Monday, August 31, 2009

Oh, hi there.

I think this may be the longest time I've gone without updating the blog. For such an anal retentive person, that's a travesty. But, really, there's been a lot going on and little time to tell about it (isn't that the case for everyone?)

Last week was dramatic, but it had nothing to do with the in-laws - WHICH IS A FREAKIN' MIRACLE. There was the tail-end of playgroup madness, people cutting off their noses to spite their faces. I'll write a blog post on this next week. It's too good to not tell but it isn't over yet. Lovely, isn't it.

I suppose the biggest hoo-ha was with my restaurant review that I wrote on the other blog. The other blog is going quite well, gaining popularity in our little town and I'll be ready to pick up advertisers this week - making me a professional blogger (how crazy is that!). Anyway, I wrote a review about a Caribbean place in town that wasn't so great. It was a fair review though, and I did point out some great dishes. Well, the owners caught wind of it and sent a mass email to their customers who sighed up for their newsletter and asked them to visit the blog and leave comments about how great their food is. This tripled my stats and I had just added a few advertisements to the blog. Cha-ching!

It was interesting to see how many people RAVED about this place, calling it their #1 or #2 favorite place in town. If that's they case, these people are missing out on A LOT. Anyway, it was entertaining, to say the least and it certainly helped me out on the marketing end.

The rest of the week was pretty chill. I'll FINALLY have Carter's 11 month update done tomorrow as we get ready for his birthday party this month and also get Logan ready to start preschool! It makes me want to cry!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Once every 3 years is too long

It always seems that when you have fun and exciting things planned for the weekend, the days go by so fast that you don't really have a chance to savor them. That's how this weekend was.

On Saturday Bill went up in the mountains for the day to train for his disc golf tournament that's coming up and the kids and I stayed at home. We had a birthday party to go to later in the afternoon and had fun playing out in their backyard.

Sunday afternoon Logan and Carter's Aunt J and Uncle C came out to visit for a short while. They are doing a month long road trip across the country and stopped on their way back. We hadn't seen them since Logan was just over a year old and they hadn't met Carter yet. Sunday afternoon was spent hanging out and playing with the kids (after Logan got over his poor attitude). Aunt J took a ton of pictures of the boys and some of them turned out really cute!

After the kids went to bed, we had a massive steak dinner that Bill grilled up with grilled corn on the cob and potatoes. It was delicious! We hung out chatting and had a few drinks. It was nice to catch up and hang out. They spent the night and after a huge breakfast that Bill made on Monday morning, they hit the road to continue their trip with a visit to a friend in Denver.

It's a bummer that we don't live close to family where we have fun and enjoy the visit. These are the family moments I wish my boys had more of - the fun, easygoing, stress-free times playing with cars and showing off skills and being cute. As much as I really like living here, it was another reminder of how much it sucks to be far away from family.

I hope we'll be able to visit with them again next summer.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A parent's worst nightmare

A couple of mornings ago while driving Bill to work, we had to take a detour because of an accident scene. We didn't know what was going on, but with the amount of police on the scene and how much yellow tape there was, we figured it had been pretty serious. I told Bill that when I got home I'd read the paper online because I knew some information would be reported there. That's just small town life here.

I got home and was reading about how a high school kid got plowed over while biking across the street on her way to school. This morning while on our drive to drop Bill off, we drove by the accident scene where people have tied ribbons on the light post and arranged flowers on the street corner.

I read the update this morning that she had died last night.

As a mom, I can't even begin to imagine the pain these parents are feeling. In fact, I feel like a part of my brain just doesn't connect when trying to process such a scenario. It's so traumatizing, it's literally unthinkable.

I drive this road and cross this intersection countless times a day, a week, a month, a year and will forever be reminded how our lives can change in a instant. That tragedy can befall at any moment. We live in a very safe town, but not so much for bicyclists. With two boys who will inevitably want to ride their bikes out our small neighborhood (a series of 3-4 cul-du-sacs) and along a very busy road where motorists don't yield to pedestrians and cyclists IN CROSSWALKS, it's something that's very concerning.

We can strap helmets on our kids, pads on their knees and elbows. We can watch them every second of the way, but we can't protect them from everything. This is a parent's worst nightmare.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bullet Proof

Hey! It's a bullet day! And this is why....
  • Our playgroups are splitting and I've had to deal with people complaning about someone complaining. Sounds crazy? Yes, it is. And? The drama mama complainer is compalining about a situation that she made up on her own and it was never going to happen in the first place. Yowza!
  • I'm *this close* to becoming a professional blogger in our city with the food blog I'm writing. I've been contacted about advertising and sponsorship from a business!!!
  • Needless to say, since food blogging is going to pay me, my priority is to write there more than here. Boo.
  • I'm feeling a bit overwhelmed with everything I'm doing, but I think I've got it handled.
  • On Saturday a couple of my training clients took us out for lunch (to do a food review) and I ate shark. Alicia totally grossed me out about parasites with her facebook comment on my wall and I've wanted to puke ever since.
  • Sunday is "Special Day" according to Logan. It's when we do some family fun thing together. This week we went out for breakfast and bowling afterward. It was fun! Carter had a great time clapping for everyone and Logan almost bowled better than me with bumpers and a ramp. Bill was a pro-bowler bowling 4 strikes in a row.
  • Sunday evening I went to our community festival by myself - without the family - and had an AMAZING time. It was so fun! I was on assignment for the food blog and listened to Ozomatli in concert (again - I saw them when they opened for G Love and Special Sauce years ago).
  • I got Logan and Bill Lucha Libre masks at the festival. HILARIOUS!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

First blood

Yesterday afternoon, Logan had more unbridled energy than any kid should have. He frequently is a spastic tornado, running around the house without any sense of space and doesn't quite grasp the concept that he has the ability to harm others. Both boys were playing in Logan's room when I hear Carter cry his "I'm in pain" cry. I go in and ask Logan what had happened to which he replied, " I hit Carter". Not being able to tell if it was a true accident or if it was a casualty from an out of control freak out, I picked up Carter to comfort him and noticed he had a bloody lip.

Logan spent the morning in his room, falling asleep at 11:00 and waking up at 3:00 in the afternoon. This kid was lucky I didn't smack some sense into him.

This afternoon Logan went to the drop-in childcare center while Carter and I had a play date with one of his little baby friends and her mom. Carter was crawling around, all over everything and as fast as he could. He ended up doing a face plant on the hardwood floor in the kitchen. After I picked him up, I noticed that once again, he had a bloody lip. The same place as the day before.

Poor baby. His first bloody lip and one two days in a row. This certainly won't be the last.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Island Party

Over the weekend we went to Bill's company summer Island Party. We missed it last year because Carter had just been born days earlier and I was not about to take a newborn out on a lake full of catfish. But this year, we were set! And excited!

It was a potluck party and Bill tried to convince me not to bring anything. Why, I don't know. But, I'm not down for showing up to a pot luck empty handed. It must be the Betty Crocker stay-at-home mom inside me who has attended more pot lucks since becoming a mom than I'd ever imagined. I insisted I'd bring something, even if it was homemade chocolate chip cookies. And that's exactly what I did.

The lake (pond?) is less than 5 minutes away from our house and I'd never heard about it before, let alone seen it in the four years we've lived here. It's pretty secluded, although it is right next to the freeway. Crazy!

Anyway, we all loaded up on the boat to get to the island where the party was. It was a fun ride and Logan was thrilled, pointing out waterfalls and random wildlife. We got to the dock that was designed to look like a hut with a grass roof and all. Logan and the son of one of Bill's co-workers hit it off and hand-in-hand ran off to go feed the catfish. There was a huge tub of food right by the dock and they fed these humongous fish by the scoopful. They jumped out of the water and a feeding frenzy broke out, splashing lake water on everyone. Gross, but the kids had a great time.

There was a small sandy beach for volley ball, a nice dock with lots of patio furniture to lounge in and a private beach with paddle boats and canoes. I took Logan out on the canoe while Bill stayed on land with Carter. We had a great time out there paddling around and watching people jump off the big lake trampolines, and it was a pretty good workout! It also made me want to get a canoe for next summer.

For the rest of the afternoon, I hung out talking with Bill's office mates while he supervised Logan and his friend playing in the lake. We had a really great time (even if some people said some stupid things that made me bite my tongue). We're looking forward to next years picnic and we are SO LUCKY that Bill works for such a great company.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Immersion therapy

Almost two years ago, possibly a bit longer, Logan developed an extreme phobia to dogs, just out of the blue. He was never attacked or hurt by a dog and he's lived with Buddha since the day he came home from the hospital. It became apparent how serious this phobia was when we were attending a baby shower while I was still pregnant with Carter.

We were sitting in the kitchen chatting and eating cake while the kids played out in the back yard. The host had a mellow black lab who was out there with the kids. Suddenly, we hear Logan screaming bloody murder and see him running up the deck and scramble up on top of the picnic table, almost trying to scale the back yard wall just to get away. Nothing happened to him but he was hysterical. It was horrifying for him and it startled the rest of us.

Since then, he has been terribly afraid of all dogs (expect Buddha). When we visit a friend's house, they have to keep their dogs gated away or Logan will freak out. Not a tantrum, but have a panic attack. His last Halloween was almost ruined when one our neighbors neglected to keep their young, hyper dog away from the door and when we knocked, the dog escaped and ran throughout the neighborhood. Logan didn't want to continue trick-or-treating and it took an act of congress to get him to knock on another door, with him questioning us if there was a dog on the other side.

As time went on, we thought this was something he would grow out of. We thought that as he got older, he would have a better understanding of dogs or situations and would be more comfortable. This never happened. His fear is as extreme today as it was at the baby shower. He has a true phobia.

I just feel so bad for him. A boy so afraid of dogs...and in our town to boot! Everyone has at least one if not two. He deals with this fear on a regular basis - weekly. That's a lot for a kid to be terrified.

I had been researching for quite a while on how to help him out with this. In situations where he is panicked, there is no reasoning with him or trying to encourage him to relax. "Talk therapy" isn't the answer, but immersion therapy is.

Immersion therapy is pretty much facing the fear head on. There are steps you take and you try to learn to relax when you are panicking most, so this takes a lot of work with a three year old. Logan is fine with talking about dogs, looking at pictures of dogs and seeing dogs from afar where he knows he is safe. He gets scared around dogs that are close to him on leash and terrified of dogs on the loose.

This morning we went to an activity with a therapy dog. Last month when I saw this coming up, I was thrilled and made sure to sign Logan up right away. This was our first step in facing his fear. Being close to a very mellow, obedient dog who wasn't on leash. The timing couldn't have been more perfect since he had another panic attack at a friends house last week.

I had been prepping him for a few days, letting him know that we would be around a dog that wasn't on a leash and that the dog would be there to read us stories. He thought it was pretty cool. I asked him if he was afraid and he told me that he was scared of barking dogs (even though the dogs he panics around aren't barking). So, I kept talking to him about it for a couple of days. Then Friday morning he was pretty excited about it all, telling me how happy he was that a dog was going to read stories.

We got to the garden where story time was hosted and as the therapy dog came walking to the picnic area, Logan became a bit more concerned and started to back up onto a park bench that we were sitting on. I kept reassuring him (as I always do) that the dog was nice and that he was OK. He sat right up close with me in the front row, the closest people there, and he listened to the stories and became more comfortable around the therapy dog (who happened to be a black lab).

After the first story, the dog was entertaining the kids by playing games like catching treats and playing peek-a-boo from under a blanket. I tried to gently encourage Logan to participate in all of the activities he could. And he did. He really liked throwing treats to the dog, helping to cover the dog with a blanket to play peek-a-boo and even petted the dog - on the tail with her head between the owners legs (she figured out Logan was afraid almost right away).

After another story, the kids played London Bridge with the dog. The older, taller kids bent down with the hands on the floor (like downward dog in yoga), making an arch for the dog to crawl through. One girl volunteered to go first and while we were watching I asked Logan if he wanted to try too (thinking he wouldn't and we would have to figure something out to help him feel more courageous). But, he excitedly said yes and he actually let the dog crawl underneath him. This was shocking and such a HUGE step for him. He did great!

At the end of story time, the kids could come by and sit with the dog and pet her. Carter enjoyed his time with the dog and his little baby friend, but Logan wasn't too keen on petting her again. so, I considered this a huge victory in his battle and left it at that.

Since he made such incredible progress, my next step is to continue looking for therapy dog activities around town. After he becomes comfortable with that, we'll work on being comfortable around his friends' dogs and then last, we'll venture out to play with hyper puppies. It's going to take some time, but I think he can do it.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Leaky ears

Last Wednesday Carter got pretty sick. He was boogery, lethargic and had a decent fever. All he wanted to do was cuddle and sleep. He was feeling better the next day, but was still a bit cruddy and even though he was even better by Friday, I thought he might have an ear infection since he was showing signs, like poking at his ear, fussiness and even a bit of drainage coming out.

So, Friday afternoon we went to see our pediatrician who took a look at his ears and said they looked great. Totally clear. With a sigh of relief, we left and continued with our weekend plans as usual. Bill was also leaving for a business trip on Monday morning, so it was nice to know that even though Carter had a cold, that was it. Nothing worse. I could deal with a baby and a cold by myself.

The weekend went great and Carter seemed fine. He did continue to have ear leakage, mostly happening when he woke up from naps or sleep. It wasn't too alarming and after consulting Dr. Google, these were clear signs that he did have an ear infection. The leakage was from a hole in his ear drum that relieved the pressure and would help Carter feel better. Things should clear up on their own.

But they didn't.

On Monday morning when we dropped Bill off at the airport, I got Carter out of his car seat to give his Dad a hug good-bye. His right ear had leaked all over his shoulder and his ear was crusty with yellow wax. It was a bit much. We drove home and I cleaned him up. Then he woke up form his afternoon nap and goop was literally pouring out of his ear and onto his shirt. So I called the advice nurse who told us to see the Doctor. In between the appointment and the phone call, I had been following Carter around with a tissue to dab the drainage from his ear so it wouldn't get everywhere. It was that bad.

We went in as the last appointment of the day because that's the only time they had for us. We saw one of the Physicians Assistants who used to see Logan when he was a baby during all of his allergy testing appointments and vaccination issues. I hadn't seen her in a few years since she pushed vaccinations so hard and didn't really listen to my concerns, and that's when we started seeing our pediatrician only.

Anyway, she came in surprised to see us and met Carter, who was all smiles. She took his temperature and he did have a slight fever again. She looked at his ear and couldn't see anything because it was full of crud. She cleared it out by digging in there with a knitting needle-type tool and pulled out gobs of yellow goo. His ear was red, swollen and she couldn't even see the ear drum. He had a pretty nasty ear infection.

Well. Just what I thought days prior, but now it was worse, not clearing up on it's own and he needed antibiotics.

So, Carter's first ear infection and medication. His ear is a little better today, not leaking nearly as much, but still crusty when he wakes up. We're supposed to go back in a few weeks to double check and make sure everything is healing well and probably check his hearing as well. I hope it's fine!

So far, it hasn't been too much to deal with on my own and I'm so glad it's not worse!

Monday, August 03, 2009

Walking with Dinosaurs

This weekend we had a special family day that drove us down to Denver (which we hate) but it was for a good reason. It all started a few weeks ago when Bill got a hold of one ticket to see Phish at Red Rocks. Yea, awesome, lots of fun - except it was one ticket and I would be left at home with the boys. Not fun. I told him to go, but expect me to go to Vegas with friends for my night of alone fun.

He began looking for another ticket so we could both go, and that was next to impossible. People were selling these tickets left and right - for HUNDREDS of dollars. Stupid scalpers. One night, Bill decided to pass up on his ticket and stop looking for one for me and instead, bought tickets for the family to see Walking With Dinosaurs at the Pepsi Center.

After he bought the tickets, we couldn't keep the news from Logan. The next morning we told him and for weeks that's all he asked about. It was actually a good tool to help him learn the days of the week. Bill would teach him the days of the week and Logan quickly figured out that Sunday was the big day.

Yesterday we jumped in the car for our long-ish drive down there and got a little lost by passing the exit (not too lost though, just a detour). It was really funny because Logan asked "Are we there yet?" about 100 times. He was really excited and it was too cute. We finally got there and walked in with the other thousands of people lining up in the heat of the day.

It actually didn't take long for us to get to out seats. We bought the cheap seats because Logan is three and a half and Carter doesn't know any better. We bought Logan a pair of binoculars just in case. It turned out to be a great decision because we could see just fine and Logan thought his binoculars were pretty cool.

The show was great and every now and then Logan would lean over and tell Bill how much he loved him. SO CUTE! Carter watched the show too and sat on my lap for most of the time. We grabbed some snacks at intermission ($4.00 for a bottled water!!??). Logan got a cup of ice cream that melted on his lap because he was more interested in Dinosaurs than paying attention to vanilla soft serve. It was only about the last five to ten minutes that Carter got fussy and I had to step out - during the highlight of the show where Tyrannosaurs Rex was running around (the Dinosaurs were amazing).

We had such a great time together and it felt so nice to be doing something special as a family. I'm sure Logan will talk about this day for weeks, especially since he's been asking when we're going back. I'm really happy that Bill sacrificed his night at the concert for an adventure with the kids.