Monday, July 30, 2012

The theme of last weekend

I'll give you a hint...

Yes, that's right, we started POTTYTRAINING!

So when I make a decision to do something, I go all out.  Clearly evidenced by the above picture.  I get mildly obsessive and determined and potty training is no different.  Enough so that I was still singing Elmo's potty songs in my head the rest of the week "You can do it, you'll use the potty!"  And every single one of my dreams the night following involved potty chairs, peeing, accidents, etc.  I'm surprised I didn't wet the bed with all that I was thinking about urine.

My mom swore by Potty Training in One Day.   She swears it worked for me and so I decided to give it a try.  We had bought Barrett some underwear a few months ago and talked to him about going in the potty.  He sat on it every day at daycare when the other kids did, would jump up and say "I did it!" but he hadn't done anything.  We backed off a little and set a date for when we would try.  I got the book about one day potty training from the library, along with a bunch of other children's books and dvds.  So we had a plan.  I was really nervous leading up to it, since I hadn't done it before and wasn't sure I knew what I was really doing.  Barrett is super smart but can also be quite strong-willed so it could be either a hit or a bust. 

What I did:  I bought juice, fun straws, multiple packs of stickers, balloons and streamers to decorate the bathroom and make it a fun experience, and m&ms.  I also bought a Potty Scotty doll.  This is an anatomically correct wet-and-drink doll; I cringed while ordering it due to the hefty price tag (like $40) but I figured with Barrett not really understanding what was supposed to happen on the toilet, the doll would help.  Plus that's the price of a pack of diapers, so if it worked, we'd be saving money in the long run, right?

But thankfully it's all paying off because Barrett is doing AMAZING.   The gist is that the morning is spent concentrating on "potty training" the doll.  So Scotty had accidents, went in the potty and got stickers and treats all morning.  Meanwhile I pumped Barrett full of juice.  Just before lunch, Barrett started saying he wanted to go so sure enough, he did!  The first time I saw him go on the potty, I almost cried. Yes, seriously.  And he has continued to go since then.

Now, a week later, he has gone without an accident for the last few days.  I am so proud.  I really think we did this at exactly the right time, that the doll was key and that he's just a smart little cookie who wants to please us (sometimes)

We're not there yet but are on the right track and I'm thrilled with his progress.  I really never thought he'd take to it so easily so I am relieved.  I'm sure I'm jinxing it by saying this, of course.  Hoping he keeps this great progress up!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Update on Audrey

One thing I don't talk about much is Audrey's cleft palate.  Part of me doesn't like to talk about it with people because I don't want people to dwell on her birth defect.  It's not something that I just immediately say about her to people so most people aren't even aware that she has this problem.  It's not that I'm ashamed of it, but more that it doesn't define her and so I don't want people to see her as the baby with the deformity.  I am even more protective of her than I was with Barrett and I'm pretty protective of him. 

Another reason I don't talk about it much is that I really don't think about it much.  The palate is just another part of what makes Audrey Audrey.  The same as the way she drools, the way she chews on my necklaces, the way her hair is growing in so crazily.  It's not anything I have control over or can pick and choose, it's just another thing that makes her her.

We do still deal with daily issues with this palate issue so it's not like I can ever forget she has it.  Her drooling is beyond excessive.  The girl can soak through a bib and her shirt all the way down to her diaper in under 10 minutes.  She also still has days where she just doesn't want to eat.  I don't know if she's that way because of her cleft or if she'd still be that way nonetheless.  And I'm still dealing with pumping 5x/day so it's not like I can easily forget that!

She's still a petite little thing.  When we took Audrey in for her 6 month checkup (2 weeks late, so she was really 6 1/2 months), she weighed about as much as Barrett at his 4 month appointment - and he is/was a little thing too.  The doctor raised some concern but I'm trusting my momma instincts again and I think she seems fine and proportionate so I'm not getting too worked up about it.  Most days she's eating in the range of amount she's supposed to be eating (25-30oz).

One thing I do think she's behind in is communicating.  I can't really remember what "normal" babies are supposed to be "saying" at this age.  But she hasn't made much progress beyond the normal baby squeals and coos and vowels sounds.   She's definitely going to be a lot slower in talking, so that's expected.  I am taking her in to her speech pathologist this month to see if there's anything I should be working on to help her out in the meantime and to have her check Audrey out.

We will probably schedule her surgery for the end of this year.  It's tough to think about the surgery and aftermath because I know it's going to be brutal for all of us.  I really don't know yet what the recovery will be - I've heard horror stories of sleep and eating being messed up for weeks but then I've heard positive stories of quick recoveries too.  On one hand I want to put it off as long as I can because I am dreading seeing her in pain and I want to be sure her little body can withstand the surgery and anesthesia.  But on the other, it'd be nice to do it sooner rather than later for her speech and so she's younger when she has to go through such a traumatic event. 

I never imagined that we'd have to deal with a major surgery on our little baby.

The next steps are to take her to the Speech Pathologist on her cleft team at the end of this month.  She'll assess her weight and her speech and probably give me some techniques to try.  We may also reach out to the county's Early Intervention program and see if this is something that she would qualify for and would make sense for us to utilize.  I hear that the speech therapists come to your home, which might make sense for us and our crazy schedules.  Hopefully we can get her surgery scheduled at some point too, so we can start planning around that. 

One thing I recently heard from another cleft-affected baby's mother was that God makes no mistakes.  I loved that!  Our baby is absolutely perfectly made by Him and there's a reason our little girl has this cleft.  I know it'd be so much easier if she didn't have it.  But I try not to think of it that way - even when I'm pumping, even when I'm washing what feels like a hundred bottle/pump parts every day, even when I take her to all these doctor's appointments.  Our little girl is such a gift and this cleft is just one more (hopefully temporary) part of her.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Monday - I made bbq pulled pork in the slow cooker. 
The recipe is:
2 1/2-3 lb pork roast
1 can diet Dr. Pepper
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons dry ground mustard
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
bbq sauce
whole wheat hamburger buns

Night before prep:  I pretty much prepare everything the night before.  I trim the pork, chop the onions, and throw the onions, garlic, and pork seasoned with the ground mustard into the slow cooker and place in the fridge.  The next morning I add the soda, vinegar and worcestershire sauce to the cooker and cook on low all day.  When I get home, I shred the pork with a fork and pour bbq sauce on top (we really like Sweet Baby Ray's Sweet 'n Spicy).  Put onto buns and serve - delicious!  We had this with green beans.  Barrett did not eat this.

Tuesday - The pork makes plenty of meat so there's enough for several meals - score!  Tim had pulled pork sandwiches again but I decided to mix it up and make a salad.  I pulled some greens from the garden, chopped up red pepper, sliced red onion and hard boiled egg and poured bbq chicken on top with some lite ranch dressing.  Barrett ate a hardboiled egg with some ranch dressing on it but refused the bbq pork again.

Wednesday - Linguine with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
photo from linked website
So good.  We used fresh basil from the garden and it was a nice use of the huge bag of pine nuts and huge jar of sundried tomatoes that we bought at Costco a while ago. It did require some day-of prep, with roasting the pine nuts and garlic and slicing the sundried tomatoes.  I probably could have done this the night before to eliminate some of the work to make it. Even B ate this and said "yummy in the tummy."  I made a little extra so have it for lunch on Thursday too - even though we were both eying the extra that night! 

Thursday - Crockpot Rotisserie-Style Chicken.  I had bought a whole chicken a few months ago when it was on super-sale at the grocery store and it's been taking up space in my freezer for far too long.  So I decided to get that bird out of the freezer and into our bellies! 
I did as much prep as I could the night before - preparing the seasoning and cutting the fat and skin off the bird.  I suppose that part isn't necessary but I prefer a skinless bird  and would rather take the time to trim it.  This did take a while and was pretty disgusting. 
Total fail too, in that the bird wasn't completely frozen so I had to thaw it overnight in the fridge to finish thawing the inside and had to clean it out, stuff it with some onion and garlic chunks on Thursday morning.  I hate dealing with dinner in the mornings so I wish I could have avoided this with better planning.  But it'll hopefully be worth it to have dinner ready when we get home tonight.  I'll serve it up with a side of veggies.
photo from

 Friday - I am sure we'll have a lot of chicken leftover from Thursday so will be able to make something with this for Friday night's dinner - maybe some pasta with chicken or something.  And then I possibly can make chicken salad for Saturday's lunch as well, if there's still enough left.  

As a sidenote - Sunday I made sweet potatoes in the slow cooker (boy, I could really be an ad for the slow cooker this week apparently!)  I just poked them with a fork and threw them in with a splash of water and cooked on low for about 5 hours, turned up to high for the final hour to finish them off.  We ended up eating them like this and then I pureed the rest for Audrey.  (And believe it or not, she is actually eating them!)  This was my first time making these in the slow cooker and I plan to do it a lot more!  They were delicious and simple.  I haven't used the programmable option on my slow cooker yet but will definitely use it for these. 

Patriotic babies

Well, this 4th of July was a bit of a bust unfortunately.  Due to my hectic work schedule, I had to work the entire weekend before and the day of (blech).  So we couldn't do anything fun - no cookouts, no fireworks, no festivals, nada.  It turned out to be okay, I guess, because the weather was so stinking hot that no one wanted to do much of anything anyway.  Like 100+ degree temps.  Some of the towns cancelled their fireworks because of the drought we're experiencing and also some parades due to lack of power.  (We'd had some massive storms roll through the preceding weekend and some towns lost power.)

So Tim was on kid-duty and I assigned him the job of taking at least a few photos to document the holiday.

Here are my patriotic kiddos!

Audrey was so in the spirit that she even woke up that morning with a raging red rash on her cheek.  Now that she's rolling to her tummy to sleep sometimes, we think she's sleeping with her face in her drool.  Poor thing! 

And clearly Daddy was in charge of getting the kids ready, which explains the crazy hair!  I guess they were celebrating Independence Day with some independence from the hairbrush.  :)

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Audrey - Seven months

Audrey is now seven months.  She still seems to me like such a little peanut but I look at other kids her age and they seem so old.  I'm not sure if she just seems younger or if I'm delusional.

We've continued on with food and sure enough, she's following the anti-food patterns of her older brother.  We tried carrots, peas, and butternut squash.  She's not so impressed.  I am pretty bummed because I was hoping that this time around we might not have the food struggles we had last time.  But alas, we do.  I say I got good sleepers and terrible eaters, but I'll take that over the reverse.  Her eating patterns are the same, about 5 or 6 bottles per day of 5-6oz.  She still isn't an enthusiastic drinker and seems like she'd be perfectly content just not eating all day.  Silly goose. 

She loves to sit and is a little rolling machine.  Every time we put her down on her back, she rolls over onto her belly.  She's also big into pushing herself backwards while she's on her back to scooch.  Little mover and shaker!  It makes diaper changes more challenging.  She is so curious and reaching for EVERYTHING.  She bends forward as far as she can to reach for anything in the vicinity.  Her favorites are my necklaces.  Oh my goodness, does this little girl love my jewelry.  We had family photos taken and I had to take off my necklace because she wouldn't look up or let it go long enough to get a single photo.  A little girl that loves jewelry - just after my heart!

When she found out she could rock the chair by shifting her weight, she started going crazy, bouncing up and down and rocking it back and forth so fast!

Her hair continues to get longer.  I can't tell what color it's coming in underneath yet.  It looks very blond at times but also looks kind of light brown, so we'll have to wait and see.  Her newborn dark hair just keeps growing and growing so I have to pin it back with a barrette every day or it hangs down below her eyes in her face.  It's funny because I'm so used to seeing her with the ever-present bow in her hair that when we don't put it in, she looks so different to me, with long bangs hanging in her face and her mop of hair. 

She continues to be an amazing sleeper.  She falls asleep with her final bottle around 8:15-8:30 and I carry her sleeping little body up to bed.  If she happens to be awake when I lay her down, the musical seahorse does the trick and she puts herself to sleep.  Then during the week, I wake her up around 7am.  On the weekends when we let her sleep longer, she sleeps closer to 8am or so.  Still a bad napper.  Oh well. 

Her favorite toys are her Sophie giraffe and her musical Fisher Price seahorse.  She still likes her piano and she likes her exercauser okay.  I am excited to get her music table out soon.  We hadn't used the swing in our bedroom for a while so finally put that away.  We still have the other swing set up in our family room but haven't used it in a while either so it's probably time to put it away.  It was sad to put away the swing!  I don't miss those early infant days but I do get sad watching little girl growing so quickly.

She loves watching other kids and continues to want to watch all the action.  She gets distracted easily while eating and cranes her head to watch Barrett especially.  This age is so fun when kiddos become so aware and nosy.  I know she will be trying to scooch herself around so soon to be a part of it all.

Audrey's still the best little behaved baby I've ever seen.  We get constant compliments on her calmness and I've been told she's the favorite baby at the daycare.  We are so head over heels in love with her.