Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Just Jude

Seems to me that Jude has been just a wee bit neglected in my blog.  Guess it is a case of Second Child Syndrome . . . but with Jude hitting 10 months on Sunday I decided to do a post dedicated all to him.  I even edited out anyone else in his pictures!  So here's the little buddy, birth to 10 months.


You'd  never know that a couple days from now Jude was going to turn
into a little screaming banshee . . . 


One month old, in his favorite recliner already.


Two months, hanging in his "Man Chair."  He and Sophia hung out in it a LOT when he was awake.


Three months, starting to turn into the happier version of Jude that we know and love today!


The big man in his first dress up clothes, at four months.


Merry Christmas, five month old Cuddler!


Back in the chair for some six month old lounging . . .


And I know these are the same pajamas six month old Jude was wearing, but he really is a month older . . . seven months!  


Eight month old Jude, trying to work up the motivation to head for the toy . . . nah!
Why bother when big sis will get anything you need?


Nine month old Jude taking a bath, his favorite activity outside of eating.
Especially bubble baths with sister . . . yellow belly = soap paint fun!


Had to do another nine month picture . . . he sits up!!!


Ten month old Jude LOVES to eat grass.  Or anything else he can get in his mouth!


And another 10 month picture . . . frozen custard beats grass hands down!  I guess the upside of being child #2 in the birth order is that your parents are a little less uptight about NO SUGAR UNTIL AT LEAST ONE! and a little more go with the flow . . . 

I never would have thought when in the middle of Jude's first four angry colicky months that he would turn into such a happy, smiley, cuddly, charming little guy.  Even as I type this he is grinning and waving at me from his high chair while he chows down some pasta, watermelon, and hot dog (no comment on the balancedness of today's lunch!).  He and Sophia are great friends . . . we were at BJ's the other day and they kept alternating putting their arms around each other for hugs in their dual front seat.  Love this little guy, and love watching him grow into such a fun big boy.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Money money money . . . money!

This post's title has to be sung ala The Apprentice intro . . . ABBA didn't do any great songs about couponing, so I had to make do.

In an effort to save some money to go toward our ongoing effort of paying off John's grad school loans, I have ventured into the world of coupons.  Yesterday I put together my coupon notebook, thanks to the Krazy Coupon Lady, and started getting my coupons organized into their little baseball card organizer pockets.  Then last night I went on a coupon adventure!

I first went to RiteAid, where thanks to my handy calculator I learned that the deal advertised even when combined with my coupon really wasn't such a great deal.  No purchase there, and I moved on to Hannaford.


Can you guess how much I spent on the above groceries, worth $19.25?

Drumroll, please . . .

That's right, $7.33!

Now, I have to admit, this transaction was not made with your average Sunday newspaper coupons.  I had a bunch of $2 off Hannaford coupons that I got from their table at my half-marathon.  Each one was for a different kind of item (Close to Home, Hannaford brand, Inspiration item, etc), so I had a mini-scavenger hunt around the store to find items we needed that fit in those categories and cost as close to $2 as possible.  I ended up getting meat because we are having a family cookout this weekend, and that was the most cost-effective way to buy meat to grill.

While I may not have used traditional coupons, getting such a great deal has motivated me to keep plugging away . . . perhaps one day soon I will be getting deals like a gal I know who walked out of Shaw's with five bags of groceries and $8 more than she went in with!

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

Don't forget, when I get to 50 followers I will enter you all in drawing for an Amy Butler bag, made by yours truly!  As soon as I get my next Joann Fabrics coupons in the mail I will be able to whip it up and will post a pic on here to motivate folks to follow my blog in exchange for entry into the drawing . . .

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bag time

A friend loaned me an Amy Butler bag pattern book around Christmas time, and I finally got around to making one.  Amy Butler is a "designer known for her sophisticated yet relaxed modern approach to printed fabric and other products for sewing, fashion, home, and craft."  I LOVE her designs.  Fortunately, getting ahold of this book had coincided with my receiving a Joann's gift card, so last week I finally went off to buy some fabric to make a bag.

I decided to make the "Cosmo" shoulder bag, and found some fabulous blue and green modern fabric that  I loved . . . it isn't actually Amy Butler fabric, but it still worked perfectly.  And instead of covering a button with fabric I found a big jazzy shimmery one that popped, and really finished the bag well.

I couldn't be more pleased with how the bag turned out . . . it was one of the more technically difficult things I've made in a while.  I am looking forward to working my way thru some more of the patterns to increase my sewing skills.  In the meanwhile, this one has already become my library/outing/everything-else-under-the-sun bag.

Here you go!



This picture doesn't really do justice to the modern bling of the button, but trust me, it's perfect!


I LOVE all the pockets, two on each end on the outside . . .


. . . and four on the inside!

Now, I haven't done a drawing in a while, but if I get to 50 followers by the end of May, I will do a drawing for an Amy Butler "Origami" bag made by yours truly on June 1st!  Those of you who are followers of my blog, tell your friends, and those of you who aren't . . . sign up!  All of my followers will be entered in the drawing.  I will post pics of the bag as soon as I finish it.  Good luck!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Little miss

As of today Jude is officially transitioned over to 100% formula, and it's amazing how much better I feel now that I am not putting most of my time and energy into continuing to breastfeed him.  Happier baby, happier (and saner) mama!  Some of you may have noticed that I have actually started blogging again, now you know why.

But this post isn't about Jude and his feeding issues, it's about the other Munchkin.  About 12 seconds after I wrote this post, Sophia regressed in a big way, and a month later she is now back to sleeping in the crib. Possibly for the rest of her life.

The day after I wrote about Sophia having transitioned to her big girl bed (again!), she woke up with a cold.  For the average human being, that means cuddling up in a blanket with a big box of tissues and steaming mug of tea in hand.  Unfortunately, Sophia didn't get the blanket/tea memo.  When she gets a cold she turns into super-hyper kid, running around the house like a crazy person, and worst of all . . . she doesn't sleep.

Sophia with a cold equals non-sleeping naps, and hearing singing and talking coming from her room long after John and I have gone to bed.  So of course it also equals climbing out of her bed.  Which is quite easy to do when you are in a big girl bed complete with a handy dandy stool pulled up to it.

John and I dealt with the climbing out of bed a couple times the first two nights of her cold.  We walked her back to bed, sternly told her to stay in bed and go to sleep, and that was it.  Then came Thursday night.  Thursday, April 12th.  I remember it like it was yesterday.

Sophia was in bed at 6:30 that night (with usual bedtime being between 6 and 6:30).  We could hear her singing and talking, but it didn't seem to be bothering Jude, so that was fine.

But then we heard the patter of little feet on the floor just before 7.  Out into the hallway she came, to the top of the stairs.  "I'm awake, mama!"  "Back to bed, Sophia, time to sleep."  "Okay, mama," and she headed back to bed.

And got back up . . . and back to bed . . . and back up . . . every few minutes for the next hour and a half.

John and I tried everything we could think of to keep her in bed.  We sat her down for a talking to.  And another.  And another.  We told her she was going to have video privileges taken away the next day.  We tried to reason.  HA!  Not worth your time to reason with a toddler!

We were completely at a loss.  A month later, memory of her antics crack me up.  Not so in the moment.  I'm really not sure how Jude slept thru her noisiness, as neither of my children are particularly deep sleepers.

Sophia varied her out of bed routine, sometimes coming out into the hallway, sometimes staying in her room with the door closed so she could knock on it and then say "Come in!"  Each time John or I would trundle up the stairs to deal with her.  She would hear us coming and whisper a fierce "NO!  Don't come in!" from her side of the door.

What was really ridiculous was that to Sophia, each time she climbed out of bed was as if it was a brand new experience.  I stopped counting how many time she told me "I'm awake!  It's time to get up!" which is what she tells me in the morning when I go in to get her.  Each time I would tell her it was not time to get up, that she hadn't slept ("Yes, mama, I did sleep!"), and that she couldn't get up until it was morning.  "It's morning, mama!"

We gave her ibuprofen, in case some of her cold symptoms were keeping her up.  No go.  Extra stuffed animal in bed.  Board book to read in bed.  "You can read in bed.  No getting up, though!  You can only read the book in bed!"


Finally at 8:30, I had enough.  John was trying to get in some guitar practice in the den, and I banged in and told him that if she got up one more time THAT WAS IT!

And she did.  And it was.

Up the stairs we went, tools in hand.  Out of the crib came poor little sleeping Jude.  Out came the mattress.  Down went the frame of the crib, as far as it could go.  The mattress went back in, and in went the Snuggler.  Then the pack'n'play made a reappearance, this time being set up for Jude.  Five minutes of silent but furious activity later, these two frustrated parents had finally gotten the upper hand!  I don't think I can describe how very happy it made me to have finally outsmarted the Snuggler and won that battle, but anyone with kids knows exactly what I mean.

Sophia has been back in the crib ever since, and Jude has been in the pack'n'play.  And I am NOT going to say that she hasn't tried to climb out, because I know exactly what will happen then.  But should she attempt to escape her new sleep prison, I am going to have a crib tent on speed-order from amazon.  At least for when she has a cold.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Spring Cleanup

Our town is doing spring cleanup tomorrow . . . yay, the couch that has been sitting in front of our house for two months will be gone!  John and I have been joking about entering a "Most White Trash Front Yard" contest, but I suppose we would have needed more than just a couch . . . maybe a car on cinder blocks, or something dangerous like barbed wire, or maybe a tire and some brush.  Oh, that's right, we did add the tire, brush, and a mattress box spring!  At any rate, our house will have some added curb appeal tomorrow after all of our crap gets hauled away.

And so in honor of sorting thru all of our stuff, I decided to sort thru some pictures of the last couple months and put a few of the survivors in a blog post . . . enjoy!



"Mama, don't come in yet! . . . . Go get the camera!"

Still working on consistency with "please."


Not much that the Snuggler enjoys more than cuddling with her brother.


Oy.  This is what happens when I leave the room for two minutes to put Jude down for a nap.





Jude having "eggs and toast" like his sister . . . hard boiled egg yolk and cheerios.
This boy will eat anything I put in front of him, what a chow hound!


The new tire swing we put up a couple weekends ago, along with our hammock.



Outdoor cuddle time!


Thursday, May 3, 2012

To be or not to be . . . a nurse.

I decided to become a nurse in eighth grade.  I was inspired by the story of a refugee camp nurse that I read in a magazine while I waited in the eye doctor's office.  What an adventuresome career, and practical, too!  Pretty much an economy proof job, as there will always be sick people.  In the back of my mind niggled the idea of doing something more creative . . . but I didn't know what exactly, and those types of things (interior decorating, clothing design, and acting were at the top of my list) were just not practical.

So off to nursing school I went.  After a wonderfully fun four years I graduated and got to work.  And after a few years of paperwork, paperwork, a little patient care, bureaucracy, and more paperwork, I burnt out.  I kept plugging along as John was in grad school and we needed my income, but as soon as he graduated and Sophia arrived, I quit.  When she was sleeping thru the night I went back to work a night a week in a tiny ICU a couple miles down the road, but then quit again when Jude came along.  Now I have plans to go back sometime . . . in a few months . . . or this fall . . . sometime.

Now having learned the real side of nursing (the paperwork up to your eyeballs and more poop than either of my children have ever produced combined) I have wondered off and on if basing my career on being "practical" was the best thing to do.  Friends have told me they wished they had my skillset so they could contribute to their family income, but I've still wondered if it was best for me.

Enter Sophia.

Having the Snuggler go thru pyelonephritis (a kidney infection), be labeled "failure to thrive," and then diagnosed with severe asthma was the most stressful set of circumstances I have ever faced.  I know there are parents out there dealing with children who have far worse illnesses, like cancer or other life-threatening diseases, and I don't know how they do it.  As a nurse, I have the know how to mange her daily meds, decide when to start her on her "sick time" meds, and help her avoid situations that exacerbate her asthma.  And I have never been more grateful to be a nurse than when she is sick . . . having the extra knowledge then is worth any amount of burnout.


Last Friday's asthma exacerbation pharmacy pickup.

But being a nurse doesn't erase the fact that you are scared to death when your kid is wheezing and can't stop coughing to catch her breath in the middle of the night, or make you 100% sure when it is the right time to head to the ER, or help you stop second guessing your decisions.  There is a good reason that medical personnel are not supposed to take care of loved ones.  You are too emotionally invested to make unbiased decisions!

I still remember when a friend's sister was in my ICU, so so so very sick.  I came in one day and saw my name next to hers . . . she was to be my patient that day.  My only patient.  And I thought I could handle it, being pretty good at staying calm in a crisis.  Nope.  I have never been so scared while taking care of someone as I was that day.  She took a turn for the worse, and despite all of our best efforts I knew that she was going to die, and I was going to have to tell my friend.  I think I looked outwardly calm, but I'm pretty sure my heart rate didn't dip below 150 all day.  Thank God, she didn't die that day (and is in fact miraculously alive and thriving!), but I will never again take care of someone I know.

Except Sophia.


And that is a little different, of course, but some days it really does feel like I am back at work, managing a patient's medication schedule and trying to get some nutrition into her and getting her to the bathroom . . . the plus side is no paperwork!  Except her medication record I keep on the fridge, but that's just because I have no memory anymore.

Nowadays I am not so intimidated by her asthma exacerbations, unlike a year and a half ago when she was diagnosed.  Sophia herself sees her meds and inhalers as normal.  She insists on helping with her nebulizer treatments, squeezing the albuterol into the chamber, putting her mask on, turning on the machine, and then holding the mask in place just so.  And really, while she is on a daily maintenance drug and inhaler, most of the time we don't even think about her asthma.  It's just part of our routine now . . . but it is a routine that has me firmly settled on the side of being glad to be a nurse.


. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

You may be wondering where John fits into this picture . . . as he works four days a week I am obviously home with the kids more, so it is natural for me to make the call on most asthma management "stuff" . . . I'm the one at home doing it, and John is good with that.  He is supportive and does his share (more than!) when he is home, and doesn't mind that I have a routine that we follow.

Lately he has initiated a SUPER important contribution to our routine . . . when he heads to work he leaves me a cup of coffee with a note written in Sharpie on a Domino's (yes, we might eat their pizza too often) napkin.  My favorite, after being up with Sophia much of the night last Thursday, was "You need this."


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Charlotte's Web

It has been a little while since I have posted, but we have been very busy getting adjusted to the new addition to the Libby household.  New addition, you ask?  Yes, Sophia has finished pottytraining, and several Saturdays ago she and I took a trip to Walmart to get her new babydoll!


I was a little worried about what the baby's name might turn out to be (As you may remember, Hard Boiled Egg was in the running.), but once Sophia saw her face she knew just the perfect name.  Charlotte's  Web.  (She is a little bit influenced by our current reading . . . better than Hard Boiled Egg!)  Charlotte comes from the Baby Alive line, and was Sophia's instant favorite at the store.  No crying baby for the Snuggler, those ones creeped her right out.  And the soft bodied once were old news . . . been there, done that, it seems.  No, only this Baby Alive dolly would do.


Charlotte is what the nurses at the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital call an "FLK," or, for those not versed in medicalese, "Funny Looking Kid."  She has hard plastic blonde curls, huge staring blue eyes, and a gaping mouth (the better to feed her with).  I tried to convince Sophia that a cuter doll would be better (without actually sounding completely superficial), but she would have none of it.  So the gaping FLK came home with us, and has been Sophia's constant companion ever since.


Charlotte actually came with dehydrated food that you are supposed to mix with water and feed her, but we are not going to be doing that.  Sophia is blissfully unaware that Charlotte has special eating skills, and it's going to stay that way.  I already have to change Jude's diaper, and don't really want to have to change a green goopy doll diaper too.  Blech.  Really, Baby Alive people?  You have to include peas as the baby food?  I might consider applesauce or pears . . . mmm, no, not even then.


The day Charlotte arrived we took a walk to Pettingill Park around the corner, and lo and behold, Sophia can walk that far!  Without whining, I mean.  She just needs a baby stroller to push.  Then she runs down the road, stroller careening wildly with Charlotte in danger of spilling out at any moment.  The Snuggler then proceeded to introduce her baby to everyone at the park, inducing lots of "Aw, isn't she so cute!" . . . not sure if they were referring to Sophia or Charlotte.


 After playing for an hour or so (including shoving Charlotte down the slide in front of her), it was time to head home.  The tired new mama settled in next to her brother for the ride, making sure Charlotte was tucked in too.


Now when we head out on errands, there is much discussion around whether or not Charlotte should come along.  Usually Charlotte is tired and wants to be tucked in for a nap at home.  I'm waiting for the day that Sophia figures out that you don't really leave babies by themselves at home for naps.  But if Charlotte comes along, usually her diaper bag has to come too.  Which would be fine, but I'm not a fan of having to prepare TWO diaper bags before we leave the house.  Because Charlotte needs her diapers, bottle, bowl, spoon, blanket, and any random toys that Sophia decides are crucial at that moment.  No thanks!


The best part about Charlotte is that anytime Sophia is feeling reluctant to go potty I just have to say "Remember you got to have Charlotte because you are such a big girl?  So let's go potty!"  Using that technique we have weaned off of treats completely, and even stay in underwear to go to friend's houses, church, and errands.  Hooray!  Welcome, Charlotte!


(Not sure why I'm Puffy Prednisone Lady in this pic, but Sophia's cute!  And there's the FLK.)

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