Sunday, September 30, 2007

Cutest Baby on Earth

Breaking News: The cutest baby on earth was discovered in San Antonio this week.

Watch this video of the discovered baby as she waves, laughs, and makes the funniest scrunched up silly smile face ever witnessed by (wo)man:



Video almost ends in disaster when her mother decided the baby was so scrumptious, she had to be eaten. Yum.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Honeycrisp Apples

Have you ever heard of Honeycrisp apples? Have you ever had a Honey Crisp Apple? Oh MY GOD. I don't really mean to blog about apples, on the site that is supposed to be about my family, and who really likes apples that much to care let alone write a blog post about it. Not usually me, but OH MY GOD. You must find one, and eat it. If you can.

If you can? Yes, because they are GIANT. I bought the smallest ones I could find at the grocery store (HEB is the place to get them for those who live in Texas!) and I could barely finish it. They are the priciest apples on the block, but worth every penny. I think I paid over three bucks for just two apples.

So what is so great about them? Crisp like a fall night in the mountains. NOT mealy and mushy like Red Delious Crapples. SWEET like honey. So juicy, you will need a napkin or a long sleeve to wipe your chin.

They are perfect for sharing because they are so big. I just like to get a head start on it before I tell Maddie that I have one to share. Why? Because she will HOG MY APPLE.

"Oh, Mama! An apple! I want some!"
"What? Oh, tifs...not eh afflepl. Just a mama snapftr. Hre, eat 'em cookies insead!"

How pathetic is the fact that I have to hide in the pantry scarfing an apple so my toddler doesn't see (and hear) me!? That's low, folks. LOW.

Francie, I know you love your Braeburns, but you have GOT to try these!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Ferberizing aka Sleep Training

There is a controversial method of "sleep training" children developed by Richard Ferber, MD that Zak and I have completed. It is also commonly known as the "cry it out" technique, but I think that term is a bit of a misnomer. I didn't document our daily struggles with sleep training on this blog as not to bore you, but rather I wrote one blog, a little everyday last week, to document our experiences.


Some background
We knew that Brooke's pacifier was a sleep addiction for her. Meaning, she needed to be sucking on it to fall asleep. According to Dr. Ferber, this negative sleep association is a problem because once she's in deep sleep, the paci falls out. When she awakens, due to normal sleep patterns, and finds her paci is no longer in her mouth, she will scream and scream until we put it back in. This would repeat during the night between one and seven times! Obviously, we cannot wake up seven times per night to do this. Ferber's technique, sometimes called "Ferberizing" is designed to retrain Brooke's sleep associations so she can fall asleep by herself.

We all have sleep associations, even as adults. It could be our favorite pillows, our own beds, our partner next to us, a specific side of the bed, a certain position, reading a book, or watching TV. These are things that we need to fall asleep. The theory says that if you don't have these sleep associations, you have a hard time falling asleep and staying asleep. Imagine, as an adult if you fell asleep in your own bed, then found yourself on the floor in your of your living room. Ferber says that babies feel that way after falling asleep one way (usually rocking and nursing in a parents arms) and waking up another way (alone in a dark room with no parent). You'd be pretty pissed off too!


How it works, in a nutshell (for healthy children at least five months old)

Put your child to bed when she is awake but tired/drowsy (this is very important). The goal is to let her fall asleep under the same circumstances that she will wake up in the middle of the night. She will likely cry because she is used to going to sleep with you (while feeding, being rocked, or sucking on a pacifier). She may scream bloody murder. This is the hard part. Parents don't like to hear their children cry, and this is mainly why this technique is criticized so harshly. People say it's cruel and your child will feel abandoned if left alone to cry. The GOOD part is that you get to go check on your baby at specific time intervals. During the first night, you go in there after three minutes of crying to "soothe and reassure" your baby. You can't pick her up, give her the paci, or put her to sleep. Again, the goal is to teach her how to go to sleep alone. After this soothing (we just rubbed her head, spoke quietly to her, gave her a soft blanket) you are to leave. If she continues to cry, you wait five minutes, repeat the soothing, leave, wait ten minutes, etc. As each day passes, you are to wait longer between soothing the baby. She will eventually fall asleep and hopefully stay asleep. If she wakes in the middle of the night, you are to repeat the process. You do the same thing for naps.


Our experience
Day One (Sunday night):
After a three hour drive from Houston, and a three hour car nap for Brooke, we were nervous that she wasn't going to be sleepy enough at her normal bed time to do this. We reversed the normal bedtime routine from bath, rocking with Zak, nursing and rocking, putting her down in crib while she was asleep with her pacifier to bath, nursing (not letting her fall asleep), Zak holding her in the living room, and putting her in the crib once she was drowsy, but not asleep with no pacifier.
8:00 p.m. She cried, but for less than three minutes, and fell asleep!
10:00 p.m. Woke up crying, we waited five minutes, went in to reassure her, she fell asleep after just a few more minutes of crying.
2:30 a.m. Woke up crying, (not sure how long she was crying since I was dead asleep), went in to soothe her, but by the time I was about to open her door, she was quiet. I didn't go in.
5:30 a.m. Woke up crying, I fed her. This is kinda against the Ferber technique. However, we're trying to break her of the paci habbit, not the middle of the night feeding habit. One thing at a time! Also, by this time she had slept 9-10 hours. Ferber would say it was time to wake up and start the day. Um...no thanks. I put her back to bed after feeding her (she was awake). She cried for a minute or two then fell back asleep.

Day Two (Monday)
8:30 a.m. I woke her up. This is something that I wouldn't have normally done. I would have usually let her sleep for as long as she wanted to. However, the goal is to develop a normal sleep pattern, and since I want her to nap during the day, she needed to wake up. She was her normal cheery self.
10:45 a.m. She was showing signs of being sleep, and it was time for her nap. Instead of taking her to her room to be rocked and nursed to sleep. I fed her in the living room, where she tried to fall asleep, carried her upstairs to wake her up a bit, placed her awake in her crib. She cried for less than five minutes and then fell asleep.

2:30 p.m. Fell asleep on her own for her second nap!

7:45 p.m. I fed her in the living room, Zak carried her up and swayed a bit, then put her down awake. She cried for about 30 seconds.


Day THREE (Tuesday)

I must admit that I have stopped tracking every sleep time. Why? Because it's been so easy. AND IT IS WORKING. At naps and bedtime, she rarely cries and if she does it is short. Then, blissful sleep.


Day FOUR (Wednesday)

I broke the rules and picked her up from her second afternoon nap after just 15 minutes of sleeping, then 5 minutes of crying. I figured she wasn't really that tired after all. She went to bed for the night with no problems at 7:45 p.m.


Day FIVE (Thursday)

So, it's now nap time that is a problem. Probably because of what I did yesterday. It's now 10:45, and she was SLEEPY, so I put her down. She was quiet for a minute or two, and now she's screaming. Maybe she's hungry? But, I gave her some baby food at 10am. I knew I should have nursed her before putting her down. I can't go in there to nurse her now, or I will really screw things up. I know she's very tired.

Day SIX (Friday)
Brooke slept until 4:20 a.m., then she screamed for thirty minutes. I went in to reassure every ten minutes, like the book says. At least I think it was every ten minutes, mabye more like 20 minutes. I was sleepy.

At nap time, she cried for 20 minutes then slept. This day was not as easy as earlier in the week. Maybe I'm not being consistent enough?

Day SEVEN (Saturday)
It's all good! Just a few minutes of crying. Napping and sleeping through the night!

Day EIGHT (Sunday)
It's been one full week of teaching Brooke to sleep alone. Tonight, I laied her down at 7:45 when she was awake (and happily talking to me). I was afraid she was "too awake" to fall asleep. I left the room as she was still talking to me, told her goodnight, and she promptly fell to sleep while Zak and I enjoyed a glass of wine.

Mission Accomplished. Hooray!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

My arm chair quarterback--a loss and an injury

The Texas Tech Red Raiders lost yesterday to Oklahoma State. It was a loud sad day in our house. It was sooo close, and we almost pulled it off. But so close doesn't count in Red Raider football. Although we always are so close, it never has counted. This is the cross that all Texas Tech fans must bear.

On another note, Zak is on the PUP list. In NFL terms, that means a Player is Unable to Perform. In my house, it means Pooped oUt Pulled muscle. An athletic injury from a non athlete. Zak was sitting on the couch, watching football (duh!). He raised his arms to go long, oops, I mean yawn, at that precise moment at the peak of the yawn, he collapses in pain. Landing safely on the couch (since he was sitting on it), he cries out that he pulled muscle in his back.

Oh, the risk of injury we have in this house is just too much! You shouldn't come over for a visit. It's not even safe enough to watch TV.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Trip to Houston


We drove to Houston last Friday to see some friends and go to the Texas Tech vs. Rice football game. We stayed with Jason and Caroline (and their dog Belle) for two nights. Maddie had a love/hate relationship with the dog. She wanted to know where she was at all times, but didn't necessarily want the dog to be near her or walk by the vicinity in which she was standing. She also liked to boss Belle around, like she does to everyone.

Um, and yes, Belle is modeling her Halloween pumpkin costume that she will be wearing next month. She also has another one!

It was HOT HOT HOT on GameDay, but oddly it was only 92 degrees. It felt like 102 and I could practically smell my flesh cooking even though I had on SPF 45. We had a great time at the game and got to see some old friends and meet some new ones. The Girls stayed with a nanny of some new friends (who have kids the exact same ages). Maddie had a blast playing with her new friend who had an EXTENSIVE toy room with endless entertainment options. Zak and I were gleefully grateful for the time away.




The day before (Friday) Maddie was the sassiest, most unpleasant child known to man. I was frustrated and embarrassed by her behavior. This photo represented the best part of that day I spent with her. Yes, she's asleep, and therefore not sassing me:



While we were in Houston, we also saw Zak's grand parents, LaWanda and Eddie, who had never met Maddie or Brooke. Madison wasn't in the mood to pose for pictures, although she was well behaved. I only got this one photo of Maddie and Brooke with their great grandmother.


Brooke, on the other hand, was a cuddle bug and snuggled closely with her great grandma for the majority of our short visit.



I took some other good photos with my cell phone camera, but cannot figure out how to download them to my computer. Even when reading the directions. I've done it before! Ug.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Happy 33rd Birthday, Zak!

Maddie and Brooke have a special song for their dad:


Monday, September 17, 2007

Shrek


Maddie is slowly moving past her Dora The Explorer addiction and is now fascinated with Shrek. We are no longer watching 2-3 Dora episodes per day, but I think I've seen Shrek and Shrek 2 at least one hundred times! Big points to the first family member who gets her Shrek the Third once it comes out on DVD. She saw it at the movie theater when it came out, and her eyes were glued to the screen.

We went to a Build-A-Bear Workshop and made this Shrek just for Maddie. She gave him a heart, kissed it, and gave him an air bath after he "was born." That place, by the way, is a GOLD MINE. A family can't get out of there without dropping AT LEAST $30, and you can see by the picture above that we didn't buy Shrek his $20 outfit. Maddie decided he looked better naked.

She carries him around and says, "Oh, Shrek you are such a biiiiigg boy! You are very heavy."

Friday, September 14, 2007

7 months

Dear Brooke,

You are seven months old. As I type this letter to you, I'm listening to you "cry it out" in your crib. It breaks my heart to hear you do this. You've only been asleep for 2 hours, and now you've been crying for over an hour. When I go in periodically to comfort you and give you the paci, you just scream even louder. I don't get it. Sometimes you sleep wonderfully, sometimes you don't. I haven't figured out the patterns. Trust me, once I figure out what I need to do to make you sleep, I'll do it. But for now, you need to learn how to sleep. I'm sorry this is hard for you, baby. It's hard for me too.




On a positive note, you're a beautiful, happy little girl who is full of life and love. You have a sweet gummy smile that lights up the room. Actually, that smile isn't so gummy anymore. You cut your first two teeth...at the same time!

People watching is a past time of yours and I can always make you happy by taking you out to see new faces. Your favorite faces are still mine, Maddie's and your dad's. You are especially excited to see your dad when he comes home from work. Yesterday, you just cuddled on his chest and stared at him quietly.




You love to hear your dad play music and like to dance to whatever it is he is playing. I'm not sure this counts as "dancing," but you are moving to the beat and loving every second of it:





This second video is also very funny because you're dancing so hard, you fall over. This is what I imagine you'll be like in college. Not because I was anything like that...no, no no!

We had a bit of a scare with your little heart last month. Your doctor found an innocent hear murmur, and asked us to see a pediatric cardiologist. We saw the specialist who confirmed the murmur, but said it was something you'd grow out of and needed no further attention. Whew. Don't scare me like that ever again, or you'll be grounded.


You are really, really trying to get around. You can scoot on your bottom and go a few feet using the "tripod" method. When you try to crawl, you either fall on your face or go right onto your belly. "Mooommm!!! Brooke fell on her face, again!" yells Madison. Here's a pic of the tripod method, you have two hands and one foot propping you upright with a leg tucked underneath for support.




I noticed that most of my favorite pictures this month are of you in your PJ's. That's because you are sweetest in the morning, ready to smile and laugh for me. Either way, night or day, you are loved. Always.

loves,

Mama

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fever Watch, part II

Maddie's fever went down yesterday, only to go up again when she woke up this morning.

Zak found her with a 102.1 when she woke up. He drugged her up and put her back to bed.

We went to the doctor, and of course, her fever had gone down. This is good and bad. Good, because she's better. Bad, because the doctor thinks you're a crazy, overreacting parent with no sense.

If you're counting, I've been to the doctor with a kid 4 times in 7 days.

The doctor says the usual..."it's going around" and to give her fluids, watch the temp, and call on Friday if she still has a fever. Oh, and also..."it's highly contagious, so keep her away from Brooke." Yeah, like that is remotely possible. In fact, as I typed that, Maddie just sneezed on Brooke and I.

When Maddie woke up from her nap, she was at 103 degrees, but her usually happy, CHATTY self.

We have plans to drive to Houston this weekend to see friends, Zak's grandmother, and go to the Texas Tech vs. Rice football game. The kids are going to stay with a babysitter and some other kids. Say a prayer that she gets better and the rest of us don't catch this virus. We need some time with our friends (and some alcohol) to keep sane around here.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Maddie has a fever!

Maddie was sent home yesterday for a fever of 102.9. She was pretty blah and glassy eyed, but seemed to perk up on the way home.

I gave her some Tylenol to help reduce her fever. It brought it down to almost normal. She played and ate dinner like normal, took a bath, and went to bed at her normal time. She even asked to go swimming today (since she's not allowed back at school until the fever has been gone for 24 hours).

She woke up at 7am, all dazed and confused. She was HOT. I gave her some more Tylenol and told her to go back to sleep.

She didn't wake up until 10:45!! She still has a fever, but is acting normal.

Between Brooke's teething and this fever, I need to buy stock in Tylenol!

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Why "working" from home is the best!

I had a on-line training via my computer and speaker phone for my semi-job on Friday. And my "semi-job," I mean that I sometimes work, sometimes don't, sometimes they don't acknowledge that I exist. Sometimes they pay me, but mostly they don't. Long story, and I'm still not sure if it is gonna work out. The magic 8 balls says things ain't lookin' so good.

Anyway, I just had a virtual meeting from 8:30 to 11:00 in which I attended in my PJ's, ate breakfast, played with Brooke, nursed Brooke, and put her down for nap. Everyone at the corporate office was seated in a conference room in their stuffy clothes. The Florida sales rep was in her car (not very safe!) and the California rep was probably in bed since it was 6:30 am for her!

Hee Hee. Don't tell.

Thank God for the MUTE button on my phone! Horray for technology!

Friday, September 07, 2007

Pediatric Cardiologist

The cardiologist appointment yesterday went well, thank goodness!

Brooke had an EKG (done by the medical assistant) and was examined by the doctor for about 5 minutes. She was a trooper and tolerated the TEN stickers and wires placed all over her chest with an amused curiosity. She even smiled and laughed for the doctor, who was fantastic with her. As diagnosed by the nurse practitioner at her pediatrician's office, she has an innocent heart murmur (level 1-2). Nothing to worry about.

She requires no follow-up or medication. The doctor predicted she will out grow it like most children do.

Just like my gut told me, she's a healthy little monkey. I'm fortunate to have the ability to get these things checked out just to make sure my gut feeling is correct.

As previously told, my 20% fee was $250 (and I may be billed for more). The total bill will probably be $1500. That, my friends, is about $300 a minute.

Ahhh, American health care at its finest. Stay healthy...

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The cardiologist appointment is tomorrow

After six weeks of waiting to see a doctor in our HMO, we have an appointment to see a pediatric cardiologist for Brooke's innocent heart murmur that was found at her 6 month check up.

So, I get a call reminding me of the appointment. The annoyed message leaving receptionist was surprised when I picked up the phone. She told me that although we have met our yearly deductible (only because I gave birth this year!), I'm still responsible for 20% of the doctor fees per our plan coverage rules.

Okay, I knew that.

"Please make sure you bring with you no less than $250 to cover your 20%. If it is more, we will bill you. If it is less, you'll just pay less. It depends what the doctor is going to do."

Holy Sweet Jesus! $250 is 20% of a likely 10 minute visit?

While this fee won't put us in the poor house, it would to MANY families. Because of that "friendly notice" she provided, I imagine that those MANY parents cancel their appointment on the spot. So they could, I don't know, feed their kids for a week or two instead.

They probably say, "Hmmm, what should we do this month, honey? Feed our children, pay the electric bill, rent, or go see a pediatric cardiologist for what is probably nothing to be worried about?"

Have you seen SICKO yet? You should.


'What can I do?' - SiCKO

R.I. P. The mom hair cut

Oh, lordy, it was time. Time to cut off about 10 inches of my gloriously thick hair that was in the perpeptual mom ponytail or unblown frizzy waves. I really liked my long hair, especially when I did it, which was rarely. It would take about 45 HOT minutes to blow dry and 15 more minutes to curl/straighten, and that is just one hour that I don't have. And, if I have it, I don't want to spend it on my hair, but rather resting from chasing around my two monkeys.


I've had a haircut very similar to this before. Back in the early 2000's. It's not as poofy now, although I'm sure Zak would disagree, but more angular and strait. I had to buy one of those flat iron thingymigigs to keep it shiny and flat. Even with a run through with the flat iron, it only takes me about 15 minutes to style it. I can leave it to air dry too, but it gets a little weird and half curly/half strait looking.

It's cute, don't cha think?

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

One tooth! TWO TOOTHS?! Oh, my!


Well, that explains things. The congestion, the low grade fever, the whiny cries, the extra drool, the gnawing on everything in site, the missing toe. The Girl cut two teeth in the same week!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

The lady or maybe it was Madonna

Driving in the car today, Maddie and I were rocking out to Madonna's Beautiful Stranger from the Austin Powers movie.

I was singing, apparently not very well, because Maddie said, "No Mama. Please just let the lady sing."

Like, oh my God, mom, you're totally embarrassing me!