Monday, October 31, 2011

Rule #125: Baby faces trump stuffed faces

I really struggled this year trying to decide what my children would be for Halloween. Evan still has very little interest in any one thing that could be a Halloween costume. He has opinions, mind you. And they were all "no, I don't want to be --" whatever I had suggested. Finally I asked if he wanted to be a newsie, to which he replied "no....yes" so I took it and ran with it. It might have been the only yes I was going to get. Newsies is a current favorite movie of his.

With Graham, none of Evan's old costumes fit because he is the opposite season. So we had to come up with something new. Part of me wanted to think of something theme-y, like my sister does with her kids. But nothing really goes with Newsies. Just yesterday someone suggested that I should have made Graham the newspaper! That would have been darling. Ah well. Graham got a generic costume from the store. Alex insisted on having a costume that didn't already have a face on the hood. (which is a lot of little kid costumes) We did finally find one that would showcase Graham's cute cheeks all on their own. He made an adorable little blue monster. Even if it had nothing to do with Newsies.
My kids were able to wear their costumes 4 times this weekend. They first dressed up for my mom's Halloween dinner. Doug and Susan took the boys to boo at the zoo on Saturday. Then later that night we went to our wards trunk or treat. After every car, and I mean every single car, Evan would lean down to Graham and scream "candy, candy CANDY!" It was hysterical.

Then on the actual holiday, we took the boys down Main Street to go trick or treating. It was fun to see all the other kids in costume, but other than that, I could give or take it.

Aren't these kids the cutest?

Evan loves this haunted music box. He played it over and over...and over again.

Graham enjoying his very own sucker.

As far as he's concerned, the holiday was a hit!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Rule #124: Llamas eat corn, not hay

Every year we get a pass to go to the Black Island Farm. I look forward to this every year. I love autumn. I love the colors, I love the crisp, cool air. I love the change in wardrobe. I love it all. And while I may not LOVE Halloween, free pumpkins and an autumn activity are right up my alley.

We weren't able to go last year due to the fact that we had a one week old baby in the house. I missed it. We had gone to a different pumpkin patch with my sister before Graham was born. It was fun too, just not the same.

Evan is starting to remember the farm too. I told him where we were going, tried to describe everything he would see, to decrease any anxiety he might feel. When we got there he was really excited to see all the animals and go down the slides. It was so cute to watch.

My mom joined us on the outing, though you'd never know from the pictures. Sorry Mom. I'm glad you came, even if I didn't capture it on film. :)

There are cows, mules, chickens, turkeys, peacocks, goats and llamas. The llamas were quite assertive this year. One kept hanging over the fence, waiting for people to feed it. We tried giving it hay from the ground, but it was not impressed. Then Alex found a pile of corn and offered that to the llama. It sucked it right up. Side note: llamas are kinda ugly. They have scary teeth, and they look mean and angry all of the time. Not at all cute and endearing like the llama from Emperors New Groove. (Though the animators got the look of them eating just perfect!)

We took the boys down all the slides. We started with the little ones. I'm not sure if Graham liked them or not. There were no squeals of delight, but no crying either. I'm sure he'll love them next year. Evan, on the other hand, was all about the slides. He got pretty good climbing up the bales of hay too. He can *almost* get up the little slide independently.
Then we moved on to the BIG slide, which we only did once. We were in kind of a hurry and only had an hour and a half at the farm. It was Graham's birthday and we had to get back in time for his party! (It was the only day that our free pass worked, otherwise we wouldn't have tried to go on his birthday)

Then Alex took the boys down the REALLY BIG slide, that's a tube. I can't believe he took Graham. I didn't expect him to. I went to get the stroller and the next thing I know I hear Evan's voice coming from the tube. "I don't want to go down. I don't WANT to go down!" I start yelling through the tube to Alex that he doesn't have to go, when suddenly all three of my loves are at the bottom.

We went on the cow train. Which is a really silly and uncomfortable ride being pulled by a tractor. The things we do for our kids. Evan had to sit by himself this time, and he did pretty well. My mom was trying to get a picture of us the entire time, most of them had her finger or the ground as the main focus. It was a bumpy ride. This picture however turned out great.
My mom treated us to the slingshot game this year. We've never really bothered with any of the games before. We got to throw corn cobs at targets in the field. We are terrible shots, but it makes me want to try it again next year!

We ended our day with the tractor ride to the pumpkin patch and we all picked out a pumpkin to take home. I kept trying to nudge Evan to pick a smallish pumpkin so it wouldn't be so cumbersome to carry. But he wasn't having any of it. I think he picked the largest one we got!

We had to hurry home to make sure everything was ready for Graham's party. We didn't play in the corn box (sandbox filled with corn kernels) or go through the corn maze. Next year I'm planning on three hours so that we can do it all! I can't wait!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Rule #123: Parties are known to induce labor

Looking back I realized that I never told Graham's birth story. Alex summarized it after he was born, but I never wrote down the details. You may stop reading if you want, you know how it ends. :) A perfect little boy was born, if you'd like to hear the nitty gritty, by all means, read away.

I was very excited to have an October baby. It meant that I was going to have ALL of the holidays off that year, something that hasn't happened since I was 16. It also meant that my son would have a "cool" birthday. Being born in the 10th month of 2010.

I was hoping he would be born on 10/10/2010. That day passed without so much as a braxton hicks contraction. Next I was hoping he would be born on the 20th. Since everywhere else but America lists the date first, his birthday would be 20/10/2010. Awesome! Naturally he came in the middle. :)

We had our long time high school friends over for a movie night. We joked about me going into labor, at a party...again. It happened with Evan with this same group of friends. Halfway through the movie I start contracting. I didn't say anything to Alex, they might not be real after all. But he notices anyway, mostly because I keep grabbing his leg every few minutes.

The movie ends, and we turn the lights on. One of my friends (who was also pregnant) looks at me, and asks if I'm in labor. They all laugh, thinking she's just kidding around. I say "I think so" Half of the friends jump up and start to leave. A few stay and chat with Alex and I as the contractions grow stronger, eventually they leave around midnight.

Here's what should have happened. I should have left for the hospital then, knowing that I was GBS + and needed at least four hours to be given two doses of antibiotics.

What really happened? I debated at home for at least an hour whether or not I should call my mom, if I was progressed far enough to go to the hospital. (Which in hind sight, it wouldn't have mattered, they would have admitted me for the GBS anyway) Finally after getting ready for bed, and lying down, I doubled over. Holy Moly! Out of nowhere the pain tripled. Alex called my mom and we got ready to go to the hospital.

Mom came to stay with Evan while we made another late night trip to have a baby. Alex and I mused over what it would be like to have a baby during the daylight hours. We drove to the hospital at 1 am two years prior as well. We arrived at the hospital around 2 am.

As soon as we enter the Labor and Delivery unit I start telling them that I am GBS + and need to start my antibiotics now. They smile, try to reassure me, they need to check me first, yada yada yada. They bring my into a delivery room, I ask for one nurse to be starting an IV while another checks me. They wont. Then comes the *gasp* "You're already 5 cm dilated! we need to get these antibiotics started!" (no kidding, I think in my head)

An IV is placed, antibiotics up and running, and then I ask for my epidural. I asked so quickly for two reasons. one-I like my drugs, I feel no need/desire to feel more pain than necessary. two-epidurals can slow down labor, and I'm feeling very anxious to make sure I get that second dose of antibiotic.

While I'm still glad I got an epidural, it was not as perfect this time around. My blood pressure dropped, and I had to wear an oxygen mask for a while. Still totally worth it in my mind, just not *perfect* like it was for Evan. I could still move my legs like last time, and once Graham was born the effects wore off nearly instantly. That part I love.

I tried to sleep as I had done during Evan's labor but was unsuccessful. I was so uncomfortable, and in order to get a good tracing of the baby, I needed to be in the only position I didn't want to be. I felt pressure around 4:30, told the nurse. She didn't check me, I still hadn't had my second dose, and if I could hold off it would be better. The pressure kept me awake for the next hour and a half. Around 6 they started my antibiotic early, knowing I was never going to last.

With the green light to finally start pushing, they removed my foley catheter and the pressure was full force. I'm fairly certain the only reason I was able to keep my baby in was because I had a plastic tube in the way ;) They saw some meconium in my fluid, so the called the NICU team to be present for the delivery. This stressed me out. Alex gently reminded me that this was why we chose the hospital we did. So that if something were to happen, skilled people would be present to handle it. In literally two pushes Graham Douglas Davis was born. At 6:48 am. I was whispering for him not to breath yet until they could suction him out, and of course he screamed and cried. They took my baby over to their table, sucked out his mouth and nose, looked him over and handed him into my arms. It was lovely, and he was perfect.

I wasn't nearly as tired with Graham's delivery. I only pushed twice vs the hour and a half it took to get Evan into the world. I was on the high of being a mother, yet again. I was shocked to see that Graham looked so different than my other son. I had assumed that they would look similar, or at least like brothers. But he was so different, and yet...I knew that's exactly what he was supposed to look like. I saw him, and rationally thought "he doesn't look like I expected" and emotionally felt "there you are, just like I knew you would be" It was remarkable.

I wanted to be discharged that evening I felt so good. But because of that silly GBS, Graham needed to be monitored for 36 hours. Luckily, he was fine and we were able to go home the following night. It felt so good to be home, and to be with Evan again as well. Our family of four felt perfect to me. It still does.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Rule #122: You can have your cupcake and eat it too

Graham turned one year old on Monday. My little baby is growing so fast! He is mastering so many skills and his personality gets more distinct every day.

We had a birthday party that evening to celebrate with family. It was quite crowded. Having a fall birthday vs a summer birthday makes a big difference. We'll keep tweaking it over the years, we'll figure out something that works a little better. But, we are grateful that it was crowded with so many people that love our little boy! Thank you all for coming!

I made a Teddy Graham cake and cupcakes. The cupcakes turned out cuter than the cake in my opinion. Graham, I'm sure, knew no difference. But he did love the taste of the cupcakes!

Graham had his doctor's appointment on Wednesday. He is healthy and growing well. He seems to be right on track with his milestones, so the shunt doesn't appear to be affecting his development in any way. We will know more about his shunt next month when he goes for another CT Scan.

Height: 30 1/4 inches (65%)
Weight: 20 lbs 2 oz (15%)
OFC: 19 inches (90%)

I guess I have to stop calling him a fatty...his genes are starting to catch up to him it seems. :) In more exciting news, did you see his head growth? Or lack thereof, really? That's right, my boy just keeps growing into his big noggin, it's starting to look ALMOST proportional. In five months he's gone from off the charts to 90%...I'll take it!
Graham loves people, especially Evan. Well, truthfully, he's still a mama's boy, but Evan's a close second I think. Despite the things Evan does to Graham, he still loves to be around him. The above picture is courtesy of Evan, pushing a foam square over Graham's head. ;)
This is a common occurrence in our house these days. I will walk into a room to find Graham and Evan laughing at each other. Graham laughs because he thinks Evan is hysterical, and Evan laughs...because, well, he thinks Evan is hysterical too. Graham is crazy mobile these days. Walking could be right around the corner. He crawls all the time, this picture is from he early crawling days, when he would get sucked under the furniture. Now that he pulls himself up and cruises around the furniture, he doesn't get stuck nearly as often. :) He has also started to stand unassisted for very short periods of time! He's getting so close! He can climb up and down the stairs, he's even starting to turn himself around to go down safely, he's remembering.

He gives me kisses while he attacks my chipmunk cheeks. It really is adorable. He finally has one tooth!! I still haven't *seen* it, but I have felt it. He won't allow me to see it, his tongue is perpetually hanging out of his mouth and in the way. He wouldn't even let the doctor see it with her tongue depressor. Funny kid. But, at least the tooth is there. More are sure to come.

He claps, waves and says "Hi" That's his only word. He babbles constantly, but that seems to be the only one with meaning so far. Do worry, he's very clear when he wants something, he points and then screams. It's lovely. I can't wait for him to use more words.

Even though he isn't saying words, he mimics tone a lot. Evan was telling us that "dinosaurs say Rrarr" Next thing we knew, Graham was trying to roar, but it was more throaty, so then Evan was trying to copy Graham with this horrible gurgle. My kids crack me up.

Graham is very loving and is happiest when playing with others. He loves books of all kinds and songs! Oh, the songs! He claps and giggles whenever I sing, and it is the quickest way to calm him down. I love this little man, and I feel eternally blessed to be his mother, and to be trusted with his life and spirit.
Happy Birthday little munchkin!

Rule #121: Cousins are better than airplanes

Last week we went to visit my sister in Colorado. I failed to join the caravan in the summer, and when Southwest had a killer deal on airfare, that sealed the deal. All four of us flew out for a week, and we had a great time!

I wish that we had taken some pictures on the plane, but the flight to Colorado...was well, awful. We were separated, and Evan freaked out for the first ten minutes, "I want to get off, I want to get off!!!" Over and over. Thankfully he did calm down once we leveled out in the air, and I was able to turn on sword and the stone. :) DVD players are magic. Because we were separated, Alex and I were trying to pass toys and such across the aisle and up one to keep Graham entertained. But we also had to make sure that Graham didn't see me, or else he would have realized that he NEEDED me, and only me. It was a stressful hour. Luckily Annie no longer lives in Oklahoma, we might not have made it. :)

Once we got to Annie's house, things were great. We mostly just relaxed and played at home. I loved it. Once we finally got the kids settled down for the night, we'd play games all night, and keep Mark up way past his bedtime. Thanks for indulging us!

We had packed half a suitcase full of games. As much as I love having family close, I kind of wish that everyone lived farther away, so we could justify spending a weekend, or week, with them. Playing games night after night, getting quality adult time that is so hard to come by at sunday dinners. Ah well, I guess I'll have to live with so much family and support in my neighborhood. ;)

We did venture out with the six kids a few times. We went to a farm, the children's museum, the park and the Denver Temple.Evan at the children's museum, inside a nest.

They had the coolest bubble room at the museum. Evan could have stayed in there for hours, if not days. He loved it! He jumped around and laughed! It was great to see.
This was taken at the park. It was a fantastic park. There were three different playgrounds, with such a variety of slides, for all ages too! I wish we had a park like this at home. Evan kept avoiding Annie and her camera. She finally succeeded, she's sneaky like that. :)

The Denver temple was undergoing some renovations/landscaping, so we walked around with the kids, and tried to explain what a special place we were visiting. All the kids wanted to do was play with the water. Go figure.

The rest of the week was spent playing at home. Graham mastered going up and down stairs while we were there. It's his favorite past time. Anytime he sees the gate being closed at our house he screams in protest. He's still not good enough to do it unsupervised, but he's getting close. He enjoyed all the attention from all of the kids, and generally had a great time. He slept in a closet in the girls room, and with the exception of one night, did very well.
Evan had a great time with his cousins. In fact, once we returned home, for the next few days he asked to go to Annie's house multiple times. If that's not a sign of a successful vacation, I don't know what is.

He took a moment to warm up to the kids, but I think it was more typical of a shy kid vs social anxiety that he's had in the past. (Yea!) He played really well with Brenner and Davis. More Davis toward the end of the week, but he's always been more comfortable around younger kids anyway. He and Davis would close themselves in a room and get into trouble. Piling every book they can find on the bed, Playing in the sink and toothpaste. Playing in the sandbox together. I think Evan taught Davis some bad habits unfortunately. The night we left I went to bring Evan inside. I found Evan and Davis on the side of the house....dumping any toy in the yard into the window well. (Sorry about that Annie) That's a typical "Evan activity"...pretty sure it didn't start with Davis.

We had to buy a door knob for the room Evan was sleeping in. One with a lock. I think that just about sums up how Evan did sleeping. :)

The rest is just us chilling at home. The kids watched some Sesame Street Videos.
They put on a piano concert for us. Graham clapped for every song. Evan did not participate. Truthfully, it was probably just too loud. :)

Annie also whipped out their bounce house for the kids.

Thanks for having us Mark and Annie!