Friday, December 26, 2008

A Very Merry Christmas

Christmas was, as usual, wonderful and completely crazy. We may not have had the 12 hour drive to Oklahoma as in years past (Instead it's out to Colorado! See the last paragraph.) but we had the same crazy feeling of having to make sure everything made it from one place to another.

We celebrated our own personal Christmas the Sunday night before. Tim made a super yummy dinner of chicken fried steak, mashed potatoes, veggies, and crescent rolls while I very happily watched. (Don't worry, I cleaned all the dishes later, which is our rule. One cooks, one cleans.) Brenden had already received his gift of a zoo membership but was very excited to open his stocking, which held his ornament and some new books. Tim really seemed to enjoy his new indoor/outdoor weather gauge, fleece hats and gloves and I loved my Cd's and the song my grandpa Halter wrote for me (in 1981) that Tim had framed.
Reading The Night Before Christmas on Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve was spent with my family. We were surprised by a visit from my uncle Mike, aunt Maxine, and our cousins Natalie and Aaron. We then headed to church at 7 pm, which is always interesting with a 15 month old. He wasn't quite as restless as I expected and thankfully the service was only about 30 minutes long so he was back at home and asleep at his normal time, which is now 8 pm. That night Tim and I made pumpkin and apple pies and my mom tried to make a new type of chocolate cookie without eggs. Unfortunately she misread the directions and the first batch wasn't exactly the best. The 2nd, more chocolate-y batch was MUCH better, but that meant that we were all up until at least 11:30 pm baking. Santa was going to be at the house soon so we hurried to bed.

Brenden and the Warehime Christmas Tree

Christmas morning Brenden woke us up happily by yelling "Mama! Mama!" across the bedroom. He waddled in to wake up his grandparents and then told us firmly that it was time to eat. Since it was Christmas his breakfast consisted of a few bites of oatmeal and 2 white chocolate chip cookies. He's not spoiled at all, right? By 9:30 am the rest of us were ready to eat and open presents but we were one great-grandma short and had a tired toddler on our hands. We eventually got great-grandma into the house and settled on the couch and decided that Brenden should open his presents and then we would eat and open ours after he was down for his nap. He really loved getting toys out of his stocking again but once his new cell phone was unwrapped he could have cared less what we showed him. He did stop a few times to push some buttons on his other toys, and he did push his new toy vacuum , complete with sound but unfortunately no sucking action, around the living room. Of course he did all of that with the phone securely clutched in his fist. We were all extremely spoiled that morning, both by gifts and lots of biscuits and gravy, and Tim and I are well on our way to getting a computer.


Smile!

A quick note: It's not a holiday at the Warehime house unless someone heads to the ER and this year it was grandma Warehime's turn. On Tuesday her cat Morris bit her, which is extremely unusual. Her poor wrist was swollen like a summer sausage, red, and hot. My mom took her in after we left and they gave her a shot of penicillin, which I hope takes care of the infection quickly. She doesn't seem too upset or in a lot of pain and the doctors weren't overly concerned, but what a wonderful way to spend your day, right? At least no one lost a fingernail to a belt sander...ask my dad about that someday. (Unplug the sander before changing the pad!!!)


After Brenden woke from his nap and we shoved some lunch in him we drove to Mike and Connie's house for the rest of Christmas day with the Hagan side of the family. Lunch was awesome and Brenden was much happier at this large gathering than he was at Thanksgiving. He entertained the table with his ramblings and laughed like a hyena at Papa Dan's funny noises. We then got to work opening another batch of presents. Brenden became very attached to his new fridge word builder toy until his tricycle was unwrapped. I had no idea he would be so excited. He hopped right on and even tried to push the pedals, although not very successfully. Even more exciting for him was using the screwdriver and the nut driver to move the seat. He's going to be taking apart the toaster and the lawn mower before we know it.

Anything else in the stocking?

So that's 3 Christmases down, 2 to go. On Monday night we're celebrating with the Kelly side of the family back at Mike and Connie's, and on the 30th we're headed to Colorado to see Karen, Rick, Pat, Jason and Chrissy. We are so excited to see everyone and so blessed already. I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas full of happiness and love, and no trips to the ER.


Learning to ride his new tricycle!

For more pictures click here and here. :)

Monday, December 22, 2008

First Hair Cut

We finally did it...Brenden had his first hair cut! I was ready to have it done a long time ago, but Tim was a little reluctant. (Bald baby, anyone?) But last week I showed Tim a couple of pictures where Brenden was using my hair clippy and I guess that decided it for him. It could have also been the fact that his hair was threatening to get into his eyes, too.

Snip, snip!

What are you doing up there?

This thing is cool! Can I take it?

So Saturday we went to Super Cuts for both my guys to get hair cuts. We weren't too worried about Brenden being afraid of the noise, we were only worried he wouldn't sit still long enough. He wandered around the store while Tim had his hair cut first, and then it was his turn. He sat on his dad's lap and at first was interested in the spray bottle. That lasted all of 2 seconds. He then started squirming like a madman. I had to put his gloves on him, which somehow distracted him for a little while, and then we let him push the buttons on the camera. If I had been smarter I would have handed him my phone. All in all it wasn't that bad. He didn't mind the lady cutting his hair as long as he could push the buttons. I believe she cut off about 4 inches. Being the strange parent that I am, I snipped a couple of curls to keep in his baby book. I know I wanted his hair cut, but now I miss his curls! I guess now his hair has the chance to grow out at the same length and may look a little better. He always had one side of his head that was longer. So funny!

Here are the before and after pictures. Our little man is growing up!


Before

After

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Little boy, Big personality

Whenever people ask us to describe Brenden Tim will always reply, "He looks like me, with Amanda's personality." I'm still not sure if this is a compliment or not. Brenden has some really funny moments, but he also has some pretty awful ones, so who do we attribute those to? Tim and I are both pretty darn stubborn so Brenden was doomed to inherit that. I've started writing down a few of the funny things he does. I'll let you decide which parent he may have received these traits from.

His latest skill is putting his fingers in his ears. He isn't doing it to pretend he can't hear us, he just thinks it's funny. He'll hum while he does it so I think he may have discovered that it sounds different when he does it. I know that Tim and I didn't show him how, he just walked up to me one afternoon grinning like crazy with his fingers firmly in each ear. Since everyone thought that was rather hilarious he decided that he would try sticking his fingers in other places on his face. His newest one is up his nose. He doesn't dig around or anything, he just puts both index fingers in his nostrils and snorts. I can't help myself when I laugh at this, although I'm sure it will come back to bite me in the end. If we're at a store I may say, "Brenden, that's not very attractive" but I don't exactly stop him. When he starts wiping things on me, I might.

On Saturday night we ate Christmas dinner with Mike and Connie. We had yummy stuffed pork chops, scalloped potatoes, crescent rolls, and salad. We thought for sure Brenden would love the potatoes and the carrots that his grandma made for him. Unfortunately his picky side came out and all he would eat was the rolls and a banana. (Brenden shares the same obsession with bananas as his friend Anthony. We can't say the word around him.) After trying everything we could to get him to eat something else for dinner, we gave up. He had enough to eat that day and wasn't so hungry that I thought he needed tons more food, and the fact that it wasn't exactly a balanced meal didn't bother me at that moment. If he was eating I was happy. Eventually Brenden decided he absolutely HAD to sit in his grandma's lap. He was content for about 5 seconds and then tried to grab his grandpa's knife. Back into the highchair he went, but not very happily. We tried to bribe him with a roll, which he took but he refused to take a bite of it. After much screaming and pounding he realized we were not going to let him back out. This is when he looked at his roll and bit it with a ferocity that I did not know he had in him. He then glared at each of us in turn, as if to say, "Fine. I'll eat the stupid roll." I'm pretty sure we were all crying from laughing, which didn't make Brenden feel much better.

There is a mall not very far from our house that has a nice play area for kids. The floor is squishy and so are the toys. We've gone twice, once with Connie and then again today with Tim and me. Brenden has no problems running around with the other kids, occasionally getting knocked down or running into the benches around the sides. Both times we have gone he's found one or two kids he plays with the entire time and thankfully their parents have been extremely nice. Brenden is a big time hugger and always seems to find a little girl to love on. The little girls don't seem to mind, especially since one of them followed him everywhere today. (She was 2...an older woman!) :) Today he took a big step and went down the slide all by himself! The first time he made it to the top of the slide and I held his hand while he sat down and put his feet out. The next time Tim put him at the top and Brenden figured out how to push himself to get going. I thought he had the hang of it, but I was wrong. His next attempt he thought he'd try going head first, which means he tumbled down and landed in a heap. I was sitting on the bench watching and Tim was recording it with his phone. I thought for sure he would cry, or at least not want to go down again. I was wrong! He went down one more time, but this time was feet first. (Mom's insisting changed his mind about going head first.) We're very proud of him!

video

The video of his last sliding attempt. It's a little fuzzy since we used our phone. (The first thing you hear me say is "No." hehe)

Slides aren't the only thing that don't scare him. He's also not afraid to walk up to random people and ask for something, like lifting him so he can reach a button or their cell phone. I am constantly amazed at what complete strangers are willing to do. There was a lady that works at Circuit City that actually sat him on the counter and let him type on her computer. Another lady handed him her Blackberry and didn't even blink when he ran away with it. Who are these people!? I think they are all wonderful, I just didn't know that so many people would give into him so easily. I know I wouldn't hand over my cell phone to a child that I didn't know. Someday this strange power he has over people will stop working and he will be so upset. Until then, I guess he'll just enjoy having an extra grandma or grandpa every where he turns.



Wednesday, December 17, 2008

15 Month Check Up

We made it through another of the numerous check ups that happen in the first few years of a child's life. This is the one I was feeling the most nervous about, the one where Brenden got his dreaded MMR vaccine. I know that there are millions of people in the world that have had this shot. I know that both Tim and I had this shot before all the scares about autism and other horrible side effects were being shoved down my throat every time I turn around. That is not to say that there isn't a connection. I'm not a doctor and I have not done any personal research on the matter. I did read about it extensively, asked Brenden's doctor about it, and Tim and I came to the conclusion that we were definitely going to vaccinate him. It didn't take away my nerves, though.

We waddled up to the office, bundled up against the cold and snow. The last few days northeastern Oklahoma has been like an ice skating rink, so we've been stuck in the house driving each other crazy. Even if this wasn't a completely happy outing, it was still OUT. Brenden had a nice conversation with a lady in the elevator and continued chatting with everyone in the office until we were called back. He did a decent job of walking back to see the doctor, with only two detours into empty offices. The nurse we had is the same one we've seen every time. I think she is assigned to Dr. Mickle, Brenden's doctor, and we both really like her. She measured his length and head and then took us to weigh him. Brenden is 32 1/4 inches long, in the 75-90%, 28 lbs 3 oz, 90% (but I swear he weighs more), and his head is 49 cm, 90-97%. Both the nurse and the doctor commented that they were amazed he is so big when I'm on the smaller size and said he looked like good linebacker material. It's so funny that everyone says linebacker! Complete strangers wander up to him in grocery stores and say the same thing. They also asked about his head size when he was born, which I get all the time. People seem to be worried that his head has always been that size. No worries everyone, his ginormous cranium has grown at the same rate as his cheeks.

After a quick check to make sure that his egg allergy wouldn't be a problem with the vaccines, Brenden received the MMR and Hep A shots. The first shot he did OK, but the second one made him scream like a banshee. He even kicked the nurse in the stomach. OOPS! After a couple of minutes of soothing, lots of hugs, and a pacifier, he was doing OK. We walked into the waiting room and he found a couple of kids to play with, which he eventually ended up hugging like crazy. Thankfully they didn't mind at all and their moms found it amusing. One of these days he'll grab the wrong person and it won't be pretty. I really need to work on explaining personal space.

He is completely healthy and totally on track for his age, although if you ask me I think he's a little ahead of the curve, but there may be a bias. :) What parent doesn't think their child is the smartest and cutest baby ever? And I'll just have to see if there are any complications with his shots...but I'm praying that I'm being completely oversensitive. So far, so good!


Monday, December 15, 2008

Back online!

Wow...a few weeks without a computer at home and I feel completely disconnected. Luckily, Mike and Connie shared their desktop with us and now we are back in business! I could not be more excited...THANK YOU MIKE AND CONNIE! It's just a loaner until we get one of our own (which may be coming from another family member) and we are so thankful. Now I can get our Christmas letter done, because we all know it won't type itself, or be typed by anyone but me.

We had a busy week, both at my job and at home. Most people probably know I'm working 2 days a week at my old dance studio and I love it. I get to take Brenden with me and he loves chatting with the girls and their families. When he isn't there people are always asking about him. My mom comes to get him for a little while on Monday and for most of the evenings on Thursday, so Brenden's spoiling has increased tremendously.

This last weekend was Bartlesville's Christmas Spectacular, the show that Art of Motion puts on every year. Dress rehearsal on Friday went pretty well, even with some drama at the Community Center beforehand. We've handled almost everything they can throw at us in the last 20 years! Brenden spent the entire day with Grandma and Grandpa Warehime and I am sure that he enjoyed every minute of it, especially since when I left he barely blinked in my direction and refused to hug or kiss me goodbye. His clingy-baby stage did NOT last long. Actually, that's not true. He becomes very clingy with random people, like a grandma at the studio that plays with him, or the lady at Tim's reserve unit. If they leave he screams like I've taken away Barney Bunny. I have no idea why he feels so attached to complete strangers but could care less if I ever came back.

Ok, I got a little off the point. Saturday night I was headed to the show and Tim, my parents, his parents, Justin and Brenden were headed to the Dewey parade. Brenden seems to have had a great time people watching and grabbing up all sorts of candy that we can't let him eat. He may have molars now, but I'm pretty sure hard candy is out of the question for a long time. I was sad that I missed going with them, but the show was fabulous, as usual. A big thanks to the girls and Hayden for my present! I really appreciate it. You are all too sweet!

Backstage at the show was insane! One person, who will not be named, showed up at 7 pm, which is when the show started. Performers are supposed to be there at least 30 minutes before. Scary! After helping with a few quick changes, I ended up running down a few flights of stairs in order to grab a class that was due on stage. It was NOT fun trying to herd seven 4 year olds back up those stairs, especially in tap shoes. Thankfully we made it in one piece, although not in the right order to dance on stage. In the end, no one cared what order they were in. All that mattered was that they made it, and that that will never happen again. With the show over and the floor rolled up and deposited back at the studio, I went home to sleep. It was a busy two days.

For pictures from the parade, and other fun things, click here!

Stay safe and warm! It's sure chilly here!


Saturday, December 6, 2008

I still exist! (and updates)

I've stolen the laptop again! Tim is off doing the Army reserve thing this weekend so I begged him to leave me the laptop. "Just a couple of days of contact with the outside world, please?" Somehow, I got my wish. (Thank you, Tim!) I have decided that for Christmas I am going to ask everyone to contribute to a "Get Amanda a new computer, she's going crazy without one" Fund. Not the most personal gift ever, but I'm ready to be able to read my emails in a normal size, not the minute version on my cell phone.
There is a lot to include in this post...sorry in advance!!!

Thanksgiving was held at Grandma and Grandpa Warehime's house and we ended up with 15 people in one den. Cramped, but very happy! Fried turkey, ham, potatoes, mac and cheese, green bean casserole, homemade apple and pumpkin pie, etc...all made for a super yummy day. Brenden was a little overwhelmed with the sudden appearance of half of the family after naptime and only wanted to be held by Grandma Connie, who shared her plate of food with him. He's usually extremely social so I think it had to do with the fact that when he went to sleep there weren't that many people and when he woke up he had everyone watching him. He did settle down and eventually ate his own food for dinner. I'm not sure how to make this easier for him next time, but we'll figure it out.

We (meaning Tim and my mom) decided to have a garage sale the Saturday after Thanksgiving. I knew we were going to have one, I just didn't know it would be so soon. I don't think anyone realized just how many things were shoved into my mom's storage shed. It took at least 5 trips back and forth to get everything to the house on Thursday night and Friday morning. We then spent what felt like ALL DAY Friday (at least 8 hours) sorting and pricing the junk. Some of it was decent, but 90% of it was really just odds and ends that my mom and I had collected over 20 years. Yes, I still had jewelry and random things from when I was 7 stored away. I'm not sure what I thought I would do with them, but I guess I imagined a garage sale. Wish granted!

Saturday we woke up at 5:20 am to get everything put out by 7 am. Anyone that knows me knows that getting me out of bed before sunrise is a miracle, but it happened. It was cold, a bit misty, and still dark, but we got it done. By 8:30 am we hadn't seen one person. (I got up that early for NOTHING?!) We thought for sure this entire day was a bust, and then it happened! One person showed up and bought something, which apparently made it ok for other people to show up. We sold roughly $150 worth of junk, including a grab bag of my old jewelry and things, most of which went to 3 people. I think one lady was shopping for flea markets but at that time I didn't care. When it was all said and done we still had a majority of the stuff left. Some of it we are going to sell on Craigslist, the rest went to Goodwill or was left on the curb by my parent's house. I am amazed what people will pick up if it's free. I'm just happy it's not still in storage!

Brenden can now officially stand up without holding on to something. He started doing it the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and has continued to get better at it every day. I have had several people comment about how steady he seems on his feet now, which I've noticed as well. We still have moments where he falls down and face plants on the hardwood, but they are very few and he's learned how to fall without busting a lip. He can also squat down without tipping over, which comes in handy when he wants to hide behind something to play Peek-a-Boo.

He has also started becoming attached to things, although he hasn't picked out a favorite yet. One day he'll want to wear his OSU hat everywhere, including into his crib at naptime. Another day he wants me to put the monkey that Grandma Karen got him at the Denver Zoo around his neck, which he then leaves on like a funny tie. I guess having several objects that can keep him interested and happy is a good thing so I'm not going to push him towards one thing or another. The only thing that is constant is Barney Bunny, who lives in Brenden's crib and only comes out when we go somewhere overnight. Brenden does seem to love clutching him in the car so maybe he'll be a car bunny soon, too. I've very interested to see which thing stays the course, but I have a feeling that his preference may just keep changing every week. A few weeks ago he only wanted to play with our Swiffer or the vacuum. (he can make a vacuum noise now!) We'll just roll with it!

Like my new tie?


Sleepy baby with his Barney Bunny in the car.

Brenden continues to learn new words and signs, some of which he has made up himself. If he pounds on his chest then he wants a cracker, or if he pats his head he wants his hat on. He has taken to calling the dogs "bub-bee", which sounds like a version of "puppy" to me and we can't get him to just say "dog". Other random phrases will come out of his mouth repeatedly, so I think he's trying to tell me something but I just don't speak Brenden-nese. If I repeat what he has said to me he gets a very funny look on his face, like I just promised something that I may regret. I've told him several times that even though I may have said he can get a new car when he's 16, it was because I had no idea what I was agreeing to. :) My favorite one has been "stinky" which is what I say when I think it's time to change a diaper. I'll ask if he's stinky and he'll wave his hand in front of his nose and try to repeat the word "stinky". There have been a few times where he has walked up to me and said it, wave included, and when I check he's definitely stinky. I'm hoping that this is a good step towards potty training, which I'm dreading! The horror stories I have heard, including the long drawn out process that Tim's parents had to go through with him, are not putting my mind at ease. We're not actively trying to potty train him or anything crazy like that, but I've started thinking about it and what we can do now to help him. It's a scary thought!

My last piece of Brenden related news (what else is there?) is that he officially has 13 teeth. When this happened I'm not sure, but while we were brushing his teeth before I bed I noticed that there were a few more than I remembered. The screaming is making sense! He now has the beginnings of 2 upper molars, along with a canine on the top as well. As far as I can tell, and I'm no expert, the other 3 canines are trying to make an appearance, too. His pediatrician told me that he would get the canines and then get his molars, but she seems to have forgotten than this child does not like waiting for anything. Here come 6 new teeth at once! How lucky are we? Yay for teething tablets! If you haven't heard of them, please try them if you are dealing with an unhappy teether. They have saved us from many MANY sleepless nights. (Thank you Heather G!)

On that happy note, it's about time for Brenden's nap to end. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend full of happy chatting and emailing. I'm going to use this laptop time while I still can!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Kaput!

Our laptop at home has gone on permanent strike. No more internet during the day for me! I've stolen Tim's work laptop to type this quick apology for being gone for so long.

A quick Happy Birthday to Jason! It was Nov. 26th, right after the computer went goodbye. Sorry Jay!

Happy Thanksgiving and Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope we aren't computer-less for that long but I better say it now. :)


Monday, November 24, 2008

Day One of Messy Fun

Many people may not believe that we would let Brenden feed himself, no matter how messy he might get. We are always at the ready with baby wipes or paper towels to catch any little sticky bit that may make its way to his face or hair. But after realizing that we were really holding him back, we let him get as messy as he liked, as long as it meant he was eating. Wow...he took complete advantage of this freedom.

Breakfast is always cereal of some kind, be it oatmeal or rice cereal. Its the most messy of all of his meals by far, but I was determined that he would feed himself no matter what. I sat the bowl down in front of him, handed him a spoon, and sat back. The first few bites made it to his mouth on the spoon, but after he realized I wasn't going to stop him if he wanted to stick his hands in he dove in. The spoon was promptly forgotten as he smeared it all over his hands, face and even his pants. The mess didn't take as long to clean as I expected, although I didn't get him as clean as I usually do. Oh well...a little dried oatmeal in the hair never hurt anyone.

I'd rather use my hands, thanks.

Lunch didn't scare me as much. He has been feeding himself his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for a little while now, but for some reason he has decided he's not that big of a fan anymore. (I think a few grilled cheeses from grandma did that.) Instead, Tim thought some macaroni and cheese might hit the spot, and he was right. After giving up on the plastic toddler fork, Brenden fed himself every last noodle on his plate.

A mouthful of mac and cheese.

For dinner I wanted to give him a treat...chicken fingers! I thought for sure that he would be super excited and shove them all in his mouth at once. Surprisingly, he was completely uninterested in both the chicken and the carrots, which we know he loves. We kept trying to bride him, even fed him a few of the pieces ourselves, but he was just not having it. Eventually, we took the plate away and left a few pieces on his tray. We walked away for a second to get our own plates ready and when we got back the leftover carrots and chicken were gone. Apparently our son doesn't like the plate! If all it takes is removing the plate then I think we can handle that. He finished off his dinner with some mandarin oranges, which he fed himself since they were allowed to roam freely on his tray.

Three messy meals later and day one of this project was over. I thought for sure he wouldn't let us feed him when it came time for his snacks but he had no problem sitting in my lap and being fed. Someday we'll let him at that, too, but for now breakfast, lunch and dinner are a great step!


Saturday, November 22, 2008

Clean vs. Messy

Every husband hates to hear his wife say, "This weekend we're cleaning out the garage!" Well guess what, wives don't like hearing that from their husband's either. We are planning a garage sale with my mom next weekend and we weren't going to have time to do before then, so at 10 am we trooped out there to get started. I thought we were going to be stuck going through box after box the entire day, but it really only took about 2 1/2 hours. We found a lot less things that we were willing to part with than I expected, but in the end the garage is much more organized and if we needed to find something the boxes are labeled.

That was the clean, this is the messy:

We've been working for a little while on getting Brenden to feed himself. He likes to play with a fork or spoon when he's eating, but he's never really been that interested in actually using them. My mom found a really cool plate with a rim that we thought might make the job a little easier, so tonight we cut up some carrots and little mini hot dogs and let him at them. He thought it was funny to move things around, but that was about it. We tried cheering him on when something made it into his mouth, either by utensil or by fingers, but we don't think he grasped that concept completely. He loved clapping and yelling, but didn't understand we wanted him to eat, not just touch the fork or the plate. Maybe he's been a little sheltered when it comes to getting messy and eating. Ok, he's been completely sheltered. Tim and I have always been extremely careful to keep him from getting sticky and nasty when he eats, which seem to have led us to this point. I'm glad that the clothes we have in storage will be in pristine condition when the next child arrives, but it has definitely set him back. We agreed that from now on we are going to be a lot more lenient when it comes to mealtime. We'll see how that goes. Lots of great pictures, I'm sure!

We have an organized garage and a soon to be messy child, but those things are nothing when it comes to the milestone we hit today. NO MORE BOTTLES!!! Brenden drank his bedtime snack in a sippy cup and didn't even flinch. Whoo hoo! Taking away the morning bottle wasn't rough at all, but I thought for sure the nighttime bottle would be a fight. I was so happy to be wrong! We've also started brushing his teeth at night. He's always had a fondness for toothbrushes; he likes to chew on them or mess with the bristles. But we decided it was time to actually use it for it's purpose. When he finally opened his mouth he found getting his teeth brushed quite funny. Maybe his gums are ticklish...who knows! Next stop, getting rid of the pacifier. He only uses it when he sleeps and we usually just leave it in the crib, but that one is going to be difficult. Wish us luck!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Clean Bill of Health

Today was Brenden's check-up for his ear infection. I had an appointment at 11:30 am so Tim came home and had to make sure Brenden ate his lunch, was bundled in enough clothes, and at the doctor's office before his 1 pm appointment time. After standing on the scale for the first time like a big boy (29 lbs!) we saw Dr. Mickle, whom the receptionist calls Mickle Monster for some reason. Brenden sat quietly while she checked his ears, eyes, nose and teeth and listened to his heart and lungs. I have no idea why he he turns into a meek and mild child in front a doctor, I just know it makes doctor's appointments much easier than I expected. Everything was perfect, most importantly his ears. I asked her if she thought he was getting ear infections too often and if we would have to worry about putting tubes in his ears. Tim had to have tubes when he was very young and the thought freaks me out a bit. She didn't think we were anywhere near worrying about that since once round of antibiotics cleared it up and they didn't keep occurring back to back. Whew!

This was the first time I didn't put Brenden in his stroller to take him in. I carried him in the parking lot and up the elevator, then let him walk into the office. On our way out, my extremely friendly toddler waddled up to another little boy who was his size and proceeded to hug the bejeesus out of him. Thankfully the little boy thought it was funny and his parent's thought Brenden was cute. I guess someday he'll be too big for this to be adorable so I should let him enjoy it while he can. I was a little surprised to find out that the boy Brenden decided to hug/tackle was 20 months old. They were the same size! I'm sure someday my munchkin will slow down on the growing, but we're actually expecting a growth spurt in a month or so. Thank goodness he can walk!


Welcome to the world, Carsyn Rilee!!!

Just a quick post!

Carsyn Rilee Toupe was born a little after 1:30 am on November 20th. She is 6 lbs 9.5 oz and 19 inches long. She is doing great!

Her mom, Jes, started to go eclamptic with numbness and paralysis, which is why they moved the C-section up. Jes will be in the hospital for 24 hours for observation. We are all praying that she gets the rest and healing she needs.


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Like...Totally 80's!

It's been a little bit since we've had a chance to post anything on here so we have a couple of busy days to write about. Let's get started!

Before Brenden was born, Tim and I started a tradition we call "Pizza and a Movie Night". We got the idea from our friends Amber and Tucker who have "McDonald's and Movie Night". Since we moved back we have had the pleasure of including some of our friends in our Friday night fun. We alternate where we hold it every week and this last week was at Danny and Maegan's. We loaded up everything that Brenden requires, which comes to a lot since we put him to sleep while we're there. Our packing list included: toys to keep him happy, the pack and play, a comforter, a blanket, a monitor, Barney Bunny, Allegra, medicine dropper, Protopic (his skin allergy medicine), bibs, a bottle, milk, a pacifier, dinner, utensils, Wagon Wheels, overnight diapers, pajamas, his coat, and a hat. I'm sure there are other things that we took with us that I just take for granted are in the diaper bag.

That night Brenden was as full of energy as ever. He wandered from one end of the house to the other, which is much larger than our current house. He played with Danny and Maegan's ferrets (which are the sweetest things and seemed just as curious about Brenden) and handed his cell phone to everyone over and over again until they talked to "grandma". The Friday before we had a hard time getting him to go to sleep in a different place, but this week he seemed to have burned off enough energy and drifted off to sleep without a fight. The adults finally enjoyed a super yummy dinner of Umberto's pizza and then watched Hellboy 2. It was an OK movie...I've seen worse. At about 10 pm we hustled Brenden to the car, keeping our fingers crossed that laying him back down at home wouldn't be too horrible. To our surprise he went straight back to sleep with barely a whimper and we were able to get some much needed rest for the weekend.

Saturday we were in for another surprise. Brenden slept until 8:30 am! Since the time change he's usually woken up by 7:15 am at the latest so Tim and I were shocked, but definitely not going to complain. That night we had plans with our friends so Brenden was headed for an overnight visit with Grandma and Grandpa Warehime. I spent the time during Brenden's morning nap gathering everything he would need (see the above list, plus more food and clothes) while Tim worked out in the garage and cleaned out the gutters. After sadly handing him over to his grandparents, we came back to the house and continued working on the garage. If you have read any of the previous posts, then you know that we were afraid that we were missing several things. Well, we owe the movers a big old apology! While going through a few of the boxes we hadn't had a chance to check, he came upon his tools, the electronic equipment, the VCR, and even the glass tray for the microwave. After a short happy dance, we decided it was time to get ready for the night.

It isn't out of the ordinary for me to take a while to get ready to go out, but it's slightly strange to hear that it took Tim at least 30 minutes to get fully dressed. His preparation took a little bit because it was Totally 80's Night for Lindsey's birthday at the Gray Snail! Thanks to a visit to my parent's closet, my dance teacher Shelly and her amazing collection of 80's costumes, Gordman's and the Dollar Store, we were both decked out in our 80's finest. Tim wore a few popped collared shirts, french rolled his jeans, his dress shoes with no socks and an awesome Member's Only jacket. I donned some leggings, a skirt, a super fringed red sequined shirt, black pumps, and the ultimate sparkly legwarmers. They had reserved the VIP room and we arrived at about the same time as the birthday girl and her entourage. While helping finish the decorations there was a bit of a scary moment when I thought I was going to get kicked out over some confetti. (The bartender we had was just a bit high strung.) But after that we enjoyed a night of totally radical 80's music, Pop Rocks, leg warmers, leotards, Run DMC bling, and of course cake. We have some super sweet pictures from the night which you can see here. :)

Sunday was much less hectic than the previous day. We did a little more work on the garage while we anxiously awaited Brenden's return. I'm sure that it won't get any easier to be without him, at least not until he's a surly teenager. Grandma Warehime brought him back and to everyone's surprise he was in one heck of a nasty mood. We couldn't get him to nap, he wasn't interested in eating, he didn't want any water and he didn't want to be held. We gave up on the nap and took him to Walmart to shop for the week, which he usually enjoys. He didn't act up too badly but was still in a sour mood when we got home. We've decided it was a combination of teething and a small allergic reaction. He had lots of little bumps on his arms, legs and torso which seemed to be pretty itchy. We're still trying to get them to go away, but it's a slow process. He doesn't exactly understand "no scratching" yet. At 7:15 pm we decided that he wasn't going to make it to his normal bedtime at 8:30 pm. We fed him his bottle, slathered him with Protopic, and put him to bed. About 2 seconds later he was asleep and we were ready for bed ourselves.

On a completely different topic, the last 30 days have been filled with many blessings of healthy baby girls! Tomorrow our family will welcome another beautiful baby girl, our niece Carsyn Rilee. She should be born around 9 am in Las Vegas. I know that her mom, dad and big brother are very excited to meet her, as are the rest of us. And of course, pictures will be posted as soon as possible. :)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Taking the Good with the Bad

Watching Brenden's personality develop has been totally hilarious and yet completely exhausting. There are days where he will do something so funny that he has Tim and I clutching our sides and crying. And then, within a few minutes, we have to save the dog from another brutal pounding, or grab Brenden away from the outlet. (The outlets have covers, but I have no doubt Brenden would figure out how to pull them out.) A few months ago I would have said that he didn't know any better, that he hadn't learned that what he was doing was wrong. However, his actions are showing me that he knows very well that what he is doing isn't right but is pushing the boundaries anyway.

For example, he will waddle up to Riley, his punching bag of choice lately, smack him on the nose, then look at me as if to say, "What are you going to do now, mom?" When I respond with, "No hitting the dog!" he runs away. We invested in a timeout mat this week and I have been using it daily. I will pick him up, place him on the mat, and for at least 30 seconds watch as he wails like I just told him he will have to stay there all day. I'm trying to teach him how to sign "sorry" and then I stand him up, give him a hug and a kiss, and lead him back to Riley to show him how to pet the dog. Brenden knows exactly how to pet a dog, and for a little while will do just that. He will even hug Riley, and try to bark at him, as if to say "let's play!" Then, out of nowhere, he looks at me. SMACK! "What are you going to do, mom?" And we repeat the process. "No." Run away. Timeout. Crying. "I'm sorry." Hugs and kisses. Lets try this again. On and on it goes, until Brenden gets tired of that game, and switches to something else, like the outlet. He knows better, but he'll walk slowly over to it, turn to look at me, reach out his arm behind him, and barely touch it. Where did he learn this? Back to the mat we go! When Tim gets home I hand the timeout duties over, at least a couple of times, because I'd rather not be the bad cop constantly. Even though it's necessary, making the rules, and then enforcing them, is no fun.

With all of these timeouts it seems like we wouldn't have time to do anything else. Not true! One of our favorite things to do right now is sing along with Brenden's Sesame Street car that he got for his birthday from Grandma and Grandpa Warehime. There is a button on the front that plays People In Your Neighborhood and Brenden LOVES it. He could be immersed in another toy, but when Tim or I start clapping and singing he runs over to push the button and then starts dancing, laughing and clapping. He gets so excited that he will fall against the chairs, like the joy of it it is too much for him. Once we get him started we have to be prepared to clap, sing and dance for at least another 15 minutes. Tim and I don't mind, seeing him so happy is totally worth having that song stuck our heads all night. I even found myself singing it when I woke up. But how could you ever say no to this? :)

video

Please forgive the singing. We are not experts. :) And I was clapping, so it's a bit shaky.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"Thank You" is never enough.

I read several different blogs and articles about Veteran's Day and I found myself at a loss for words. The only thing that I could think of to say is "thank you", although I know that those who have served and who are serving now deserve so much more. I know this maybe not be eloquent or thought provoking, but here is my attempt at saying more than just "thank you".

Thank you to my husband. I know when you were deployed you were more concerned for your guys than you ever were for yourself. You showed me what an amazing man you are and how lucky I am to be married to you.


Thank you to my dad, who gave 25 years to the Marines at a great cost to himself. Even after years in Vietnam and year long deployments that kept him away from his family, I know he would go back in a heartbeat to serve his country.


Tim, his friend Ryan, and their M1-A2.

Thank you to my brothers, grandpas, uncles, aunts, cousins, and friends. Thank you to everyone who has spent even a day away from their family to keep our country safe. I wish there were more days in the year when everyone looked at you and appreciated your sacrifice, because you definitely deserve more than one day, and you definitely deserve more than a "thank you".

Back from Iraq!

Monday, November 10, 2008

OH HAPPY DAY!

Today we didn't get the call we've been waiting for since February, but we did get a call that made our life a million times easier. We have renters!!! It's a military family that had turned in their application online a few weeks ago but didn't want to make a decision until they actually saw the house, not just pictures. They viewed the house yesterday, signed the lease today, and started moving in tonight. Our house was still on the market but our realtor is OK with releasing us from our contract with her without a penalty. The lease runs through June with the option to renew it annually, which means that we can put it back on the market next summer if the market has rebounded.

As happy as I am to have a lot of the weight of the mortgage lifted, it is still strange to have someone living in our house. It would be different if they had bought our house because then it would no longer be "ours". I wouldn't feel like complete strangers were sleeping in MY bedroom. I know that part of my problem is that we never intended to be landlords and I was really hoping to sell it and move on. However, I'm sure that in a month or two I will feel like our rental house in Tulsa is "home" and our old house is in the past. (Apparently I haven't adjusted to life in Oklahoma completely.) Just give me a few more months and I'll be jumping for joy. For now, I'll just stick to a small happy dance. :)

Christmas in November (The Tulsa Zoo)

We decided that this year for Christmas we wanted to get Brenden something that wouldn't be thrown aside when he was tired of it or stuffed into the garage when he was too big for it. Tim came up with the great idea of getting a year long pass to the zoo! We took Brenden to the Denver Zoo when he was about 6 months old and he seemed to enjoy it (as much as a 6 month old can), plus the Tulsa Zoo is only a little more than 6 miles away so it's very convenient. We didn't want to wait until December to buy it because we wanted to be able to use it a little this year before it got too cold.

Since Sunday was looking like a great day to be outside, we made Sunday our Family Trip to the zoo day. Brenden immediately became distracted by the buttons on the Coke machine and all the other little kids that were running around. I thought we would never get him to look at any of the animals. After a little persuading, and strapping him into the stroller, he decided looking at the exhibits was OK, too. We watched a couple of baby chimps playing and then running towards an older chimp. It was adorable to see the babies so excited! They jumped right onto the older one, who I would guess was their momma. (Reminded me of Brenden when Tim gets home.) Our next stop was the desert, which included snakes, lizards, and other creepy crawlies. Brenden found another little boy to follow named Dalton and they had a great time chasing a lizard back and forth in the display.


Dalton and Brenden...and the lizard of course.

Our next stop was outside to look at a couple of huge turkeys. We must have been the loudest group at the zoo, with everyone making turkey noises to get their attention. Past the turkeys we found some local animals, including raccoons and owls. By this time Brenden was more interested in Grandpa Warehime's cane and really didn't look at any of them. He temporarily forgot the cane every time we walked past another toddler, especially little girls. The boy is going to be trouble! The next building was a tropical exhibit, and my goodness was it humid! You would think living in Oklahoma would prepare you for all degrees of humidity, but it was actually hard to breathe. It was one of the more interesting stops since we found a little monkey that was extremely interested in another visitor's Cheerios. Brenden and Tim got to stand next to it and Brenden tried to pet it. Oops! I'm just glad that when we passed the dart frogs a few minutes later, which are pretty darn poisonous, he was preoccupied. They actually had a zoo keeper stationed near the frogs because many of them have gone missing. They hop around in the bottom of an open exhibit so I'm not surprised. You would think a piece of Plexiglas or some netting would solve their problem, but I guess a random dude with a ponytail watching everyone works, too. Anyway....

Hi there monkey!

The next few stops included a lion, a couple of penguins who weren't too keen on swimming, and some humongous turtles. By this time Brenden was getting pretty tired so it was more interesting for us than it was for him. He still allowed us to take a few pictures and really didn't fuss while we laughed at the toys in the gift shop. Just to prove how tired he really was, he fell asleep in the car about 2 minutes after we put him in the carseat....WITHOUT his pacifier. This may not sound like a big deal for other kids, but if you know our child then you know about his attachment to his pacifier when he's tired. I took this as a sign that he enjoyed his early Christmas present, and I'm excited to take him back again and to find out with animal is really his favorite. Although, I have a feeling that they will have some tough competition if there are any little girls around. :)

So tired!

I took a ton of pictures, which you can see here if you'd like. Enjoy and Merry Early Christmas!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

French Fried Goodness

Tonight we were lucky enough to be able to meet GiGi, Papa (AKA Ginny and Dan), Mike and Connie for dinner. Dan has tax school this week so he and Ginny are in Tulsa for a few days. This marks the 51st year he is attending. (WOW right!?) We decided to meet at Red Robin since they have some awesome french fries, and it's close to Dan and Ginny's hotel. Brenden did a great job of feeding himself a dinner of grilled cheese, mandarin oranges, and of course those scrumptious french fries.

YUMMY!

Tim and I are both super excited that he has learned how to feed himself, although his skills with a spoon are a little lacking. Actually, I think his reluctance to use a spoon is less about skill and more about laziness. It's much faster to have momma feed him! So, even though the beginning of our day was a little hectic (that's a different post entirely) it ended on a great note. :)

Mike, Dan and Brenden

Cool kids wear glasses!

Can I eat your necklace, GiGi?

I rocked the vote!!

Ok, so my candidate did not win the presidential election but I did have an interesting time at the voting church. That is what they are here in OK they are voting churches, because all the voting places are churches. So I get to the voting church around 7 am and there is already a line, it was not long, but still a line. So I get in the line for A-K last names and wait like everyone. I get to the door and and realize the A-K line is much longer than expected b/c it wraps around in the church's kitchen and I can't even see the end of the line.

So the sample ballot is there on a table just inside the door and I start to read and I consider myself somewhat knowledgable about what is going to be on the ballot in OK. There is the usual Senator, Representative, and of course the President, and the measures for Oklahoma legislature. But there is another section about judges and whether or not to let them stay on their seat as a judge. Who knows judges!? I sure didn't and later I talked to come co-workers and they always vote to send them packing. So I read through the names thinking maybe just maybe I might know one of them, nope. Not one rings a bell. So I think to myself, maybe I'll flip a coin, guess, or pick the ones to stay who have the coolest names. But I decided to just not vote on those. But most of the decisions I made on who to vote for before I got to the voting church.

So I am almost up to the table to get my ballot and have to pass the exit where a lady is passing out the "I Voted" stickers. I have deemed her the "I Voted" Sticker Nazi. Yes, you were getting an "I Voted" sticker whether you wanted one or not. One lady was exiting and tried to take the sticker and put it on herself, Oh no!, the Sticker Nazi has to put it on you herself. And she just can't put it anywhere, she has to put it on your shirt, well since it is a cool morning she opens your jacket for you and puts it on your chest area. Now, you don't have a say in whether you get one or where it goes, just know the Sticker Nazi is putting a sticker on your shirt! But, while I was standing there one woman tried to tempt fate and not get a sticker. She was polite and said no thank you, some people don't like stickers. That does not go over well with Mrs Sticker Nazi, she gets angry and mumbles impolite words under her breath as the woman walks out the door. Thank goodness the line moved because I didn't want to hang around any longer.

I now have my ballot in hand and go the voting booth, and these are not the voting booths shown on tv,. with the curtain and privacy, they are just cardboard thrown on a table, but I get to vote. So, I vote for my candidate and not the judges and run my ballot through the scanning machine and now I have to face the "I Voted" Sticker Nazi. I thought about just running out the door as she tries to put a sticker on me or zipping my jacket up so she can't get to my shirt. But, I decide that the easiest way to get out the door is to show my shirt and have her put it on. I did escape.

So, congratulations to all the winners and Barack Obama. I hope he proves me wrong.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Like velcro!

Brenden has always been a very social baby. He has never been clingy or needed to be able to see me at all times. At playgroups he never had to be right next to me or on my lap. When we take him out to go shopping or to eat he screams to get attention from complete strangers and then pretends to be shy so they will smile at him. He doesn't hesitate to run after other kids (I've learned to have good reflexes to catch him before he grabs them) or animals, and has always leaned away from me to go to anyone and everyone. So when he screamed at me when I left him with his grandma at the table at church I was shocked. Who is this child? I have always been able to let other people watch him without any sort of fussing. Not only that, he was with his grandma! He doesn't seem to understand that she will spoil him WAY more than I ever would. (Coincidentally, that was the night she shared popcorn and ice cubes with him...EEK!) That same night I also got to hold Bailyr, which was amazing. I cannot believe Brenden was ever that small! I turned around to show her to Brenden and his face contorted into the most horrible sad face imaginable. He then proceeded to scream, and fling and wiggle until I gave her back to her dad and came back to hold him. I can only assume that separation anxiety is kicking in, which was not something I was prepared for. I've started to notice that he is behaving differently at home as well. If I am in the room he wants to be on my lap. If I am standing anywhere near the baby gate to where he can see me, he grabs the gate and rattles it until I look back. When I take him to the dance studio with me he gets upset if I am not paying attention to him and won't let me get anything done until he's being held. I know that he's teething and has a double ear infection, but he's been sick before and hasn't acted this way. I guess it's just one more developmental stage we have to deal with, although it's not as welcome as walking or crawling. He has also learned how to arch his back and fling himself on the floor. Yay for early tantrums...NOT.

We also heard from the insurance adjuster this week. He said that it is almost impossible to prove negligence and that he doesn't want to try. Tim believes it's all about how much money it would take to prove it. The guy did say that if they went after every case that our premiums would be crazy expensive. Guess what...our premium is going to go up anyway if it's not ruled negligence! Unfortunately for Tim, I wasn't about to sit back and let some guy in San Antonio who has never seen our car decide that Tate Boys did nothing wrong. I mean really, wheels don't just fall off of cars! The mechanic said it was one of two things, either the 2 lug nuts that were gone were loose which caused stress on the other 3 and made them snap, or the other 3 lug nuts were too tight, which caused them to shear off and strip the other 2. All I said was "DUH!" I could have told you that the day the wreck happened. So the adjuster agreed to send our case to a subjugation board which will decide whether it will be pursued. We are sending the pictures of the wreck, along with the receipt for the work done on the car to prove how long it had been since the work was done. Hopefully we'll hear something positive, although it doesn't seem like anyone wants to stand behind us. If nothing else, I just need a mechanic to say "This was not a failure of the car, it was human error" so we can go to Tate Boys and try to get our deductable back and a darn good apology for my mom, who is still nervous about driving on Hwy 75. That's the least they should do.

My, my I'm a gripey one today! I really would rather end on a happy note. :) Tim and I have been discussing the fact that Brenden has not had his first hair cut yet. I understand that he has beautiful little curls, but he looks so shabby sometimes! Luckily he's husky so no one has ever thought he was a little girl, which is exactly what happened to Connie when Tim was little. Yep, at one point Tim had beautiful, curly blonde hair! I really need to find a picture. When Brenden grows up and gets upset that his hair isn't straight he won't be able to just blame me! So last night I was looking at old pictures of Brenden and was shocked to be reminded that for a long time the boy was practically bald. He dealt with some pretty awful eczema until he was 7 months old and we're pretty sure that is why he was unable to grow hair. Every time I mention a haircut to Tim he tells me he doesn't want Brenden to be bald again, which is just silly because even if his hair is shorter there is no way he'll look bald. Looking at those pictures, I can see what Tim is so worried about. He does look kind of funny! Our poor, bald baby. How far you have come!

Brenden at 6 months

Brenden at 13 1/2 months.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Happy Halloween!!

Happy Halloween!!!

Since Brenden is only 13 months old and we live right on Yale, which is a busy 4 lane street, we decided Trick or Treating at Tim's work would probably be enough. We dressed Brenden in his puppy dog costume and headed in for some candy. He was not exactly a fan of it, would move his head only slightly, but he didn't cry! And I think he was the cutest puppy EVER!

The next day there was a Halloween Fair at my church in Bartlesville. Since the puppy costume didn't go over very well, we decided to use his other costume, the spider. I think it's just as cute!


For more pictures from Halloween click here.

And CONGRATULATIONS to Jay and Meghan on the birth of their daughter Leah Brooke!!! She was born Oct. 31st, weighing 5 lbs 10 1/2 oz, 19 inches long. Both mommy and baby are doing great and should be able to go home very soon.

Leah, Mommy and Daddy

Hope you all had a wonderful last day of October!

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