Friday, October 31, 2008

Show-and-Tell, Round 4: Halloween Spooky Tree

There was a debate in our house this morning about what Ivie should take for Show-and-Tell. My first thought was that Mrs. Potato Head (referenced and shown in an earlier post) would be perfect, since it's Halloween... Dale, though, was skeptical. Would the teachers WANT a real pumpkin in the class for 2-year-olds to handle? Was that a good idea, given that it was slightly heavy and could easily drop, break, and spew pumpkin insides all over the classroom? And what about all the pieces to Mrs. Potato Head? Was it plausible that Ivie would come home with all of them?

All points that I had obviously not considered when throwing out the idea. So off Ivie went with the Halloween Spooky Tree, instead! Press his hand, and he sings the following song, to the tune of "The Addams Family" theme song. Go ahead, sing as you read. I know you want to...

Duh, duh, duh, duh... Choo, Choo!
Duh, duh, duh, duh... Choo, Choo!

Duh, duh, duh, duh

Duh, duh, duh, duh

Duh, duh, duh, duh... Choo, Choo!

We're out for Hallowe-en
The costumes are a scre-am

It sure is fun to see 'em

The kids who trick-or-treat.

Just look at what they're wearin'

They're all dressed up for scarin'

They're cute beyond comparin'

The kids who trick-or-treat.

And here's a quick shot of Macie this morning, ready for Halloween in her "Love Potion" top with her pumpkin by her side (which her mommy will be filling up for her tonight, of course!). We hope to get pictures of her later today in her cat costume (compliments of the Devers), but this will work for now!
By the way, Mac set another record last night - 8 hours!!!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Eat, Wake, Sleep...

I'm a firm believer in the Baby Wise "Eat-Wake-Sleep" method of teaching babies how to be good sleepers. It worked like a charm with Ivie, so we're at it again with Macie.

For those of you unfamiliar with this technique, the name says it all. The general idea is that after a baby eats during the day, he/she should stay awake for a period of time. There's no set amount of time required; just the idea that if the baby learns to be awake after eating during the day, then when you put him/her to bed immediately after eating at bedtime and during late-night feedings, he/she becomes accustomed to sleeping for a longer stretches of time. And ultimately through the night. Makes sense, huh?

So each day I set out on a quest to perfect eat-wake-sleep with Macie. Some days it works better than others. Yesterday, for example, Macie was a sleepyhead. For example, she ate at 11:45a, and it was all I could do to keep her awake during the feeding itself! She immediately went back to sleep afterward, and nothing I tried could rouse her. So I finally gave in and let her sleep. She didn't wake up until 3:45p! 4 HOURS after she started eating. This was doubly bad, since another part of the philosophy is that you shouldn't let a baby her age go more than 3.5 hours at the most without eating during the day (lest you not get in enough feedings before bed).

At bedtime, then, Macie was wide awake when I put her in the crib. It's funny, because I was just telling a friend the other day that Macie was GREAT about going to sleep at night. Most of the time she's awake, but dosing off, and will lie quietly in bed until she falls asleep. Without uttering so much as a whimper.

She must not have liked me bragging... Last night, for the first time, I had to practice tough love. She cried herself to sleep. Thankfully, it was more of an every-10-seconds-or-so squeal, as opposed to an all-out-turn-her-face-red-and-stop-breathing cry. So it was fairly easy for me to keep myself out of her room. And, even better, it didn't wake Ivie up next door. I'll take it.

So after a day like this, I told Dale as we hit the bed that it probably was going to be a rough night for the Mac-ster. Either that, I said, or she's going to have a record-setting night. Because you know those come when you least expect it...

Well, you guessed it. After eating at 7:02p, Macie didn't wake up hungry until 2:08a (can you tell that I keep detailed records of feeding times?)! We officially hit the 7-hour mark at 7 weeks of age. SWEET! After eating, she went back to sleep until 6:40a, when she and I got up for the day. So we were only up once during the night - another record.

That's the good news. The bad news, for Macie that is, is that now Mommy EXPECTS to get 7 hours (or more!) out of her each night. It's when I start having these expectations that the frustration starts to creep in when we have an "off" night. So I need to be careful to temper my excitement a bit...

I'll sign off with a couple of pics... One of Macie's newly-learned smile, and another of her lounging in her bouncy seat. I cannot confirm or deny that I was the one that dressed her before putting her in the bouncy. Ha! Actually, truth be told, I put her in there after feeding her. So her pants are still unsnapped (per the process of having them hitched up around her neck in fear of a blow-out), and her sock fell off in the transition. But isn't she still just so cute?!?

Ivie's Room (and a touch of Macie's)

I've finally had a chance to clean up Ivie's room enough so that I can feel comfortable actually taking and sharing some pictures of it! Ivie is very proud of her flowers. And her mommy is very proud of the OUNCE of creativity she had in putting the design together. With a little help from the picture in the catalog, of course... Check out the flower collage in the orange frame - I took those flower pictures at the Biltmore House in Asheville, NC. Thought the framed final version turned out pretty well!

And I mentioned in an earlier post about the letters for Macie's room. She was napping in her crib as I took this picture, so I only snapped it once, but I think you'll get the idea. Her room isn't quite done yet, so no more pictures until it is... Still working on 2 of the 4 walls...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Addiction...

They say the first step to overcoming an addiction is admitting that you have a problem. So here goes...

I am addicted to kids' plastic cups, plates, and bowls. You know, the ones with the very cute designs on them that can only be put on the top shelf of the dishwasher (very annoying). I like the ones that are partitioned off into separate sections for the various food selections, but I'm not picky (though it's very cute when I fill all the sections, but Ivie wants something else and looks at her plate and says, "But I don't have a SPOT!!!" in her sad voice).

I know right where the "cute plates and cups" shelf is at the Super Target that we frequent (and boy, do I mean frequent! It's only about 1/4 of a mile from our house, and we probably make at least 3 trips a week, sometimes more!). In fact, the shopping trip that I went on by myself pre-Macie (referenced in my "Grapes" blog post on 9/7/08) resulted in the addition of yet another bowl and cup to the collection. Dale wonders where I'm going to start putting them, as the cabinet designated for them is over-flowing...

So here is a listing of the plates and cups that we currently have. Remember, mind you, that we only have ONE toddler that currently uses these...

Plate Designs

1) Boy in the Ocean Snorkeling
2) Boy in Space
3) Boy in the Jungle
4) Boy Catching Butterflies (these are all a set, though I don't remember where we got them...)

5) Pigs "Oinking"
6) Dogs Barking and Playing

7) Circus Animals
8) Frog/Bee/Lady Bug/Butterfly (each in their own "spot")

9) A Flying Cow

10) Flip-Flops (purchased last Thanksgiving so Ivie would have a plate to eat on at our beach house in North Myrtle)

11) Snowman

12) Multiple "plain" plates in various colors

Bowl Designs
1) Strawberries
2) Cherries
3) "Y-U-M" in fun font

Cup Designs

1) Flowers and Butterflies
2) "Regular" plastic cups in Pink, Purple, and Clear (Ivie prefers the clear ones at dinner time, because they look the most like Mommy and Daddy's glass cups)
3) A Menagerie of Letters

4) Birds and Flowers
5) Cups with Built-In Straws (great when your toddler loves to take straws in and out of cups - not possible with these!)

6) Monkey (with glitter that floats in liquid around the exterior of the cup - very cool!)

7) Frog (with the same floating glitter)

Alright, there you have it. I have proclaimed my addiction to the world. Let's see if it leads me down the path to recovery. Or if adding another munchkin to the family only makes it worse...

Here's a sampling...

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Silent Blow-Out

Warning: If you don't like poopy diaper stories, you probably ought to skip over this post. But I'll tell you that you'll be missing out on a really funny story - if I'm able to put it into appropriate words, that is. Here we go...

Macie poops, on average, 5 times a day. So nearly every feeding. And let's just say that, historically between her and Ivie, the poops have a tendency to want to run out the sides and back of the diaper (known, in the Herman household and probably many others, as a "blow-out"). And they're usually LOUD, too, resulting in many laughs from both Dale and Ivie.

Anyway, to avoid having to do several loads of laundry each day, I've taken appropriate measures at feeding time to protect clothes. Macie's pants come off, and her shirt is pushed up under her neck, clearing the back area in case of blow-out. In addition, when I'm nursing her (which is when she generally poops), I put a waterproof lap pad on my lap to protect my pants. Fail-safe, right?

Ummmm, no, as evidenced by the 2:45p feeding today...

So we're rolling along, Macie is eating happily, and I'm watching the clock (as I have to give her a break every 5 minutes or so to avoid a throw-up session). After 7 minutes, I sit her up to burp her. As is typical, the sitting-on-the-lap position brings about only a very wimpy burp, not good enough, so I prepare to stand up to burp her over my shoulder. This is quite a process, given the lap pad that is positioned on my lap and the burp rag that has to go over the shoulder in anticipation of the spit-up that will come with the burp. After placing the burp rag, I pull the lap pad out from under Macie's bottom. This is a safe move, I think, since it has been a very quiet nursing session so far (i.e., no loud poops in danger of squirting out on my pants!). As I place the lap pad on the arm rest of the glider, I see, out of the corner of my eye, a patch of something very greenish-yellow on the pad. OH NO! How could it be?!?

But it is. My worst nightmare, The Silent Blow-Out, has come to be. I quickly sit Macie back on the pad and survey the damage. And boy, is it bad! In the few seconds that I had let down my guard, the poop had traveled onto my jeans. And it had soaked the entire back of Macie's shirt. And it was still squirting out the back of the diaper.

So, what's a girl to do when there's poop everywhere, and the changing table and pad are CLOTH? Some might put the baby on the cloth and worry about the resulting damage later. But not me. I'm again thinking about the loads of laundry, and wanting to avoid poop stains on fabric as much as possible. So I sit there for a few seconds, trying to figure out what to do. At that exact moment, the phone rings. Pretty sure I'm not getting to THAT one! I finally make the decision to cart Macie downstairs to the Pack-n-Play changing table, which, as you may know, is PLASTIC. But of course I can't carry her normally, because there's poop everywhere, so I put my hands under her underarms and head down the stairs. She's not happy about this position, so she starts screaming. And doesn't stop.

So I somehow get her shirt off without getting poop all over her (thank goodness for snaps at the neck!), and I lay her down on the changing table and set to work on changing the diaper. And I'm very disappointed to see that the diaper isn't even CLOSE to full of poop. It had just found it's way to the back of the diaper. Pampers, letting me down! I finally get most of the poop wiped off of Macie's bottom, but I have to lift her legs high in the air to get it off the small of her back. As I did this, you guessed it, Mac decided she had to go potty. I can only be thankful that she's a girl and that the potty didn't spray into my face. But, instead, since her legs are in the air, it flows onto her belly, down to the table, and then up her back. GREAT!

So it's back to the wipes container. This has got to be a record!

Without further incident, Macie is finally clean, and we head back upstairs so she can finish nursing. She's screaming again, because I left her on the changing table (don't worry, it's curved enough that it's safe) so that I could wash the poop out of her shirt and wash my hands, and when I came back and picked her up, my hands were freezing cold. And she, remember, is naked. Sorry, sweetheart!

So that's the story of the silent blow-out. Never let down your guard when it comes to poop. Trust me on this one.

By the way. The phone call? It was Dale, who is traveling today with his boss. He must have been having vibes about what was going on at home and wanted to check in to see if I was surviving!

The Real Thing

It's official. At 5:15a this morning, following the 2nd feeding of the night (Macie's gotten into a schedule of eating at 7:15p, 12:45a, and 5:00a, which isn't horrible, but I'm hoping will stretch out a bit...), I was changing Macie's diaper. And I got it. My first "real" smile. I know it was real, because it was followed up by 3 more, on cue, before I put her back to bed. Also, as we were out for an afternoon walk yesterday, Dale mentioned that he had gotten a smile out of her earlier that day. So the "social smile" has arrived, right on target at just under 7 weeks of age...

By the way, the best news is that the real think looks just like the "fake" one that I posted about on September 27th. It's a "whole-face" smile, with the eyes closing and everything. I love it!

While I'm giving a Macie update, I'll fill you in on her latest stats. Weight, at least... Last week, when she was 6 weeks old, I took her in to the doctor's office just to weigh her (since she doesn't have another appointment until the 2-month visit). At 6 weeks, she weighed in at 11 pounds and 5 ounces. Now, granted, that was with clothes on, but she's definitely growing like a very cute weed! I looked back at Ivie's records, and, at 8 weeks, she weighed 12 pounds, 1 ounce. Pretty sure Macie's going to blow that out of the water! She's definitely picked up major speed after weighing less at birth (6 lbs, 11 oz, versus Ivie's 7 lbs, 7 oz).

More good news on the Macie front... The letters for her name on the wall in her nursery finally arrived last week! They were special ordered on eBay from a lady that hand-paints them, and it took them almost 11 weeks to arrive. So Dale and I hung them yesterday (yes, he survived my anal disposition when it comes to hanging things on walls). I'll post a picture soon - they're adorable!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Dr. Severt's Halloween Party

Dr. Severt, one of Dale's orthodontists, has a yearly Halloween Party for her clients. So this was Ivie's first opportunity to show off her Raggedy Ann costume. Though she was tentative about putting the hat/wig on, I finally convinced her by telling her that if she didn't wear it, Macie was going to... I think that threat is going to work for awhile, since s-h-a-r-i-n-g is not yet one of Ivie's favorite words.

We took a few pics before heading to the party, so we'll give you a sneak preview of Ivie's costume. And one that includes Macie in her Pumpkin onesie. No costume for her tonight, though we do have one, a cat, that we'll don on Halloween, at least to take a few pictures!

The party itself was fun... Pizza, cheese doodles, and sugar cookies for everyone! Along with a few kids that were a bit "scary" to Ivie (so she steered clear of them!). She even took a shot with the Hula Hoop, but learned she's got some work to do to master that skill.

Can't wait for this weekend for more Halloween fun!

Show-and-Tell, Round 3: Dora Blow-Up Doll

As we were leaving the State Fair last night, Ivie saw a balloon booth that had a Dora blow-up doll. She absolutely HAD to have it (and Daddy gave in fairly quickly, without forcing her to beg for long). Six dollars later (man, everything's expensive at the fair!), she walked away happily with Dora in tow.

Sadly, Dora developed a hole overnight (expensive AND cheap, all at the same time!). After doing my best to epoxy the plastic back together, Dora seemed to recover enough to make the trek to school with Ivie for show-and-tell. Though I have a feeling she will return home this afternoon in the form of a wall hanging, not a balloon.

This is a seemingly boring story, I know. So I thought, in addition, that I would tell you the story of the OTHER fair toy, which lived an even shorter life with the Herman family (if that's possible!).

At the $2 fish pond game, where every kid's a winner, every time, Ivie selected a glitter-filled baton with streamers on each end. It kept her attention at least until it was time to have the lady bug painted on her face, at which point she moved on to bigger and better (i.e., more expensive) things.

Following the fair, we headed out to our car. Picture this. Dale holding his caramel apple in the same hand that is securely grasping Ivie's foot, since she is riding on his shoulders holding Dora. At the same time, he's pushing Macie's stroller, which is empty, since Macie is in the Baby Bjorn on my chest. I'm also holding a large bowl of ice cream (they didn't have a "kid size" for Ivie, so of course I came out with a bowl, as well!) and pushing Ivie's stroller, which she sat in for a total of 10 minutes when we first arrived. Until she saw that Laney was walking freely, at which point she insisted on walking, too. So, back to the visual, you can imagine that anything not tied to one of the strollers might be hard to keep track of...

We got Ivie in her stroller by encouraging her to eat her ice cream while sitting still (much easier than trying to do it without dropping any on Daddy's head!). As we walked across a bumpy and dark parking lot path of rocks and dirt, the baton fell off the awning of Ivie's stroller. Thankfully, a nice lady walking toward us pointed out that it had fallen, and we recovered it. For about 2 minutes, that is. By the time we got to the car, it was missing again. So after getting Ivie in the car, Dale set off to re-trace our steps and look for it. He came back about 3 minutes later, empty-handed, and said, "I didn't find it, but I walked past an adult couple carrying one."

So the couple had found a free toy to take home to their niece or nephew. Good for them! Dale was not in the mood to confront them about it. If it had been me (the usually timid one), I would have said to the couple, "You didn't happen to find that on the ground, did you? I've got a distraught 2-year-old at the car that dropped hers...".

I have a feeling they would have handed it off, even if they WERE the ones that "won" it at the everyone-wins-a-prize fish pond in the Kids' Zone at the fair. What adult wants to get caught in THAT act?!?

Twelve hours later, Ivie has apparently forgotten about the baton. It was not mentioned this morning as she got ready for school. Shocking that she didn't remember it after the blur of money-dropping that was our trip to the State Fair. Thank goodness it only comes around once a year. Suze Orman would not be proud of us...

Thursday, October 23, 2008

The State Fair

We ventured to the State Fair tonight. Yes, I took a 6-week-old baby to the State Fair. Got a few weird looks (not sure if they were simply because Macie was THERE, or if it had to do with the fact that it was pretty COLD and she was there...), but for the most part, everyone just wanted to know "how old is she?!?", and followed it up with a comment about how cute she is. Yes, I'm aware that people call all babies cute to their parents' faces. But I'm certain with Macie they really meant it...!

Since we're still working on the whole bottle thing (Macie still prefers nursing - and she's much quieter and more efficient when nursing than she is sucking on a bottle!), I was a little nervous about the bottle at the fair. Not only was it a bottle, but it was also going to most likely have to be in the middle of a bunch of noisy people. And Mac is used to eating in peace and quiet in her room. So I fretted most of the day about it. Unnecessarily, it turns out...

Thanks to the folks in the random food booth that let me have some of their hot water from their coffee maker to warm the bottle, it was ready to go when Macie woke up hungry at 6:00p. So it was off to Dorton Arena (I think that's where we were?) to find a place to sit while the rest of the clan took in some of the animals and other displays. As luck would have it, there were some empty chairs off in a fairly quiet corner (I didn't know those existed at the State Fair!), and Macie set to work on the bottle. 4 ounces and a poopy diaper later (which miraculously stayed IN the diaper, instead of escaping out the sides onto my jeans), we had successfully completed the "eating-away-from-home" that I was nervous about. Macie, as usual, was a champ and didn't seem to mind all the kids (and some adults!) that came up to her and peered into her face while she tried to eat.

Ivie had a wonderful time at the fair, too... Much of this, I think, was due to the fact that she was able to hang out with her buddy, Laney Beale. Laney is 4, so she's Ivie's hero. And she was very sweet to hang out with Ivie, holding her hand as we walked from ride to ride (and food stand to food stand!). Last year Ivie was scared of the rides, but with Laney by her side, she had a great time this year on the train, the teapot, and the swings. They even got their faces painted - Ivie went with a lady bug. I've got a couple of pictures to show the fun they were having, which I'll post below. Too bad my camera battery died after about 4 pictures. And too bad the spare batteries I brought along were dead when I put them in. Otherwise I might have MORE pictures to share!

As I wrap up, here are the food items that were consumed by the Herman and Beale families tonight, though I might miss some, since I was inside feeding Macie while the others were outside eating...

Al's French Fries
Foot-Long Hot Dog
Several Corn Dogs
Fried Turkey Leg
Cotton Candy
Fried Snickers
Fried Pecan Pie (the new item at the fair for this year)
Caramel Apple
Swirl Soft-Serve Ice Cream

And I guarantee you that if we weren't chasing kids around all night, the adults would have found a way to add a few more items to that list!

Are your mouths watering?!?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mrs. Potato Head

Halloween is in the air! Yesterday, we took yet another trip to a pumpkin patch, Ganyard Hill Farm, which is a bit more elaborate than the one in the parking lot by McDonald's! There was a slide amidst the hay, goats (at which Ivie continually yelled "GOAT!" to get their attention, but then got scared and ran from them - even though they were behind a fence!), a hay maze, a hay ride, and, of course, more pumpkins...

After returning home with 3 pumpkins to add to our collection on the porch (we each got one as part of the admission price at the pumpkin patch), Ivie and Daddy set to work on Ivie's recent and very cool gift from the Campbell family. A Mrs. Potato Head pumpkin face! I've included a pic below of the final result. Mrs. Potato Head now sits happily on the front porch with the other 6 pumpkins, ready for Halloween!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Comparison Pics

OK, the comparison isn't perfect, because Ivie was 7 weeks old in her picture, and Macie is only 5, but I thought it would still be fun to see them together. Take a look and let me know what you think...



Friday, October 17, 2008

Macie Video (5 Weeks)

Not sure how well this will work, but I thought I would add a little video of Macie. She doesn't do much at 5 weeks old, but I thought some video would still be better than just the still shots I've sent out so far...

Show-and-Tell, Round 2: "Babby"

Another Friday! Today's toy for Show-and-Tell is one of those "dogs on a string" that you pull along behind you to simulate taking him for a walk. A couple of days ago, Ivie rescued him from the bottom of the toy bin (I hadn't seen it in months), and has been dragging him around since. So it was a no-brainer choice for this Friday.

Ivie's not much into naming her stuffed animals and other toys, though I have seen an increase in her desire to do so lately (another sign of her getting older!). So I was not surprised on Wednesday when she brought her dog to me in the living room and, with a questioning look on her face, said, "Mommy, what's HIS name?". I turned the question back to her, asking, "What IS his name, Ivie?" And she decided, in that moment, that his name was "Babby". Not sure where it came from, but it works!

Here are a couple of pictures of Babby and Ivie headed to school this morning.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My Hero...

I've blogged previously about Macie's issues with throwing up at least once a day (though she took the day off yesterday - YEA!). After talking with a friend about this, I've learned that she is exhibiting, at least some of the time, a classic symptom of reflux - a phenomenon in which I can actually HEAR the milk coming back up and her fighting to swallow it back down, again and again, until she finally (generally after 5 or 6 swallows) gives up the battle and throws up. Kind of graphic, I know, but there's really no other way to describe it (sorry, Lance!).

So this evening at bedtime, I'm feeling pretty good about my chances of feeding her and getting her to sleep without an "episode". I say this, because she'd already disgorged (isn't that a better word than "vomit" or "throw up"?!?) earlier today... After the standard 5 minutes of eating, a good burp, and 5 more minutes of eating, I sat Macie up to burp her. And, much to my chagrin, it started...

But this time was different. As Mac was fighting it off, time after time, I leaned over and whispered in her ear that it was okay for her to give in. She was working so hard! I was obviously trying to calm her down, but I must admit that a tiny part of me was hoping that a comforting voice might somehow "talk down" the milk. Silly, I know.

She must have swallowed 20 times, and that's no exaggeration. All the while, there was such a look of persistence on her tiny face. I know it sounds funny (or insane, maybe), but that look almost made me cry (though that could really have been a result of me not having had a shower in two days). Finally, after being SUCH a trooper, she couldn't fight it any more. And she gave in. But she succeeded in keeping most of it down - only about a quarter of the normal amount made its way to the ground.

When it was over, she slumped back, exhausted, into my arms. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she fell sound asleep. What a gut-wrenching (literally!) battle she'd just been through!

I know I've only known her for 5 weeks, but at that moment, I couldn't have been more proud of my sweet baby girl. All she knows how to do is eat, poop, cry, and sleep. Yet she's already doing everything she can to fight off what ails her. She's destined for success, huh?

Who knew that a hero could come in such a small package?

Big Head

Today is picture day at school for Ivie. As we got her dressed this morning, I pulled out (for the first time) a long-sleeved shirt brimming with fall-colored flowers, along with a pair of khaki corduroy pants and her new sneakers (purchased 2 days ago so we would have shoes for the pictures!). Now, clearly, it's too warm for corduroy and long-sleeves (high of 87 here today!), and maybe Ivie was sensing that when I pulled them out of the closet and tried, in my most encouraging voice, to get her excited about wearing them for pictures.

It didn't work. She immediately said, "I don't want to!" when I tried to coax her into helping us put them on. So then Daddy tried another universal parenting trick. He said, "Fine! I'm going to wear it then!", and feigned putting the shirt over his head. Now, obviously, it didn't fit, but he persisted with the joke and turned to walk out of the door, saying, "Okay, I'M wearing your shirt to school! Bye-bye!".

Ivie responded in predictable toddler fashion... She said, "No, it's MINE!!!". The trick worked! Dale turned around and walked back to the bed, where we were getting Ivie dressed, but he still had the shirt pulled partly onto his head, covering his face.

Seeing the obvious size discrepancy between the hole in the shirt and her daddy's head, Ivie looked at him, laughed, and said matter-of-factly, "You have a big head, Daddy!".

Now this may or may not be funny to you. For those of you that know Dale, it probably roused a chuckle. Dale, admittedly, has a rather large noggin. In fact, he has an ongoing debate going with one of his best friends about who has the bigger head. I don't know Dale's hat size (Being female, I don't pay much attention to those types of measurements, much like those of guys' dress shirts), but I can tell you that it's bigger than normal. And he's seriously concerned that his "big head" will be passed down to his daughters. When Ivie was first born, and throughout her first 2 years of doctor's appointments, each time the nurse would measure her head circumference and tell us the number of centimeters, he would, with a concerned look on his face, say, "Is that normal?". Quite amusing.

So, anyway, mark this down as the day that Ivie concurred with public opinion that her daddy has a big head!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Tempting Water Fountain

Yesterday was Tuesday. Which meant we were back to Moe's for "Kids Eat Free" night. (I think we only missed the Tuesday right after Macie was born - we were back at it when she was 13 days old!). But this was not a typical night at Moe's. There were a lot of unusual things that had to occur in order to make this evening blog-worthy. So here we go...

First of all, we decided to eat outside (which we never do), as Macie was acting as though she might treat us to another throw-up session. Wanting to avoid that happening INSIDE, we grabbed an outside table (thankfully, the weather was pleasant enough to accommodate us!). As we were eating, there were several older kids (I'd say 4th graders, maybe?) playing at the water fountain that sits in front of Moe's. To describe this fountain to you, it's a circular fountain that has a concrete ledge surrounding it, along with a slab of concrete that goes down the middle, with the fountain on each side. The ledges themselves are probably about 8" wide? Similar to a balance beam, I'd say.

Anyway, these kids were climbing on the ledges, and even venturing down the middle slab, running from one side to the other. BRAVE! I remember mentioning to Dale that I was pretty certain their parents didn't seem them doing that (they were inside finishing up their meal, I think), as I imagine they would not approve.

As I watched the kids playing, I noticed that Ivie, too, was taking it all in, quite intently. I could tell that she wished she were over there with them! So I made a mental note to myself that I better watch her closely when she got up after eating...

As we finished up, Ivie, as I predicted, made her way over to the fountain. This, in and of itself, is not odd, as she plays at the fountain every week. But I could tell that she was feeling a bit more adventurous this week, after seeing the boys' shenanigans. She made her way to the far side of the fountain (the farthest point from us, of course - she's nothing if not clever!), and started to climb up on the ledge.

Seeing this, I yelled to her in my best motherly scolding voice, "Ivie, get down from there RIGHT NOW." She heard me, looked up, and... GRINNED back at me with as mischievous of a look as she could conjure up. I knew I was in trouble (or she was, more specifically...).

Dale had begun cleaning up our eating area and was distracted, while I was trying to settle Macie down (she was waking up in her car seat, hungry apparently, and not at all happy!). Deciding that Ivie was in more danger than Macie, I left Macie to cry and ran over to the fountain. By the time I made it there, Ivie was already about 5 feet out onto the middle ledge, surrounded by concrete and water. GREAT. Visions of an emergency room visit and full-leg cast (a la Jenna Maloy!) rushed to my mind. As I hastily climbed onto the fountain to "save" her, I was cautious not to approach her too quickly, lest she get excited, try to get away from me, and fall into the fountain. Boy, was I not in the mood for this!

Anyway, I succeeded in grabbing her without incident (i.e., either one of us falling into the fountain), although I did come out of it with a scraped-up shin, caused by hurriedly climbing onto the concrete ledge. I proceeded to scold her while walking her back over to our table to rescue Macie, who, at this point, had broken out in an all-out scream. Dale had taken the trash inside, so Macie was sitting alone in her car seat on the ground by our table. I'm sure it was an interesting sight to the college girls who, at this very moment, were walking in the door to Moe's. They glanced over and saw a screaming baby in a car seat, seemingly stranded... I had to laugh at the confused and concerned looks on their faces as they looked around, trying to find the poor baby's parent(s)... I made eye contact with one of them and said, "I got her!". The girl, obviously embarrassed that I had seen the strange looks on their faces, pretended not to be looking and quickly escaped into Moe's.

So, to make a long story short (too late, I know), everyone who was unlucky enough to be outside at Moe's last night to witness this episode firmly believes that I am inept at handling two children. They may or may not be right - time will tell!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

My Eyes ARE Closed...!

Macie's entrance into the world has caused a change in our nightly routine. Pre-Macie, it was always me that read books to Ivie before bed. Then Ivie would throw (literally) her books up into her bed, one-by-one, counting them as she went, and crawl into bed after them. After a couple minutes of Mommy tucking her in, giving her a kiss, and saying goodnight, Ivie would say, "I wanna say nigh-night to my DADDY!". This worked well, as it gave me a fairly quick escape route from the room, and it always seemed as though Ivie didn't make Daddy linger in her room quite as long. So we all were happy!

Now that Macie's here, though, I'm generally always feeding her and putting her to bed when Ivie is ready for books. So we have shifted to Daddy being the book-reader, snuggler, and tucker-inner (which, by the way, is very sad for Mommy!). But then, if it works out, I will make a last-minute appearance to say goodnight and have a couple minutes of Ivie-time for myself.

Regardless, whoever is last in the room, whether it be me or Dale, always hears the "Mommy (or Daddy), hold my haaaaand..." request. When this falls to me, I always close my eyes while holding her hand and pretend to fall asleep, hoping that she'll "get the picture" and close her eyes, too.

Now you all know how you close your eyes but keep one barely open so you can see what's going on, but your eyes appear closed. Parents have this skill mastered. Well, apparently, Ivie has caught onto my trick. Tonight, as I was "watching" her out of the slit in my right eye (By the way, isn't it also funny how it seems like it's easier to do this trick with one eye than it is with the other? With me, it's the right eye that has perfected it...), I saw that Ivie was trying to do the same thing. But the funny thing about this was that she has not quite figured it out. Each time she tried to pretend to have her eyes closed and peek out at me, her eyes turned into a cute little squint and her face scrunched up at her cheeks. She did this about 5 times during the 3 minutes that I held her hand before leaving her room.

So the moral of this story is that Ivie's got some work to do before she becomes a parent. Thankfully, she's got years to practice....

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Survive and Advance...

No, it's not March Madness time yet. But this is the theme for today around the Herman house. Dale left home around 11 this morning (I shed a few tears as he walked out the door, leaving me with a helpless infant and a sometimes-defiant toddler!). As he asked what we were going to do today, I responded with "Make it through the day!", not even trying to feign enthusiasm.

Since I brought up the world of college sports, let's talk briefly about that... This October marks the first time in a really long time (since I've known him, actually) that Dale hasn't started talking about Carolina basketball yet. Let's just say that in past Octobers, football season has pretty much left the Tar Heels behind in the standings... But this year, as of today, we are 5-1 following a huge victory over Notre Dame yesterday. So Dale is again fired up about football, and basketball will have to wait until, potentially, January!

Enough about that, though. So we've had a pretty good day here. Aside, that is, from the broken Frankenstein Halloween decoration that Ivie dropped down the stairs (after trying to bring it upstairs with her) and the immediately-thereafter throw-up session from Macie, which came RIGHT AFTER her twice-weekly bath (so she got 2 baths today).

Ivie is starting to understand emotions. This afternoon, we were outside playing basketball (breaking her in early!), and she, without warning, went to the edge of the driveway, sat down, got a pitiful look on her face, and said, "Mommy, I sad." I asked her why, and she said, "I miss my Daddy!". Awwwwww. What am I supposed to say to that? All I could do was give her a hug and tell her that Daddy would be back tomorrow. (This story will make her daddy both happy, because it means that she talked about him while he was gone, and sad, because he doesn't like to be away from his little girl any more than she does.)

Now, of course, Ivie also asks for her daddy at other times. Like when she's being scolded by Mommy. Without fail, if I get frustrated or upset with her, and she sees that look on my face, she will start whimpering and say, "I want my Daddy!". These times, she's not nearly as cute...

After her 5 pm feeding tonight, Mac threw up again. Ivie witnessed it, as we were in the kitchen (the only place I can nurse Macie and still keep an eye on Iv). She stood next to the mess, and said, "Mommy, Macie spit in my house!" over and over. Yes, clearly, she did. And clearly, Ivie didn't like it. Neither did Mommy.

So it's now 6:45 pm, and Ivie's had an early bath and is in front of the TV watching Max and Ruby (yes, Noggin again). Mac slept through the bath, which eases part of my concern about bedtime. The plan for tonight is to put Ivie down first, hopefully while Macie sleeps. Although, as I type, Mac is waking up. So maybe MACIE will go to bed first while Ivie watches television. Who knows?!? But remember, all we have to do tonight is...


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Bribes and First Bottles

I'm sure you're all wondering where I've been! Or maybe you've welcomed the break from the incessant Amy blogs... Either way (and you don't have to tell me what category you fall into), you can rest easy that we're back at home as of today around 11 am. We went to Hickory for a few days, as Dale had to make a work trip to Asheville, and he wasn't ready yet to leave me at home for 3 days with both girls. I say HE wasn't ready. I'm not certain I am, either, though I'll get my first shot at it tomorrow (Sunday) night, as Dale heads to Pinehurst for an overnight golf outing. (Go ahead, Mom and Dad, call Dale to give him a hard time about that - I have to rely on the 2 of you, as I know the other guys in the fam will applaud Dale for skirting out of town on a golf trip with a toddler and a 1-month old at home!) Ha!

Anyway, we're back from Hickory, and are very thankful to Grandma and Dad for helping with Ivie and Macie. Grandma says that Macie will be "sore", as Grandma spoiled her and held her most of the time we were there!

Upon our arrival back in Chapel Hill, Dale and Ivie headed to Tar Heel Town before the Notre Dame football game. The plan (because you know with me there always is one!) was for me to pick Ivie up around 2:30 pm'ish and get her home for a late nap after enjoying the jump-house and junk food.

Remembering my ride home from the game last weekend (see earlier post for THAT story if you haven't read it yet!), I headed to pick up Ivie fully prepared for the screaming of "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy!" all the way home. But this time I had ammunition to fight it off. S-K-I-T-T-L-E-S! Ivie loves candy, and I'm sure you all know she comes by that honestly... So as soon as Dale got her in the car seat, I promptly handed her a few Skittles to keep her occupied as Dale walked away from the car. Six Skittles later (thank goodness it takes her awhile to eat them!), we were home, without a single cry or scream from the backseat (Macie, of course, was sleeping).

Ivie went down easily for her nap (that's what happens when it starts at 3 pm instead of the typical 1 pm!). I then decided that today would be a good day for another Macie milestone. Her first bottle (and the start of regular pumping sessions for me)! To date, Macie's been exclusively breastfed, and I'm determined not to make the same mistake I made with Ivie - waiting too long to introduce a bottle. I remember Ivie's first day of "school", when I went through the entire day hoping like crazy that she would take a bottle for Miss Linda and Miss Marie (as she would refuse a bottle from anyone other than me at home).

It was not a seamless transition... Sucking on a bottle is a different skill, and one that will take some practice. By the end of the 2 ounces in the bottle, Macie started gagging on the nipple (her way of telling me that she wasn't a fan!). So we went back to nursing to finish off the feeding. At least now I know that she probably gets around 3 ounces per nursing session - a question with which every nursing mom struggles!

Back to Ivie for a minute. The good news about the late nap (she didn't wake up until 5:45 pm) is that she will be able to stay awake until her daddy gets home after the football game. So my nightmare of putting both girls to bed will wait until tomorrow night...!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Jack's Big Music Show

This subject line will test your knowledge of the shows on Noggin, Ivie's favorite channel... Generally in the morning we see Blue's Clues and Franklin. But, on the weekends, we get to see Jack's Big Music Show, too...

Last night, I nursed Mac at 7:30 pm, and she was asleep in her crib by 8:00 pm. I was worried going into bedtime, as she had been especially sleepy all day, so I was not optimistic about another record-setting night of sleep...

I shouldn't have worried or doubted her for a second! I didn't hear a peep from her until 1:20 am, nearly 6 hours later (since the official counting begins at the start of the previous feeding, for those of you not up-to-speed with how you time feedings for infants). 6 hours! Macie's a rock star.

Following the 1:30 am feeding, Macie woke up again at 4:45 am. A more predictable 3 hours and 15 minutes between feedings.

It was after THIS feeding that Jack's Big Music Show hit Dale and my bedroom... Macie started the now-nightly grunting, and Ivie was chiming in with coughing (over HER monitor - is it strange that we still have a monitor in our 2-year-old's room?). It seems that everyone in Ivie's class at school has a cough, and Ivie is right there with them.

So from 5:30 am until 7:30 am, Dale and I chilled to a chorus of infant grunting and toddler coughing. GREAT. It's a good thing Mac let us get 5 hours of sleep earlier in the night, or we might have been more grumpy!

An update on Macie's weight. I had to take her to the doctor today to get medicine for thrush, as she has developed the typical white patches on her tongue. Ivie had this, too, so it appears as though I can't nurse a baby without them acquiring the infection. Bummer! Anyway, at the doctor's office, Mac weighed in at a whopping 9 pounds, 15 ounces! 31 ounces more than she weighed exactly 14 days ago. Let's just say that she doesn't have a problem eating...!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Show-and-Tell, Round 1: Bath Toys

Fridays are Show-and-Tell Days at Ivie's "school". (It's really a daycare, but I call it school to make myself feel better about it.).

I thought it might be fun someday to have a recording of the various things that Ivie has brought to school for show-and-tell. I've missed several weeks, but there's no time like the present to start, right? I'll also try to include pictures of the items...

This past Friday, October 3rd, Ivie brought the aforementioned crocodile and frog bath toys. I'm not sure why the obsession with them... But they're so versatile, in Ivie's mind. First, they get to take a bath with her. They're supposed to swim, but they stopped doing that well a long time ago... After bath, they then join either me or Dale in the rocking chair with Ivie for reading time. Then, finally, when it's bedtime, they sometimes, if they're lucky, get covered up personally by Ivie with their own "blanket" (a lovey that Ivie doesn't use herself). They sleep peacefully next to Ivie until they are "rescued" by me or Dale after she falls asleep (so she doesn't wake up and play with them in the middle of the night).

Then, the next night, we do it all over again!

First Family Outing

Last night, we went on our first family outing to the UNC versus UConn football game. Let me clarify what that means, though, as we've obviously been out of the house many times since Macie's arrival. We've been out to dinner several times (though I HAVE started cooking a bit more while on maternity leave!), been to the mall and Target, as well as on a few walks as a family. But I call last night our first real outing, because it spanned 4 1/2 hours. Which meant, of course, that I had to nurse Macie somewhere other than the glider in her room. That, I believe, qualifies as an "outing"! The nursing-away-from-home saga was made quite a bit easier, thanks to the "Lactation Room" in the Student Union at UNC. So "mucho kudos" go out to whomever decided that was a good idea when designing the building...

The outing started at Tar Heel Town. We made it just in time to see the Old Well Walk. For those of you not familiar with UNC traditions, the team walks from the Old Well to the stadium, and people line the path to cheer them on. Ivie enjoys sitting on her daddy's shoulders for this, as it gets her a little closer in height to the players. She also enjoys clapping to the beat of the band, which leads the team.

Tar Heel Town also has a jump house, which I am convinced is the ultimate fun for kids Ivie's age and even a bit older. She patiently stands in line each time we go, just for about 10 minutes in the jump house, with a smile on her face even as she collides with the bigger kids and falls headfirst. About 30 times.

After Tar Heel Town, we ventured closer to the stadium and joined a customer of Dale's at his family's tailgate. I met Dr. Zaytoun and his wife, Mimi, for the first time. I swear they are angels, though, as they have 8 kids, spanning in age from 18 years (freshman boy on the golf team at UNC) to 6 months. And the last 5 are all girls! And, most shocking to me (at this stage of my life, at least!), in talking to Mimi, I learned that all of her kids were potty-trained by 33 months AT THE LATEST. And that was the first boy! Rachel, who just turned 2 in September, is already potty-trained, and she said there were a couple who were done by 18 months. To someone who hasn't even STARTED with her 2 1/2 year-old, this is quite impressive...

After the tailgate, we ventured to the Student Union to find the Lactation Room. Macie had spent the previous 2 hours sleeping in the Baby Bjorn, so she was eager to get out of the carrier and eat! After eating, it was back into the Baby Bjorn, as we high-tailed it to the stadium to catch the opening kick-off at 7 pm.

Ivie was a blast to watch. She spent most of the first half of the game trying to find Rameses (or "Maneses", as she calls him...). But when he finally came into our section, she wanted to be as far away from him as possible. She admires him from afar, I guess, but is scared to death and starts shaking when he gets close...

Just before halftime, it was time for me and the kids (that still sounds a bit funny!) to head home. Dale and I had decided that he would walk me to the car, and then head back to the game and catch a ride home afterward with a friend. Obviously, this would mark the first time that I would be solely responsible for getting BOTH girls to bed... So Dale asked multiple times on the way to the car if this was still okay. My response, which I've used several times when discussing upcoming trips that he has planned, was, "If I can't handle 2 kids on my own for a few days (or for one night), then we should NOT have had 2 kids! It will be fine!".

So, with that, I headed home. It was 8:30 pm'ish, so already past both girls' bedtimes.

Their fatigue showed on the way home. Ivie screamed for her daddy the whole way. It was tough on her to watch him walk away from the car after buckling her in. She didn't understand why HE got to go back to the game, and SHE had to go home and go to bed... So I heard "Daddy, Daddy, Daddy" all the way home. Macie, too, was crabby, but for a different reason. She was hungry, and had been in the Baby Bjorn for 4 hours. Not the most comfy position.

I finally arrived home, after deliberating the entire way about who I should put to bed first. I finally decided that Ivie was old enough to stay up while I got Macie to sleep. I also figured this would allow me to read books with Ivie before putting her to bed, which would maintain at least a BIT of structure for her. So off to Macie's room we went.

As I nursed Macie, I had to convince Ivie to stay either in Macie's room or her own (which is across the hallway) where I could still see her. This was important, obviously, as I clearly remembered the laptop-destroying in which she engaged just a week or so ago when left alone downstairs for 5 minutes. The task of keeping her close did not prove as difficult as I had envisioned. She was tired and didn't WANT to leave my side. Which brought on a new problem. How do you keep an exhausted 2 1/2 year old quiet while nursing and trying to put an infant to sleep? Let me just say that, 14 hours later, I am still searching for the answer to that question... Ivie sat on the bench next to me, chatting about various things, but her funniest statement was when she began saying "I want to go night-night", over and over. You KNOW a kid's tired when she's begging to go to sleep!

Macie finally went to sleep. Or enough so that she would lie quietly in the crib. Ivie and I read a couple of books, and she crawled happily into bed with her frog and crocodile bath toys (her current obsession). I kissed her good night, and left the room. And she didn't call me back in! S-U-C-C-E-S-S.

As I walked into the hall, I heard Macie whining. Clearly, she wasn't sleeping. So it was back into her room (finally quiet!) for another short nursing session, which finally did her in.

At 10:00 pm (an hour and 10 minutes after the bedtime saga began), I headed downstairs. For a soda! Not even a tall, cold glass of milk "Sea Island style" was going to satisfy me after that experience! But it was a great feeling of satisfaction knowing that both of my girls were sleeping peacefully, and that I HAD actually been able to do it on my own. So maybe it IS okay that we have 2 kids...!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Macie Update... And Crocs...

Been awhile since I've posted - we've had a rough couple of nights at the Herman house, so I've spent my free time during the day taking naps!

But last night was an improvement. Macie ate at 7:30 pm and went straight to bed. Didn't awaken until 11:30 pm (4 hours!), and then slept again until 3:30 am. I spent some extra time with her after that feeding trying to get the bubbles out (my self-diagnosed reason for the "grunting" that had kept us awake the previous 8 million nights (or 21, since that's the number of nights we've been home from the hospital!). Finally, at 4:45 am, she was back to sleep. And slept peacefully until around 5:30 am, when the grunting began again... Thankfully, I was able to sleep through MOST of the grunting and didn't awaken until 6:30 am when Mac was hungry again. So, not too bad...

Macie seems to be struggling with air bubbles through the day, too. We're trying Mylicon drops, but not sure if it's really working or not. We spend a lot of time with her over my shoulder in the burping position! I don't like this position for burping, generally, because who knows where the spit will fly! But she burps best this way, so I've quickly gotten over my disdain for it!

All that being said, Macie gets cuter every day. And I can tell that she's starting to be able to focus on my face, which is nice when I'm trying to get her to stop screaming! We've also moved her to her crib (Tuesday, 9/30, was the first night), so she's officially sleeping in her own room. Which we hope will last through her toddler years!

OK, a quick Ivie story before I sign off and head out for our morning walk. Last night, it was bathtime, and Dale told Ivie to turn off her television and take her shoes off (we leave them downstairs at night time). Ivie was in a particularly cooperative mood, so she promptly turned off the television and sat down on the floor to take off her Crocs. As she did so, she saw Daddy's Crocs sitting on the floor on the other side of the kitchen. So, after taking hers off, she stood up, picked them up, and spent a couple of extra seconds to line her Crocs up next to her daddy's. You could tell she was focusing on making sure they were precisely lined up. I've included a picture of this, just because it really made Dale and me laugh. Too cute. She's 2 1/2, and already trying to be just like her daddy. (Try to ignore the fact that she put them backward. She is, of course, only 2 1/2!)