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Most grandparents give toys or books as a gift. My Dad showed up with something a little more unique for Zoey - a giant truckload full of dirt! I'm not going to lie, I had some trepidation at first when I looked into my backyard and spied the mountain of dirt that had been constructed in Zoey's play area. I have no doubt that I'm going to have to hose her off on a daily basis.
However, after seeing how much fun Zoey had in the giant dirt pile (and how many hours she was able to spend totally content rolling around in the dirt) I'm now thinking this is the most genius gift ever. At one point Zoey was laying face down in the dirt pile, waving her arms and legs, and saying "Yay, I swim in dirt!" She totally adores it, I'm pretty sure Pop Pop has just been elevated to deity-status in her eyes. Although I'm still not sure what's going to happen when it rains.
We are so fortunate that Zoey has never shown an ounce of jealousy towards Finn. She has such a generous and accepting heart, it's awesome. She brings him toys, easily shares her toys with him, talks to him, and says "I love you, Finny!" when I'm taking him upstairs to tuck him into bed. It's completely adorable. I'm sure the day will come when sibling rivalry rears its ugly head and she's duct-taping him to a tree, but for now I'm loving it.
Here's a short video of her helping me to give Finn a bath. She's totally into helping me with stuff like that, she also likes to feed him his baby food and help change the diapers. If I had any faith that poop wouldn't wind up on the ceiling, I would gladly completely relinquish the latter task to her.
Well I think both kids are finally starting to feel better, they've had icky colds for the past week - fevers, cough, snotty noses, and general fussiness/malaise. I thought they kicked it a few days ago, they both perked up and we thought they were well enough to go out so we all went out to celebrate my Dad's birthday:
We all had a great time and they seemed fine. They were ok the next day too but the following evening Zoey was MISERABLE. She basically just laid on the couch all evening into this morning, crying and wanting to be held nonstop. I noticed when she woke up today that her voice sounded particularly raspy and her lymph nodes felt really swollen. She also wouldn't eat or drink anything (not even popsicles - her favorite) so I figured I'd take her to the pediatrician to make sure that she didn't have strep. Don't you know that as soon as the doctor walked in, Zoey started bouncing off the walls, running all over the room, jumping up and down on the exam table saying "Apples, apples, apples. Snack please, Momma". The doctor looks at her bouncing up and down, looks down at the clipboard and says "it says here that you brought her in because all she does is lay around and won't eat" and then looks back up at Zoey (who had just swiped a drawer full of tongue depressors and was playing the drums with them) with quite a raised eyebrow. Of course leave it to Zoey to pick that time to get an energy burst and make me look like a ninny. I said "well clearly she's feeling better now, I swear she was completely listless and miserable an hour ago". I don't think they believed me.
But in good news, she doesn't have strep. Her ears had some fluid though and looked like they could be getting infected, so we'll give her a course of antibiotics. She's otherwise much better. She remained playful the rest of the day, ate and drank a ton, and was back to her usual antics. Finn is still pretty snotty, but no fevers for him and he's acting fine. The doctor looked in his ears too, one of them is red but doesn't look infected. We'll keep an eye on it though since it could potentially evolve into an infection. But hopefully after another couple days of rest we'll be ready to get the heck out of the house. We've been cooped up here way too long while the kids have been sick, I'm dying for some nice weather so we can take them out of quarantine and do something fun.
It just occurred to me that it's been 9 months since I had a good night's sleep - the last almost 7 months that Finn has been here, plus I could barely sleep the last 2 months of my pregnancy. We're still waiting for Finn to sleep through the night. It's funny how different both of our kids are. Zoey slept through the night by 5-6 weeks and other than a short regression around 4 months old she was a good sleeper (as a baby, anyway).
Finn was up literally EVERY HOUR for the first 8 weeks of his life, I barely remember that time because I was such a zombie. So comparatively this time isn't awful. But I just keeping "dang isn't it time for this kid to sleep yet???" His typical night is to wake 2-3 times to eat. I really felt like he should be old enough not to need to eat at night, but this little beefcake is HUNGRY. He guzzles 5 ounces easily every time he wakes to eat. No wonder he's off the charts for weight.
That has been the typical situation for the past several months. But this week he's having major sleep issues even beyond those wakings. Maybe it's because he has more teeth coming in, apparently growing teeth is a tricky business. Or maybe because he's working on getting to his hands and knees from a sitting position (when babies learn new skills it typically causes sleep disturbances because it occupies their minds so completely) . I can't even count how many times he was awake last night. It ended up being a freaking circus because half the time he would wake Zoey up. We would no sooner get Finn back to sleep when Zoey would wake up. Then we would get Zoey back in bed and Finn would be up again. Then we would miraculously get them both to sleep and the cats would start yowling for food and wake them both up again. I was ready to leave them all and go sleep in the car. Coffee is my friend this morning.
I needed a little cheering up, so here's a goofy video of Zoey from a couple weeks ago:
After such a stressful week, it was hugely uplifting to visit our family in North Carolina this weekend. We had a blast! Just watching all the kids run around was so much fun, with all the cousins there are now SIX kids all under three years old. Pam has 3 boys, Nate (the oldest, he'll be 3 in April), Jack (he's about 16 months old), and Charlie (the newest addition, about a month old). Of course I have Zoey (who's 2) and Finn (6 months). Then Lacy has a daughter Ava, who is only 3 days older than Finn. They are all definitely developing into a force to be reckoned with.
This is a video of Nate & Zoey jumping on the coffee table like a couple of monkeys on crack:
The guys went fishing Sunday afternoon, afterwards Casey showed a fish to the kids in anticipation of freaking them out. The boys all ran away, but true to form my daughter thought it was the coolest thing ever and was all about hugging and touching the fish. Eww.
Group shot! You have no idea how tricky it was to wrangle 6 babies and toddlers into one place for this picture. There should be some kind of medal for feats such as this:
And of course no visit is complete without the obligatory dance numbers:
Last week was really tough, a co-worker lost his 3-year old son, Julius, in a tragic accident. It affected many of us in the Hershey Med ER very deeply, not only because he was brought to us, but because many of us have children of our own. I truly cannot fathom the heartache his parents are experiencing. I spent many tearful days praying for a miracle that Julius would pull through, but his destiny proved to be bigger than this earth and he was taken much too soon.
Ken, his father and my co-worker, is one of the nicest guys you'd ever meet. I wouldn't wish this upon anyone, but it's the most unfair of injustices to happen to Ken. He is always positive and considerate, never says anything negative about anyone, does his work exceptionally and without complaint, and always talks about his boys with such love.
It really hit home that I don't want to take a minute of this life for granted. It is so precious and can be taken away in the blink of an eye. I went home from work several days last week and laid next to Zoey in her bed, just feeling her breathe. I cuddled with her and listened to the beat of her heart, and was reminded how grateful I am for all that I have.
Please keep Ken, his wife Lindsey, and their family in your thoughts. They have an amazing support system in their family, but they need all the prayers and positive thoughts that they can get. And if you have it within your means, their family set up a website to collect donations for Ken & Lindsey. Due to the stress of the circumstances, they are not going to return to their home. Instead they are staying with family until they can find a new home. The donations will help with this:
You can also see a picture of their son Julius at the website. Rest in peace, sweet boy.
We took a few video clips the other morning (on my phone, so the quality isn't that great).
This one is Finn trying to sit up, he's getting better at sitting independently for brief periods. The other day he actually sat up by himself for about 2 minutes before flopping over.
This is just one of Zoey running around like the crazy toddler that she is. (Ignore our messy bedroom, we just woke up!)
Zoey is a menace?
This last one is a brief demonstration of the fake crying that Zoey has started trying to pull on us. I have no idea where she got this, but it's ridiculous. We seriously just look at her and laugh. I wish the clip was longer so that you could fully appreciate her fictional drama, but this will have to do.
Well, I've had better ways to begin my day. Within an hour of waking up I ruptured my eardrum. I've always heard it's not possible to rupture your eardrum just by blowing your nose. Lies! And let me just tell you, I will never again scoff at someone who has ear pain because this was miserable! I've been sick and congested all week, but I woke up this morning with MEGA pressure in my left ear. I still felt all stuffed up with snot, so I went to blow my nose and KABLOWIE!!!
I felt this huge POP then the worst searing pain in my left ear. It was enough to bring me to my knees. Thankfully that pain didn't last long, it eased up in my ear not long after it popped but then it migrated to my left lower jaw. Almost immediately I felt something dripping in my ear canal, lost all hearing in my left ear, and started to get dizzy. I was pretty sure at that point that I had perforated/ruptured my eardrum. I was on my way to work anyway, so I figured one of the docs could look at it when I got there. And I had a small hope that maybe it wasn't ruptured, the pain would go away, and I could work. I never call off, so I continued getting ready despite the horrible pain and dizziness and drove myself to work.
One of our residents took a peek and sure enough, it was ruptured and I was ordered to go home. Probably a good thing, because the vertigo was getting crazy. I can't imagine starting an IV on someone feeling this way. I looked drunk. Imagine a nurse coming at you with a needle, swaying and stumbling all over the place. Not a good thing. Probably wasn't even a good idea to drive myself home, I really had to focus to stay on the road. Luckily no one was really out and about at 7:30am Sunday morning.
I took some ibuprofen, which helped with the inflammation. And I've basically been trying to just lay down all day until the vertigo passes. I still can't hear a thing out of my left ear, but from what I understand that's usually temporary and hearing returns as the tympanic membrane heals. I'll call my PCP in the morning to see if they have any other suggestions for what should be done, but typically these things heal on their own within 6-8 weeks. Cross your fingers!
Zoey's hair is officially ridiculous. On a good day it resembles a haystack. It still hasn't managed to grow out from her bad mullet-cut a couple months ago and the edges are really wispy yet coarse. So it completely refuses to lay flat. And the more you comb it, the more out of control and wild it seems to get, so half the time I don't even bother. If I'm really motivated, I try to contain it in pigtails.
Have you seen the movie "Dumb and Dumber?" The comparison is uncanny...
Oh, and pay no attention to her dirty face. She was really busy eating dirty snow that day.
If you know Marty's dad or have even heard anything about him, you know he's the world's hugest diehard Steelers fan. I'm pretty sure my allegiance to that team was a condition of marrying into the family. So to show our enthusiasm for them going to the Super Bowl, we had some Steelers family pictures taken the day before the game. Now if only they had played well enough to win!
Most people probably wouldn't post these pictures online. I, on the other hand, found them to be completely hysterical and ridiculous. Naturally I was compelled to share.
Here is Zoey with my breast pump attachments, attempting to use them appropriately of course. Kids don't miss a thing.
The best part? After I walked in on her I busted up laughing and said "Zoey, what are you doing?". She said "I feed the baby" in a tone and with a facial expression that said "DUH!". I love kids, you just never know what to expect.
As much as I love winter, snow, and having a nice cozy fire to curl up in front of, being stuck inside with a rambunctious toddler is not the easiest. I am SO ready for at least a few nice days so that we can go outside and get out of the house! Correction, I'm ready to go outside without the 30 minute process of bundling up the rambunctious toddler beforehand:
Have you tried to put mittens and boots on a 2-year old? I swear it's completely impossible to get the thumb in the proper place in a mitten. I give up, I just stuff her hands in there and wherever the fingers and thumb wind up is where they wind up.
So mostly we've been camped out inside - coloring, playing with blocks, reading books, watching Kung Fu Panda for the 78th time, and having dance parties in the kitchen. Here's a little video I took one lazy morning where we spent about 4 hours in front of the fireplace, you get to see a little of both Finn and Zoey:
I still can't get over how big Finn is getting! I looked back at Zoey's baby book today and at 5 months he's much heavier and even taller than Zoey was at 5 months old. I think him being so stout is part of what makes it tricky for him to roll over, there's just too much beefy girth to contend with! He's definitely eating like a a champ, we started feeding him baby food a couple weeks ago. Bananas are his favorite, with sweet potatoes being a close second:
Just when Zoey is driving me nuts with how stubborn and bullheaded she is, she does something incredibly cute.
Last night Finn started crying at about 4am to eat. I lifted him out of his crib and went to sit in the glider to feed him when I sat on something big and lumpy. I was half-asleep and really confused when the lump started moving, I thought it might be a cat. But I stood up and realized it was Zoey! She sat up and whispered "I sleep wif Finn, Mommy!". Apparently she crept out of her room and decided to curl up in the chair in his room. I love it. Although now I feel somewhat bad for sitting on her head...
And I thought it was crazy how fast Finn's 4 months have flown by, I can't believe my little girl is 2 years old now! Zoey turned 2 on January 8th and today I took her to the pediatrician for her 2-year check-up. She's doing fantastic, 26 pounds (60th percentile) and 36 inches long (95th percentile). She's always been in the 90-99th percentile for height, makes me wonder if she will be a tall girl when she gets older. The rest of the appointment went well, although I thought we were both going to go insane with boredom because the office was so behind schedule that we were there for over 2 hours. While we waited we made houses out of tongue depressers, paper airplanes with the educational pamphlet they gave us, and raided the sticker collection.
This is the first appointment that she was asked to change into a gown, I thought she looked so cute in it! And like such a big girl.
Here's a short video I took (I was so bored I was just randomly videotaping Zoey running around the room). By this point she was so restless she was trying to climb on the counter and she ended up pushing some magic mystery button on the wall. I still have no clue what it's function was.
Anyway, the pediatrician was happy with her development and we don't have to take her back until she turns 3.
At 2 years old she:
- sings her ABCs
- counts to 14
- knows all the basic shapes and colors
- speaks in full sentences
- helps get herself undressed
- runs, jumps, climbs on EVERYTHING
- has turned into a picky eater, some days I swear we're lucky if she eats 2 pretzels
Since I worked on her birthday, we didn't get to really celebrate yet. Luckily she's too little to know the difference so we have her official celebration planned for this Saturday.