Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's Ruff

I worked until 3 yesterday and left to take AK to the doctor. I was seriously worried she might have strep (dang those Internet diagnoses) and was already starting to feel terribly guilty at the thought that I had been denying her antibiotics by not taking her to the doctor sooner.

When I woke her up from her long nap it was evident that everything was not okay. She sounded more like a seal than ever - she now barked in a whisper! My mother-in-law assured me she was not like that all day and I whisked AK off for Urgi-Kids.

As soon as the doctor checked her out, she knew, "Are you feeling croupy, baby?" First of all, I was glad my baby had an accurate diagnosis and course of treatment (oral steroid in the office)Secondly, I felt relief. Croup - not strep. I was reassured to hear that AK would not have been given the steroid if I brought her in earlier, since the barking was a new symptom. They would not have been able to identify the virus as croup without it.

Reading this, I know it sounds horrible to think of myself and my guilt at the same time my baby is suffering; but, as a working mom, you constantly feel like you are making compromises. You wonder if you are doing the right thing - or if your priorities are askew. The fact that the doctor was able to provide both of us with comfort is icing.

The cherry is that AK did not have as bad a night as anticipated. Around 11 I had to comfort her and get her to calm down to temper her breathing, but other than that - she slept through the night. And, it appears that her fever broke. Hopefully it will be a restful, rejuvenating day at home for the both of us.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Heat is On

Poor little AK.

Sunday night we noticed she had a fever of 101.5. We gave her ibuprofen and put her to bed.

Monday morning she still had the fever. The Hoos spent the first half of his day caring for her (I had to go to work to unpack from the aforementioned office move) and I took over in the afternoon. I knew she wasn't feeling great because she actually took a two hour nap - unheard of at home.

We continued the ibuprofen/acetaminophen regimen and this morning - at 6! - she woke up with a dry cough and a very hot body. She is spending most of the day with the Hoos' mother and I am going ot pick her up after her nap to take her to the doctor.

My best guess is that it is an unspecified fever virus, since she doesn't really have any symptoms other than a fever (until the cough). Of course, now I am doubting myself and she will probably end up having strep and needing antibiotics. Then I will be mad at myself and the Hoos will give my grief for not getting her on the antibiotics sooner.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Looking into the Crevasse

Today my office moved into our new space.

I am not one to lose my sense of balance, but it will take a while to adjust to the landscape. The interior cube farm layout is different - I needed a map to find the ladies room - and the view is even more disorienting. Instead of being at ground level, I am now 15 floors up. I see treetops and rooftops - not exactly a canyon, but definitely more elevated than my previous cube.

In addition to the literal crevasse, I am facing a figurative one - comparatively a much more daunting prospect. I am figuratively going to hurl.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Packing It In

My office is in the midst of a shift - both physically and mentally and both at home and at work.

The out-of-home working experience will geographically change next week when my office does an intra-city move. From a quiet office park without much going on to a high-rise in a not-quite bustling downtown. I will be trading my view of leafy woods for one of tree tops beyond buildings. I am looking forward to being able to walk to restaurants and Target and the mall and WalMart. (So sad that my ability to easily run errands during lunch is a factor). I don't really like packing, but since I am an anti-hoarder and prefer things electronically, the process is not so painful.

Metaphysically my "real" job continues to evolve as well. We are in the process of integrating following our merger with a larger corporate entity. Perhaps I am naive to believe that I will have a job when everything shakes out early next week. I would like to think that it will be a position I want with an organization I want to work for - but of that I am less sure.

Over the weekend we acquired some office furniture from friends. They had done an upgrade to built-ins and their cast-offs were a definite upgrade for us. Instead of mismatched file cabinets, shelving and various containment devices, we now have a desk, printer table, cabinet and file cabinet that match. It looks like grown-ups live in our house! And now that I have more space I have been able to do some organizing. Our home office is a place I don't mind spending time!

The furniture was rearranged while the girls were sleeping and the next morning I found them sitting on the rug running their hands over the new cabinet that was deemed the "craft cabinet." It was like they were seeing all of the various craft detritus for the first time, "I didn't know we had this!" LP exclaimed, looking at some color books she had cast off some time ago.

The good news is, if I am going to be working from home more - or even only working at home - in the near future, at least my office is up for the challenge.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Small Details

First, a word from our sponsor:

Okay, so you might have noticed that I changed up the look of the blog. I have gotten both positive and negative feedback informally - what say you? Should I revert back to the old layout? Weigh in.

And now, an AK story.

AK loves to eat toothpaste. Fortunately her favorite is the fluoride-free baby toothpaste. Seriously the kid would suck down an entire tube if she could. She knows this is not acceptable behaviour as she is pretty frequently reprimanded. Yesterday she asked me to remove the cap from her paste; as soon as I opened it she grabbed it out of my hand, pointed to the bathroom door and said, "Check [LP]! Check [LP]!" in an effort to distract me so she could chug in peace.

And some LP news.

On Sunday as I drove with the girls past Stew Leonard's LP shouted out, "Mommy! I saw the cow's balls!" Uhh...what? "The cow! It has two balls!" Umm..."One is red and one is rainbow." Turns out she could see the toys that Stew's provides to the animals for entertainment. But O.M.G. Why can't the Hoos ever be in the car for these awkward moments?

Thursday, June 17, 2010

The Missing Piece

This morning the Hoos reported this wonderful story during our morning call.

AK was awake, but I wanted to leave her in the crib until after I showered. LP called out, "I'll come play with you! Let me just get dressed." When I got out of the shower they were playing nicely together through the bars of the crib. I heard LP say to AK something about getting her dressed. When I next went into the room, AK was butt naked in her crib and LP said, "I can't get her dressed, she won't lay down."

I don't think I could love my daughters any more than I do. Seeing how much they love each other fills me with such joy. Having one child is amazing, having two has quadrupled my love for our entire family.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Berry, Berry Fun

Our awesome friend Josh came through with some great strawberry picking pictures. Look how much my babies have changed! And all I can hope is that LP was not posing and he just captured her at the perfect moment - otherwise I am even more screwed than I imagined!!!


For her birthday LP got a "Girl Gourmet: Cake Bakery" set. Promoted by Duff of Ace of Cakes it is a baking set for children 4 and up that involves fondant and fancy cake decorating tools. Almost on a daily basis since her birthday LP has been asking...begging...imploring to make a cake. Never mind that I tried to convince her to bake a real cake with me using the fruit we harvested this weekend - she wanted to use her fancy new kit.

Yesterday I relented and got everything ready while LP and AK were at day care. I put batteries in the stand (which we ended up not needing because that would have required patience and a steady hand), bought a new can of non-stick spray and laid out all of the key components.

After washing their hands the girls got to work.

  • Step 1: Mix cake mix with water measured in the "big end" of the spoon. Try to get as much batter in the bowl as possible and try not to lick the spoon 15 times - there is not a lot of mix.
  • Step 2: Pour/push batter into mold. Don't be discouraged that the batter barely fills the mold, it will rise.
  • Step 3: Put the covered mold in the microwave and clean up the extra water or powdered mix any helpers may have inadvertently spilled on the floor while you wait.
  • Step 4: Read the instructions carefully and mix fondant powder with water measured from the "small end" of the spoon. If you use the big end of the spoon by mistake plan on adding lots and lots of confectioners sugar until it starts to look more like fondant. Then add another spoonful.
  • Step 5: Roll out fondant. I am guessing this works if your sous chefs are not 4 and 2 and if you actually used the right amount of water.
  • Step 6: Get the fondant on the cake. Due to mistake during step number 4, you may just end up putting the fondant on the cake like frosting.
  • Step 7: Decorate and eat.
  • Step 8: Accept that the cake was even smaller than a cupcake. Go out and pick the first ripe berries from your raspberry bush instead.


Monday, June 14, 2010

Social and Soccer

On Friday the girls' day care had an ice cream social. It is an annual event, but this is the first that we attended (it is amazing how one person can really change the feeling of a facility - goodbye cruddy old director). They bounced, ate, and got their faces painted.

Saturday was LP's last soccer game. It was also "Trophy Day." Do I even have to tell you how excited she was to receive her very first trophy?
Sunday we went strawberry picking. I was too busy picking and monitoring AK, who easily won the unofficial strawberry eating contest, to take any pictures, but the good news is we were not alone! Hoepfully pictures will be available soon.
I have made two strawberry tortes, strawberry mousse and cleaned several dozen strawberries for straight-on eating. Even with AK eating her weight in berries we ended up purchasing almost eight pounds worth of fruit!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Rainy Days and Thursdays

The Hoos took these great shots of the girls yesterday morning. My multi-talented husband gave LP the braids she requested (and AK a matching ponytail). RAindy days don't seem so blue withthese two around!

LOVE how they are holding hands! The Hoos said that AK initiated this.

AK showing off the new umbrella we got her for her birthday.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Rise and Shine

Twice this week, my children have woken up at 6:30. For some people 6:30 is late, and to those folks, I send my apologies; for us it is early. It is approximately 10 minutes after I hit snooze on my alarm clock for the first time and about 10 minutes before I actually am ready to crawl out of bed.

On Tuesday, it wasn't a surprise when LP came running in, "See, Daddy! I popped right up!" We had primed her the night before that she needed to be good and move quickly in the morning in order to get to school earlier than usual to prepare for her field trip. LP was confused when the Hoos grumbled, "It's too early!" and she burst into tears. Fortunately, it all worked out and she hung out in the bathroom with me while I got ready for work.

This morning, it was baby sister that took on the responsibility or getting us out of bed. The Hoos got up in the hopes that he could cover her and she would quiet back down. Alas, it was not to be and she started crying out, "MOMMMYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" very very loudly. So he brought her into bed with us. Which was fine, until I had to get up to shower.

Since she had not fallen back to sleep, I tried to get her to follow me into the bathroom. But she suddenly did an about-face and returned to the bedroom to harass the Hoos. I decided to go about my business. Unfortunately, when I got out of the shower, it became obvious that she had not returned to the bed to snuggle with the Hoos. In fact, she had taken advantage of his slumber and decided to bug her sister instead - the light in LP's room shone bright from underneath her recently slammed door.

By some miracle, LP was not a complete sourpuss (as I would have been under such conditions) and actually was happy to see her sister (once I turned the light off). I am not sure if the Hoos actually got the girls out of the house any earlier than usual, but at least I was able to get them started moving in the right direction.

Too bad I wish I was still in bed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Variations on a Theme

I always like picking LP up on Monday afternoons. During circle time the teacher asks the kids what they did over the weekend and she records their responses on a large piece of paper. It always amazes me what stands out for a four year old in a weekend chock full of fun.

"I went to grandma and grandpa's house and ate a lot of snacks." When I chuckled, Miss Miller told me, "She especially liked the fruit roll-ups."

Never mind the day spent in the blow-up pool or taking daddy out to lunch for his birthday.

And yesterday when I picked LP up, I asked about her class trip to the zoo, "Did you have a good time?"

"Yup. I drove with Dana. We had lots of snacks in the car. I had pretzels and I didn't like them, so I ate the goldfish."

Never mind the carousel ride or, you know, THE ANIMALS.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Life Lesson #2

When I was growing up, one Sunday every May my dad would wake up really early. He would go to Dunkin' Donuts and get several dozen doughnuts. He would then drive to a school parking lot and board a bus full of students bound for whichever local high school was hosting that year's Special Olympics.

I am proud to say that my dad was the coach of a team of Olympians.

When my brother and I were old enough, we would join him. To us it was a really fun day - a festival - with face painting and sports and free Happy Meals for lunch. Many times we ended up with some pretty awesome sunburns. The fact that the athletes were disabled was never an issue.

For the athletes it was a day to feel decidedly not special - to feel like one of the crowd. They all fit in and I was the outsider, not that I ever felt that way. I felt special to be included in a magical experience.

From these annual trips I learned many lessons. Most importantly how fantastic it feels to give and receive a genuine smile and to treat and be treated with respect.

Recently LP has become fascinated with the handicap spots at stores. When she doesn't see the blue signs she gets mad at the store for not having them, "What if someone has a broken leg? Where will they park?!" My little advocate - already looking out for others. Wonder where she learned that from.

And thanks, Dad.

Friday, June 4, 2010

2 & 4 Well Visit

Today I had a combined pediatrician visit for the girls. One of the many benefits of their birthdays being so close together.

Both girls were given an A+ from the pediatrician. They are both growing and healthy and developmentally on track.

At almost 40 pounds and almost 40 inches, LP is ready for a booster seat.

Her little sister is a bit over 25 pounds and just shy of 34 inches tall.

AK weighs two pounds less than LP did at the same age and is an inch and a half taller. I thought AK was my petite flower. I am thrilled to think that both girls might actually have a chance at being taller than me.

They both can outsmart me already. We spent the day together and I am tired. We went grocery shopping, to the bank, to the doctor, to lunch with the Hoos, put together and played on a gimormous blow up pool and slide (all full of my own personal hot air), stopped by day care to pick stuff up, fed the animals and shopped at Stew's and went for a walk with the Sit n Stand. Now that I know I am pushing 65 pounds not including the stroller, I am counting today as a day in which I did exercise. I certainly exerted myself.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Birthday Weekend

Showing of her cake at school - about two seconds before she jumped into my arms and insisted I help her blow out the candles.
Her first manicure and pedicure. I tried to make it a spa-like experience - note the tissue between the toes and the phone to the ear.

At the farm with some friends.

AK and her buddy WWW at the post-party playground.

Me and my babies at the Memorial Day parade.

You can't tell from the picture, but AK was screaming bloody murder - not in a happy way.

AK loves her hat. Note that there are no pictures of her with a birthday cake. Not because she didn't have one (or two) but because as soon as the cake came out with candles she started crying and yelling "Uppy! Uppy!" She ate it though.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


When I got married almost 8 years ago, I had the opportunity to show all of my family and friends - both existing and newly acquired through marriage - just how dang efficient I am.

We were married on a Saturday night and the Hoos started law school the following Monday; the honeymoon was obviously deferred. I took the Monday off and spent the day writing thank you notes. Tuesday I was back to work after a stop of the post office to buy lots and lots of stamps.

I know it seems a little OCD, but it is my nature. I figured all of these people took time out of their lives and dollars out of their wallets to help me and the Hoos celebrate a pretty momentous occasion, the least I could do was thank them in a timely fashion.

Sunday LP had her birthday celebration. She received lots and lots of gifts. Unfortunately no one gave us a bigger house in which to store them, but everyone was very generous.

After we got the girls to bed I drafted thank you notes. The only thing I did not do was sign LP's name.

I created a stack of notes with a blank space for her to write her name. Monday morning I attempted to get her to sign them.

First of all, LP was pissed. She wanted to write all of the notes. Good lord, that would have taken months. She actually did compose one note with me s-l-o-w-l-y spelling everything out and it took half an hour and exhausted us both.

I finally convinced her to write her name. The Hoos thought I was nuts and asking too much. "She is only four! She is your daughter, but...come on! That is a lot!"

I was insistent. "She is four! She knows how to write her name and has a great signature! And a really easy name to write!"

Our compromise was to get her to sign a few at a time. It is killing me that it will take a week at this rate to get the notes out. I know I am crazy. But do you think I am unreasonable to make her be accountable for at least part of her thank you notes?


Ack! How did this happen?! Today, my baby turns 2!

My little AK, the sunshine on a cloudy day, the ball of non-stop energy, LP's best friend, the smile that can convince anyone to do anything...TWO!

Oddly enough, when the Hoos dropped her off at day care today they told him that she is one of their quiet ones. She is happy, but not completely off-the-wall and energetic. She talks and sings to herself when she is supposed to be napping, but she doesn't chatter non-stop. For those of you that have seen AK in action - at home, on the playground, anywhere in public - I am sure you are as astonished as we are.

Then again, perhaps it is her Gemini nature - or perhaps it is because she is like Jem: quiet, unassuming, studious business owner by day and rockstar at night. (Hey! I just realized that Hannah Montana is totally a rip-off of this 80s animated series!)

As a really brief wrap up - with more details and photos coming over the week - we had a great weekend celebrating both of my lovelies:
  • Friday, I served cake to LP's class and gave her a horrible mani/pedi (she totally didn't care how bad it was, she was just so excited).

  • Saturday, we bought LP her birthday present - a new bike with training wheels!

  • Sunday, LP's birthday party at the SM&NC with family, lots of small children and farm animals

  • Monday, the Fairfield Memorial Day parade (AK sat on my lap on the curb intently watching the parade, LP also enjoyed it and only hid behind me when the Bluefish mascot or a dog passed us), sprinkler play, and fireworks and birthday cake with family