Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Year in Review
It's the end of the year; a time of reflection on what we've been through as a family, me as a mother & Logan as an ever growing boy. There have been lessons learned, highs & lows, but we've made out OK in the end.

January started off with Logan learning new skills like making "Indian sounds", asserting his independence & developing a love for cartoons like Little Einsteins & "Blast Off!". He ran around everywhere he went, making friends in MOMS Club. He said "dada" for the first time, got his first hair cut & had his first birthday.
Bill was promoted to Sales Manager at the small town gym & loved every minute of being able to spend time with the family & build a special relationship with Logan. I was worried about Logan sleeping too much & making sure he ate healthy foods when we went out to eat. Most importantly, we were really getting the hang of being parents & our marriage was growing stronger as we evolved.

"Today I realized how painful & difficult this evolution is. However, it dawned on me that nothing good in life comes easy. The most wonderful things in life take blood, sweat & tears to obtain. It takes heavy digging in the trenches; the real hard work. I got a surge of joy & excitement knowing that right now, at this moment, we are facing those challenges head on. The end result is going to be beautiful."

February began with Logan's one year check-up. He was a growing boy at 28 3/4 inches long (20%) & 20.4 lbs (16%). He had some vaccinations & broke out in hives eating breakfast afterward. This was our last month for breastfeeding & weaning was a very easy transition for the two of us. February was also the beginning of Logan's picky-eater phase. Being the active boy that he is, he learned how to dribble a soccer ball in the living room, got his first black eye & fat lip. He started to say some new words & was able to identify all of his favorite animals.
Bill & I went on our first date as parents while Logan stayed at a friends house for the first time. It was a great night for all of us. We returned the favor & babysat for our friends, where Logan had so much fun entertaining his guest. This month I started up Virtual Fitness & the cyber-training program, which began with great success. And the family drama increased with a conversation with Aunt Ju-Ju that ended up with Bill asking her to leave. While this conversation was very stressful, it was a big point in the growing strength of our marriage & Bill supporting us as a family.

March was a really good month, full of fun & happiness. Logan learned how to dance (by spinning around in circles & making himself dizzy) & belly laughed while playing with Buddha. With the weather warming up, we took wagon rides to the park & went on Easter egg hunts with The Club. March brought birthday fun for both Bill & I (29 & 27), where Bill got his birthday wish for a backyard grill & I got a wonderful massage. We were thrilled to have my sister, Aunt J & her boyfriend, C visit us for a few days. Logan had so much fun with them & so did we. There was a birthday dinner at a hibachi grill & a yummy breakfast feast, where we discovered Logan's garlic allergy.
This month brought monumental milestones for Bill & myself with the completion of marriage counseling & confidence on how to deal with his family. Personally, I had a breakthrough on healing from my childhood pain.

April started our legal woes by being served for a lawsuit against our insurance company. Alog with court dates, there were continued conversations with Grandma L, as she still had been trying to cut me out of my own family. Logan began acting terribly & had his first time-out. In spite of all of the stress & difficult days, I was still able to have an attitude of gratitude, thinking about "pajama moments". I started working out in the gym again, walking 20 miles a few times a week on a near by park trail & started training my photographer friend as well.
May was a very challenging month in the way of parenting. Logan had hit his Terrible Two's very early. There were many time-outs, nap resistance & the first time we had to leave a full cart of groceries at the store because of a meltdown. There was screaming & food throwing & I learned to never wake him up from a nap unless it was an emergency. We continued to focus on learning more baby-signs & that seemed to have helped. We taught him how to clink sippy cups for "cheers". He also turned around to a forward facing car seat.

It was a busy month for me as I got the walking group organized, co-ran the babysitting co-op & was voted into the Membership VP position in MOMS Club. There were fun nights out with friends & much needed breaks. I also started my cooking competition hobby that month. The biggest realization for me was when The Clock started ticking very loudly on Memorial Day weekend (the 2 year anniversary of finding out I was pregnant with Logan) & I really began to consider having another baby. However, the conversations with Bill didn't go very far as he wasn't on the same page & was content with Logan being our only.

Memorial Day weekend was busy with family visits. Gramps & D came down to see us & spent time with us at the park & eating out. The last half of the weekend was spent uncomfortably with Bill's family as they pretended like they had never cut me out of the family. Again, Bill & I continued to be a strong, united front & our family bond brought us closer.

In June we did nothing but eat. I was entering as many competitions as I could, making yummy deserts for baby showers & hosting tasting parties. It was an exciting summer month as we ran through the sprinklers in the back yard, learned to color, Logan went down slides by himself & we checked out neighborhood yard sales. Logan's communication skills continued to grow as he told me "go" when he wanted to go outside & called "Ya-Ya" when he looked for Bill. His sign language knowledge grew & he was able to let us now what he wanted more easily. Logan also had the flu for the second time this month & before that, was only taking one nap a day.
Bill & I celebrated out 8th year anniversary. It was a very special anniversary as we almost didn't make it. We worked very hard to stay together & to work through the family turmoil as a team. This month we found balance between family life, work & friends by coming to an understanding about having our guys/moms nights out.

"It's nice to look back & say, 'look at what we lived through!' I guess it's like climbing Everest. It can be absolutely hellish getting there & only the strong survive. But once you're at the top, it's the most beautiful, life changing experience ever imaginable."

July was hard. I got sick with the flu & really questioned if I could live with HG again & be a good mom to Logan. I thought I had changed my mind & was sure I couldn't deal with another pregnancy again. Then we discovered Bill's wages were being wrongfully garnished. We had to sell our appliances that we moved with us to pay the bills & I began interviewing attorneys to stop the judgment. We had our sit down with Bill's mom & buried the hatchet.
We did have a good Independence Day & watched fireworks with friends. We taught Logan how to flex his biceps & he ran around the house with a bucket on his head like he was pretending to be an astronaut. This was the month that my photographer friend asked me to be on the reality TV show with her, too.

Whew! August was crazy! Logan had his 18th month check-up, weighing 25 lbs (25%) & measuring 33 inches long (75%). He had been checked out for Toddler's diarrhea & we had to take stool samples at home. There was a big discussion about vaccinations (which we didn't do at this time) & we were on the road to seeing an allergist for hives & eczema. This month he had a language explosion & continued to increase his signing vocabulary. He knew the names of all of his body parts. He played hard at the park, rolled around in the dirt & ran through puddles in the rain at a local festival. Bill completely buzzed off all of Logan's hair & to make for an even more exciting month, Logan got his head stuck in the slots of the deck at playgroup. We had to grease his head up with butter to get him out.
It proved to be a difficult month with the continued lawsuit & trying to find an attorney. There were many sleepless nights & frustrated tears. I was given new hope & became optimistic after listening to Pato Bantan singing about "stay positive". I kept hanging on through attorney appointments & breast exams to find out about a lump on my right side that turned out to be non-cancerous. I had pizza & beer parties with friends & grew closer to my photographer friend & my massage friend. My first posts from Virtual Fitness were published by Reuters, FOX News, iVilliage, Houston & Pittsburgh news channels, too. And...The Clock started ticking loud again.

"Live the life you love, love the life you live
and no matter what the crisis is.
When there's life to live, and there's love to give
why should you be negative?
You got to stay positive!"
-Pato Banton

September was when Logan went to his first birthday party. He had so much fun, running, playing & jumping in the bounce house. It was the months of transitions, too as we got rid of the binky (cold turkey) & moved to the toddler bed (unintentionally). He also continued to get rashes & hives & we think he had roseola at one point.
I continued cooking & baking for parties, clubs & competitions & also started my bargain hunting hobby. I helped the club organize a fund raiser for The Komen Foundation to help repay them for helping me out with the ultrasound they paid for. I also got my hair cut (the first time since Logan had been 3 moths old) & we had our family photo shoot up in the mountains with my friend - where Logan was throwing the biggest temper tantrums ever & the same day that Bill found out his grandmother had passed.

Bill left the small town gym as they were treating him terribly & we were then involved in yet another lawsuit to get money back that they were illegally deducting from his paycheck. Not more than a day latter, Bill got a new job - one that he loves. This new job made him more open to the idea of having another baby.

October is when Logan learned how to do crunches, play the recorder & began his infatuation with matchbox cars, Yo Gabba Gabba & SpongeBob. Nap times were horrible for us since the toddler bed transition & temper tantrums were driving me batty. I was able to get a better handle on things after reading The Happiest Toddler on the Block. Logan decided that this would be a good time to start shoving peas up his nose & I had to learn how to do the "nose maneuver" to get them out. We saw his allergist for the first time & found out about his egg & garlic allergy.
We went to the farm & had fun at the petting zoo & playing in the corn sandbox. Logan stuck a corn kernel up his nose that resulted in us taking him to the doctor the next day to get it out. We had a great time trick-or-treating at another farm & Logan was the cutest kid ever in his puppy dog costume. We were visited by our good friend, A for a few days & I made the most delicious pumpkin bars ever. There was a really fun poker night with The Club & the follow up to the filming of the reality TV show.

November made me realize that Logan is no longer a baby & maybe not even a toddler, but a little boy. His love of music made for fun car rides & afternoon dance sessions at home. This month phased out sign language completely & he relied only on his words (& screams). My favorite moments were when I tucked him in in the middle of the night & he would wave 'night-night' to me in his sleep. It was a huge relief when we finally figured out his vaccination schedule & he was such a trooper through all of the allergists testing.
There was a little family conflict with Grandma L & the Christmas cards, but Bill & I were able to understand that that's just how she is & we stuck to our guns as a family. I think we realize we'll always have to deal with her & things will never change, but the most important part is that her behavior will no longer effect our family.

This was a month of patience, as I was late & we thought we were going to see another positive pregnancy test. Even though it was a surprise, it was very disappointing to get a negative test. It was so disappointing to Bill that after months of saying Logan would be an only, he changed his mind & we were on the same page to start trying again.

December brought us a non-stop talking kid. "Eat, eat, eat, milk, milk,milk, daddy, daddy, daddy... " He went bowling for the first time & was happy as a clam. He constantly says the cutest things - it's his saving grace to make up for the temper tantrums. I was filled with hope when there was a breakthrough with the lawsuit & having our story investigated by a local TV news reporter. We had an amazing time Christmas shopping & a relatively peaceful Christmas. It was a blast watching Logan open his presents, getting excited about his new toys. At the end of the month we were slightly disappointed by another negative pregnancy result, but we aren't worried yet.

It's been one roller-coaster of a year. Many good times & some bad, but we're better & stronger than ever. I'm proud of how we've dealt with what life has thrown our way. I can't imagine what 2008 will be like or the people we will become.

All I know is that we will be alright, no matter what happens.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

23 months old
Here we are, Logan is almost 2. 2 years old! Strangely, it's felt like he's been 2 for quite some time. It must be the temper tantrums. But, he's still cute as ever.

A week or so ago, Logan learned how to open doors. Since he was waking up early, he would just let himself out of his room & come into ours. Or, he would go downstairs & play with his toys. We decided to get the doorknob covers to try & keep him in bed longer, if it only meant he played in his room. I'm glad we got them. He now plays with his toys if he doesn't want to go to bed (or stay in bed) & it makes for a much happier mommy & daddy. When Bill gets up with him for the day, he still lets Logan in our room to wake me up. First Logan hands me my glasses from the night stand & this morning he leaned over to give me a hug & kiss. It was the best way to wake up. Ever.

Meals are still tricky & the food throwing is becoming less & less (I hope I didn't just jinx myself). I've discovered that he gets bored with his food, yet isn't always willing to try new things to eat. I'm going to have to be more creative with his meals. Over Christmas, he loved the muffins I baked & I made a few fruit smoothies for him too. I think it may be time that I invested in a kids cookbook. That & a Vegan cookbook since he's not really digging meat too much either.

I think the biggest development this month is his language skills. He's talking more & more everyday & has started to combine 2 & 3 word sentences. He sings "go get daddy" & "all fall down". When he finds a toy that he was looking for, "issa car! issa car!" His pronunciation is adorable & I'm working on getting these words on film. My favorite is when he calls snow "nose". He also calls poop "boot". It's total slap-stick humor in our house when he poops & starts pounding on his diaper "boot! boot! boot!". Yet, he's not ready to potty train.

This is going to be challenging because the boy doesn't like to be told what to do (hmmm, sounds familiar). He's shown some interest in it & can tell us if he's pooped (not if he's going to). He's also tried to pull his own pants down to sit on the potty. But, whenever I try to keep the momentum going & get him on the potty at regular times, he freaks out on me. He screams & cries, so I drop it & don't push him to do anything. After his 2nd birthday, I might try a sticker chart now that he likes stickers more (& can say it, too).

After Christmas, I was so surprised that he knew how to play with his toys right away. He loves to draw on his Doodle-Pro, build with his blocks & name all of the animal action figures he got. He knew what an octopus was the minute he played with it on Christmas Eve. I've never even said the word octopus around him his entire life. I think he's learning by osmosis. That or TV. He got a Blues Clues DVD for Christmas & has wanted to watch it non-stop. Since he's been watching it, he's talked about letters & "read". The DVD is about the alphabet & reading. I'm glad he's learning new things & he's watching educational TV, because he sure doesn't want to learn it from me.

He is also totally obsessed with Daddy. Daddy this & Daddy that. He says Daddy about a million times a day, constantly calling out for him & looking for him around the house. Daddy is by far, his very best friend. This morning when I came home from working out, I walked through the door & he pointed at me & exclaimed, "Daddy!". "I'm not Daddy! I'm Mommy!", I told him. Everyone is Daddy to him & he refuses to call me Mommy.

So next month is the Big 2 & I'll be busy planning all sorts of fun things for his birthday party. It's so weird watching him grow up so fast. I often find myself wondering where the time went. Wasn't it just yesterday that he was swaddled with his binky sleeping at the foot of our bed in the bassinet? Now he's running around the house like a wild hooligan, screaming & laughing, teasing the dog & cat. My how times have changed.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Christmas 2007
Opening presents on Christmas Eve

Hanging out by Aunt Ju-Ju's Christmas Tree

My favorite picture of all...finding presents under the tree

Learning how to draw on the Doodle-Pro with Dad

Excited to unwrap Dinosaurs

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The best Christmas
This was the best Christmas I think we've ever had. It was great! Everyone was healthy, there wasn't any major drama (just small annoyances), great food & special family time just for us. I really don't think it could have been any better. YEA!

The Grandparents came into town on Saturday afternoon & stayed at a nearby hotel. It was Grandpa L's birthday, so we all went over to the hotel for pizza & swimming. We had to get Logan a happy meal on the way over because pizza sauce has garlic in it (& it was Logan's lucky day, because he never gets happy meals). Even though he didn't eat the pizza, he still broke out into hives by just being around it. Afterward, I let him go swimming anyway (still covered in hives & rashes) & he had a blast swimming with Bill. Aunt Ju-Ju, Uncle J & Cousin B went swimming too, while I opted to hang out on the side with the Grandparents. After that, we all went back to their room for cake while Logan & Cousin B ran around & chased each other.

The small things that bothered me was that Grandma L bought Logan some Christmas pajamas that she expected the kids to wear on Christmas Eve, even though we bought Logan a pair. Then she also bought the kids 2nd year Christmas ornaments. These things bothered me only because these are traditions that we have & they are things parents should be doing for the kids. Whatever. It wasn't anything to have a conversation about. Logan's ornament went into our Christmas decoration storage box (along with the one he got last year) & he'll wear his pajamas later.

Sunday morning I went Christmas shopping with Grandma L & Aunt Ju-Ju...alone. I was pretty freaked out about it considering one of my requests since "Black Christmas" was that I was to never be alone with them in the same room. I'd had conversations with friends where we would joke about taking my own "special" sippy cup with me, but I kind of took it seriously that morning. At 9:30, I ended up spiking my coffee to calm own a bit. And let me tell you, that was the best idea ever. My nerves chilled out & it made for a much more enjoyable shopping trip (& no, I was not drunk). Grandma L decided that it would be best if she gave Aunt Ju-Ju & me a budget to work with & we just pilled the toys that we wanted up in our own shopping carts. It worked for us. After we were finished & the kids had their naps, we went over to Aunt Ju-Ju's for dinner & the kids played together some more.

Monday morning we went out for breakfast with The Grandparents & took them downtown to showoff Bill's office. It was really cold walking around & there was a huge line to see Santa. The night before, we decided that we would skip out on this because it would be a traumatic experience for Logan as he's super cautious about strangers. While walking around to check out the ice skating rink, Grandpa L lit up a cigarette & Grandma L told Logan to run up & walk by him. I quickly told Logan that Grandpa was smoking so he had to walk on the opposite side of me (as far away from Grandpa L as possible). Everyone got super quiet & Grandpa L walked slower & behind us. We decided at that point to all go our separate ways & meet back up for Christmas Eve dinner.

Later that night we went over to Aunt Ju-Ju's for dinner & to open presents. The kids had a great time & everything went well with the family. It was a little annoying to try & get pictures of Logan while Grandma L was right there with her flash, but again, whatever. The grandparent paparazzi didn't last long & I couldn't get decent pictures anyway because Aunt Ju-Ju's house was dark & we have a crappy camera for taking picture of toddler tornadoes. The fun part was Cousin B trying to copy everything that Logan did. He wanted to play with all of Logan's toys & drink from Logan's sippy cup. It was almost like Logan had a little tag-along brother. It was too cute.

Christmas morning we woke up & had our Christmas. It was really cute watching Logan pull presents out from under the tree. He had so much fun. After we opened all of the presents, Bill & I made breakfast together. I made cranberry-pistachio muffins & Bill made the sausage-hash brown casserole. It was a really, really good breakfast. For the rest of the day we just lounged around in our new Christmas pajamas & hung out.

Later in the afternoon I started to get dinner ready (burgundy beef & mushroom stew) & the Grandparents came over. Again, Bill left me alone with Grandma L while he ran out with Grandpa L to fix something on their car. It was very quiet between the two of us & I just focused on making dinner rather than small talk. When Bill & Grandpa L came back, they started to get a game of poker ready while I finished up. We played a few games while Logan napped & the stew cooked. Dinner turned out great (the best meal I've ever made according to Bill), it was just a very quite meal. There was virtually no conversation at all. Afterward, we went back to the hotel to go swimming again (the grandparents hung out on the side). Logan had so much fun, I think we'll have to get him into swimming lessons this next summer.

Bill went to work this morning & things are getting back to normal. I'm getting all of Logan's new toys organized since he hit the jackpot this year. I think I'll take down the tree tomorrow morning & get everything cleaned up. We had our last lunch with the in-laws & even though it was a relatively painless Christmas visit, it's nice to get back to our routine again.

I'm exceptionally thankful this year that we had such a great Christmas. Family issues aside, we were able to spend some happy times together at home, making our own traditions. It was very special to watch Logan get excited about presents & everything that Christmas means to a kid. There were times when a Toys for Tots story would feature on the news & knowing how close we can all be to those situations, I was greatful that this Christmas was so good to us.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Things are busy over here & will be for a little while as we get ready for Christmas, baking cookies & preparing for the visit from the family. These were things that have happened over the last few days & I just had to post them so I wouldn't forget.

Logan had become an early bird, waking up at the crack of dawn. Bill gets up with him around 6am (sometimes earlier) & they hang out & let me sleep in. When it's time to wake me up, Logan comes into our room & hands me my glasses from the night stand. This is just too cute for words.

We're dog sitting for one of Bill's coworkers over Christmas week. Logan loves to watch him & calls his name (screams his name) all day long. "MACK! MACK! MACK! MACK!" Mack has a dog bowl next to Buddhas that has blue paw prints around the rim & a big paw print on the bottom of the bowl. Logan saw this & the first thing he says is, "Blues Clues!" I almost died laughing, it was so funny.

And last but not least, Logan is singing "sentences" now. He sings the Go Get Daddy Song when we get ready to pick Bill up from work. "We're going to go get daddy" is chanted over & over while he sways back & forth. When he sings it, it sounds more like, "Gonna Daddy! Gonna Gt Daddy!" He sang Ring Around the Rosies last night, too. Twirling around in circles, "Ashes, down! Ashes, Ashes fall down!" I screamed at Bill who was sitting 2 feet away from me. "Did you hear that!!!!! He sang a sentence!!!!"

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I guess I say "No" a whole lot
I've been wanting to get this on film ever since Logan started saying it & I was able to jump at the chance this afternoon. Here's Logan "eating" lunch (aka: picking at his food) repeating all of the things I say "no" to. "No raisins, no crackers, no cheese, no colors (crayons), no water..."

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

At a loss
I don't know what to do about Logan's hives anymore. After he goes on to the new insurance, maybe we should start looking for a second opinion. He's almost due for his 2 year check-up & I'll most certainly bring this up to his pediatrician because at this point, the allergist is a waste of time.

Logan's Skin Prick Test was negative for wheat, peanuts & gelatin. I give him a peanut butter & grape jelly sandwich on whole wheat bread for lunch today & this is what happens:

click to enlarge

click to enlarge

Testing is negative for allergies, but yet, he has allergic reactions like this 15-30 minutes after he eats. I feel like if I go with my gut & cut out the foods that he reacts to, he will be left with raisins & water. At our last appointment with the allergist last week, he just kind of sat there & couldn't answer my questions as to why this happens. He's more concerned about Logan getting caught up on his vaccinations rather than finding the root cause of the hives. He actually said that 80% of the time, they never find the reason why kids break out in hives & then said that a prescription antihistamine will be available over-the-counter in January & we could start giving that to Logan. He also said that because the tests are negative & he keeps breaking out like this (which apparently shouldn't happen for this length of time - duh) we may have to look into autoimmune issues. As in his body may be allergic to itself. Good. Freakin'. Grief.

I don't think that's the case at all & it's obviously food allergies considering the patterns that are happening here. The hard part is this happens frequently (as in almost daily) so it's very difficult to narrow down which food it is without testing. So here we are, reactions to foods with negative tests. This would have been a hell of a lot easier if his reactions started when he began eating solids. Then it would have been a piece of cake discovering what foods bothered him the most.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Tot Bowling!
This morning Logan went bowling for the first time. It was an activity on The Club calender & after hearing from photographer friend that Logan wasn't too small, we decided to give it a shot. There were only a few others who showed up so it was a perfect sized group, most of them being Logan's good friends.

Our lanes were set up with bumpers & a ramp for the kids to roll the ball down. Logan had so much fun. He never wanted to carry the ball to the ramp (6 lb bowling ball that he could have carried), but he sure did want to push it down the ramp. He stood there mesmerized, watching the ball roll down the lane & hit the pins. He would smile & clap with pride when his turn was over.
He lasted for about 5 or 8 frames then got bored & took a raisin snack break. He also found beef jerky on the floor & tried to eat that (why is he still trying to eat crap off the floor?). When he totally checked out of blowing, he quickly found the video arcade & was sucked into the driving game like a moth to a flame. He "played" the game for a while until I said it was time to go & he promptly threw a fit, rolling around on the dirty floor, kicking & screaming so hard I though he was going to toss his raisins. I just walked away & let him get covered in filth & scream it out.

Finally he calmed down & we were about to walk out to the car when he refused to hold my hand in the parking lot. I picked him up & carried him to the car where again he freaked out like I was beating him to death. I got him in his car seat while photographer friend, another friend & I stood around & talked for about 5 minutes. "Wow. your car is really sound proof", one friend said as we stood there watching Logan scream at the top of his lungs in complete silence.

So, the morning started out great & we had a ton of fun & then it all went to hell at lunch time. Logan actually went down for a nap without lunch because he tried to throw his entire bowl of mac n' cheese & peas on the floor in another fit. Fortunately, I caught it just in time & sent him to bed without lunch. I hope he wakes up in a better mood & we get back to having fun like we did earlier. But bowling was a blast, nonetheless!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Making a list & checking it twice
Christmas cards mailed: Check (mostly)
Christmas shopping done: Check!!
House decorated: Check (mostly)
Tree up & looking awesome: Check

Whoa. I'm on top of things this year. So on top of things, it's scary. And unlike me. People might be getting their Christmas presents on time this year. Crazy, right? The only things left on my holiday to-do list are wrapping presents, mailing out gifts to the family, mailing out the extra cards that we had to order (that will be here in 2 days) & last but not least, Christmas cookie baking! Oh, good Lord. I'm so excited for that one.

We finished our shopping today, getting a few last things for Logan (but I'm sure I'll find something else to sneak under the tree for him during the week) & the last of the family gifts. All of the presents are in our guest bedroom & piled up on the unmade bed. The mountain of toys is an awesome site. I love it. We also got our tree today & after my workout with photographer friend, I came home, put on the Christmas music, made myself an adult hot chocolate, lit a fire in the fireplace & got to decorating the tree. The living room is a whole lot smaller now that we have the tree in the corner & we had to rearrange the couch. It works though.

*I'll have to post the pictures tomorrow since I can't get a clear picture tonight*

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Chaos, goose bumps & a lump in the throat
This is the craziest Christmas season we've had yet. Busy, busy, busy. Go, go, go. It will be nice when it's over & we can just kick back & relax, but I have to admit, I like the chaos right now.

Yesterday was a whirlwind of activity as I was getting the family ready for two separate Christmas parties. Bill & I were going to his company party & Logan was going to the annual Club Christmas party with photographer friend & her daughter. All day long I dragged Logan around town looking for an outfit that I could wear later that night (this part I really hated. I hate finding new clothes right now) & I got a shirt for Bill too. We came home so Logan could get a nap in & I realized that I had purchased the wrong size shirt.

When Logan woke up from his nap, we went to the allergist for more skin testing (beef, chicken, turkey, all berries & gelatin), all came back negative except beef is just an "irritant". Logan is still breaking out in hives regularly & the allergist has no idea what's going on. It's all very inconsistent. At Logan's 2 year check-up with his pediatrician, we'll have to talk about blood work & take a look at autoimmune issues (great).

After the appointment, I exchanged the shirt, came home & got everything ready for Logan & dropped him off at photographer friends house. Running about 15-20 minutes behind, I picked up Bill from work, dropped him off at home & headed to the salon to get my bangs trimmed. I came home, got dressed & we were off to the party. Whew!

The company party was a lot of fun. It was nice to meet all of Bill's co-workers & put names to faces. There was a lot to drink & a ton of delicious catered food. It was hosted at the CEO's home, which was enormous & beautiful. We got to go on the grand tour & watched a scene of a movie in their new home theater. There were awards & drunk speeches & lots of laughing. It was great. 2 hours later than we planned on leaving, we finally picked Logan up around 10pm.

He was still up watching Cars with his friend in his pajamas. They had a good time together playing the "sneezy game" in the car (she would pretend sneeze, he would laugh & this went on for the whole drive) & he had fun without us at The Club party. One mom was sure to make egg-free cookies for Logan at the party & made enough for him to bring some home (although he only ate raisins & marshmallows), along with a hot chocolate craft he made & a book from the kids' book exchange. Apparently, he also understood that photographer friend was taking care of him & stuck by her side following her around the party. He would go off & play for a bit & then come back to "check-in" with her. Too funny.

This morning Logan & I got up to go to one of his playgroup friends birthday party. We had a good time & Logan loved all of his friends new toys. It makes me nervous to think ahead for Logan's 2nd birthday (which I still have no idea what were going to do). We came home for his nap, I mailed out most of our Christmas cards (finally) & when Logan woke up, we went out Christmas shopping.

Christmas shopping was so fun!! We went through the toy isle picking out various car toys, SpongeBob paraphernalia & action figures. Along with a few toys for the cousins, the cart was full to the brim with Christmas goodies. I looked at the cart & got goose bumps & a lump in the throat. This Christmas is going to be so much better than our bah-humbug flu Christmas that was last year. Not only that, Bill is doing so well at work, we actually have a pretty reasonable budget for presents (granted, we're not buying anything for each other). I felt so thankful & so happy that we'll have a great time this year.

We took a break from shopping & went out for dinner, then headed out to get a few more things for Logan. On the way to another toy store, Bill talked about Christmas Eve with his family. It was my impression that we were going to take all of our presents over to Aunt Ju-Ju's house to open with them & then come home & get Logan to bed. I would wake up early Christmas morning to have "our" Christmas, making a gourmet Christmas breakfast & open stocking & Santa presents in our new Christmas pajamas. I was fine with that because we had a part of the holiday that was just for us.

But. No. Bill openly suggested that we just take a few of Logan's presents over to open with the family & leave the majority of them for us (cue the happy tears). Trying not to be ecstatic about it, I just shrugged & said "sure", but inside I was thrilled that we would be able to spend most of the holidays as our own family. We will still spend time with Bill's family on Christmas Eve, so no one is getting left out, but we will spend the majority of the "special" moments with the three of us together. There are so many words to describe how I feel, but to put it simply...happy.

Friday, December 14, 2007

No Christmas announcements
Although it would have been fun, I'm not surprised or disappointed that we won't have any special announcements to make at Christmas. This last cycle was a no-go for baby #2. Because we were starting earlier than originally planned, it's OK. Bill is actually getting everything ready for our new health insurance plan this afternoon & after the holidays, I'll get started on my super strict nutrition plan/workout program to get ready for another possible go about with HG. Now we're really ready to start trying.

This time around is so different that it was with Logan. With Logan, I read an article with a super generic number for my ovulation date, shrugged my shoulders & said, "Let's go for it". There was no counting multiple cycles, no temperature measurements, no tracking. It totally confirms to me how he really was supposed to be born when he was. It was all just too perfect.

I'm not going all out quite yet with the tracking & brining in some major science, but if things don't work this time, the next cycle I will be.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Sending out an S.O.S
I need the help of some of the readers here, especially those that live on a coast. I'm trying to find a seahorse tree ornament for a present for my photographer friend & since we live in the Rocky Mountains, they are impossible to find. I've really only been able to find $50 Waterford crystal collections & that's not happening.

If anyone finds one, please email me! I will forever be indebted to you!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

It's Wednesday?
What happened to Tuesday? The holiday hustle & bustle along with all of the other stuff that's going on has totally screwed up my internal calender. It feels like Monday, still. But then, isn't it Friday, yet?

After the interview with the reporter on Monday, I went out to dinner with some friends (massage friend, photographer friend & another board member friend). We went out for some mexican food & margaritas. I have never laughed so hard in all my life. Seriously. Massage friend cracked a once in a lifetime joke that had me laughing so hard I couldn't breath. I was crying, dabbing the corners of my eyes with my napkin. We laughed the whole night for hours & hours. It was a much needed night for all of us. We've been dealing with more Momma Drama where playgroup Nazi ended up making a scene & resorted to name calling via email after she stepped down from her position. There was a lot of people getting riled up & it was almost out of control. This margarita night was a sanity saver for us.

Tuesday was spent at home in our PJ's. Logan was still sick & we had a lot going on, but ended up canceling everything. Another one of the playgroup moms was going to start training with me that morning at a new gym that Bill & I are going to join (that ought to be interesting) & then we were going to go to our annual cookie exchange. I was so bummed that I had to miss out on that. Logan & his boogery nose watched SpongeBob all day while I got all of our Christmas Cards together. It took me all day to get them addressed & I had to have my photographer friend (who custom designed our cards for us) order another set because we ran out. Apparently we've made quite a few more friends since Logan's been born.

Add in some business stuff in the mix & no wonder I didn't have time to shower. I feel totally wiped out after going to playgroup this morning (where we finally put everything to rest) & Logan being a pill & not listening at all. We still have to get our Christmas tree up & decorated, go shopping & I have to get ready for Bill's company Christmas party at the end of the week. I'm about ready to hibernate.

Monday, December 10, 2007

I have so much hope
This afternoon the reporter & her camera person came by the house to film the piece for the news story on our lawsuit. We sat at my kitchen table & talked about the issue on film. Logan has been sick for the last few days, so he was napping while all of this went on. I was hooked up on a microphone, just like when I was on the reality TV show with my photographer friend. Kitty was jumping all round the house & I'm sure she's in a few shots.

The reporter was just so bothered by all of this that we're going through & couldn't understand how all of this happened. Yeah. Me neither. As we kept talking about it, she said something to the effect of "this must be hard" or something like that. That brought on the water works. Yes, it is hard indeed & now all of Colorado is going to see me cry on the news.

After they filmed to story, the took some shots of our family photos & went upstairs & filmed Logan sleeping (who was out cold & an earthquake couldn't wake him up). The reporter said that she was going to contact the insurance company, Big City Gym & the attorney that screwed us over. She's going to give them a chance to make this right before she airs the piece, but if they don't, all bets are off & this story goes out. She seemed so motivated to help our family find justice. I have so much hope. So much.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Drama Mommas
Boy, has it been an interesting few weeks in MOMS Club. Our chapter is a really easy going, down to Earth & friendly group. We rarely have any sort of drama. Granted, some people get along better with some more than others, but it hasn't been out of control, until now, that is.

The catalyst to the meltdown was right before Thanksgiving. We have 3 out of 4 very active playgroups & 2 of them were growing so much that they were getting a little overcrowded. Logan & I attend one of the expanding groups. In our playgroup, there are 12 kids. Our house is not that big & it does get a little crazy with 12 kids running around & 12 moms squished into our living room. Naturally, there began discussions of a split. Our playgroup is a very tight nit group & there was a lot of resistance to a split, even though we were too big. Many people wanted their cake & to eat it too, by suggesting that the playgroup be closed to any new members & the new members would have to form their own group. Being an executive board member, I got to hear it all from everyone & tried to do as much damage control as possible.

Right before Thanksgiving, we had a board meeting to discuss the playgroup splits & we made a very fair & logical decision on how to do it. We all agreed on our decision & it was pretty clear cut. Shortly after the meeting on our designated playgroup day, the club was sent an email from our playgroup coordinator with a decision on the split that was completely different than what the board agreed upon. It pretty much benefited her & only her with disregard to how it effected anyone else. It was all that was talked about at playgroup & people were pretty upset that our playgroup coordinator was dictating more than coordinating. Our group turned to me & another board member who is also in our playgroup, hoping for answers. We were as confused as the rest of them since this wasn't what we voted on. This is when it hit the fan.

Our co-presidents had to send out a follow up email stating that this was not a final decision & it was something the club was going to vote on. Not too long after that, our playgroup coordinator sent out an email stating that this was a final decision & she had consulted our presidency. There was a whole lot of confusion & playgroup anarchy started to develop. It was all we talked about for 2 weeks & then one of the moms in our group stepped up & emailed the playgroup on Wednesday, opening up a dialog for all of us to come to a consensus on how to split. The email conversation had accidentally been forwarded to our playgroup coordinator.

There were no personal remarks in this email conversation, only playgroup members offering concrete suggestions on how to split, for example, by birth dates, alphabetical order or location. It was a very positive & productive conversation, but not according to our coordinator who chose to respond with this:

Hi [playgroup],

Please read the comments below [playgroup] so that you know where this email is coming from. I was truly hoping that I would not have to say this to your group, but I have been aware for some time that you weren't leaving me many options.

I do realize that not all of you were culprits in this, and do apologize to you for having to endure the disrespect that the other members of your playgroup are showing you at this point.

To those people:

First - it is NOT your responsibility to decide how your playgroup is structured. That is my job. I specifically asked you all for suggestions for your group. None of you sent me any. Not the right way to go about effecting change.

Second: It is this type of conversation that is making some newer members very uncomfortable when they come into your group. I am very concerned about that aspect of it. It is not a welcoming environment. If you insist on acting this way (this is not the first time I have addressed this with the [playgroup] group), I will decide how to split you up, and my decision will be final - you will have no input. I will not have new members coming to me feeling intimidated by a playgroup - that is NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Third: From this email onward, if you have questions, comments or suggestions, they will come to me, not the rest of your playgroup and most certainly NOT WHILE YOU ARE AT PLAYGROUP. I have no qualms about breaking this group up for the betterment of the club, so please don't force my hand on this issue. I am very tired of hearing this, and very disappointed at hearing this from your playgroup. Playgroup is NOT a forum for you to complain about all you see wrong. It is for your children to play, to meet and make new friends, and for you the parents, to create a safe, positive environment for all kids involved to grow and develop in.

I have discussed this at length with the Club Presidents. They know how I feel about this issue, and share my growing concern at how unwelcoming you've made your playgroup for newer members.

I do not apologize for the tone of this email. I am very upset at your group, and the manner in which you continue to flaunt the playgroup guidelines I have sent to you and discussed with you numerous times before now. You are welcome to call me and discuss this. Please, no more emails.

Thank you and remember - we were ALL new members not so long ago. Try to recall how you felt in a group of clique-y is very uncomfortable. Why would you want to make others feel this way? Quite simply, you shouldn't want them to feel that way. You all need to have a little self-reflection time going into playgroup in 2008 to make it better for everyone.

Immediately, my phone began ringing off the hook. Between being busy with filing the complaint to the labor board & a sick Logan fussing & screaming at me all day long, I had to answer call after call from angry playgroup members, venting to me about what they just read. People were up in arms about being talked to like this when all that was going on was a group conversation to find a solution that benefited everyone in our group, rather than our coordinator acting like a playgroup Nazi.

This morning we held an emergency board meeting to resolve the issue. It was going to be proposed that the playgroup coordinator be removed from her position, but instead she stepped down herself last night. We met for about 3 hours working on solutions & smoothing things over. We'll have a meeting at our playgroup next week to tie up loose ends & after that, the crisis is over.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I heard you the first time
Logan did not sleep very well at all last night. We has up fussing about every 45 minutes. I would go back to tuck him in, come back downstairs & get comfortable on the couch to only have to go back up there again. And again. This went through the entire night. It's a good thing I'm an insomniac & can function the next day without having some decent REM. Bill took over at about 5-ish, maybe earlier, so Logan was going at this non-stop. I thought it might be teething & gave him some Tylenol earlier in the night. That didn't work at all. Come to find out, this morning he woke up with a cold & I've been wiping snot from his face all day long.

Not only has he been sick with a cold & very tired from a horrible night, but he's been ultra whiny ta boot. It has not been a good day for either of us because his temperament has made me uber grumpy too. I've had a lot on my plate today with filing complaints with the insurance commission as requested by the news reported covering the case (something I was going to do a long time ago & it slipped through the cracks). I had to reschedule Logan's allergist appointment that we had tomorrow morning & I had to field phone calls from upset members in our playgroup because of some serious drama goin down (a post for later this week). All of this being done with a screaming 2 year old. Screaming hard enough that his face was blotchy, snot running down from his nose & gaging hard enough that I though he was going to hurl on the carpet.

And Then! If I wasn't listening to him scream, I heard a steady chant just like this:

Eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, nose, nose, nose, nose, nose, nose, nose, nose, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, cheese, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, potty, potty, potty, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, cars, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, daddy, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat, play, play, play, play, play, play, color, color, color, color, color, color, eat, eat, eat, eat, eat....

You get the idea. I'm glad tomorrow's another day.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Second base
We're making progress over here with the lawsuit against the Big City Gym! For the last few months, I've been researching on how to file this claim ourselves. It has not been easy; my eyes glaze over & roll back into my head every time I read legalese now. There's been a lot of research & trying to figure out how the intricate details of the legal system work. Let me tell you, attorneys pay an arm & a leg for their education & it's worth every last cent. It's not something you can just learn on your own in a few short months (like I was even thinking that was possible, anyway).

So, last night in a last ditch effort, realizing that filing the suit on my own was way too difficult, I contacted one of our local news stations. It sparked a bit of frustration when I picked Bill up from work & told him about it. "I don't think that's going to work", he said. I quickly snapped back, "Well, what do you suggest that I do!? We've exhausted every last option & I'm grasping at straws now!" This really made for a quite ride back home. It was not what I wanted to hear. If I was going to be told that this idea wouldn't work, it would have been better received if there was an alternate idea suggested, rather than me just being shot down.

This afternoon I took a nap while Logan was sleeping, too. I was awoken by the ring of my cell phone & a voice mail alert. I got up & listened to the message. It was the news station calling me back. They wanted to get a reporter out here to see what the story was about. I almost fell to the floor listening to this message. It was another hope! If there's not anything they can do about it, at least the story will get out to all of Colorado & maybe there will be someone who watches that can help us out. At this point, all I have left is hope.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Non-deleted post: Sleepless ramblings
I just need to unload here. I've mentioned my insomnia before & how it's directly related to stress. Over the course of the last year, it was pretty bad. There were nights that I did not sleep a wink. I watched the sunrise & listened to the morning birds sing their songs. They were very strange experiences. It's better than it's been, but there are good nights & bad. It all depends on how much stress there is (not caffeine, as Bill seems to believe). Tonight seems to be one of those nights.

I know at this point it's ridiculously stupid to worry about these stresses, but I do. During the day I'm fine & having fun with Logan & our friends. At night, it's a different story. I'm up trying to find something to take my mind off of what's running though my head (yea for celebrity gossip sites), but I'm all too often up until the wee hours of the morning. For the sake of getting it out of my head, I'm putting my stress & fears out there, on here, no matter how stupid they may be. While most people worry about money & other common stresses, the two triggers that are keeping me up at night are the holidays & trying for baby #2. These events in & of themselves are not major stresses to me, it's when Bill's family gets in the mix (or will be in the mix).

I don't expect all hell to break loose this Christmas (sort of), but what bothers me is that this could be our last Christmas with trying to develop our own family traditions. Developing these special traditions is so important to me. I want Logan to have fond holiday memories of the things we do as a family. As super crappy as my childhood was, Christmas Eve is still a really happy memory since it seemed to be the only time we were semi-normal. It was one of the few times in our lives that there was magic. This magic made me believe in Santa well into my school years. I want to make memories of cutting down our Christmas tree together & coming home to Christmas music & hot chocolate while we decorate the house. I want to remember the Christmas pajama's that we all get on Christmas Eve & wear all day as we lounge around on Christmas Day. The breakfast feast, the thoughtful stocking stuffers, the magic of Santa. These are the happy memories that I want to create for us.

While all of this may happen this year, it may be the last year. Bill's parents are moving here in the summer. Because of the way they are, our traditions will be no longer & it will be all about "their" traditions. They will need to be included in every aspect of our holidays, from the tree cutting to the pajamas & Christmas Day. We won't have anything of our own. This bring us to baby #2. They will be here when the baby is born. They will demand that Logan spend the night with them while I'm in labor. As retired grandparents, they will be over often, taking the baby from me again, too. They will want us to come over every weekend. Every holiday will be spent with them, every opportunity we have to form our own family bond will be interrupted.

The stress keeps me up because I have very little faith that it will be any different. I am not confidant that the changes we've been working on will stick when they are around 24/7. And you know what's so irritating about stressing over this? These things won't happen for months down the line! But here I am, awake & freaked out to the ends of the earth about it. It sucks & I hate it. I wish I could be certain that this isn't our future. Maybe then I would finally sleep like a normal person.

Monday, December 03, 2007

22 months
This is the month of Mr. Independence. I feel like Logan is not only no longer a baby, but quickly outgrowing the toddler phase & growing into a little boy. He knows what he wants is is able to do for himself. It. Is. Awesome.

Sleeping habits are changing a bit in this here house. Since Bill works earlier, our sleeping in days are over with. Logan is now up with the early birds at 6am. Bill is usually already up by then & I get to sleep in, but still. This is early & a far cry from our 9am wake up times of months past. Logan is still sleeping well in his toddler bed, but we've noticed a few little quirks that have suddenly appeared.

First, is the bedtime meltdown. The minute I tell Logan it's time to brush his teeth & get his pajama's on, he goes from bright & smiley to crying & protesting. "Play! Play! Play!", he'll whine through his sobs. Next is the bedtime revolution. Once he gets in bed, tucked in & kissed good-night, I close the door to immediately hear him cry like he's been imprisoned. I wait for him to calm down, which doesn't happen. I go in to tuck him in again & find him getting ready to pound on his door. The swiftness of my opening of the door gets him scrambling back into bed along with pleas of "stars" (the lights on his mobile), "isic" (music from his mobile) & "cars". At least I only have to go back in once & no more than that. The funniest quirk is when he wakes up & comes stubbing out of his room in a daze. It's hilarious. He doesn't give himself enough time to wake up & just starts the day full force.

Logan is still throwing most of his food on the floor. I have no idea how to get him to stop this other than taking it away from him & starving him until the next meal, hoping that his hunger will overcome his desire to throw everything off the table. If I do this, I end up hearing cries for crackers & "reasons" (raisins) all day long. I feel like this is a no-win situation. He is not eating much of a breakfast anymore (a little milk - not all of it like he used to drink) & fruit. The whole grains are never eaten (toast, Cheerios). He'll eat more at lunch & some at dinner, but food is thrown at every meal. Other than cheese (& raisins & crackers), he' not fond of any particular foods. This makes it increasingly difficult & it drives me nuts.

The good parts about mealtime, is that he continues to get better about using his utensils & knows that he needs to turn off the TV (or "TE" as he calls it) before sitting at the table. He blows on his food when it's hot (so cute!). It's also really cute to have him chime in on dinner conversations, too.

Our mornings are still filled with morning cartoons, or "toons". Logan is certifiably addicted to Yo Gabba Gabba, Classical Baby ("baby") & SpongeBob ("Bob-Bod"). While it's helpful to have him watch TV while I clean up the house or cuddle with him because I'm still trying to wake up, the TV has been on more & more everyday. I go to turn it off & he runs up behind me to turn it back on. Fortunately, he liked to change the channels & doesn't know how to get it back to the cartoon he was watching & it ends up on silent static for a while.

He still likes to read & enjoys reading to himself. He continues to be obsessed with his cars, trucks & buses. He'll race his cars down the banister & across the couch cushions. He likes to put puzzles together, play basketball & football & chase the pets around the house. He's more curious about "fix-it" type stuff, intently watching Bill make household repairs & asking if he can help ("hote?").

We've been working on manners this month & he's getting very good at saying please & thank you ("peas, tato"). There are times where he asks for something he shouldn't have, but asks very nicely, making it so hard to say no. We'll be working on saying "sorry" this month to add to his repertoire. He's been very good about holding my hand in a parking lot or walking through a store & hasn't been revolting like he did in previous months. He's a very well behaved kid, if I do say so myself.

It's been month of learning & growing (now in 3T shirts!), in both size & skill. His language is exploding everyday & I'm so proud of the little boy he's developing into.