The Real World: Riddle Edition

While blurking here, I found this. I have gone back and forth about putting up some vinyl lettering with this saying, but thought it just didn't quite fit with our family. This is more like it.

The Flattery Never Ceases

Allen {flexing biceps}: Lexi! What are these?

Lexi {deadpan}: Elbows.


Happy, Happy Birthday!

For the first time, Lexi knew it was coming. They had been reviewing it for months at preschool. We had been teaching her that "it's after Daddy's, after Papa's, and right around Spring." When the actual day came, she was READY!

She was super excited since her birthday fell on a preschool day. So, we made red cupcakes with red sprinkles to take in for everyone. She also loved her "ballerina" outfit that was saved special for her birthday.

After preschool, she chose to have chicken nuggets and fries for her birthday lunch. We then waited patiently for Daddy to come home so we could open presents. Ok, that's not totally true. At one point, we were looking at her gifts:

and I asked her what she thought she might get for her birthday. She told me, "Mom! They are surprises.We can't know what's inside!" So I asked her if she wanted to just guess what those surprises might be. "MOM! Then they wouldn't be surprises." I promptly emailed Allen asking him to come home early because the suspense was just killing me

As soon as he walked through the door, we got right to it. We told her we had a very special present for her that wasn't out with the rest and that Dad was going to get it. When I looked over, I saw her doing this:

And then he came around the corner:

YAY! Her very first bike!

As we were getting ready to take advantage of the little daylight we had left, Lexi received a birthday phone call. Of course, she needed to take the call before we could proceed.
After conducting her business, we made our way outside so Lexi could speed off into the sunset on her new wheels.

My favorite part: the dress socks with sports sandals. Now, we just need a fanny pack and we're ready for Disneyland. 

So, the racing part didn't ever really happen. Lexi kept applying the brakes instead of going forward so it was kind of like watching someone learning to drive a manual transmission for the first time: start. stop. start. stop. start. stop. I'm sure with a little practice, she'll be riding all over the block while the rest of us try to keep up.

After biking, we head in to open the rest of the gifts and have cake.

Lexi says she had a great birthday and loved all of her presents. She said she felt very special and really like putting candles on the cake and putting fire on them and blowing it out. 

Here's some other tidbits about Lexi as a 4 year old:

- She can read simple words.

- She is really good at memory and puzzles.

- She likes Barbies and dolls and playdoh.

- She takes a magnadoodle to bed every night and colors on it until she is tired enough to fall asleep.

- Naps have officially gone the way of all the Earth.

- She is a compassionate, caring and extremely patient big sister.

- She loves to help me prepare every meal in the kitchen.

- She clears her own plate, throwing away what should be and putting her dishes in the sink after every meal.

- She can do almost anything (if you ask her) all. by. herself. 

- She absolutely loves to cuddle. A hug goes much farther than a harsh word with Lexi.

- If you do deal her some harsh words, she will likely try and deal them back to you. 

- She is a total Daddy's girl. 

- She is completely adored by us and we couldn't be more proud of the person she is becoming! 

Happy Birthday, Lexi!


Welcome Spring!


 Well, what do you do when the first day of Spring is really a winter storm?

 Build a snowman, of course!

 Happy Spring everybody!


Room For Two, Please

Remember how I said Addie cried before every nap and before bedtime every. single. night? Well, she stopped. Like, a week after I complained, she suddenly turned into a normal kid and went to bed without issue. She would even gather her babies and blanket and run in to her room for songs and nigh nigh. It was pure heaven, I tell you.

It was short lived heaven. Because we put the girls in the same room. We had been warned it would be awful. Sleep would be elusive. Crying would be likely. But, we girded up our parental loins and prepared for the worst.

Addie did cry. Hard. She was totally scared in Lexi's room. We had prepped them, too. We put the crib in there and started calling the space "your room" rather than Lexi's room. The first day, I took Lexi to town during nap time so Addie could settle in without Lexi creating drama. She did ok. But she cried. And night time. Fahgetta 'bout it. She wailed. So, Lexi stepped in as the loving big sister and sang her a song. And gave her some books. They both slept until 7:45 the next morning.

Two days later, Addie and Lexi are laughing at night time. Addie now runs down the hall to "their room" for songs and prayers. We even had a middle of the night accident that involved the changing of sheets, scrubbing carpet, and crying by a certain 4 year old and Addie didn't even stir.

Here's what the new digs look like:

It's In The Horsey Jeans

Or is it genes? Either way, Addie has a fondness for horses. We've neither encouraged nor discouraged the girls when it comes the horse world. Sure, they help feed sometimes and we visit with Honey on occasion, but I haven't made it a point to get them out there and doing horsey stuff very often. Lexi doesn't seem too concerned with the equestrian world. Addie, however, is a completely different story.

I think Honey might even like her a little bit, too.

34 Weeks 1 Day

Saw the midwife today. According to numbers, I'm 34 weeks, 1 day. According to ultrasound, I'm 35 weeks. According to me, I'M DONE!

Total weight gained is - 3 lbs. That's right. Negative 3 pounds! I lost some weight in the beginning, gained a few and saw today I had lost again. However, the baby continues to grow so they're not worried. I'm measuring 36 cm. So maybe after I kick this kid out, I'll be, like 15 lbs. lighter than when I got pregnant! Woot! Woot! Why not kill two birds with one stone: bring another person into the world and shed a few pounds in the process.

The midwife asked if I was having contractions. And I have been - for about a week. And lots of bothersome cramping. But, they are both fairly inconsistent so it's probably more of a warm up than anything else. My body seems farther along than 34 weeks, but the dates are what they will go by for safety reasons, so she told me to try and hang on until the beginning of April. Then, they'll let nature take it's course rather than try and stop labor. Besides, Allen's out of town again next week. And while I'm not too worried about delivering a kid on my own, who would watch the two I've got at home? So, I'm going to try and hang on until then.

We still haven't decided on a name, either, so don't bother asking. I think we're going to have to play it the same way we did with Addie; we'll take our top contenders to the hospital and try to decide before we bring the child home. 

And that's the news for now.


What It's Like

Addie suffers from a sensory feeding aversion. Lexi had it too. When one reviews my kids' eating histories, it's not surprising.

When my kids are born, they do not know how to eat. What comes naturally to most full term babies, is a behavior that must often be taught to preemies. Lexi fell into that category. She was on the ventilator for 8 days during which she did not eat. When she came off the vent, the nurses would syringe feed her 3 cc (for reference, 1 ounce is 30 cc) every 3 hours to introduce her tender little insides to food. Slowly, the amount was increased as she tolerated her feeds. Of course, they tried to get her to suck her feeds through a nipple after the first few syringe attempts were successful. But, she didn't suck. She couldn't even hold a pacifier. It wasn't that she didn't want to suck. She physically couldn't keep the pacifier in her mouth. In order to eat, a baby must also coordinate sucking with swallowing and breathing. Lexi couldn't do this either. Since many preemies face this challenge, we didn't think it would be an issue with any of our other kids.

Then came Addie. I have to admit, I had a feeling throughout the pregnancy that she would have health issues. Then, when she was in the NICU, I came in to visit and noticed they had a pacifier in her mouth. But, they had propped it there. She wouldn't keep it on her own. I registered that and knew exactly what was happening, but didn't acknolwdge the knowing. I was so hopeful. She would gulp and gasp and sputter when she ate, but while in the NICU was taking her feeds so they didn't make a big deal out of it. As time went on, she got progressively worse and ultmately began refusing her feeds altogether. She stopped thriving. We went to the GI doctor. When I mentioned that she couldn't keep a pacifier in her mouth, he immedately referred us to therapy. They observed her eating and confirmed the whole suck, swallow, breathe suspicion and we started thickening her feeds so she would stop aspirating her formula.

So, from the start my kids have a horrible time eating. Then, they reflux. They are in pain. They puke up their very special and VERY nasty formula. Sometimes 8 times a day. And, to make things more complicated they have food allergies. No soy or milk. Have you ever tried to feed soy and milk free products to a baby? There's not much out there. While others are introducing table foods and yogurt and letting their infants sample ice cream, my kids are allowed formula, rice cereal and very simple veggie and fruit purees. As time progresses, when a parent should be feeding Stage 3 type textures, my kids are still on the simple purees because everything out there has some soy or milk added. I'm not kidding. Read the labels. So, our hands are tied in a lot of ways when it comes to offering a varied diet.

By the time they are near weaning off of the formula and have resolved their food allergies, their feeding patterns are pretty set. They aren't used to many types of food and have a pretty negative association with eating. Period. With Lexi we just kept her on the bottle and let time take it's course. And, we were pretty lenient about where and when she ate. We were so exhausted from fighting about food, we gave in. Well, that created some habits that we didn't like. With Addie, whether she eats or not, she sits at the table. And we only eat at the table. We eat as a family. Lexi has really come around and actually looks forward to sitting down together. (I know, from the previous post, you'd never know it. But, those moments really are few and far between.)

It's nearing time for Addie to wean from the bottle. But, because she doesn't eat solids, she gets almost zero nutrition from regular food. All of it comes from the formula. I mentioned her gagging when she touches strange food to our GI doc and once again, we're in therapy. Addie is officially on a "program". She gets 2 familiar foods at each meal accompanied by a new food. It must stay on the tray, even if she won't touch it, she's not allowed to throw it on the floor or set it on the table. We are to encourage her to touch the food, then smell it, then kiss it and if she's ok with that, maybe lick it. We have a "spit cup" so that she knows if she tries something and doesn't like it, she has an escape route. All of her food is to be in stick shape so that she has to touch it to eat it. When she's done eating, she has to throw her food in the trash so that she is forced to interact with it. All the while, we as parents, are to remain upbeat and positive and have eternal jazz hands so that eating is fun and everyone is happy and we're so excited to have a spit cup at our table!!!!

Can I interject here that at our first appointment, the food lady simply touched Addie's hand with a club cracker and Addie broke down into sobs? Hiccuping, slobbering, scared out of her gourd sobs. She was terrified. She sat on my big, 8 month pregnant belly for 10 minutes sniffing and blubbering because of the assault. We have a ways to go to say the least. But, we're holding tight to the program.

I know it seems ridiculous. Or that I might have created this monster somehow because of the way I feed my kids. If you just let them get hungry enough, they'll eat. Right? Right. Let me assure you, I would like nothing more than to have a baby who wants to eat every 2 hours as a newborn, who can have regular formula or even breast milk, who at 4 months will eat rice cereal, a kid who actually reaches for what we're eating (you know, my kids have never, ever tried to reach for food), and plays with their food. They just don't yearn for food.

I will say, dealing with feeding aversions is one of the most defeating issues to encounter. A person cannot force another to eat. When your baby is starving, but refuses to eat, it is crushing. As a parent, you know what will soothe their little tummy. But, the misery that comes with eating, for those little ones, is so awful they would rather refuse food completely. Sleep goes out the window. Screaming ensues. Stress levels rise. Doctor visits increase. You feel totally helpless. And, every 3 hours, you have to try again. After all, you can't just let a baby starve. You keep trying. The baby keeps fighting. The circle goes round and round. It's draining, exhausting, and horrible. It's not a very common thing, really, so trying to get someone to understand exactly what it is like is so difficult. I would try and explain what was going on with Lexi to my friends and they would look at me like I was crazy. In fact, I didn't even realize this issue had a name until Addie came along and my next door neighbor and NICU nurse mentioned that we would likely deal with a feeding aversion because of how long it was taking to resolve Addie's reflux. Only then did I realize I wasn't cuckoo.

On a good note, Addie's bottle is now mostly milk and she is tolerating it well. Soon, we'll get to offer her a cup and get off of the bottle completely. Of course, this has to happen in conjunction with her eating more solid foods so she won't be nutritionally deficient. At some point, she'll eat. I know this because Lexi is a fairly normal eater and she was just the same, if not worse. Addie has actually been trying some of my food. Of her own volition. I suppose we'll look back in a few years and have forgotten much of this trial. Boy, do I look forward to those days! For now, we just "keep calm and carry on".


Out of the Mouths...

Me {serving Lexi chicken noodle soup}: There you go, Lex.

Lexi: I don't like chicken noodle soup. It's not good enough for me.

Me {refraining from hitting Lexi in the back of the head}: Well, why don't you just try it?

Lexi {folding arms across chest}: I'm not going to try it.

Me: Well, you know what? You're old enough to choose for yourself. If you don't want to eat what I made for you, you can go hungry. No dinner, no juice, no snacks. Nuthin'.

Lexi: I'm not going to try it.

Allen {eyebrows raised to hairline}: Lexi, you eat what mom made for you. This is not a restaurant and there is no menu.

Lexi {comtemplative silence}.

Lexi: Maybe I just need to go to a restaurant then.


Ponder This

 “It is not well for a man to pray cream and live skim milk.”

- Henry Ward Beecher


Just remember, if the world didn't suck, we'd all fall off.  
~Author Unknown

About Me

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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.