The Right Perspective

Friday, December 18, 2009

Visits with Relatives

Some of you may recognize this strange man holding Ethan. I didn't get a good picture of his face, but this is Chris of Malott's Blog fame. Mr. E seemed to enjoy playing with Chris and I think the feeling was mutual.

Emily also thinks Chris is a pretty cool guy.

And then we visited Great-Grandma Hazel. It was hard to get a good picture of both of them, especially since you cannot get a 4 month old to look at the camera when a 5 year old big sister is in the room. Great-Grandma is 98 years young, by the way and probably healthier than about 98% of the people I know. She is quite pleased to have three great-grandchildren (finally!).

Ethan at 5 Months

You are now 5 months old (well, yesterday!). You are growing, but slowly. You are around 26 inches long and only 14 pounds. You're either destined to be a skinny little guy or something is going on because you used to be in the 50th% for height and weight and now you're between the 5th and 10th% for weight.
This month has been a bit bumpy. You seem to be pretty disgruntled with the world lately. We think you may have a temper! Your sleep has been downright terrible. You USED to sleep for 6-7 hours at a time. Now, you are totally unpredictable. Lately you've been up every 2-3 hours and frankly, mommy is tired.

You have your good days. You have a fantastic smile, we just don't see it nearly enough. You are ticklish all over and you can laugh, but this month hasn't been a very fun one.

You had all kinds of new experiences this month. You started eating "real" food. So far, we've gone slowly and only eaten rice cereal, oatmeal and applesauce. You make a HUGE mess, but you seem to like it. You insist on "helping" to feed yourself by grabbing the spoon and shoving it into your mouth. I think you're going to be a handful.

You have discovered sister's old play center and you really like all the lights and music and toys to use. You liked it so much you fell asleep in it!

You met Santa for the first time and you didn't seem to mind. Of course, it probably helped that Emily was there with you. You adore her. She makes you smile and laugh faster than anyone else. I believe she is your favorite person in the world.
Overall, while mommy loves you so very much, I'm glad this month is behind us and hoping that the coming month is a little less crazy and a lot more restful!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Christmas Pictures of the Kids

This week, I attempted to get both kids to take one good Christmas picture. We hadn't tried to get a "good" picture of both of them together since Ethan was one week old and too busy sleeping to care what was happening. A lot has changed since then!
We went to Portrait Innovations and waited 30 minutes or so after our scheduled appointment time before the festivities began. I had to wake Ethan up from his nap, which could have been disastrous, but thankfully, wasn't. The session went really well and both kids cooperated beautifully. We were there from 12:20 to 2:45 (it was PACKED and crazy in the studio) and no one melted down, plus we got some really good pictures. They took 87 different pictures and I narrowed it down to 6 poses plus the CD of all the pictures they took.
And so, without further ado....some Christmas pics for your viewing pleasure. I did not include my favorites since they will be going out in our Christmas card this week.
She's a bit of a ham, don't you think?

Quite the gift we got this year.

Our little man sitting up so nicely in a chair.

When did she get so big?

This picture (above) just cracks me up, because Emily looks like she's thinking "oh brother, what is he up to now?" and Ethan's just having a great time looking in the totally wrong direction.

Oh how I wish they'd both looked into the camera.

Can you tell that Ethan has found his feet? He loves holding them and trying to eat his toes.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009


There will be no pictures in this post, but not because I don't have any. Au contraire! I have plenty to share, but no time to load them onto my computer or wait for them to load onto this lowly blog. So instead, I'll probably completely bore my 4.5 loyal readers and actually use words to tell you about all that we've been doing.

1. My last post mentioned that poor Miss Em has been dealing with all kinds of illness since mid-September. I think we've finally figured our what's been going on. We took her to an Ear, Nose and Throat doctor to check her hearing since she's had so many ear infections and one thing led to another...which led to allergy testing. As we suspected, she tested positive for seasonal allergies (pollens and weeds), but she also was allergic to cats, feathers and almost every mold they tested. So basically, she has year-round, indoor-outdoor allergies which most definitely require medication, likely year-round as well. Fun stuff. The ENT's recommendations (other than medications) could be summed up this way: "Live in a bubble". Don't open up windows or doors, use the air conditioning. Don't go outside and play. Don't have pets. Don't have carpet. Don't have stuffed animals. Don't be anywhere remotely humid (mold grows easier in humid places). It feels a bit overwhelming and quite frankly impossible. It also feels like we would be taking away a little girl's childhood. So for now, she's taking Nasonex and Zyrtec and we're hopeful that they will work wonders. If they help, we might be able to avoid tubes or an adnoidectomy. If not...well, I'm just hoping they will.

2. Ethan has had a rough month. He has been NO fun. I think we're headed back the right direction, but wow, I'd really prefer not to repeat any of that again. He wouldn't sleep, day or night. He would wake up 3 and 4 times a night (compared to his usual once) and he would scream for hours. It was ugly. I repeat....UGLY.

3. I officially am tired of Christmas shopping. I don't generally mind having an actual reason to shop, but this year, I'm struggling to get all the Christmas shopping done. And usually I have at least half of my gifts wrapped by now, but this year...not a single one is wrapped. Not one. I'm hoping to start tonight, but that all completely depends on Mr. E and his willingness to sleep.

4. The weather here stinks. It's 25 degrees, with a wind chill of around 10. It's snowing, sleeting and blowing so hard that I refuse to go back outside for anything short of an emergency. Oh and did I mention that the heat in our van decided to quit last week. I took it to be fixed on Monday and got it back yesterday...for a price. Let's just say we could have bought a REAL nice TV.

5. We bought a new Christmas tree this year. Last year we tried out a real tree, but I honestly don't like the mess and hassle, plus a fake one is, in the long run, cheaper. We looked for a nice full, NON-pre-lit, non-skinny, 7.5 foot tree. It didn't sound like a challenge, but it was. We finally found one that fit the bill and barely....just barely got it to fit in the van. I decided to give in to peer pressure this year and go with colored lights. I prefer white, but Andrew and Emily wanted colored, so we went on the great search for colored, twinkling mini-lights. Again, it didn't sound like a challenge. It was. After two days of extensive searching, we came home with 800 multi-colored NON-twinkling lights. We put the tree together and discovered that it was absolutely huge. Much bigger than the old one. Bigger around than the 56" tree skirt. Very, very large but lovely. Too large, by just a little bit, for 800 lights. So back to Walmart I went to buy one more box of lights. The lights I found came in packs of 400 each, so I bought one box of those and then two (100) packs, just in case we might need them next year. I went to put the first strand of the 400 set on and they wouldn't stay those will have to go back, and I ended up needed those extra 2 (100) light boxes. And yes, that does mean that our tree has 1,000 colored lights. And I like it. There will be pictures.

Hmmmm...I know we've done more, but my head hurts too much to think any more, so that'll have to do for now. When I get a few minutes, I'll add some pictures. Until then...stay warm!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Sweet Girl

I'm not certain when it happened exactly, but somehow Emily grew up. I find myself catching a glimpse of her, from time to time, and wondering when my little bald baby with chubby cheeks turned into this pig-tailed girl with impossibly long legs and arms and fingers and feet. She's only a foot and a half shorter than me. When did she get so big and old?

I haven't posted much about Miss Em lately, not because there's nothing happening, but perhaps because there's too much going on. She's had a rough start to the school year, health-wise, and things are finally coming to a head now.

Since the second day of school (mid-September), Emily has had continuous upper respiratory/sinus symptoms and a nasty-sounding productive cough. I had talked to the doctor about it several times, and finally at her 5 year appt., I asked for a referral to the Ear, Nose and Throat doc. A few days before we were scheduled to go, Emily ended up back at the pediatrician for her ongoing symptoms. She was diagnosed with a sinus infection and ear infection. So we got a prescription for two-weeks worth of antibiotics and dutifully took them all.

About a week into the antibiotic course, we had our first ENT appointment. They tested her hearing and noted that she did not hear lower tones very well, but that it wasn't terrible and was likely due to fluid. We were scheduled for a reevaluation a couple weeks later.

That reeval. was last week. On Wednesday, she was re-tested and found to have yet another ear infection, even more fluid behind her ears and, when they listened to her lungs, they noted that she was wheezing upon inhaling and exhaling. So the ENT prescribed a different antibiotic (10 days worth) for her ears and told me to take her to the pediatrician to have them check her lungs. (This happened to be the same day as Ethan's 4 month appt. anyway.) The pedi. agreed that Emily was wheezing and prescribed an inhaler and wanted to see her back on Monday.

On Friday, Em went back to the ENT for allergy testing. She was very scared and I am very glad that Daddy was able to go along and help hold her. She (eventually) did great, but she is allergic to plenty of environmental "stuff", especially molds and pollens. This wasn't really a surprise and we don't still know the extent of her allergies or many details, but we know they will need to be treated. We are also most likely looking at getting tubes put in her ears and there was mention of adenoids possibly needing to be taken as well (although that's still a very fluid situation).

So, in a nutshell, Miss Em's been sick. A lot. And today she topped it all off by quite literally getting sick in church. Her teacher took her out to "big" church to Daddy (I was in the nursery with Ethan) because she didn't feel good and said her head really hurt. The next thing I know, Daddy and Emily are running into the nursery, his hand over her mouth, headed to the little kids' bathroom so she can continue to throw up. I handed Ethan off to a friend and went back to clean up the floor....during church....and then we headed home. Thankfully, she hasn't gotten sick anymore and she seems okay, but she's running a slight fever, so who knows?

It's been a rough fall for Emily and she (and we) could use your prayers.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ethan at 4 Months

You are four months old now! My how time is flying by. You are getting bigger and changing every day. You now weigh 13 lbs. and 8 oz. You're 25 and 1/4 inches long. That puts you in the 25th percentile for weight and the 75th percentile for height. Basically, you've stretched out but not gained much. Of course, if you'd stop spitting up half of your food, you'd probably gain more.
This month, your big accomplishment is gaining very good head control and rolling from back to tummy. Of course, you still don't care for tummy time, so the constant rolling is a bit of a frustration to you.

This month, you've decided that no one other than mommy can even remotely make you happy. You shriek when poor Daddy tries to hold you. You shriek when I lay you down on your play mat. You're becoming high maintenance. Not sure what to think about that.

You still really really love your bath and would probably spend half your day there if we let you. You are doing really well grasping things and you put EVERYTHING in your mouth. You drool like crazy and I suspect that you will cut teeth sooner, rather than later.

I'd like to say that your sleep is getting better, but that quite frankly, would be a lie. While you are capable of sleeping through the night and have a couple of times, lately you've been harder to put to sleep and you will wake up once or twice for longer periods of time. We'll keep working on that because momma needs sleep.

You have finally pretty much outgrown all your 0-3 month clothes (by length only) and have graduated to your 3-6 month winter wardrobe, which includes this stylish Colts outfit. (We're starting you early!)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rolling, Rolling, Rolling...

Ethan has finally figured out how to roll. He's been rocking up to his side (from his back) for nearly a month now. Yesterday, I put him on his play mat and sat down to look at something on the computer. He was happily chattering away, making all sorts of noises. When I looked back at him a few minutes later, he was on his tummy!

(As a sidenote) Notice the lovely mullet he's got going on in the picture above?

Of course, I should mention that Ethan doesn't like being on his tummy...not one little bit...and he doesn't know how to flip back over.

As a result, MUCH crying and fussing occurs whenever Mr. E rolls...which is anytime I lay him down for even a minute. Including bedtime. Yes, bedtime is no fun right now. He (and I) have a bit of a cold and between that and his sheer determination to roll over, bedtime is quite the challenge. I sure hope he learns to roll off his tummy (or to enjoy being there) ASAP!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What I've Learned

There's so much more to parenting than I ever knew.

That statement could stand alone and sum up the rest of this post, but of course, I'll continue on.
After all, I'm not known for being brief in my writing. Why start now?

I was 25 years old when I officially became a parent. I certainly didn't rush right into parenthood. Instead, I finished college and was married for a full five years before having Emily. I always believed that a couple needed some time to be just a couple before adding children into the mix. I'm forever thankful for the time that Andrew and I had to just be us, before we became "Mom and Dad". Since getting pregnant was a challenge, I had a year and a half to read and research and learn and prepare myself to be a mom. That certainly seemed like plenty of time to prepare...until I met Emily.

When the nurse put Emily into my arms for the very first time, I instantly and completely fell head over heels in love. My life was and is forever changed. All the fears about whether I would feel like a mom or love my baby were instantly gone. She was perfect and I loved her more than I could express. I knew then and there that I would do anything for her. However, from the very first night I spent with Emily, it was immediately apparent that no amount of research and reading could have truly prepared me for being a parent. It's not something for which I could train. It's just not that simple.

Being a parent wasn't like any other kind of learning I'd ever done. I was a music education major in college. If I practiced long enough; if I studied hard enough and read enough books, I could eventually master whatever I wanted to. Parenting Emily was completely and utterly different.

I'm a reader and researcher. Whenever I don't have an answer for something, I'll read and research until I figure it out. Unfortunately, I learned very early on that no one ever wrote a book about Emily. In fact, it seemed that she defied anything I'd read about babies. She didn't sleep well or very much. Everyone I talked to and every book I read said that babies slept 16-18 hours a day as newborns. Not Emily. I actually added all her sleep up and she only slept 10 hours a day most days. Every book said that babies shouldn't be awake for more than 2-3 hours at a time or they will get over-tired and have a harder time sleeping, but none of the books could make my over-tired, extremely colicky baby sleep. Even if I knew what the problem was (like when she was over-tired), none of the suggestions from the "sleep gurus" ever worked. She simply was going to do it her own way...even if it made her (and me) miserable.

And that has been a theme for Miss Em from day one. She will do it her own way. She tended to be slow to hit major milestones, but once she did, it was mastered very quickly. She was VERY slow to talk, and still struggles with speech, but now she won't be quiet even when we beg. She still doesn't sleep well and fights us tooth and nail about bed time many, many nights. She's stubborn and strong-willed and determined to blaze her own path. She's fascinating and frightening all at the same time.

I could not imagine the love I would have for this child, nor the hopes and fears and worries. Another parent recently summed up how I feel so well. She said that her strong-willed child made her laugh as much as he made her cry. That's Emily to a "T". She amazes me, both at her loving, thoughtful ways and her extraordinary determination to fight me on EVERYTHING. She has recently made me laugh and cry and call my own mother and apologize for my childhood and thank her for putting up with me. She is an absolutely beautiful and unique child and I wouldn't change her for the world (most days!). She is teaching me what no amount of book knowledge could...that parenting is the most difficult and rewarding job there is and that in the end, if I am able to teach her half as much as she is teaching me, I will have done my job well.

Oh, and if we both survive her teenage years, it will be a miracle!

Thursday, November 05, 2009

And You Want to Run My Healthcare?

I bit the bullet and got my H1N1 shot today. Eventually. After jumping through hoops.

Allow me to back up a bit. Our family falls into the first priority/high risk group this year because of Ethan and Emily. Both are considered high risk for H1N1, and although I'm not usually all that concerned about the flu, since this one seems to hit young children particularly hard, I decided to get us vaccinated. Emily and I have had the seasonal flu shot/mist already. When I took Em to the pediatrician last week because she was still coughing (a month and a half already!), I asked if they had the vaccine and since they did, I shelled out the money and she got the first dose of the H1N1 flu mist. When I asked whether to go ahead and make the appointment for her second dose, the Dr. said that most kids would be "lucky" to get even one dose and that we'd just have to check back because they didn't know if they would get any more or when.

So while she's only had one dose so far and may not get another (that she needs for full immunity), seeking out and receiving the vaccine for Emily wasn't too hard. (This all went through our private insurance at the regular doctor.

Contrast this with my experience today. I dropped Emily off at preschool and then went to the county health department to get my shot. They are the only place in the immediate area that has the vaccine, as far as I know. The health department building is downtown, so I parallel parked in a one hour parking space not too far away, strapped on Ethan and walked through the metal detectors to find a line of at least 100+ people waiting in the lobby. There were no signs, no directions, no nothing...just lots of people. I asked the security guard where we signed in. She said just go to the end of the line (which was completely not apparent as people were sitting in all available chairs and then just standing around loosely. I finally found the end of the line and got in it around 9:30. After about 15 minutes, a security guard came by and took about 20 people from the chairs up to the clinic area and we were able to sit.

Fast forward one hour and fifteen minutes later: I am among the privileged who are called (remember the one hour parking...ha!). We take the elevator up to the ninth floor and...wait some more. We stand in a line, where apparently you lost whatever place you had been in, as people who KNEW they were behind me in line downstairs and who were not carrying a SCREAMING infant, got in line ahead of me and several others. Whatever...I filled out my paperwork and waited for my name to be called, while hearing the nurse question and sort of berate anyone there who didn't obviously appear to be in the "high risk" category.

Finally, after 15 more minutes of chaos, where your place in line once again seemed completely unimportant, I got my shot. It was painless and I got a Snoopy bandaid. Ethan finally fell asleep about 5 minutes before my shot. I asked where I paid and was told that there was no charge.

If I had my choice, I'd gladly have paid at my doctor's office and not had to wait for the government program to give it to me for free.

And as I sat there, waiting in the chaos and free-for-all, it occured to me that this is what socialized, government-run medicine will be like.

No thank you! I'll pass.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

This year, we celebrated Halloween with the Pumpkin and the Princess.
Below is the Pumpkin at home before trick or treating.
The pumpkin on the move.

The princess and her daddy, trick or treating at the mall. Since we don't live close to any family, we take the kids to the local mall where the stores hand out candy. It was packed this year!

Princess Emily, resplendent in her (itchy) gold dress and sparkly gold shoes, with Disney princess candy pail. She had planned on being Jasmine for weeks, but literally 5 minutes before we left the house for her school party, she decided the costume was too itchy. The only other thing we had was this dress-up princess dress, so thankfully she agreed to that. Of course, tonight all I heard was, "This dress is too itchy!"

The little Ethan pumpkin spent the whole time asleep in his stroller. What a life!

Emily's Pre-K Halloween Party

Emily's Pre-K class had their Halloween party on Thursday. All the kids wore their costumes and they were a bit...wild.
This was Emily sitting for show and tell.

Snack time...and a quick smile for the camera.

Having cookies and pumpkin-shaped jello with her classmates.

Mr. Ethan, along for the ride (again), dressed in his giraffe costume and quite pleased about it!

Monday, October 26, 2009

A Day at the Children's Museum

We've been out of town for a few days. Not far...just a trip to Indianapolis, but still, an ambitious feat with a five year old and a 3 month old. What we didn't realize is that Indy was also hosting about 55,000 Future Farmers of America at the same time. That was an...adventure.
On Saturday, we drove to the Children's Museum, which was Emily's belated birthday gift from us. She thoroughly enjoyed herself over a 4-5 hour period of time, playing and looking around.
Meanwhile, Ethan either rode in his wearable carrier (dad got the honors for the first time) or in his stroller. The picture below is of him playing with mom while waiting on Emily. Life is pretty good for the E-man.
This is what Emily was up to.

More waiting around for big sister.

Tired of waiting on Emily...better get used to it, little guy! (Note the old man pants hiked up over his knees. He insists on pulling them up, now that he can grab them.)

Emily, posing next to an underwater exhibit. What a ham!

Field Trip #3: Pumpkin Patch

This is Emily's class (minus one or two). There are 4 girls in a sea of boys.

Emily, driving the train on the playground.

Swinging with a friend.

Getting ready to go on a hayride.

The prized pumpkin...hand-picked by mom, after Emily searched for just the right one.

And of course, little brother, along for the ride in his baby carrier. After walking around for an hour and a half and licking the inside of the carrier for a while, he finally drifted off to sleep.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Ethan is Three Months Old!

Today you are 3 months old. Technically, you are no longer a newborn anymore. Today, you officially became an infant. (Who knew?)
The pictures this month aren't great; they're a little fuzzy, but then again, that's because you can't sit still. You love to kick and move and try to sit up. I have a feeling you will keep us on our toes.
You usually only wake up once a night to eat. I put you to bed around 10:30 and you wake up one time between then and around 7:30 am. A few times, you've even slept all the way through, which is a miracle in momma's mind, considering that your big sister still sometimes struggles with this concept. You don't nap much during the day though, but that's okay. I'd rather sleep at night too!

You enjoy sitting up in the corner of the couch. It almost always gets a smile. Although you still need to be propped up, you pull yourself forward and try to sit up more on your own. In the last week or so, you have discovered your feet and you think they're pretty interesting. You also adore your big sister. You find her we all do.

This month, you've really discovered your hands and you're pretty good with using them. You want very little to do with a pacifier, but you love to chew/suck on your hands and fingers. You love clasping your hands together or just waving them around and staring at them.

Speaking of using your hands, you've learned to hold on to small toys and wave them around. This week, you are particularly enamored with a little toy lion from your activity mat (which you still dearly love). It's funny to watch you focus on one toy for a few days and then watch as a new toy catches your undivided attention. You not only can hold a toy if we put it in your hand, but you can grab it yourself sometimes. Mommy's pretty impressed that you're already able to do that. You love to coo and "talk", you love it when we sing to you, you adore being naked (with a diaper of course...mommy doesn't need a shower) and you love your activity mat. The dog and cats have captured your attention, but the jury's still out on them.
On the other hand, you still hate tummy time, you still struggle with the pacifier and you will not take any brand of bottle that we've tried. You're also starting to get very upset at sudden loud noises. (You'd better get used to those soon, buddy, because big sister is one tall mess of loudness!)
All in all, you're a pretty laid-back, easy-going fellow and we can't wait to see more and more of your personality shine through.
We love you, little guy!