Ahh daa

Steve woke up an an ungodly hour this morning to make his flight to Las Vegas for his company's annual global sales meeting. I set the alarm last night for 3:45 and 4:00 per his request, but this morning at 3:45 I didn't even skip a beat in snoozing and went right back to slumber. See from WAY WAY back the alarm is only allowed on my side of the bed because he has a habit of turning it off in his sleep. He goes right past snooze to off. I am a total snooze abuser and I don't even begin to wake up until after at least two snoozes. So even though I didn't need to get up this morning and certainly NOT at 3:45, in order to prevent a serious sleep in catastrophe of epic proportions, I agreed to doing the waking. When that alarm buzzed 9 minutes later, I briefly snoozed and rolled over only to suddenly open my eyes wide and sit straight up because KI had caught sight of his suitcase while wailing on the snooze buttong. YIKES it was now 3:54. SERIOUS whoops on my part, but I am sure if you ask him he would not even know that I didn't wake him at 3:45.

Steve just phoned to let us know that he landed and while it was a bouncy flight, he says he left his seat at one point the turbulence was so bad, he is there and getting his bag and on his way.

We had an eventful morning when Caroline woke up with an extremely wet heavy diaper that caused her rash to flare up to practically where we started two weeks ago. She tried to hold me hands to prevent them from rubbing on the ointment and her teary sad eyes broke my heart into a million pieces. I called the doctor as soon as 9am rolled around. We saw her at 9:30 and she confirmed that the yeast is still present and offered her sympathies. Her son has a terrible rash too at the moment that they can't seem to shake either. We shared a eyes pooling over moment about how helpless and awful it feels to have to hold your child forcibly down to change their diaper while they beg you to stop. Her son says ba, boo, no and my daughter says ahh- dahn. It was a humanizing experience, does that make sense?

She is our doctor, the one we look to for guidance, the one I find it hard to feel not judged by, and yet here she is in the same circular pattern with a rash. I knew she was a Mom, I knew she had a young child not much older than Caroline, but to see her emotion, to see her react when my eyes pooled over in such a sympathetic you're not alone way seemed to erase the disparity between us in my eyes. Doctor does not equal perfect parent nor does it mean she is magically able to erase a terrible yeast infection either. Somehow that makes me feel better.

So new treatment - a new anti-fungal cream, lots of naked time, try the triple paste again, alternate between anti-fungal and diaper creams and eliminate the stacking of creams, also lots of hugs and kisses and echoes of "all done."

What about the weekend? Well, the weekend was pretty restful, with lots and lots of attention to the kitchen renovation. We are planning more of an "update" than a complete overhaul. We are keeping our cabinets, perhaps adding a new piece of cabinetry where an existing "desk" now lives (if we can find a good match), replacing the pink laminate countertop with something a bit more modern, tiling the cannot possibly get it clean floor, adding a tile backsplash, and replacing two major appliances. It is exciting BUT overwhelming!

Caroline is waking up - we have an afternoon of diaperless fun planned.

Inspiring Champion

Perhaps you've been noticing that it is beginning to look and feel a lot more like Spring? I know I have. The lawn is softer under my feet, earlier this week I noticed the buds beginning to form on my hydrangeas, and there is daylight until past 7pm. Springtime brings more outdoor activity, more runners, and in less than one month - the Boston Marathon.

The McFamily likes Marathon Monday, heck I married a BC grad, we LOVE the Marathon. Each year I am inspired. When I was an undergrad at NU, I stood on Boylston Street late in the day and watched as a woman collapsed to her knees just in front of me, mere feet from the finish. The crowd cheered her to her feet, applauded her from a walk to a run, and that woman looked back, waved, and then FINISHED that Marathon. I think if you have ever lived near Boston and have witnessed this amazing event, you too must have a story like that.

In 2005 we watched Derek Holland (Steve's classmate from BC) whiz by us in Natick at Mile 7. He finished that year in 2:37:23 coming in second for BAA Club Team Men's Division. The following year we saw him again in Newtopia with Auntie k and he ran 93rd place overall with a time of 2:37:40! That same year we watched for one amazing runner, we'll just call him Dwizz, running for the Alzheimer's Association for his father who never got to see him run the race. We had signs, we cheered, and we (auntie k and I, not Steve of course) were emotional and in awe of his awesome accomplishment!

We are headed home this year on April 21th to watch over 20000 runners take off and sprint to the finish of the 112th running of the Boston Marathon. Last year Caroline was too little and BOO HOO were we bummed! Derek won't be there this year, neither will Dwizz, but Auntie k will be. You've probably been following her progress over there at run, kerry, run haven't you?

In case you didn't notice, Auntie K has quietly raised over $5,000 for Children's Hospital and her Patient Partner Jayla! FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!! Children's asked her to raise $3,000, she BOLDLY answered back that she would raise $4,000. She has since met AND exceeded her own personal goal and right now her donations are just shy of $6,000 dollars. We couldn't be more proud of her!!

Auntie k would gain the designation of "Children's Champion" if she met that 6K mark. We had hoped that our own late in the game donation might push her over, but she is still $225.00 short. For her this hasn't been about about reaching that mark, getting called a champion, she just wanted to raise the $4,000 she set out to for Children's and for Jayla. We know that many readers here have already donated to her brilliant cause and for that she and we are incredibly touched and appreciative, but I am taking this opportunity to stand on my very own soapbox and request support from everyone else. Auntie k would NEVER ask, but that doesn't mean I won't.

Auntie k, you are OUR McFamily's Champion, whether or not Children's gives you that designation and wouldn't it be nice for the world to recognize you as the Champion that you truly are??

C'Mon Marathon lovers...

Make Auntie k A CHAMPION!

A note to the McFamily of last Friday

Dear Kerri of last Friday:

Please pay close attention to these notes. They won't make much sense now, but I am sure you will thank me later, preferably with coconut hersey kisses.

Don't bother running to the market, trust me your family will be able to make do.

Take that loaf of wheat bread out of the freezer, yes the whole thing.

Save yourself the time and energy and skip quartering all those grapes. Just when you think you cannot see another quartered grape without ralphing, well you'll see.

Don't offer Caroline pizza at dinner no matter how much she begs. Give her plenty of those delicious rolls and instead of milk how about mixing it up with water?

When packing her food for the weekend think Goldfish crackers, toast, bananas.

After her bedtime shower consider making it a family affair and climb under your own covers as early as possible.

You will be awoken by a crying baby at about 4. Don't panic. She will lay back down, but DO NOT roll over. Your baby needs you! Check the corner nearest "Carter One Size."

Really think through your travel plans.

Signed,

Kerri from the future

This McMomma is back to work today. Caroline is back to school. Steve is still not 100%, but doing a bit better. He really got the worst of it this time.

Also, the rash. Well, it is holding on for dear life refusing to go away, but is so improved that I have hope it will be gone soon. I arrived at school today with multiple ointments in hand. Sara asked me how and when and why so many with a look of panic on her face. I said, "really Sara, I have no idea. Just mix it up." I am going to make another call to the pediatrician because it has been seven days since we started the Nystatin treatment and yet here we are. My poor baby.

Please let there be mercy and allow that this is the last major illness of winter 2008!

Report from the trenches

Just a quick one today to update on illness number 1 bajillion.

Caroline and Mom are home sick today. Mom is feeling a bit better and even ventured to oatmeal as a mid morning snack. Caroline is still having some GI issues and when I said I had seen the nastiest diaper I apparently was mistaken because WOW... I could NOT send her to school with what C3 affectionately and appropriately described as the "runny bum burps." I imagined her almost gone rash after a day at school with less than timely changes and I broke out in a sweat. Or was that from my own bug? Who knows at this point? It was a wise move. We were awoken WELL before 6am this morning to an unhappy camper who usually wakes up and plays and puts herself back to sleep. There was ZERO interest in her Giraffe (Carter One Size)and we were astonished when she fell back to sleep in bed with us until after 7. (Dad was already busy watching the sox game at that point, "as long as we're up.") Caroline has been super clingy girl all day and is already into her third nap! This is the first one that she let me put her in the crib for, which is a good sign. I've been napping on and off with her and somehow snuggling with her cuteness makes all this sick stuff a bit easier to get through.

Steve really should have stayed home, but his boss is at his office today so off he went like a brave soldier carrying an arsenal of virus plague number 1 bajillion with him. We hope he is managing ok.

He admitted to me yesterday over our lovely dinner of plain rice and toast (for all of us!) that he could not imagine taking care of Caroline by himself feeling the way he did, which was exactly how I felt before we went to Mexico. I somehow dodged a major bullet this time and while I am still recovering, for me this illness cannot touch that other one.

We are all hoping to be back to our regularly scheduled lives tomorrow which means an illness free blog post. Cross your fingers for us.

Early Easter "Treat"

The Easter Bunny arrived early in our house, bringing with him a tummy bug that is currently sweeping through the whole family. I woke up on Saturday at about 4am and witnessed poor Caroline retching her guts out on the video monitor. I screamed, "she's throwing up!" and we were instantly up and at her side.

Steve got the cake job of comforting while I stripped both her and the bed, rinsed puke out of the soiled items, and ran them through the wash. (In the C3 household these tasks would have been exactly opposite!) We took Caroline and an old towel into bed with us for the remainder of the night, I didn't get back to sleep at all because I was so worried about her. She woke up twice more coughing and crying and barfed both those times. When she finally woke up for the day she was in a great mood, you'd never have known she had been sick at all. Mommy was not feeling too good herself, but the girls hopped into the shower to get the dried puke from the hair of one of us and try to make the other one feel better somehow. Steve brought her down for some breakfast (water and Cheerios) and feeling like she was doing ok, he went for the banana too. This proved to be too much because just as we were leaving the house that banana ended up on the floor. Nice.

We discussed what to do about our plans to travel up to MA to see Steve's family. I had reservations because she had been so sick and even if she was feeling a bit better, did we really want to chance infecting the whole family? Steve thought she was well enough to go and he hates breaking plans and so against my better judgement we strapped her into the carseat and I said a silent prayer to the vomit gods that she would somehow not get sick all over herself and the car en route. The thought of driving in car reeking of vomit made my own tummy roll. Caroline slept almost the entire 2.5 hour ride to the beach. She was enjoying Pedialyte and toast in her highchair not long after we arrived and besides having some of the nastiest diapers I have ever dealt with, she appeared to be cured.

Kiki said we were brave to have brought her. Were we brave or thoughtless?

Kiki today informed us that both Steve's father and his sister were ill (one had to stay home from work) and I am currently sitting at home uploading photos while sick baby and sick father doze down the hall while I feel not so good overall myself. I needed to employ special breathing techniques and a few well-timed chugs of Pepto to get through the night.

We were fortunate to be able to see family and celebrate the holiday, but at what cost? A brief call with my mother informs me that they have no signs of sickness there after hosting a delicious polish easter dinner complete with kapusta, pierogis, and kielbasa.

Hoping that everyone feeling under the weather feels better soon, that the illness stops here and no one else has to experience it, and that our own little family learned a lesson in how to appropriately handle holidays and illness.

Hold Arm Out, Drag Along Shelf

It is too windy down here today to go for a nice walk, though the sun makes it look deceptively warm. Caroline and I ran some errands earlier, namely to go and buy out the diaper cream aisle. We got it all - everything everyone recommended! I might as well have held my arm out and dragged it along the entire shelf. Well, not quite, but it sure felt like I was buying diaper cream for sextuplets, sextuplets with individual diaper cream preferences.

Caroline had half naked lunch and is currently napping away in her crib wearing her Nystatin ointment as well as several other suggestions. When this is all over and gone we won't actually know what worked and what didn't, but at least it will be gone. I don't think I necessarily NEED to know what the trick was, I just hope that somewhere along the line here I am using the right thing, doing the right thing, and that the rash will keep getting better.

I need to be mindful of the clock because I have not yet showered, the bathroom is seriously grungy, and I already spent about 15 minutes of precious nap time uploading a couple weeks worth of photos. Enjoy! My fav from this batch is the naked dishwasher playtime. I couldn't resist.

We head to the beach tomorrow morning and then to Western MA on Sunday.

Happy Easter to all! I hope the bunny brings you all delish treats!

Rash Rash Go Away, Never Come Another Day

Evil Rash Day 7.

Vusion cream, not really helping. Nystatin cream, not really helping. The area has gone from angry to pissed off. Bath time more than likely made things worse, so we are going to do quick shower rinse offs from here until the evil rash leaves our home. Caroline spent about 45 minutes bottomless tonight while we made dinner (I took photos) and she peed three times during that time. Her reaction was less than amused by this. I think she was alarmed at what was happening and that it burned. We got as much air to her tushy as possible before creaming her up and putting her diaper on for dinnertime. Caroline continues to lament "ah daa" to us begging for us to be all done please whenever we apply the ointment or threaten to remove her diaper.

Our hearts break for her with this terrible rash. I was nearly in tears on the ride home from school because I was met with "wow, her bottom is terrible" and "have you tried x,y,z?" as if I did not notice that my poor baby's bottom is fire engine red and enflamed. Seriously this rash is not the result of us not changing her often enough or not applying cream, I am a diaper cream tyrant! Let's not forget, this rash is the result of the evil rash's cousin evil ear infection. Evil ear infection requires intense antibiotics, which caused terrible rash, which turned into yeast infection and here we are. I wish I could just pin a note to her sleeve that says, "I know the bum is sore, she had a reaction to her antibiotics, I am not a terrible mother."In the meantime, until I can make the hurt go away, that is pretty much how I feel. Poor Caroline.

Cute Caroline Chronicle

Despite the horrid terrible pussing rash Caroline continues to amaze us. Just last night Steve was leaning on a couch pillow he had put on the floor. Caroline crawled over and lay down on the pillow. We inquired, "time for night night Caro?" Later after her bath she retrieved the pillow from the couch herself when we asked her if it was "night night?" Tonight after her bath, we asked her in the kitchen if it was "time for night night?" She crawled from the kitchen to the family room, pulled the pillow down from the couch, and lay her little head on it, thumb in mouth of course. Are you kidding me???

Don't believe us?

New Blog Action ~ The Nest Baby: McCashew

Time is already at a premium, but here goes nothing...

In case you cannot get your Caroline fix from this blog alone, The Nest Baby McCashew will now be updated with its very own snazzy unique posts. That means it will no longer be a "mirror" of this blog.

I have added the link over there to the blog roll. I hope you will check it out!

Proof of Supposed Steps

First, a fun video of her playing. I feel like Caroline is so grown up suddenly here, so interactive and incredibly excited about every darn thing around her. You can also see her 2 second attention span.



I feel like this little video of her walking is already out of date. We no longer have to convince her to straighten out her little legs, she wants to be standing all the time. Look for her reaction when she sees the video camera. We turned the view screen around so we could be sure she was in the frame. We tried to get her legs in this one. All other attempts had her face, but no legs. We'll get there with a full body AND face one soon I am sure.




Update re Evil Rash

We did end up going to the pediatrician this afternoon. We were 10 minutes late thanks to some school letting out traffic along our route and because of this we were not seen until nearly 3:45 for our 3:00 appointment. Dr. Murphy took one look at her sad little bottom and prescribed an antifungal cream to treat a yeast infection. Yes, babies can get yeast infections, even boys! They apparently often occur after antibiotic treatment. I consider it very lucky that this is our first time with a yeast infection given the number of ear infections we have had. She prescribed this cream called Vusion. She warned me that it is amazingly expensive and gave me a discount card from the company that would limit our copay responsibility to 10 bucks. Score right? Yeah, except that within minutes of pulling out of the parking lot to head back to work for all 15 minutes remaining in my day CVS called to say that it is not covered by our insurance and would cost 275.00. 275! Needless to say we got another RX called in and are now the proud owners of two tubes of Nystatin ointment. Apparently the Vusion cream has nystatin plus another ingredient and that is why it is so expensive? It has such staying power that I was unable to completely wash it from my hands after bathtime! We left the office with with two sample tubes of the Vusion and I intend to use them both (one for us, one for daycare) before we begin the Nystatin. I am particularly psyched that have those two tubes so that in the future we can try the RX cream if we suspect another yeast infection without an office visit or a copay. Amen. End of story - we should see an amazing improvement shortly which is a godsend because when I saw her diaper area this afternoon I gasped. It had been somewhat under control when she was home with us, but at school with a regimented diaper schedule it was about 10000X worse than it was this morning. I felt so so bad for my poor Caroline!

Cute Caroline Chronicle

At the doctor this afternoon we had some time to kill while we waited to be seen. Caroline wasn't too interested in the movie - Finding Nemo - she did gasp at the screen initially when she saw the fish, but was more interested in the plant in the corner. We walked around a bit, me lightly holding onto her fingers and she eventually settled into playing on the waiting room chairs, cruising like a pro down the whole row. She suddenly turned, let go and took off away from me. A few steps in, she took a digger face first into the carpet. Ouch. There were tears, but I had stickers, so they didn't last long. Caroline is getting braver and for that reason, the video seems very outdated. Those tentative steps are becoming more sure and more frequent.

Cake Icing Diaper Cream

The McFamily had a great weekend down in the City of Brotherly Love with Tasha and Tony. We got up Saturday morning, had breakfast and loaded Caroline into the car for the exactly three hour ride to PA. She slept until the third rest stop on the Jersey Turnpike (Molly Pitcher? I think?) and then amused herself with books, an empty ice tea bottle, cheerios, and a Dentyne gum box until we officially arrived at Chateau T and T. We had such a nice visit with lots of time for talking and Old School watching. Did I mention there was Yuengling? She tired herself out on Sunday before we left playing with their puggle Fletch and many successful attempts at a handful of steps at a time. Caroline slept until just past the George Washington Bridge and was fairly amused in the car for the stretch of parkways between us and home, just about an hour. Thanks T and T for a great weekend, we cannot imagine that the next time we see you your family of 2 (plus Fletch of course) will be a family of 3! Can't wait to meet TJ!!!

So the steps... Caroline is still fairly uncertain of herself (she spends a lot of time standing solo) and seems unconvinced overall that walking is really the preferred method of ambulation for most humans. She will take several steps in a row to Mommy, not usually to Daddy still (but we are working on it), and a fav activity is is walking with her stride to ride toy back and forth between the couch and wall. We noticed that when she walks with it she does not seem to be RUNNING behind it anymore which means she is not using it as much for support as she used to. She took major steps while we were in Philly this weekend, maybe because the new surrounding and puggle were a distraction? Sara said she has never seen her walk and that they try often to stand her up, but that she gets jello legs immediately. We did a demo at drop off this morning, using Mommy's car keys as bait, and she walked four or five steps into my arms and Sara was speechless. I told Sara that she could feel free to divulge any and all walking news because we see that she is taking some steps and is on her way and it wouldn't CRUSH me to hear that she had been walking all morning like it would have a couple days ago. She is on her way and when she decides she is ready she is going to be off and running. We will just wait patiently until then, but playing Walk to Mommy is such a fun game that I don't see us stopping that anytime soon.

Can we talk about diaper rashes please? We have a terrible awful one right now, likely courtesy of evil antibiotic that I loathe. We noticed it starting late last week and it was AWFUL, made her cry when we touched her and resulted in her saying "all done" (ahh daa in Caro-ese) halfway through the change. If she had words they would have been "please for the love of god, I am ALL DONE people!!!" It got a little better, mainly because we were diaper cream tyrants loading her nether regions with enough diaper cream that it looked more like cake icing than diaper cream. We tried different creams, we switched between them (Aveeno now, then Desitin, then Aquafor), we tried cornstarch, a baking soda bath, and I let her sit naked to let the air get to her little bod twice yesterday. It gets a little better, but mainly it is sticking around. I suppose I should call the doc, but am I missing some brilliant method we should have tried days ago? I just want her rash to go away and never come back because it pains me to change her diaper and have to reassure her that yes, we are all done and mommy won't torture you again for at least another hour. I am calling the doc shortly and hoping they can see us later this afternoon after I pick her up from school.

What's Caroline eating is being replaced with something new because A. she's eating pretty much everything these days, and B. how interesting can it be to read about yogurt and gardenburgers over and over? So in lieu of all the recent look what she's doing now updates, I give you...

Cute Caroline Chronicle

We went the grocery store (sidebar, we love Big Y!) and it was close to lunch when we returned home. I wanted to at least unload the cold items before setting Caroline up for lunch. So I sat her on the kitchen floor to eat some Cheerios while I put away buy one get one Friendly's ice cream (I had my bad idea jeans on yesterday) and OJ. Seeing the fridge door open she pounced and raced over to the open door, climbed up onto what she has made into a step, and began searching the shelves for something interesting. I was right behind her putting away cream cheese and Cracker Barrel cracker cuts (have we discussed how much we love these?) and all I could foresee happening was her losing her grip or slipping, falling backwards and slamming her poor head onto the kitchen floor. It amazes me how I multitask these days. With one hand on her back and the other in a bag I removed all the fridge items and put them into their proper place, while never for one second removing my hand from her back. She found one of her yogurts, sat on the floor with it, shaking it up and down, beaming ear to ear. She proceeded to crawl over to her high chair, yogurt in hand, pull herself up, place the yogurt on the seat, and began pointing and vocalizing like a mad women that it was lunchtime; "I see you are busy putting things away, so I have located my own yogurt and I even brought it over here. So if you would be so kind as to give me a boost and perhaps open this, I would like to get the show on the road Mommy, I am hungry NOW." It was the funniest thing.

In other news, she tried a bite of our corned beef dinner, but was not really a fan.

Sponge Caroline

I picked Caroline up early from school after an off-site meeting yesterday afternoon, brought her to my office for the last 30 minutes of my work day, and traveled up the road the pedi all to discover that there is in fact NO infection. Her ear has cleared up completely. Perhaps this is teething? I am so happy that she does not have an ear infection, but seriously when the only sign your kid offers up is an occasional ear lobe tug, what’s a crazy mom like me to do?

I made the appointment at Children’s in Boston based on a rec from Steve’s cousin whose daughters both had frequent ear infections. Her youngest has already had tubes placed by this physician and she was so pleased with him. Even though this most recent ear mystery resulted in no continued infection, I am going to maintain the appointment in Boston and get a handle on this because I am sure that we will undoubtedly be on terrible antibiotics for another infection before too much time elapses. More than anything I no longer have that sense that, “phew this is over” when the infection clears up. It is more like, "how much time do we have before the next one?” aka “how long before the mother of all diaper rashes strikes again?” (thank you ridiculous antibiotics with horrible GI symptoms)

I did a bit of reading on Jen’s suggestion that sleep changes might be linked to milestones and that Jen is one smart cookie. Some sources suggest that sometimes babies have trouble settling down because they want to keep practicing all the new things they are learning. Perhaps these tentative first steps we are seeing are actually linked to her reluctance to sleep both at home and at school. I feel terribly bad for Sara and Michele who lately are lucky to get a thirty-minute nap out of Caroline at school. The upside for me is that on days she doesn’t sleep well at school, I have a baby on my lap during bedtime stories that literally cannot keep her eyes open and sleeps upwards of 12 hours. We had to wake her again this morning at nearly 7:30 and she was pooped and sleeping through stories before 7:30 last night. Of course now that I have written that we will be up with her until 10 again tonight. =)

My father once compared children’s learning to sponges, just soaking every drop of the world around them up. Meet our daughter Sponge Caroline, Pink Pants. She will mimic anything and everything that I do – not so much with Steve, but sometimes. Last night while she was hugging her bunny I crossed my arms and moved them back and forth like a cradle – it’s the sign for baby – and she totally watched me and crossed her arms moving them back and forth. I could go on and on and on about all the new things that we see each day that impress us. (Let’s not forget however that this “brilliant sponge” also frequently sits in her green IKEA storage bin - why?) In fact, all week I feel like I have just been sharing all the silly new things she seems to be picking up, but this week’s posts with all the braggy “look my baby does this now!” statements are quite representative of the stage we find ourselves in where she seems to be constantly learning. Heck, if I figured out how to cross my arms, I am sure I wouldn’t want to nap too, imagine what she thinks she might miss out on while she snoozes?

In other braggy bloggy news - I just got an email from the Nest Baby letting me know that they are considering my blog over there (don't go running, it's exactly 100% the same!) to be the featured Mom Journal of the Week. That would mean home page exposure and hopefully bring a lot of new readers. I am humbled and so freakin' excited! Perhaps I should change it up and start posting different things here and there?

Funkified

Caroline was in a bit of a funk when she got home from school, but we forgive her because poor thing was up way past her bedtime after all and from what I saw at school on her chart took a quick almost non-existent nap for them. Poor baby was tired. Her funk might be more accurately described as a combination of frustration and crabbiness resulting in many tears, lots of whining, and annoyance when she was not granted access to the dishwasher, the other side of the baby gate, or the refrigerator. This goes back to boundaries, but when she is crabby and whiny like this I find it hard to maintain my stance on things and often give in opening up the dishwasher for her to play in, tossing a baby spoon down to her to be banged on the open door repeatedly. She loves the dishwasher and I for one cannot wait until she wants to help load and unload her favorite household appliance.

In the midst of her funk we decided to play a distracting game of “walk to mommy” and she took multiple steady steps (read 3 or 4!) from Daddy to Mommy falling into my arms over and over. We sort of captured it on video, but you cannot see her little legs walking so we’ll have to do a reshoot. Caroline would not “walk to daddy,” instead collapsing in a crumpled legs refusing to lock pile of tears on the carpet instead. This was of course thanks to the funk.

Can we discuss climbing for a moment? It is terrifying and occurs about every two seconds now. When I pick her up from school I often find her scaling a play table (supervised of course). She is constantly climbing on top of her piano and the latest is climbing onto her wooden rocker. Climbing often occurs during the millisecond that you turn your back, WHY is that?

Once she gets into the rocker she wants a book or lately to play with a baby doll. She spent a good 10 minutes sitting in the chair, playing with her doll Abbi while Steve talked to Kiki on the phone last night. We played with her doll’s hair, pointed out eyes, nose, mouth, found the belly button on Abbi and then her own. Caroline can’t point out the doll’s eyes yet on her own, but if you say where are Abbi’s eyes and then point to them, she follows suit pointing to the eyes, even giving Abbi a kiss and those adorable hugs on command.

Steve and I are constantly amazed by the connections she is making and how quickly she is learning about her little world. She is learning new skills everyday is seems. Sara reported via phone that Caroline slept on a cot at school yesterday. They needed the space for a new pack n play and they have been talking about doing it for awhile now, so they just bit the bullet and tried it. Sara said Caroline seemed confused at first, but that she fell asleep while they rubbed her back (I love that they do that!) and while she didn’t sleep too long, that she did in fact have a successful first nap on a cot…without walls…that she could sit up and get off of at any moment… wow. After she and Hannah woke up they played together in a communal pack n play together while the rest of the children slept. I am quite happy with her behind bars at home, but wow…

Sadly I must admit that my child is learning so much about her world these days that she now knows that her food comes from the microwave and sometimes the toaster. Last night while sitting in her highchair, which you all know she wildly pointed at until we strapped her in, she began pointing to the microwave and when it beeped she literally freaked out with excitement because HELLO PEOPLE, MY DINNER!!! This morning while her waffle warmed she was a pointing lunatic at the toaster and when it popped, again the freaking out because MY WAFFLE IS READY!!

The Ear

We skipped the doctor this morning because Caroline fell asleep without incident, there was no ear pulling, and she slept through so soundly that she was still under her blanket this morning when I went in to WAKE her at 7:20. So we canceled the appointment and wouldn't you know it, I got a call from Michele just moments ago. Caroline has been pulling on her LEFT ear. The ear infection we are treating was in her RIGHT ear. I canceled the appointment of course because everything seemed fine, but what the heck? Do I call back and schedule another appointment later in the day today? I just don’t know anymore.

{Edited}

We have a 4:30 appointment this afternoon. I tried to make silly "you deal with crazies like me all day" comments, but they were not answered in a silly way which means I am inded a crazy. Great. It is my big hope that they find no infection and that we waste the copay because if it hasn't gone away I need to look them in the eye and ask for a ENT referral down here and inquire about someone at Children's that was recommended to us by family. joy.

If a baby grabs her ear and a pedi isn't around to see it, does it still count as evidence of a continued ear infection?

The McFamily headed up north in the storm on Saturday to attend what was an absolutely lovely joint party in celebration of both Tasha & Tony’s much anticipated arrival due late April - TJ - and her parents’ 30th anniversary. It was a wonderful party with lots of good food and too many desserts to count, highlighted by an amazing performance by her parents’ ballroom dance students. MORE ON THAT LATER! You will have to 110% watch the upcoming PBS documentary highlighting their amazing accomplishments!!!

Steve and I got to reconnect with some old friends and talk babies with our tablemates. Nana and Granda enjoyed having Caroline so much that they offered to keep her indefinitely. We thanked them for the offer, but declined. =)

Caroline has been busy picking up more new behaviors. When you say “no” to her now she will either shake her head “no” OR she will look you right in the eye while continuing to do the forbidden thing she is doing with a “go ahead and make me” look, she is constantly testing her boundaries. She gets no for sure, she just isn’t a big fan of it because it means she cannot do something that she wants to do and WOE to he or she who refuses her royal majesty. We are all for boundaries.

The pointing to communicate needs continues now with more urgency and precision. We have been diligent about naming the items before we give them to her in a “cup please” “thank you” manner. We’ll get there. I have also been using some Baby Einstein Language Discovery Cards to help with naming things. I put the card for banana up this morning while she was eating her own banana. She loves those cards.

Caroline points to her high chair when she wants to eat. If we have her in the kitchen during dinner prep she will literally point like a mad woman until she is strapped in and then she is so delighted to be there that she kicks her feet and giggles even with no food in front of her. She has been eating off plates and bowls more lately too, though we are still using just fingers most of the time to eat. I picked up 6 plastic dishwasher safe phenom plates at IKEA yesterday for $1.99. Need I reiterate my love for all things IKEA?

When she drops pieces of food while filling her chipmunk cheeks she can find them buried in her bib not by sight but by feel and the realization that she dropped it in this vicinity down here somewhere. That has made the high chair clean up so much easier. Heaven forbid a speck of food get lost, she is an absolute chow hound. Last night she ate seconds of her mac and cheese and sweet potatoes. I think she would have eaten every sweet potato we put on her plate, even though by the end of dinner she looked like she was going to need to be rolled to bed (or at the very least her skin would turn sweet potato organge!).

On Sunday she started on the road to blowing kisses. She will put her hand over her mouth and remove it in a blow kisses kind of way, though for now she is blowing very open-mouthed kisses. How wildly inappropriate!

We think she is still suffering from that ear infection, aka the meds ain’t working! Yesterday at her afternoon nap she was completely wiped out and exhausted and closed her eyes and cuddled into me, but as soon as I lay her flat in her crib she was up and screaming the most terrible break your heart ear piercing scream that after just a few minutes I had a non-stop thumping in my head. I eventually got her to sleep, but noticed some ear grabbing along the way and at the conclusion of nap time I was greeted by a smiling happily rested baby who had scratched her ear all up with her nails in frustration or agony?

Last night she went down easy, only to wake up an hour later hysterical and seemingly in pain again. We watched her on the monitor completely helpless as she alternated between laying down with her eyes closed and sitting up howling holding that painful right ear. This has to, just HAS to, STOP… She really should be going to sleep before oh I don’t know 10:30, don’t you think? and perhaps it wouldn't be too too much to ask that she not be in pain or require motrin everynight?

I am calling the pedi after lunch to confer with a nurse about how to proceed. I don’t think the meds are working, but who knows if they will give her something else or want to see her? I just need to know when I should call if I keep seeing this ear grabbing and think that it still might be present. She is technically done with the meds on Thursday night.

And saving the best for last….

Join us in Welcoming

Mary and Rob’s New DAUGHTER

JULIA FRANCES

March 10th, 2008
4:22 PM
7lbs 8oz

The McFamily is thrilled for them and cannot wait to meet Emma’s new baby sister. Mom reports that everyone is doing great!

Tiny dancer

The little girls came to tap dance and practice ballet in my center’s ballroom on Tuesday afternoon. I love Tuesday afternoon because just as my day is winding down, I hear the faint tapping of shoes and it puts a huge smile on my face. I usually go out there before they start at 4pm to see these little girls in their pink & black leotards, tutus & dance skirts, pink, white & crazy striped tights. I smile down on them from my office door and some of them wave, some of them smile, and a few run to hide behind their moms peeking out at me from the safety of their mother’s coats making sure I am still watching.

When I first started here I thought I loved this class because I at one time was what they are; a little dancer. I still remember my mother asking me if I wanted to take ballet or tap lessons and bouncing all over the room chanting “ballet, ballet, ballet” over and over again. I know now, but didn’t then, that my mother researched many of the local schools before settling on a more formal school that required specific leotard and shoe colors by level, that my hair be pulled back from my face without exception, and that seemed to be I guess a bit more legit than some of the others?

The girls are young, maybe 4 years old, and I have now realized that I watch and smile and hope that my own little girl will one day look at me and say “Mommy I want to be a ballerina.” I watch the mothers beaming a grin that uses their whole face as their little one gallops around a stuffed animal or leaps over a whole line of them in succession. My instructor did the same thing. We leaped over record albums laid on the ground that she told us were alligators (kind of a scary image now that I think of it!). Their methods don’t seem that different, how could they these girls are so young? Bar work, jete turns, and pirouettes are far off in their dancing future. As for the formality, well at least at this level this Department of Recreation class would be available to me at a 50% discount, so I think Town Rec dance would be just fine for starting out don’t you?

I always watch this one little girl who is so incredibly shy, but is the one that all the other girls follow. She is the one who always knows the next step, who knows which way to turn, points her toes with precision, and smiles only until she realizes you are watching of course.

As I stood there watching them this week, a coworker approached and began chatting me up and I was so distracted by the dancers that she turned to me and said, “you want another one don’t you?” I looked at her and said, “No, I think I just want one of those.”

Lucky 13

I realized this morning that it is time again for another bear photo! Another month has whooshed by us at an alarming speed. Unfortunately the camera was upstairs and we had t minus two minutes until we jetted off to school, but never fear, a new month of photos will begin shortly. Speaking of photos, I finally got my act together and linked the Puerto Vallarta photos over there to the left.

Caroline is feeling so much better (though as I type this I realize I completely forgot her medicine this morning! Whoops, afternoon dose is just going to have to do!) today and was absolutely ravenous at breakfast. She has really gotten me into better am habits too because I typically have whatever she is enjoying for breakfast and that is working out well. Sara said it took her forever and a day to eat her meatball yesterday. When her ears and teeth are bothering her the interest in food leaves a lot to be desired. We are just happy to have our happy little girl back. OH, funny thing that happened at pick up yesterday! I walked in and heard the caregiver in the next room say "So Caroline, tell me all about Mexico!" so cute.

New cute thing to share:

Caroline babbles ba in a sing songy way that sort of sounds like this (should be an interesting exercise trying to communicate sound through written word):

bbbbbaaaaaa bwwwaa

If she starts doing it we do it back to her and she is so tickled that she will keep doing it. Attempts by parents to initiate said sing songyness have been met with furrowed confused "my mom is such a wierdo" looks.

She has also been experimenting with new sounds that seem like they are coming from putting her tongue on the roof of her mouth. It comes out sort of gargle or sounds like she is underwater, but is so cute trust me.

Super news to get excited over:

We have been spending time each night with Miss Caroline "walking" between us. Last night she stood on her own completely unsupported for what felt like an eternity. Steve kept telling me not to touch her and how could I? I was so scared of moving a muscle for fear that she would sit down like she always does. Needless to say we were very impressed. Caroline has taken a step here or there when we do our little "go to Mommy" "come to Daddy" routine and each and every attempt results in cheers and praise. My mother said that my brother didn't walk until he was 18 months old, so we obviously aren't concerned about her taking solo steps at this point, but we have seen the evidence many times that she is still just inches away from taking off running... at which point we will look at each other in terror and fall to our knees asking the universe WHY OH WHY did we play go to mommy and come to daddy with her?? WHY???

In all seriousness, Caroline is doing great. She is lucky 13 months old this month and having an absolute blast!

What is Caroline eating today?

Fried egg with broken yolk (LOVED this!)
Banana
Strawberry
Chicken nuggets
Zucchini and Summer Squash roasted with olive oil, s/p (YUM!)
Veggie and Pirate Booty mix
Cheddar Cheese
Goldfish crackers
Yobaby yogurt

Tacos for dinner tonight - she will be trying all of it!

recovering, but with teething

I could focus on the sickness that seems to have once again sucked both me and Caroline in this past weekend (we are both already better, save for Caro's latest and greatest ear infection - we are indeed headed for tubes, but I will save that discussion for another day), let's instead discuss other happier things. I won't even mention the terrible evening we had last night other than acknowledging that teething does indeed suck out loud.

Let's discuss the world's newest thing aged THIRTY years!!!




That would be Steve (circa 2004 in New Orleans enjoying not one but TWO hurricanes). Despite the illness that had me wanting to do anything but eat a fancy meal on Saturday, we went out to dinner on the South Shore and enjoyed a fabulous swanky candelit meal just us to celebrate the special occasion. Even though my tummy was tumbling, it was hard not to eat every stinking bite of my delicious steak and mushroom risotto. I felt better by morning and thankfully didn't miss out on french toast at the Sand's End. Phew, catastrophe averted, but DARN it would have been too nice to be able to enjoy every scrumptious bite of my meal and every warming sip of our Syrah instead of french toast!

Steve is thirty... the Big 3-0... 20-10... how and when did we REALLY get this old? I wish I had been able to whisk him away to Sox Spring Training or take him to Disney World sans baby in celebration of the end of his youth of course =) but not this year, not this time. I think he knows how special and important he is to me and to our family, doesn't he? While I fully admit that I revel in the fact that he is in fact 1 month and 21 days old than me, I think I will always ALWAYS see him like this.


GOD, look at us. That photo is courtesy of the newest married in our life Adrienne, circa XMAS 2001. BABIES! (and where exactly MIGHT my eyebrows be???)

See Steve's birthday makes me all nostalgic for us too - it isn't ALL about you honey, sorry. We first met in early March just after his 23rd birthday. I know this because when we were initially setting up our "first date" he couldn't get together the day I suggested because he was going to the CHEESY (HA!) to celebrate his birthday with friends. So when his birthday rolls around, though we don't celebrate our dating anniversary anymore, I get all reflective and think about that special time in our life when we were just meeting, having those long all night chats, spending exactly no time apart, talking about the future, and getting all those "this is IT" butterflies.


Here's a short photographic history of us over the past 7 years...


(also courtesy of Mrs. Choyfrocca, I love this shot of us in on Shea at BC at what was the beginning - and should have been the END - of the game "Government Warning")

(New Orleans self portrait (Spring 2003)

(The Vineyard circa 2003)

(New Years 2004 - Mrs. Flynnewski's first appearance)

(Honeymoon Aruba 2004)

(Honeymoon Aruba 2004)

(Honeymoon Aruba 2004)

(Tasha's wedding 2004 - look how tan we were!?!? my god!!!)

(Spring Training with the Flynnewskis - Winter/Spring 2006)

(Vineyard with the Albenneys - Summer 2006)

(Yankee Sox with Laurie in the Bronx - Summer 2006)

(Christmas 2007 - Our first as a family)

Seven years. Has it really been that long? I have celebrated every birthday with you and while this one was incredibly special, I think they have all been pretty great. You might not state your age with twenty ___ anymore , but that doesn't change the fact that you are my favorite person on earth, the person I can share all my secrets with, my best friend...

It's true! If you don't believe me I give evidence here. There you are all rocked out to whatever 80's song was on at the Choyfrocca's wedding and despite your intensity and crazy dancing, look how smitten I still am with you.

Happy birthday to my favorite thirty-year-old Steve!