On These Pages Are The Stories Of Our Family We Go Together ! Welcome To The World As Viewed Through Our Eyes
Lynette .......... Caedmon .......... Libby .......... Tom

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 31

We were blessed to have Tom's sister Mary visit for the weekend. Tom had to work 24 hours on Saturday but the kids thoroughly enjoyed celebrating fall with their Aunt Mary. We did a costume preview on Friday evening so Tom could enjoy the kids' excitement. We didn't tell them what their costumes were until they saw them for the "preview." Caedmon was super excited but Libby wasn't quite so sure about being a tomato...perhaps she would have been more amicable to more girly attire. However, we have plenty of years for that.

On Saturday, Mary and I took the kids to a nearby pumpkin farm, where we enjoyed seeing the animals, sitting on tractors and finding our way through a corn maze.

I kept thinking about tackling a pumpkin carving project but couldn't quite muster up the enthusiasm. However, on a last minute trip to the grocery store I found $2 pumpkins and decided that it would be worth it. So to pass some of the time between dinner and trick or treating, we carved a pumpkin. Caedmon thought the insides were gross and refused to help clean it out. Surprisingly, Libby was more enthusiastic and enjoyed putting the seeds into a bowl.

When the sun finally started to go down, I gathered my two favorite veggies and we hit the neighborhood with Wolverine and a monkey (aka, our neighbors and good friends, the Hodges). Caedmon thought it was the most exciting walk he'd ever had through our neighborhood (much better than my morning exercise walks).

We were so thankful that we were able to share our fun with Aunt Mary. Caedmon told Mary (and has told me at least 3 more times since) that he had sooo much fun trick or treating with Aunt Mary that she should come back every year.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

First Year Favorites

Often when friends are having their first baby, I get questions about what my favorite must haves are. Thinking back over the last year, I decided to compile a list. My mama brain is in full force lately...which means there's not much room in there and my memory may be short (could that be a result from answering so many questions about robots and construction trucks?). So here are some of my favorite things from Libby's first year of life:

Sling - with Caedmon I only had a Baby Bjorn. He spent most of his first year of life in it. However, my friend Erin recommended that Libby and I might enjoy a sling better. I did some research and decided on a Hot Sling. I don't necessarily put my strongest recommendation on that particular brand (although they do have some mighty cute fabrics for the style conscious mama). I think it may be an individual preference but I did like mine. I will provide a disclaimer that your baby may not love it right off the bat. Libby took a while to get used to it...maybe that was my learning curve too. For a long time, we swaddled her and then put her in the sling. She loved that!

Aden & Anais Muslin swaddle blankets - another discovery made with Libby. These are super lightweight (although they do have thicker ones for winter) and extra large which makes swaddling easy. Both of my kiddos slept much better when we swaddled them well (get it tight, they love it!) and both were summer babies so I didn't want heavy blankets. Also, the small blankets can be tricky for getting a good swaddle that baby can't get out of. Tom was always much better at getting a good swaddle but once we found Aden & Anais, I became a pro swaddler, too.

Trumpette socks - Again, a Libby find (second time's a charm, I guess). I think these are also more popular for girls but they do have boy styles. Socks were a big pain to me because they just don't stay on little baby feet that well. During the summer, I broke old wives tradition and my kids were just barefoot, but once the weather cooled, I always struggled to figure out how to keep those tootsies warm. With Caedmon, I resorted to using Robeez shoes to keep his socks in place. With Libby, I was introduced to the ever stylish Trumpette socks which really do stay in place!

Baby Activity Gym - These come in all shapes and sizes but I don't know how we would have survived without one. They keep baby entertained for much longer than anything else when they are in the immobile but alert stage. Both Caedmon and Libby loved ours and it gave me at least a few minutes to get something done.

Snap N Go stroller - The stroller decision was a huge one for us. We researched and pondered and researched and asked opinions and researched some more. However, for the early days, I put in a hearty recommendation for anything that will allow you to snap the infant car seat directly into it. We got our Snap n Go for less than $50, and it was definitely a worthwhile investment. Caedmon would fall asleep in the car and I could just snap the seat into the stroller and go. I had many a sanity walk around the mall with him asleep in the early days. Libby wasn't so good on the go, but I still enjoyed the ease of moving her whole car seat directly into the stroller instead of having to transfer her every time. Also, the baby can look at you while you push which makes them happy and keeps you at ease. Another bonus is that it has the biggest basket you will find on a stroller! We currently have 4 strollers (the Snap n Go, MacClaren Techno XL, Mountain Buggy Single, Baby Jogger Classic Double!

Beaba Babycook - While this isn't a necessity, it sure does make life easier if you want to make your own baby food. With Caedmon, I attempted to make my own food, but eventually opted for organic baby food from the store. With Libby, I made a majority of her baby food at home thanks to the Babycook. It is the steamer and blender all in one. I still occasionally pull it out to make some applesauce. It only takes less than 10 minutes to steam and puree so I often made Libby's food at the same time I was preparing ours. It makes about 3-5 servings so I would just put a little in the fridge for the next day too. Of course, you could use it to make the freezer cubes but I wasn't that good about planning ahead most days.

Ergo - With Caedmon, he spent most of his first year in the Baby Bjorn, especially since we were in the midst of house building and I was often at the site walking through construction. It wasn't until we were planning a trip to Peru when he was a year old that we discovered the Ergo. And, what a fantastic discovery it was! The two selling points for me are 1. it can hold up to 40 lbs (as opposed to the Bjorn's 20 something) and 2. you can wear front, back or side. Caedmon mostly rode on Tom's or my back. It is great for travel, but also extremely helpful for things like taking the dog to the groomer - when you need to have two free hands and the baby somewhere safe. The Ergo has an infant insert but I was not as fond of that. I have talked to people who love it, but I found the sling to be much handier in the first months of life. However, after Libby hit about 5 months of age, we used the Ergo A LOT! The amazing thing is that Caedmon could still be put in the Ergo, although, I'm not sure I would want to haul him around on my back for too long!

Exersaucer - Once my kids were wanting to be upright, the exersaucer was one of my life savers. With C, we borrowed one from a friend. It wasn't even a piece of equipment that I was planning to have but he loved it so much when we were at her house that we took it home with us. I can't tell you how many hours of freedom I gained from the exersaucer. Both kids loved to play in it, and it was often the only way I could get dinner cooked or other household chores accomplished.

Bumbo - another wonderful invention for mamas..especially when babies are too young to sit up on their own but want to be a part of the action.

Stokke Tripp Trapp - Okay. We didn't have this for the first year of life but I wish we had. We hesitated to put the money into it and then, alas, ended up buying one when Caedmon was almost 3. Crazy, right! It works great for him now. He feels like he is in a big boy chair instead of a high chair or booster. It looks cool and it is just the right height. If you're going to invest in a high chair and a booster, it almost makes more sense to just buy this from the get-go.

These are the top things on my mind right now. Of course, each mama has her favorites and some of these things may not be on your list. But this is what works for me. These are all things that we bought or borrowed on recommendation from friends and/or doing our own research.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Lynette's ER Story

Disclaimer: If you're not one for blood and such, you may not want to scroll down much farther.

So...last Sunday, I decided to feed Caedmon's and my pumpkin cravings by making some pumpkin muffins. Being that I am trying REALLY hard to eat healthy, I searched the Internet for a healthy recipe and found one that sounded quite yummy - Pumpkin Oatmeal Muffins. I should have been a bit suspect at the almost total absence of sugar, but I gathered the ingredients and mixed up a batch. Although they were intended for Monday's breakfast, I cut one into fourths and we each tried a bit after dinner on Sunday. Unfortunately, the reviews were not promising. Even my pumpkin afficionado Caedmon did not finish his small piece. In an effort to save my muffins, I decided to whip up some honey, cinnamon butter with my brand new immersion blender.

After the kids were in bed, I pulled out the ingredients and got to work. Unfortunately, it didn't go as smoothly as I expected. The butter kept getting stuck in the blender. Very carelessly, I used my finger to try to scrape some of the butter out (I am cringing as I type this). Of course, I did this with the blender off (but still plugged in) but I accidentally hit the on button with my right hand. I'm sure I can spare you any more details (and I know you are now cringing with me...or very quickly closing this web page)...

Tom was still upstairs in Caedmon's bedroom so I yelled to him (exact words), "Tom I cut my finger... and I think it's really bad." Tom got me set up with paper towel and some ice and quickly grabbed the kids from their beds got us all in the car and we headed to the ER. He never really told me how bad it looked, but prepared me for what would happen next in the ER... from the would being irrigated, to a local digital nerve block of my finger for exploration and repair (if possible), and potentially amputation, even scarring and permanent disfigurement of the finger! A career as a hand model was no longer in question for me.

I started praying fervently and God answered. Even Caedmon declared to me, "Mommy, you don't need to worry. God will be with you!" We got to the ER and fortunately there was no one else in the waiting room. For the damage done, the pain was very tolerable. The blade apparently spiraled down my finger tip, cutting and shredding, fracturing bits of bone off internally, ripping my nail into 3 pieces, and cutting through the fleshy parts of my finger. Initially, with all the blood and torn tissue, it barely was recognizable as my fingertip. Tom had to stay in the waiting room with the kids so I was in the treatment room by myself. It was a lot of waiting as the doctors were changing shifts at 8 pm and we arrived around 7:20. Even through all of the waiting and the 19 stitches which took over an hour as the ER doc had to figure out by drawing diagrams how to put the pieces back together, God made His presence so real to me. I think the ER doc had asked Tom if we wanted a plastic surgeon to be called in, but due to the acuteness of the situation, Tom told him to proceed and do his best. I just kept praying and singing praise songs and saying verses and as long as my thoughts were focused on Him, the pain was minimal. We returned home 4 hours later with some very tired children.

The next evening, Tom took me to see a co-worker who is a hand surgeon. He said that the ER doc had done a great job with the stitches and that the cuts and open fractures looked like they would heal fine. Initial sensory testing indicated most of my sensation to be amazingly intact, and I could still flex and extend my fingertip. Praise God!

It has been a week and tonight I will go to the hand surgeon to have the wound re-evaluated and get my stitches out.

Lesson learned: Don't try to make something healthy into something unhealthy.

Okay, okay...and unplug sharp tools before you go putting your fingers too close to the blade.

By the way, I asked Tom to throw that evil immersion blender away, but he refused! I think he's waiting to see if psychologically I am ever going to be able to use the blender again.

Pictures of the sewn up finger are below:

At the Pumpkin Patch with my Pumpkins

My MOPS group scheduled an outing to a pumpkin patch. I was a little hesitant to participate because when Caedmon was Libby's age we joined such a venture and it was a mad house! It was so crazy busy that I was totally stressed...and that was with one 16 month old. This time it would be me and two kiddos. Yikes! I decided to take the challenge and I'm so glad we did. The weather was beautiful and this pumpkin patch was much nicer. The kids had a fantastic time! The highlight was the train ride from the entrance to the patch. If you live in North Texas, it's worth the drive to Argyle to visit Pumpkin Express, there may be cheaper pumpkin patches but to me the price was worth it.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Fall Family Fun

Earlier this month, we hopped a plane to Pennsylvania for a visit with my family. We are so blessed that my parents and my sister make several trips to Texas every year. Really, the kids see someone from my family every other month or so. However, I always beg at least 2 trips back to PA out of Tom each year. My sister Amy isn't able to travel easily and neither is my grandma, who will be 91 next week. I want the kids to be able to build relationships with them, too. Also, having lived in western PA for about 25 years of my life, I still have precious friends with whom I long to share life for even a few minutes.

This trip was a great mix of family and friends...and we got to enjoy the fall weather and changing leaves as well. The kids got plenty of time with Pappy, Memama, Aunt Heather, Aunt Amy and Great Gram. They also enjoyed a few play dates with the children of my cousin and two of my dear friends. I was blessed abundantly with wonderful times of great talks over coffee or lunch with some of my most precious friends. And, Tom and I got to enjoy a night out to celebrate our 6th anniversary. On top of all that, the kids slept great! (not the case when we visited in March). The only glitch in the visit was a cancelled flight, which resulted in an extra night there. The blessing of that was an opportunity to see my uncle and aunt who I hadn't seen since my wedding!

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