Sunday, November 30, 2008

Nature Walk

On Saturday we enjoyed a nice picnic at a local park (okay, it was Taco Bell, but if it is eaten on a picnic table it is considered a picnic). Then we took Jason and Tyler (and Alli) on a nature walk. It was a beautiful day and of course we found lots of "daventures". My personal favorite are the huge pinecones, which I thought would look just lovely in a basket as part of a Christmas display. Tyler has other thoughts (which involve sitting them inside his "daventure box") so that will be a battle I hope to win later.

We noticed many trees that seemed to have just been chopped off at the tops somehow. Al has his theory on what happened to them, while I have my own theory. Please click on the picture to view it larger and then help us settle this battle by voting in the poll to the right. =========>

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Thanksgiving Day!

Today we decided to enjoy an alternative Thanksgiving. I had zero interest in slaving over the stove to make a huge meal for the three of us and then spend hours cleaning it all up, so we decided to take the boys to Busch Gardens. We still had our free pass to use at one of their parks, so we decided to cash in on it today. As I saw it, we could pay for parking and our food and, we'd have a whole day of fun for not much more than the price it would cost for me to make a meal that would take us 20 minutes to enjoy and then be done with. So, it was a no-brainer.

Tyler first wanted to go on rides. So that's where we went. He first enjoyed this ride.

After seeing a few animals we came across this show that was just about to start, called Critter Encounters (I believe). It was a really cute show which featured many different animals. Tyler enjoyed it immensely until there was word of a firework to come up, so then it was down the stands he went. He did agree to watch the rest of the show from the sidelines on daddy's shoulders.

We saw a few more animals. Jason was pretty entranced by some flying birds (or so it seemeed).

From there it was off to "Land of the Dragons" for tons of kids rides. Tyler enjoyed quite a few of them while I fed Jason and then it was up onto these high nets for climbing. Last year Tyler was scared of them, but this year he was quite brave!

He also refused to try this mini water ride last year, but this year it was his "favorite ride".

A quick photo opportunity before heading off for some lunch.

We enjoyed some quick food while daddy rode Sheikra. We then spent some more time observing other roller coasters and rides from afar. Tyler loves to watch all of the rides that he insists he'll never go on. LOL.

We all decided to ride the skyride, which happened to be Tyler's first time as well as Jason's first ride ever! I feel the need to add that Jason enjoyed a little snack, way up there in the sky. That was a first for me!

We head over to Jungala, which was very impressive. Unfortunately we couldn't really see any of the orangutans, but we got some great views of the tigers. They are amazingly beautiful creatures.

After another quick roller coaster ride for daddy it was time to hit up some more kid rides. It's amazing how Tyler can be entertained by a small train that moves slower than I walk. But, it's not up to me to decide what is fun. He also tried the motorcycle ride this time, which he fell in love with.

While he enjoyed that ride a few times, Jason took a break from him time in the front pack with me to spend some time with his daddy. Daddy swears that he was reachign for his sunglasses on his head, and it his defense it did look possible. He certainly was having fun though.

After that we enjoyed our very informal Thanksgiving dinner, which was just perfect for us. We even got to watch the tigers (again) while we ate!

As we walked back through Jungala Tyler spotted a few characters he just HAD to stop and pose with!

We realized we only had about an hour until the park was due to close, so we went back to the "Land of the Dragons" for more kids rides as we had promised Tyler. Al took him on some rides while I fed Jason. I came to find them, only to encounter this. Tyler, in probably 60 degree weather, in the water. Al tells me "I made him take off his shoes and had him roll up his pants but I told him not to get wet". Yep, like that's gonna work! Oh well, provided he doesn't end up with pneumonia I suppose some spontaneous fun like that didn't hurt anyone. Sadly enough, he was not alone. Many a child were in there in the water, fully clothed!

Luckily I had a change of clothing, so after we warmed up Tyler agreed that the ice cream he had been asking for all day would not be the best idea. He settled for cotton candy instead.

What a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Gobble, Gobble!

I am truly blessed this Thanksgiving. I have 2 wonderful boys, a husband who is on US soil for the first Thanksgiving in a long time, and wonderful family and friends. Life doesn't get much better than that!

Happy Thanksgiving, from our house to yours!

Ready for turkey day?

Tyler had off of school today, so we started off the day with a turkey craft. If you notice an alligator in some of these pictures (and future pictures), that's because it was Tyler's turn to bring home his class mascot, "Alli the Alligator". He gets to spend the weekend with us, and we are supposed to document it if possible. Anyway, so Tyler picked this craft (same one we did last year) and he INSISTED on doing it himself. He did eventually let me help him trace his feet and then finally cut out his last 2 handprints when he announced his hands were "too tired" to cut anymore. I think it turned out cute though!

Later on, as I cleaned, Tyler observed my holding Jason in the front pack and made a mock front pack for Mickey. Pretty resourceful, huh?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Happy 2 Months to my little Jason. I can't believe how quickly the time is passing. He's become way more alert and he will calm down (sometimes) if you start to talk to him. He likes to look at pictures on the wall, his stuffed terrier, and especially his big brother. He's starting to try to "talk", is smiling more (usually only in the morning), and is starting to develop more of a routine. Unfortunately this routine involves only wanting to sleep while with mommy or while being held, but at least it involves sleep! He can tolerate a little tummy time and desperately wants to roll (he'll roll to his back if you have him propped up on his arms on his tummy). When he's not crying he spends a good portion of his day trying to get his thumb in his mouth.

And Happy 31st to my hubby. This time last year you celebrated your 30th birthday in Afghanistan. It's so nice to have you with us this time!

What a way to start the day!

Jason woke up all smiles today. I knew that if I got up to get my camera he would cease "performing", so I grabbed my phone on the nightstand instead. So excuse the quality of the photo and video. I swear I even heard the beginning of a laugh!

Monday, November 24, 2008

So, what do you think?

Do you think my boys look alike?

I've pretty much always been told that Tyler is a clone of myself. Jason is another story. Most people say he looks like Al, some say me, and then others say he's a good mix of us both.

First picture is Tyler at about 8 weeks.

Next is Jason at about 8 weeks.

Finally is both boys together, yesterday.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

It MUST be true...

Only truth comes out of the mouth of my 4-year-old, right? Direct quote from Tyler: "Mommy, you are the best mommy in the whole wide world."

This will make my cold much more bearable!

Friday, November 21, 2008

well, that was not fun

Today I decided to be brave and head to the outlets with both boys. I really was going only with 2 main get matching Christmas PJs for the boys and to get some nursing tanks (and maybe some bras) for me.

I got Tyler from school and he got himself some lunch while I fed and changed Jason before getting on the road.

The afternoon went like this:

Get in car and stop for $1.89 gas. Cool, huh? Spend the whole time trying to talk to Tyler through the closed car door. Apparently this is fun.

Get back in car and realize Jason is asleep. Nice! Try to have a relaxing drive listening to my music. Went fairly well, well, minus the 67 questions I had to answer. Eventually let Tyler listen to his music (you really can never have too much exposure to Backyardigan's music) so I can get some relief from the never ending questions. Phone rings, remind Tyler quickly not to interrupt, and have a brief conversation with my mom. Get off, noting how quiet it was. Announce "Tyler, thank you for being very patient and quiet while I was on the phone". No response. Look in mirror and see a sleeping Tyler (he's really not ready to give up his nap). Happily turn my music back on. Hear a shriek from the back seat from Tyler announcing "I was listening to that". Reply, "sorry bud, I thought you were asleep". He replies "I was asleep, but I like to hear that while I'm sleeping". Umm, okay.

Arrive at incredibly crowded outlet (hello people, it's not even thanksgiving and don't any of you have to work?). Wake Tyler and listen to him whine about how his carseat is "not comfy for napping". Go to take out stroller and realize it is not there. Call Al who announces "oh, I took it out when I took out your suitcases". Remind Al to NEVER take out the stroller unless I ask him to. Ponder how I'm going to tackle the outlets without a stroller. Thankfully don my front pack and place Jason inside and cross my fingers that he falls back to sleep.

Watch passerbys smile that smile that says "oh, look at that poor, crazy mom".

First visit is at The Children's Place, which I presumed would have the matching PJs we were looking for. They did in fact have 2 patterns which could have worked, however Jason would need a blanket sleeper and Tyler's size only allowed the 2-piece PJs. Tyler announced he didn't like them and he wanted a blanket sleeper. Plus, they weren't on sale (I'm a sucker for a sale and find it hard to pay full price). I tried to peruse the racks but kept getting stuck. It's not easy to get through a crowded store with a front back AND back pack on. Listen to Tyler whine that he "need"s sunglasses. He has 2-3 pairs, one of which is in the car. Threaten to not allow him on the playground when we're done if he keeps whining. Leave there without anything.

Second stop is Gymboree, which is short, because I had just temporarily forgotten that I'm not rich.

Third stop, Carter's. Find tons of cute stuff, but unfortunately nothing matching or even coordinating. Either they were out of Jason or Tyler's size. I was informed that they had already flown off the racks. I was not aware I had to buy Christmas PJs in June. I'll have to remember that next year. Did get Jason a onsie that says "All Mommy Wants for Christmas is a Silent Night". Wishful thinking. Also got Tyler a blanket sleeper, just in case we never find any Christmas blanket sleepers again.

Fourth stop, Motherhood Maternity. Argue with Tyler over whether you are allowed to keep tags you find on the ground. Am quickly set straight by the employee who told him he could in fact have the sale signs on the ground. At least that made him happy. Attempt to make sense of the busy store. Finally ask where the rest of the nursing gear is. Realize that they are out of almost everything except black nursing tanks, which is in fact the only color nursing tank I already own. How convenient. Leave there without anything.

Listen to Tyler whine that he's too tired to walk. Remind him that "if you are too tired to walk, you are probably too tired to go to the playground". Remind myself how lucky I am that Jason is sleeping. Question how people have more than 2 children.

Fifth stop, OshKosh B'Gosh. Listen to Tyler whine that he's "sooo hungry" before finally announcing "fine, if I can't eat now, I'll never eat again". Ignore him. FINALLY find matching PJs. They aren't Christmas per say, but they are wintery and are Tyler-approved. I'd prefer that they aren't our Christmas eve PJs, but at least they are something.

Sixth stop, playground. Jason wakes, which is actually good timing. Watch Tyler playing (and eating a snack) while attempting to feed the baby. Take note that it is nearly impossible to nurse discreetely on an incredibly windy day with a satin blanket. Not a good match.

Put Jason back in front pack, put on backpack again, regather my bags, and coerce Tyler off of playgear.

Last stop, Bath & Body Works. Listen to Tyler whine that he "need"s a stuffed sheep. Ponder why Bath & Body Works would carry stuffed sheep. Decide it's merely to annoy parents of children who whine for stuffed sheep. Attempt to distract Tyler with allowing him to help me pick the scent of the third and final soap purchase. When that doesn't work, warn him that he will be sitting in time out of he doesnt' stop acting rude. Finally count to three, listen to Tyler scream at the top of his lungs, and put him in time out in the middle of the line to purchase my soap. Listen to him scream while the customer in front of me tells me that "I've been there. I have 3 boys". Ponder when she eventually regained her sanity.

Listen to Tyler scream "I want to shop more" as I drag him to the car.

Strap him in, strap in Jason, and get in car myself. Pat myself on back for not killing Tyler mid-trip, nor even raising my voice. Attempt to regain circulation in my back and wonder why I don't travel with Tylenol. Vow to never take both boys to the outlets again until Jason is at least in first grade.

I have decided...

I need a blackberry or an iPhone. I spend a GOOD portion of my day breastfeeding. Now don't get me wrong, I do appreciate the fact that I'm caught up on all of my television viewing, but it would be nice to peruse the internet sometimes. Afterall, who wouldn't get bored after a 68 minute nursing session? That's right, I timed it the other day.

Do you think I could convince Al that it was necessary based on the fact that it's "job related"? What about a tax break for a job-related expense?

Maybe, just maybe, you might someday get a blog update straight from a feeding session. Just you wait!

I don't get it

Yesterday I ate pretty much anything I wanted. Dairy, chocolate, and caffeine. And last night was the first night in a LONG time which didn't end with hours of a screaming baby. Jason even calmly sat on Al's lap and watched TV for a while! He didn't want to be put down, but he wasn't screaming, and that is TOTALLY manageable!

Granted I didn't have the dairy (ice cream) until about 10:00pm and he did have a little fussier night (but not horrible) and is pretty fussy this morning.

Like I said, I don't get it.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

No fair!

They've had lots of snow flurries today in New Jersey! I'm jealous!

Back to normal

We're back, and thrown right back into the swing of things.

Last night I was back to pacing the house with a screaming baby (minus the time Al took to pace the house with a screaming baby). Back to my bed which I apparently currently share with an infant. Back to preschool for Tyler.

And right back to the pediatrician. Ugh. Last night Jason spit up blood, again. So I brought him in. They immediately tested him for RSV, again. Negative. Checked him to see if his lungs were clear. Good to go. So, the verdict is he's just a fussy baby with a nagging cough and congestion and perhaps in need of an increase in his reflux meds. They still dont' think my dietary intake has anything to do with his symptoms, but did say it's possible (although not at all likely). I'm gonna give it a few more days to see if I can pinpoint anything, and if not I'm eliminating practically everything from my diet. I can't at least TRY to see if I can help him, know what I mean? Geez, I went through every formula in the book to see if I could help Tyler and his symptoms, all the while kicking myself that I didn't continue with breastfeeding. This time I DO breastfeed and constantly second-guess myself if my intake is hurting him or whether he'd be better off with a formula for sensitive tummies. Apparently I can't win...mother anxiety and guilt takes over every time. Oh, and they guilted me about the fact that he's in bed with me. She said to try to get him out of the bed, but as noted "it's easier said than done". I NEVER thought I'd be co-sleeping, but for now the need to sleep is winning out. I'll see what I can do. I originally worried about him being IN my bed (with the risk of SIDS and all) but now I worry about him being OUT of my bed being that he often seems like he's in distress when either coughing or spitting. Like I said, I can't win. LOL.

The good news is he's obviously eating fine. 11lbs 2oz. That's practically 2oz a day (I was told they shoot for a .5 to 1oz gain per day). Apparently I'm destined to have chubby babies. That's okay, his little double chin is cute!

New Jersey, day six

Our final day in New Jersey. So sad. Unfortunately I spent most of that readying myself for our plane ride home, which I was pretty stressed about. My grandparents did come over for a short time to say goodbye. Tyler was pretty sad.

Jason wore shoes today for the first time. I know that's pretty exciting, huh?

And on our way to the airport (while Jason slept the whole way...wahoo!) we passed $1.79 gas (no, Melodie, I didn't see your blog post until AFTER I had taken this picture).

We arrived at the Atlantic City airport, which I have to tell you, is the most kick-butt airport there is. First off, there is like 1 terminal. And you can park and easily walk right into the building. The estimated wait time to check-in (as per their website) is a whopping 2-3 minutes, which I'd say is very accurate. They arranged to give us an extra seat again on the plane AND they even let my mom accompany me to the gate. Tyler was very sad to say goodbye. Many tears were to be had, until I turned over our boarding pass to him and then he perked up with the excitement of beign in charge of such a monumental task as handing over the tickets to the flight attendent. He's too cool for his own good!

The boys were very good on the plane. Jason fussed/cried before take-off for a few minutes, but then nursed to sleep for about 30 minutes. Meanwhile Tyler read the flight manual (again), ate a snack, and then fell asleep for a good portion of the flight. Jason woke up, pooped, had his diaper changed, fussed/cried a little more, ate a little more, stared at the plane interior, nursed a little more, and then slept again. So, in total Jason probably slept 30-45 minutes and Tyler slept 90 minutes. Not bad! I was prepared for the worst.

I have to share what my sister-in-law told me, regarding my flying with 2 small children. Her friend said that I am "the bravest person I've never met". Insane? Brave? Same difference. I love it!

New Jersey, day five

Today, not long after we woke up, we got a wonderful phone call. There were flurries outside! Yes, that's right, snow flurries! Now I know you New Jersey residents would HATE that I'd wish snow upon you, but darn it, Tyler has never seen it (well, not that he can remember). So my dad picked him up and brought him outside to see it. Then we quickly went in to get dressed, came back out, and it had stopped. Tyler waited for more, but it never happened. Oh well, at least we saw SOMETHING.

For lunch we made plans to meet my cousin Kristen at Chick-fil-a. She brought along her daughter Annika, son Brayden, and new baby Ada (10..or is it 11?...days younger than Jason). Her mom and my mom joined us, as well as our grandparents! It was the first time they had all 5 of their great-grandchildren together!

Towards the end of our meal my cousin noticed that a man in the restaurant looked familiar. She finally got up the nerve to go ask, and it was in fact Brian Dawkins from the Philadephia Eagles. I later found this picture of him in the background of a photo I had taken of my aunt. His little twin girls were adorable!

Monday, November 17, 2008

New Jersey, day four

Today was another beautiful, but chilly, day.

My friend Andrea, whom I've been friends with since junior high, took the long drive out to my parents house to visit us for a little while. It was wonderful to see her! My mom kept the baby (since she was the one who had gotten him to fall asleep finally, in her arms...she has the touch) while we took the rest of the boys to the lake to play. We didn't last long cause it was cold on the water! Tyler did have fun though with her handsome little men, Liam and Jackson.

Tonight my mom made a wonderful big dinner and my grandparents came over to celebrate my brother Chris' birthday (belated). Here he is, holding Jason for the first time.

Jim and his fiance Kristin came over as well.

New Jersey, day three (part two)

Sunday afternoon we packed up my grandparents minivan which we had borrowed and head over to my sister-in-law Dottie's house. My mother-in-law had brought over dinner so we enjoyed a very yummy meal. Pop-pop John got to meet Jason for the first time. Meanwhile Carli and Tyler destroyed Carli's bedroom by playing with every toy she owned. We also got a special treat by seeing and getting to feed the deer that hang out behind her place. Apparently deer eat apples and cashews. Who knew?