Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Daddy!

He knows how to love.

He knows how to comfort.

 He knows how to be the most fun person on Earth.

He makes us laugh.

He makes us cry.

He makes us laugh more than he makes us cry.

He's an awesome Daddy.

He's a generous and loving man.

I am proud to call him my husband.

Today we celebrate you, Jimmy, and say--
"We love you back"
more than you will ever know.

Happy 45th birthday.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lovin' Life

To say that Charlie is "blossoming" is an understatement. He is doing great, and he's so darn cute I can hardly stand it.

Every day brings a new expression, a tad more spunk, and tons of personality. He is funny, charming, adorable, and stubborn as a mule sometimes too. Oh, how we love to watch him emerge from the shell he once was under.

He is trying to say a few words now. Our favorite is open, which comes out as "ope" with quite a lot of effort behind it. We also love when he holds up a finger and counts to "un."

Charlie is very observant and studies every move we make. He then tries to mimic our actions. He helps me unload the dishwasher on a regular basis. His job is unloading the flatware and handing it to me to put away. He takes great pride in his accomplishment. He also enjoys closing the dishwasher when we're done.   

Charlie hasn't taken a tumble in a while, dare I jinx myself to write that. He's pretty good on his feet now, and he has really picked up the pace. Especially, when he's running away from Monster Daddy. We have to be very quick with him these days. He has a pristine radar for things he shouldn't have and places he shouldn't be in. He's a curious little guy, which scares us.

His favorite toys of choice right now are the recycle bins.  Yes, the recycle bins. He is commonly found toting around a paper bag full of cardboard and paper items through the house. He goes for the plastic/glass bin too, which we try to keep him away from for obvious reasons. We are trying to come up with a better solution in our kitchen, so these items aren't quite so accessible. It would be nice if he'd just gravitate to his toys...

He still wants e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g that Madi has. Sometimes, she pretends that she is using his sippy cup, just so he'll want it. She gives in to him frequently. She adores him and it kills her to see him upset.  She's such a sweet sister.

We are so blessed, and we know it. God has been good to us times 3. Can't imagine life without our little monkeys.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Hand, Foot & Mouth

Charlie has brought home a nasty little virus called Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease. I knew this one was only a matter of time for our finger-lickin' monkey boy. The poor little guy is miserable due to the blisters in his mouth that make eating a very difficult and painful thing. Charlie's quite the eater, so this is definitely not fun for him.

Virus + hungry baby that can't eat and can't talk = very stressful household

Thank God, my sister-in-law Kathy and our beautiful niece, Kelsey (Boo Boo) were here yesterday when his condition worsened. He had a fever the day before, but I had totally written it off to either teething (again) or another run-of-the-mill virus. He also had a nasty bug bite on his leg, which is not uncommon for this sweet and juicy little man. We speculated that maybe he was having some sort of allergic reaction.

When I was at physical therapy, Kathy had a really tough time feeding him and putting him down for his nap. He was pretty much inconsolable. Charlie's nap was cut short by discomfort, so I held him for a while, but it was obvious he was still hurting. We took him outside for a change of scenery, and that's when things escalated. He started making some very strange and unfamiliar faces in the swing. I had never seen these faces before, and I started to panic. I yanked him out of the swing and darted for the house. We were all looking at him and there was a moment when we were actually asking if he was breathing. The fear of God went through me, and I don't even want to admit my thoughts out loud. Let's just say that I'd been down this road before and I was terrified...

I called the doctor's office, and God bless them, they told me to bring him in immediately. Kathy drove us over, and Charlie seemed to be better in the car, which was a relief. We even got a few laughs out of him. Kelsey stayed back to play with Madi. The physician's assistant and pediatrician diagnosed Charlie right away. This is all too common in little ones. Since it's a virus, it will take a few days to run its course. They prescribed a mouth "swish", which we are applying with Q-tips. He doesn't like it much, but he seems to acquiesce if we allow him to put the swab in his own mouth. We are also giving him Ibuprofen and Tylenol to help with the pain.

On a side note, he's gained another pound:)

It was a crazy day, and I was so glad to have the support of Kathy and Kelsey, especially to help keep Madi company. Kelsey plans to study nursing in college next year, so I love having her around for her great, out-of-the-box ideas that always seem to help. The timing could not have been better for their babysitting services!

So much for an uneventful Summer!


Thursday, July 14, 2011

Box Baby

Charlie has a new-found obsession with itty bitty spaces.

Last week, Jimmy introduced him to a Huggies diaper box.
He complains until we pick him up and stick him in there. 
It makes a great little vehicle.
I actually fed him breakfast in his box the other morning.
Last night, the box tipped over, and he bumped his head.
The Huggies box has now been removed from the house.

The other night, at our friends house,
Charlie was introduced to a small laundry basket.
He loved that too.
The girls pushed him around and made a nice, cozy habitat for him.
Honestly, I think he would have slept there.

For the past few days, he's been crying out for the clothes hamper.
It is a taller space with a top on it. 
Kinda like a large bird cage. 

Not quite sure what this new obsession is all about.
Don't really care. It's working for him.
It's keeping him happy and comfortable.
That keeps us happy and comfortable too.

Monday, July 11, 2011

New Smyrna


We took another little road trip this weekend. We headed up to New Smyrna Beach to visit Aunt Diane and Uncle Rick. We had a great time, but the ride up was...well, let's just say...pretty rocky. Charlie began to wail incessantly just as we drove into a torrential Florida-style downpour. If you've ever done this before, then you know just how frightening it can be in total silence, never mind with a two-year old screaming his little head off!  I thought Jimmy was going to lose it. Madi and I attempted to console Charlie by handing him anything and everything that was within our reach. We struck out every time. Then, as timing would have it, Madi announced that she needed to go potty...badly. We tried the first available exit in search of the fast food stops listed on the highway sign and somehow found nothing after a few miles. The rain seemed to be getting even worse in this direction, so we decided to turn around and try another exit. Poor Madi. Thank God, we had better luck at the next exit and found a Burger King.


We also got some things to nibble on figuring that might calm the kids (and the situation.) When Madi and I got back in the car, Jimmy immediately warned me not to pick up the napkin sitting on the drink console. Naturally, that's the first thing I did (I swear I did not hear his warning. He claims I was too busy testing the fries out of each bag.) Garbanzo beans spilled everywhere. Whose crazy idea was it to bring Madi a cup of garbanzo beans as a snack on a road trip anyway? Mother of the year...

There was nothing to do but laugh at the absurdity of it all. Slowly, things improved. Bellies were full. Bladders were empty, the rain began to stop, and I tediously picked up every garbanzo bean in the van. We were very relieved when we arrived at Aunt Diane and Uncle Rick's house. Charlie was like a new kid. He giggled and smiled at everything as he took in our new surroundings. He was nothing short of psyched to be out of that van! We all were, actually!

I had given Aunt Diane and Uncle Rick a complete disclaimer of Charlie's current tendencies and his ability to deconstruct a home in record time. This was a huge concern for us. They graciously had removed all breakables from Charlie's reach at our request and consoled our concerns by telling us that they only wanted us saying "No" to Charlie if he was in danger of hurting himself. They were all smiles as Charlie dispersed his toys all over their house. They even opened up their Tupperware cabinet to him. Now that's what I call hospitality:)

Uncle Rick might just be the most meticulous person we know. We had a joke that I wanted to bring some sidewalk chalk for the kids since they have this humongous driveway that would make a perfect canvas. Jimmy chuckled at the idea, knowing Uncle Rick. I shared our joke with Aunt Diane earlier in the week. Well guess what was waiting for us when we got there?  A mammoth carton of the best sidewalk chalk out there...purchased by Uncle Rick! Apparently, anything goes when it comes to these kids:)

One of the many highlights of our trip was heading to the beach to see the space shuttle lift off.  It was Charlie's first trip to the beach. Sad, I know...we live ten minutes from the beach and have to drive 3 1/2 hours away to get him there. What can I say--life gets in the way sometimes!  Charlie wasn't really crazy about the water or sand at first, but after a while of digging in, he started loving it. We are headed for our annual weekend in Marco Island soon, and this was the perfect 'intro' to the beach for him!

Seeing the space shuttle was pretty awesome, to say the least. I'm sure you all felt the same nostalgic feeling we did while watching. It was incredible to witness such an historical moment, especially so close up.  

Aunt Diane called saying that Madi forgot something in New Smyrna. What did she forget?  Her invitation to come back anytime with her little brother:)  Oh, we'll be back alright...

Saturday, July 2, 2011

3 Months Home


Somebody pinch me. Have we really been home with Charlie for three months?  It seems like yesterday, yet it seems like an eternity!  All at the same time.

It's been a while since I dedicated a post to this little bugger, who by the way, has discovered his nostrils. It is not uncommon for me to peek in the back seat of the van to find him with his pointer finger resting comfortably up his nose. It is all I can do not to laugh just because of the look on his face as if he's discovered gold. He studies my expression to figure out if this behavior is acceptable. Instead I give him a disapproving shake of my head and a stern "No, no, no, no!" Madi gets a kick out of it too. We just shake our heads, and she'll say, "He's such a boy."  We also chuckle and remark that Daniel would have never done such a thing. It just wasn't his way.

We took Charlie to the doctor about two weeks ago for his well visit. He grew another full inch and gained almost another pound. That outie belly button we met back in Shanghai is long gone. He is getting to be quite the chunky monkey, and we are loving every little cushion and roll.  Quite smoochable, he is.

Charlie's still missing a couple teeth, so drool is still a part of our everyday life but not as much as it used to be. He's getting around on his feet quite good now, though he routinely forgets to look down and ends up falling over things. I guess he'll learn that one in time after a few bumps and bruises.

He's not talking yet, but he's very verbal. That's the most difficult issue for us right now. It is very tough (and frustrating) to try decipher the meaning of each grunt and groan.  It can be slightly extremely irritating as these grunts and groans escalate. He wants to be heard just like the rest of us in the family (Jimmy excluded), so he'll make sure it happens, especially in the midst of a conversation! We take solace in knowing it's only temporary (the grunting and groaning, that is).

Charlie loves swimming!  He's a total little fishy, another major difference between him and his big brother. In fact, he's one that we worry about because he has no fear. Swim lessons are definitely in his near future. He opens his eyes underwater and his mouth is wide open too. He kinda resembles a grouper. He inevitably swallows a gallon of water every time we swim, so we've come to expect that it will show up in his 2 pound diaper the same day.

Madi and Charlie are the sweetest of siblings. Last night we went to dinner as a family to celebrate our togetherness. Madi basically fed him, because he wanted only exactly what she had, down to the styrofoam drink cup.  When we got home, I threw them both in the tub. As Madi hugged her little brother, she began softly singing, "I love you, Daniel" over and over. Not that she thought Charlie was Daniel, but it was as if she were thanking Daniel and acknowledging her love for him as she physically was able to hug and hold Charlie. It was touching to say the least.

What a blessing Charlie has been to our family, so far. He gives us a run for our money sometimes, but we'll take it. We thank God for it.

Friday, July 1, 2011

The Silver Lining

I happily report that I've been off my crutches for over a week now. Once I began therapy and received clearance to "test my limits", I really haven't needed them.  Boy oh boy, am I thankful to be back in action doing the simple things again like laundry, grocery shopping, and well...holding my baby boy!!!

Which reminds me to mention, before this whole episode happened, Charlie would always cry when I'd put him down for his nap or at night. He didn't cry for long, but he always cried. Then, the injury. I couldn't pick him up. I couldn't hold him. Torture for a mom.  I relied on Jimmy, when he was around, and our Godsend little neighbor, Maia, who started babysitting for us. The first time I really put him down to bed again was last weekend in Tampa. He cried, but I think it was likely more because of unfamiliar surroundings. When we came home from our trip, something miraculous happened. He didn't make a peep when I put him down...and he hasn't since. My theories? (a) He knows he's home and he's glad to be here. (b) He's happy that Mommy can hold him again, so he's not going to complain.

Now, about my healing...I love physical therapy. It's my new spa! I have my own personal trainer, Kristina, to lead my exercises and stretches to help get my knee back where it was (or better, maybe). She massages my knee for a while, followed by an ice pack, electrical stimulation, and a good magazine. I could seriously fall asleep if I could stop socializing long enough to do so.  Did I mention how much I love my physical therapy?  It is truly the most relaxing "Mommy time" of my week. I am considering another injury (just kidding). Oh, how the Lord works in mysterious ways...

So...the final bonus (that comes to mind) is that I headed back to the YMCA. Sad that it took my injury to get me back there, but I repeat...the Lord works in mysterious ways!  My therapist recommended time on a stationery bike, which they have an ample supply of at the Y. I hadn't worked out there for almost a year as I always opted to walk outside after losing Daniel. The outdoors seems to make me feel connected to him.

I was also hesitant to put Charlie in the baby room. Madi absolutely loathed the baby room when she was little, so I had mentally written it off, at least until the fall when Madi's in school. Wouldn't ya know, Charlie loves it!  We had initially planned for Madi to go in with him to help her little brother, but they wouldn't allow her in because of her age, so she goes into the Kid's Club, where they play games, do arts and crafts. I am calling it her "camp". She's having more of an adjustment than Charlie, but so far, so good. I know she'll love it once she gets used to it. I love that we suddenly have a great back-up plan for those summer days when nothing materializes with friends or activities.

Turns out that my knee injury hasn't been so bad after all. Thank you, Lord, for giving me a new perspective!