Friday, November 19, 2010

My favorite books from childhood

I love reading. I always have, and as a child and teen I probably read a book or two a week. If I liked the book I read it in a day. Here are just a few of my favorites that I can remember off the top of my head. If I found a book that I really enjoyed I would read everything the author had written, so while I didn't write all of their books down I will mention it.

A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett: Book Cover
I received "A Little Princess" for Christmas (or my Birthday, it all blends together) in 4th Grade. I loved the book, I loved the pictures. I love the story! Also, "The Secret Garden" is another favorite.

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson: Book Cover
In 5th grade I had a teacher that really challenged my quality of reading. I had never had a teacher push me to read "literature." Ms. Solberg did that for me, and I have to admit, its because of her that my love of reading flourished mightily. When I would finish one book she had another waiting in the wings. Katherine Paterson is still one of my favorite authors to this day, as you can see below I have two more selections by her.

The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson: Book Cover
"The Great Gilly Hopkins" is about a young girl who has been bounced around in the foster care system, how this poor child acts and reacts. When she ends up in a home that she thinks she'll hate she actually comes to love the foster mom and the other kids there.

Lyddie by Katherine Paterson: Book Cover
"Lyddie" about a young girl who works in a factory in the early 1900's (late 1800's?)


True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi: Book Cover
"The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle" is one of my all-time favorite and most read books. I absolutely love this book, even though I haven't read it for years and years. I still have my well-worn copy sitting in our guest room and I try to get visitors to pick it up and read.

Year of the Black Pony by Walt Morey: Book Cover
"Year of the Black Pony"

My 4th grade teacher read us some fabulous books that were not nearly as well-known as what some other teachers read aloud. While I don't remember every book she read that year I do remember this one "Year of the Black Pony." It was the first book she read to us. She had a mural up in the reading corner that her son (or husband?) had painted. Each book she would put up a different mural. The second book she read to us was called "Half-breed" and is also a book worth mentioning.

Product Details
"Homecoming"
Cynthia Voigt is another favorite author of mine and this is the book that began it for me. If you adults haven't read "Homecoming" I highly recommend it. This is a book I read in 5th grade and I remember thinking how long it was, but I was so sad when it was over because I no longer were a part of this family. Luckily, I found out she wrote 7 books based on this family and the series goes on for a number of years in the character's lives.

WORLD WAR II Phase
The Devil in Vienna by Doris Orgel: Book Cover
"The Devil in Vienna"

Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen: Book Cover
"The Devil's Arithmetic"

Upstairs Room by Johanna Reiss: Book Cover
"The Upstairs Room"

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry: Book Cover
"Number the Stars"

Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene: Book Cover
"Summer of my German Soldier"

I definitely went through a World War II phase and I am pretty positive I read every single book out there dealing with this topic. I literally couldn't get enough. It was such a tragic time in history and reading about how one survived was always inspiring to me, even if it was fiction.

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare: Book Cover
"The Witch of Blackbird Pond"
I have always loved historical fiction and this is one of those books that wasn't nearly long enough for my liking. I really love big, thick books that I can dive into, but I loved the story very much, so I forgive it's relatively short length.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor: Book Cover
"Roll Of Thunder, Hear My Cry"
Another great book, that opened my eyes to the injustice of the world. I did read the other two books about the same family. "The Road to Memphis" and "Let the Circle be Unbroken" and I enjoyed those as well.

The Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell: Book Cover
"Island of the Blue Dolphins"
A random award winner book that was in our bookshelf at home. I loved this story and the sequel called "Zia."

Hatchet (Brian's Saga Series #1) by Gary Paulsen: Book Cover
"Hatchet"
My 6th grade teacher read this aloud to us and I was enthralled with the story. Later on when I worked in a group foster home I read it aloud to some of our kids (10-18). Everyone loves a good story being read to them. I also went on and read many other books by him, and can't wait until Jameson is old enough to read him some of these "boy" books. I am always on the lookout for good boy books.


Those are a few of my favorites from childhood. Did you enjoy reading as a child? What were your favorite books?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Blog motivation

Getting my blog mojo back after our difficult week has been very hard. Much of the time my brain is still a muddle, so coming up with some creative blog topics is apparently outside my realm at the moment. Also, since I don't sit down with the computer (for any length of time) until after Jameson goes to bed, I find I am so tired! Jameson on the other hand has been crazy for the past two days. I believe he has some serious joie de vivre. It is slightly exhausting, but I am thankful for it. Maybe, its just me, but I have been trying to convince him he needs a nap. He still seems wiped out and whenever he is in my arms he gives me signs that he IS tired. We are all sorts of exhausted, Kevin fell asleep watching the Office tonight at 8:00 pm! This post is quickly becoming one in which I talk about how tired we are all, which does seem to be the case.

Kevin leaves for Vienna on Monday, which is coming up so fast. He isn't looking forward to being gone for three weeks, and we aren't looking forward to him being away. While he is away, my mom is coming out to help celebrate a couple of big birthdays for us, my 3-0 and she's about 30 years ahead of me. I am very excited for that, it will be nice to have her around, and Jameson will love having someone to constantly play cars with him. We are already planning some fun things.

I am looking forward to the Christmas season, making some new traditions with Jameson and breaking out some of the old ones. (Cinnamon Ornaments?) This year he is so much more aware of the little things, that I can't wait to see what he takes away from this Christmas!

After this very pathetic blog post I will attempt to come up with some more interesting topics for future posts!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

I know these aren't the best photos, since I took them at night with my phone, but I am so excited about our new dresser and bedside tables!! We have literally been living out of suitcases since the end of July when I donated our bedroom furniture that Kevin's Aunt and Uncle had passed onto us. What is even better is that we got to use all those points that had been accumulating on our credit card over the years to "buy" giftcards. This picture doesn't do the dresser justice, but it is beautiful and well-made and already brimming full of clothes! We still need some sort of mirror to go above the dresser and I am excited to find one I love! For now, I am just SO happy that our room is put back together and Kevin won't be asking me every morning where his socks or his jeans are hiding. The dresser is actually bigger than it looks in this picture, its a nice wide dresser, the only thing is that the drawers aren't quite deep enough for my liking, but I will make do!

As for the bedside tables! I have been waiting for bedside tables pretty much since we got married! I have had substitutes, my latest substitute was a TV tray that held my books, waterbottle, phone, remote controls, but it was really wobbly! I am so thrilled to have a drawer I can put things in, like a journal, pens, etc. Below the drawer I have a shelf where I can stack even more books!! Anyone who knows me knows I love books. At this moment, I have four sitting on the table, now I need to pick some back-up books to go on the shelf! Kevin also loves to read before bed, so he usually has a stack of books on his side too, and I think he was just as excited about the bedside tables as I was! We also rearranged the room, so we'll see how we end up liking it, but I think it was time for change!


Monday, November 15, 2010

Broncos game

Weeks ago Kevin and I had made plans to go to the Broncos vs. Chiefs game because we share a season pass with a friend. After this long week we weren't sure we still wanted to go. I had come down with a raging cold I caught from Jameson, basically it was the croup cold that doesn't become croup in adults. We have been catching up on sleep and processing all that we had been through, and we just weren't sure it was a great idea. Saturday I had begun to feel better, and since we had both been looking forward to the game we decided to go.

Jameson went to our friend's house across the street. Their daughter is 5-years-old and loves Jameson because he does exactly what she wants, most of the time. He loves her because she is older, she has the same chill personality, oh and she is SO cute! Kevin and I rode the light rail into downtown, then went on the "sports walk" to the stadium with a multitude of other Broncos fans.

It was a great football game, the Broncos really showed up and played! I am not a huge football fan and even I could follow the action! It was a beautiful day to watch football, crisp and sunny. We indulged in bratwursts, gluten-free beer (Kevin), hot chocolate and a giant pretzel (for me!) It was nice to be out together, not thinking about our crazy week.

By the time we got home at 6:00, Jameson was wiped out from playing so hard and he went straight to bed. Unfortunately, I didn't get one picture of us at the football game! You will just have to trust me on how much fun we had!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The PICU stay

Thank you for your kind words and comments in regards to my last post. It really and truly was the scariest (hours long) moment of my life. It happened so fast and was so serious even the doctors thought it must be something besides croup. They sent out blood-work and respiratory viral panels that tested for all sorts of different viruses and bacterias.

I managed to sleep a bit between the hours of 3:30 and 5:00, but the new shift began at 5:00 and so the nurses came in to check on him, read his chart and introduce themselves to me. At this point he was out of the woods, but the processing had just began for me. I had a hard time closing my eyes because I saw the trauma unit, or if I opened my eyes I saw my baby not moving with tubes all over. Not being able to hold him was absolutely painful.

When Kevin got back at 7:30 I remarked to him that I had never gone this long without holding him. That Monday was a lot of processing for both of us. We both would cry at the drop of a hat.

By Monday afternoon, he was already beginning to breathe over the tube. The doctor made the decision to keep him under for at least another day, to ensure that the swelling had gone down. They didn't want to take the tube out only to have to re-intubate him because he was having trouble. Monday night on into Tuesday morning it became apparent that the swelling had gone down so much that the "title volume" on his respiratory machine was not getting the numbers the respiratory therapist wanted to be seeing. This was actually a good thing, it meant that he was breathing over the tube, and not a lot of his air was going through the tube, this also meant the tube would be coming out earlier than planned. Yay!

They began the process of weaning him off the sedatives around Midnight Tuesday morning. He would wake up once an hour or so, and I would jump off my bed and get him to calm down, stop fighting the tube, close his eyes and he would fall back asleep. I had sent Kevin home again to get some good sleep, and ended up calling him back into the hospital around 2:00 am. By 6:00 am with the new shift on, and more people in the hospital, they were ready to extubate him. The doctor wanted to him to wake up on his own before they took the tube out. They needed him to be able to fight aggressively to breathe.

He did fight, and the tube came out. He turned to me, and said "Carry You." Which is how he asks me to pick him up. The nurses were like, yes, hold him. He reached out his arms to me and I got to hold my baby for the first time in 32 hours. I was crying, and so thankful that I was getting to hold him close to me. I gave him his breathing treatments and he fell asleep in my arms. About three hours later the nurse asked if I wanted to put him down in bed and get some rest. We put him into bed and I fell asleep on the couch.

Later on, after he woke up, he ended up pulling out both of his IV's. Luckily the doctor said we didn't need to put them back as long as we could get lots of fluids down him. They brought in a new big bed (instead of a crib), so that I could sleep in bed with him. We ordered lunch to the room, then all of us fell asleep for a solid two hours. It was definitely the best Kevin and I had slept since the weekend. After we woke up and spent some time hanging out with a very angry, clingy, not feeling great Jameson, Kevin had to go home to work on his lectures for the next day. Jameson spent the rest of the day sleeping off and on. The nurse was afraid he wouldn't sleep that night, but really we had no trouble.

All the doctors and nurses were shocked at his rate of recovery, from how quickly the swelling receded to how fast he began breathing on his own. He was definitely a fighter. They began to talk about releasing him the next day. This was great news! Jameson and I slept like babies that night, him curled into me.

Wednesday morning at 5:45 am Jameson woke up crying that he wanted to go home. "Doh hoooooome." I convinced him to go back to sleep, but every time he woke up he said he wanted to go home. The doctor showed up at 9:30 and talked with us, told us that to their surprise this was just an acute case of the croup. There was no other virus that showed up. In his opinion, we were free to go home after the discharge papers were signed. Whoo-hoo!

I called Kevin who was teaching from 8:00-10:00 at the University. He had a break from 10:00-12:00, so he drove down and picked us up and we were home at 10:30. It was such a great feeling having him home! It had felt like the longest few days of our lives!

A week later he is nearly 100%. His cough is almost gone, and he is up playing around like he was before the croup. I can definitely say, that he was tired those first few days home and just wanted to veg in front of the TV (we let him), but now all he wants to do is "pway cars, pway football, pway basketball, pway tennis." So I feel confident my little guy is back, however, he is clingy, and doesn't like to be far from me and Kevin and we have had no problem pulling him into our bed each night when we sleep to keep a close eye on his breathing.

Life can change in an instant, we found that out all too well, but it definitely helps re-prioritize what matters, which is each other. There is no limit to the amount of money we would pay to have him healthy, it never even crossed our minds. We were so well taken care of in the hospital, from the minute we stepped in to the minute we stepped out, the doctors, nurses, respiratory therapists, even the housekeeping staff were all amazing. I don't think I will ever be able to express my gratitude for their part in helping to heal my son.

Sunday, a week ago, seems like ages ago, and I am very happy to put it behind us and just enjoy my boys!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Excuse my absence

Please excuse me absence from NaBloPoMo. It was one crazy week. As many of my "facebook" friends know we brought Jameson to the ER Sunday night for the croup. Actually, right after I pressed "publish post" on my Sunday's blog he woke up in severe respiratory distress. He had what is called "Stridor" (when the hole between the collarbone is sucking in) and caving in of his ribecage, almost all the way back to his spine. It happened very fast, and was (and still is very scary). I immediately called Kevin upstairs to tell him we needed to go to the ER, we bundled Jameson up and we were out the door in about five minutes. It was a ten minute drive to the hospital and Jameson was very calm even though he was having a difficult time breathing. We assumed he would need a nebulizer treatment with steroids to help calm his breathing and bring the swelling down. We assumed it would be a 3-5 hour hospital stay in the ER. I guess its good we didn't know it was going to be much longer, or we might not have been so calm.

Upon arrival we were immediately, and I do mean IMMEDIATELY, escorted back to triage where we immediately were taken to the pediatric doc in the ER. They got a breathing treatment started and took his information. We began to grasp how worried they were when the ER doc said she would not be leaving our side. They asked if he was sick before croup: Not really, a fever on Wednesday night that broke early Thursday. Is he sick often: No never, maybe had one cold his entire life. Is this his first time with croup: Yes.

After a second breathing treatment and no change with a dropping blood-oxygen rate they decided to move us to the Trauma Room. As we entered the trauma room, which was filled with doctors, nurses and assistants, the Peds. doc told us we would have to sedate him with a paralytic drug (ie put him under) intubate him and he would be in the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). What?!?!?! How did this get so serious? My son was just up, moving around today, talking, helping his dad put together his treadmill. They said it was the "A" of the acronym (ABC?) and it stood for airway, which I actually knew and it surprised her enough to ask how I knew it. Umm, shouldn't everyone know that after they have a first-aid or CPR class? No, I guess I randomly store medical facts in my brain.

By this time Jameson was almost finished with his third breathing treatment and had grown very listless, and its when the doctors really started to get worried. He was already undressed down to his "training" pants and socks. They told me they were going to get an IV going, did I want to stay and hold him? Yes, I didn't want to let him go. Its when my tears started falling. I couldn't help it, and its when I saw worry in my son's eyes that Mommy might not be able to help him. They quickly gave him the IV (bless the amazing nurse who hit a vein the first time), almost immediately he was out, but it was still the hardest thing I had to do handing him over to the doctors. (I am crying even as I write this).

The Peds. doctor, Summer Smith, is an amazing woman and told us we could stay if we so chose. We chose to stay, no way was I leaving that room. Kevin and I were both incredibly calm, whether it was shock or we just knew the doctors had a job to do. She "assigned" someone to sit with us and explain what was happening every step of the way. They had heart monitors on him, blood pressure, oxygen monitors, and there were about 15 people surrounding him and another 5 running around getting stuff as it was being called for. The intubation process was a long one. His airway was so swollen that they couldn't get a tube past it to give him oxygen. They began decreasing the tube size, and again, and again. If his oxygen levels got too low they "bagged" him, in other words pumped oxygen into him, which made his stomach get distended. Then, in order to get the air out of his tummy they put an NG ( tiny tube through the nose) to suck the air out.

At this point, (possibly 3o minutes into the intubation process) everyone was getting nervous, the doc was shaking, the guy watching the vitals began calling anesthesiologists, or the adult trauma doctor, pretty much anyone who could come in and try to intubate this 2.5 year old with a swollen airway. The adult trauma doctor was available and very calm, and had not been involved in the situation from the beginning. As they began to prepare to intubate him again his vitals began dropping, quickly. I watched that monitor go lower and lower and my heart began racing. Surely, they could see what was happening, right? Then I saw all the lines go flat. Just like on the TV shows the monitor started beeping. Then I heard, "He needs an epi-push (epinepherine in the IV to the heart), begin chest compressions now."

I remember looking at my baby and thinking how hard she was pushing on his chest, it was almost going flat against the table, and thinking, how the heck did we get here, this is the healthiest kid I know, would he have been ok if we didn't bring him in, is he worse off now? I could leave this place without my baby, what was the last thing I said to him, this isn't supposed to be like this... So many things were going through my mind that I can't even explain. Luckily, the doctors were (are) amazing and his heart began again and they got his oxygen levels up. What a welcome relief to see those monitors come to life, again. The adult trauma doc took his turn at the intubation, after the second try he was successful, and immediately his oxygen levels went up to nearly 100%. The tube size they had to use was meant for a newborn because his airway was so swollen.

After he was stabilized, he was x-rayed and then they moved us up to the PICU. He was doing fine, and all the doctors told us he was going to be great, even with the difficulty intubating him, but it was very scary to see him hooked up to tubes, and monitors. I can definitely go a lifetime without seeing my child like that again. Once up in the PICU we were told he would be under anywhere from two days to a week. Again, we were shocked and confused, this was a boy who just two days ago was running around with his friends in the green-space across from our house. After he was set-up in the PICU, the doctors checked on him and the ER doc came up to see how we were doing, exhaustion set in for us both. Around 2:30 am I told Kevin to go home and take care of the dogs and get some sleep. I lay down on the couch that the nurses helped me set up like a bed. I couldn't sleep because I had terrible dreams every time I closed my eyes and I was replaying every little thing that happened. He was out of the woods and was doing much better than when we brought him in, even though he didn't look it. I didn't know when he would be coming home, but at least I knew he WAS coming home.

Just writing that has taken it out of me tonight. I will finish the rest of our story tomorrow.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Favorite Health Books

Since Jameson is still feeling pretty crummy, this will be another short blog. I have had my nose buried in books trying to help him for the past 24+ hours. Unfortunately, croup is one of those illnesses that you just have to ride out, which is what we are trying to do. Here are my three favorite books for helping me figure out how to treat Jameson.

Smart Medicine for a Healthier Child- By Janet Zand, ND., LAc., Robert Rountree, M.D., and Rachel Walton, MSN, CRNP

Product Details

This book is a collaborative effort between different kinds of medicines (Conventional and Homeopathic). Divided into three sections: Elements of Health Care, Common Childhood Health Problems and Therapies and Procedures. It explains everything, and I love it. By far this is my go-to medical guide. My mom and I also give this as presents to new moms.

My next book that tops the list is:

The Children's Hospital Guide to Your Child's Health and Development

Product Details

As the cover implies this book covers it all, and I am always happy to look through it and see what it says. I think every home where children are present should have a book like this around.


And since not much can be done for Croup I also used my homeopathic guide.

Homeopathic Medicine for Children and Infants- By Dana Ullman, M.P.H.

While this book was less helpful this time, mainly because it didn't have a "croup" section, it was still useful. It always has good descriptions of each herb, how its to be given. Since I don't know much about homeopathy, and I am still learning, I find this book a real asset to my library. It's divided into three sections: 1) Why Homeopathy makes sense. 2) How to Use Homeopathic Medicine 3) Common ailments of Children. It has a description of each of the herbs that is about two pages long. Common name, latin name, Overview, General Characteristics (of the child), Keynote Symptoms, Modalities, and Primary Indicated Conditions. When I am trying to treat something simple I often find myself lost in this book because its so interesting to read.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Croup

Tonight Jameson came down with the croup. Maybe its because I am personally very familiar with this particular ailment, but it didn't surprise me. I began hearing the tell-tale "seal bark" this morning and tried my best to get him to relax, just play quietly, he had another agenda though. Early this afternoon he was running around upstairs as I was picking up his play area, just RUNNING like a mad man.

This afternoon we dropped books off at the library and I began to see him wilt. In his car seat I thought he would fall asleep on the 5 minute drive. Then he wasn't interested in anything at the library, so we checked out a few books and headed to the market to pick up some cough syrup and elderberry syrup (helps the cough and immune system). However, neither of these things are good for the croup, so I think I was hoping it wouldn't come to fruition.

On our way home Jameson told me he was tired, and he could barely keep his eyes open. I put him upstairs in his chair turned on Nick Jr. and went to go make him some homemade chicken broth with some veggies and a slice of whole wheat toast. Luckily he ate all the toast, ate his broth and got a few spoonfuls of veggies. He drank some apple juice and water, so at least I know he has some nutrients in him.

Then I put him to bed, and he fell asleep quickly, but had that awful raspy breathing sound, and he didn't want to cough because it hurt. Twenty minutes later he was up crying and croup coughing, not able to catch his breath. So I picked him up, had Kev light some candles in the bathroom so we didn't have to turn the overhead (bright!) lights on. Turned the shower on as high & hot as it would go, and let the bathroom fill up with steam. Jameson was so upset, and couldn't really figure out what was going on. Coughing hurt so he would try to avoid it, only to have it burst out. The steam worked because he fell asleep and his breathing sounded better, but then when I adjusted him it started another coughing fit. I flipped the shower back on to steam up the room again. He fell asleep again and I put him in bed. Hopefully, he will get some rest before it starts again. I anticipate at least one or two more episodes tonight. I am cleaning off the guest room bed (its where I pile my clean laundry) so that he and I can sleep in a bigger bed. Not that I don't love squishing in with him on his twin-size bed.

Poor guy. I hate when my guys get sick. We have been very lucky and Jameson is rarely sick. He had a 12-hour flu this summer and I don't even remember the last time he was sick before that. OK, I hear my little seal barking. Send good, healthy wishes our way.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Gettin' Older

One thing is certain, Jameson has grown up so much since the beginning of summer. He went from being a toddler to a "big boy." I look, but I really don't see baby in him. It has definitely been bittersweet, but I love the little man he is becoming. Kevin and I often talk about how "it was just yesterday that he was born, right?" Below are two pictures, one taken at the beginning of summer and one taken at Halloween (duh). I see those pictures and I am stunned at how much older he looks, but maybe that's just me! Maybe its that I have an accompaniment of his chatter on a daily basis or I watch him take the milk carton out of the fridge and attempt to pour it himself to prove to me how old he is getting.


















**His language exploded this summer, as I knew it would. He went from not saying much at all, to saying sentences in a matter of days.

**He seems to grow like a weed. Apparently sunlight and fresh air is good for growing children.

**He made friends in the neighborhood and likes to play with them everyday.

**He got really good at riding his trike and scooter.

**He is SO polite, saying "please" "thank you" and "your welcome" all the time.

**His feet grew 3 sizes this summer! Yes, his summer sandals were a size 8 and now he is closer to an 11. Yes, my child has HUGE feet, he gets that from me.

**Pants are way too short but don't stay up around the waist. What's a mom to do? Make her son wear high-waters or a cinched waist? I vote the cinched waist, but they still end up riding low, even with a belt.

**While his feet grew he only gained 2 lbs so he weighs barely 30 lbs. He burns off all his energy playing.

**As I have mentioned he loves matchbox cars and plays "pretend" with them all the time.

**He is a crazy monkey, climbing, hanging and swinging from everything:


**He is still my snuggle bug and tells me "I love you SOOO much!" on a regular basis.

**He still loves to watch the garbage man collect the trashcan.

**He points out every bus, school bus, mail truck, box truck (UPS) and any truck when we are out on the road.

**He does not take naps and hasn't since April, but he goes to sleep promptly at 7:00 pm, often a few minutes before.

**As of a couple weeks ago he is fully potty-trained. We still use "trainers" at night because he is a heavy wetter.

**He carries at least two of our old cell phones with him, and is constantly saying :"Phone ringing!" then he has a great conversation with whomever is on the other line.


**Apparently has a green thumb:


**He says the funniest things right before he falls asleep. My niece, Elia said I should start writing them down, but I haven't yet. One that sticks out to me was when he said "Brocc-O-lee and Cah-wots." He loves his veggies, and I guess they made an appearance in his dream.

**He is very caring. He scratches me back and gives me a hug if I hurt myself (like stub my toe) and asks if I want a bad-aid (band-aid) and peas (which is what we use as an ice pack).

**He loves helping Kevin or me cook.

**He eats peanut butter out of the jar. He LOVES peanut butter. He asks for "Pea-buh and 'poon" (peanut butter and a spoon)for breakfast everyday.

**He loves to laugh and I think he will have a belly-laugh like Kevin.

**He loves his doggies. He is very responsible and whenever he goes out in the backyard he wants to scoop poop. We call him the "poop patrol" because he is very thorough!!

Such concentration

**As I have mentioned he wakes up saying, "Sunny Day, Sunny Day" in a sing-songy voice over and over again. If I am not eager to get up he gets right in my face and says: "Momma, its a SUNNY DAY!" Who could resist a wake-up call like that?

**We love our son so very much, he is such a joy to be around. I can't say that I have seen a lot of "2-year-old" moments from him. If he is having one we tell him to take a "Deep Breath." Which he does very well. The other day I was frustrated and talking loudly, and Jameson looked at me and said "Mommy, deep breath!"

I could go on and on about him, but I have 24 more days of blogging, so I suppose I can spread out the bragging!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Friends

One of the best things I did for myself this past summer was to sit outside with Jameson until I became friends with the ladies on my street. I was determined. I have lived in this very same house since 2006, and while I knew everyone's names, said hi every once in awhile and even shared a laugh or two, we were far from friends. I was lonely and miserable without girlfriends.

I am one that has always had a group of girlfriends, to which I am still very close. I made friends easily in Boulder the first year I lived in Colorado because I was in classes, but once we moved to Littleton life was crazy. We were living in Vienna more often than we weren't. Then we had a baby (in Portland), after that Jameson and I were in Vienna for 9 months the year he was born. We traveled even when we were in Colorado, and no one in the neighborhood knew when we were coming or going. To top it off, we put our house up on the market, so I definitely wasn't someone to become friends with, since I would be leaving!

But this summer, we were NOT traveling (much), our house was NOT on the market, Jameson was old enough to be playing ball or riding his bike and was interested in meeting other kids. Slowly but surely, the moms started talking, the kids started playing and friendship was formed. Let me tell you, life is so much happier with friends! Everyday Jameson wants to see his friends. He even asks daily to take care of the neighbor dog because we dog-sat her for a weekend.

Life is much happier when you can knock on a friend's door to drop off your kid to get some grocery shopping done (alone) or when you volunteer to take her kid(s) knowing that eventually it will come back to you.

Just last week, we had a game party to raise some money for one of the little guys in the neighborhood with an unknown illness so that they could travel to the National Institute of Health, joined another couple for a spontaneous dinner out, had a Chili cook-off and went trick-or-treating with the group on Halloween. On any given day I see most of the four other woman and their kids. We text, we email and call each other as well as knocking on each others' doors. On sunny days, a soccer ball is brought out or bikes are ridden up and down the street while the moms chat.

We aren't all the same ages, our kids are different ages, and have different personalities. We raise our kids differently in different religions with different values, but we are fine to disagree or offer/ask advice to/of one another. We are moms all of us, and its the similarities that bind us.

I am so glad I took the time to get to know them. They have made life here in Colorado much easier. At first it was so exciting I came in everyday from our daily chats and would exclaim to Kevin: "I have friends!" Now I miss them when I go a day or two and haven't had a good conversation with them.

While I wish I could take my friends from all over and move them right next to me, I know that is an impossibility. I have to settle for the phone and yearly visits with my closest girlfriends, but life is definitely better since I have friends near-by!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

My baby has a fever tonight. It came on quickly at dinner. So I am playing nurse-mom to him. Luckily, it seems to be nothing serious. He said his teeth hurt, so I am thinking his last molar is working its way through. However, because it might be a long night I am just going to post two pictures that were taken recently that I really love.

Jameo with his Daddy...


and with his Mommy


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

What happened to my blog?

There are many reasons I stopped blogging regularly. For me, I didn't find it a satisfying way of spending my "me-time." I felt like I was neglecting things I should do or wanted to be doing. It wasn't blogging on its own, it was my computer time in general. I love reading blogs, checking email, and then I would get lost looking up some interesting factoid and then 2 or 3 hours later I would wonder when the time had disappeared. Around the same time Jameson became much more interested in it. If the computer was out, he wanted to play with it, so I made a rule for myself that I wouldn't get out the computer when he was awake. Its a good rule and I like it, but I have gotten more lax about it lately. I found that the computer was taking precious time from my family. Both Kevin and I are computer geeks, and feel it is perfectly acceptable to have the laptop glued to our laps all evening, while watching TV. Instead of talking in the evenings, he would be working and I would be hanging out on the computer.

I decided I wanted to experience life not just write about it, hence my break from the computer began. I wanted to read more books, watch less TV, sew more, paint, and de-clutter my full house. I am not an organized person by nature, so I am learning things that are helping me to become one, and I have learned we all need less stuff! I have succeeded in some of these areas, especially during the summer, but lately I have been on the computer much more than I have wanted to be, been reading less, and not getting things accomplished that leave me feeling satisfied at the end of the day. I want to be the mom that plays with her kid. If its a sunny day, I want to take my son outside for a walk. To Jameson, everyday is a sunny day, as this is how he wakes us up each morning "Sunny day, sunny day!" Recently its evolved, to "Its a beautiful, sunny day!" I want to take that enthusiasm for life and live it.

Jameson looking oh-so-contemplative

When Jameson is playing cars, I want to play with him, or be close enough that I can hear his wonderful world of imagination. Each of his cars is a person in his life. There is the Momma car (I am a purple sports car) the Daddy car (a blue range rover), Nana and Poppa (Nana being a yellow car with a black stripe and Poppa being a neon jeep), Omi and Papa (Omi is a Red race car and Papa is any van that is in his collection). He has his Uncles and Aunties, and his friends, each of whom have a car. He plays with his cars like I played with my dolls when I was little. They have conversations, sing songs, play together, and occasionally "crash" and get hurt. It is the highlight of my day to catch him mid-imaginary play. I have to stand back and just listen or it breaks his daydreams.


So, while I was absent from the blogging world, I was very present in my life. I got a lot stuff done, but I still have a lot more to do. I am hoping that this month I can figure out the balance between keeping my friends and family informed of our lives via the blog, but also feel like I am getting "me-time" and the tasks done that I need to get done.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaBloPoMo

November is the National Blog Posting Month. It was enjoyable last year, and I figured it would be a good time to revive the old blog. So, here it goes.

Our pic taken at the end of the night.

Yesterday was Halloween. It was Jameson's first time dressing up and trick-or-treating. My requirement was that he could say "Trick or Treat" and not be too shy to walk up to the doors. He had so much fun. He went as a cowboy with three friends. I was surprised how long he lasted (about 2 hours!) and he walked the whole neighborhood. He was so polite saying "Thank you" and "Happy Halloween" at each and every house. Made me very proud to be the mother of such a polite boy. The moms (and one dad) laughed the whole way. The weather was pretty perfect, and Kevin said it was the nicest Halloween he had ever seen. Normally, its snowing or freezing and the kids are bundled up in parkas being driven from house to house.

Cowboy Jameson ready to go.

The Awesome Foursome.

Teeny little munchkins not even as tall as the door handle.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Happy Birthday, Baby!


Today is Kevin's Birthday. Thirty-six years to be exact, but who's counting?

I don't think I take time enough to extol the virtues of the man I love. He is my soul-mate, my true love and before I knew him I would argue with people that these things did not exist. I felt that anyone could be happy in marriage if they just tried hard enough. Now that is not to say we don't "work" on our relationship, but it certainly makes it easier to want to do the work. Here is a list I have been compiling for awhile. Some are silly and sublime and some are serious, but each and every one makes me feel grateful beyond doubt that he is mine. I love you!! Happy Birthday!! Here's to a great year ahead of us.

1) He is my best friend and he can make me laugh like no one else on this Earth.

2) We never stop having fun together.

3) He cooks us dinner (nearly) every night. He loves cooking and he is a fantastic cook!

4) He cleans up the kitchen (nearly) every night.

5) He makes us breakfast (nearly) every morning (You see a theme here?)

6) He promised to be my heater at night years ago, but still lets me keep my ridiculously hot down comforter on the bed.

7) He works very hard to keep us taken care of so that I never ever worry.

8) He is really good at saying "sorry" (Me, not so much).

9) He surprises me with really amazing, thoughtful gifts (like Tim and Faith concert tickets and a new computer).

10) He sings our "good night" song to Jameson each night complete with funny voices and actions.

11) He often tells me how much he loves me and how much he appreciates what I do for him.

12) He puts up with me watching awful reality TV shows, although I am coming around to his way of thinking (Oh, Jon and Kate...).

13) We plan on traveling the world together. I would go anywhere with him because he makes me feel safe.

14) That we still "got it" (ie incredible chemistry that sends tingles down my spine.)

15) He loves his little dogs at least as much as I do and probably more.

16) He changed his mind about (not) having kids when we decided to get married because he wanted me to be the mother of his children (although I think the word he used was dynasty).

17) He is really good at playing with Jameson, cars, ball sports of any kind and...even tea parties complete with a "prost" (cheers!) which is Jameson's favorite part.

18) That he is a daydreamer like I am, but he is really good at making those dreams a reality.

19) He reads really LONG non-fiction books to keep his brain working and then tells me I would really enjoy such-and-such book. Which is true, but I don't have the mental energy to read such time-consuming books.

20) He is SO great with our finances and has taught me to be a better person with my money and spending habits. (I am a work-in-progress though).

21) He loves "romantic comedies" as much as I do, but would never admit it. If you don't believe me ask Alison who has watched movies with us and finds it just as charming. Hee hee.

22) He wants to live on a farm and be self-reliant too; which is only a problem when we realize we are slugs and farming is A LOT of work.

23) He does incredible things for me like driving an extra 1000 miles just so I can spend a night in Pasadena with my best friend for her 30th birthday party before heading to Oregon.

24) I love having "discussions" with him, it keeps me on my toes. I still learn a lot from him during these discussions.

25) Watching him evolve as a daddy has been one of the sexiest things I could ever imagine. (Yes, sexy...darn sexy!)

26) I know every story he is about to tell within a sentence or two and have probably heard them two or more times. I love his charisma.

27) We have the same ideas on raising kids.

28) With a look we know what the other one is thinking.

29) We can be doing nothing or something really exciting and we still enjoy each others company.

30) We usually have one fight a year, and ooh its a doozy, but we make up and it is like nothing happened the next morning.

31) There are still things I don't know about him and every once in a while I am surprised by a new fact about my incredible husband.

32) He has the absolute best laugh of anyone I have ever known. EVER. If I am upstairs or across the room at a party I can hear him laughing and it never fails to make me smile.

33) I love his generous spirit. He is a giver, even if he knows it won't be reciprocated. He can't help it, he likes to keep people happy.

34) He is so handsome in that Danish viking way, a heritage he is very proud to call his own.

35) Getting a hug from him is the most wonderful feeling in the world: safe, secure, happy, in love, warm, and tingly all at once. Nothing like my barrel-chested husband wrapping his arms around me!

36) He is constantly striving to be a better man, to have a more positive outlook, to love our family, to listen more carefully and to pick his words consciously. I couldn't imagine my life without him in it. I appreciate how much effort he puts into making and keeping us happy. I know its not always easy, but he makes it look simple.

Happy Birthday Kev!! We love you!!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Dandelion Wishes

"I wish, I wish..."

Jameson calls dandelions "Wishing Fow-ers" and he picks them (and wishes on them) where ever we go. I am sure our neighbors love us! He is two in all its glory, (2 years 3 months today!) and most of the time I love it, however, other times (like today) are intense. I fully admit 2 is one of my favorite toddler years, am I on my own with that one? I love that he is talking more, his personality is emerging, but he is still my baby. When I ask him if he is a big boy, he says no, and then gives me a big cuddle. However, the flipside of that answer is that he doesn't want to wear "big kid undies" and prefers his "dia-der." We are working on being "potty trained" by the end of the summer. Keeping my fingers crossed.

Me and my little guy, what a cutie!

Apparently, I have been absent from the blogging world for some time now, as Kevin told me this morning my last post was February 07th. He has been telling me I need to blog for a few months. So, I gotta start somewhere, yeah? My excuse is that when we got back from Vienna I had a list of tasks and goals I wanted to get accomplished and the computer is one big distraction for me, also it just wasn't satisfying my need for "me time." Jameson also is obsessed with the computer, particularly the "photo booth" application which he calls "CHEEEEEEESE." Anytime I get out my computer he runs up to me and requests to "CHEEEEEEESE." So, I no longer get out the computer when he is around, unless I am distracting him with it.

One of his very own photobooth creations

We have had lots of fun over these past few months. Most of it has just been hanging out at the house, library or park, but we really enjoy that slow pace. We visited my family and lots of friends in Portland while Kevin took a trip back to Vienna. Kevin taught another quarter at the University of Denver, and it was a crazy one! We are very happy that summer has officially arrived. We planted our veggie garden full of lots of things we haven't attempted to grow before, so we shall see what works and what doesn't. The winter was long, both here and in Vienna, but FINALLY it seems like summer weather is here to stay. Jameson could stay outside from sun up to sundown, so we have been out and about a lot.

"Ow-siiide?" is a refrain I hear all day long.

"Jameson language" is finally beginning to take shape and we understand a lot of what he says. He calls himself "JJs" so I have begun calling him that too and he calls Kevin "Daddiss." He has troubles with "K's, L's, R's and in true German fashion V's (think, "willage" or "wegetables"). He recognizes letters and numbers like I can't believe. He will scream out a number and I will inevitably find it on some billboard or road sign. He loves matching things, two of anything and he tells me "It match!" He still loves his dogs and has taken to telling them, "NO "back-ing" over and over again. He says "soh-weee" (sorry) a lot, and I am not sure he knows what it means. He has gotten great at saying "pease and t'you." Yesterday he surprised me and said "X'cuse me" to Lulu, after we got home from a store-run and I had told him to say "excuse me" when he bumped into someone. He is a sponge and a master imitator, it is nuts to watch how quickly he absorbs stuff.

Tuesdays are by far his favorite mornings because that is garbage day. He gets SO excited to see the "Fruck" and yes this causes me much embarrassment when he shouts out his glee over seeing the "Fruck." We work very hard on the "t-t-t" sound, but when the excitement overtakes him its back to being a "fruck" (at its best, you can imagine the worst). In typical boy fashion he loves everything that goes: Cars, Trains, Planes, Scooters, Motorcycles and Bikes. We got him a Radio Flyer tricycle this last weekend. He absolutely adores it. It's the last thing he says before he goes to bed and one of the first things when he awakes. He was having a hard time pedaling the first day, but I think he dreamed about it, because in the morning he could totally pedal! And I have to say that I love the dorky helmet I make him wear when he rides his trike!

video

If you can't tell I think my son is pretty darn precious. We have been having so much fun lately and I love it. I will get better at posting more regularly, but until then have a great week!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Rocky Mountain Home

Yay! We are back! We made it back to Denver the evening of February 1st, and were very happy to put down our luggage, kiss our doggies and sleep in our big comfy bed. I anticipated that I would get much more done than I actually have managed to get done, jet-lag is no fun. Here are some good things and bad things about being back stateside.

Wake-up!
Jameson has decided that a wake-up time between 4:30 and 5:15am every morning is a brilliant time to rise and shine. I disagree, but dare I say am getting used to it? There is a lot that can get done in those witching hours. The upside to the early wake-up is a 6:15 bedtime. Too bad I am too tired after he goes down to do anything productive. Perhaps as the jet-lag begins to subside his normal 7:15 wake-up will return.

Traveling
Jameson loved all the traveling. The whole time we were on the train from Vienna to Munich he was saying "chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga-woo-woo." When he saw another train he would squeal in excitment, jump up and down and make sure that we also saw the train. He was a rockstar traveler on the plane, he was so happy to be on a plane, he had been ready since early morning rolling his backpack all over the hotel room. When we got to our seats he fluffed his pillow, took his blanket out of the plastic, sat down with his pillow behind him, his blanket on his lap and he attempted to buckle his seatbelt. I was laughing so hard. He looked so serious, and he was so excited to get seated. The only thing is that he chose the aisle seat. I let him sit there for a bit then moved him to the middle. He only slept for an hour of the 10 hour flight, but he didn't make a peep. Ok he made one peep, or rather angry squeal when he was two hours late for a nap and had barely eaten anything since breakfast, dinner was being served and I tried to get him to sit in his seat he let out a shriek that pierced my ears, but it last for 5 seconds and then he sat and ate his dinner. Have I mentioned how much I love my kid? For take-off he did his "Little Einstein" routine (i.e. "Pat, pat, pat" while patting his lap then "raise your hands above your head and shake your whole body" or something to that extent, it makes their rocketship take off) and he had to make sure Kevin and I did it too. You bet we did. He did great through customs in Chicago and then literally passed out on the plane to Denver, considering it was after midnight in Vienna I can't say I blame him! We were very happy to be home though with our travels behind us!

Sickies
The downside of traveling is the germs, the coughs, the flu that gets passed all around the airplane, and my boys were not immune to it. We were all coming down with a slight cold when we left Vienna, but with the stress of travel, staying up all night and trying to re-adjust to the time Jameson came down with a fever on Thursday night. I admit this was the longest illness he has ever had. He slept horribly and was restless all Thursday night, I was pretty sure he had a fever, but I didn't take his temp. I took it Friday morning and it was 102.1, not terrible, but certainly not comfortable. He was all things that go along with a fever: lethargic, hot, cold, uncomfortable, no appetite, and just wanted to be in my arms ALL day. That was just fine by me, but a little exhausting. He slept off and on all day and woke up about 8:30 pm. I knew he felt better when he immediately went to play his piano since he hadn't touched his toys all day. Kevin came down with the flu, body aches, headaches and a general yuckiness. The boys stayed in bed all Friday and both felt much better by Friday evening. Crossing my fingers that I don't get it next.

Big Kitchen
I love our kitchen with lots of counter space, and every utensil or machine we could possibly need. I wish we had a gas stove-top, but our electric range does the trick. The downside to all those utensils, machines and pots is the mess it makes when we cook. We had to stock up on all the basics since our fridge and pantry were empty empty empty. Groceries are SO expensive here, the same bag of groceries in Vienna that cost us 30 euros max. cost us closer to 80 dollars here. In the supermarket in Vienna it is incredibly easy to find organic items, and they are not that much more expensive maybe 10 cents to 1 euro more. One thing we were SO happy to have in our hands again was Udi's bread. Kevin missed the sliced bread and we have already gone through a loaf and a half. Toast, sandwiches, grilled cheese, yum!

Library
So happy to have my library back!! I had requested a number of books in the week before we left and they were waiting for me to pick up when we arrived home! Our outing on Tuesday was to the library. Jameson remembered all the toys they have in the toy area, and we checked out lots of books for him and ME. Happiness is the library!

Finally, my doggies
I love my dogs, love them in all their kookiness, and I miss them when we are gone. Jameson and Kevin missed them too. The first day or two Jameson wanted all three dogs with him at all times, in bed, his room, upstairs, downstairs. If we were playing in his room and only two of the three were there he would end up calling the third, usually Lu: "Woo-woo... Woo-woo..." I would hear him calling from all over the house. Leopold is "Bo-bo" and Lexi is "Yixi." Now he is having no problem disciplining them with the spray bottle for barking, and telling them to "Doh" (go) when they are sitting under the table waiting for spillage. When Leopold or Lexi come up to kiss him he says: "Ewwwww, nein, nein, nein." (nein=no in german). The dogs have learned to listen to him and follow him to the pantry because he feeds them kibbles one by one.


Changes
A few changes have taken place for us over the last month. After a lot of deliberation we decided to give up our apartment in Vienna. This caused a flurry of activity during the month of January and stressed me out beyond belief. It is the right decision for us, and it doesn't mean we won't be back in Vienna, just that we don't have a place to call home there. We have been trying to shorten our time in Vienna as the time change is very hard on Jameson, its rough on our dogs and Kevin and I don't like being apart for as long as was sometimes necessary. Its funny how much "clutter" can accumulate when we had a place to store it.

Also, we made the decision not to go to Costa Rica for our friend's wedding. This was a much harder decision. Overall, I am very happy that we aren't getting on another plane tomorrow for two weeks of traveling and feel like we got given an extra month that I wasn't expecting. We will go and visit the newlyweds sometime within the next year when our lives are a bit more settled.


We are so happy to be home, and I have a feeling once the laundry is done and the house is rearranged and cleaned how we prefer we will be even happier. We have lots of little projects on the books for 2010, and I am excited to get them going. Happy to be back in the same general timezone.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Animal Sounds

Here is a post to keep you satisfied until I get the mental energy to write up about our great Christmas and New Year. Jameson and I were just playing around with the photo booth, and he loves to see himself on video. I think its a fun one.
video