Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Bless This Little Heart of Mine

This weekend, my college friends held what my friend Kate called a "sprinkling."  A sprinkling is like a little shower for a second baby.  It was a wonderful welcoming for my little girl to be and a pretty amazing day for me. . .  I feel so blessed to have such amazing, strong, beautiful women in my life. Thank you ladies, for being such awesome role models for this little girl.

Hearing Update

After 3 re-tests, we have what we believe to be a better picture of what is going on with James.  As I had written about before, his last two tests have shown some advancement (and not in the good way) of his hearing loss.  This last test confirmed that indeed he is showing some additional hearing loss but our audiologist believes that it was probably there all along just wasn't showing up on the tests accurately.  He is now showing mild-moderate loss in all frequencies, not just high tones.  So, the bad news is that there is likely some truth to the scary tests we have had earlier-- his hearing is worse than what we originally thought, but the good news is that the loss seems to be consistently around 30 decibels which is often compared to a whispered conversation.  For James that means that he probably has a harder time hearing subtlety in language but can make out most normal conversation levels.

We asked about CMV patterns with hearing loss and our audiologists experience has shown that generally when there is a drop or progression of loss that it is quite dramatic and highly noticeable.  Part of the reason why we have been re-testing is because at home, we just weren't sensing a dramatic change.  The kid can still distinguish the phrase "mac and cheese" from  4 rooms over with no problems.  His hearing certainly seemed 'functional' if you know what I mean.

The test is a little disappointing but I actually feel really good about it overall.  I didn't have any waves of panic leading up to the test nor any sense of sadness upon hearing the results.  It just is what it is and our kid is great.

It probably helps that James is progressing really well in all areas of language acquisition. He has a real hunger for learning and growing.  His love of books has now become a love of learning in general.  At dinner last night, he kept standing up to exclaim different shapes he saw:  Triangle. . . .  Moon. . . .STAR . . .HEXAGON!!!!!!!

Excitement over a hexagon isn't really a measure of hearing ability or intelligence- but I have to think that his joy of learning will really help him on his educational journey regardless of the fact that he might need to work a little harder.  Letters, numbers, shapes, colors. . . James is a little talker these days.  . .  I think he is going to be just fine in the end.

The good news, the audiologist thinks this is probably the most accurate test to date and doesn't think James will need to be tested again until late spring.  With most CMV cases, kids level out by 3 years old, so we are getting close. . . let's all keep our fingers crossed for little man!

Friday, January 27, 2012

A Separate Peace

Last night I did what I consider to be totally indulgent. I got a baby sitter for NO reason.  Well, it started off as a reason.  . . Matt had happy hour and I have been a little busy with work lately and was hoping to work late.  Matt has happy hour about once a year and I didn't want him to miss it. . . turns out my work project timeline changed to next week so there wasn't really a reason to work late. . . except that I already called a baby sitter.  So. . . .  I took myself to Panera for dinner.  Yep. high friggen style man.  I then went to do a little shopping for baby girl and was exhausted and ready to come home at 7:30. Still, a pretty exciting night nonetheless.

Sometimes I can't even remember a life where I had every night like this-- where I could go to Target whenever I wanted, however I wanted and not worry about hearing the phrase "I want a hot dog"  as we pass the concession by the exit.

Today though, I can't imagine a life where I would even want to go shopping without hearing "I want a hot dog."

The best part was getting home in time to put James to bed.  We read for about half an hour and then I asked him to crawl into his bed. . . which he did without a fight.  I started rubbing his back and he said "No, close the door.  ok?"

Ok dude, whatever you want. . . .

I don't know if today was any bit of extraordinary but I appreciated the little learnings I took away from it.

The recognition that it is okay to take a little time for myself which is something I haven't been doing much of lately.

The recognition that it is okay to still miss my little person and just prefer to be with him.

And the recognition that sometimes he needs a little down time too.

**Regardless of the ordinary graces and learnings,  I can't help but totally fist pump over the fact that finally this kid is starting to like his big kid bed.  It's about fucking time, dude. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Ma Kelly Day

There are times, often actually, when I am blown away by the thoughtfulness of my husband.   We aren't romantic-ky day in day out but there are times when I am really touched.  Friday was one of those days for me.

My mom's passing anniversary was Friday, 17 years ago.  The number is a little staggering to me in some ways-- there was once a time when I could never have imagined 17 years at all, let alone all those years without her in my life.  I remember 15 being a significant milestone for me in that there was now more years without her than there with her but the bite seems to lessen each year.

Regardless 17 years really is remarkable in it's own way.

I had forgotten about the date entirely this year (which is the first year this happened) but my husband came down to my little cave in the basement to surprise me with flowers.  Yep, he's that awesome.

It's funny to have forgotten about it because in so many regards I have started to catch little personality snags that have emerged in a more prominant way lately. I wonder at times if it has something to do with the preparation for having a daughter of my own that I am thinking more about the role of motherhood and in particular my relationship with my own mother.

The snags emerging seem to be mostly pregnancy related preparations but at times I am starting to wonder if they are related to an underlying fear of not being able to see my kids grow older.  I have many fond memories of my own mother, but at the end of the day, that's all that is really left.

About once a month, I am on some bull shit financial website to make sure that I am saving enough for college. . .even though I just checked it the month before.  I make sure that we eat together as a 'family' whenever we can so that we have a tradition that is our own. I think about the idea of home as sacred. . . it matters to me that things feel right in my home space and that they breath a sigh of relief when they enter into the space we share and that the space if full of warmth.  I make sure that I am in pictures so that my kids could see what I look like holding them when they are young, when I am pregnant with them. . . when I am proud of them.  There is so much joy in my relationship with these children that I want them to see first hand how loved they were from day one.  I want to have family traditions, family vacations and secrets that are ours alone.  I also want to have traditions with my extended family and friends, but will prioritize my little family first.  I want my children to remember what it means to be a Fitzpatrick if they need to.

I am not sure I always remembered what it meant to be a Kelly. . . other than the oddities that occurred after my mom died.  Those who know me well can probably see my snags a mile off. . . the desire for family dinners likely stemming from the lack of a single shared meal at home during my teenage years, the college planning stemming from the frantic panic and hustle to get myself through a four year degree, the pictures and documentation from only having one picture of my mom until recently.

I don't doubt that I am a good mother, but I also hope that my children have a better sense of self and history than I had.   I need tread carefully with that last statement because my mom was amazing, granted a little camera shy but amazing nonetheless. I am hopeful that Matt and I can create roots that will carry them through life even if one of us is unable to be there.

Through this all, I am thankful for a good partner, one that can also see my snags from miles off but doesn't work to correct them or fix them.  Just embraces it, recognizes the occasional positives for what they they bring and buys them flowers once a year even if they aren't self aware enough to recognize the crazy for what it is.

Beige Food, Your Days Are Numbered

My sister in law told us a little trick for how they combat picky eaters in their house. .. sprinkles.  It's an itsy bitsy bit of sugar but a huge dose of color.  We had wild rice the other night which wasn't a big hit with the toddler.  Throw some Christmas sprinkles into the mix and all of a sudden we LOVE our dinner.

What a difference!

Holiday Cheer Mixed with Wild Rice.  Nummmm.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Bringing Home Baby

It turns out that there is a lot of baby stuff.  NO SURPRISE RIGHT??

We spent much of this weekend going through our collection of baby stuff, sorting clothing into sizes, washing the car seat etc. etc.  Because you know what?  We are having a baby sister this month! 

I am in shock at how much we have accumulated in the last couple years and how long it is taking us to get it in order. 

This represents the "Feeding" finds from the basement. . .

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Trend Right, Fashion Forward

James sports his "baby sister". It's a big fad in our house currently. You may be seeing more of this in the spring 2012 collection...

Thursday, January 19, 2012


So I am still a little under the weather-- hence the easy breezy week long absence.  The issue has moved from my nose to my tummy but I still have issues.  Life is going great otherwise:  getting rounder, getting slower and definitely sleeping more.  I could post about the weather. . . but I think we all know.  It has officially hit 'why do I live here' cold.    Good thing I have BOOTS! :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Piecing it Together

Not much is going on in our household that is noteworthy. I have been sick with a self-diagnosed sinus infection for the last two weeks, so although I have been all game with the year of "Health". . . .Health has taken the meaning of getting healthy.  I did finally finagle some antibiotics and am starting to feel much, much better each day.

Matt has been working a lot of call shifts lately as well so my life has consisted (basically) of sleeping, playing with James, and working in the basement.  Next week:  showering?  maybe, if I feel better.

Today I felt like I understood my son a little bit better.  As I have written before, James has taken a sudden interest in clothing.  Today, I think I saw why. . . 

James and I went into daycare this morning and he went over to another little boy and they started comparing what was on their shirts.  James pointed at his shirt.  The boy pointed at the tiger on J's shirt, they exchanged some comments and James pointed at his own shirt (with a tiger) and roared.   It isn't just a fashion statement, it's a networking tool. 

Way to build connections, kid.

Monday, January 9, 2012

She Who Shall Not Be Named

The latest funny in our house is that James has recently discovered our first names.   He still knows us primarily as Mommy and Daddy but every once in a while he will slip in an odd little phrase like "where is Matt?".  Or "Hi Dina".   He has a pretty funny smile on his face when he does this so I think he knows it's not what he is "supposed" to be calling us-- and often he uses it as a way to reinforce a viewpoint.  "More Milk, Mommy,"  "Dina, More Milk, Please".

It's not just us though,  yesterday Pop Pop came over and he greeted him with "Hi, John."

I am not sure what to think about it, or what if anything, I should do about it.  I keep responding to both but encouraging the mom(my) part.  He's right though. . I do have two names.   Thoughts?

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Captain ABC

James is doing really well with his speech development-- here he is singing!   Also featured. . .  eczema!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Go Vikings

James got a new gift and he loves wearing it day or night. It's a bears helmet, but he says Go Vikings on repeat. Matt and I don't watch the Vikings, so this is further evidence that this kid is picking up some phrases elsewhere!



Thursday, January 5, 2012

Healthy But Huge

As I mentioned before, we are doing check ins on the baby because of my anterior placenta.  I feel about 1/10 the movement that I felt when James was at this stage.  Call me gun shy but I would like to feel my baby more than once a day.   The doctors say that the anterior placenta is like a pillow in the front of your belly so it absorbs most of the subtle movements.  It will get better as the baby gets bigger.  I can tell already that I am feeling more movement on the sides and on top of the placenta.

Today we had the first of what will become weekly ultrasounds.  I am happy to say that the baby looks very healthy.  She* scored great on all the bio-measures.  She does appear to be tall . . . and is tracking 2 weeks ahead of where we actually are.  My sweet baby girl is already over 5lbs.  With 7 weeks to go we may have a very large child on our hands!  I have been doing much better with my overall weight gain than I did with James and am so far up 28 lbs (compared to the nearly 60 lbs I put on with James)**.  Perhaps weight gain and baby weight aren't correlated . . . .

Keep your fingers crossed friends. . . I am praying this isn't going to be a 10 pounder!

*Confirmed again
**I thought I had severe morning sickness with James, turns out to be acid reflux. I ate an absurd amount of snacks with James until I figured out that indeed, it wasn't nausea.  oops!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012: The Year Ahead

This year Matt and I spent our anniversary dinner at the Melting Pot.  It was cheesy (pun intended), fun and entirely not kid friendly. . . . so seemed to make a great date night for us.*

Last year we decided to put more spark into our marriage (and family) and focus on Gusto.  This year we are focusing on Health.

Yep, Health.  Not as fun as Gusto but another area that we have struggled to find balance over the last couple years.**

Just like Gusto, we are trying to set clear goals for what Health means to us.  Here is what we have decided so far:

  • No drive thru's.   We don't eat a ton of fast food but on Thanksgiving, I stopped to get James chicken nuggets because he was "hungy" and he asked where the apples were.  I don't want my kid to know the McDonalds menu. 
  • 12 Events.  As individuals, we will participate in 12 races or events of some sort.  Each person in our family gets to participate in accumulating the 12 which puts us at around 1 a month. 
  • TC Marathon.  We are going to try. . .  Matt wants to hit a PR before his 40th birthday and I just want to get my ass across the finish.  Matt will likely really train and I am already planning on under training and under performing but doing much more than that with a newborn just isn't realistic!  This is highly injury contingent so. . . it's on the list for now.
  • 65.  As a family, we are hoping to lose 65 lbs in 2012.  Matt recently realized that he is at an all time high and I am looking a little round myself.  This isn't a super hard goal if we introduce fitness back into our world and it gets us back to our pre-kid fighting weights. Not surprisingly the bulk of this one falls on me ;)
We have started to bring some health into our lives already. I got Matt a sled for our anniversary (it's fitness with a 2 year old) and Matt got me a new tiny ipod for Christmas for running and exercise.  I also bought myself (thank you me!) a pre-natal yoga video that James and I have really enjoyed so far. 

I talked about this above, but I think health is important for role modeling and I want James to grow up with active parents and fitness or sports as part of his life.  We also notice huge differences with James behavior for when he eats well or when we slack a little bit.  We are really going to try and lessen the "exceptions" for treats in our house. 

So that's it-- HEALTH.  Not entirely sexy or as fun as Gusto but probably just as necessary for living a satisfying year and growing our happy family.

*We also went to Mission Impossible which was also cheesy, fun and entirely not kid friendly.

**James has recently started boycotting Body Pump. Although the Y offers FREE!! day care, he has decided that he doesn't like it.  (in reality, we are dealing with a phase of separation anxiety). It's frustrating as I have been pulled out of the class 3 times now to go get him.  I love my dear child but I am really hoping this phase passes soon!  Going to the gym is a great way to spend a couple hours in me time when Matt is working on the weekends.  I figure I will keep trying every couple of weeks and hope for the best.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Gusto Year in Review

Matthew and I went out for our anniversary dinner last night and we brought a notebook (geeky I know) so that we could talk about what worked for us last year and where we want to take our marriage in 2012.*  

We talked through our various gusto attempts and realized that a lot of of our GUSTING came from still ordinary nights where we decided to stop at the redbox, ignore the laundry and stay in the jammies.  Not super blog worthy stuff but we did have a few big highlights.

January-- We started living our slower, more thoughtful life after our anniversary dinner at Meritage.

February-- I get asked to go to a dinner for work on a Saturday night downtown.  We rented a hotel to make an adventure out of it! 

March-- We head to Cancun for some couple time.  Matt grows out a very gusto inspired mustache to match the mood of the trip.

April--Matt heads to Ethiopia for the month,  I decide to take James to VA to visit family and I get up at 4 am with my mother in law to watch the royal wedding and eat donuts

May-- I get offered a new job so Matt and I headed to a really nice dinner to celebrate.  We also hire a weed sprayer service so that we can gusto what we want and not be enslaved to our yard.  We also take a staycation complete with a trip to camp snoopy for the adults and happy hour hopping on a Friday afternoon.  Drinks and rides=smart!

June--Preggers! Gusto changes courses a bit for us. . . .   Between jobs, I took a spa day and used some gift certificates that I had saved up to run around town getting pampered.

July-- Matt is in a play which is pretty gusto in nature but we all have a blast being part of it.  Matt also does the Warrior Dash-- which I quietly bowed out of due to my fragile condition.

August--Dana takes up the ukelele and we decide to make birthdays in our house a cause for absolute fun and memories.  Dana spends her birthday at the state fair and eating fake sushi,  Matt takes us to the zoo and corn maze!

September--We try camping with a toddler in frigid, rainy weather.  Gusto aside,  probably a bit much for all of us.

October-- We went to the circus, and I decide to stay in Virginia for a weekend between two business trips.

November-- We head back to Mexico (Riviera Maya this time) for a last ditch couple vacation.  Two vacations in one year is a bit ridiculous but given our upcoming kidsies we thought it might be a now or never.  Faced with a now or never scenario, I wanted now.  I also put together a neat concert for a friend that was extremely satisfying for all involved-- especially me.

December-- We spend good times with friends and family.  We hosted a holiday party which we haven't done before but was really fun.  We also accepted an invitation to a friends house for Christmas Eve that turned out to be just a beautiful experience.   Matt also got a job

So looking above at this list-- a lot of this stuff would have happened regardless of our gusto intentions or not.  However, gusto was a very real part of our marriage this year and really helped us take that extra little leap into the silly end.  We also noted last night that Gusto could also be labeled "Justification", it seemed to be the tie breaker for us when we weren't sure if we were being reasonable or not.   I think Gusto did some very good things for us-- allowed us to get out of the monotony of working and parenting to a young child and build some memories that were a little less ordinary for our family. 

Next year we have set a new goal for our marriage but we are hoping to keep gusto** alive in some way.

*For the record, only once did Matt mention that I was facilitating our dinner like a business meeting-- but HA, we were done anyway! ;)

**However, gusto will now include more regular bed times at our house because the reality of trying to live a fun-filled life also needs to include the needs of our littlest member. . .  routine.