Thursday, July 3, 2014

Buyer Beware

Just a quick note today to increase awareness for

TIGER STRIPED TODDLER FEET SYNDROME 

or TSTFS for short.

If you buy these shoes for your toddler, they may end up with these toddler feet:


This can be prevented.  

Please help me raise awareness.  

Don't let one more toddler be impacted by TSTFS.

*cue Sarah Maclachlan Angel tear-jerker song*

Friday, June 20, 2014

James is THREE!

We celebrated James' third birthday over a few weeks time.

There were presents:



(clothes modeled here)
There was cake:

James had cake too, of course, but didn't make this glorious of a mess, so Reese earned the photo op.

There was singing:

In retrospect, we could have let him get a tiny bit closer to the candles.  Maybe next year.


There were friends and family that helped us celebrate James in South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia.  Lots of love for this guy across the tri-state area.

James is into cars (McQueen!), trains (Thomas!), tractors and trucks (no cartoon names come to mind immediately).  We're just getting started with potty training.  His favorite foods are non-real-food items such as nutrigrain bars, chips, and cookies.  

He's an introverted quiet type-guy.  (Is that redundant?)  

He loves to "fwim" (read: swim).

He has an affinity for his blanket, especially the tag on it.  Or actually, tags on anything.  Shirts, towels, etc.

Based on the number of times in a day it happens, I have to assume James enjoys crying.

He just moved into a "big boy bed" (twin mattress on the floor).  And when I say "just", I mean today.  He's slept in it a few times here and there, but we just rearranged rooms and put Reese (in a pack and play her whole life) into his crib in her room.  No turning back now!

James, you're a great kid!  We're lucky you're ours!





Parenting is Tricksy

We have a freshly turned three year old son.  Based on his words and actions, he thinks the world is here to serve him and fulfill his every need and whim.

This has GOT to change.  With a quickness.  Before his sister gets the same idea.

The parenting game is changing.  It's less about keeping the child alive and more about shaping this little human into someone compatible with other humans.  Hoooboy.  I know people say things like "Just when you think you've got it all figured out, the rules change!"  Let's be clear.  I don't think I have it all figured out.  In fact, I'm positive I do not.  Every day when I learn something new, I'm usually learning a new thing I didn't know I didn't know.  If that makes any sense.  So for the rules to change in this parenting game which I'm still a novice at, seems unfair.  I shouldn't have to move up in difficulty levels, like a video game, until I've mastered this level, right??

-----------
TANGENT:  Tonight I felt like I was living in a video game. Probably Zelda.  I was trying to kill a fly with a fly swatter.  That stupid fly would not die.  I made contact with it at LEAST four times, with no success.  The thought went through my head: "This is like one of the bad guys on Zelda when you're getting to the end of the game and they take forever to die.  That was this fly.  He took SEVERAL of my Zelda hearts away and he still didn't die.  Dangitall.  Meanwhile James is at the dinner table saying "Getchoo fly!  Momma getchoo fly!  'Ere it comes!"  That's better than Zelda.  I don't think they have cheering sections...
------------

Anyhoo...back to parenthood...  I want to raise responsible, highly functioning, positive contributors to society that possess discipline and integrity.  I have some of those attributes.  I'm a very responsible person.  I have integrity.  I am not the most disciplined of individuals.  I dabble in discipline-ville.  I do not live there.  People say more is "caught than taught" when it comes to kids.  They will do what you DO more than they will do what you SAY.  This concerns me on the discipline-front.  Not too sure they can catch intermittent discipline.  And actually, now that I think about it, if it's intermittent, it probably isn't discipline.

Aw dang.

Those of you older, wiser, more experienced, or younger, green and more vocal and opinionated, what say ye??

Help me Obi Wan Kenobi, you're my only hope...

Sir James and I, his servant




Roof Troubles

On May 23rd here in Columbia, South Carolina, we had one doozy of a thunderstorm.  Awesomely, it included golf-ball sized hail.  My car was in the garage.  Scott's car wasn't**.  It sure took a beating.  Although it didn't show up well in pictures, it looked like the car had chicken pox scars all over it.  Maybe you can see the one in this photo?

(look at the door handle, then up and to the left a little)

The right side mirror was busted, too.

After a phone call to the insurance company, a visit to a body shop for an estimate, and a week in the shop, the car is looking much better.  No more chicken pox!

We also had a rep from our insurance, USAA, come look at our roof, deck, and fence.  He said other than lots of dents on the aluminum vents on the roof and downspouts for the gutters, the roof looked great.  Based on his assessment, the work that needed to be done to fix the dented vents wouldn't even add up to our deductible.  He was convincing, seemingly thorough (up on the roof for several minutes), talked in detail about the type of shingles and the age and when we should think about a new roof (about 5 years from now).  

Phew.  Our roof was fine.  I felt relieved.

Over the next few weeks, however, three of our neighbors have had their roofs assessed by their own insurance people and are getting new roofs due to the hail damage.  

Hmmmmm.

This makes me question the information I received about our roof. All of our roofs are approximately the same age, within a few months of each other.  To the untrained eye, the roof materials seem to be the same.  Our houses are on a cul-de-sac and therefore all face slightly different angles, which could matter in this equation, depending on the direction the hail was pelting down and such.  

This week I called a totally random roofing company to have them come take a look.  The guy was up there approximately 3 minutes. He came down and said yes, there is hail damage.  He recommended a new roof.  I told him what the insurance adjuster said.  He offered to meet with the adjuster at the house and walk the roof together to see if they can agree on the work that needs to be done.  I like that idea.  This is the direction I'm heading in at the moment.  It's all I know to do.

Here's the thing:  I don't know who to trust!!  Obviously the insurance agent is looking out for the best interests of the insurance company.  They don't want to pay for a new roof if they don't have to.  Then the roofing guy comes out, looking out for HIS company's best intere$t, and recommends a new roof.  

<sigh>

Do any of you have good family friends or someone you trust implicitly that could come make a really objective recommendation?!  Because making the roofing people and the insurance people take lie detector tests seems a little extreme, but I've pondered that option...


**Sadly for our friend, Jason, his car was at our house getting pelted along with Scott's.  Had Jason been at home, this wouldn't have happened.  So very, very sorry Jason!!



Sunday, May 18, 2014

A Lesson in Bath-ing Diapered Children

A few helpful lessons I learned (again) during bath time tonight:

  1. Do NOT remove the child's diaper prior to a bath unless you are ready to place said child IN the bath that very second. 
  2. If you remove the diaper, turn to adjust/test the water, and turn back to the child, there will be pee on the floor and bath mat. 
  3. The amount of pee will be a disproportionally large amount when compared to the child's size.  
  4. Due to the large volume of liquid, one may briefly confuse the liquid for bath water, despite no reasonable explanation for how that fluid got OUTSIDE the tub.  
  5. You will get the pleasure of locating clorox wipes in your friend's house (thankfully under the same bathroom sink) and washing a load of towels and bath mats. 
  6. The "fun time" of bath time rises proprotionally to the amount of liquid on the floor.*

That is all.




*note sarcasm

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day Ramblings


Ah, Mother's Day.  I've read a lot of blog posts recently about Mother's Day and how awesome/fantastic/horrific/awkward it can be, depending on your perspective. 

After I delivered my first child (Chloe) and placed her for adoption, Mother's Day was dubbed by me as "Awkward Day".  I didn't want Mother's Day cards or to be recognized for all my "mom-ness", whatever that meant, I just wanted those close to me to to acknowledge that it was a weird day for me.  I didn't feel like a mom, but I had given birth to a child, so in that sense I very much was one. 

I was and am a birthmother. 

I really, really identify with the term "birthmother".  To me that explains exactly what I am to Chloe.  I birthed her and made one significant parenting decision for her:  who her parents would be.  It is there my parenting decisions for her ended.  She would not be calling out for me in the middle of the night, she would call for her mom, Melissa.  Although, like Melissa, I would never want her to be sick.  She wouldn't run to me with a skinned knee, her mom would be there.  Although, like Melissa, her pain causes me pain too.  I know some birthmothers feel like that term is too cold, distant, or not accurate as a description for their relationship with the child they placed for adoption.  For me, that term feels like a good fit.  It's hard to describe.  Relinquishing my rights to parent her remains the most gut-wrenching decision I have ever made.  But I feel in the depths of my soul that it was the right decision.  I was meant to carry her, deliver her, and step aside and let her parents, Alvin and Melissa, take over.  I understand that in adoption, like in so many other areas of life, what works for some doesn't work for all.  But please know that referring to me as Chloe's birthmother does not offend me at all.  It is a privilege and an honor to be called such, in my opinion. 

I was solely a birthmother for seven years before my next child was born.  James-the-blue-eyed-wonder.  After he entered the scene, I felt a little more "normal" about Mother's Day.  It was easier for the world around me to recognize me as a mom.  I smelled (like spit up) like a mom.  I looked (like I hadn't slept in years) like a mom.  I "felt" like a mom. Seventeen months later, I became a mother of three when Reese joined the scene.  The mothering fun continues!

My point in telling you all of this is to share my perspective on Mother's Day.  This can be an awkward day for so many, for a variety of reasons:
  • Mom passed away
  • Lost a child
  • Placed a child for adoption
  • In a mom-role for a child that isn't biologically or legally theirs
  • Never able to get pregnant
  • No desire to be a mom (there's nothing wrong with this!!)
By no means an exhaustive list, but the sentiment is there. 

On this Mother's Day, how about just giving any female you know a hug and thank them for being them, regardless of their mom-status.  If they look at you funny for doing so, tell them a birthmother told you to do it honor of "Awkward Day." 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Time Is Flying

People, it is April already.  APRIL.  Can you believe that??  I mean, I just moved here to South Carolina in November, which was yesterday to me.  And now it's April.  Holy cow.

SLOW YOUR ROLL, 2014.

Lemme update you on a few things.

Work

I have about 2+ more weeks on orientation, then I'm ON MY OWN. (singing in best operatic musical voice...Phantom of the Opera maybe??  You know the song I'm talking about...)  Sunday and Monday I worked my first two night shifts.  It's Wednesday and I'm still groggy, but overall it went well.  I think the first time I worked nights (and hated it) was in 2008.  No kids.  Newly married.  In general, I slept a whole lot more than I do now.  When I worked nights, I missed my sleep forreal.  Don't get me wrong, I will still miss my sleep.  A lawt.  But there's just less of it these days to miss.  Hopefully that will make it a little more tolerable.

I really like the pace of night shift.  It's just more relaxed.  That works for me.

I'm slowly but surely getting the hang of this new hospital.  Gaining tee-tiny bits of confidence as I get my feet under me a little better each shift I work.  Tons more to learn, but I'm getting there.  I've gotten to see colostomy closure surgery, an upper GI study, an exchange transfusion, administered blood, and helped perform post-mortem care (yes, that is always sad).  I'm learning and learning and learning!

Family

James and Reese are all busy all the time.  James is enjoying playing in the cul-de-sac with two other little boys around his age. Reese tries to keep up and mostly narrowly misses getting run over by them on a regular basis.

Because one pair won't do.

Sometimes you just have to lean against the wall and suck your thumb.

James would always prefer to spend his time driving something.

Scott is still loving his job.  He recently passed the next actuary test (his third test in this series, all of which he's passed on the first attempt).  YOU GO HONEY!!  You is kiiiiiiind, you is SMAAAAAAHT, You is important!  He joined a golf league through work and is getting to play once a week.  We bought a lawnmower last weekend.  He mowed the grass of our very own home for the first time last Saturday.  Both the buying of the mower and the utilization of the mower felt like new home owner milestones to me.  Yay for us!

In March we had company for three consecutive weekends.  To me, that is ideal.  People people people and more people.  I love it.  Scott may or may not have been totally worn out by all the people-ing.   First Aunt Nikki came to see us from Boone.  Sister time is VERY IMPORTANT. :)  We had a brief, good visit which apparently I did not photographically document in any way.  Awesome.

Next into town was Scott's parents.  It is always so great to see them and watch them interact with James and Reese.  Grandkids and grandparents have such special relationships.  I am so, so, so grateful for how awesome my kids' grandparents are!  I don't believe I took any pictures of the Davidsons while they were here. I'm so fired.

Brandi was the final round of weekend company.  I met her my freshman year at NC State.  We were roommates for a couple of years in college.  She is one of my longest-standing friendships and I love being around her.  She's one of the few people on the planet that can handle ALL THE WORDS that I can produce.  I have a never-ending supply of words, in case you didn't know.  Brandi knows.  And she's still alive.  God bless her.  And look, we took some pictures while she was here!

Reese really loved to smell Brandi's coffee.

Friends for a really long time. :)

Birthday dinner for Scott!

That's enough of an update for now!