Thursday, June 30, 2011

Awww, Look at the Twins!...

Last night Ed and I took the boys to the grocery store so Ed could test out our new double stroller. He gave it the "thumbs up" after navigating through the busy market! I noticed a lot of people doing double takes and smiling and for two seconds I thought they might be admiring my swanky new stroller. Then I realized that the boys were sitting side by side in coordinating outfits. It was the old, "Awww, look at the twins!" looks we were getting. Makes me laugh every time. I am not me. A woman who dresses her NON twin children in matching or coordinating outfits is asking for it. *wink*

We went to the grocery store so I could pick up some things for our play/lunch date today! My friend, Elayne (whose shore house we stayed in a couple weeks ago) came over with her kids, Ali and Drew. We packed in a lot of fun!

The kids started off on the swingset. Ali loved the tire swing!
And drew quickly conquered the rock wall which was very impressive!
I brought our electric car out of the garage and the kids had a ball driving all over the place.
Brian even helped out when Drew couldn't get up the hill.

He loved having kids around to play with. He watched their every move.
Gavin was happy in the swing with Miss Katja pushing him.
After a little while we got the kids in their bathing suits and played in the pool on the deck. I didn't take any photos of pool time. You can address your complaints to the email on the right. The pool fun didn't last long before it was time for lunch! I made a salad that my Mom made for us not too long ago. It was regular bag Iceberg lettuce, sliced strawberries, Craisins, glazed walnuts and a Raspberry Walnut Vinaigrette dressing. It wasn't as good as my Mom's, but that's no surprise. *smile*
We had a nice time sitting on the deck. Gavin, especially, who laughed through most of his meal!

After the playdate was over, the boys went down for naps and I ran to the mall to pick up a bathing suit for the weekend. When I got home there was a message on my machine from Elayne. She had taken Drew to the YMCA for a class and she had to call me to tell me that there were only two other kids in the class with him. Two girls. Their names? Darcy and Claire. It made my day. Darcy has been on my mind quite a bit lately.

We may have to change our weekend plans! I won't know for sure until tomorrow when I get an ultrasound - but it's possible I will need to be home on Monday to pay a visit to the infertility doctor. I had forgotten that these injections speed up the process of ovulation! When I go in tomorrow morning they will check to see how my body is responding to the medication and come up with a plan. I really hope we don't have to come home early - but if we do, I hope it will pay off with a baby!! Ed and I and the boys may drive to New Jersey tomorrow and stay overnight in a hotel before meeting up with my family on Saturday. They can't check in to their house until 2pm on Saturday. Going down the night before means less 4th of July traffic and more time at the beach with the boys! We can't wait.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Whirling Dervish...

I did it!! Last night I headed back to Babies r Us and bought a new double stroller. I didn't think I wanted black - I was planning on getting green, which is my favorite color if you didn't notice. But I ended up going with black because, just like my clothes on a bad day, it hides stuff. Miss Katja was the first to test drive it this morning when she took the boys for a mile long walk. She said it rides like a dream - it felt like she was pushing air. And the boys seemed to like it, too! Don't they look comfy?

While they were out for their walk, I decided to blow up a baby pool I bought for them. And by baby pool I mean a pool that would fit 100 babies. This thing is HUGE!! I plugged a compressor into my car and sat down on the ground...
...for what seemed forever. I was out there for at least a half hour - if not more - when it dawned on me. This compressor is plugged into the cigarette lighter of my car. I had a sinking feeling as I reached in to turn the key. Sure enough...the battery was dead. Only me. Luckily, I have a newly retired - and very wonderful - neighbor who came to our rescue! He helped me with the car battery and then got his plug in compressor and filled up the rest of the pool! Dave Roberts, you are my hero.

I set the pool up on the deck on top of extra foam play mats we had. I wanted to set it up under the awning and away from any sticks or rocks on the grass. I also set up the water table at one end. Brian was a big help and by help I mean he made me laugh after my crazy morning. He couldn't wait to get splashing!
But it was Gavin who was the first in the pool - and the cold hose water didn't even seem to bother him!
Brian was more timid and started off playing nicely at the side with his toys...
...and only lightly splashing his hands in the water.
Gavin wasn't buying it. He was constantly bracing himself for the inevitable. He knew his brother was only getting started.
Sure enough - Brian got crazier and crazier. All he wanted to do was jump and splash and screech and splash some more...
He finally got in the pool and totally let loose.
Gavin was such a good sport!! I purposely got a HUGE pool so Gavin could have his "space" if he didn't want to be near his whirling dervish of a brother. He took all the splashing in stride and really had a great time.
At one point, Gavin fell backwards into the water. He was fine - Katja was able to grab him first and sit him up and he wasn't even phased. After it happened, though, I found myself wanting to calm Brian down. The more he splashed and acted crazy, the more I corrected him. But then I felt bad.
He was having such a great time - and the splashing is to be expected! But sometimes the splashing can get annoying - especially if it's right in his brother's face. I need to figure out how to help him understand what kind of splashing is ok - and which is not. That's a tough one!! I can't take away all splashing - that's just not fun.
We need to come up with a plan. I'm not looking to ruin Brian's pool time - especially if it's because I'm being overprotective of his brother.
Most of the time I realize that I don't need to protect Gavin that much - he can hold his own better than you'd think! But I worry...I can't help it.
I have some very exciting news!! My parents and my two sisters and their families rented a shore house all next week. We weren't able to join in because Ed was starting his new job and didn't have vacation then. But we are going to go down for the 4th of July weekend!! I can't wait for my parents to see Gavin and Brian on the rides...and at the beach. And I know the boys will be so happy to see all of their cousins. We're so excited!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Real Housewife of Valley Forge...

Ed's first day at his new job went really well. He came home with a new iPhone (lucky guy!), a new computer and optimism for his future. He also came home to a wife who had slaved in the kitchen, had every hair in place, lipstick on perfectly, pearls and heels on, and a hot meal ready to come out of the oven. The children were dressed and sitting politely at the kitchen table, ready for our first family meal. He dined on Spinach and Cheese Ravioli in a Blush Sauce.

I was a regular June Cleaver.
We made sure to take a picture...because this will never happen again.

I'm actually not feeling so great today. There are times when I have a flare of my Rheumatoid Arthritis and it actually feels like I have the flu. I feel totally worn out, tired and my whole body hurts. Believe it or not, I am writing this from my bed while the boys are napping. I'm just "off" today.

This morning Gavin and I went on an excursion! He accompanied me to Babies r Us to look at a potential double stroller. The one we have is a Graco DuoGlider front to back. It's nice, but it's pretty tough to push - especially when I'm having a day like today. I am wanting something lighter - and I'm also wanting something where Gavin doesn't have anything to bite on. In our current stroller, he is constantly wanting to mouth the tray and I don't want to encourage that.

So...Gavin tested out the Baby Jogger City Mini Double stroller. He liked how comfortable it was - and loved when I put the enormous sun shade down over him. It made him laugh out loud!
I liked how roomy it was - it would give Gavin plenty of room when he gets taller. I also liked that it wasn't too wide. I strolled through aisles and in between clothing racks easily. And, it folds down really flat for a double - another plus. Best of all, it was light and easy to push. If anyone has this, I'd love to hear your reviews!

Here's my free tip of the day. If you're buying a big ticket item at Babies r Us - like a stroller or a swing or a high chair - get the Buyer Protection Plan. It's the best thing going. I bought a double stroller two years ago. Ended up not liking it. Called the Buyer Protection number and they said, "No problem! Go buy the stroller you want - send us the receipt for the new and the original one - and we'll send you a check for what you paid for the original stroller!" They don't even ask why you don't like it...and they don't ask for it back! We ended up buying our current double and selling the original on Craig's List! Following me so far?

So, of course I got the Buyer Protection again for the second double. I've had it for almost a year. Used it a lot. I just think it's getting hard to push - and it's bulky in the car. So, I call today to the Buyer Protection place. I strike up a conversation with the nice woman on the phone. I'm expecting a business as usual conversation, but we somehow start talking about Gavin. She's intrigued by his story. I tell her I don't want to put him in a stroller that encourages him to mouth anything. Then she suddenly says, "Can you hold on a minute?" When she comes back on the phone she informs me that she re-did my plan. While we paid $249 for the double we have now - she refigured it so it looks like we paid $349. So when I go to buy a new stroller - I have up to $349 coming to me if I use all of that. I have no idea why she decided to do idea at all...but it sure was nice of her!!! Now I can upgrade our double stroller with the extra hundred bucks without feeling bad about it! And we can either sell or keep our current double! Not a bad deal, eh?

When we got home, Gavin and I went into the Hyperbaric Chamber. He hasn't done it in a while. It turned out that the first time Miss Katja went in with him it hurt her ears too much so she doesn't want to go in again. Since then it's been tough for me to fit in in - there was always something going on. I decided to take him in as much as I can - when I'm sure I couldn't be pregnant - until we come up with a better plan. I don't mind going in with him at all - but my arthritis does. I may or may not get benefit from being in there with him - only he gets the oxygen through his mask and it's the oxygen that is so healing. It's okay, though, since I know how good it is for Gavin. As usual, he was such a good boy while we were in there.

Well, I better get out of bed. The boys are awake and there are leftovers to prepare. Now, where did I put my pearls...

Monday, June 27, 2011

First Day...

What a whirlwind today was! First thing this morning I sent Ed off on his first day at his new job. After 19 years with the same company, this is quite a big deal! He passed on "first day photos", so you'll have to take my word for it that he looked great. I can't understand why he wouldn't let me have a photo shoot on his first day! *wink* The best part of this new job is a schedule that will get him home at a reasonable hour. Tonight we are having a family dinner at the kitchen table at 6:30. All four of us. Believe it or not, this will be a FIRST in our family. And we're hoping it will become the norm from now on. Exciting!!

After he left, I left. This morning I had an appointment with the fertility clinic so we could discuss - you got it - trying again with the injectables. Unfortunately, the doctor was extremely behind and I ended up wasting a couple hours there. Very annoying. We're staying with the same dose and I'm fine with that. We don't want quintuplets or anything!! I start my cycle tonight with the injections and go back on Friday to see how my body is responding. This HAS to be the month or I may have to resort to angry truck driver screaming in the back yard. My neighbors are now officially warned.

But, my frustration from the long morning didn't last. How could it when you have a happy, smiling face like this in your house?

I had plans today to do the Hyperbaric Chamber with Gavin, to change up all the photos in the frames in the house and to make a big batch of baby food - Yams, Brown Rice and more. I only got to the Yams - and I haven't even pureed them yet! This day has gotten away from me.

We had a surprise visitor this afternoon! Grannie came by to visit!! She wanted to be sure to see the boys before she left for their beach vacation this weekend. Brian, especially, was so happy to see his Grannie and was quite a show off. He was so crazy that he ended up sleeping right through the Early Intervention appointment!!
I could watch the boys sleep all day long. There's something so beautiful about a sleeping child!!

It was fine that he wasn't awake for the meeting. I was prepared to go into the appointment without him. I had all the answers to all the questions on their form and was ready for the service coordinator when she got here.
The appointment was just an intake so she could collect information about him to give to the actual evaluator. We lucked out that we were able to have Shelly assigned to us. She was Gavin's service coordinator for his three years in Early Intervention! We had a nice time catching up.

We set up another appointment on July 14th when she, a teacher and a speech therapist will come out to formally test and evaluate Brian. They will decide if he's eligible for services and if so, it's possible we could get Gavin's previous speech therapist Miss Jen! We would LOVE that. But - I am willing to bet that Brian is talking by July 14th. Anyone care to wager?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sometimes It Hurts...

I would say that 95% of the time I forget Gavin is "different". Seriously - I do! His peculiarities and his disability have become so normal to us that it's easy to forget sometimes that it's not normal. That he's not normal.

Today was one of those days that fell into that other 5% of the time. Gavin was difficult for some reason. He was sensory seeking all day long - thrashing around, drooling a lot, kicking. He wasn't upset - just couldn't be still! It made it hard to wrangle him during diaper hold him without feeling like he'd fall out of my get him strapped into his car seat...and he was extremely difficult to feed. It was during a meal that it hit me. When I was finally able to get some food into his mouth, he flung his head back and forth and food flew everywhere. I had a moment when it was hard to choke back the tears. Gavin is different...and it hurts.

But, he's super handsome! Check out his new short summer haircut...

Itching to get out of the house after naps, we took the boys to a furniture store. Even though I'm not ready for Brian to be out of his crib yet, we have started looking at bedroom sets for him. He definitely needs a bigger dresser STAT due to his parents shopping addiction. Our boys have WAY too many cute clothes.

We did see a set we really liked...
...but I couldn't imagine giving him a twin bed. They just seem so small to me!! Problem is, Brian's room is the smallest in the house. We need to do some measuring and re-thinking to be sure a full bed would work. I want to be sure he has room to play and read and just "be" in there! Stay tuned...we'll figure something out!

As I walked around the store excitedly looking at "big boy beds" for my 2 1/2 year old, my heart started to ache for my 3 1/2 year old. I have had zero desire to take Gavin out of his crib. He does such a great job pulling up and walking around holding the rails - I'd hate to take that joy away from him! But I think I'm changing my mind. Gavin's nurse, Miss Kim, has recommended a Sleep Safe Bed several times to me. She has one for her son and loves it! For a while, I rejected the idea - hating the thought of adding a "medical type" bed to his room. But I think I'm going to look into it. Gavin's insurance may even cover it! You can check them out on their website - I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I think what hurts sometimes is having to purchase "different" things that remind me that my child is "different". It's a glaring reminder. But I also have to remember that purchasing "different" things enables my child to feel normal. And at the end of the day, it really is all about him. Besides...every little boy deserves a "big boy bed", don't you think?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

God, I Love Being a Mommy...

Today was a very special day for me. I got to spend the whole afternoon with my little boy, Brian. It was so nice to be with him one on one and we had a LOT of fun.

Right after lunch we headed to a birthday party for a little boy named Robbie. Believe it or not, Robbie was a preemie at birth - only 2lbs, 4oz! He fought his way out of the NICU and is now this one year old stunner. A real miracle child with little to no issues at all! His Mommys, Kirsten and Jen, are good friends of mine and they have done an amazing job with this little boy. Is he cute, or what?
The party was fun! Brian even met a new friend named, Hannah, who was very motherly towards him. She wanted to feed him, help him, share with him - it was so cute.

Gavin spent the afternoon with his Daddy. Ed took him for a haircut for me, which was a big help - and then brought him home for a bath. Luckily, I was able to get squeezed in for Brian's haircut after we left the party. He was such a good boy for his cut that I decided a treat was definitely in order. (An excuse to prolong our fun date) We walked from the hair salon over to Rita's for an ice cream cone!

Being that this is only his second ice cream cone ever - I'm pretty impressed with his skills. He just gets right in there - and barely drips any on himself!
And when it got a little bit harder, he started using a spoon! Ingenious!

When we got home, we lingered outside for a little while. Our neighbors were washing the car so we paid them a visit and Brian jumped in the puddles from the hose. He also discovered his very first worm and picked it right up...skeeving his Mommy out pretty easily.

We said goodbye to the worm (gladly) and headed up for a fun bath. I love watching him line up his ABC foam letters on the wall. I don't help him at all - he knows the order!
And I was pretty impressed when he picked up a capital P and turned it around to use as a lower case d. Thank God he gets his genius like skills from his Mommy. *wink*

We packed a lot in to our day today... you can see.

He slept through his teeth brushing and his diaper change. I carried him up to bed and couldn't resist the opportunity to sit with him in the rocker. As he slept on my chest - and I fell asleep, too - I thanked God. I really do have everything I've always wanted. God, I love being a Mommy.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Let's Move On, Shall We?...

Last night after putting the boys to bed I got my cry on. It was a good, long lasting, therapeutic cry. And then...I was done. I woke up this morning and started a new day. I have a hard time curling up into a ball and cursing the Heavens when I have two little boys that were sent straight from Heaven into my arms! It's hard to mourn the babies I don't have...or did have...when the babies I DO have are smiling at me and looking to be entertained. So entertain them I did. This morning we had a lot of fun.

I filled up the water table on the deck and Brian instantly got into the spirit...
...Gavin braced himself, but stood his own against the Tsunami - er, I mean his brother. We played with bubbles that we got at the beach last week - huge, gigantic bubbles that come out of this big bubble shooter. It's pretty awesome!
Gavin did a good job standing for a while and playing in the water...
Brian took off exploring in the yard and even took a little time to smell the flowers. Shouldn't we all?
Then off we went to the swingset. Gavin and Brian both love to swing - the higher, the better!
And Gavin impresses me with how well he holds himself up - even when I'm pushing him hard.
After lunch, it was time for me. I rarely do things like this, but I booked a massage. Back in May, on the first anniversary of Darcy's birth, friends from my online playgroup sent me a very generous gift card from "Spa Finder". I decided to hold it and use it on a day that I was really missing my daughter. Today seemed like the perfect day. I'm grateful in times like this to have help here. I had no reservations skipping out and leaving the boys with Miss Katja, who they adore. And I am still so grateful to my "imaginary" friends who never forget me - they are my biggest supporters.

I chose a place called Antoinette Day Spa from the Spa Finder list. I got there a little early and sat in a lovely sun room with a good magazine while I waited. I even had a cup of tea, chosen from a beautiful cherry wood box lined with velvet. I felt pretty fancy (in my flip flops, shorts and glasses).
I had a wonderful, hour long massage. I surprised myself that I was able to relax and clear my mind. Many times I have laid on a massage table and made mental "to-do" lists...but not this time. In my mind the view was the same as it was when I opened my eyes...
I'm pretty sure I even snored. It was an hour of bliss to end out a blissful day.

I do believe that everything is going to be just fine.

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