Wednesday, February 5, 2014

We Have A New Blog

Our picture space on this blog is used up, so we have created a new one! Here's the link.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Three Months Old

Charlotte is 3 months old (in 2 days). I weighed her today, and she is 20 pounds, 10 ounces! Wow! That's 5 pounds this month. She's been spitting up a bunch still too, but she obviously is getting enough despite that. I set up her exersaucer yesterday, she loves it! She's nearly too heavy for her swing, but she does still like it some, so I'm keeping it out for now. I will enjoy putting it away though, it's really in the way! But it's often what helps her nap, though she takes about half her naps in her crib now.

Dawson is doing great! We had his IEP meeting in November, and they had great things to say about him. He's having none of the behavior issues he had last year. All of his goals and things he wasn't getting at the end of the year, we worked on all summer, and he now has them mastered. Rhyming was a big one. They cut his para support hours in half, because he just doesn't need it. He has become very independent, he just needs some help getting started, and then he gets all his work done. He understands the work, much of it is still stuff he already knows. He's also very interested in learning, and comes home with questions about phrases, words and meanings, and other things. We also get corrected. He had a shirt with a spider on it, and he asked me why he has a spider on his shirt. I told him they wanted to make an animal shirt, so they put a spider on it. He said "No mom, it's an INSECT shirt!". He loves playing Mario on the Wii, and watching Curious George in his free time.

A painting Dawson brought home from school! I was impressed.
They had a binder of these to look at during conferences. I thought it was so sweet that Dawson put down Gabriel as his friend. :)
Dawson ate a new food! This has happened more often lately, and hopefully it will continue! Meatballs! He will now eat spaghetti O's with mini meatballs. So exciting! This is the first beef product he's even tried, and he's eaten it many times now.

Gabriel, who has been my sweet, easy-going child, seems to have flipped a switch. He's 2 1/2 now, and throwing tantrums about everything. Pulling hair, hitting, biting, scratching. Fighting bedtime for hours, which has never been an issue. This kid used to be so easy! I'd say goodnight and he'd walk himself to bed. He's also fighting mealtimes, even though he's hungry and loves what we're having. He's just being so blatantly stubborn, it's so frustrating. I know it's just a phase, it will end. Hopefully soon. Those 3's are tough though, so I'm bracing myself!

Doesn't help that I'm still having hormone issues. They were crazy during my pregnancy, and they haven't leveled out at all. I still have a super short fuse, and get irritable so fast. Not a good mix. I'm going to ask my OB if there's something to help with that, because it's getting difficult to deal with. Almost worse than it was when she was born. I was fine for a couple months, but it's gotten worse again. Very frustrating. So my patience is not holding up with the tantrums, and it's just not a great mix. This month was a hard one as well. Last year I was find once the anniversary passed. This year it took a couple extra weeks to climb out of that black hole of depression and feel somewhat normal again. Now I'm feeling ok, other than the raging hormones. It's been fun doing some Christmas shopping.

Dawson had the week off school, so that doesn't help with the patience. It's been stretched more than usual this week! He was great for about half the week, and then he started having issues. He doesn't do well being off routine for very long. We went to The Works museum on Monday, which was very fun. Basic science concepts, both boys loved it. Tuesday we went to Bounce Adventure, a bouncy house place. Wednesday we went to the Rainbow play systems place. They have 6 indoor playgrounds set up, and a trampoline. So we were able to go wear off some energy most days of the week, and they loved it. Thursday we went to my mom's house for Thanksgiving. Friday and the weekend we mostly stayed home. Today (Sunday), we did get groceries and the boys and I got haircuts. I'm looking forward to getting back into routine though.

Napping in the swing
She likes sitting on the couch, watching her brothers
 Gabriel's new shoes! I thought these were really cute. The headlights and taillights even light up, which is very handy after dark!
 Dawson's school picture. I hadn't planned on getting school pics, so I didn't have him wear anything special. Yet they sent me a big picture anyway!
 The boys cuddled up watching PBS kids cartoons on the ipad. I love these moments, they don't have them often. I was in the kitchen zooming in on them so they wouldn't see me before I got the pic!
 Gabriel likes sitting in Charlotte's chair, and then he gets up and tries to walk with it. Doesn't always go well.
 He figured it out though.
 Gabriel likes to sleep with many toys. Under the stuffed horses, there are many hard plastic horses. I try to sneak them out after he's asleep, because he moves all over the place and wakes up if he gets scratched by a hard toy!
 Big healthy baby!
 Her exersaucer. We got this for my baby shower, it was fun putting it together! I've never had brand new baby stuff before, other than car seats and a crib, everything has been used. I like putting stuff together. Gabriel had fun helping me, and running off with the pieces.
 She was very intrigued
 She likes the stripes.
 Figuring out how to reach the toys. She's still working on getting her arms to do what she wants. She can reach out and play with toys, but it still takes a lot of work to get it right!
 Yay, she got it!
 The boys loved the box, of course.

Our group at The Works museum. Minus Dawson, he was off playing.

 This harp was played with sensor lights around the frame. Was really neat!
Watching water go up the tube as he turned it
The boys both loved this racing ramp.

Donated my hair today! As you can see (mostly) in the last pic, my hair was down to my butt. They were going to take 10 inches, but ended up taking more. It's several inches shorter than what she said it would be. It felt much shorter than this at first, but I'm getting used to it. I had Dawson take this pic. It looks longer than it feels! It's always weird getting used to it shorter. I donated it every 1-2 years usually, but since I started coloring it in 2011, I couldn't. They recently changed the rules though, and they do accept colored hair. That was my one thing I was holding off coloring it for, so now I don't feel as guilty. :)
 Charlotte on Thanksgiving. My mom had fun dressing her up after she got her last outfit all wet.
 The boys being silly. They switched car seats after we got home, they thought they were quite hilarious.
 Dawson had lots of fun playing Mario with a friend this week. He's been really wanting someone to play 2 player with him. Other than me. Friends are more fun.
 Gabriel is having growing pains again. He's been to the chiropractor 3 times in 10 days, and he's getting more loosened up, but still not quite there. He was really having a hard time the other night. Screaming in pain, stumbling. I had to give him pain meds and do some stretches with him, then he was better and fell asleep. He fell asleep on this bench, but woke up crying a few times, and it took another dose once I put him to bed for him to get through it. The last couple days have been much better. He has grown so much, he went up another pants size. The dr said last time that he was surprised at how much he's been growing, it's not the usual pace for a 2 year old. Poor kiddo! I feel so helpless when he's screaming in pain.

Charlotte enjoying the jumperoo at Bounce Adventure, while the boys played on the bouncy houses. She was amused by the toys.
 Monthly car seat picture. She decided to ham it up and give a smile. :)
Still plenty of growing room, thankfully! Thankful I got this seat, so she'd get through the winter all snug and warm. It goes up to 35 pounds too, so we should be good. In theory. ;)

Monthly comparisons
 Gabriel has been running out of his room every night, so I finally put up this gate tonight. I got rid of our doorway baby gates, because he was such an awesome, easy kid! I didn't figure I'd need them anymore. He can open the door, even with door knob covers. They don't even slow him down. The gate sure does though!

Some emotional things coming up, with our 3rd Christmas without Tyler, and also Charlotte's 4 month well baby checkup. Always stressful, that was the appt Tyler was diagnosed at. It's a bit irrational, since the chances of it being at the same time would be so slim. It's just a milestone, even though every well child check is almost as stressful for the same reason. Hoping Christmas will go well, I'm actually excited for some things this year, so I'm hopeful that it will be a good holiday. I'm casually picking up gifts here and there, I'm nearly done. We try to keep holidays as stress-free as possible. We don't really spend a ton, but sometimes we will get a bigger family gift. We don't do Santa, we only do a few gifts each, and we mostly focus on family. I'm actually looking forward to decorating the tree. Last year we got the tree up, it had lights, but that was it. I had no motivation to do any more. Hoping this year we will be able to get more into it.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Two Months, Two Years

Charlotte is 2 months old! I see newborns everywhere lately, and I realize how much she's grown! She's getting so big. She is now 15 pounds, 8 ounces, which is off the charts for her age. Dr was very pleased, and says she's a big, healthy baby. Yay! They didn't get her length measured correctly. She wouldn't straighten out for them. She's now wearing 6-9mo shirts, and 3-6mo pants and sleepers. She's not quite tall enough for the 6-9 sleepers, but she's close. She figured out how to sit up the other day. I had her propped up in her boppy, to keep her from spitting up, and she threw herself forward until she was sitting. She doesn't have the core strength to hold the position, but she's very happy with herself when she does it. She doesn't roll much, only when she needs to. She smiles more, and is starting to laugh. She tries to reach for things, but doesn't have much control over where those arms are going yet. She coos and squawks a lot too.

Sitting in her seat. I brought it out tonight so she can sit there while we ate. She was so happy about that. Gabriel was happy to entertain her.
 All my boys have done this! They manage to get in, but they can't get out. Good thing it has a removable tray!
 Charlotte and all her rolls. :)
Oh wait, there's some more rolls! Back fat only looks cute on babies.

She's in the middle of a growth spurt, so she will sprout upwards soon and level some of that out.
 Happy baby


 She was talking and cooing

 Laughing a bit

 More coos
 I attempted the flower again. She's not big on accessories. I can only manage them for pics, and that's usually one pic at a time before she gets mad!

 I love these tights, with the coloring that looks like shoes. I don't put shoes on them before they walk, so I was happy to see these! She can be cute and comfy at the same time. :)

 His mischief look

 I told Dawson to smile
 Then I started just talking to him.

We went to a special needs Halloween thing, and Charlotte wore a lady bug costume someone gave us. She got many compliments! The boys loved being there too, that crowd of families are always so much more open and understanding than regular people. It's always nice going to events for special needs families, they are less judging and more accepting of the little quirks, noises and outbursts our kids have.
 Gabriel decided to try skating around the house. He did good, until he nearly did the splits, then he wanted to be done.
 I love this cute little dress!
This was the first time she sat up on her own. She had her arms up and looked so determined!
 She sometimes tolerates sitting in her rocker chair. For short amounts of time. Sometimes she will take a short nap in it.
 Often she naps on the couch, but she is squirming and rolling more, so she doesn't get to much anymore unless I'm sitting next to her.
 My monthly car seat picture. I think it's the easiest way to compare how big she's gotten. I took the head support out, since she outgrew it. I'm glad I bought a big, roomy infant car seat! I want her to last the winter in it, since it's warmer because I can put a cover on it. My goal is the beginning of April.

 1 month

Nov 2nd was 2 years since we lost Tyler. Part of me can't believe it's been 2 years. But in many ways it feels like much longer. Sometimes it feels like it was all a bad dream. Grieving can damage the hippocampus, part of the brain, which stores memory, both long and short term. After he died, I had a hard time remembering things. I couldn't remember what he was like as a baby, or many things from just a year before. I've had to look at pictures, and that reminded me of many things. Less than 6 months ago, I started remembering things that weren't in pictures. It has helped that some have told me little stories of what they remember. I was so embarrassed that I couldn't even remember certain things about my own child, but they did. I remember more each time I look through all the pictures. I also realized what little I remember of Dawson too. All of Tyler's bad memories were more vivid than everything else. Finally that is starting to even out, and it helps.  I think the trauma can block things out for a while. I also have a hard time with short term memory. The kitchen timer will go off, and I will forget I heard it, or the kids will ask for something and I will finish what I'm doing and forget that they'd asked for something. It's not all the time, but it's enough to be very annoying! Part of it could be 'new mom brain', but it's a bit worse at times.

October has been difficult. Those days leading up to the anniversary are so hard. All the memories from certain days. Even if we aren't thinking about it, our subconscious knows and I'm in a funk. Then I look it up and realize it was a big day, like the day he was intubated, or the day we were told he was going to die. Dawson's behavior gets worse. Last year he regressed in speech, he was talking baby babble and things that made no sense for a while. This year I noticed a few speech issues, but mostly behavior. Things we moved past in the last year have come back. They will go away again, hopefully soon! It is frustrating, and while dealing with my own grief, and a new baby, I need to remind myself that he isn't acting out on purpose. He is just having a hard time too. Gabriel has been acting out as well, I'm sure it's probably the mood in the air. I doubt he remembers anything, he was 7 months old, but they are affected when everyone is in a bad mood.

It's hard not to wonder what it would be like, with 4 kids. I see kids who are where Dawson and Tyler should be now, or Tyler and Gabriel. I can't imagine him as an almost 5 year old, he will always be 2 1/2. I was talking to our Dr's nurse, who also lost her son to cancer, and she was saying the same thing. It's nice to have people to talk to. The childhood cancer grief group I started 2 years ago at the end of the month now has almost 500 people in it. That has been very supportive, and so sad that so many are dealing with this as well.

It's also hard knowing all my kids will never be in the same picture.
I try to remember these moments, all the happy ones, which are many! He had fun wherever we were.
All the fun we had at parks, playing outdoors, making the most of what we had.

That contagious grin that kept me going through everything.

His sweet little self, he was so cuddly and adorable!

His strength, despite everything he endured, he still managed to be tough, especially with his brother by his side. There was a noticeable difference when Dawson was around.
Someday... it just doesn't seem soon enough.