Friday, February 27, 2015

night-float survival.

Dear future self,

Here is a survival guide for you to use during Greg's night float rotations.

Be forgiving.  Of yourself and others.  This is a rough adjustment time, and just because one day is smooth, the next two or three or four may not be.  It's no one's fault. Not Ray's for going to bed late because he wanted to stay up late with Greg on his day off.  Not Greg's for being exhausted. Not Jimmy's for being Jimmy. And certainly not your for being so perfect. Ha. Ha.

I could just stop there, but I know you need more info.

Movies and TV.  It's okay to have the tv (Roku) on all day.  There won't be anyone around in the evenings to help out, so just give yourself a break and know that vegging is ok. As you wean back off the kids will be miserable whiny brats and you will question this advice... trust me.  It's worth it.  They'd be whiny anyway.  Recommended tv shows for your own sanity (not too loud or obnoxious): Nature channel, Shaun the Sheep and Timmy Time, Octonauts, Tumble Leaf, Blue's Clues (Steve seasons), Pocoyo, and Trotro (if available). Shows to avoid during this time (too loud and obnoxious): Dora, Diego, Team Umizoomi, Wonder Pets--you will start thinking in song if you watch too much.  Recommended movies: Brave, Arthur Christmas (any time of year), Epic, The Lego Movie, Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro, Robin Hood, Big Hero 6.  Limit the following: Frozen (no matter how well you think you can sing).... that's it.

Food.  Whatever goes. Feed them Ramen for all I freaking care.  Peanut butter and jelly is always a hit, just make sure you stock up so you don't run out of jelly mid-week (eh hem). Hard boil all the eggs. Spaghetti and macncheese are great, add tuna or sardines if you want to be fancy.
Make sure you stock up on coffee.
And Publix Moose Tracks frozen yogurt.
messy chocolate face means he's well fed. and very very happy.

Dishes. Don't even try. Next time buy paper plates and bowls and plastic utensils and cups.
Don't. Even. Try.

Laundry. The most important things are Greg's clothes: scrubs, socks, underwear and undershirt.  You and the kids have enough to wear, especially since you're vegging out in front of the tv.  PJs all day is totally cool too. Trust me. Everyone is jealous they can't lounge around in PJs.  Heck, get some yoga pants and be all PJs in disguise!

Shower and Baths. You *should* shower every day.  The kids can wait a week to bathe.  Unless they have a doctor or dentist appointment.  Then simply use babywipes and give them a good wipe down. Brush teeth before bed. Stock up on babywipes.

Exercise. You did? Hurray for you (you're crazy)!!!  You didn't? Hurray for you (you're doing great)!!!  If you can walk the .5 mile to the mailbox then WOW!!!! I'm so proud of you for taking the kids outside to wave goodbye to Greg!!! It's wonderful to stay in the house.  Getting outside always makes you feel better, but if you can't because you're in your PJs for the third day in a row, it's ok... work on showering and getting into a fresh pair of PJs.  See under "Laundry" about yoga pants.
indoor exercise. hurray! 

Creativity.  Let the kids be bored.  That will make them do something you haven't thought of, like when Ray wanted to paint because he was tired of watching shows, or when Jimmy ate the cardboard blocks and played put the toys away because they were all over the floor and he didn't know what else to do, or when they both played with puzzles by throwing the pieces as fireballs or playing animals with the farm one, or when they bring out books for you to read. You will want to occupy yourself with something like doodling, or reading, or blogging about all of the nothing you are up to, or knitting something small.... so Jimmy can't play with the big blanket you are working on.  And be sure to fix any stitches he yanked off the needles asap. Otherwise you may forget what you were knitting (eh hem).

Miscellaneous. Lights off and/or doors shut to any room the kids cannot go without supervision. The bathroom is not a good place to store your bike. The small black bike grease fingerprints on the toilet lid and tub are difficult to clean. And Jimmy has probably licked his fingers clean of it. Tape Greg's blackout curtains to the wall for best light blocking abilities.  Turn on the bathroom fans to drown out the movies, shows and fireball throwing in the living room.  Stuff towels under the doors to the cave.  Lock the doors to Greg's cave so you won't go bother him, like to ask him if it's ok to buy your own blog domain (toniellen.com).  You may, however, leave one door open for emergencies... like to ask him if there's a bug crawling on you.

Stock up on water bottles. 
Sometimes you may want to curl into a ball and 
video
couldn't resist.
and that's okay too.

I hope this helps you, future self.
Make sure to pray. 
Give and receive lots of hugs, kisses and compliments. 
Please edit this later if you have anything to add.
Love,
Toni


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finish line.

Get ready to exhale. We're almost done with three weeks of night float.  17 down, 1 more to go.

I'm scared to even type this, but this week has been relatively drama free for Greg. He got to exercise last night and got 4 hours of sleep.  Amazing.

And the bug guy came today. Yesssssssssss!

Yesterday I took Jimmy to a follow up appointment at the dentist's office while Greg slept here watched Ray at the house.  Jimmy and I played in the waiting room for a while where he found the largest stuffed animal he'd ever seen in his whole little life.  Jimmy loves stuffed animals. He loves snuggling and burying his whole face into stuffed animals. When Ray isn't around to wrestle, Jimmy grabs the nearest softie and body slams it, pinning it to the ground, then his whole body gets all floppy and rests for a minute on the toy... then he picks it up, walks a few steps and does it again.
Joyful. Ecstatic. Thrilling. I wish you could hear his laughter.
 he then wrapped the bear's arms around him. big. bear. hug.

They called us back and the dentist assured me that in spite of my failure to complete the required lip stretches 3-6 times a day(Jimmy is such a fighter, I've started swaddling him to just brush his teeth... and it's still a challenge), Jimmy's frenum looked great and had not reattached. We have another appointment in a few weeks to check out his cavities. 

The rest of the day was pretty uneventful.  I came home and found Ray in the dark cave sitting next to a sleeping Greg, playing on the iPad. I took the kids to "Chicken-Lay" as Ray calls it. Later we walked around the lake to feed the birds.  We went to the only poop-free zone in the apartment complex. We ran around playing tag and threw fireballs at each other and tried the little beanbag toss game. Jimmy walked and fell and walked and fell. 

Fun times all around.

PS-  Big Hero 6 has played multiple time since I started writing this post - sorry if I rambled a lot.  I discovered that even though our rental time ran out, I can pause, rewind, and play it indefinitely as long as I don't click out of the screen.  We may have it memorized by the end of the day. Now I want chicken wings with the hot sauce that makes your face melt off.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

drama queen.

Do you ever have those days where you are just plain crabby all day long?  You feel sorry for anyone that even looks at you because you're pretty sure they will get the death stare? Or maybe feel like crying for no reason at all, which makes you even crabbier because you're about to tear up in front of a total stranger?

I was a total drama queen on Sunday. 
If you want to know the horrible truthful details, read on.  Otherwise spare yourselves and leave this page. Now.

I couldn't think straight all morning. I was so exhausted. I had a deep dark sneaking suspicion that my dear husband, who woke up with the kids at 7:00am in spite of falling asleep at only 5:00am and who made breakfast for the family, put two scoops of coffee in the french press instead of three.  That thought bothered me and no matter how much coffee I drank, I couldn't wake up and I was so upset I was literally on the verge of tears all day. 

Sunday, the rest of you were probably tramping in the snow.  I sat in the sand and the sun moping about where I had to sit on the beach (the sand was too wet and the dryer sand was too far away from Greg and the kids.... I know I know.... drama mama).  Multiple accusations flew back and forth about somebody not taking of their grumpypants. And grumpypants are never ever allowed on beach trips. You try verbally admitting you have on grumpypants and see if you don't have to restrain a giggle to keep them on.

I thought I was in a better place on the drive home.  Then, Greg asks, "You wanna stop and get some Bold Bean coffee?" My heart skips a beat, "Yes. That sounds so wonderful."  And of course I couldn't stop there.  I had to know... "Speaking of coffee, um, how many scoops did you use this morning." Greg says, "Two. Why? How many do you normally put in?" 
Sniffle. Sniffle.
"ThuhReeeHeee!!!" I sobbed.
Then he says my coffee isn't better, but it is definitely comparable to Bold Bean's (my favorite coffee place) and that I can even get more than one coffee if I want... AND that he's going to use three scoops from now on.  And sings "Everything is awesome!"

He's wonderful.

Monday rolls around and he comes out of the bathroom and says, "What do you think?" And I see his beard is shaved and his hair is buzzed and I say, "Looks good."
Then he turns around and I see the back and I start laughing."It looks like Wolverine cut your hair!" I can't stop laughing at the gigantic stripes in the back of his head.
He says he's not a perfectionist like me.
I tell him I should let him go ahead and go to work like that.  He says, "The buzzer did seem to be gouging more than normal." I grab an extra mirror and show him the divots all lined up in the back.  He starts laughing and says, "Oh wow! I didn't know it was that bad.  I thought you were just being a drama queen!"
Not that time!
Yes, I fixed it. 

Jimmy just made me spill my wine and jasmine green tea all over my keyboard
And me. And the floor.
Ray's picking up his toys now.
Tue, 7:29 PM
I've killed at least 10 roaches since you left btw.
Tue, 7:48 PM
I hope you have a good night.
Tue, 8:04 PM
Hope it gets better babe
Greg
 • 
Tue, 8:06 PM
Ray's picking up a billion toys
I love you.
I'm so tempted to take the kids to publix to get wine and ice cream
Tue, 8:09 PM
I love you. Go for it. Get some frozen yogurt
Greg
 • 
Tue, 8:10 PM
I'm so upset about the bugs. I feel like you don't care or get it.
I don't have to kill 10 bugs everytime I cook:. I'm going to start putting them in your food.
Every one I kill while I'm trying to cook for my family I will line up their carcasses and show you
Tue, 8:12 PM
I care babe.
You can call the complex people
Greg
 • 
Tue, 8:13 PM
No. I want you to call because you care so much.
Tue, 8:14 PM
Ok I can call tomorrow
Greg
 • 
Tue, 8:14 PM
Really? ?
Tue, 8:22 PM
Yep
Greg
 • 
Tue, 8:23 PM
I bought bacon wine and moose tracks frozen yogurt
Tue, 8:47 PM
Yumm
Greg
 • 
Tue, 8:48 PM
And he called and it's all better... of course... because it's always ok.  
This drama queen is glad she isn't one at the moment.... I am thinking maybe I should give it up for Lent?

PS- Sorry there's no pics today.  I was too busy pouting to take any.

PPS- Just snapped this :)

Saturday, February 21, 2015

bacon cabbage.

Ray loves purple (red) cabbage.
I love all types of cabbage.
Everyone loves bacon.

Why not combine them?

I found this braised cabbage recipe. Being the recipe follower that I am (I'm not...at all) I decided to give it a go.  My version is easier. And I took pictures. That's really the only reason I'm writing this. Ray says it is, "Mmmm. Delicious, Mommy!"

Ingredients:
onion
garlic
red and green cabbage
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1tbsp hot sauce
1. make 8+oz of bacon and eat (not shown)
2. drain bacon fat into pot (not shown)
3. thinly slice onion and garlic clove and cook the over medium heat and don't burn the garlic
4. thinly slice red cabbage and throw it in with the onions, garlic and bacon fat

5. thinly slice green cabbage and stir it in, along with the vinegar and hot sauce 
Eat it now. Or let it cook for a while to soften up. 

for the gate i thank you, thank you, greg 
ray creating new ways to watch octonauts

Feel free to add more onions and garlic and hot sauce and bacon fat and hot sauce. I used what we had on hand. 
Note to self: buy more Cajun Sunshine. 

Friday, February 20, 2015

we're limping.

..to the finish line.
It's night #12 out of 18.
One more week after tonight and we'll be free. I feel like The Little Engine That Could before she crossed the ridge of the mountain, "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can."

After next week Greg is taking a whole whopping week off; a stay-cation, if you will.
This morning I asked Greg, "When this is over, will you please babysit for me for like 30 minutes a day?" He said, "Honey, I'll babysit for at least an hour every day for you."

I think I can. I think I can.

Greg installed our baby gate this morning (again). He had to DIY the extension and the first time he did it the screws weren't long enough. It worked for two wonderful days and then Jimmy ripped the whole thing out of the wall.  He used 3" screws this time and it works great.
how long you think before jimmy discovers he can crawl under it
Today was rough.  As soon as Greg went into the bedroom Jimmy started crying and didn't stop until his nap.  He woke up crying and didn't stop for another long spell. I think it's part from his mouth pain, even with ibuprofin, but the majority could be attributed to the installation of the baby gate.  He's a little, um, pissed off about it. You see, he loves the kitchen.  He loves getting into the pantry and pouring noodles on the floor, he loves emptying the dishes from the dishwasher - clean or dirty - and eating old specks of food off the dirty dishes, and his new favorite thing is chasing bugs around the kitchen. They tend to hang out whenever I make bone broth. I've been making it a lot.  There's plenty of them to chase.

I think I can. I think I can.
jimmy's swollen duck lip
I know it's Lent and many of you are limiting your "tech time" (eh hem, Mom). I have a confession: the tv has been on for an obscene amount of time this week and I am so grateful for our Roku. Ray watches the Octonauts and Tumble Leaf and The Magic Adventures of Mumfie. They're the only television shows I can handle listening to all day.  We also watch The Lego Movie a loh-hoh-hot.  In fact, Ray will come up to me with a makeshift sword in hand and say, "Mommy, you be Lord Business and I be Butrubius: Your robots are no match for a master builder, for I see everything! Ah! My eyes!" Then we continue sword fighting and reciting the remainder of the opening scene.  Then we do it again, over and over. 

I love it.
We also play rescuing injured stuffed animals, like the Octonauts. Let's just say it involves lots of bandages.

And let's not forget Ray's new favorite toy.
it's fishy thumb (please, you try drawing a fish on a medical exam glove), daddy, ray, mommy and jimmy pinkie. but ray just uses the rest of us fingers as his arms and legs.


Thursday, February 19, 2015

frenectomy friend.

It's done.  Jimmy's lip tie is cut.  The office was 40 minutes away, our appointment was at 8:00 and we showed up 5 minutes early, thankyouverymuch.  That's a miracle. Seriously. I arrived a month early for my birth and 3 minutes early for my wedding... I'm late for everything else. I dressed the kids last night so I wouldn't have to get them ready this morning -- thank you Aunt Marye and cousin Anna for that brilliant idea! I even made Ray sleep in his shoes.
will someone please tell me what that white thing is
The nurse explained logistics to me before the doctor came, so I knew what to expect as far as holding Mr. Squirmy while his tie was assessed.  He has a lip tie and slight tongue tie. His front four teeth have cavities (ugggghhhhh). The doctor said they are manageable though and that if we are good with brushing then they shouldn't decay any further (farther?). He explained that the tie prevents fluid from draining properly away from the front teeth.  Breastmilk pools there, breaks down, and leads to cavities.  Jimmy's tie was thick and it prevented me from even brushing his teeth properly.  He's a breastfeeding advocate and made it clear that it is not breastfeeding or nightfeeding alone, rather breastmilk + tie = environment for cavities.
it's attached to the wall

I laid Jimmy on the examination chair. It had small vertical padded sides on either side of his head, a restraint strap for his head, soft velcro restraints for his arms, a mesh cocoon wrap with velcro and another buckle strap, and leg restraints which he kicked out of right away. After he was tucked in the nurse put little green swimming goggles on him.

The nurse numbed his lip with gel. Jimmy screamed the whole time he was restrained; I tool his socks off and rubbed his toes and I think that comforted him.  The doctor came in and gave him two injections on either side of the midline on his upper gums.  Jimmy's screams reached their highest pitch at that point and I know that he felt those shots more than anything else.  That was probably the worst part for me as well, and I found comfort in the thought of Mary watching her son's suffering, and I tried to give my suffering to them. The nurse then pulled back his upper lip while the doctor used small green laser - think ultra fine point sharpie pen - to separate his skin tie from his gumline. There was barely any bleeding and it took maybe two minutes to actually perform the frenectomy.

Then it was over. And Jimmy wanted to play with Ray. He's been smiling ever since.
I can't hide it and I have no idea what it's for

Ray sat in a corner of the room and played Angry Birds on my phone the entire time. Greg wasn't able to make the potential hour long drive after his night shift. He came home and cleaned the kitchen for me instead. And bought me flowers... and bacon. Yummmmmm

Jimmy's latch is already better. He's happy... I'm happy. We have an appointment in a month to check his cavities and see how they're doing.I'm so thankful that I have friends who told me about lip ties and cavities.

PS - I asked my guardian angel to wake me up and sure enough I woke just before my 6:00am alarm. It was wonderful!

Monday, February 16, 2015

smile please.

Baby carries, cavities, tooth rot.... call it what you will, we have it and it's not pretty.

Whenever I'm home, away from the outside world, my sons smile and their beautiful faces beam and I am so thankful they are alive and well.  The house can be a terrible mess with yesterday's food... or the day before yesterday's food caked to the floor and last week's laundry still unfolded, and my boys smile and laugh (or cry, whatever) and I am so thankful they are alive and well.

Whenever I'm in public and Ray smiles, a part of me cringes.  Inside I pray they don't ask about his teeth.  Kids are smart.  Ray would know right away if someone was talking about him.  I took him to the dentist about two weeks ago.  Later that night Greg told him that his teeth were, "looking so good!" Ray got very serious and said, "No, Daddy.  My teeth are very sick."

I never told him that.  I thought that was a brilliant way to word it though.

Ray's going to have extensive dental work done over the next few weeks.  His front four teeth will be gone and his two first year molars will be capped with some high tech stainless steel stuff.

Now Jimmy's showing early signs of it.

Why does this happen? I could give you every potential reason I've heard, but it doesn't matter. I really don't know why. It feels like it all boils down to I didn't do a good enough job. I wasn't as careful as I should have been.  I feel like it's my fault and it breaks my heart.  It breaks Greg's heart.

Jimmy has a lip tie that never interfered with nursing, so we never needed to get it fixed.  Now that the carries are starting to appear I know it's not a factor that I will let slide.  Thursday I am taking him to a consult with a dentist and (hopefully) get a frenectomy. I pray that will be the end of his dental issues.

The kids are thriving.  Jimmy is running around and Ray is such a wonderful big brother.  He takes good care of Jimmy and they've been enjoying a playhouse and scooter we found on the side of the road yesterday (yay for free toys!).  I had lots of teeth pulled when I was little because my roots never dissolved.  I didn't know that kids pulled their own teeth out.  I thought everyone got teeth pulled each time they went to the dentist.  I wasn't even scared of the dentist.  I know the kids will be fine.  I just needed to get this off my chest.

Thanks for "listening". I'm smiling again :)
I'll leave you with our family's favorite verse.
"Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing?  Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them." 
Matthew 6:25-26

goofy Jimmy running blind due to bowl in mouth, 
Ray chasing him

Thursday, February 12, 2015

free coffee.

Chick-fil-a is giving away free small and medium coffees this month. Guess where we've been at least once every day this week? Monday it was raining so I took the kids to the playplace to play. The equipment is a little too big for Ray and waaaay too big for Jimmy, so really I took myself to the playplace to climb and play.  Thankfully there were no other kids (or adults) there.
Yesterday I went through the drive through and got three medium coffees and the teller asked, "Are there three people in your car?" I shamelessly replied, "Yes." Jimmy and Ray like theirs black, just like Mommy.

Greg is on three weeks of  night float. It hasn't been that bad... for me, anyway.  He comes in around 9:30am bearing two coffees.  He plays with the boys for an hour and I get to shower. He disappears in his deep dark cave and we don't see him again until 5:30 or 6:00pm when the sun is setting, and then we all sit down and have a rather normal dinner together. Kids, daddy may be turning into a vampire for good.

The bike has been resurrected from storage, yayayayay!!! After I drove through Chickfila for free coffee we came home and I packed us all up on the bike and we rode to the park  It was a whole lot faster than walking, and the kids were awake the whole time.  We had a lot more playtime.  I was more energized too.  Ray loves to play tag and dragons and we pretend to be benders... he throws fireballs while I dodge them with my awesome airbending skills.
about 5 seconds later Jimmy found a giant chew stick
about 5 seconds later Jimmy climbed to the tippy top

 Today will be 70 and beautiful. We're getting outside... as soon as Greg brings me coffee.

Monday, February 9, 2015

jimmy's one.

It's official. Jimmy's one today, the same day that Greg started his night float rotation. This weekend was an extended birthday party for Jimmy.  Saturday we took the kids to the beach because that's Jimmy's favorite place to eat (the kid loves sand... no idea) and we were going to do presents and cake then, only I hadn't baked the cake and the presents weren't wrapped... so we rescheduled for Sunday at the park!

Jimmy loved every minute of it. He beamed all weekend. He walked all over the beach chasing seagulls and splashing his chubby legs in the cold waves. At the park he plopped his butt down and kicked dirt angel wings in the mulch with his legs, and ate some pinestraw and grinned from ear to ear.  He also marched around church like he owned the place and squealed all through Mass for the fun of it. The pope recently said, "God’s voice is in a child’s tears: they must never be kicked out of church."  Beautiful.  But Greg still had to take him out because it was hilarious.  I couldn't stop laughing.  And then during the consecration I look over and see my Mass buddy, Ray, suspended like a bridge between our pew and the back of the pew in front of us and he boasts, "Mommy, I'm doing my essercizes!"  I was trying so hard not to laugh I couldn't even tell him to get down. And it didn't help that he kept trying to get me to acknowledge his accomplishment, "Mommy, Mommy, looooooook! My essercizes! I'm a bridge!! Whus so funny, Mommy?"

yes, it was cold. he didn't care
Ray carried Sea Snail all day until he had to go home...to the sea
nom nom nom nom

And just for kicks, here's a few pictures from the week Jimmy was born. The week the snowstorm came and our power went out and we lay awake huddled in the office on the floor listening to transfomers exploding and heavy frozen branches dropping all around us, crushing our patio chair and bending the roof of our car. The week we left everything behind and stayed with my family and drove back home with a car full Mom's homecooked meals to replace what we lost from the power outage.
The week Norm the Flowerhorn died. Poor Norm. He. just. couldn't. get. warm. 
It was the most exciting week of Jimmy's life.
 poor Greg who had Norm's burial responsibilities... and I promised him I'd never ever get another pet fish.
proof that Jimmy was a brunette