Tuesday, October 13, 2009

We're baaa-ack!

Okay... so it's been a few months. I warned you that I was really bad at keeping up with this whole blogging thing! Last week, we hit an important milestone... our first vacation as a family! Austin, Tyler, Jeff, and I (along with my mom) headed off to Aspen to enjoy the cool, crisp weather.

While, overall, we had a fantastic time, a few lessons have also been learned through some unanticipated trials and tribulations.

First of all, we discovered that adding just two small toddlers to your travel mix actually quadruples the amount of luggage you will end up taking along. Not sure how that happened!

We also learned that after you think you've packed enough snacky things to get you and the kids to your destination, you should go back and add some more. In our case, we did bring plenty of snacks for the kids to eat throughout our 3 hours of flight time.

Unfortunately, that 3-hour flight time turned into about 7 hours! As we neared hour 5 or so, other passengers on our crowded little puddle jumper started complimenting us on how well-behaved the little guys were being. I felt the need to be honest and explained that it was only due to the large number of snacks we had equipped ourselves with - but that, sadly, we had just reached the end of our supply. A bag of Cheerios immediately flew up in our direction from some fellow passengers sitting in the back of the plane eager to assist in our plight. :)

Once we finally arrived, we headed to our condos in the snow (yes, it was snowing - cooooool! - although it would have been even better if it was sticking too!) Then, after settling in, my mom and I walked to the local grocery store to stock up on some food for the week.

This is where I learned my next lesson - strollers are useful for so much more than just pushing little kids around!

We took along the two empty strollers to use for lugging our groceries back to the place. As I checked out with my order, the cashier asked where the baby was... I could have had so much fun with that if I hadn't been so exhausted from the day's travel... "Baby? What baby? Oh SH**! I forgot the baby!!!"

Anyway, I did, at least, take care to at least make sure the beer was properly strapped in before heading back.

Of course, no vacation is complete until someone gets sick, right?

So, Tyler was more than happy to oblige by getting a case of the oh-so-contagious Swine Flu... All those things I assumed could safely be left behind in Texas soon became part of my next shopping trip - to the local pharmacy... Tylenol, Ibuprofen, thermometer, etc... Fun.

By the next day, he was in such scary bad shape that we actually located a doctor in Aspen to have him checked out (which is how we discovered what he had). As soon as Tyler's flu test came back "positive", the doctor politely suggested we wait outside for Austin's results to come back (I had him tested as a precaution). And by outside, I mean OUTSIDE! At least it was a nice day...

Miraculously, Austin's test results were negative... so, next was off to pick up the Tamiflu for both (and some antibiotics for the ear infection Tyler had also picked up).

Happily, the worst of the flu was short-lived and Tyler's fever was significantly better the next day, and he was in much better spirits. The doctor assured us that, as long as avoided enclosed or crowded spaces, Tyler could at least go outside with us and walk around.

So, at least we had two great days or so to enjoy Aspen. It truly is a beautiful place... We also found a great park right behind the condos that Austin and Tyler had a blast with!

Friday night, our final evening in town, we took my mom out to dinner at a little Italian restaurant.

The food was excellent (and certainly better than the pizza and McDonald's we were eating during the swine flu peak) - but I think the happiest of all was Austin, who had the opportunity to try his first plate of gnocchi. In fact, he didn't just "try" the gnocchi - he devoured it, before our food even arrived! We definitely have a gnocchi-monster on our hands now!

On Saturday, it was time to venture home. This time, our puddle jumper made it's short trip successfully as planned - but our second flight was cancelled because United Airlines had determined that the plane we were supposed to take "could not sustain flight". Um.... yeah... Just a little too much honesty there, if you ask me!

After a chaotic hour or two, we were safely booked on the next and last flight scheduled to leave Denver that night, and arrived home to our two very ecstatic furboys around midnight...

I know... not my most exciting blog post - more like a rattling off of our schedule. But, for family that couldn't join us, I figured it might give you at least a little peek into our first family adventure. And for a first adventure, it really was an ideal situation. We had our own unit, with my mom next door (built-in babysitter!!). And that unit came complete with a separate bed for Tyler, a porta-crib for Austin, and a kitchenette for all of us to enjoy - along with a DVD player, which is really helpful when you have a sick, lethargic toddler to entertain.

I won't even elaborate on how cool it was to have that private jacuzzi on the balcony!

To see more pictures from our trip, click here.

That's it for tonight... time for bed. But, I'll try to post again soon. After all, it's always a little easier to write more entertaining posts when you don't have to spend the entire time playing "catch up"!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Whoa! Long time no see!

Hey gang! Sorry... life apparently got in the way of my blog, and I fell a bit behind ("a bit" meaning a few months).

Honestly, so much has happened that I don't even know where to begin (or where I left off, for that matter!) So, maybe this post will just be a bullet list of everything that's happened since we last "spoke".

Let's see...

We'll start with Tyler:
  • Tyler is talking up a storm these days! If he doesn't know how to say what he wants, he just makes something up. Also, if you catch him at just the right moment, you sometimes even start to hear him sing a little bit of a tune...
  • Tyler also has a girlfriend now - her name is Lilly. Although, from what I'm starting to hear, maybe "stalker" is a better word for it... She LOVES Tyler. We don't really know what Tyler thinks of her though.
  • But Lilly might just be connected to how he finally learned to give actual kisses and not just touching his lips to your cheek...
  • Tyler knows how to open doors now. So, now when we feel something crawling on the bed at 6 in the morning, we've discovered that we're no longer so sure it's just one of the dogs.

Now, onto Austin:
  • Austin is crawling! Yes... not even the zombie crawl he started with. All out crawling. Unfortunately, we're realizing that this is where his curiosity makes him more dangerous than Tyler. Austin is into EVERYTHING! And if he's not actually into something, he's probably in the middle of making a bee-line to the dogs' water bowl or food bowl. Baby magnets...
  • Austin got to meet President Bush! (the younger one). Apparently he was in the building with their daycare for some unknown reason, ran into the babies on a buggy ride in the lobby, and had quite the conversation with Austin. The kid's not even a year old yet and he's already met a president!
  • Austin has his two bottom teeth in front (which he's actually had for quite some time now, silly as they may look all alone in front) - but now he's actually got one in the process of breaking through the top!
  • Austin LOVES food - as long as it's not baby food. Baby food is SOOOooooo yesterday! He loved baby food, till he tried real food. Now, he pretty much insists on eating what everyone else has (even though he just has those two bottom teeth to chew with). Chocolate is his favorite... but he also likes french fries, ramen noodles, mac & cheese, bread, waffles, donuts, fruit, chicken, cookies, dog food, peas, spaghetti, etc... actually, it might be easier to just list what he doesn't like: baby food.
  • Austin likes to have yell-ersations. If you catch him in a good mood, he'll yell in unison with you and you can keep going back and forth like a conversation. He thinks this is awesome. Yes, it's a little loud, but better than Tyler's bird squacks when he was about this age.

There... does that give you a better idea of what you've missed!? Hope so! I'll just have to try to get a little better at keeping this blog thing up... it's harder than it sounds!!! :)

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A tsunami of words

Maybe about 4 months ago or so, I was starting to get a little concerned because Tyler didn't really have a lot to say. It wasn't that he didn't make any noise - because he certainly made plenty. But, not much that really indicated he was trying to actually say any real "words"!

However, recently, my fears have been relieved a bit - because not only is he now attempting to say a whole slew of words, but he seems to picking up new ones on a daily basis!

So, just in case you meet him soon and try to have some sort of conversation, here's a little translation manual of Tyler-speak to help you understand the gibberish you get in return...
  • Dah: Dog. Or it could be another animal that looks like a dog in that it walks on all fours and has fur.
  • Wha-dah?: "Where is the dog?" Or more specifically, where is Loki... he isn't usually looking for Max when he says this.
  • DAAAaaaaaaahhhhhh!: He found Loki.
  • DAH!: "Max/Loki, come here!" They usually don't, since they haven't quite figured out yet that they are "Dah".
  • Baby: Austin, or some other baby.
  • Daddy: Daddy, or mommy, or someone else.
  • Momma: Mommy, or daddy, or a picture of some other random woman.
  • MOMMA!: "Mom! I want something... NOW!"
  • MOMMAAaaaaaaaaaaa!: Just walked in the door, or around the corner and saw mommy.
  • Wawa: Water.
  • Cocka: Cookie. This could be a cookie for humans, or also a dog treat. Probably not the best word for him to be using, but unfortunately, he prefers it to any other variation on "cookie".
  • Jue: Juice
  • No, no!: Max is trying to steal some of Tyler's food.
  • Amo: Elmo. Often only seen within our home on diapers. However, he did point out an Elmo towel at Toys R'Us today - transference in action. Lovely.
  • Oh-no!: Most frequently heard when reading books on his own, accompanied by hands pressed to cheeks (think "Home Alone" movies).
  • More: Possibly the most annoying word in his vocabulary, usually used within a succession of 4-5 "more" repeated concurrently with about 2 seconds separating each.
  • Apple: Apple. Or applesauce. Or fruit in a cup.
  • Baw: Ball or anything round.
  • Ooo-ooo: Monkey. Actually, it just means he's seen a monkey - but he doesn't actually say Monkey yet, just what he knows a monkey is supposed to say.
  • Woof: This one should be pretty self-explanatory. Typically said in a mocking fashion around Max or Loki.
  • Chee: Cheese
  • Peas: Please
  • Tanku: Thank you. We're pretty proud of this one... but yes, he actually does try to say thank you (although once in awhile he does need a little extra prodding)
  • Up: Wants to get in his chair, or be picked up, or get out of his chair, or on the bed, etc. This is his newest addition to the word library.
  • Bobba: Bottle, as in milk bottle. This is not as commonly heard, but has occasionally slipped out.
  • No: Nose.
  • Eye: Eye.
  • Ite: hot - even if it's not really hot.
  • Mine: It belongs to Tyler.
  • Cah: Car, taking a ride, or truck.
  • Uh-oh: Austin just woke up or is crying.
These are all we could think up right now, but a warning here is that just because he doesn't say something, doesn't mean he doesn't understand it - or won't be trying to say it soon (often when you least expect it.) In fact, he's become quite the little helper around the house when you ask him for things like "Find a binky for your brother.... or Put the bottles in the sink... or Can you pick that up for me?"

At this rate, though, he'll be able to say all of those things for himself within the next month or two... That's our boy! :)

Of course, in re-reading this post, I just had to make this quick addition at the end to ask: What does it say about us that among our toddler's first set of words are the sounds a monkey makes, attempts at saying "cheese" or "cookie", and the phrase "Oh-no!"?

Scary, ain't it?

Friday, March 13, 2009

Baby's got a new set of tubes...

Austin finally did it - he got his new set of tubes!

He surgery WAS originally supposed to happen on February 20 (as noted in one of my previous posts), but Austin conveniently came down with a case of RSV around the 17th. This meant anesthesia would be risky, which in turn meant surgery (even one as quick as getting tubes) would have to wait.

Side-note: just in case Jeff confused you by telling you that RSV is "Baby SARS". It's not.
"Respiratory syncytial virus is a respiratory virus that infects the lungs and breathing passages ... infection can be severe in some people, such as certain infants, young children, and older adults ... RSV is the most common cause of bronchiolitis (inflammation of the small airways in the lung) and pneumonia in children under 1 year of age in the United States."
And now back to today's update.

The pediatric surgery center schedules their surgeries based on age - youngest first. So, thanks to Austin's young age, we were blessed with an especially early arrival time of 6:15 am. (I'd like to note here that on a regular work day, I'm barely even awake by this time, let alone out of the house with or without a baby!)

After Austin and I got to the center, I filled out the paperwork, handed over my credit card to pay more than you'd ever expect to pay for what essentially amounts to two tiny rubber bands, waited for a brief period of time, then moved on with Austin to our designated waiting "cubby".

This is where they check Austin's vitals, ask some additional questions about him, and then leave you to wait for the actual physician to arrive before they take the baby away for surgery.

Austin was quite the little charmer! And he passed all his tests. Then we waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Apparently, our ear doctor (a really nice guy, by the way - he did Tyler's tubes too!) had accidentally overslept and arrived about an hour late. I guess doctors are human too.

Now, just to give you some reference though.... I was doing all this waiting with a baby who not only had to also wake up super early, but also had his last meal and drink at about 8pm the night before. (He couldn't eat/drink anything after midnight due to today's surgery)

Typically, this would be the makings of a full-blown nightmare. But, with Austin, well, he just took it as an opportunity to catch some more z's, much to everyone's amusement that passed by. This wasn't really an area conducive to sleep, but I certainly wasn't complaining!

After the doctor arrived, performed the surgery (which takes all of about 5 minutes) and briefed me on the event (remarking on just how small Austin's ear canals were), I was led in to the recovery area to stay with Austin, who was just waking up from his anesthesia - content with the little burst of narcotics they had also given him to help ease his transition to the wake

He was even still pretty content after spewing his freshly finished bottle of milk all over both of us. Yuck.

Looking at him now, you'd never know he even had surgery today! Now, we just get to wait and hope this ends our merry-go-round with ear infections.

Here are some additional pics from our wait period, compliments of my Blackberry...

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I think I'll call him Mat....

After about 5 hours, 50 some-odd Snookies, one sore back, two sore arms, a few new blisters, one incredibly stuffy nose, a horrible headache, one stressed out passive-aggressive dog, and a huge pile of leftover fluff, I have successfully achieved one 75% mat-free dog!

What about the other 25%? Well, I can safely say it just ain't gonna happen. You see, Loki hates being groomed. And by "hates", I mean... a grooming session with Loki is almost always a full-on contact sport that typically ends with Loki in a pretzel hold between my knees, trying desperately to get away, while I'm simultaneously trying desperately to get even one brush stroke through his Rastafarian-like coat of hair.

Because, unlike Max, who joined me as a puppy open to learning about the potential joys of grooming, Loki came to me slightly older, slightly more worldly, and much more cynical about what a brush and scissors mean to his sense of security.

So, in recent years, we've reached a compromise that seems somewhat fair to all. We avoid the regular games of tackle grooming, and instead opted to make it a once-a-year event in which Loki just gets sheared like a sheep. Less stressful for all involved. I prefer him in a full coat of fur, of course, but the stress for all involved to keep him that way just isn't worth it in the end. This makes us all one big happier family.

Unfortunately, the plan didn't work this time. Loki has gradually been turning into one huge walking mat - and spring shearing time is just too far away to hold out much longer. A few signs that it was time to break our grooming arrangement?
  • You take him to the vet's office and feel the need to proactively defend his matted appearance, explaining how stressed he gets by being groomed, and that you instead just shave him down once a year.
  • You also feel compelled to let them know that if a stray is brought in that looks like he's been on the street for quite some time, it's probably your dog - and that despite his appearance, you really do love him!
  • Every time the dog passes by you, you feel compelled to start picking apart mats of fur with your fingers - which in turn means he decides he should probably stop walking near you!
So, today, I just couldn't stand it any more and decided to tackle the Loki. I expected this to be a brief encounter, as is usually the case. But, he must have decided the good outweighed the bad. He gets some special one-on-one attention (rare these days with the two babies), lots of Snookies, and the freedom to once again move a few limbs - but just puts up with a bit of stress in the process.

Of course, one thing you learn early on with these dogs is that if you get one in the position for grooming, and you have their cooperation, the last thing you want to do is break the momentum and get up, or allow them to get up.

It took all my willpower to take advantage of this rare Loki opportunity. Because, you see, while I was grooming Loki, I could also hear all the chaos that was ensuing among Jeff, Tyler, and Austin downstairs....

Sure, there was some laughing, crying, and singing - all pretty typical.... Then there was "Oh no, TYLER! Oooo... " And about an hour later, came the intriguing, "No Tyler ... Tyler NO .... TYYYYLLLLEEERRRR ..... NOOOOOOOOOOOOoooooOOOOO! #$%#*@#%$@!!!!!" This was promptly followed by the sound of Tyler crying, Austin crying, then the vacuum cleaner.

Hmm... Now, you know that can't be good.

I held my ground with Loki... but later had to get the scoop on that one... Evidently just after his bath, Tyler decided to use his plate full of dinner leftovers as a frisbee in the living room. 'Nuff said.

Gotta love kids.

But, on the bright side, Loki looks good.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Just a quick update...

Since my last blogs were about poor little Austin's ear issues, I just thought I'd post a quick little update on where we are now.

Austin has finally finished all his rounds of antibiotics, and we were able to get in pretty quickly with our lovely ear specialist - the same guy that did Tyler's tubes last year.

After I explained little Austin's situation, I believe his exact words were, "This is practically a phone-in consult!" - meaning that basically it was a no-brainer that Austin has an issue with his ears, and we really need to consider doing something about it.

Because of Austin's age, I was warned that, most likely, the tubes would fall out early and we'd probably need to repeat the procedure down the road. The tubes can last anywhere from 6-12 months on average, but if they fall out before the ears are ready to drain on their own, then you need to redo it to keep those ear infections at bay.

Another interesting bit of trivia I learned is that evidently there could be a tie between Austin's fever/infections and his eczema! The doctor said that often eczema can be a sign of a hyperactive immune system - overresponding to the stimuli. So, that would probably also help to explain why he reacted to severely to the ear infection.

Anyway, here's where we now stand... Austin is indeed joining his brother in tubeville. His surgery is scheduled for next Friday the 20th. They do the surgeries based on age, so most likely, Austin will be the first that morning. In and out, probably done before 8am, I would guess! Then, I'm actually taking a vacation day to stay home with the little guy while his brother runs off to play with friends at daycare.

Pretty routine procedure - so we don't expect any issues...

And that's it for now! Just thought you all might want to know the latest and greatest on the little fellow - especially since I have had no time to make a real blog update recently. Sorry about that!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Time for a BIG sigh of relief!

It looks like Austin's health is now headed in the right direction.

After a few days with a rapidly rising fever, and daily visits to the pediatrician for checkups and antibiotic shots, it seems we hit the peak of the scare when Austin topped out with a fever of 106.5 the other night.

Calling it "impressive for such a small baby" (and not meaning that in a positive way, of course), it appears the fever even sparked much concern in our pediatrician - who then promptly ordered further testing on the little guy. The flu test came back negative right away, and we had to wait till early evening for the results of the bloodwork to make sure he didn't have an infection in his bloodstream.

Turns out, to everyone's great relief, he tested negative for meningitis. So, it looks like all this stemmed from the ear infections, and the possibility, of course, that he may have picked up a bug of some sort on top of it.

And since by that time he was now willing to smile again (a glorious site considering how he'd been prior), and his fever seemed not as toasty, it did look like things were taking a turn for the better finally.

This morning, with Austin feeling much cooler in the head, we headed to see the Doctor for his last scheduled daily checkup for this illness.

Noting that his color has drastically improved, his fever appeared to have receded, his bloodwork came back clean, and he was more alert and attentive, we were released after one more shot of antibiotics in the baby thigh (much to Austin's chagrin.)

However, due to the severity of this latest round of ear infections, we were sent on our way with a prescription for another round of antibiotics (starting tomorrow), and the instructions to have him checked out by an Ear/Nose/Throat specialist as soon as possible (most preferably within the next two weeks) to get Austin started on the road to tube-ville.

Hopefully, once those tubes are in place, we'll be spared from another event like this one!

And yes, Austin does still have messy ears right now that are keeping him a bit on the irritable side, (they definitely won't be going away overnight) but at least the overall issue that was making it so much more serious appears to have subsided.