Thursday, September 29, 2011

Learning to Write... And a Video...

Well there is one thing that I can say I accomplished during my maternity leave, besides surviving going to the store alone with both kids... "I" taugh Elijah how to write. Actually my iPod taught him how to write.

I downloaded this app iWriteWords after seeing him use it on his Uncle Kevin's iPad. The $2.99 for the full version was well worth the money...

Because this is the result.

The whole thing was a process though. I went through many, many things that didn't work before trying the app. First we tried the old try and true handwriting sheets

That didn't work, cause it was boring, so then we got a Dora the Explorer "Let's Write Letters" book.

He liked it, but I didn't realize, as with the other thing, that he didn't get the concept of following the dashed lines. So we headed to one of our local "learning stores". (What I call a learning store is just a place that sells suppliments to teachers and anyone who wants to suppliment a child's education.) The store is a whole other post in and of itself. If I had unlimited funds, I would get in trouble there... but anyway... While we were there we found these letter stencils that show you the steps in writing each letter.

He did wonderfully with these, but couldn't write free-hand, so it frustrated him. I was about to give up and thought maybe he just wasn't ready to write yet. I figured I would give him more time, but the next Sunday we went over his Grandma's house to visit and that is when he started playing with the app.

After a week or two of playing with it, he started writing letters on the refrigerator with dry erase marker, then he started doing it on the blackboard in his room. Yesterday, Joe was watching the kids before I got home from work and taped the video below. When I got home,  he surprised me with it, so I thought I would share it with all of you.

Hope everyone has a great day! Until next time...

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Our School's Calendar...

As I was walking through Barnes and Noble one day, during one of our weekly visits, I spied a book in the children's section entitled "Everything you should know before Kindergarten". Since Elijah is advanced in a lot of subjects I thought I would give the book a look-through to see if I should buy it. To my surprise, Elijah knew everything in the book (colors, numbers (counting to 20), the alphabet, patterns, etc) except the weather, the days of the week and the months of the year.

I had already been looking for other things I could teach him, so I decided that the days of the week and months of the year would be perfect. I figured the weather can also be thrown in there, but nonchalantly, by looking out the window and asking what the weather is like.

We decided that a calendar would be the best thing to do. So I looked online to get some ideas and my mom found a Calendar kit during another trip to Barnes and Noble. When I had some time I put it together, this is what came of it.

We plan on starting on October 1st, so the days of the week are set up for that. Also, when the leaves start falling, around these parts, I plan to let Elijah pick some off the ground and from the trees to put around the "Fall" season label. Each day we will also be doing a "Word of the Day" and a "Question of the Day" to round out the learning/interaction.

That's the plan... I hope this all goes well, considering I'm going back to work on Monday, so all of this will have to take place either before I go to work or after work and before dinner. I'm sure it will work itself out, though. :-)

Monday, September 19, 2011

A day I will not likely forget...

They say the second child makes things interesting.

I thought this was true from the start. Juggling two children's schedules, especially when one eat every 3 hours and gets sick afterward, is not an easy task. I don't know how people with several children do it...

But things got -really- interesting the Wednesday before last.

As I mentioned in my last blog post, Caleb was going for the ultrasound to rule out Pyloric Stenosis as the reason he kept getting sick after pretty much every bottle. When they tried to make an appointment with the radiology place closest to our house they said the pediatrician was off for the entire month, so the next place that was relatively close was Johns Hopkins Hospital in downtown Baltimore. They had to see if our insurance would let us take him to the hospital for the ultrasound before they would schedule it. It turned out they said yes and there was an appointment made for Wednesday (9/7), early in the morning. I believe God had all of that happen for a reason.

That morning we got there and checked in on time, then they did the ultrasound. We were watching and thought everything was fine. They sent the images to the pediatrician to be reviewed, in another room. It was then that the curve ball came... the person who did the ultrasound came back and told us it was positive. We found out later that his pyloric muscle was -twice- the size it was suppose to be. They wouldn't let us leave the hospital, for fear they wouldn't be able to get hold of us if we left and surgery would need to be done either that day or the next.

Side note: This is why I think we were led to the hospital for the ultrasound. If it was anywhere else we would get to pick the hospital and we probably would have chosen another one.

They made us go to the children's ER for a while for him to get prepped while they were waiting for his food to digest and an OR to open up. He was going to be admitted, so they put an IV in and all that jazz. Those were some of the most miserable hours of my life. They wouldn't let us feed him because he would have to be sedated during the surgery. He kept crying and crying cause he was hungry and I felt horrible that I couldn't do anything for him. Thankfully after a little while he was sleeping most of the time and would only wake for a few minutes and cry when he felt a hunger pang.

After the ER, they took us up to his room where we waited for a couple more hours, then finally around 4pm they said they were coming to get him to take him to the OR. I say finally because we found out he had to have surgery around 9:45am and they came to get him around 4pm. When they came to get him, surprise, I would "get" to go back to the OR until they sedated him. They acted like they were doing me a favor... I really didn't want to go, but I just let them do as they wished.

They wheeled me, holding him, down these long boring hallways that seemed deserted and into the OR, which is nothing to write home about. I've never had surgery, so I've never seen the inside of an OR before. That it has to be one of the most uninteresting rooms in the entire hospital. They asked me about his medical history (all 6 weeks of it) and my pregnancy. All that fun random stuff... Then I met everyone that was going to be in the room during the surgery, more or less (cause there were about 15 people in there) and actually felt more at ease after doing so.

When we were in the ER, we found out that the Chief of Pediatric Surgery was going to be preforming the surgery. That was a huge blessing in and of itself. After I met everyone, they let me lay him on the table and give him a little kiss before I was escorted out of the room by one of the nurses. I went to the waiting room to get Joe and we went to get something to eat, since we hadn't eaten well all day.

While we were eating the receptionist from the waiting room called us and said "The surgeon wants to speak with you". The wording of the statement worried me until we actually met with him, a few minutes later and he told us everything went wonderfully. They went in Laparoscopically and they didn't have much bleeding, so that was great.

They let us go back to recovery about 10 minutes after he went in there. At that point Joe went home to get my things for staying overnight at the hospital. After a few minutes, they let me hold him. It was a wonderful time, knowing everything went well and things would be better from here on out. He did great in recovery, so they let us go back to the room after probably about 45 minutes.

Right before we went back to the room they told me he couldn't eat until midnight. My only thought was it was going to be a long evening, but the nurse said she had an order that said he could have some percocet if I was ok with it and that would help him to sleep most of the time, until midnight. Sounded like a plan to me, so that evening went pretty smoothly. He finally got to eat at midnight and promptly gulped down 2oz of pedialyte and to my surprise it all stayed down. He slept for 7 hours after that... He was apparently worn out.

When he woke up in the morning he gulped down 2oz of his formula and it all stayed down again. According to the nurse, once he kept down the second bottle we were free to go home when we wanted. I was less than thrilled by being woken up every couple hours by whoever was checking on him, so we came home around 10am. It was nice to be home and to get acclimated to things again. Elijah was so happy to see him, he ran up and gave both of us a hug.

Ever since, he's only gotten sick a few times. Twice the day after the surgery from the pyloric muscle being swollen from the surgery and twice from him gulping his bottles. This is a huge improvement from the daily changing of clothes, blankets and sheets and washing off several times a day. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction and things will finally not be so interesting around here. Although, I highly doubt it :o)

Until next time...

Monday, September 5, 2011

What a month...

This month has been one of the most entertaining and eventful months I have ever experienced. With having a newborn to take care of, trying to potty train a 3-year-old and just trying to keep up with laundry, dishes and picking up toys every day, my days -fly- by. Everything overall is going well. Most days I feel like I can make it through without having a mental breakdown, then other days are like last Wednesday...

Well, let me preface this by saying that Caleb hasn't been feeling that great, tummywise, probably going on 4 or so weeks now (he is 6 weeks old). We're not exactly sure what it is. Our PA thinks it's acid reflux, but he wants to rule out a Pyloric stenosis. It's basically a band around the stomach that is too thick, so it's hard for the food to pass through to the intestines. To rule it out, Caleb will have to have an ultrasound done of his stomach. He is pretty sure that is not the case, but he wants to be positive. We are going for the ultrasound on Wednesday (9/7), so prayers are much appreciated. In the meanwhile we have changed bottles, changed his formula (three times), have put rice cereal in his formula and he is on Zantac to help with the acid. Things have gotten better... for a about a week he was still getting sick at least twice a day, but as of now he hasn't gotten sick in over 24 hours. Yay!
But yeah, so Wednesday was one of those days that makes you rethink why exactly you have children. Everything that could go wrong, went wrong. Thankfully we didn't have to go anywhere during the day, so all the drama was left in the house and we had fresh changes of clothes close at hand. In addition, Elijah has now decided that nothing we offer him will make him want to tell us that he has to go potty and every time Caleb would fall asleep Elijah would come over and want to kiss him and wake him up. However, the upside of having a day when very little sleep was had, is that at night everyone is tired. :-)

On the Elijah side of things, he is getting better with his jealousy and hardly gets jealous anymore. He actually has labeled Caleb as his own. He says, "Where's my Caleb?" or "Get off of my Caleb!", so this has been good. He has also gotten to the age where he is asking questions about everything, "Where are you going?", "What are you doing?", "What happened to the lights?" when it's dark, "What's that?" when he hears something out of the ordinary, etc, etc. This has been not as good, hah.

So, in a very small, nutshell that is what my days consist of. However last week is a bit more exciting than most, because the state fair is in town. We went to it on Monday, Tuesday and Friday. We usually enjoy it because of the food, games and exhibits in the exhibition halls, but this year we are enjoying to also because of Elijah can ride on some of the rides. It turns out that he is tall enough to ride on my favorite ride... The Tilt o Whirl... So he got on it with me, on Tuesday. He loved it. Actually he loved all the rides... and the games... and the animals. I plan on doing a blog post about the fair with all the pictures, soon, so stay tuned.

I actually hope to be able to update the blog with things at least once a week for the next couple weeks, but I guess that will be up in the air until we figure out what's going on with Caleb. That is another hope of mine... I hope things will calm down around here soon. We are currently without air conditioning and potentially won't have any until tomorrow afternoon, so that is not helping matters any. But what can you do? That's life. Gotta love it.

Until next time...