Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Some Crusty Stuff

Well, it has been a week of adventure and mishap here, which is part of the reason why I haven't been good about blogging lately. The other part is that, well, I've just been a little too busy. I have a new routine now, as I am trying to get back into the groove of balancing the normal everyday stuff with staying active and getting in all my exercise. It's a tough balance, and therefore it only leaves me with a couple nights a week to do anything else.

This past week, one of those extra nights was occupied by Xander injuring himself. He's totally fine, but the event was just scary enough for all of us that it reminds us just how lucky we are. I mean, up until now, Xander has only hurt himself to the point of needing a doctor one time. He had taken a nosedive from the couch right into the coffee table when he was about a year and a half, and he still has the tiny scar over his eyebrow to prove it.

So one night last week, he was cleaning up his toys in the living room. He was talking to me as he worked, and was walking backwards. Not paying attention to where he was going, he tripped over a toy and fell back into the brick fireplace, and of course his head hit the sharp corner. Now, one thing about me: I'm not calm in situations where my child is bleeding. I mean, I can act calm enough in front of the child, so as not to make him completely panic, but inside I'm a mess. It causes me to lose all sense, and I find myself not knowing what to do. It's really not a good feeling to have, and I need to work on it seeing as how I'm the mother of two boys and will inevitably need to keep my wits about me the next two dozen times one of them hurts himself.

Xander's head started bleeding, so immediately I ran to get Andy. Once Andy was involved in the situation, I took a backseat. In fact, Andy told me to back away because he didn't want me scaring Xander (guess I didn't have much of a poker face once I caught sight of the back of his head!). We put ice on it, got the bleeding to slow down considerably, checked for a concussion, all that fun stuff. While we were both keeping him calm, Xander wanted to know if he would ever stop bleeding. After he continued to ask questions, Andy finally explained that he would form a scab on the back of his head. Well, that just opened up a whole new can of worms. Suddenly all Xander cared about was the scab. I tried telling him what a scab was, and described that it was "crusty stuff" that covers a boo-boo and makes it heal up. So now Xander was crying in fear over having "crusty stuff" on his head. It's so hard to know what will calm him down and what will freak him out more sometimes.

By the time he went to school the next day he was proud to show off his scrape. I think he pretty much showed or explained it to anybody who was willing to listen. He did a really good job of forgetting about it, and not fixating on the scab when it did, in fact, form. I was glad that was over with.

Then, on Sunday evening, he skinned his knee. A common occurrence for little boys, right? Well, not for Xander. He has really only fallen and scraped himself once before, and I believe he was too young to remember that. So the new obsession, once the Band-Aid was on and the bleeding had stopped, became not disturbing the knee. He was very paranoid about making it hurt again. Turns out he had applied his Band-Aid all by himself, which resulted in him placing some of the adhesive on the actual cut, so no wonder the thing still bothered him as much as it did. It's been two days since he scraped it, but he still gets upset when I try to help him, say, put his pants on, because he's worried that I'll perhaps rip off all the skin by sliding up his pants. I thought boys were supposed to be all tough and eat worms and all that good stuff. Xander is in a class by himself.

Then came last night. Xander was getting ready for bed and Andy was combing his hair down because it gets all crazy and big if we don't try and tame it. Suddenly, Andy asked me where the matches were. Hmm. Why would you need a match to comb the kid's hair? "Does he have a tick?" I asked Andy. Turns out he did. Andy managed to get it out without Xander even knowing what a tick was. Why make him freak out when we didn't need to? We explained it to him after the tick was safely gone, and he took it well, luckily. I just hope that this marks the end of the Xander mishaps for a while. They say bad things come in threes, right? So he should be good for now, I think. At least, I hope!

I do have a picture of Xander's bloody head, actually, but I figured that nobody really wants to see it. Instead, I thought I'd post a cute picture of Evan, since I haven't even mentioned him this whole post. Here you go!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Just Rollin' Along

Today was one of those proud days as a parent. It's Evan's 5-month birthday, and he decided to mark it by rolling over for the first time! He did it twice! Of course, the second time Andy, Xander, and I were crowded around him on the floor, and when it finally happened the three of us cheered like maniacs and scared the living daylights out of the baby, but that's okay. We were just really excited! He's getting ready to crawl, even though it should be another couple of months before he can. He really tries; he scoots his little butt upward and wiggles, inchworm-style, around so much that he ends up actually moving a couple inches or so. It's so cute.

I got a chance to do some leisurely cooking this afternoon, which was nice. I was kind of upset that I didn't take any pictures of it for you to see, because dinner turned out really great. Andy suggested I take some pictures of our empty plates once we were finished, because that is about the time that I remembered that I had wanted to take some pics. But how silly would that have been? Nobody wants to see that! At least, I don't think...

Anyway, I made some tomato sauce from scratch, and it turned out super. I made it healthier, from a recipe that is a clone of a Healthy Choice recipe. The key is adding a bit of sugar to the sauce. It cuts the acidity and really enhances all the flavors. I dropped some homemade turkey meatballs that had been frozen into the sauce, and let them simmer in it for about 2 hours. They turned out melt-in-your-mouth tender and juicy; so good! Then, on the side, we had pan-fried asparagus, sauteed in garlic, crushed red pepper, and then finished with some fresh cracked white pepper and parmesan cheese. Andy actually told me it was the best asparagus he's ever eaten! That's quite a compliment, considering we eat a ton of asparagus. It was so absolutely simple, too, but sometimes that is the best way to make food. I finished off the plate with rigatoni, to go with the sauce, and some bread. I was in comfort-food heaven. Xander liked everything, too, so right there dinner was a total winner in my book.

Too bad Evan didn't like his meal. It was his fifth or sixth day eating baby cereal, and he isn't liking it too much so far. He gets really cranky in the high chair and gets to a point where he just refuses to open his mouth for the spoon. When he does open his mouth, it's so he can cry, not eat. So you shovel more cereal into his face, and then he gets even more distraught. It's a vicious cycle, really. But I digress. The point is, I wish I could say that dinnertime was joyous for every member of my family, but it just was not to be.

The Wii Fit has been taking up a lot of our time now, which is good. We are turning into addicts, but we figure there are much worse things to be addicted to, and this is something we can actually be addicted to in front of the kids! So what if it makes us feel guilty and lazy if we skip a day? So what if it asks each of us questions about the other's posture behind his/her back? Who cares if it wonders if we trip over our own feet when we flunk the balance test? It's fun! I leave you tonight with some shots of my Mii, or virtual version of me on the Wii. She's even wearing her little workout clothes! Love it.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Daring Escape Attempt...and Other Stories

We just got back home yesterday afternoon after our Easter weekend out of town. Over the course of the weekend Xander decided to do a couple of things that were either ridiculous, clever, or both. It makes for good storytelling, though!

When we were trying to leave the house to go out of town on Saturday morning, I had Andy take Xander to go get coffee and gas before we headed out. While they were gone, I started setting up the house so that it looked like the Easter Bunny had come. I busted out the bag of bright, shiny, foil-wrapped chocolate eggs and carried Evan around the house while I set about hiding the eggs. I thought it would be fun for Xander to get back from our trip and walk in the house to find that he had an Easter egg hunt to go on! Just as I was almost finished hiding everything, the boys came home. Andy left Xander in the car and came inside to help me tie up loose ends.

Almost immediately, I heard the car door slam. "He's coming!" I warned Andy, so that he could go and intercept Xander. Andy ran to the door and caught him just before he burst inside. He gave Xander a couple magazines to read in the car and sent him back out. I hurried to finish what I was doing, but a minute later Xander got out of the car yet again. This time, he had a different tactic to get into the house. "I have to go poo-poo!" he yelled at us.

We scrambled to get ready for Xander to come inside. I stashed the bag of candy that I had in my hand so that he wouldn't see it, and Andy grabbed Xander and carried him to the bathroom quickly so that he couldn't look around and possibly find eggs. We left him to do his business. I went back to the kitchen and un-hid all the eggs that he would be able to see when he came out of the bathroom. Suddenly I saw out of the corner of my eye that Xander was done on the toilet. "What's going on, Xander? You're not done, are you?" I asked him. He informed me, "Oh, I didn't have to go poo-poo, Mom. I just had to pee."

I had to laugh. He's a clever operator, that one. He knew that telling us he had to go poo was probably the only way he was getting back into the house. And of course, it worked. Everything turned out fine in the end. Xander went back to the car, I brought out a couple of filled Easter baskets and set them up on our kitchen counter, and we hit the road without further incident.

However, about five minutes before we were to reach our destination, we had another mishap. Xander, having been so good for the two-plus hour drive, had finally gotten bored enough that he thought it would be fun to pull on his car door handle. Suddenly, I heard what sounded like the rear window opening. Not so. It was his door! Andy freaked out and pulled over, obviously. Everything was fine and the door didn't really open that far or anything, but it woke us all up! It especially woke Evan, who up until that point had been comfortably sleeping. I think it'll be a while before Xander tries that again!

We made it back home just as safely, although the same cannot be said for Xander's stuffed BFF, Fred. The poor doggie was left behind, and Xander is being very mature about it, although he is pretty sad. I keep telling him that he'll get Fred back in just over a week and a half, but he doesn't really understand how long that is, so every few hours he'll ask me if it's time for Fred to come home. Poor boy.

Finally, we started Evan on solid food today, a momentous occasion in his life for sure. We took some pictures, some of which are below. He did a great job of eating for the first time, but the real surprise was his big brother. Xander was so excited about the whole thing, and he wanted to participate somehow. Who knew that Xander would actually be kinda good at feeding the baby? But he totally was. Sure, he stuck the spoon too far into the baby's mouth a few times, and of course most of the food missed his mouth altogether, but it was still super cute to watch. Even cuter? Xander telling me at dinner that the chicken I made was "the best chicken I ever ate, Mom." Kids are so great for your self-esteem sometimes!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Birthday, Anniversary, Easter Egg Hunt, Oh My!

Wow, it is really exhausting having two kids sometimes! I just can't imagine having more than that, I think I'd be in over my head. Today was busy and crazy, but finally here I sit, ready to write. That is, if I don't fall asleep first.

Xander has had a very full week, but the highlights had to have been his weekend with Nana and Papa, and Daddy's birthday on Monday. Luckily, his behavior has for the most part been much improved, even though last week he did some truly ridiculous things. Let's see. Decorating kitchen chairs with stickers? Check. Giving Fred, his trusty stuffed dog, a bath in the sink? Check. I sometimes wonder if he sees that I'm busy with Evan and tries to come up with the most obnoxious thing he could possibly do to grab my attention. Well, he succeeded.

Back to this past week, though. We went to the Easter Egg Hunt at Eckert's Farm over the weekend and had a great time. The weather was gorgeous and we hit the farm early enough that the real crowds hadn't shown up yet. That evening, Andy and I had an actual date. We finally got to try The Pasta House, a restaurant we've been wanting to go to for a while, but had never been. I wish I could say we had a spectacular experience there, but I'd be lying. The food was just okay, and the service wasn't much better. For the price we paid for the meal, we'd have been better off going to The Olive Garden. It would have been closer to home, too!

Andy got to take off for his birthday on Monday, which was nice because he rarely ever does. Evan had his four-month checkup that morning, and we drove there with snow coming down. It was ridiculous to me; it is April, right? Luckily the snow didn't last very long, and it didn't accumulate at all. Evan's appointment went well; he is 16 lbs. now, 25 in. long. The doctor told us we could start feeding him cereal, so we figure we'll wait until after Easter weekend to try that, since we'll be away for a couple of days.

The rest of the birthday was, I hope, relaxing and fun for Andy. He requested baked ziti for dinner and a lemon cheesecake for dessert, and I was happy to oblige. He responded by buying me flowers! He set them up on our windowsill with a bit of Andy quirkiness mixed in. Back to the cake. I really enjoyed making it, as it's been forever since I've made a cheesecake. On the other hand, I have sworn off such evil goodies for the duration of my diet, so it was hard for me not to be able to try it. I hear it's good though!

Most exciting was the fact that Andy could finally buy the Wii Fit with his birthday money, and he picked it up on Sunday night. We're already kind of obsessed. And sore. That thing really does work you out! It's been too long since we have been active like that, and it showed in our muscles the morning after our respective workouts. I'm so glad we have it now, though. It should be easier to use during stolen moments that we aren't too busy with the kids.

I'll end with something random. Andy got a little trigger happy with the camera when we were taking food pictures, and made a silly piece of hummus art. Here you go.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

What's That Blue Stuff?

It's funny how you can think you are protecting your kids from any and every possible ill that could befall them, and then something totally unexpected happens that you could never have anticipated. Yesterday I took Evan grocery shopping with me in the morning, and was amazed at how well-behaved and quiet he was being in the car on the way there. When we got to the store, I pulled down his little bundly cover thing so I could look at him and there he was, smiling huge at me. I smiled back, leaned closer so I could talk to him, and....that's when I realized he had some blue stuff coming out of his mouth. I stopped in my tracks and stared. Yep, there was definitely something blue and watery drooling out the side of his mouth. "What is that, baby?" I asked him, because of course he would have answered me if he knew. I could not for the life of me figure out what it was. He was insanely happy through all of this, so it didn't seem like whatever it was had a taste, or was harming him. But it sure was worrying me. I finally decided to see if I could dig around in his mouth and maybe find something in there that he may be chewing on. No dice. All I got for my efforts was two blue fingers. Once the stuff had stained me, I thought maybe it was ink or dye. As far as I could tell, that's what it was. It made absolutely no sense. How had he gotten his hands on something with fresh ink or dye on it? I checked his hands, and they were clean. Hmm. Too weird.

He ended up falling asleep during the grocery trip, and part of me actually worried that the blue stuff had sedated him, since he usually is the opposite of calm on a shopping excursion. I called Andy and freaked out a little over the whole thing, and he agreed that I should probably call the pediatrician about it, just to be on the safe side. So I did, and they made me call Poison Control, which is just scary. I answered some questions and they basically assured me that there was nothing to worry about, but to keep an eye on him for any strange symptoms or reactions. By the time we were home from the store, his mouth was clear and clean and he was still just as happy and normal as ever. Now it's been a day and a half since the incident, and I still don't know what the blue stuff was. It just goes to show you, though, sometimes crazy things just happen. I couldn't have predicted that and I probably couldn't have prevented it, since I don't know why/how it happened. I do think maybe I should start monitoring Xander's pen use more closely from now on, since he has been using ink pens a lot lately and making a huge mess with them on his hands. Maybe, somehow, he got some on the baby? I don't know. It's just weird.

I'm getting tired now, but I do have some dirt on Xander that I'll share next time. It involves all the crazy, attention-grabbing stuff he did today before his father got home from work. Oh, well, at least he keeps himself independently busy now!