Monday, January 26, 2009

Operation Dallas Trip: Successful

We're back! The trip was good. No one was injured our lost in the 4 days we were gone. Well, not technically lost anyway. There was one episode in which Boaz got on the elevator by himself. Our room was on the 5th floor. One time we were coming back from the pool and I thought he was right behind me. I sometimes use the "okay, I'm leaving you" tactic to get him to follow me. It usually works. This time, however, he just decided to go for a little joyride. It was a glass elevator, and you could see all the way to to downstairs lobby and into the elevator from the upper levels. That's probably why I didn't have a panic attack. I yelled down to some cowboys who were having a drink that my son was on the elevator. They heard me after about the 4th time. I couldn't find the staircase! Oh, and did I mention I had left Holland screaming in our room? Kevin and B were still at the pool. Thankfully the cowboys rescued him and waited for me on the 2nd floor. When the elevator finally got me from floor 5 and delivered me to them there were about 10 other people waiting for me. They all said, "There she is!" when the doors opened up. Boaz just grinned. No tears, no fear of being with strangers. Just, "mommy!". We had to go down to the ground level before we could go back up. Kev and B were there at that point. Kev just looked at me like, "what are you doing? I thought you were going upstairs?"

Other than that it was a great trip. We got there Thursday evening, had dinner then headed to the pool. Friday the weather was gorgeous and we trekked to the Fort Worth zoo. We hung in that night for more pool time. Saturday we went to the Dallas world Aquarium with what felt like all the other children in Dallas. It was a chilly 35 degrees that day and guess who forgot our coats?! That afternoon we went to the Galleria so Bronwyn could ice skate. My dad treated us to Sushi Saturday night and the kids were surprisingly well behaved. More pool time on Sunday morning and then we headed home. I forgot to take any pics at the hotel, but here are some from everywhere else:

The Childress Dairy Queen on the drive down.

The Zoo:Boaz, looking at the inappropriate Monkey.

I think Pachyderm is a funny name.

Kevin likes to take pictures of me while I'm in the middle of saying something.


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hit the Road Jack...

Well, us country folk are headed to the Big City tomorrow. We're taking the kiddos and going on a little mini-vacation to Dallas. I wanted to go to Santa Fe, but I was over ruled. Wish us luck with a 6 hour car ride (minimum), 3 kids in a hotel room, and trying to squeeze everything into 4 days. I'll post pics of our adventure when we return!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My Husband...The Nerd

Anyone who knows Kev knows that he is a bit...odd. I mean that in a good way, of course. He is a good mix of overly goofy and down right serious. It can be a bit Bipolar at times, though. Here's a couple of examples:

Serious Kevin: Way back, probably 9 years ago, we went to see Les Miserables with my sister Rachael and her husband Michael. Being the penny-pinching newlyweds we all were, we had sneaked in our own peanut M&Ms. I think I had gotten up to go to the bathroom during intermission when a lady sitting in front of us turned around and started talking to Kev. Rachael overheard the lady asking something along the lines of "How's it going." Kevin proceeding to tell her how "deeply" prophetic the play is; how the priest is such an example of love and the power of unconditional forgiveness or something. The lady then says, in my sister's best nasally rendition, "Oh. Well, I thought I smelled
chocolate." So, so classic Kevin.

Silly Kevin:

Like I said, he's a good mix. Well, the other thing about Kevin is his "phases". Again, anyone who knows him very well knows all about these. Like, I just said we had gone to see Les Miserables. We also rented the movie version, the one with Liam Neeson (Yeah, we had the musical sound track and everything. I used to blast it while I was cleaning the house. I'll take this moment to admit that I am a huge dork as well.)We subsequently had to rent every single movie Liam Neeson ever made. From Star Wars to Nell. We, for obvious reasons, refer to this as the Liam Neeson Phase.

There have been other "phases" as well.
I remember one in particular had to do with quantum physics and the space time continuum.

Well, now it's talk radio. (Or the car shredder, but I'll save that one for a seperate blog). Now, this is a man that I, in the past, have had to explain genocide in Sudan and the history of Iran Contra to. Now he comes home telling me about Israel bombing th snot out of Gaza or Obama's political appointees. It's down right spooky. This morning he asked me if I thought we could order Fox News from our sattelite company and have it in time for tonight's premiere of Glen Beck's new show. "He's going to be interviewing Sarah Palin you know." What??? This from the guy who I had to practically command to go vote last November.

I think it started because of Boaz. Around 6 months ago, Kevin let Bo play in his truck while he was cleaning out the garage. Our little guy has a particular talent for destruction. In his short little life he has been able to reprogram not only 2 of our phones, but my in-law's as well. And their TV. Actually, I can't remember now if it was him or Bronwyn that set the alarm on their TV to come on every morning at 4am. Anyway, while Boaz was playing in the truck he somehow short circuited all electrical components of the cab. No dome lights, no clock, no radio, no CD player. Bad timing, too, because shortly afterwards Kev started a job in Perryton which meant 2 hours of driving in the morning and 2 hours home. He had to come home, you see, because I had just had Holland a few weeks before and I would have lost my mind if he hadn't. Well, when we got the van I relinquished my keys to the 4-runner to him. I think he was so ecstatic to have a radio again that he's gone a little nuts with it. I mean, come on. AM talk radio? Don't you have to be a little crazy to go there?

Ah well. As with Liam Neeson and the theory of relativity I just tell myself, this too shall pass.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Get Some Sleep--Part Two

Okay, so no hate mail...yet. Mostly I was either ignored or politely referenced. You can read the whole exchange here. But in case you don't want to mess with it, here is a portion:

mommyof_2_Bs_1H (That's me...I couldn't come up with anything better) -- From day 1 you use babywise? And that's when you use CIO?

As the crazy lady that's done crazy things to get a sleeping baby, I'm always interested in new methods. What's the gist of Babywise?

My problem with my kiddos is that they DON'T put themselves to sleep. Doesn't matter how drowsy or sleepy or ready to sleep they are, they don't put themselves to sleep. I figure that most sleep training won't work until they're older and can CIO since they can't fall asleep on their own.

P.S. My son is sleeping right now in the bouncy seat in the master bath with the fan on, just like his sister did. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! (But at least I didn't have to nurse him while hunched over the bouncy trying to balance--knock on wood. . .)

Here's my response:

Kris~ I use it from about the second week. Before that they sleep almost 24-7 anyway and I'm lucky to get my teeth brushed. The gist of Babywise is Parent Directed Feeding, or PDF. Basically that just means you start parenting right don't demand feed but you also don't go strictly by the clock. If you're baby is hungry, obviously feed them, but don't just assume that every time they make a noise they are hungry. Also, you make sure they don't just snack. This is especially true for breastfed babies. You know how they fall asleep after like 5 minutes? Well, you try to keep them awake by getting them naked or rubbing their feet or whatever. If they get a "full" feeding you are almost guaranteed that they will sleep well. However, you don't put them down right after they eat. You keep them awake for a period of time. For a newborn this is like 2 minutes. For an older baby it's longer. So, at first your whole day revolves around 2 1/2 or 3 hour cycles. Feed, wake, sleep. Right now my baby is 3 and a half months old. She wakes up, I feed her and she's up for about an hour and a half (including feeding time). Then I lay her down and she sleeps for about an hour and a half. Sometimes longer. But she's the 3rd kid so we are always running around. There are lots of times she falls asleep in her car seat and that's fine. I'll just try to get home so she can take her next nap in bed. It's actually very flexible, but you are in a routine, too. So, with a clock fed baby there is just no room for any flexibility. With a demand fed baby there is no room for routine. Dr. Ezzo describes it as a rubber band. When you pull a rubber band it is able to stretch, but it always goes back to it's original shape. In other words, for flexibility to exist, there has to be a routine, or something to flex back to.

But yes, sometimes this process involves crying it out. Like I said earlier, the most I'd let a little baby cry is 15 minutes. But if they are fed, changed, burped and you know nothing is wrong with them, then a little bit of crying can actually be good for them. It's the only way they have to relieve stress. The only way they have to "vent". And I think being a little helpless infant would be stressful!

There's nothing better than a happy baby. And one of the only ways, in my opinion, to have a happy baby is to have one that gets plenty of sleep. The other way to have a happy baby is to have a mama that is relaxed and getting enough sleep. Sure, this varies. We don't need 12 hours of sleep (can you imagine!?), but a consecutive 5 makes you feel like a new woman! It's also really nice to get your baby on a semi-routine so that you can get on with life. You can go out to lunch with friends or to a play group without being worried how long your baby will sleep or what hoops you'll have to jump through to get them to sleep at all. My guess is there is not a master bath, bouncy seat, or exhaust fan at your local restaurant. I'm sure that there are lots of sleep methods out there that work. Babywise just happened to work well for us.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Get Some Sleep!

I was checking my email this morning and came across one from Most moms know this is a website that sends you updates on your kids development and article of interest. One forum on the site caught my attention. The question posted was, "What's the craziest thing you do to get your kids to sleep?" So I read it. And let me tell you, people do some crazy things! One mom was talking about driving her kid around for 5 to 6 hours in the car! Do you know how much gas that wastes?! Another one was talking about learning how to nurse her's in the bouncy seat so that she didn't have to touch her and cause her to start screaming. That same mom described rocking her daughter for half an hour, then spending another half hour lowering her into bed, then keeping a hand on the kid for another 15 minutes while slowly withdrawing. If ther is one false move and she wakes up they have to start the process all over again. And this was when the child was 2 and the mom was 9 months pregnant with another one! Good Lord, I would never have the energy! So, I thought if anyone else who happens across my blog is having the same problems I'd post the two cents I gave to the forum. Hopefully I won't get any hate mail.

Wow! I can't believe y'all have the patience and the energy to do all that! Especially those of you who have other small kids or are pregnant. We did Babywise with all of our kids. Our 5 year old daughter started sleeping through the night when she was about 9 weeks old. By through the night I mean I'd put her down at 8, wake her back up and feed her at 11 or so and she'd sleep until about 7 or 8. By 3 months I dropped the 11 o'clock feeding and she slept 12 hours. She also took at least 3 long naps a day until she was about 6 months and then just 2 long naps (1 and a half or two hours). Oh, and she was born 4 weeks early and I breastfed her until she was 14 months. I add that because most people say that preemies for breastfed babies will always wake up every 2 hours. My son is now 2. Same thing, except when he was about 6 months to 8 months old he'd wake up once in the middle of the night and I'd feed him. He'd go right back to sleep though. He was a lot bigger than my daughter and I think he just needed more to eat. I nursed him until he was 12 months old. Now he sleeps from about 7:30 at night until 8 or so in the morning. Our baby was born October 1st. I did things a little different with her and would put her down at 8, but would not get her back up at 11. I was just too tired with 3 kids and was crashing myself at about 9! I've been just getting up with her at abut 3 or 4 in the morning. She goes right back to sleep after I feed her, though. For the last 3 nights she has been going down at 8 and waking up at 7. Knock on wood! And she's still exclusively breastfed.

Some people will try to tell you that we were just lucky, but that is not the case at all. Our kids are all pretty high maintenance and VERY energetic. We had to train our kids to sleep just like you have to train them to use the pott,y or not hit other kids, and share their toys. Some people will tell you that Babywise is terrible because you make babies cry. I can tell you the most I've ever let a little baby cry is about 15 minutes. I can't stand it. The main thing I never do is feed a baby to sleep or rock them to sleep. I put them down in their beds and they are usually happy and smiling. I don't wait until they are fussy and overtired to try to put them down. If they cry it's usually about 30 seconds. They teach themselves how to go to sleep. I'm telling you it works!

Now, that's not to say we had no pitfalls, or "sleep props" as Babywise calls them, along the way. I said our first took 3 long naps a day but I failed to mention that until she was 8 months old most of those were taken in her car seat. And she had a pacifier, or "bop", until she was 3! We learned from our mistake with our son, but not until he was 3 weeks old. We were in survival mode and kept a hair dryer running all night because he liked the noise. That changed when we got our electric bill! Hopefully we've learned our lessons in time for baby number 3.

What I love most about all our kids going to bed at 7:30 or 8 (and staying there!) is the time my husband and I get to spend together. Our routine is bath, book, prayers, and bed. About 30 minutes all together. Then we get to hang out!

I encourage anyone who is curious to check out the book "On Becoming Babywise" by Gary Ezzo. It's worth the read I promise! Or check out this site, And get some sleep for goodness sake!

And how, you may ask, have I had time to type all of this this morning? My babies are still asleep :)

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Breastfeeding Excuse...Works Every Time

I got pulled over the other day. After Kev got home that afternoon I ran into town to run a few quick errands. I needed to be back no later than six to feed Holland so I was in a rush. There is construction on the main road that leads to our neighborhood and the speed limit recently changed from 60 to 45 while workers are there...or so I thought. I came cruising down the road at 5:59 at 55 mph. There was a sheriff's car parked in the parking lot of the high school, which is not at all unusual. Since we are in the quasi-country there are no police. Just the randomly circulating sheriffs that do everything from patrolling football games to picking up stray dogs. I even gave the deputy a little "Bushland wave" as I passed, which basically consists of lifting a finger off the steering wheel in salutation. After about a quarter mile I saw him pull out behind me. There was a cycler in front of me, so I had already slowed way down because the road is, for now, only 2 lanes. I pulled into our neighborhood and he turned on his lights. There I am, on the busiest main road of our development at 6 o'clock in the evening when all of my neighbors are pulling in from work. I was so thankful that I have a new car instead of my instantly recognizable 4-runner! So, the deputy strolls up to the van and I rolled down my window. He was all of about 19 years old. He got my license and registration and as he was turning to walk back to his patrol car I said, "Is there any possible way that you could hurry? I'm trying to get home to feed my baby. You know, feed my baby," while gesturing to my chest. The wave of realization and then panic was only slightly visible in his expression. He came back to the car with his revenge. As he handed me my warning (thank you God it was just a warning!), he said, "And can I get your approximate weight, mam?" What the??
I've never been asked my weight when I've gotten pulled over before! Are you freaking kidding me?? HELLO! I just told you I just had a baby! I should have just started crying right then and there. But he may have decided to take me to the crazy house for some mandatory post-partum treatment....which, let's face it, would probably be kind of like a nice vacation. Instead I gave him my "approximate" weight, which translats my real weight minus 5 pounds, and thanked him kindly for my warning. Then I came home and fed my baby.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Me!

Friday was mine and Kev's 10th wedding anniversary. Can you believe we've been married 10 years??? I can't. That's a decade, a tenth of a century. It's a third of my life so far. And I can honestly say that I am more in love with him now than I was when I was 19, or have ever been for that matter. I'm certainly not going to advocate getting married as young as I did. But there is something really wonderful about growing up with someone and then growing old with them too.

So, I just have to share how special this anniversary was to me. Let me just start by telling you that my husband is good at lots of things, but surprises are not one of them. In fact he's terrible at them. In fact he's been pretty terrible about special occasions ever since we've been married, with a few notable examples. Unfortunately (for me anyway), we have the same birthday. And as some of you know, I also have a twin sister so I have never had my "own" birthday. On our first mutual birthday as a married couple, I pulled from the back of the closet the gift I had purchased and excitedly gave it to him first thing that morning. His response? "Oh, I'm not really a birthday kind of guy. They're just not that big of a deal to me." And I am stuck sharing mine with this person!!!

To be honest, I've always placed my birthday higher on the totum pole than my anniversary. There haven't been that many memorable ones out of the ten, except I think one year we went snowboarding and one year we ordered a $75 bottle of wine (on accident!). But this one I will remember. I guess you always think that for your 10th you'll be going on a really cool trip or something. But with a 3 month old baby, that we would have to take with us for nutritional purposes, that was not going to happen. Even if we could afford it. Which we can't after buying a new car and shelling out over 12, 000 dollars in the last two years to have babies (praise God right now if you have maternity insurance!). So, maybe for our 20th that will be a possibility, but not right now. And since I'm the one who usually plans things I told Kev that I'd handle the babysitters if he 'd take care of everything else. I got my mom to keep the girls and his mom to keep Boaz. He told me reservations were at 7. We gave each other a $25 budget for gifts and exchanged them before we left the house, mostly because Bronwyn loves presents and was dying to open them for us. I got him 3 pairs of socks and a down coat that I got 75% off at American Eagle. He gave me 2 Ryan Adams CDs and a book. Very sweet and thoughtful. We had sushi for dinner (yum!) and picked Holland up by 9 and headed home. Now, in the chaos of trying to get out the door with all the kids and overnight bags I was just trying to make sure we didn't forget any special blankets or stuffed animals (or children). And Kev is going behind me tidying up! So not like him! Well, when we got home I realized why. I opened the door to a path of rose petals. Not a trail, a path! They went from the garage door all the way through the hall, living room, long hall, short hall, and into the bedroom where the trail divided and one went to the bed and up onto it and the other led to the bathroom and up to the ledge of the tub. Around the tub and bathroom were about 50 lit candles. The tub was full of hot water and bubbles and my favorite wine was sitting on the counter. Oh yeah, and a fire was lit in the living room. My jaw was on the floor! I was just impressed that he got me CDs! I just kept going what? How? All props to our good friends (and fellow Blackhawks) Eden and Todd who live in our neighborhood. Apparently Kev had gathered everything, including candles, wine and 100 roses, during the week and had enlisted their help to pull it all off. Right before we left the restaurant he said he had to go to the bathroom and that's when he phoned them with the green light. And amazingly Holland went right back to sleep when we got home.

I'm telling you right now that if you have ever thought the cliche roses and candlelight would come off as cheesy, I'm here to tell you it absolutely doesn't! It was so sweet and beautiful. The best part about it was knowing that people I love had conspired to make me happy. Thank you Coldirons! And thank you Kevin, for a beautiful night and an amazing 10 year adventure. I'm looking forward to the next 40.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Damn Straight--A Praise Report

I took Holland to the Healing Rooms at our church Monday night. She has Tortocollis, which even though I am a nurse I had never heard of. All it basically means is that one side of her neck is tighter and pulls her head out of alignment. In Holland's case, it's the right side that is tight. So tight, in fact, that at the time the doctor caught it she could only turn her head left which had made the left side of her head flat. If left untreated, she could end up with a smushed head and "asymmetrical" features. Not a huge deal at all and almost purely cosmetic. But you don't want anything to be wrong with your helpless little baby.

So, the pediatrician wanted her to be evaluated by a physical therapist. Our first appointment was the Monday before Christmas. The PTs name is Sue and she is super sweet. She's been a therapist for almost 30 years, so we feel like we are in good hands. Sue decided that, based on how tight her neck was and the degree of smushed head, Holland needed to come into therapy once a week for an undetermined amount of time. Therapy mostly involves stretching out the neck muscles (which we have to do several times a day at home). Might not sound like much, but Holland HATES it. I hate it too. I usually have to leave the room at least once. If the soft tissues don't respond to the PT, the next step is Botox injections at the site. If her head stays smushed she would have to be in a helmet (which would require many, many trips to Dallas for adjustments and what not). So, obviously, we are motivated to pray the therapy works.

Back to Monday night. I took her to the Healing Rooms to have her prayed for by people who are just trusting God to do what he said he would: heal the sick. A team of three people (all whom I know and dearly love) prayed for her. One of them was a pastor at our church. When they were finished praying for Holland he started praying for me. He said the funniest thing anyone has ever said to me while I was being prayed for. He said, "Alexis, I just feel like I'm supposed to tell you that you are a damn good wife, and a damn good mother. You may just be going through the motions everyday, but God has not forgotten you and He is so enamored with you." Well, that may seem kind of strange, or maybe even kind of stupid, but it was exactly what I needed to hear. Sometimes with 3 kids I just feel so incredibly pulled in all kinds of directions. So much so that I could not possibly be doing any of the 9 million things well. I am so thankful that the Lord is with me, even in the mundane tasks of daily life.

The next day I took Holland back to therapy for her weekly appointment. Sue said she looked MUCH better! She said that Holland's alignment is so straight now that were it not for the smushed head she would never have even known she had had Tortocollis. Praise God! Now, just join me in believing for a round, helmet free noggin!