Benjamin, and then immediately went to Target, he did not get his afternoon run-around time in.  So, while we were waiting for our food, I let him run along the side of the building where I could see him the entire way. 

Only for a fraction of a second before it happened did I foresee the potential harm of this activity.  And before I could do anything, the sweet Rudy’s employee slowly opened the door to bring out our food and Jasper ran directly into it.  He literally ricocheted off the door and fell onto the concrete sidewalk.  I heard the Rudy’s employee say something very grave and then the door closed.  Amazingly Jasper jumped up immediately and came to me for comfort.  He had no welt, no blood, no bruising, no disorientation, no symptoms of any injury at all.  He only complained a short time of any pain – and really only at our prompting.  The Rudy’s staff was great.  They quickly brought us ice.  The manager came our to make sure Jasper was ok.  Both were totally apologetic, wanted to take care of Jasper, followed up to make sure he was ok, etc. 

There was no way to see what’s on the other side of the door before the Rudy’s staff open it, but I suspect that’s going to change after Jasper’s run-in with the door

Benjamin Got a Haircut

Either I block it out or honestly don’t realize how long my boys’ hair really is - until it’s poking them in the eyes.  Benjamin had reached that point some time back, but unlike Jasper I cannot just turn on Cars and expect he’ll sit still with sharp scissors around.  I had to do my snipping with Drew here.  And that meant over the weekend.  So, this past Saturday I gave him a little trim.  Once again, I’ll need to make sure I dress him in gender-specific clothes for a while.  Pollyanna is back in town. 

Before: a “bit” of a brush-over,


and overall scraggly.


After: cautiously optimistic,DSC_4529 but overall pleased.DSC_4531 

Perhaps it’s not so much Pollyanna as … the flying nun:

DSC_4533(Don’t worry, those flippy curls don’t show up all the time.)

We Take Our Lumps

In Texas, the weather is awful in the summer.  I don’t lie about such things.  Awful doesn’t even cover it.  Getting up early to get some “outside time” in with the boys before we retreat to the shelter of air conditioning for the rest of the day is no way to spend the longest days of the year. 

That being said, fall is gorgeous.  Ok, we have nary the colorful leaves – yellow and brown is all we get, but the weather is hard to top.  Cool mornings in the 50s/60s and highs in the afternoons that climb into the mid-70s.  Bliss!  Of course it’s dark by 6:15pm, and the days are only going to get shorter.  But we love the days.  We spend most of the time on or around things with wheels.  Jasper rides his bike up and down the driveway, and Benjamin plays with the Jeep.  Some afternoons Jasper rides his bike to the park nearby and I push Benjamin in the stroller.  Of course, I can’t walk anymore.  Jasper is too quick on his bike.  No, I have to jog … just to keep up!  Ugh! 


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One afternoon last week I ventured out (without Drew – which meant I had to hook it up by myself, which is no small task!) and took the boys on a quick bike ride with them in the trailer over to see Luke and Ellie.  They loved it!  We grieve that Drew is inside all day and not able to enjoy the warmth of the sunshine and the coolness of the autumn breeze.  He lives for Saturdays and Sundays with the boys (and me).  This last Saturday Drew and Jasper started a new athletic class: soccer!  The jury is out on if Jasper likes it, but we’ll see.  After class we spent the remainder of the morning outside and enjoyed lunch on the deck.  We later rode our bikes to another park after naptime.  It was a good Saturday. 

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It looks like Benjamin is about to swipe something off Jasper’s plate, doesn’t it?  Not sure what he was eyeing. 


Who knows what Jasper is talking about here.  He carries on conversations that are way above his age level.  One day last month (early in October), I had just asked him what flavor of yogurt he wanted and was stirring up the yogurt and was going to pour half into a bowl.  He said to me, “Mom, I want the white bowl … with the red stripe … and the cow.”  Check out below to what he was referring. 



Growing Up Can Be Hard

Jasper is a sensitive kid.  Not sure how he got this way, but I’m pretty sure at least some of it is hard wired.  He frustrates easily – always has, and now that he has a little brother who is motoring around and getting into his biz-ness, he is all the more frustrated. 

Multiple times each day we hear, “No, Benjamin, that’s MINE!”  Yep, it gets old.  So, in order to teach sharing, we’ve instituted the rule that he cannot utter those words (“No, that’s mine”).  If he doesn’t want to share, he must come up with a different way of saying it. 

  • For example, “Benjamin, I’m playing with it now.  You can play with it later.” 
  • Or, for those times when Benjamin is rightfully playing with something Jasper decides he wants to play with, he can institute a trade.  He can bring Benjamin another toy and ask if he can swap. 

Most of the time Benjamin obliges, but sometimes he doesn’t. 

If Jasper says, “No, that’s mine!” he loses whatever toy is in dispute for the rest of the day.  If he swipes something from Benjamin, same thing.  Jasper knows this but of course forgets most of the time until we’re well into the day and he’s lost the fifth or sixth toy.  At that point in time, when I take the toy away, put it on the dining room table and tell him he can have it tomorrow, he often will say (while choking back tears), “Mom … it’s kinda hard to share.”  Oh, too precious!  It is hard, isn’t it?  And yet it’s easy, too – from our perspective.  Makes me think of how God must look down on us and think how sad it is that we get our panties all in a bind about sharing, and it reminds me as I tell him … “I know, sweetie.  That’s why we have to practice.”   

Tonight we went shopping at Target to get toys for our Samaritan’s Purse Operation Christmas Child shoebox.  We were buying trucks for little boys, and I had to tell Jasper over and over again that the trucks were not for him but for little boys who have no toys.  I asked him how many trucks he has.  He said he couldn’t count them.  I agreed and said “you have LOTS!  But little boys who live far away don’t have any.  These trucks are for them.”  I didn’t know if it would sink in.  But as I was throwing together dinner when we got home, as I was letting both boys pacify themselves although they were tired and hungry, Jasper asked if he could get out the trucks for the other boys – the ones who live far away and don’t have any trucks.  He sat the boxes on the kitchen table, and they “watched” him eat his dinner.  He talked about the van, the flatbed, the tow truck, etc. but in the end, he still talked about them being for the other boys who don’t have any trucks. 

Hopefully his sensitive side can be guided to be full of compassion, too. 

Saturday, November 07, 2009

iPhone Prowess

Early this year our friend Gayleigh showed Jasper how to work with her iPhone to find the photos she had stored on it.  Since we got our iPhones, Jasper has shown that he hasn’t lost his touch.  We have to keep our phones locked to keep him from playing with them.  Check it out!  (Jasper picks up everything we say, so we have to be careful.  I have had to find ways to express myself that are not harmful for Jasper to learn.)


Just a week or so ago he started wanting to find the lawnmower photos.  I wasn’t sure what he wanted, but I let him work his magic (supervised) and in no time he found the photos of him pushing a toy lawnmower when we were at the John Deere store in Michigan.  He can also find the fire truck photos – from trips daddy has taken to Portland and Houston.  And he knows that the tractor trailer photos are just on daddy’s phone and not mommy’s.  It’s kind of ridiculous. 

Last week I was in the doctor’s office for Benjamin to see our pediatrician.  Jasper tired of playing with his trucks and was getting too obtrusive into our conversation, so I gave him my phone.  He proceeded to find the fourth page where the baby game apps are located and started the memory game.  Our pediatrician, our age, just smiled and said – can you believe what video games are like compared to what we had growing up?  … yea, Atari!

Monday, November 02, 2009

Daredevil Jasper

Jasper’s latest trick on the bike is to start in Cameron and Meagan’s driveway, build up speed, come down the sidewalk between our houses and then as he’s making the curve into our driveway: pick up his feet and coast all the way into the garage. He does this with the biggest grin on his face possible! Daddy was totally impressed (and proud as all get-out!)DSC_4416 DSC_4417 DSC_4418 DSC_4419


So Big

Honestly, I hold him every day.  I change his clothes and marvel at how he’s already growing out of 12mo pants.  But I still can’t believe how big Benjamin is.  On Saturday morning I looked at him sitting in the high chair and just couldn’t believe it.  Can you?

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Something we’re working on with Benjamin is getting him to not put his feet on the table.  This is something we had to work on with Jasper, too – but much later.  We used the high chair tray with Jasper for a long time, so when he was finally close to the table he was old enough to understand the error of putting his feet on the table (and especially our displeasure).  Benjamin isn’t there yet and likes to put his feet up when he’s frustrated or done.  Jasper likes to remind him that feet don’t go on the table. 


Last week we had a couple of walking injuries.  On Wed (Oct 28), Benjamin was walking with his milk cup (with an integrated rubber straw), and he fell directly onto his cup.  It cut the inside of his mouth – I think it was that tissue that connects your upper lip to the gum.  It bled … a lot!  And for a few days he looked like a platypus.  I was calling him Platy for the remainder of the week.  Poor kid.  He fell on Sunday, too and cut his lip.  He was carrying Drew’s water bottle, and I was there – watching, guarding but just far enough away to not be able to catch him before he fell.  For a the immediate future, there will be no walking with cups or bottles of any kind.  He’s walking really well – but he’s still just a month in and plenty wobbly. 

Look at US, Mom!

Last Friday Drew found a bike trailer for sale on craigslist – a Burley D’Lite.  He thought it would be a good price based on the usage by the sellers, and he asked me to go look at it.  Wow, did we ever score.  It’s in pristine condition!  We’re so excited. 

Drew got a chance to try it out right away.  While I was at a shower on Saturday morning, he loaded up the boys and rode down to Rudy’s to check out the Classic Car Show.  The roads in our neck of the woods are hilly, and even taking a less hilly (but safe) route was a workout for Drew.  But he loved it!  Turns out the boys love it too. 

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So, instead of doing the authentic thing – driving out to a pumpkin patch for a photo op and to purchase our pumpkins for fall decor … we instead went to Whole Foods.  However, I do not think we would have found the same selection and abundance of pumpkins (and squash) anywhere else.  Their display was awesome, and we were happy as clams to snaps some photos of the boys and then head home for naps. 

At first the boys were very ho-hum about pumpkins.DSC_4325

But, give them a little time, and they warmed up to how much fun it was to be surrounded by orange goodness.


This pumpkin on which the boys are posing (leaning) is $60!  It was huge!  Jasper loved the truck used as part of the display.DSC_4336

Benjamin got some solo shots because Jasper received a “present” from a bird, so I was cleaning him up.  It was really minor, but silly that our family is such a magnet! 

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look at all these pumpkins, squash and gourds!

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So many pumpkins!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


The wheels are starting to come off for Benjamin. 

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Jasper claimed this mini pumpkin as his, and he loved playing with it. 


Fall Festival

On November 24th, the elementary school one block from our home hosted a fall festival.  All the kids enrolled in the school were invited, as were kids and families from the neighborhood.  It was a b-e-a-u-tiful day (think Meg Ryan in “French Kiss”), and we had a great time as a family.  Jasper rode his bike there and got to see a fire truck, try out the bouncy house, see the baby animals and ride in the train.  It was a lot of fun, and the beauty of it being a block away is that we stayed only as long as we wanted.  Nice!

For whatever reason, Benjamin likes to undo the velcro on these shoes every time he wears them. 


Jasper was a little hesitant to go into the bouncy house and got a little wall flower shy when someone bold would come in.  But, once he was in the groove, he really loved it!

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Benjamin and I were spectators, enjoying the lovely weather!

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