Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Having been on the reflux roller coaster before, I should have known the ups and downs and twists and turns would be coming. I should have remembered the loop-de-loops and sidewinders, too. But, as any good mom is apt to do, I blocked out much of our experience with Lexi. I think it saved what little is left of my sanity.
Addie has had a relapse. About 2 weeks ago, she started refusing her feeds, screaming, arching, throwing herself backwards, kicking and pushing the bottle away. Feeding aversions have a tendency to ebb and flow that way, giving the parent a bright sense of hope only to have you come crashing back down when it rears its ugly head again. She stopped eating her whole bottle and would cry after eating, too.
I did not want to go back to swaddling her. She is obviously organized enough to eat well. Clearly, there was an underlying issue to this problem. Rather than freak out (as I would have quickly done with Lexi), I chose to give her a week to work through it. Sometimes, time is all you need to get thru a problem. Perhaps, she was on the verge of a developmental break-through and it was throwing her off. She has been teething and maybe that was disrupting her eating pattern.
At the end of the week, things had not improved. They were slowly, but surely, declining with each passing day. I began to dread bottle time again. And then, like a thought of my own, "What about her medication dose?" Say what? "Well, she has gained 6 lbs. since you last adjusted. Perhaps, she needs an increase in her Prevacid" is the next thought I had. Hmmm. So, I pulled up our trusty dosing calculator and what do you know? Addie was being under dosed. By half!!!
I am so grateful to have figured that problem out before it became a real issue. Her feeding aversion had returned, but it was only a symptom of the pain she was suffering from. Had I approached her eating problem as only a feeding aversion, we would have only made the situation worse. I would have kept making her eat, she would hurt, hate eating more, eat less, I would work harder to make sure she was getting her calories each day, she would hurt more, eat less and on and on.
We probably won't see a real change in her behavior for at least 2 weeks as her esophagus heals from the damage it has sustained. Hopefully, we won't have to recover from this small feeding hiccup since we didn't force the issue and rather pinpointed the real problem. Of course, I wish I would have realized the problem long before she ever out grew her dose. Sadly, I'm imperfect. Sadly, Addie has suffered because of it. Thankfully, she won't remember it. I will, though, and be all the wiser in the future. Thank goodness God gives us parents a pass for the first few years so our kids can't remember all the mistakes we make!


Fenton Lake

We decided to take a day this week and see some sights in New Mexico. Allen's wanted to visit Fenton Lake for a few years now so we went North to check it out. The day started off pretty rough, but we ended up having a great time. The lake is only 90 miles away, but with the mountain roads we took about 2 hours to drive up there. I'll let you know, that was exactly 1/2 an hour too long for Addie who had a total meltdown on the way up. Lexi also had a massive diaper leak with total saturation of her pants from the waist to the ankles all while Addie was screaming her head off. Thankfully, we had packed lots of extra clothes so Lexi had a great (and dry) day.
The lake was beautiful and the campsites were really nice. One of the best parts of the whole site was this playground. It was kind of odd to see it in the middle of the forest, but what a great idea! It was totally shaded and just the right size for most kids. Lexi had a blast!

Of course, Allen had his turn, too.

Lexi kept saying, "Dad? Daaad? Are you in there?"

The rains came in around noon so we went up to the fish hatchery just a few miles away to avoid hiking in the downpour.

There were gobs of fish up by the release gates.

I thought this cabin was so picturesque.

We even got to see a beaver while we were at the hatchery.

We were pretty exhausted by the end of the day, but for a short 2 hour drive, we were so glad we made the trip. The meadows were beautiful, the water pristine, lots of shade, hiking and we could get Lexi fishing, too. All in all, the girls were fantastic. Addie loved being outside and, after her initial anxiety attack on the way up, didn't complain for the rest of the trip. Lexi was really excited by the fish and the idea of getting her own fishing pole next time. We hope to make it back in July and stay for a weekend.


Day to Day

Things haven't been that exciting here at the Riddle house lately. We are always working on the yard, I'm riding in the mornings 4-5 days a week, Allen has worked 12 days straight, we go to Dr. appointments, I go to mutual, Allen plays basketball, I give riding lessons and the kids grow faster than we can manage to keep up with. I have been taking pictures of us along the way, though. Here's some of the more recent day to day happenings around our place:

Lexi dressed up for church on Mothers' Day. She was singing to me in the last picture.

I took the girls for a walk around the arena. Tell me why we bought a special double stroller?
I think she's outgrown the whole bouncer thing.
Here's Lexi getting Mia dressed for "church". She was really trying to shove Mia's foot into those shoes.
Once she got Mia's "hat" on, she was finally ready for church.
Think she's having at tough time adjusting?



Make Some Noise

This is Addie's signature greeting whenever we walk into the room. She also does this when she's excited or has seen something she thinks is entertaining. We've started calling her Chewy after Chewbacca from Star Wars.


Funny Friday

I was blurking (blog-lurking) over at Bingham Diaries, when I happened upon this little diddy. I'd never seen it before and I laughed out loud.

1. My mother taught me TO APPRECIATE A JOB WELL DONE.
"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside. I just finished cleaning."

2. My mother taught me RELIGION.
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

3. My mother taught me about TIME TRAVEL.
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the middle of next week!"

4. My mother taught me LOGIC.
"Because I said so, that's why."

5. My mother taught me MORE LOGIC.
"If you fall out of that swing and break your neck, you're not going to the store with me."

6. My mother taught me FORESIGHT.
"Make sure you wear clean underwear, in case you're in an accident."

7. My mother taught me IRONY.
"Keep crying, and I'll give you something to cry about.."

8. My mother taught me about the science of OSMOSIS.
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper."

9. My mother taught me about CONTORTIONISM.
"Will you look at that dirt on the back of your neck!"

10. My mother taught me about STAMINA.
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is gone."

11. My mother taught me about WEATHER.
"This room of yours looks as if a tornado went through it."

12. My mother taught me about HYPOCRISY.
"If I told you once, I've told you a million times. Don't exaggerate!"

13. My mother taught me the CIRCLE OF LIFE.
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

14. My mother taught me about BEHAVIOR MODIFICATION.
"Stop acting like your father!"

15. My mother taught me about ENVY.
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who don't have wonderful parents like you do."

16. My mother taught me about ANTICIPATION.
"Just wait until we get home."

17. My mother taught me about RECEIVING.
"You are going to get it when you get home!"

18. My mother taught me MEDICAL SCIENCE.
"If you don't stop crossing your eyes, they are going to stay that way."

19. My mother taught me ESP.
"Put your sweater on; don't you think I know when you are cold?"

20. My mother taught me HUMOR.
"When that lawn mower cuts off your toes, don't come running to me."

21. My mother taught me HOW TO BECOME AN ADULT.
"If you don't eat your vegetables, you'll never grow up."

22. My mother taught me GENETICS.
"You're just like your father."

23. My mother taught me about my ROOTS.
"Shut that door behind you. Were you raised in a barn?"

24. My mother taught me WISDOM.
"When you get to be my age, you'll understand."

25. My mother taught me about JUSTICE.
"One day you'll have kids, and I hope they turn out just like you."


Lexi's Song

While taking her bath, Lexi sang me a song. This is how it goes:

I love you,
I love you,
I love you,
I love my mom,
I love you.

I think it's brilliant.


Where We're At - Addie

I'm going to admit it; my mother was right. She said I'd forget. I thought she was crazy. How could I possibly forget? I was living, breathing and dreaming about those small steps, the small blips, the small upsets (that seemed SO important). But, I forgot. I forgot exactly when Lexi rolled over. I forgot the small details of how she ate and slept during that first year. I forgot the about the first time we gave her finger foods. So, I'm keeping a record of Addie's firsts and "touch points" and life in general so I'll be able to remember the day-to-day living.

Addie is the happiest baby I've ever met. She is easy going and quick to smile. Her eyes smile almost all of the time. She has let out a few good belly laughs, but can't quite get it consistently yet. When she's happy, she squeals and sucks in air. When we walk in the room, she always smiles, squeals and sucks in air. It feels so good to know she's always happy to see you! If she's in her jumper and I come back from another room, she squeals at me and starts jumping like a crazy lady with her hands straight up in the air. She's learning, too, how to put her arms up when she wants to be picked up. Sometimes, she'll just smile and squeal randomly even when we're not interacting with her. She rolls over both ways, but once she started going back to front, she seemed to forget how to go front to back! So, she gets stuck on her tummy and gets mad. She is reaching for objects and loves to suck on ice. She likes her exersaucer and regularly abuses the toys. She loves to chew on them - never buy something secondhand from me! I'm not sure what it is, but she only poops when she's in her jumper. I put her in there every morning after her first bottle and she goes within 10 minutes time. Weird, I know.

She is trying to hold her own bottle. She is eating like a champ. We don't have to swaddle her any more when she eats. She doesn't pull away, fuss, kick or fight any more. Dropping the swaddle during her feeds was a gradual process - I made it slightly looser over about two or three weeks' time. Then, I went without it during her evening feed which was when she ate the best and I figured she'd try to fight the least. Over the course of another week or so, I started trying to feed her without the swaddle for other feeds. Some days she could go without, some days I'd have to put it back on because she would kick or her arms would flail wildly about.

She is super hungry when she wakes up. When Addie is hungry, she gives us warning by whining. If you ignore her, it escalates to a cry. It will get to a full blown breakdown with streaming tears and all if you wait too long. (I know this because she got hungry early one day and the time it took me to walk from the barn to the house was long enough for her to think the sky was falling down.) For her first bottle, she eats 5 ounces of that nasty Neocate with 5 teaspoons of rice cereal added to help with her dysphagia. That's quite a bit of food, really. She eats 4 hours later and has 4-5 ounces. Four hours later, like clockwork, she eats again. For her last feed, she can only make it about 3 or 3.5 hours and slurps 5 ounces. She still gets her Prevacid 3 times a day. In the morning, I have to get up 1/2 an hour before she does and give it to her. If she's on her back, I can sneak it in without waking her up. If she's on her tummy, I have to roll her over and that sometimes wakes her up. I hate it! She gets Mylanta before her next bottle, Prevacid again in the afternoon (1/2 hour before she wakes up and sometimes it disrupts her nap, which makes me mad), Mylanta before her night time bottle and I give her her last dose of Prevacid before I go to bed, usually around 10:30. She sleeps soundly until 7:30 or 8. She sleeps around 12 hours a night. We have used the Babywise method to sleep train and it has worked really good for both kids, even with their eating problems. I highly recommend it.

Addie takes 2 good naps and sometimes a 3rd, 30-45 minute evening nap, depending on how the day goes. Her tired cue is the same as her hunger cue. One surefire way to know if she's tired is to put her down. If she rolls over onto her tummy and starts whining, she's totally ready for bed. We sing her two songs while we rock her - with her facing out and sitting on our lap - and then put her down with a small blanket. She still cries before she falls asleep, but it's obvious she's so grateful to be in her bed. When we put her down, she lets out a sigh of relief. Her morning nap is about 1.5 hours. She can usually stay awake for about 2 hours before she gets really tired, but in the morning it's more like 1.5 hours. Her afternoon nap is usually close to 3 hours. When she wakes up crying, we leave her for at least 15-20 minutes to give her the chance to fall back asleep. Most of the time if she has woken up crying, she puts herself back down and sleeps another 45 minutes or even an hour. I read once that a baby who wakes crying has not had sufficient sleep and needs time to soothe and go back down. So true! Unless they have gotten sick or are having a terrible day, give them a chance to go back to sleep - they usually do and wake up cooing and happy the next time. She and Lexi both nap at the same time most days! It's awesome. It took some time to get there, but to have 2, even 3, good hours of total quiet makes my day. Of course, there are days when one won't go down or the other cries through a lot of the nap, but most of the time it works out ok.

Addie doesn't sleep in our arms or on us, ever. She will sleep in the car seat, but only for 20 or 30 minutes. She won't stay down for a "transfer" most times, either. She doesn't like to be held close and cries and pushes against you if you try to snuggle her. She likes to face out. She likes it when we whisper in her ears. She likes it when you lightly run your finger along the the edge of her face and down the bridge of her nose. As you make your way down her cheeks and jawline, she opens her mouth and tries to follow your finger. She smiles the whole time or looks at you with wonder on her face - like the whole process is simply amazing and there could be nothing better in life. She eats her feet as often as possible. She is trying to sit up on her own, but hasn't quite got the hang of it. She is also trying to crawl, but that is a few month's away from the look of things. Right now, she can get her tush up in the air, but doesn't get too far.

Addie and Mia are good friends. Mia puts her nose up to Addie just close enough so Addie can touch her but never too close and never, ever tries to lick her. Addie loves to be outside and will sit for hours in her swing and watch the world go by. Lexi likes to push her in the swing and Addie lights up to get any type of attention from her sister. Lexi can get a squeal and smile faster than anyone. Addie will watch Lexi play with rapt attention and very rarely gets upset if Lexi is around.

Addie has added so much to our family. We like to say she is "cuteness personified". She has never been a complainer and continues to be happy unless she is tired or hungry. She is laid back and easy going. She is extremely alert even though she is very chill about life. We love having her around and are so proud of every little thing she does.


Mothers' Day '09

For those of you who want to know what it's really like to be a mom, here you go:

2:30 a.m. - Wake up with screaming, incoherent Lexi. Give meds to help with leg cramps. Sleep on couch; have nightmares; wake up crying at least once.
4:30 a.m. - Get up with crying Addie. Soothe.
6:30 a.m. - Get up again with crying Addie who is now awake for the day. Give medicine.Eat a bagel for breakfast. No, I didn't eat it in bed.
9 a.m. - Strip Lexi's bed that is wet and do laundry.
1:30 p.m. - Try to lay down for quiet time. Addie is crying during what is supposed to be her nap. Lexi is playing instruments in her room for "quiet time". I close my bedroom door.
1:45 p.m. - Dog barking at door. Someone lets him. He barges in my room and slams the door open.
2:00 p.m. - Inform Lexi that instruments are not part of quiet time. Request she takes a nap. Addie is still crying. Give medicine. Attempt to relax again; close bedroom door again.
2:30 p.m. - Someone lets Mia in the house. She comes in and bangs the door open. Addie is still crying.
2:45 p.m. - Give up trying to have any "me" time. See that Lexi has not gone to sleep and give up on her "quiet time". Get ready to feed Addie.
4:00 p.m. - Start dinner, cook dinner.
5:30 p.m. - Serve dinner; open up Mothers' Day card.
6:45 p.m. - Do dishes.
7:30 p.m. - Allen leaves for work.

Happy Mothers' Day to me.

Cowgirl Up!

Lexi has been showing a gradual increase in her interest to ride. I have a client's horse here and Lexi asked to ride her. The mare is very kind and easy to be around so I knew Lexi would be safe. We saddled up and went for a quick ride around the yard.


So Impressionable

Tonight was another mutual night. I was in charge of the activity. It was a simple one and not too difficult to pull together last minute. Addie has been struggling with her afternoon naps - crying through most of them so the time I have to shower, get dinner planned and prepared has been cut short and filled with a crying baby. I've been making an effort to cook with what we have in the freezer and pantry which means a lot of cooking from scratch which means preparation and planning. Allen has been working late every day - today being no exception. I needed to leave early to make copies and get supplies for this evening. Dinner was done just in time for Allen to run in the door and for me to run out the door. Another night on an empty stomach. Another re-heated meal at 10 p.m. I watched my family sit down and heard Lexi offering the prayer as I hurried to the car. I felt rushed, unappreciated, resentful, tired, and fed up. I've been in YW for 7 years. I've never had a Wednesday night at home.

I quickly ran my errands and headed to the church - my home away from home. Anyone who drives with me knows that I'm not a "take it easy" type of pilot. I'm obviously on the road for a reason. I don't dilly dally. I drive above the speed limit. I squeeze out the most time I can to get across intersections before that yellow light quickly changes to dreaded red. People who drive below the speed limit, text or talk while they swerve between lanes and who can't drive and talk to their passengers at the same time irritate me beyond measure. So, as I pulled up to the railroad tracks, I saw that I could probably squeeze across them and nose up behind the grandma at the intersection. She happened to be every part the stereotype: driving a land-yacht and a good car length's distance from the line indicating the beginning of the intersection. As most know, I drive my own good sized mama mobile. But, I've squeezed in behind bigger cars than hers and figured getting a few extra feet would get me to my destination a lot faster.

It would also put my rear end really, really close to the train tracks. As I pulled across the tracks to nose up behind the car in front of me, I heard, very quietly, in my mind, almost like my own thought: "You better not try this. You won't fit." For some reason, I listened. I put the truck in reverse, checked to make sure no one was behind me and started to back up. As I did this, I looked up and to my right, down the tracks. Lights were flashing as the local rapid transit train was barreling down towards us. Just then, as I sat straddling the tracks, the lights began to flash and the barriers began to drop.

How grateful I was that I listened. It's not that often that the results of our actions are so quickly realized. If I had chosen to ignore this divine guidance, imagine the repercussions of such a prideful decision. Even though I would have been well across the tracks, being "nicked" on the rear end by a train going 70 mph could have easily cost me.

Not long ago, I was with Lexi at the local park. It was still winter time; Addie was a few weeks old. We had family visiting and plenty of help with the baby so I took Lexi out for a little mommy and me time. As we got out of the truck, I heard: "Put her hat on. The wind may pick up." It was sunny and pretty warm. A breeze was just forming. But, I did it.

We played on the playground and ran on the grass. We went over to the softball and baseball fields. Lexi ran around the dugout and walked along the metal benches. She raced in and out of the dugout. As she was doing this, I had the thought: "Don't let her do that. She's going to slip and fall on the concrete." I argued. "Um, kids run around here all of the time with no problems. She'll be fine." The conversation continued:

Thought: go play elsewhere. She's going to slip.
Me: No. I'm not doing that.
Thought, for the third and final time: She's going to fall. Stop her!

Just then, Lexi rounded the corner at full speed. She slipped and dove head first into the corner of the metal bench. As she screamed in shock and pain, I cursed myself for being so stubborn. I grabbed her up and checked her forehead. She had a golf ball size welt forming. However, the skin had not broken. Because I put her hat on, even though it seemed ridiculous to do so, she had been spared the trip to the ER for stitches.

Why did I obey one command but not the other? I cannot give a logical explanation. Stubbornness and pride are the words that come to mind. How could I make that choice when the only person to pay would be Lexi? How hard would it have been to direct her to run 10 feet away on the grass? Why didn't I make that simple effort for my daughter? I was given divine help in order to spare her the pain of that accident, and I, as her steward and failed her. I felt terrible. I learned a valuable lesson that day. The cock had crowed thrice and I was too lazy, prideful, whatever to act. Now, when I have those feelings, thoughts and impressions, I don't hesitate to obey on them. Even if I never know why, I know I've made the right choice by listening to the only source who could possibly love my own children more than I do. What an amazing gift. I'm so, so grateful for it in my life.

Wordy Wednesday

"Many times a person is far better off not to think how they will do it, but to reflect after it is over and just thank God you were able to do it."
- Patti Knowlton, divorced mother of 4, general manager of a $50 million business, and living with multiple sclerosis. Her daughters have won back-to-back world championships in AQHA halter classes, in addition to, several local all-around titles. Together, they have multiple horses in training and 10 additional horses at home.


Preschool Time!

It's official! Lexi is signed up for preschool. She starts in August. It's Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-11 a.m. The class has 7 students and is taught by a certified teacher in our neighboring ward. She teaches from her home. She sends the kids mail before the start of the year and has a blog for us parents to see their progress.

I'm so excited for Lexi. I think she will just love having some structured learning time with kids her own age. I'm excited to greet her after class and see what she has learned. I look forward to the enthusiasm I'm sure she'll display at what she is accomplishing each week. As with most developmental shifts, I'm confident the social interaction will propel her to grow up even more quickly and right before our eyes. I'm so happy for her to be able to have these experiences.


Holy Progress, Batman!

Today, we had lots of manpower to help us get some stuff done. And, boy, did we ever! We finished the back side fence, including putting up horse panel. We started and nearly finished the front side fence. It needs horse panel and paint and it will be done. We also buried some barrier pieces along the bottom of the fence that separates the back yard from the horse pasture. That way, no animals will get in or out and no dirt will be kicked into the wrong area. We figure it would have taken Allen a month to get everything done on his own. It was awesome to have so much help and for Allen not to be totally wasted at the end of the day. Daylight was waning as we finished up so I couldn't get street shots, but I'll be posting those shortly.

We used square posts for this fence as it will be more decorative. We'll use this same design for the entire front fence.

We also used square rails set on an angle. It's called a diamond pattern. It looks really nice and a lot less utilitarian than the standard 3-rail round fence (like our back yard fences).

Lexi "painting". She dips the roller in water and then paints designs on the house.

The barrier we put on the bottom of the fence to keep the landscaping in the backyard from eeking out into the horse pasture.

The backyard side fence.


Addie has grown up a lot in the last week. She dropped her 10:30 p.m. feed! She now sleeps from 7:30 p.m. - 7:30 a.m. She also started sleeping entirely in her crib. For the longest time, she would only nap in her swing - she hated her crib. She would sleep in her crib at night just fine, but only until 6 a.m. or so. Then, we put her in the swing to get a few extra hours of sleep. But, she also started rolling over from back to front(!) this week. She started trying to roll out of the swing when she was napping. That ended her swing time fast.

She was struggling with her swaddle blanket, too. She would kick around so much, part of it would come off or end up just around her neck. That would wake her early. But, she couldn't fall asleep without being swaddled. I kept pondering how to get her out of that swaddle without too much screaming. So, I had the bright idea to take it off quickly after she had already fallen asleep and see what happened. She slept great - that was the first night she stayed asleep in her crib until 7:30 a.m. Without the swaddle to bug her, she could sleep much longer. Now, she goes down, in her crib, swaddle free for naps and night time.

Finally, sound asleep and swaddle free!!!

She's been totally uninterested in her noon time bottle. A friend wondered if starting veggies might be a good thing for Addie (we go straight to veggies since she has rice cereal in her bottles, already). I tried it today. She really liked her sweet peas. But, she had bad reflux and was urping up peas all afternoon. So, I think we're going to hold off and try again. I was so excited, though, to see her actually interested in food. I'm sure she'll take right to it when we pick it up next month.

First time eating veggies.

I remember thinking back in December, "by summer, life should be sort of bearable again". I was actually right about something. I can't believe it's already here. Addie is growing up so quickly! I'm really not sad to see the newborn phase go, though; it's my least favorite time. I'm very, very excited to see her grow and develop into a toddler. Good job, Addie!

About Me

My photo
What started as a way to communicate with far away friends and family has become a place for this horse trainer/HR manager turned stay at home mom of 3 girls to hold on to a bit of her own identity. It's my take on the ins and outs, the ups and downs, the thoughts and feelings, the mistakes and triumphs of this family as we bumble our way to eternity.