Thursday, August 28, 2008

Doctors and Bedtime Changes

You will all be proud to know that I made it through my visit with Dr. White today without crying. I am obviously a pillar of strength. Both of the nurses that I loved so much were there and since I brought pictures of Colin, I got to show him off to everyone. Dr. White was his usual wonderful self. He walked into the exam room and exclaimed that I looked fantastic and had lost weight. That is complete hogwash...I most certainly have not lost weight, but rather than point this out, I did my best "aw shucks" expression and then stuck my pictures of Colin under his nose and said, "LOOK!!! I BROUGHT PICTURES!". Yes, being this big of a dork is hard work. He looked through all my pictures, declared Colin beautiful, pointed out his dimples (this kid is going to get whatever he wants with those dimples. I think I should be worried) and asked if I was ready for round two. I told him I needed just a bit more time. :-) It was great to see him and the exam went well. Apparently I am the picture of health. Thank goodness!

There has been a major change in the world of Colin and to be honest, I am both elated and sad about it at the same time. In what can best be described as flipping a switch, Colin has stopped letting me rock him to sleep. I have always put Colin to sleep using motion...either walking around holding him while singing to him, or rocking him. He would always cry if I put him in the crib awake, so I would just rock him to sleep first. About a month ago, he started changing slightly. He would let me rock him for several minutes with his head down on my shoulder but then as I laid him in his crib, I would notice he was still awake. He did not cry, so I would just leave him in the crib awake and he started putting himself to sleep the rest of the way. I was so pleased with this change and happy that he had started this on his own rather than me forcing him into it. So great! Well, about a week ago, he snapped! He will not let me rock him at all! This includes naps and bedtime! We go into his room after our routine and I sit in the chair with him and sing to him while he drinks his bottle, which is still the same as always. But after the bottle is done, so is Colin! He kicks his legs out and pushes against me with all his toddler might! So, I just get up and deposit him into his bed where he rolls over onto his blankets and snuggles down all by himself. What just happened here?!? I have been waiting for him to snap out of it and want to be rocked again, but I decided tonight that it is pretty much officially done. My little man goes to sleep all by himself now. He snuggles with "Peanut" and "Bear Bear" and his blanket and just goes to sleep on his own. He can't be bothered with being rocked by Mama anymore. I know this is a good thing, but I sure did love rocking him. Tomorrow he is going to be driving and bringing home some girl that I already don't like. :-)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Best Doctor Ever

My ob/gyn office called today to remind me that my annual exam is tomorrow afternoon...and I am actually excited about it. Yes, I am fully aware that it makes me a bit of a freak to be thrilled about a gynecologic examination, but none the less, I am happy as a clam. Before your brains explode from the illogical nature of such a statement, let me tell you the back story.

My doctor is just about the closest thing to a real-life angel, in my humble opinion. Dr. White has been my doctor since my move out to the suburbs and he was the one who I consulted with when Jer and I were ready to give parenthood a go and he was the one I saw when I found out I was pregnant for the first time ever. He was also the one to tell me that I was losing that baby. He was the one who held my hands and told me it would be okay when he had to perform a D&C when my body refused to miscarry on it's own. (yes, I am crying now, and yes, I am totally sorry for going all emotional, and yes, it gets better! Keep reading!) I will never be able to put into words what it felt like when we lost that baby and I will also never be able to explain how much Dr. White helped me. He knew that a woman losing her very first pregnancy that way was bad...much worse than I was prepared for emotionally. The problem, of course, was that when I got pregnant again with sweet Colin, I was petrified. Incoherently, uncontrollably, feverishly petrified. My first pregnancy had started having problems almost immediately. I was not producing enough of a certain hormone and I had to be put on a supplement. It was too late and there was ultimately nothing we could do, but the drama played out for two horrible weeks of "will she or won't she lose the baby". So imagine the second positive pregnancy test. Oh LORD did I freak out. And sweet, amazing, wonderful Dr. White was there every step of the way. I was a wreck for the first trimester. I called him all the time. I had FOUR ultrasounds in the first trimester alone. He knew things were fine, but he humored me and understood my fear and held my hand (figuratively speaking) the whole time. He checked my numbers all the time for me, he let me come in and have the nurse check the heartbeat on my lunch breaks, whatever I wanted. His nurses became like family...they returned each one of my "nurse line" messages without a single giggle at the thousands of silly questions..."No, can't boil your child in a bathtub. Yes, I am sure."...and they always treated me like a daughter when I was in the office. All my mommy friends know how often you visit the office when you are expecting and at the end, I swear I thought I would have to move in. Colin was supposed to be so big and they were keeping a close eye on me. Of course, I was just one of tons of pregnant ladies that Dr. White was taking care of, but he always made me feel like I was the only one, which I think is the true testament of an excellent physician. I went through so many life altering moments in such a short amount of time and this doctor was right there taking good care of me for all of it. Which brings me to last year at exactly this time. Colin had just hit the ripe old age of six weeks old and I was back in the waiting room that had become as familiar to me as my kitchen, waiting to be seen for the last time as related to my new son. I remember that it felt surreal to be there, with my hair freshly washed and make-up on for maybe the second time since the birth. My sister Alieson had come to watch the baby and I was out for the first time by myself as a mother. I was sitting there, not pregnant, and waiting to be "released" so to speak. It was all very strange.

I was so nervous in those first days...I was scared to death to leave Colin and hovering around him at all times trying to preempt his every need. I would sit on the couch for literally hours with Colin sleeping in between my thighs wrapped in a tight blanket cocoon, just watching him breathe. It always kept him calm and happy to sleep in between my extended legs and I recall giving Alieson specific instructions on that position before I left for the doctor. She was such a sweet sister...she probably wanted to smack me in the head, but instead she listened intently to my freak-like instructions and waved me off for my first moments out alone. At the office, I was finally called into the exam room and moments later Dr. White walked in. At this extremely hormonal stage (nobody ever warned me about those post pregnancy hormones...YIKES!) I started to cry immediately. As usual, he comforted me instead of telling me that I was crazy (which I totally was). He handed me a Kleenex while I cried to him that I could not believe that I did not have to come in weekly anymore and who was going to take care of me now and did he know that I had a baby now?!? I clearly recall him patting me on the knee and telling me that this was always the hard part for new mommies and that I was going to be amazing and that I was stronger than I knew. Yes, he is the best doctor ever. Not many people can talk an overly hormonal woman off a ledge so fast. :-) Then he checked my c-section scar and told me that I could peel the glue off the scar. I felt like an idiot because I was so scared of that damn wound that I had not laid a finger on it and had no idea those black marks were glue that should come off. The damn thing looked much better once I did that. What a dork. And nope, he never laughed at me. Not once. I sat up once the exam was over and he told me that he did not need to see me again until next year for my yearly check-up. He smiled at me one last time and said, "Well, Chalna...let's do this again sometime!". I thought that was the cutest thing ever, promised him that he would be the first to know when baby number two was in the works and proceeded to tear up. Again. As I left the office, I stopped at the front desk and made my appointment for one year later. The woman said, "okay, how about August 28th, 2008?" and I was all sorts of blown away, imagining making it a whole year, having a toddler, being an old pro and maybe not being scared to death anymore. So I agreed to the appointment and then BOOM, tomorrow is the day and I did indeed make it one whole year, I have a toddler, I am totally an old pro and I am still scared to death. :-)

Who wants to place bets that I cry tomorrow when I bust out the photo album that you just know I am making Dr. White look through?

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Making Memories

I am a complete sap. Always have been and always will be. I get this trait from my father, who is the king of sappiness. My Daddy and I are cut from the same cloth, physically as well as mentally. I operate in a constant state of strange awareness...knowing that whatever moment happens to be unfolding at that time needs to be memorized and filed away in the "precious memory" area of my brain less the details become foggy, or (gasp!) I forget it. I have been especially hyper-sensitive since I started staying home with Colin. First of all, I am well aware that the young moments of Colin's life are fleeting and I am forever trying to commit to memory the sights and sounds of him being a little one. I also know that the days of being at home, one-on-one with Colin, are numbered as well. Colin is going to get older, go to kindergarten, and hopefully sooner than that, get a sibling. Right now I am not pregnant and not about to be and Colin and I are a little team that spends our days together. My nature dictates that at least once a day I think inwardly about how much I love this and how much I love Colin and how much I am going to miss these days. It is amazing that functioning in such a constant state of sappiness is even possible.

Which brings me, ultimately, to this morning. Colin has been sleeping in until almost 7:30am for a couple of weeks now. (yes, utterly blissful and I totally deserve it, thanks for asking!) Today he woke up in an even better mood than normal. We started our morning routine with a warm bottle of milk and then breakfast. He adores bananas and ate a whole one while barely touching his pancake. I cleaned his hands and sat him on the floor to clean up his chair and he began running around the house, picking up various toys and running them back to me, chubby arms outstretched, and squealing with glee. I have started doing the exaggerated "Thank YOU!" when he brings me things, so he brings me items on top of items and then laughs and laughs at my "Thank YOU!". His pajamas don't match this morning. His room gets frosty cold at night and he won't keep his blanket around him, so last night I put on his long Aggie pants and a short sleeve "alien" covered sleep shirt. As he is running around bringing me things, he starts talking to me, stringing all of his little sounds together in "Colin Speak" and babbling away. So here we are, Colin running around with his meaty little feet slapping the floor while he squeals and squawks and laughs, holding 5 stuffed animals and his orange comb, wearing non matching pj's with his curls sticking up all over the place from bed head, making me love him even more than yesterday. I ran to the blog to write it down, attempt to explain how much I love him, find words to create a picture of the moment in my head, all so that twenty years from now I can remember what it felt like to love a wacky little peanut more than life itself.

Now that I think about it, I might have even my father beat on the sappiness. :-)

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Day In The Life and Lots of Other Stuff

Today was very much a Monday. I used Colin's morning nap time to plan out the menu for the week and make my grocery list. I made lunch today using the chicken breasts that were in the "freeze or use now" zone and it was pretty tasty! Since I began cooking in earnest last January, I have slowly gotten better at making random creations out of stuff I find in the fridge. I used to require a strict recipe to do anything, but I am getting much more crafty as I spend more time in the kitchen. Today I made the chicken into a parmesan cream dish that I served with the end of a box of whole wheat penne pasta. It was a perfect portion for Colin and I to share for lunch with just enough left over for Jer to take to work tomorrow. I don't usually full out "cook" at lunch and Colin and I both enjoyed the change today.

We then made our trip to Wal-Mart for the groceries. I don't like doing grocery shopping there at all, and even after all these months of being a stay-at-home mom, I still hate it. The prices are so much less than a regular grocery store that I have to keep doing it, but it remains my least favorite concession to budget conscience living. I think my mental block comes from growing up with a father who ran a small-ish local grocery chain. I am used to a small store full of friendly people, parking close, getting a free cookie for the little ones, having my groceries taken to the car by a sweet 16 year old at his first real job...just the nice southern small town grocery experience. My dad is still running the show at that grocery chain and I still love shopping there when I go home for a visit. We have two Wal-Marts to choose from relatively close by and both of them are packed no matter what hour of what day you go. I always have to park what feels like 10 miles from the entrance and lug poor Colin around in the white-hot heat of the day. The aisles are teeming with people and carts and children running loose and just general chaos. The layout annoys me since I have to walk 400 miles from the "grocery" area to the complete opposite end of store to get get dog food or pharmacy stuff. Today I really needed to get some stuff from the "girl" section, but as I stood in the produce area and looked down the length of the store with Colin shouting "IN-SO! IN-SO!" at everyone that passed by, I just decided to leave it for later. I do that almost every time I am there...if I need something that is non-grocery, I will leave it for a separate trip since I consider anything that needs to be purchased from the other end like going to the Olympics in Beijing. Every now and then I will treat myself to a visit to the lovely Tom Thumb and I always have to laugh to myself that I seriously get excited to buy groceries at Tom Thumb. When I become a world famous novelist, I swear I am going back to doing all shopping at places that stock impressive selections of imported cheeses and good wine. I will be a food snob again, world!! :-)

After our illustrious shopping trip, Colin took a short nap and I worked on dinner. I made a simple veggie bake for Colin that consisted of a frozen bag of broccoli and cauliflower (you can use any mix that you like) that I steamed and then mixed with one can of cream of celery soup and one tub of garden veggie flavored cream cheese. Once mixed, I poured it into a small 8-inch baking dish and crumbled one bag of croutons (crushed up) onto the top. I baked it at 350 for about 20 minutes. It was creamy and yummy and Colin loved it! It was SO EASY and we have plenty of leftovers for the little man. I am always pleased to find new ways to get veggies in Colin, so I wanted to get this out there for my fellow mommies. I made pizzas for Jer and I that I copied from the new specialty pizza place by our house. I used an herbed focaccia crust that I topped with sauteed pears, grilled sirloin, and Gorgonzola cheese. It turned out really really good and I am very proud of myself tonight. Jer and I had their house special pizza a couple of weeks ago and I have been craving it ever since. I think my version turned out really close to the original and I will make it again for sure. Oh, and Dana now has me reading Pioneer Woman and I am trying some of her stuff this week. So hopefully I will have more to report on the food front soon!

As this post continues to ramble on with my random thoughts, I would like to add that the upcoming Beverly Hills, 90210 spin-off is officially freaking me out. I watched all 10 years of that show since I was in high school when they were and it followed my age group exactly. I was 15 years old and in love with Luke know, the whole nine yards. SO, now the show is coming back and "Brenda" and "Kelly" are in it for sure and at first I was giddy (and a little embarrassed to be excited about something so silly). Tonight, I caught a preview on television and the old characters are now the "parents" and "teachers" and "grown-ups" and while they are probably going to be fairly hip, they are still going to be the voice of reason amidst the rebellion of youth. WHEN did I get old enough for THIS? When did I become the age group that was grown-up?? Obviously I have known for some time that I was not the target market for MTV anymore since I don't believe boys should wear skinny jeans, but this 90210 thing has me feeling very old tonight. I think I better just buy the original series DVDs and pretend it is 1994 instead.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Lazy Sunday

This was such a pleasant weekend! Yesterday we did absolutely nothing, which was great. The whole family basically stayed in our pj's until it was time to go to the pool. We finally took Dad to the splash park pool that opened at the new amenity center in our community. I am pretty sure that makes our 7th pool (wow!) and this one is my favorite because it has a stand alone splash park with lots of fun water features. Since it is not connected to the main pool (which is also really nice!) Colin is able to run around the whole thing playing because the water is only 12 inches at it's deepest point. It makes me laugh how much our family has changed...up until this summer, I had only been to the little pool that is on our street and only maybe twice...and that was living here for three summers!! Now we are pool experts. :-)

Today we had brunch with Jer's parents at our favorite Mexican place, which was yummy as usual. Colin ran out of steam a little early, however, and suddenly wanted out of his highchair and into my lap. He cheered right up when I let him walk around the entrance and smile at all the waiters. This afternoon we went over to Ellen's house to play with Aubrey and he had the best time. He and Aubrey are so cute together...she loves to share her toys with him and they sat for the longest time looking through her stacks of books and piles of stuffed animals. Colin hugged her several times and I was very proud of him! He was much more gentle and is slowly getting the hang of it. She has a wall of bins filled with toys and they played together for a couple of hours, taking the bins down and dumping all the toys. I think he would have stayed all night, but I had to drag him home for dinner and bed time. At one point he walked over to Ellen, climbed in her lap, and gave her the biggest hug. It was so sweet!! He is such a lover!

As I was putting Colin to bed tonight, I noticed that his room was a lot darker than it has been. That is my first signal that summer is drawing to an end...the shorter days are on the way. I am excited for fall...Colin is such a fun little toddler now and this year will be so much fun. Fall is by far my favorite time of year and the holiday season with Colin is going to be such a joy. I am looking forward to the weather cooling down and spending more time on walks outside and playing in the park. There is so much to look forward to this year!! The end of August is so hot and tiresome, but great times are not far away! I can't wait!!
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