Monday, December 29, 2008

Christmas in Pictures

As promised, here are some of our Christmas pictures...

Friday, December 26, 2008

Again? Really?

Tuesday was Travel Day, Part 2, as we headed back to NC. After waking up and seeing no snow or ice on the roads, I figured we were destined to have a more relaxed trip back than we had on the way in (read earlier "Travel Day" post for more info).

Macie awoke at 6:15a, giving me plenty of time to get ready for our target 9a departure from Mom and Dad's house in Jeff City. Figured that leaving at 9a would get us to the airport by 11a, which is plenty of time before our 1p flight departure.

We actually left the house around 9:20a. Not bad considering the hectic last-minute packing of diapers, clothes from the washing machine, new toys, etc. The drive to the airport was reasonably uneventful, although Nina would probably not agree, since she had to entertain Ivie the entire way. Ivie in a car for 2 hours, without a movie to watch, and following a week of sleep deprivation is not a pretty sight. Shoot, it doesn't even have to be 2 hours. Even the 15-minute car trips around Jeff City the last few days were an adventure in trying to ignore the whimpers and annoying screams emanating from the "big girl" car seat up front.

Got to the airport around 11:30a. Dad stayed in the car with the kids while Dale, Mom, and I lugged the 2 50-pound bags into the airport (curbside check-in wasn't open - bummer). Actually, upon weighing them, one of the bags was 51 pounds, the other 44. We weighed them when the attendant wasn't looking, and I decided to chance it and not move some items over. Surely, with the long line of people behind us, the lady would see that we obviously had room left in the other bag, so she would just let the 1 pound go...

WRONG. She actually said to us, "You'll need to move 1 item from that bag into the other one." I wanted to look at her and ask her if she was kidding, but I could feel the stares of the people behind me, so we just cooperated and did what she asked. We then had to go get the girls out of the car, because they wouldn't give us their boarding passes unless they actually SAW the kids. Whatever. So we went out into the 40 mph winds and temperatures in the teens and got the girls into their respective strollers. After saying bye to Mom and Dad, we were on our way back inside.

After an adventure trying to get to the gate level via elevators (they really should mark the elevator buttons with at least 1 sign that says "Gates", instead of just assuming that people know that, at this particular airport, the gate level is the same as the "Baggage Claim" level), we finally hit the security line, which took just as long this time as it did on the way out. Longer, maybe even, since this time they had to have me open, one at a time, each bottle of breast milk (there were 5) and run a litmus test on each one of them that lasted about a minute each. That's a long time for 2 kids to sit still in their strollers and wait. Particularly when they are both starving...

OK. Through the security line by noon. And not too stressed, as we still had 30 minutes to grab a bite to eat and find a bathroom for me to pump. And since the battery pack had worked when I "tested" it after the last fiasco, I was safe to not have an outlet. We were still in good shape.

As destiny would have it, the only place to eat down our end of the terminal was Jody Maroni's. You guessed it, another hot dog. Which ended up being choked down yet again, this time without a bun (as the hot dog place had run out of hot dog buns - go figure). As Dale and I quickly ate, Macie was screaming for her bottle, Ivie was crying and claiming she didn't WANT a hot dog, and the clock was ticking...

Macie cried herself back to sleep, Ivie decided that she would eat a few bites of my hot dog along with her banana, and we were off to the gate. I took Ivie in her stroller with me to the bathroom to pump, and Dale headed to the gate with Macie to find out if there were any empty seats we could claim.

Ivie and I snagged the handicap stall in the bathroom, which is still a really tight fit for a stroller and a woman who has to pull out all the pump stuff and make it functional. But I got situated and began the process. For about 1 minute. Until the battery pack decided, yet again, that it wanted to stop working. So it did. I just sat there, looking at Ivie, with an apparently very upset look on my face. She looked into my eyes, very concerned, and patted my leg with her little hand, saying, "It's okay, Mommy!".

So I packed away all the stuff, trying to decide what to do next. After taking Ivie's stroller out to Dale (whatever I was going to do, I wasn't going to be able to do it with her in tow!) and headed back to the bathroom with my pump. In the corner of the bathroom, right above the last sink, was an outlet. So I swallowed my pride, sat the pump on the nasty bathroom floor, knelt down (because I certainly couldn't maintain a catcher's squatting position for 10 minutes), and, with my back to the people rushing in and out, set to work pumping. Thankfully, I wasn't able to see any of the looks on the faces of the folks wondering what the heck I was doing. The even better thing about this is that they didn't see my face, either, so I was saved from any future embarrassment that might result if they would have seen me in the terminal afterward.

By the time I'd finished, our flight was ready to pre-board those folks that "needed extra boarding time". Which we did, since we had both girls and, you guessed it, no empty seat for Macie. Boarding went fine. I had a pilot-in-training sitting next to me who had ear plugs and "a girlfriend who would be jealous" that he got to sit next to a baby. Of course it was freezing rain when we boarded, so we had an extra 15 minutes to sit on the plane and entertain the girls while our aircraft was de-iced (and the pilot-in-training had his training manual turned to the inclement weather page, studying up).

Then we were off! Macie ate her bottle, played for a while, and drifted off to sleep with about 30 minutes left to the flight. She didn't make a sound the whole time, so the man sitting next to me wore his ear plugs for no reason. Take THAT, pilot guy! Ivie watched a couple of movies, none for more than 20 minutes before asking Daddy to swap it out. And she only had to be told by the flight attendant one time that if she didn't sit down and put her seatbelt on, we'd have to head straight back to the gate. Lastly, instead of 3 poopy diapers, we only had 1. Macie. Which is to be expected when she eats a complete bottle on the plane.

We landed, got our luggage, and Dale headed to get the car with Ivie. We were then off to Hickory for more fun with Ivie's other "cuzins", Luke and Rod. Survived yet another chaotic flying experience. 2-for-2 on chaotic flights with 2 kids. I have a feeling the trend will continue. Maybe I need to lower my standards a bit. Either that or get to the airport 3 hours before the flight takes off...

I should mention, just so it's in writing for future memories, that Dale and I made it to Hickory by 6p, eastern time. Which was 5p in Missouri. My parents had dropped us off at the airport and headed back home by 11:30a. 5 1/2 hours later, when Dale and I were pulling into his parents' driveway, Mom and Dad were NOT YET home from the airport. OUCH. The freezing rain that caused the de-icing on our flight wreaked havoc on the roads that day. I-70 was closed down in their path, and the back roads were congested and full of other accidents, as well. Though it took them nearly 6 hours to get home, they made it there safely. And Mom got plenty of quality time with Dad. AND they got a Mexican dinner upon their return to Jeff City. So all ended well, both in MO and NC...

Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Been on a blog hiatus this last week. Previous Christmases I would have had an excuse, as Mom and Dad did not have high speed internet in Owensville. But they've moved to Jefferson City full-time now, and have moved into the world of technology, as well. Not only do they have high speed, but they also have WIRELESS. You rock, Mom and Dad.

We had a wonderful visit to Missouri! I'll give you some of the highlights now, and when I get home and get through the 217 pictures that we've taken so far on our trip, I'll do a post with solely Christmas pics. But for now, the highlights in words...

Runge Conservation Nature Center: Nina (my mom) took us to Runge one morning. It's a small, but very cool, nature center with several live reptiles (snakes, lizards, large snapping turtles), as well as several stuffed birds, etc. Once Ivie was sure that they were all safely behind the glass, she had a wonderful time getting close up to their cages to check them out. She left happy, with the visit made complete by the plastic butterflies that Nina purchased for her and Macie.

Jefferson City Mall: You wouldn't think that a mall would be a highlight of a trip. But when you put together 8 adults and 7 children, a mall with a play area and several food options is a wonderful place. We visited Jeff City's twice! The kids loved the Sbarro's pizza and running around the playplace, and the adults especially enjoyed the stop at Mr. Bulky's candy shop at the conclusion of visit #2.

Scott's Media Room: For those of you that don't know, my brother owns a custom home building company. Signature Homes, for those of you in the Jeff City area that are thinking about building a new home! He recently completed work on his own family's home, and Dale and I were able to see it for the first time on this trip. What a wonderful house! The ceilings are amazing with their eye-catching detail. But I think Dale's vote for the best room in the house would be the media room, in which they have a 100-inch high definition projection television screen. Absolutely amazing. It was here that we watched the Carolina vs. Evansville basketball game. I think Dale is pricing these things as I type, and trying to figure out where to put one in our house. Going to be hard to go back to our "tiny" (in comparison) television!

Granny and Papa's House: The Schaeperkoetter clan had their traditional Christmas get-together on Sunday. Several years ago, we started a tradition in which Granny gives each of us money for Christmas, and we each go out and purchase our own gifts to bring to the celebration. This way, we each get what we want/need, and Granny and Papa get the fun of seeing what we all chose. Everyone's happy! This year, in case you're wondering, Ivie got a matching game and a doll with a carrier that converts into 5 different seats (front pack, feeding chair, rocking chair, etc.). She carries it everywhere and loves to feed her baby with the included bottle, just like she watches Mommy do with Macie. Macie got a "Dunk and Cheer Basketball Game" that was too big for us to bring back on the plane. So Mom and Dad will ship it out to us. She's got a couple of months before the 6M age on the toy, anyway! Dale and I put our money together to get new sheets for our bed. Not very exciting, but certainly very necessary!

Nina and Papa's House: This is where "it all happened". Even though Mom and Dad have downgraded in the size of their home, it was still plenty of room for us all to congregate over the trip. Scott's clan, who live in Jeff City, too, were able to come over pretty much every evening. And Sarah's clan arrived on Saturday and were still there when we left yesterday. There was enough amazing food to feed our small army for the week (thanks for all your hard work cooking, Mom!), and plenty of toys for the kids to work on "sharing". We enjoyed an evening visit from Gary, Chris, Molly, Abby, and Betsy Alfermann. And we had a very chaotic, yet very fun, present-opening session on Sunday evening. When we left the house for the last time Tuesday morning, Ivie was VERY sad to be leaving her "cuzins".

West Gate Lanes: The Entertainment-of-the-Trip Award definitely has to go to the bowling alley on Monday night. There were 5 adults and 5 kids bowling, with 3 moms (Nina, Bobbie, and me) and 2 too-little kids (Gavin and Macie) just observing. The first 30 minutes or so was pretty much standard bowling (as standard as bowling with kids and bumpers can be!). But when night-time hit the bowling alley, that all changed. The main lights were cut off, and the dance music and strobe lights kicked in. It was ... hilarious. The kids all started break-dancing on an adjacent lane (we pretty much had half the bowling alley to ourselves). I've got some video of this that I will try to post later, as well. It was, quite simply, the absolute best place for our family of 15 to spend our last evening together.

So those were the highlights of our trip. Wonderful times spent with family over the holidays. Quite a blessing.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Travel Day

Yesterday was our travel day to Missouri. And, as you can imagine, flying with 2 kids is going to result in a few stories. So here are mine from yesterday...

We actually flew out of Charlotte (2 hours from home) instead of RDU (15 minutes from home), because: a) direct flights were cheaper on US Air than on American, and you can BET that if we can fly direct, we're certainly going to, and b) we are going to end up back in Hickory (only an hour from Charlotte) on the back end of the trip anyway. So, on Tuesday afternoon, we packed up the car and headed for Hickory, where we spent Tuesday night.

Yesterday morning, the plan was to leave Hickory at 8:30a to drive to Charlotte to catch an 11:20a flight. The thought was that this would put us at the airport by 9:30a, leaving a solid hour and a half buffer to get situated, get lunch, etc.

We left Dale's parents' house at 8:45a. Not too far off schedule. And, right on target, we pulled up to the airport at 9:45a. Still plenty of time to do what we needed to do.

After getting the 2 50-pound checked bags out of the car and safely sent away ($34 later, after checked bag and sky cap fees), I headed inside with Macie in her stroller and a couple of the carry-on bags. Dale kept Ivie in the car and went to park. As I got inside, knowing that it would take them 10 minutes or so, I decided to make great use of the time and head to the bathroom to pump (since I was going to have to do that before the flight, anyway). Got to the bathroom with Mac, got everything set up, turned on the pump, and... NOTHING. Great. Apparently the batteries in the seldom-used battery pack had decided to die on me just in time for this trip. And, of course, there were no outlets to be found in this airport bathroom. Guess I was going to have to go to plan B, which was either find some batteries or find an outlet once we got through security.

Bummed out, I headed back into the lobby to wait for Dale. He arrived shortly and we headed to security. Security with a toddler and an infant is NO FUN. Add in a breast pump, breast milk, medicine, several jackets, 2 cell phones, and 2 laptop computers, and it's even LESS fun. 20 minutes later, we put on the last of our shoes and went in search of the US Air "Club", where the security guy had suggested we go to plead for use of an outlet in a private area...

The lady there was nice, and only hesitated slightly before directing me into the "dressing room" in the restroom. It was super nice, complete with a nice countertop for all my stuff. So I set to work...

About 2 minutes into the 7-minute session, I gasped. Not sure what had made me think of it, but I realized, with a start, that I had FORGOTTEN the base to Macie's car seat. And for those of you that know Graco infant seats, the seat itself is not worth much if you don't have the base to strap the seatbelt through. Wonderful. So, while pumping, I placed 3 desperate calls. First to my dad to make sure he hadn't left home yet to come pick us up. Next to my brother, Scott, hoping that he still had Gavin's car seat base and that it was a Graco. He didn't answer, so the third call was to his wife, Bobbie, to ask the same questions. She didn't answer either. What the heck do I do now?!?

Thankfully, Bobbie called back seconds later. And then Scott did, too. Between the 3 of us, we figured out that we weren't sure what type of seat they had, but that they thought they could direct Dad to it in their house, and that he would just bring along the entire thing so that we could use it instead of ours if it wasn't Graco. Phew. Problem solved. Thank goodness for family...

By the time I finished pumping, this problem was solved and I was feeling a bit better. Nothing else that I could have forgotten would have been this bad, so I was through the worst. Right?

Well, yeah, probably. But by this point it was 10:40a, and we still needed to grab some lunch, walk to the gate, hopefully get moved to a row with an open seat (we hadn't purchased a seat for Macie), and eat. Before boarding, of course, because there would be no extra hands during the boarding process to carry food. The next 30 minutes before we got on the plane were a blur. We choked down hot dogs that tasted like they'd been made the day before, swallowed as much soda as we could, and were 4 of the last people to board the plane. We were actually going to make it to Missouri!

The flight itself was fairly uneventful after the lead-up saga. That is, if you define uneventful as changing 3 poopy diapers during a less-than-2-hour flight. One for Ivie, two for Macie. All three changed while sitting in our row of seats. All three changed without getting poop on any of our clothes. Success.

We landed, found Dad, found the car, got the car seats installed, stopped at Sonic for a Watermelon slush (YUMMY!) and made the mostly quiet drive to Jefferson City. After a fun dinner out with Scott's clan, we dragged 2 very tired little girls back to Mom and Dad's house. One of which went the very first day of her life (all 2 years and 8 months of it) without taking a nap. Based on her attitude by the end of the day, I'm hoping it doesn't happen again for a few more years!

Chalk up another travel day. Glad we don't have to do it again for a week. Let the Christmas festivities begin!!!

Monday, December 15, 2008

In Exchange for a Co-Pay...

Headed to the doctor with Macie this morning. I thought, going in, that she just had a good ole fashioned cold, but wanted to check to be sure, since our Christmas travels begin soon. Came out of the visit with that official diagnosis, but also with the news that she has the start of an ear infection. So we've got antibiotics for her now, too...

But here's what ELSE I learned at the doctor's office this morning:

1) I do not have strep throat or the flu. Dr. Joe asked me if I'd taken my sick self to the doctor. I gave him the motherly look that says, "Moms don't have time to go to the doctor unless they're REALLY sick." So he said, "Well, let's just test you for strep to be sure." The test was negative. And he said the flu isn't "out" yet, so it's not that either. Just a yucky case of the cold, I guess...

2) Babies don't get strep throat. Who knew?!? The nurse said the youngest child they'd seen it with was 18 months old. Seems weird to me, but whatever! Good to know...

3) There's medicine for diarrhea! Not sure why I didn't think to at least ask the pharmacist at Target about this. While with Dr. Joe this morning, I mentioned to him Ivie's 5-day case of diarrhea that does not appear to be ending. He agreed that it was most likely associated with the antibiotic she's on, and then nonchalantly asked if we'd tried Florastor. I said, "What's that?", and he told me it's an over-the-counter medication for intestinal issues (he used bigger words, of course). There's now a box on the island in my kitchen just waiting for Ivie to get home... But I would suggest not using this every time you've got diarrhea issues - stuff's expensive! There are 10 packets in the box (it's a sprinkle that you mix with apple juice, applesauce, etc.), and it cost $11.50. Wow. Over a dollar a serving. But we'll save much more than that in the millions of Pull-Ups we've been going through...

4) Diaper rash that is caused by diarrhea, which is caused by antibiotics, is probably yeast. Dr. Joe also told me to try some of the Nystatin I have (from Macie's bout with thrush) on Ivie's diaper rash. I'd actually thought about giving that a shot this weekend, but I laughed it off, thinking that surely those two problems are unrelated and I might do Ivie's diaper rash more harm than good putting yeast infection medication on it!

5) Macie weighs over 14 pounds! She weighed in at 14 pounds, 3 ounces this morning.

I definitely think all that knowledge was worth the $15 co-pay! I can tell you that I don't always feel that way!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Mom Song

This is how I feel after a day at home today with two sick girls. Moms, you have to watch this. Dads, you should watch, too...

By the way, I've now got a sore throat that has been evolving all day to get to the point where it is now and I can barely swallow... Not to mention the headache that popped up around 3p and hasn't gone away...

And did I forget to add that our power went out for an hour tonight, right at dinner time, so we had to scrounge to find the flashlights (my mom would NOT have been proud, being that I could tell you without a second's hesitation where they ALL were at 811 Oakbrook Drive growing up, right, Schaeperkoetter clan?!?). We were saved only by the decorative (and now partially burned) Christmas candles that we KNEW were sitting inside the doorway to the living room. So we ate dinner by candle/flashlight, with Ivie asking every so often if we could please "fix" the television, as she was missing Max and Ruby... And of course I was stressing that the power would be out long enough to effectively render my 3-weeks-worth of frozen breastmilk useless, so I'd placed multiple calls to friends to find out if their power was out and, if not, if they wouldn't mind storing some of it for me...

But here it is, 8:10p. The power came back on around 7:00p (thanks, God!) just in time for bathtime for both girls. And now they're both quiet in their rooms. Ahhhhhhh. Time to catch up on Biggest Loser.

Watch the video. I mean it. It's worth it!

A Wreck...

Both of the girls are home with me today. This was not planned. The plan for the day was for Ivie to go to school (she much prefers school to a boring day at home with Mommy!) and for me to catch up on some baby time with Macie, who has been to school the first 3 days of this week.

But, as luck would have it, Ivie got hit with a bout of diarrhea last night that has continued through this morning. Not much fun when you're trying to potty-train! We've gone back to the Pull-Ups until the illness passes through. But I've been so proud of her so far - she's trying with all her might to go to the potty EVERY time she has diarrhea. Tough to do every 5 minutes! Even with her efforts, we've been through about 5 Pull-Ups so far today.

Macie had a nasty diaper this morning, too. I'll probably get in trouble for mentioning it, but it was the first diaper that caused Dale to physically gag while changing. Brought back memories of before Ivie was born, when Dale was really concerned that he wouldn't be able to handle the dirty diapers because of his gag reflex around such nastiness. But I don't remember him ever having a problem with it after Ivie arrived. It's amazing how your body adjusts. But this morning, Macie got the best of him! I quickly took over for fear of having THREE sick people in the house!

So you should see our house right now. Looks like a tornado hit it. It's noon right now, and breakfast just got cleared off the table. And only so it could be replaced by lunch. Ivie's alphabet puzzle is scattered all over the first floor of the house. Both TVs are on, same channel (Noggin, of course), but with a slight delay on the one in the living room, resulting in an annoying discrepancy of sound that appears to only bother me (not Ivie).

Ivie is eating her lunch (chicken noodle soup). She's only eating it because I told her that if she doesn't eat and keep her energy up, we'll have to go back to the doctor. As you know, Ivie hates the doctor. Macie is happily playing on her play mat. Check that. Just took a break from blogging and peeked in on her. She had fallen asleep on her play mat while playing. So now she's upstairs in her crib for what will most likely be a standard 40-minute nap...

Here are some pictures of the mess. Looks like I'll be spending Ivie's nap time cleaning up around here!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Zero Means None

As I mentioned in an earlier post, we are in the process of potty-training Ivie... We, admittedly, haven't had the time to concentrate on it since Macie's arrival, so I guess she finally decided to take matters into her own hands. On Thanksgiving Friday, in Hickory at Dale's parents' house, she randomly just started going to the "big-girl potty" several times throughout the day. So we figured the time had come.

The potty part of the training is going well. She's pretty much got it down. But poo-poo..., not so much. So, in an effort to further encourage her, we've started rewarding her with M&M's when she successfully uses the potty. My brilliant idea - 1 M&M for potty, 3 (or maybe more!) for poo-poo.

Ivie has made it known that she does not think that one M&M is a sufficient reward for potty. She continues to ask for "a lot". To try to make her realize that she's lucky to even get one, I said to her, on several occasions today, "Ivie, you can either have one or zero. How many do you want?" And she answered, with enthusiasm, "I WANT ZERO!", clearly thinking that zero has GOT to be more than one, since one is... well... only one!

Realizing that this had not had the desired effect, I launched into yet another word lesson. I explained to her, "Ivie, zero means none. It means you don't get ANY. So do you want zero, or one?" Sometimes she caught on and said "one". Other times, she continued to be adamant about zero, and the definition game went on for several more minutes.

After having this conversation about 4 times today, I think she's finally gotten it. How do I know? Well, as she climbed on the toilet the last two times this evening, she was talking about wanting an M&M (the reward is apparently working, though I'm concerned that we might be buying M&M's now for the next 5 years...). And after saying that she wanted some, she looked up at me, very sincerely, and said, "Mommy, zero means none. I don't want zero. I want a lot."

Bingo, Ivie. You've got it. Now just start going poo-poo on the potty, and we can hammer out the definition of "a lot"...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Show-and-Tell, Round 7: Grinch

The Christmas spirit is alive in the Herman house... We've got our tree up, along with various decorations, including Ivie's favorites - Hallmark's talking line of stuffed creatures. You know, press the button on the hand and it talks/sings/etc...

Today's choice for Show-and-Tell was the Grinch. This particular version tells a quick story of the Grinch and how "in Whoville they say, that the Grinch's small heart grew 3 SIZES that day.". Ivie chose him over the singing Rudolph and snowmen this time. Something tells me we'll see Rudolph next Friday...

Just for kicks, I'm including a couple pics of Ivie with our Christmas tree. Notice the big-girl panties. We're potty-training!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

First Bath Together

Dale was out of town last night and it was bath night for Macie; so out of necessity, Ivie and Macie took their first bath together. Ivie was so excited to take a bath in the "big" tub (mine and Dale's), instead of in her bathroom. We had to use ours to fit Macie's tub AND Ivie in at the same time!

I'm glad Ivie was with me as we headed upstairs. She said to me, "Mommy take pictures in the bath?". Yes, Ivie, THANK YOU! I've been wanting to get some pictures of Macie in the tub for weeks now, and have forgotten to bring the camera upstairs each time. Leave it to the kid who loves pictures to remind me...

Here are a few shots of the girls in the tub and immediately following. They'll hate me for these someday...

Fresco Tile, Part II

Worked on Macie's tile today... Another fun 1-day project to complete the "set" for my office!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Ivie has fully recovered from her bout with RSV pneumonia, and it seems as though the only lasting effect on her is an emotional scar from the saga of the nebulizer (known to Ivie as "treatments"). As you can see below, she wasn't a fan...

Dale and I have learned that the threat of the nebulizer gets Ivie to stop misbehaving almost immediately. It's amazing, actually. We discovered it somewhat innocently. On Friday, in Hickory, Ivie was throwing a fit (which included screaming and crying) about something, and I said to her, "Ivie, you better stop or you're going to get yourself all worked up and we'll have to do a treatment." The sobbing ceased, she looked at me and said, "I don't WANT to do a treatment, Mommy!", and she immediately began doing what I had asked her to do in the first place.

A lightbulb moment for Mommy and Daddy...

Fast-forward a couple of days. It was Sunday, and Ivie's breathing was back to normal. It was either nap-time or bed-time (I can't remember which), and Ivie was refusing to go upstairs with Dale. From the top of the stairs, Dale yelled, "Ivie, you better get up here right now or we're going to do a treatment!". Glancing quickly at me with a look of concern on her face, Ivie headed immediately for the stairs, muttering, again, that she didn't want to do a treatment.

Dale and I got a good laugh out of this. We've since, though, decided that the parenting books would probably advise against us using the nebulizer as a threat to get our child to cooperate! So we've stopped. But it doesn't hurt to have it in our back pocket in case ever get to the point where nothing else seems to work, right?!?

In Our Backyard

In the past week or so, our neighbors have been telling us that we've had deer in our yard every night. We were gone for Thanksgiving, and we're usually in bed by 10p, so we haven't been lucky enough to catch sight of them yet.

But this morning, as I was washing dishes, I saw 4 of them munching on the pine straw in the backyard. A mom and her baby were very close to the house, and 2 others were off in the distance a bit (visible, but not catch-able on film). I snuck out onto our screened porch to get some video, and then took a few pictures out of the window above the sink (both included below).

Unfortunately, when I turned on the sink to rinse the dishes, the 3 adults looked up at the hint of the noise, stared in my direction for a split second, and took off running. The naive baby? She didn't even stop eating! She stayed and was still munching away when I finished the dishes and forced myself to leave the sink and stop watching her (I think I could have stood there all day).

It's fun to have random interactions with nature while standing in your kitchen! Wish Ivie were here to see them, though I'm certain she would have scared them away much sooner with her squeals of delight!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Sleeping "Through the Night"

Macie's been sleeping for 8 hours for several weeks. But when you go to sleep at 7:30p, 8 hours only gets you to 3:30a. Not "through the night" in anyone's book (except for those folks who write books about when babies will start sleeping through the night!). I guess I could try to keep her awake until 10:00p, at which point 8 hours would get her to 6:00a, but I value the quiet hours of 8:00p - 10:00p too much. That is Mommy and Daddy's TV-watching time!

But last night, as if she were showing her thanks for us giving her her own parade, Macie decided to take a stab at Mommy's much tougher definition of "night". She went to sleep at 8:00p, and woke up at 7:00a. 11 hours! And in Grandma's Pack-n-Play instead of her own crib! Now THAT is "sleeping through the night". Even in Mommy's book!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! We're in Hickory celebrating with Dale's parents. We've spent the morning watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. Ivie's favorite balloons, no surprise, were Dora, Shrek, and the Sesame Street clan. As excited as she was to see them, she was equally upset that they didn't stay on the screen longer.

After telling Ivie the name of the parade, she was very sad that the parade is not known as IVIE'S Thanksgiving Day Parade. She refused to let the parade belong to Macie... Reminds me of growing up in Missouri and driving through a city named Eureka on our way to St. Louis. We would tell the baby of our family, Matt (now 26!), that we were going through Eureka, and he would say, "MYYYYY Reeka?!?" and get mad if someone else tried to claim ownership.

It's too bad that everyone can't have a parade named after them. Macie's a very lucky girl!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Ear Update

In all the pneumonia madness, I forgot to mention that we had Ivie's ear check appointment yesterday morning. She came out of it with a clean bill of ear health - Dr. Clarke said that he saw NO fluid in her ears. And he gave us instructions not to come back unless she has a relapse of ear infections. Yippeeeee! So now we just wait and see how she handles the winter. Let's goooooo, Eustachian tubes!


Yesterday (Monday) around 2:00p, I got a call from school. Ivie hadn't rested well at nap time, and was telling Miss Rosa and Miss Freda that she was tired and her throat hurt. Since I'm not sure she knows where her throat is, much less that it's something that can hurt, I was skeptical. I admit that a small part of me thought Ivie was playing on her illness from the weekend (strep throat) and looking for a bit more television time at home with Mommy. Especially when Miss Rosa put her on the phone and she said, in a much-too-happy voice for a sick kid, "Hiiiiiiii, Mama!!!".

But I went and picked her up early and brought her home. And she DID get some extra television time. At bedtime, all seemed fairly normal, other than she was breathing a bit heavy. But not badly enough to scare Dale or me as we headed downstairs to watch 24 (DVR'd from Sunday night).

We were only upstairs after the show for about 10 minutes before Ivie started crying. Since at nighttime Ivie "belongs" to Dale (I get the late-night feedings with the infant, Dale gets the occasional cry-outs from the toddler), he went in to check on her. He returned about 3 minutes later saying that he could tell that she felt miserable and that he couldn't blame her for crying - she wasn't breathing easily at all and couldn't get comfortable.

The next time she cried out, I took a turn checking on her (when one of your babies is sick, the nighttime ownership thing gets thrown out the window). I've never seen her working so hard to breath. Thoughts of a trip to the emergency room went through my mind, but I thought we'd keep an eye on her and try to make it through the night (since it'd probably be morning in the ER before we'd get seen, anyway - UNC's ER is a nightmare).

I laid in bed with Ivie for a while until Dale swapped out with me (I had to listen for Macie to wake up hungry, and couldn't do that from Ivie's room, so Dale drew the short straw). I knew that Dale wasn't going to get much sleep, since I was in there for over an hour and hardly was able to even close my eyes. Ivie's little chest was pounding, and she was tossing and turning every 10 seconds.

So fast-forward to this morning. Quick tidbit on Macie. She ate at 7:30p, was asleep by 8p, and didn't wake up until 5:30a. 10 hours! Another record. I, of course, awoke with a start at 5a and went immediately to her room to check on her - she was snoozing hard! She and I were the only ones in the house that got a good night's sleep. And when she got up this morning, Ivie's fever had spiked to 102, and her breathing was still horrible. So it was off to the doctor's office at 9:50a, after taking Macie to school for the day.

Let me just say that I'm thankful that we had day care for Macie today. It was hard enough trudging to and from the doctor (we had to go in 3 times) with Ivie, I can't even imagine how difficult it would have been if we'd have had Macie, too. Thankfully, Dale was able to join us for the 2nd and 3rd trips after his morning meetings. Ivie was so happy to have her daddy along. It was nice for her to have another shoulder on which to cry!

I won't give all the details of the doctors visits - it would get really boring and long, since we were in the doctor or picking up prescriptions pretty much straight through from 9:50a - 4:00p. But here's a summary of her treatment for what was ultimately diagnosed as viral pneumonia:

2 nebulizer treatments
2 shots (1 in each leg)
1st dose of prednisone (dissolvable tablets)
countless pulsox measurements
chest x-rays
Another nebulizer treatment

And the medicines that followed at home:

1st dose of a Z-Pak
continued dosage of Amoxicillin (still from the Strep Throat)
2 nebulizer treatments before bed (and 5 more per day for several days)
continued dosage of prednisone for several days

About the nebulizer treatments. We've had to do these with Ivie before. Once when she was around 8 months old and got RSV. And again when we visited Sarah's family in Dallas and the nasty air quality down there got to her (we still had a great visit, though, Anderson clan!). Suffice it to say that Ivie is NOT a fan of the little dinosaur mask that is a sad attempt at making the treatments tolerable for kids. It was one thing to hold down an 8-month-old. Quite another with an almost-3-year-old! In her defense, she sat pretty still throughout. But cried the whole time. And each treatment is about 10 minutes. So that was about an hour of crying today, just during those treatments. And plenty more just because she didn't feel good. No wonder she's WORN OUT tonight.

So we're hoping that she gets a good night's sleep. Doctor Joe was about ready to have her admitted to the hospital this morning. Her heart rate was at 177 and her oxygen levels at 95%. But by the end of the day, her heart rate was back to 122 and oxygen up to 97%. So we think we're going to be able to avoid the hospital. We'll check back in quickly in the morning for another couple of measurements, and then hopefully hit the road to Hickory for Thanksgiving.

So we've got even more for which to be thankful this Thanksgiving. Medicine helped our baby stay out of the hospital today. Really makes you think about those families that aren't so lucky. Prayers out to all of them tonight...

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Coloring with Daddy

Not sure why, but I had to do a post on this. Just thought it was really cute for Ivie and Daddy to sit and color together. So I wanted to make sure it was documented.

Coloring intently...

Inspecting Daddy's work...

Christmas Snowflakes

I'm not a very crafty person, so I envy those that are... But I love to see other people's ideas and try to emulate them. Particularly if they don't seem too challenging.

So I was thrilled to see the idea of Christmas snowflakes on the crafty "flipflops and applesauce" blog that I follow ( All I needed were Q-tips, glue, glitter, and wax paper. Simple!!!

Had the Q-tips and wax paper, but picked up the glue and the glitter at Target yesterday. Unfortunately, I couldn't find normal glitter, so I went with "glitter glue" instead. But went ahead and purchased some tried-and-true Elmer's Glue, too, just to be safe.

Ivie had a blast working on these with me. She helped me squeeze the glitter glue on the various joints. I got smart after the green one (on which I used ONLY the glitter glue on the joints) and use Elmer's Glue first on the red and blue ones, followed by just a dab of the glitter glue for decorative purposes.

We let them dry overnight and, miraculously, they're holding together well today! Ivie proudly carried each of them into the kitchen to "show Daddy" before I tied them together with floss (didn't have clear fishing line). But here are some pictures of the finished project. Still trying to decide where to hang them...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Getting Smarter...

The verdict is in. Ivie's got strep throat. Her fever wasn't gone when she woke up this morning, so Dale headed to the doctor with her at 11:00am (gotta love Saturday hours for urgent care appointments at the pediatrician). The good news is that Dr. Hall said her ears look really good (hopefully that bodes well for her ear appointment on Monday morning!) and that after a day or so of amoxicillin (which has been our absolute best friend throughout Ivie's lifetime), Ivie should be feeling back to normal. And she'll be able to go back to school on Monday. She'll be happy about this, as it will be a very short week of school. We'll be driving to Dale's parents' in Hickory on Tuesday afternoon to celebrate Thanksgiving with Grandma and "Dat" (Ivie's pronunciation of "Dad", which is what the Herman kids call Dale's dad).

Ivie's starting to use more complete sentences that actually make sense and show some thought and insight. She's "sounding smarter", as Dale says. Today, as she and I were coloring Dora pictures, she started back in on her usual trick of putting the crayons out of my reach. Only she could reach them, which meant that I had to ask her permission to get another crayon when I finished with the one I had. Typically, if she's feeling generous, she'll hand it to me. I don't mind this game, since it gives me a chance to practice her colors with her (she still gets orange and green mixed up...).

Anyway, today, each time I would ask her for a color, she would pluck it out of the bowl, look at me, and say, "You have to wait 'til I'M finished". And then start coloring on her page with it. Clearly, her coloring took precedent over mine! So I would sit patiently, though not for long, because she never really wanted the color I requested. She just wanted it to appear as though she did. She would just draw a couple lines on her paper with the crayon before handing it over to me. Definitely trying to make a point as to who rules the roost in the Herman house! We'll let her keep thinking she does. At least until the strep throat is gone...

Friday, November 21, 2008


Ivie was home sick today, so no Show-and-Tell. She woke up lethargic and with a fever, so we kept her at home (the ladies at day care will be thankful). She watched several hours of television this morning while lying on her big monkey floor pillow in the living room. Even though she loves watching television, it's not like her to lie still for that long, so it's clear that she doesn't feel good. I'm thinking it might be an ear infection. If it is, it's pretty good timing, as we have an appointment for her with her ear doctor on Monday morning. Chances are that we're going to have to get tubes put back in. They came out earlier this spring, but we didn't replace them immediately, choosing instead to give her ears several months over the summer to see if whatever is supposed to happen would (I clearly don't know the correct verbiage!). But the likelihood is very low. So we'll see...

One quick story. When Ivie woke up from her 2.5 hour nap this afternoon, Dale and I both went into her room. She refuses to ever cover up with bed sheets - she only uses a blanket. After her nap, her blanket had crept up to her neck and her feet were uncovered. She looked at me and said, "My blankie's not working, Mommy!". Pretty cute.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Necklace

At first, Macie liked the necklace that Ivie put on her...

But then she decided she hated it...

Fresco Tile

I'm pretty sure Dale would say that I'm not an easy person for whom to buy gifts... I like to say that it's because I'm happy and satisfied with what I have and don't have a desire for more material things. That's my positive spin on it, at least! Dale's figured out, though, that usually a safe bet is to get me something associated with pictures. I know it's going to come as a surprise to you all, but I LOVE PICTURES.

For Mother's Day, 2007 (not a typo, LAST Mother's Day), Dale gave me a "Fresco Tile Kit". Essentially , it's a project in which you take a plain tile and turn it into an antique-looking memento with a personalized picture. Sounds like something I'd LOVE, doesn't it?

Well, 18 months after receiving the gift, I created my first tile. My reasoning for not doing it sooner was that I wanted to wait until Ivie was old enough that her "look" wasn't changing each and every day. I wanted it to be something that still sort of looked like her when she was older!

So yesterday I made my first tile. It was an all-day activity, as it involved completing a step and letting it dry for an hour or two before moving on to the next step.

After finishing, I'm happy to say that the project was a success. And now I can't wait to do the other tile! Will probably do a "baby" one of Macie, since I'm eager to work on it!

Here are the before and after pictures of my project. If you're interested in getting a similar kit for yourself or as a Christmas gift for someone else (they have other types of kits, too), you can check out the website at:

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Typical Day at Parkwood

As I drove home from "school" today, I asked Ivie about her day (a typical conversation for us on the short 7-minute drive home).

In response to my question of "What did you play with today, Ivie?", she responded:

"Puzzles, colors, and lollipops.... And bubbles, too."

Apparently no day can be complete without a lollipop! Remember that next time you need a pick-me-up!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Respecting Books

Dale and I have definitely been blessed with 2 very sweet little girls that are the primary reason for a lot of "ups" in our family. But we have our share of "downs" here, too. Things that the kids (mostly Ivie, since Macie can't intentionally do much yet!) do that make Dale and me shake our heads and wonder what got into them. Last night was one of those nights...

We'd had a fairly normal Saturday. Both the football and basketball Heels had games, so we spent the afternoon and early evening in front of the television. And, as is typical on "away" game days, we had Papa John's for dinner (their thin crust pizza, by the way, rivals, but does not quite surpass, Domino's version).

Around 7:00p, I headed upstairs to put Macie to bed. Dale followed shortly thereafter with Ivie for her bath. After bath, TWO successful episodes on the big-girl potty (go Ivie!), and a quick read through her book-of-choice for the night, Dale and I both told Ivie goodnight and headed downstairs. She was happy when we left; she had her book in bed with her, which is very common, and she continued to "read" after we left her room.

About halfway through this week's DVR'd version of Grey's Anatomy, Ivie started calling for Mommy. I gave it a few minutes, hoping she was calling out just before falling asleep and would forget that she wanted me for something. No such luck, as the calling continued.

So I headed up to her room. When I opened the door, what I saw turned my stomach. Ivie had, in the last 30 minutes, ripped EVERY page out of her book. The pages were lying scattered all over the bed. I was so upset! I've always adored books and loved reading. So to see her tear one of her favorite books to shreds was very unsettling. What was going through her mind? Did she think we could fix it? Had she been mad about something?

Trying to get an explanation for absurd acts out of a 2-year-old is next to impossible, I discovered. After repeatedly asking her why she had "broken" her book, I finally gave up searching for a reason. I tried to explain to her that she would never again be able to read that book at night before bed, but I worried that I wasn't really getting through to her.

So, to make it "hit home", I decided that we would go without any TV in the house today (Sunday). I'm not really sure if the punishment fit the crime, but I figured that a day without Noggin would at least make her think about "why". Each time she asked to turn on her TV (which didn't happen as many times as I feared it would), I asked her why it was that we weren't watching television today. She responded each time with "I ripped my book." So I think she's starting to understand that this is NOT okay.

I must say that there are times when TV is convenient. Like when I'm trying to feed Macie and Ivie is climbing all over me, shaking both me and the bottle, resulting in Macie not wanting to eat. If I could have turned on Max and Ruby or Oswald, she would have left Mac to eat in peace! But I'm convinced that we are all better for the time without the TV today. We found fun ways to pass time (like dancing to the iPod in the kitchen and playing in the garage, with the door shut, since it's cold outside!). And Ivie now knows there are consequences for making bad decisions. I'm hopeful that she'll ultimately grow to respect books as much as her mommy does...

Friday, November 14, 2008

Show-and-Tell, Round 6: Xylophone

A few weeks ago, we went to a neighborhood nearby that was having a community yard sale. Used it as an opportunity to get in a walk with different surroundings. Going in, I had hopes of finding some jeans for Ivie. For some reason, 2T's and 3T's fluctuate in size so much by brand that it's been next to impossible for me to find pants that fit her this year. UGH!

Anyway, we came OUT of the sale with no jeans, but with several stuffed animals and this xylophone. So it's making an appearance at Show-and-Tell today. Running a close 2nd and 3rd were Wrinkles (a stuffed dog with a pocket and his own bone) and a model of a set of teeth that Dale has for selling braces. Dale was really pushing for the teeth, asking Ivie over and over if she wanted to take the teeth to school. She wasn't going for it. Now that would have been interesting for her to talk about. I can see it now. "Daddy has these for WORK," as a bunch of 2-year-olds look at her like she's flipped her lid.

So, back to the xylophone. Ivie likes to pound on the keys and sing her "A-B-C-D's", over and over. On the way to school today (I went along, as we took Macie in, too), she handed it to Dale and said, "Daddy, your turn!". And when he finished, she told him to "do it again!". So I got the enjoyment of watching a grown man play a toy xylophone while singing his ABC's. Not every day gets to start out like that!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Batting at Toys

During my treadmill run this morning, Macie was happily lying on my exercise mat with her toy cow hanging above her right shoulder so that I could see her face as I ran (to make sure she stayed awake and didn't spit up all over herself!).

As I ran, singing loudly to 80's love songs on my iPod to assist with the daunting task of keeping Macie awake for 30 minutes (it was bath day today, so we had to get it in before her nap), I noticed that the cow toy was rattling more often than normal. So I started watching more closely (yes, while still running - thank goodness I was only running at a 10-minute mile pace!), and I think it's safe to say that Macie has gained a bit of control of her arms and hands, as she can, to an extent, swing them in meaningful directions to hit toys hanging above her. Big milestone!

Each time she hit the cow with her right arm, I exclaimed, "Yea, Macie! Great job!" And each time, without fail, when she heard my outburst, she broke out into a huge grin. Already enjoys pleasing Mommy, it seems!

Before signing off, I'm going to make a note to myself to move the cow to the LEFT side next time to try to promote left-handedness! Dale and I are slightly disappointed that Ivie is CLEARLY a righty. We thought we'd have a fighting chance of her being left-handed, since both Dale and I are. Though I've read that having 2 left-handed parents only ups the chances for the child to 50%. Still not great odds. But we have 2 kids now. 50% means that Macie should be a lefty, right?!? So we'll start working toward that NOW!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


Macie had her 2-month doctor's appointment this morning. So, before I tell the story, let me first give her stats: 12 pounds, 11 ounces (90th percentile) and 22 1/4 inches (50th percentile). I didn't get the actual measurement for the head circumference, but Dale will be happy to read (he's got a training day for work so he couldn't join us at the doctor) that Macie is in the 50th percentile for head size, too. Phew!

So the measurements were the only boring part of this visit to the doctor. And not even entirely so...

Mac was sleeping when we arrived (isn't it amazing how only 5 minutes in the car can put a wide-awake baby to sleep, even when she has the hiccups?!?), and the nurse called us immediately back for measurements. Which meant stripping her down and, obviously, waking her up. We were able to leave the diaper on for the head size and length measurements, but then had to take it off for weight. As I pulled the diaper off, I saw that Macie was taking this exact opportunity to go potty. So I quickly put the diaper back over her to protect the table from a mess.

The nurse, Kim, witnessed all of this occurring, and said to me, "This isn't your first child, is it?". I laughed and said that I have a 2 1/2 year old girl, as well. She said, "Yeah, I didn't think this was your first. That was WAY too fast of a reaction for this to be your first baby." At that point, neither of us knew that I would have yet another chance later in the visit to "show off" my mothering skills...

After Dr. Dunk examined Macie, she explained the various immunizations that she would be getting today. Three shots and an oral vaccine (a new one for Rotavirus). "Poor thing," I thought to myself as I watched Macie kicking happily on the table, not having a clue that her world was about to be rocked with pain.

Kim came back in to give Macie her shots. We started with the oral one, as it's a bit easier to get a baby to swallow when she's not screaming her head off after shots. It started off well, with Kim commenting that Mac was doing a great job swallowing. Only tiny bubbles of liquid were escaping from her mouth. Apparently 2 ml of fluid is a lot for a baby to swallow, according to Kim, particularly when it doesn't taste like breast milk! As she reached the end of the syringe, Macie started coughing. Must have gone down the wrong pipe. So Kim sat her up for a bit to hopefully help the rest of the vaccine go down.

Then it happened. The phenomenon that I described in my October 16th post, entitled "My Hero". I could tell that we were seconds away from Macie throwing up, so I stepped in, grabbed the rag, and cupped it quickly under her chin. Just in time to catch MOST of the milk that flew out of her mouth. Probably a good two ounces worth. Macie had apparently decided that she was not cool with receiving the vaccine for the Rotavirus! She'd rather take her chances than suffer through the potential diarrhea (what's THAT in a baby who already poops 6 times a day?!?) and the vomiting (she doesn't need any more practice with that!) that are side effects of the live virus. So she handed it back to us on my burp cloth. I wonder if we still have to pay for it? I should have asked...

Anyway, after the dust settled, Kim said, "Now I KNOW this is not your first child! You handled that much too calmly to have not been through this before." I wanted to say, "Yeah, pretty much once a day for the past 8 weeks, Kim," but I didn't. I'll just let her go on thinking that I'm an experienced mother. What she doesn't know won't hurt her, right?

The shots that followed got the "status quo" response from a 2-month-old. She screamed, made big tears, and calmed fairly quickly when I was finally able to pick her up and cuddle her. She was sound asleep by the time I bent over to put her in her car seat. The "experience" in me thinks that she might have a bit of a sleepy day today...

Monday, November 10, 2008

Show-and-Tell, Round 5: Elmo's Jet Ski

It just occurred to me this evening that I've failed to post about Show-and-Tell from last Friday. I know you all have been waiting with bated breath, as evidenced by the hundreds of emails I've received from Herman Nation readers across the country asking when they could expect to see what Ivie chose for last week...

Just kidding. I haven't gotten a single email. I'm certain that this is even more evidence that I pretty much write this blog solely for myself and, hopefully someday, my kids. Kind of like Meredith (Grey's Anatomy) likes reading her mom's journals. Anyway, I digress...

So Show-and-Tell last week was Elmo on a jet ski. I'm trying to remember when Ivie got this toy. I know it was from Grandma. And I THINK it was a "big sister" gift when Macie was born. Correct me if I'm wrong, Emma Jean...

So this jet ski is one of those toys that you wind up with the wheel in order to make it "go". But it's not an ordinary jet ski, because it works on water AND land. Fancy, huh?!? For Ivie, so far, it's been a land-only toy. Not sure why, other than for the fact that if she were to take it into the bath with her, it would have too many obstacles to work around (you should SEE all of the toys in her bathtub!). So we keep it on land and watch it fly across the foyer/dining room/kitchen. The open floor plan in our house lends itself well to these types of toys.

Guess we'll wait until next summer to see how well it works in water (once we head back to the swimming pool).

A note about the picture. Ivie insisted on holding the Elmo blow-up doll along with the jet ski. I think she's starting to understand "themes"...

Tar Heel Town Videos

Three videos for you today.

This first video is going to show up on 2 blogs - mine, and the Dever's (our neighbors whose daughter, Emerson, is also featured). Many thanks to Brooke for catching this on her camera... My Flip Video was, of course, safely tucked away in the diaper bag, which was in the stroller, under the car seat in which Macie was sleeping. Pretty sure I wasn't getting to it before the song was over!

Ivie loves to dance. But it's been a while since she has. And, as you'll see, the quality of her dancing has gone a bit, well, downhill. Or maybe it's improved. I guess it depends on whom you ask. All I know is that this will be great blackmail material someday...

This second video is of Ivie throwing the football. She's a righty, for sure, and we've got some work to do on her accuracy. But she had a blast - went through the line 3 times so she could throw again!

Finally, so that Macie doesn't feel left out, here's a video of her at Tar Heel Town, too... She's not doing much, I couldn't even get a good smile out of her, but this is proof that she was there!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Poopy in the Poooootty, Poopy in the Poooootty...


Before her bath tonight, Ivie pooped in the potty for the FIRST TIME EVER. Woo-Hooooo! She always sits on the toilet while her bath water is running and Dale is getting her bed and PJ's ready. It's usually hard to tell if she potties or not, so we just take her word for it (since she doesn't use the potty all day). But after she finished tonight, she got off the toilet and went running to find Dale to show him. Dale then yelled down at me to come upstairs immediately. So I've officially seen her POOP in the potty before I've seen her POTTY in it. Bet that doesn't happen very often...

I invented a "Poopy in the Potty" Dance and made a complete fool of myself. Thankfully, it was only Dale and Ivie that witnessed it (Macie's sleeping in her bouncy seat in the kitchen). I think Ivie thought it was kind of cool. Maybe it will encourage continued success with potty-training (which we really haven't started yet, but probably should, at this point...).

The Loud Band

We went to Tar Heel Town (THT) again today before our football game against Georgia Tech (side note - we won! We're now 7-2 and bowl eligible for the first time in, well..., a long time!). As THT was closing (an hour before kick-off), the band played one last round of songs to get the crown hyped up before heading to the stadium. Ivie was on Dale's shoulders standing next to the stroller, in which Macie was snoozing.

To set the stage a bit, since Macie's arrival, we've had to hammer it into Ivie's head that she cannot make sudden loud noises. Especially when Macie is nursing or drinking a bottle, as she gets in a "zone" and is easily startled by sudden loud noises, resulting in her breaking out into a sobbing cry.

When the band started playing, I, standing behind the stroller, peered quickly in to see if it would disrupt Macie's slumber. At the same time, I couldn't help but notice that I was not the only one concerned. Ivie, too, had realized that the band was playing very loudly. She immediately looked over her daddy's head with a concerned look on her face and tried to see down into Macie's stroller. Her view was blocked by the shade on the stroller, though, so she made eye contact with me and said, "I want to see Macie!". When I moved the shade back, she was able to see that Macie was sleeping through the music. But she wasn't satisfied, as she "checked" on Macie 3 or 4 more times while listening to the band. After one of these times, she looked at me and, sounding shocked, said, "Mommy, Macie's still sleeping!?!".

Seems as though she's beginning to understand that loud noises and babies don't generally mix. Now if it would just translate to our home, Macie would be thrilled...

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Halloween Books

Last blog for today, I promise...!

It's become tradition for me to do a Halloween Photo Book each year since Ivie was born. I just finished this year's book, so I thought I would post links to them all here so that you could check out the history of Halloween with the Hermans. Some of the writing on the pages is small as you go through, so it might help for you to click on the magnifying glass in the top right corner of the screen. This lets you go through page-by-page.


Monkey See, Monkey Do...

This morning, Macie finished eating around 7:00a, so I decided I would get in a quick (and short, since I'm not in great shape yet!) run on the treadmill. So we headed to the bonus room, where Macie assumed her position on my rolled up (for a pillow) exercise mat with the hanging cow toy above her head to hopefully amuse her for 30 minutes...

Dale was in the room, too, as our bonus room now doubles as his office, since his original office became Macie's nursery (confused yet?). Since Ivie was still asleep, Dale brought her monitor into the room so he would hear her when she woke up.

About 7:15a, Ivie woke up and began calling for Daddy. So Dale headed to her room to get her ready for school, a task of which he has taken sole responsibility since Macie's arrival (and he does a great job picking out her outfits, since he's a "clothes guy" himself!).

Macie and I remained in the bonus room, as I still had 15 minutes left to my run. The monitor was still on, so Macie and I were able to hear the goings-on in Ivie's room. Now, Ivie is NOT a morning person. She hates getting out of bed and getting dressed, especially when it's not a weekend and she can't take 20 minutes to do so. Therefore, her ensuing discussion with Dale resulted in Ivie getting frustrated and starting to cry about not wanting to get up.

As all of this is going on, I'm watching Macie's reaction. Prior to the outburst, she was kicking around happily on the mat, batting (inadvertently, still) at the toy. When Ivie started to get frustrated, Macie's kicking stopped, and she laid very still, as if listening to see what was wrong with her sister. When Ivie's frustration turned to an all-out cry, Macie erupted in a cry of her own that lasted until I was able to talk her out of it from the treadmill.

Isn't it funny how kids react to the feelings of other kids? They weren't even in the same room, and Macie could tell that Ivie was upset. She already wants to be just like her big sister. Boy, are we in trouble...

Macie Goes to School

In order to "lock in" our spot at Parkwood Baptist Church Day Care for Macie, we had to start paying on Monday. We had asked to get in for December, but Miss Gail couldn't guarantee that we'd get a spot unless we snagged the one that became available for November. To ease our minds of the stress of uncertainty, we did. So, during November, I'm going to take Macie in to school a couple of days a week, for a few hours each time, to ease BOTH of us into the transition to school (for her) and back to work (for me).

Yesterday was Election Day, so Dale and I took both of the girls to school at 8:30a so that we could go vote. Anticipating lines (since the lines for "early voting" were ridiculously long), we didn't want to have Macie with us. As luck would have it, of course, when we arrived at our designated polling location, we walked right up to the table, got our ballots, and were in and out within 10 minutes. Note to self - don't worry so much about voting early in the future. Let everyone else in the state do that, and then have the polls to yourself on Election Day!

After a quick trip to the EWAC (the building next to the Smith Center where my new office is), I came home briefly and then headed to pick up Macie. She was at school for a grand total of 3 hours. When I arrived, she had just fallen asleep. The sweet ladies in the nursery (Miss Linda and Miss Joan) went on and on about how beautiful she is (As I've said before, I know that people say this even when they don't mean it - but I also think they really meant it!) and how sweet she was for them (aside from the fact that she "baptized" Miss Joan when she burped her over the shoulder - can't say I didn't warn her about Macie's propensity to spit when burping!).

I got Mac into her car seat as gently as possible, and she stayed asleep. Apparently she was very tired, since her first nap at school was a whopping 25 minutes. Ivie was the same way. It's hard to get used to napping in a room with 9 other babies when your naps are generally in your crib with your sound machine being the only noise you hear!

So I figured Mac would be a bit tired the rest of the day. Boy, was I right! She slept in her car seat until I woke her up at 1:00p for her bottle (it'd been 3 hours since her last one). After chugging down the 4 ounces, it was all I could do to keep her awake for 10 minutes. Then she was back to sleep, once again requiring me to wake her up to eat again at 4p.

Then, though, she'd had enough sleep. Stayed awake as we drove to school to pick up Ivie and headed to Chik-fil-A for Kid's Night (though we drove through, because we saw the "Moo Cow" through the window and Ivie wanted nothing to do with him), and was fairly calm while the rest of us ate when we got home. But, by 6:00p, she was fit to be tied.

Quick break here to discuss this phrase. I looked it up, and found that the origin of "fit to be tied" was from the mid 19th century and means "so hysterically furious that they need to be tied down". Like with a straitjacket. Thus, the perfect phrase to describe Macie last night.

She settled down briefly when I relented and gave her 2 ounces of a bottle (I was trying to get her to hold off eating until the bedtime nursing session). But apparently that wasn't enough, and she started back up again. Since it was now 10 minutes 'til 7p, we just listened to her cry for a while before heading upstairs for bed. It's funny how you'll let your second child cry and not worry too much about it. Ivie would have had another bottle in her mouth so fast that her head would have spun!

I was eager to see how this exhaustion would translate into sleep overnight. She didn't let me down. Slept 7.5 hours, and then 4 hours, resulting in me waking up at 6:30a for the day, after only getting up once at 2:30a. Not too bad, Mac - I'll take it!

So that is the story of Macie's first day at school. She'll get more practice on Friday, as I have a meeting at work to attend. Here's hoping for a longer nap that morning!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

CHCC Fall Festival

We attended our 2nd Chapel Hill Country Club Fall Festival this afternoon. Back for another run this year were the pony rides, the bounce houses, a slide (though a different version), and a mini-Ferris Wheel. They also upped the ante and brought in a couple of new rides, including swings and two other twist-and-turn rides that seemed a bit too treacherous for Ivie to experience at age 2 1/2...

I thought it'd be fun to reminisce on last year's experience while also sharing some of the fun from this year. So below are a few comparison pictures with the slide and the pony ride. You'll see that some things (like Ivie's facial expression coming down the slide) don't change. I've also included a couple from the swings and the Ferris Wheel, which Ivie didn't experience last year, but, as you'll see, LOVED this year!

It's now 7:22p on Sunday night, and both of the Herman girls are in bed. Only one of them is sleeping. The other is singing. Apparently Daylight Savings Time ending hasn't affected her as much as it has the baby. We'll see what time she wakes up in the morning...