Sunday, July 31, 2011

Hair today...

....gone tomorrow? Ugh, I can't decide!! You might remember my post from a few months ago, when I was literally counting down the days until the end of my maternity leave so that I could chop off my hair before going back to work. As a refresher, it was this cut (DWTS's Chelsea Kane):

I'm still obsessed with the cut, BUT I'm torn!! My hair is fairly long now that it's been so long since I've had it trimmed (don't judge me-it's been since the beginning of March!) Here is a recent picture of my hair:

It definitely needs to be cleaned up, the layers are driving me crazy. So my fair readers, what is your vote? Chop it off, Chelsea Kane style, like I've been looking forward to for months? embrace that it's a bit longer now and just trim it up, keep the length? go somewhere in between? Add bangs? ahhh....too many choices!!

My hair appointment is on Friday, so the pressure is on....

Friday, July 29, 2011

Hoarder Husband

Ok, so maybe he isn't extreme enough to qualify for Hoarders: Buried Alive, but believe me, he's a hoarder. Old tshirt from when he played baseball in 9th grade? Oh, we have to keep that! Fraternity shirt with holes all over it? Why, it's a prized possession! Rusty old tools that probably don't even work correctly? Well, you just never know, we might need them one day!!

I think his hoarding habits affect me so much because I'm pretty much the opposite. From my childhood, I have kept 3 things: a talking ALF doll (because um,'s ALF! And it still functions with the original batteries, circa 1989....creepy, yes?), all of my Barbies and their accessories (because it's BARBIE!) and my Babysitters Club books (though this last one is questionable...I requested to keep these books, but they have mysteriously disappeared from my parents house, I'm guessing they got thrown out, *tear*). Otherwise, I'm a tosser. If I don't use it, I toss it. I go through my clothes normally 3-4 times a year and try to clear out anything I haven't worn since the last time I cleaned out my closet.

When we first moved in together, I had to take matters into my own hands at one point. We were living in a small apartment, but had purchased a house & we were packing up to move. He had SO.MANY.CLOTHES that I had never seen him wear in the 3+ years we had been together at that point. I knew there was no way he was voluntarily getting rid of them, so I did what I had to do. While he was showering on garbage night one night, I grabbed the biggest trash bag I could find, and stuffed that bad boy as fast as my little hands could go, then put it out on the curb to be taken away the next day. Peace out!! Now, normally, I always donate clothes...but desperate times called for desperate measures. You do what you have to do when dealing with a hoarder. Clearly, he didn't even miss the clothes, because he had NO CLUE they were gone until I confessed to my crime over a year later. Mwuuhuhahaha!!!

So, now that you know the backstory, I can get on with the point of this post: we had a huge breakthrough this week with Brian's hoarding habits. he has always had this horribly ugly chair that he acquired randomly from an elderly man. I forget the whole story, but it's not important...the man was of no relation to Brian, the chair has absolutely no sentimental value (or monetary value, for that matter). He's had this chair since college; it's not only ugly, it's not even that comfortable and frankly, it kind of smelled funny (sometimes things that live at a frat house can take on very unfortunate odors). I have been begging him to get rid of this chair since we moved in together. Yet somehow, it came from his house in Oakland, to our apartment together. From our apartment together, to our first home we purchased. And then again, from that home, to the house we live in now. *sigh* And really, what could I do?? Unlike some clothes, I think he would have noticed if a piece of furniture had gone missing. In our current home, I did put my foot down and the chair got tossed into the garage, taking up precious storage space, but at least it wasn't in a real room of our house.

Fast forward to this summer, and Brian purchased a riding lawn mower. We don't have a shed, so that thing had to move into our garage. Which meant that Brian had some major cleaning/decluttering/organizing to do. *happy dance*! It it with great excitement and joy that I am finally able to say that the ugly old man chair is officially out of our lives FOREVER!! It went out with the trash on Thursday, I watched him drag it out to the curb with my own 2 eyes (because I wouldn't put it past him to try and con a neighbor into storing it or something)

One small step for hoarders, one giant step for Brian. Next on my list of items to attack that need not take up space in our house: his childhood desk that we will never use again (yes, I'm being serious...we have it)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

10 weeks today

I can't believe Liam has been here for 10 weeks (I also can't believe I go back to work in 2 weeks from today, but that's a whole other post...) We had his 2 month check up today, here are the stats:

weight: 11 lbs, 3 oz (27th percentile)
height: 23.75 inches (69th percentile)
head: 40 cm (44th percentile)

I went into today's appointment with a suspicion that he had been going through a growth spurt, considering the fact that he's been basically attached to me the last 2 nights from 5pm-10pm, constantly nursing. I think I was right...when he checked into Childrens Hospital last Friday night (so 10 days ago), he was 10 lbs, 4 he was nearly a pound bigger! I flipped back through my old posts & it looks like at this point, Jake was 12.5 lbs and 24 inches long, so just a bit bigger.

Overall, everything looked great and Liam was right on track for everything. It was also his follow up visit from the viral meningitis episode, and we're all good there, too. Phew!

for fun, here are some pics to compare Jake & Liam, around the same ages....can you guess who is who?

and the brothers, listening to a story together :)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Welcome to my crib, yo.

In the chaos of the past few weeks, I forgot to post about moving Liam into his own room! He had been in a pack & play for our room, then when we went to visit Brian's parents over 4th of July, he slept in a crib in a different room. We hadn't really planned on moving him here yet, but when we came home, it seemed silly to take a step backwards since he did fine sleeping away from us at their house. So, off he went!

He is a pretty quiet sleeper once he's out, but he kind of "grunts" himself to sleep. I find it strangely comforting and almost enjoy hearing it over the monitor at night :) As far as his actual sleep goes, he's still doing well. We put him to bed around 10 or 10:30, he's usually up around 1 to eat, then back up around 4:30 or 5 to eat again, then out until 7:30 or so. While it's tiring to get up in the night, it's really not so bad because he goes right back down after eating. And when we initially put him down for the night, we're able to put him in his crib awake and like I said, he grunts himself to sleep :)

Ideally, I would love to start putting him IN bed earlier for the night (especially once I'm back to work) but we've tried a bit earlier twice and he's either wide awake & not wanting to go to sleep, or it seems to throw off his night and he's up more often.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Book Review: "The First Husband" (Laura Dave)

The First Husband by Laura Dave

I reviewed Laura's other books in a post a few years ago, and I was happy to hear that she had a new book out. I wasn't disappointed; this book gives you characters that you want to root for. It was a love story without being predictable, a good balance of some serious story lines and some good chick-lit elements (the funny BFF, love dilemmas, etc....) I'd definitely recommend it!!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Home Sweet Home!!

We were finally discharged from the hospital around 12:30pm yesterday after the labs finally came back that it was definitely viral and not bacterial meningitis. The dr. had told us the day before that they were running tests on the fluid from the spinal tap to see if it was caused by a particular kind of virus; as he put it, it was kind of a luck of the draw test...if it came back positive, that was the best case scenario as we would know with 100% certainty that it was a viral case. If it came back negative, it didn't necessary mean anything bad, just that it wasn't being caused by the particular kind of virus they were testing for. We lucked out though, in that the test came back positive for that virus, so we were able to go home!

Our discharge instructions were pretty simple, the doc said that the symptoms of meningitis can last for up to 2 weeks, but we should see an improvement within a few days. Liam is probably experiencing things like body aches, a headache, sensitivity to light, etc...and could continue to run a low fever for a few days. His temp when we came home yesterday was 100.1, but it was back down to normal by the time he went to bed. He slept fine last night and woke up the same as he usually does to eat, and his nursing has improved since we were in the hospital. So as long as I can manage to avoid picking up this virus (since somehow I'm the only one who hasn't been affected yet!) then we should be in the clear soon. Phew!

I mentioned it the other day, but it's worth saying again that our stay at Children's was wonderful. We were there from Friday evening around 9pm until Monday at 1pm and in that time, we met with a LOT of different staff members and everyone was wonderful. My heart goes out to families of children with serious illnesses who have to spend so much time there, I can't imagine what they go through every day.

I'm looking forward to spending time at home this week with all of my boys (and Gracie, of course!) They said Jake had a rough morning at school yesterday; no particular incidents, but he was just sad and only wanted to sit in a teacher's lap and cried for a bit after Brian left. I think it was just confusing for him....I put him to bed Friday night, he woke up Saturday morning, I was gone, Liam was gone. Then Brian left & he stayed with my parents, then Brian came back, my parents left, I was gone for days. Hopefully we'll get back on track! Here he is, showing off his many cute faces the other day:

And, the faces of Liam....

a serious thinker

angry baby!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A small update

Thank you to everyone who has sent texts, emails and messages with well wishes, we really appreciate it! I don't have too much more information, other than the fact that the bacterial tests have not shown any growth yet (which means no dreaded bacterial meningitis), which is good. The dr. said that most of the time, if it's going to show something, it shows up within 24 hours. Assuming there's no growth between now and tomorrow early afternoon, we should be discharged.

Liam's temperature dropped to 99.2 this afternoon, and he's eating fairly well and wetting diapers, so they're very happy with all of that. He developed a rash today on his stomach/chest/face, but they believe it's just from the virus and aren't concerned.

And I feel much better this afternoon than I did yesterday, or even this morning. I'm sure that getting some sleep last night helped, but I also feel better about everything in general. Even though we continued to get reassurance that everything would be fine, we also knew that we weren't totally out of the woods until we knew something from that bacterial test. So it's good that we've gone 24 hours without anything on that.

So, fingers crossed that we'll be discharged tomorrow. Then, I can completely stop worrying about his diagnosis & I look forward to being able to snuggle him in our own home, without an IV in his arm. And of course, I miss my Jake!! He was here for a little bit the first morning before we knew what Liam had, but we haven't had him back since and I definitely miss him.

A scary weekend

Unfortunately, I am blogging to you live from Children's Hospital. :( Everything is ok, but we had quite a scare...I'll start from the beginning.

Friday night, Liam nursed around 4:30pm then fell asleep; he napped until around 7:30, so for almost 2.5 hours. Kind of late in the day for a long nap for him, evenings tend to be his more alert time, but I didn't think too much of it while he was napping. He didn't want to nurse when he first woke up, so Brian gave him a bath. He was screaming like crazy after the bath, so I tried to nurse him again, but he refused & spit up a bunch. I passed him back off to Brian to change his clothes, when I heard Brian ask the dreaded question: "Hey it just me being paranoid, or does he feel really warm?" Sure enough, his temp was 100.4. Not incredibly high, but I remembered reading something about calling into the office with any type of fever when they're this little (he'd just turned 8 weeks on Tuesday-no shots yet) Sure enough, they wanted me to bring him straight to Children's Hospital.

So, at 8:30pm, Liam & I were off to the hospital. By the time we got here & registered, his fever was up to 103. By now, I was incredibly scared. Once they saw that temp, they gave him tylenol & took us back to a room & we were seen by a doctor right away. The doctor explained that they needed to run a series of tests including bloodwork, a urine screen and a spinal tap. *insert mommy panic here* I managed to stay in the room & try my best to comfort him during the blood work & the catheter, I had to leave for the tap, I didn't think I could handle it. It's a good thing I left, because he was too squirmy to get the test done, they had to give up.

They admitted us around midnight and we finally got to a room around 2am. We were then seen by a different doctor, who pretty much reiterated what the doctors in the ER had said: they were pretty sure that Liam had come down with whatever virus Jake & Brian had last week (if you remember my 4th of July post, Jake was running a high fever....last weekend, Brian came down with the same thing) So chances are, he had been exposed to those germs. But, since he's so little & hadn't been vaccinated yet, they had to be aggressive with the testing and rule out anything else aside from just a regular virus. The doctors finally left my room around 5am, told me to get some sleep & they would most likely attempt to do the spinal tap again in the morning.

The spinal tap was important because they were testing for meningitis; which is, unfortunately, what my poor little baby has. When the doctor gave me the news, I felt like I was going to pass out & he immediately told me to not cry, that it's the "good" kind. The meningitis that's always in the news is bacterial (that's the really bad kind), Liam has viral meningitis. They do believe that it started as whatever virus Jake & Brian had since he had been exposed to it, but that for whatever reason, his then turned into meningitis.

So now, we wait. While I don't completely understand all of the details, they are still trying to rule out 100% that it's NOT bacterial; and to do that, they have to wait for the tests they took to grow in a lab. We were admitted here Friday night and will most likely be discharged tomorrow (Monday) at some point, once those labs come back clear. He's technically considered to be in isolation, but we have been able to have people in the room (my mom was here yesterday with me while Brian spent some time with Jake at home; today, my parents are watching Jake so Brian can be here with me) and we don't have to wear masks, but the staff coming in & out have been in masks. There is one perk to isolation, in that we have our own room. The staff here at the hospital has been wonderful, and I definitely feel that he's getting the best care he could possibly receive.

I will be sure to do an updated post once we are discharged...please keep our baby in your thoughts.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Double the kids, double the stuff.

Hey moms who are having another baby or thinking about having another one, here's a little warning for you: baby stuff + already existing kids stuff = a LOT of stuff. Yeah, I know, that seems like an obvious thing to point out, but I think I must have blocked out of my mind how bulky all of the baby stuff is. Or, maybe it's just because when I was pregnant with Jake, I looked at the swing, playmat, etc...and just thought "aww, stuff for the baby! I love it! we'll make room! we don't need our furniture!" Whereas this time, we pulled all the stuff back out & I thought "OMG. Did this stuff grow since we used it for Jake? why is it so big??" Add that deluded frame of mind to the fact that we had to make room for this bulky stuff alongside all of Jake's toys and all of a sudden, we had a very crowded play room!

The nice thing is, we had kept everything from Jake & it was all in good shape, so we didn't really have to buy anything. We did buy a new bouncy seat, which is the best $30 I spent on Liam so far :) Lifesaver! We got this Bright Starts seat:

I highly recommend it; the music isn't annoying (score!) and it bounces by itself...genius!

The other main piece of gear I'm thinking about buying is a space saver high chair, like this Fisher Price one:

We still have the Chicco high chair we used for Jake, which was fine, but it's We have an eat-in kitchen in this new house, but the table is smaller and I hate to stuff a gigantic high chair behind it and have it take up half of the room. The spacesaver seems like a good idea, so I've been stalking craigslist for the past week. No luck just yet (at least none that are within a reasonable drive), but I'll keep looking. If I'm able to find a used one, I'll put our chicco up for sale.

So I'm pretty much just accepting the fact that there will always be a new rotation of gear & toys. Now it's the teeny-tiny infant stuff; before I know it, we'll be busting out the exersaucer and actual toys for Liam. Then, the next thing I know, the boys will be wanting to turn the play room into their cool hangout & put in a pool table and a big screen TV, and whatever the newest gaming system is. (now pushing thoughts of having teenage boys out of my mind--they're going to be my little boys forever, RIGHT??)

*This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase something from a link above, I will receive a small monetary compensation. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

You take the good, you take the bad...

...and then you have our 4th of July weekend. Let's recap. After loading the car up with what looked like enough stuff to take a 2 week vacation, we picked Brian up at his office around 4:15 and left shortly thereafter. It's normally about a 4.5-5 hour drive to get to my in-laws house; we were expecting maybe a bit longer this time with the baby, no big deal. What we were NOT expecting was hitting almost 2 hours of traffic just 45 minutes outside of Pittsburgh. When I say traffic, I mean the kind where people have turned their cars off to keep them from overheating and are just walking around outside. Dead stop. Parking lot. 3.5 year old. 6 week old. 90 degree heat. Have you built up an image in your mind yet? Not pretty, huh?? We finally got through and the rest of the trip was fine, but it did take us a total of 7 hours after all of that.

Saturday was a new day, and we were excited because Aunt Amy would be meeting Liam for the first time.

Later that day, Brian's aunt, uncle and cousin came over to visit and we enjoyed some yummy food and hopped in the pool. Jake was super excited to swim, and we practically had to drag him out of there, teeth chattering, lips blue, insisting that he wasn't cold :)

Sunday was a gloomy, rainy day, but it was nice to just relax. It did clear for just a bit in the afternoon and Jake was able to hop back in the pool. He even did some swimming on his own with his swimmies; he was so proud of himself!

And as you saw in the video I posted earlier in the week, Gracie joined in the pool party as well :)

And thank goodness we were able to relax on Sunday because on Monday, Jake woke up with a fever and was miserable. By late afternoon, his fever had spiked to 103.4 even after getting tylenol throughout the day :( Poor guy; I felt so bad that he was so uncomfortable and because he had so been looking forward to swimming all day again. ugh.

His fever was gone by the next day, but he was still not himself. And unfortunately, we had another long drive back home. So, I have to say that it was the first time we've had to travel with a sick kid and it's something I hope to not have to do again anytime soon!! I know he was still feeling sick, but man. He must have felt bad because he actually asked me to turn off the DVD player. He didn't even want to watch TV, we were banking on him just staring blankly in half of a trance the whole trip. at one point, I begged Brian to drop me off at the nearest exit and when he refused, I asked if we could just pull over and buy tranquilizers somewhere (for me-I wouldn't tranquilize my own kid, I'm not THAT bad of a mom!) :)

We finally made it home and lived to tell the tale. Tranquilizer free.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Sneaky kid

Jake was supposed to be sleeping last night, when I heard this little voice yelling out "mommy! I have something for you!" If you're a parent, you know that your kid having something for you could be anything from a nice drawing, to a toy they want to share, to a half chewed piece of food, to a booger. It's always a gamble.

I venture up the stairs to see what awaits me. When I get up there, I see him attempting to shove a pillow underneath the gate we use to block off his room. Here is the conversation that followed:

Me: Sweetie, what are you trying to do with your pillow?
Jake: I'm trying to put it under the gate.
Me: I see that, why?
Jake: so that you can put it in the mommy bed for me. You put my pillow in the middle, I'll come sleep there later. Ok? ok. That's a good plan.

:-) He's such a little stinker. But an awfully cute one that always makes us laugh.

I'm sorry, he has a WHAT??

An umbilical hernia?? My poor kid! Turns out, it's one of those things that sounds much worse than it actually is. Description of the condition, per Mayo Clinic:

An umbilical hernia creates a soft swelling or bulge near the navel (umbilicus). The bulge may range from less than 1/2 inch to about 2 inches (about 1 to 5 centimeters
) in diameter.
If your baby has an umbilical hernia, you may notice the bulge only when he or she cries, coughs or strains. The bulge may disappear when your baby is calm or lies on his or her back.
Umbilical hernias in children are usually painless. Umbilical hernias that appear during adulthood may cause abdominal discomfort.
So, not really anything to be alarmed about, but kind of scary to see! Take a look:

The dr said it will go away by itself, usually by a year. Phew! While we were there, they adjusted his dose of medicine for his acid reflux, which is good, because I was starting to think that it wasn't the right dose anymore. The spit up has been slightly less fountain like, but is still coming out of his nose often and still causing him discomfort. Hopefully this new dose will do the trick. At 7 weeks, 2 days, he weighed 9 lbs, 15 oz. That's 1 lb, 5 oz more than when he was there 2 weeks ago, yay! I'm so happy that he's pretty much moved out of all of his newborn clothes & into the 0-3 month stuff; I had a lot more 0-3 month stuff than newborn size, and it was all so cute, I couldn't wait to have him wear it!

As I type this, he's being my assistant by hanging out on his play mat next to me on the floor. He's kicking his legs, grabbing at the toys & cooing up a storm :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pool Party!

I'll do a full post about our 4th of July weekend trip to visit Nana & PopPop whenever I have more time, but for now, enjoy these videos of 2 of my kids (that would be Jake & Gracie) enjoying some pool time :)

Please ignore the second half of this video, which is Brian getting attacked by a bug in the pool....

Book Review: "If You Were Here" (Jen Lancaster)

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster

I'm a big fan of Jen Lancaster's other books (Bitter is the New Black, etc....) which are all memoirs, this is her first fiction book. I wasn't sure if I would like it, since I'm used to her sarcastic writing about every day life, but I was pleasantly surprised! I probably liked it so much because it read almost exactly like her other books; sometimes, I forgot that I wasn't actually reading about the author's life, that these were all made up characters and a fictional story (which, I'm sure that more critical readers would actually point out as a flaw, but I was ok with it) The book was also full of John Hughes references, with a big emphasis on Sixteen Candles, so that scored some bonus points from me. Definitely an easy and humorous read!

Up next: The First Husband by Laura Dave
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