Wednesday, December 16, 2009

When You Run Out of Time For a Real Post.....

you let pictures do the talking!

I can't believe how far behind I am on blogging!

A few shots from Sophie's birthday. This was just a small family gathering - her "big" party will be held this Sunday in Missouri. The decorations:

Please ignore the HORRIBLE decorating job I did on her cake. I was running out of time so this was an awful, hurried job.

Click the collage to see it larger.

Unwrapping Gifts:

The Happy Family:

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


This time of year is always difficult for me. On December 18, 2003 I lost my Dad to cancer. Oddly enough, no one knew he had cancer until he was hospitalized where doctors discovered he had colon cancer. But it didn't originate there. It started in his lungs and we never knew. Today, however, I find myself missing him more than ever.

My Dad was older, in fact he was 82 when he passed. He served in WWII and many years later met my Mom. I was an "Oops!" baby. My parents thought they were done with 3 kids. So at ages 40 (Mom) and 55 (Dad) they had a new baby to care for. At the age 55 many men are becoming grandparents. My Dad and I had a special bond though. By the time I started Kindergarten my dad had retired and my Mom was returning to school to get her special ed. certification. It was always my dad I stayed home with when sick. It was my dad who took me to school and picked me up at the end of the day. People always thought he was my grandfather - it was always a joke when I was younger. Somewhere in the back of my mind I always new there was a strong possibility my Dad might pass away before I was ready to be without him. While I was an adult when he passed, 26 years together wasn't long enough. I miss his hugs, his jokes, our drives together, our lunches at the local cafe' ...I miss HIM.

As I watch our daughter grow daily my heart aches because she will never know her Grandpa. A man who fiercely loved his grand-kids and always wanted more than the 4 he knew at the time of his death. The Little Miss would have LOVED her Grandpa. She'll know stories of him and can visit his gravesite when we travel to Missouri, but she'll never KNOW him and that hurts and makes me incredibly sad.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

We have a lot to be thankful for and this year, not being in an I-just-delivered, have-a-3-day-old child haze I can reflect on the past year without bursting into tears. Okay, tears could still happen.

I'm thankful for family who loves us endlessly, my daughter who puts the biggest smile on my face daily, and all the support we have received from family and friends throughout the years. We have a roof over our heads, food on our table and each other to love and support.

Have a hug from the Little Miss and enjoy your Thanksgiving Eats!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Our baby girl turns ONE today!

The birthday girl who:
  • has 8 teeth
  • can walk 6+ steps all on her own
  • can climb the ladder on her little slide
  • loves apples, green beans, pears, rice, hamburger, noodles, and of course all her snacks
  • says Mama, Dada, Baba, Ni-Ni (night night), guh-guh (for bottle/sippy)
  • can throw a ball
  • stacks EVERYTHING
  • was an angel during her first haircut
  • hates bows or clips in her hair
  • loves her doggies
  • has a sense of humor and laughs at her own "jokes"
  • can rearrange the drawers or pantry in the 30 seconds Mom or Dad turn around to do something else
  • LOVES to be outside
  • is loved beyond measure
Happy 1st Birthday, Sophie Grace!!

All Our Love,
Momma and Dada

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Because Babies Shouldn't Have to Fight....

I'm fighting for them!

Today is Fight For Preemies day.

543,000 babies are born prematurely each year. As we prepare to celebrate Sophie's first birthday in a few days, I've been reflecting on all the struggles we went through in the first few weeks of Sophie's life. While she was born at 38 weeks her weight was small at 5lbs 10oz - even less once we were home. I recall the stress I felt as I struggled to breastfeed, pleading my milk to come in because my baby girl was losing precious ounces. We were given preemie hats in the hospital because her head was so small. The Newborn clothes we had brought with us swam on her so down to Preemie sizes we went. All the while I questioned what I did wrong during the pregnancy to have a baby so small, struggling to gain weight. All of this pales to the stresses and struggles parents of premature babies feel.

While I, personally, don't have a preemie, my life has been touched by several preemies through the years. Most recently, I posted about two premature boys. I am SO happy to report they are both thriving. Baby C is currently getting his first tooth and Baby E recently enjoyed his first roadtrip with his parents. Baby C was in the NICU much longer than Baby E but both struggled and without all the technologies available today, it's possible these boys could not be as healthy as they are today.

Join in the fight. Become aware. Visit the March of Dimes to learn how YOU can help.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


The Little Miss went as Tigger this year. She was SO excited to put on the costume. She'd giggle and bounce, bounce, bounce just like Tigger.

We had to lose the hoodie portion on the walk back!

This year's festivities were subdued. She has no real clue as to what everything meant. She can't have candy (and I don't NEED it) so we just hit a few places. We stopped at her grandparent's** house, a family friend's house and our friend Niki's home. She just soaked everything in and watched all the kids in costumes a little warily.

We hope everyone had a great Halloween and were able to stay safe!

**My father-in-law took most of the pictures (I think I took 3 all day!). As soon as I have them from him I'll share!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pumpkin Patch!

We were surprised to find there was a pumpkin patch in the desert! I was very pleasantly surprised at their offerings and was thrilled we could take Sophie this year.

Buckelew Farm
was a pretty long drive for us but that allowed The Little Miss to get a morning nap in on the ride over. We had her Nana and Yeye meet us there where we went through the petting zoo then took a "hayride" to the patch.

Sophie loved all the pumpkins and instantly wanted down to crawl in the dirt and vines. Because we're in the desert the patch wasn't your standard flat field - each patch had raised bed rows where the pumpkins grew and the "gutters" were for irrigation purposes. Not the easiest place for the Peanut to crawl around but she tried her best!

Once we were home, she was able to pose with her pumpkins. Any time we walk by the pumpkins here at home she wants to stop and pat them.

More Halloween related posts to come!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

One of Those Weeks

Have you ever had one of those weeks where disaster after disaster seems to strike? That's been our week this week! It all started on Monday...

Y works from home about 90% of the time but does go into the office for certain meetings and when a product is being tested. Every Monday he has on-site meetings. When the meetings are done, he heads home. Monday, the Little Miss was being extra sensitive. It's happened a few times recently but is SO unlike her usual self. That morning Y had a sneezing fit while she was eating breakfast and she burst into tears. Later that morning I was watching the DVR'd episode of The Bonnie Hunt Show featuring the Pioneer Woman doing a cooking segment. Sophie and I were playing as I distractedly watched the show and I laughed at something that was said on TV - more tears!

It was now time for lunch so I prepped her meal and got her started eating. I walked just a few feet away to prep MY lunch and MORE tears. She would not calm down unless I was sitting right there. I texted Y with "OMG! Constant tears over here!" It was just one of those moments that grates on your nerves. I don't care how calm and patient you may be but constant bursts of tears for no real reason will begin to drive you batty. Anyway, I decided I'd wait until Y got home to eat despite my now throbbing head and growling tummy. The Peanut and I decided to go outside for a while - it was upper 70's and a gorgeous day. Remembering Y may be calling soon, we headed back inside shortly after 1pm. He finally calls around 1:30 - meeting ran late but he was on his way.

Five minutes later the phone rings again. Y. Again. His car had died on his way out of the parking lot and he needed me to come get him. Parents, you know you can't just grab the baby and go. You have to check if the diaper bag is packed, get a bottle/juice/snacks, and a few toys to entertain the little one. Add to that I have to clean up all the toys because our greyhound, Duncan, will eat Sophie's toys if left to his own devices. I eventually make it to Y's work site to only be stopped by security. It just so happens that Y's work is on the same campus as a large missile maker for the US and Foreign militaries. I explain why I'm there and security is sufficiently confident this disheveled wife in an old t-shirt and yoga pants with a baby in the backseat is not a terrorist trying to bomb the missile maker.

We're told the tow truck will be about 45 minutes so we head on over to the broken down car and wait. The Little Miss is being surprisingly good considering her earlier temperament and the fact it was nap-time and she wasn't napping. Y calls security to let them know a tow truck will be coming. This was pointless because a while later, security calls him back wanting to confirm that despite him just telling them a tow truck was coming that he REALLY meant a tow truck was coming. Once security was assured the tow truck wasn't a bomb-laden vehicle the driver was allowed through. By this time an hour had passed. My throbbing headache was now a THROBBING HEADACHE. It's now approaching 4pm and Y nor I had eaten...forget any dinner food it is!

Sophie and Friend, our other greyhound.

After we're home an hour or so we get the news...bad fuel pump. Fuel pumps aren't cheap. So long Christmas gift savings!

Tuesday comes along. The repair shop calls in the afternoon letting us know the car was done. We head out and the Little Miss falls asleep just before we get there. I let Y out and make sure all is okay before heading home. We're restricted to just one route because that particular day not only was our usual traffic-avoiding-shortcut route closed for construction but so was the interstate. Crews were resurfacing and traffic was at a stand-still. Tuesday was also a day of extremely high winds causing major dust storms here in the desert. All of this equaled bumper to bumper traffic at a dead stop just 10 miles from the house. The car stopping caused Sophie to wake. She was a little fussy but I kept her entertained as we inched along. We finally make it through the traffic and just as I turn the corner, onto our street she begins a hard, scared cry. Next thing I know she's gagging and throwing up as I'm pull into the garage. I throw the car in park, jump out, try to unbuckle her as fast as I can so she's not choking and well, it wasn't pretty. She's covered in vomit, I'm covered in vomit, the car and car seat are covered as is the towel I grabbed to help catch things.

Y was about 5 minutes behind us and by the time he pulls in, I'm standing in the garage, covered in puke, with Sophie just sobbing on my shoulder. We eventually get her inside, get the car cleaned up (the car seat was attacked later) and get her calmed down. Thirty minutes or so passed before she was "back to normal". I threw all the puke-covered items in the laundry and got myself in the shower since the smell was beginning to make me queasy. She gets better and better as the evening wears on and I don't worry too much about her losing just about everything she'd had all day.

Then, to top the night off, as I was cooking dinner, Sophie was walking with her Fisher Price Lion walker from one end of the house to the other. Duncan, our greyhound, came over to see what she was doing. Sophie got down to crawl and ended up under his belly. He freaks out, and in an attempt to get away, steps on her leaving her with some pretty good scrapes on her arm, shoulder, and face. Here we go again! Despite the nasty looking scrapes, she was over it quickly but we were thinking "What else can go wrong!?"

The scrapes...they're MUCH better now.

And, of course, Wednesday was not without its own "disaster". Y burnt his hand pretty badly when he was taking the iron skillet out of the oven. The hot pad he was using slipped and the very HOT handle hit the heel/palm of his hand. Poor guy, his hand was throbbing, majorly red and blistering just moments after it happened.

The night's not over yet, but so far ::knocks on wood::, nothing has happened today! Yay! But I think we're going to follow The Peanut's lead and have a drink!

"I want THIS one!"

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Warning: Messy aHEAD!

My child needs a bath about 3 times a day.

Why you may ask?

Let me show you:

It doesn't look that bad you say? Let's get a closer look:

Admittedly, it's not THAT bad. There's been worse (think ketchup). But, after every meal, the Peanut and I have to make a visit to the bathroom. We first wash her hands, then her face and then her hair. Because after EVERY. SINGLE. MEAL. her hair is crusty and filled with food. It used to be just the hair by her ears but now? Now she takes to rubbing her entire head with food-covered hands.

The Little Miss is quite stubborn and determined. (I have NO idea who she got that from). She no longer wishes for us to feed her. If she were talking more I can just hear her saying "No! I do it my own self!" So the perils of a self-feeding child is bath-time or pseudo bath-time three times a day.

And now we can no longer wonder why Momma needs a new wardrobe!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Calling All Bloggers

November 17th is Fight for Preemies Day. The March of Dimes is asking for all bloggers to unite and help support the fight by posting about the cause on November 17th.

Many of us know a child that was born prematurely and thanks to the March of Dimes there have been many advances to help those babies become strong, thriving children and adults. While the Little Miss was a full-term baby, we know several preemies that are a part of our lives.

This effort will take just a few minutes of your time and if your life has been affected by a preemie I hope you will join me on November 17th!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

I Suck.

I promise, I have good intentions! I seriously have NO idea where time is going!

Once again, it's been a month since my last post. I never even got caught up with the promised posts from two months ago. Sheesh!

Early September, Sophie and I both ended up sick. She began running a low-grade fever on a Thursday. The fever was still there on a Friday but she was acting okay. Saturday, the fever continued and by afternoon she was beginning to not act right. By the time Sunday rolled around and she STILL had a low-grade fever, I called our pediatrician. The office recommended taking her to the Pediatric ER since the nearest Urgent Care was closed. So off to the ER we go and boy was THAT a frustrating experience. We never saw an actual Dr, only nurses and a Physician Assistant. The PA had a HORRIBLE rapport and Sophie was not thrilled to be having him poke her. He couldn't figure out what was wrong (her ears were fine but she had a reddened throat). His recommendation? Take her to her pediatrician on Monday. Thanks buddy.

Anyway, we took her in on Monday where she was still running a fever and even more not herself. She was beginning to show signs of blisters in her throat and it was determined she had the Coxsackie Virus. The same virus that causes Hand, Foot, and Mouth disease but she never had the blisters on her feet and hands, just in her throat. (Good news, Mom and Dad, no need to worry about it spreading since you can only get this once in your life!) Since it was viral, there was nothing we could give her other than Tylenol and Ibuprofen. The week went on and she just kept getting worse, to the point she wouldn't eat or drink and if she did try she'd scream. A full week from when the fever started, on Thursday, she had thrown up twice in a span of a few hours so back to the Pediatrician. Everything else was still okay with her but she was now running a high fever and the blisters had gotten larger and more numerous in her throat. She was a miserable, miserable baby. She got some Tylenol with Codeine to not only relieve the pain of the blisters but hopefully numb things enough to keep her hydrated - this was now our biggest concern. Her fever was so high (hovering between 104-104.5) that if it didn't go down or she didn't keep drinking we'd end up in the hospital with her. That night she slept in my arms all night - when she was sleeping, that is. She was in so much pain she'd whimper and cry. Sometime in the wee hours of the morning her fever FINALLY broke. That Friday and Saturday she kept improving.

Then came Sunday. I was rocking Sophie for her nap when I was suddenly hit with the worst body aches and chills I'd ever experienced. I took my temp and sure enough...I was running about a 102 fever. Figuring I either had what Sophie had, or had the flu, I loaded up on pain killers and tried to sleep things off. Sunday night I was MISERABLE. I was in so much pain all night I was the one now crying/whimpering in my sleep. I made an appointment with my Dr. She was not thrilled I came in thinking I was spreading the flu around but I needed to know if I had what Sophie had and if not, then I needed to know if it was the dreaded H1N1 so I could stay away from Sophie as much as possible. Turns out I also had the Coxsackie Virus. Apparently I never had it as a child (thanks, Mom, for letting me know AFTER the fact). My high fever lasted for about 3 days, the worst reaching just above 105. I felt so bad for Y. I literally didn't have the strength to get out of bed nor lift my own child. Sophie couldn't figure out why Mommy wasn't holding her and Y was trying to be Mom and Dad both. (Single parents...we don't know how you do it!).

Anyway, if you sat through all of that, the point is we were sick. Then it took me a good 2 weeks to really feel like I had my energy back. Then it was deadlines which I got behind on with back-to-back sickies of Sophie then me. And now? Well, more deadlines. Don't get my wrong, I'm thrilled to be employed but there are days working from home and taking care of my child at the same time is impossible. Something has to give and it's usually house work and in some cases, my deadlines. Work-at-home do you do it all?????

I have two quick deadlines coming up the next two weeks then I hope to devote some time to posting more. And actually be interesting! I feel so dull! In the meantime enjoy the few pictures and thanks for reading my drivel!

Saturday, September 12, 2009


How precious is this smile!?

Friday, September 11, 2009

My Monkey

Sophie, Monkey in Training:

A Monkey in Training from Jen on Vimeo.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Teeth and Monster Machines!?

As promised...more posts!

My apologies for the delay...we've been a tad sick around here. I'll save that for another post. (See how clever I'm being dragging you out like that? Ha!)

First off...TEETH!

Sweet Sophie's gotten her top teeth in now. It has taken FOREVER for the second top tooth to break through and it FINALLY did today. Her first top tooth broke through August 9th...and now, nearly a MONTH later, the second one is finally here. When the first one initially came through, Sophie spent her days grinding her teeth. OMG....can we say chills for Momma!? Nothing I could do would get her to stop. She's let up now that the tooth is most of the way out but I was about to go bonkers for a while. It was like fingernails on a chalkboard for me. Speaking of, I guess that's another benefit of white boards and smart boards in the more fingernails scraping the chalkboards! Although students are missing out on that precious cleaning of the classroom erasers job. Remember that classroom duty when you were in Elementary School? It was like the best privilege to get to clean the erasers....either that or I was a total nerd....

Anyway, it's been difficult to capture shots of those top teeth but here are a few. You can see them if you tilt your head and squint. Go ahead. I'll wait.
Done? Okay....moving on.

Monster Machines!

Our friends from Connecticut came for a visit early August (yes, I realize that was a month ago). The 2 1/2 year old, J, LOVES CAT machines. We managed a special tour of the local Caterpillar Training Grounds while they were here and it was a HUGE hit...literally and figuratively! I think we adults enjoyed the tour just as much as the kids!

I'll let the photos do most of the talking....
Okay, see that Dump Truck up on that hill in the picture below?

Notice how BIG it seems from so far away?

Wait for it....wait for it....

Hey look! I'm up on the Dump Truck!
This was a mining dump truck. The tires alone were OVER 8 feet in diameter and get could top out at 40mph. Road rage?? Not in THIS own the road in this thing. See? We're tiny, measly little people compared to this truck.

We've been trying to take more adventures with Sophie so stay tuned! Hopefully I can fulfill more than one post a month!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Accomplishments Abound!

It's been a while, not only since I had a real post, but since I've updated on some of Sophie's accomplishments over the past few weeks/months.

"Hi, Internet Friends!"

The biggest news is she's crawling. EVERYWHERE! Along with the crawling she can sit on her knees with her feet behind her, she can pull herself up on just about everything, she can go from a crawling position to a sitting position and she's beginning to cruise. The Little Miss is determined and very confident. She'll pull herself up on the furniture or even her toys and then let go. Most days she'll wobble a bit then either grab on or fall on her hiney. Most recently though, she's been letting go and actually standing ON HER OWN for a good 30 seconds to a minute before getting wobbly.

"Look Mama! I'm standing!"

One of her favorite activities is to stand with us holding her arms and she'll jump. She'll bounce and bounce and bounce until Mom & Dad are worn out.

Bounce. Bounce. Bounce. Bounce.

Miss S is also playing peek-a-boo. She had been pulling cloths down when we cover her face for quite a while but now she pulls them up over her face, waits for us to ask "Where's Sophie?" then she'll pull the cloth down bearing the biggest grin. It's so funny to see her be so proud of herself.


Some other accomplishments include waving "hi" or "bye-bye". If Y or I walk into the room she'll look at us, smile, then wave. It's heart melting!
"So THIS is what waving looks like!"

She's been reaching for us now, too. And talk about heart melting....she now says Mama only it comes out "mum-mum". We're still working on Dada. She can identify people, too. We'll ask her where Daddy is and she'll turn to him. She knows the dogs' names, too. SO CUTE! My Mom was out for a visit during the month of July and after she left, Miss S would search and search for her Grandma. It broke my heart especially since she was so smitten with Grandma this time.

Sophie and her Grandma on her 8 month birthday.

Eating is going well. Sophie loves her food and is getting to the point she doesn't want purees anymore. She'd much rather eat our food. We're having a tough time with breakfast since she doesn't like her cereals. We try to fit grains in throughout the rest of the day. Sophie's also been drinking out of a sippy cup for a couple of months now.

The Little Miss is also sleeping in her room in her crib now. Shortly after I posted my confession post we moved her into her room. The first night she awoke once, scared but went right back to sleep. The second night she slept all night and woke a little scared in the morning. By the time the third night rolled around she was sleeping all night. We've had a few setbacks with recent company and teething but otherwise she's doing great!