Saturday, January 31, 2009

Addiction

I've stumbled upon a new addiction. Ray and I were talking about video games we played when we were kids. Frogger and Burger Time were two that came to mind for me, so I looked them up online. Sure enough, you can now play them for free. Turns out I suck at Frogger. Burger Time is just plain hard. I can get to the second level, but there are a lot of sausages out to get you! Oh yeah, and one stupid egg.

However, I also found a game on the same site as Burger Time called PacXon. A bit of a flip on PacMan. Feel free to check it out, but be warned that it is addictive.

http://www.addictinggames.com/pacxon.html

I've been getting work done and such between levels.

In fact, my friend Mary asked me about it last night (I posted about it on Facebook), so I sent her the link in an email. All I got back this morning was a short message: "Damn you." I'm still giggling, because I know exactly why she said that.

Enjoy! And welcomed to the addiction...if you dare.

P.S. I can't get past level 14, but Ray hit level 17.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Like Father, Like Son

Xander came out pretty much a clone of Ray. There are pictures of the two of them, each around 10 days old, and if you didn't know that the black and white one was so much older, you would swear they are the same kid.

This afternoon I was shocked at how far that similarity went, when my sweet three and a half year old son said, "Jackass!" to his toy in frustration.

Yeah, that one came from Daddy. Good work Ray.

Of course, Ray would be quick to point out that I am the one who accidentally taught him to say "bugger" when he was two. And he sang that word for about 6 weeks.

I can't wait to see what he gets from school!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Zantac and other miracles

I've been meaning to post for a while about Liam's allergies/tummy issues.

It became apparent not long after he was born that Liam had some tummy problems. He threw up all the time. He also cried non-stop. It was terrible.

As my brother is allergic to milk, my first attempt to end the crying and throwing up was to cut out milk. It helped, but just cutting out milk products was not enough. I had to also make sure there was not a drop in my system. Ever. I began to read labels and know all the words that actually mean milk. Casein. Whey. Trace milk products. I discovered that Timbits had some milk in them, as one single Timbit (a donut hole from Tim Hortons) would make Liam throw up enough to soak my shirt. Fun times.

No sooner had I gotten rid of the milk, when the screamfest began. He cried 18 hours a day and slept fitfully for 6. And the 6 were not consecutive! I started doing a little research and discovered that although a small percentage of children are allergic to milk, a very large portion of those kids are also allergic to soy. It made sense: upon dropping all milk products, I had increased my soy milk intake. So I cut soy too. This worked. He stopped screaming and spitting up. I was even more limited in what I could eat. I did it gladly, for the health of this baby, but it was a hard adjustment.

A few months later he was beginning to eat solids. We quickly discovered that bananas made him throw up. Avocado did the same. Apples caused much distress. And oatmeal...well that was the mother of ALL reactions. He pooped 20-25 times a day. Green, slimy, allergy poop. It was disgusting and living with him being so upset was hard. It went like that for 2 weeks. On the third week it went down to 10-15 times a day. We considered buying shares in Pampers, then discovered that the store brand from Loblaws, known as Teddy's Choice, was a better option. The elastic in it was in the front and the back!

We were afraid to feed this child. Allergists were consulted. We were referred to a pediatrician. We were told that the milk and soy allergies were "sensitivities" in the allergy world, which meant he did not require an epi-pen and he was likely to outgrow it. We were also given a list of things not to give him and things to wait on until he was a year. Including wheat, eggs, and milk. Slowly, we fed him veggies and then a few fruits. Rice products were good. But we tried new foods sparingly and with hesitation. Aspargus resulted in a 4 hour screamathon. He hated carrots and peas. And at 9 months the doctor laughed because he was orange from all of the orange and yellow veggies he ate.

Around 9 months I tried a little soy in my diet again. I didn't push it much, but did relax my rigid standards from before. It seemed okay. I tried dairy and our lives fell apart again. Dairy was out. Over the New Year my Mom was visiting and I complained that Liam's sleeping habits were horrible and naps non existent. She pointed out that I was using soy (sounds a little like using coccaine in that context!). I was holding him while he slept and she watched him flip out in his sleep and sit up, still sleeping, and scream. I cut out the soy again. In my own sleep deprivation, this possibility hadn't dawned on me.

When Liam was about 3 months and screaming and throwing up all the time, I mentioned to our doctor that I wondered about acid reflux. She said the meds they give to small ones was risky and was shown to cause heart problems. We backed away from the idea. At 10 months, I went back to her and pushed the idea again. He never slept right. Always tossing and turning. Naps were nonexisitent. And he still screamed every single time he woke up. Plus, there were several people who asked if we'd looked into it. This time the doctor proposed we try liquid Zantac.

The second day of the Zantac Liam seemed chipper. He's a pretty happy kid when he is awake anyway, but if he could have whistled, he would have. I wasn't sure if this was coincidence or if he felt better. We waited. He started the Zantac on a Thursday. The following week he had some of the best naps of his life. Then, on Wednesday night, Ray called me at work: where was the rice milk? I assured him it was the small container in the fridge. There was a small pause and Ray said in a quiet voice, "Laura, that's soy milk." (I'd bought it by accident when going for the rice milk, which was in the same kind of container, right next to the soy milk on the shelf.) I had a moment of total-body panic. He'd been drinking soy milk. Only 2 weeks before, me having a little soy in my diet resulted in horrible sleep and an unhappy baby.

And then I took a breath and realized something: he'd been drinking it for 2 days...and there had been fantastic naps and no screaming. Suddenly I had a glimmer of hope.

I can't say it is all acid reflux. Certainly, I don't dare to give him oats again soon. But he's been fine and I am back on soy products. We've introduced wheat and eggs, with no problems. That boy LOVES himself some bread! And he naps...most days. Plus, the naps are no longer done at 20 minutes either. We now get naps of 1-2+ hours.

His nighttimes are still challenging, but we are working on them (and that is a whole other post). Last night I heard something amazing: Liam woke up and did not scream. He sat in his crib and chattered to himself happily for about 15 minutes, before he got annoyed and yelled for us. And his yelling does not have the same tone. He's annoyed or trying to get our attention, but it is not the blood-curdling howl that has woken us up day and night for the last 11 months.

Tomorow is 11 months.

Happy 11 months, dear Liam. I am so glad you feel better.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Impatient

I am waiting for news on a job prospect. It was something that was supposed to start "early January". As it is the last week of January, I believe we have passed that. Last week we were supposed to meet, but then something came up on their end. It happens, I know. And this is the world of contract work. It will all end up working out. But, for now, I am impatient. It feels a little like living in Limbo.

The only good news is that I have a sinus infection and this will give me the opportunity to get that under control. No wonder I lacked my usual ummph last week.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

First Haircut

Before

On Grandpa's lap, with Daddy in the background.


First real cut...

Not so happy, so the soother helps for a moment.
Big brother is happy enough having his hair cut in the next chair.
Funky hair!

Getting down to business.


A comb! Now it's fun.


Two boys with new haircuts are goofing around...

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sleeping on the Crouton

Xander wants to sleep on "the crouton". What an image that brings to mind. Thankfully, all giggles aside, we know he means the futon.

Liam's sleep is a lot better (there's another posting in there about food allergies and reflux, but that shall be for another day), but we still need to buckle down and see about getting a much better schedule. And Xander is pretty much beside himself because of the hellish schedule his sleep has undergone over the past few months. He doesn't even want to sleep in the same room as Liam now.

In order to separate them, we have some limited options. We have a tiny house and there are 2 bedrooms upstairs and one on the main floor. Currently Ray and I have the larger bedroom upstairs (with a walk-in closet) and the boys share the slightly smaller room across the hall. The third bedroom is on the main floor and it is Ray's previously mentioned office (think danger pay). In theory this arrangement works. For sleeping purposes, not so much.

Some of options are as follows:

1. move Xander into our room on the floor with a mattress, while dealing with several weeks of sleep issues with Liam
2. move Liam back into our room with his crib (okay, this one sucks and I have no intentions of dismantling that crib again...twice)
3. put the futon from our family room in the basement up onto the main floor, in the living room, and let Xander sleep there for a while (admittedly, this sounds like a simple and good solution, except that it would effectively mean that we cannot do anything in the house in the evenings for weeks, because the living room is in the main traffic flow)
4. the same as #3 only put the futon in Ray's office (this would mean clearing part of his office out and putting it down in the family room, which is no small feat and it also means that the rest of what is in Ray's office could be played with, etc)
5. Put the futon in our room and our bed in the office

These are our best options so far. In the interest of completeness, we have also considered the following:
6. suck it up and leave them where they are, praying time will solve this
7. drink heavily
8. drug the kids so they just go to sleep
9. sell one of them on Ebay
10. move (okay, we ought to also put "win the lottery" before the moving part, since we cannot afford to do this)
11. major renovations (see comment above)

Yeah, I am out of ideas. But before Xander implodes and destroys everything with his sleep-deprived-bad-behaviour, we have to do something.

If some other possibility pops into your mind, please let me know.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Motivation

So my personal motivation is lacking today. I think it is the combination of tired and too many things to accomplish. Every time I think of something to be done, it occurs to me there are 10 other things to do too.

Not that I am not accomplishing things. Xander and I put in his information for Junior Kindergarten. He goes in September! How did that happen? We also got him new pants and a jacket for spring. The pants are necessary: he's growing and has now started to outgrow the pants I bought this fall. The jacket seems like a bit of a pipe dream in the midst of the snow we have. I've also gone and picked up a few groceries. Not a down day at all.

Liam had a good nap, but it was later than normal. I am pondering the idea of just buckling down to 1 nap a day for him and seeing if that cures our short nap problem. It might!

I am supposed to run tonight. It's cold, though not as cold as it has been. I am tired. My Dad arrives in the middle of the night tonight. And I just plain do not want to. I will feel better if I do it though. And I skipped spin last night. I was so tired I was falling over.

Add to this that I am waiting to find out when my job interview will be rescheduled.

I just lack motivation today. I feel a little lackluster.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Sweet Sound of Silence

Xander and Liam are in the tub as I am typing it. No worries, Ray is up there too.

Xander was half humming, half singing one of his crazy preschooler tunes and I said to him: "Xander, please. Mommy doesn't want to hear that one." (It's mostly the sticky, sticky bubble gum tune I posted in December.)
Xander replies cheerily with: "Okay, what do you want to hear?"
Me, with a sigh: "The sweet sound of silence."
Xander: "I don't know the words to that one."

For those of you who want snow...

Please come and take ours.

'Nuff said.

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Cleaning/Organizing Frenzy Continues

Today was just a terrible day to go outside. Ray and Xander ventured out for preschool, but Liam and I decided to forgo the dubious pleasure. It was -20 C (-4 F) without the windchill and -31 C (-22 F) with it when we got up this morning. Although it is a run day for me, I skipped that too. I am crazy, but not totally off my rocker! It has now warmed up to a balmy (note the sarcasm here) -17 C (windchill of -26 C).

I've been on a cleaning and organizing kick, though the limited time I have makes it a bit harder to get much done. Today I did a load of things upstairs. I've cleaned the bathroom and taken everything out of our two giant cupboards in there. Organized all of it. Threw out a bunch of stuff. I cleaned and dusted our bedrooms too. And finally, the linen closet. I'm slowly working on scrubbing the walls of our stairway and halls too. Fun stuff.

We've also made some progress on Ray's office, put up a new wine rack (the old one worked in a previous apartment, but is not great in this house), sorted through the video tapes and DVDs we own and got rid of some of them, and have started on the art supplies.

You'll all know I am really serious about this when I get to the filing cabinet and our books. I guess it depends on how long winter lasts and how cold it is in March and April.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Is THIS what an aneurysm feels like?

Xander: "What street is gymnastics at?"
Me: "Maple Avenue."
Xander: "What's Maple Avenue?"
Me ((sigh)): "The street gymnastics is on."
Xander: "Is that Maple Avenue?"
Me: "No."
Xander: "Is that Maple Avenue?"
Me: "No."
Xander: "Is that Maple Avenue?"
Me: "No."
Xander: "Is that Maple Avenue?"
Me: "I'll let you know."

And 90% of our conversations go like this these days.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Options for Twilight

For those of you who are head over heels for the Twilight series, I wanted to recommend a few options.

Tanya Huff: Blood Ties series
Nancy Collins: The Sonja Blues collection
Jeanne Kalogridis: Covenant with the Vampire

I've read the Tanya Huff books and was thrilled with them. A small part of me was also tickled that they are set in Toronto, which is my own haunt. The other two series were recommended by my husband, and I will take a look at them soon, but he is a reliable source for good reading material.

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Liam Rocks the Joint

video

The Value of Work

I've been thinking a lot about work lately. For one thing, there was the possibility of a part-time job in my field that came to my attention before Christmas. I don't know if it will work out or if it is even still on the table, but I am very much interested.

I've also cleaned up my work space downstairs. It had to be done, but I saw little point, since I have so little time to do any work. In fact, I barely have time to check my email and blog these days. However, Liam is constantly poking at my laptop in the living room these days and if I am to do anything constructive, I am going to need my space back. I like my space, so it was really nice to make some progress with that.

The thing that is bothering me is that I have one client who I have been doing some marketing writing for. I wish it was more writing, but I have a couple kids underfoot and one doesn't sleep much. It's just getting better. I feel better and my brain feels like it is suddenly back online. So, I filed my last invoice for 2008 and got a shocker back. They are dropping their rates from $50/article down to $30/article!

At $50 it was just enough for me to feel like I was earning something. $30 makes me feel ripped off. Furthermore, I have a hard time condoning this kind of behaviour. What does that say about the value of what I do for a living? If I write them, then they think they can get this kind of work for so little money. On the other hand, this is a steady client and I don't have a huge amount of work right now (mostly because of not being out there drumming up business due to the kids and having my focus be elsewhere).

So what do I do?

I am still pondering this one.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Tasting the Stars


The other day Xander was in the back of our van and talking about grabbing stars: one for himself, one for Mommy, and one for Daddy. I asked him why he wasn't getting one for Liam too and he said, "Liam's too little. He'd just eat it."

I giggled. He's right. Liam puts everything in his mouth.

There was a moment of silence, then he added: "What do stars taste like?"

Saturday, January 10, 2009

"Danger Will Robinson, Danger!"

One of the projects for this year is to clean out Ray's office. Some of you know what this entails (or have a bit of an idea), as you've seen it. If you haven't, you will have to use your imagination. I took video and a picture for the before shot, but Ray would rather we wait to have it with the after picture. Let's just leave it at this: I think we deserve danger pay for going in there.

Ray has many, many talents and is an avid collector. Unfortunately time and the inclination to organize are fleeting. So we've lived here 5 years and it has piled up a little at a time (sometimes a lot at a time). Occasionally someone takes a stab at it and clears up a corner or a bit of floor space.

This time we are working together. And it will get done. It's a challenge!

I also want to go through our massive video tape and DVD collection, and get the art supplies organized. Apparently I am on a roll.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Answer to the question: Teeth or Walking First?

The answer to my previous post on the question of whether we would get teeth or walking first is...TEETH!

Liam has had quite a week. First, on Tuesday my Mom left, he got the flu (both ends, thank you very much!), and in the evening his first tooth popped out.

My poor Mom is going to think she is cursed. This kid is determined to make her miss the milestones by a hair every time! It started when he was born: she booked extra time to be with us in hoped that he would be born a little early like big brother. Instead, he was born 2 days before she arrived back from her Cuban vacation. Then, the last time she visited (in November), she was determined he would crawl while she was there. He would get up and rock and TRY to crawl, but no dice. We drove Mom and Dad to the airport, came home, placed Liam on the floor and (I kid you not!!!) he crawled across the room. Their airplane hadn't even boarded yet. I called them on Dad's cell to tell them what happened. And this visit she was rooting for those two teeth to pop out. We could see that they were right there, but nothing was happening. We even checked the morning she left. And before she called us in the evening to let us know she was home, safe and sound, he'd popped the first one through. See, she is going to think she is cursed.

Anyway, he had that flu for about 48 hours. Got the first tooth within that time. And then sometime between supper last night and lunch this morning, he popped the second one through.

No walking yet. Stay tuned for that! Maybe after Mom's visit at the beginning of February.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Giraffe

I think that Liam has chosen his own lovey over the past few weeks. He does love his blanket and is happy to snuggle with it. He has a cloth book that is high on the list of favourites too. But, oddly enough, he seems attached to a small giraffe from our Fisher Price Noah's Ark, just like the one from the picture below. Seriously. This child totes that giraffe everywhere with him. He can even crawl with it in one hand.I see the appeal. It fits in his hand. It's chewable. It's portable. What's not to love?

This kid continues to surprise me.

Happy New Year

Okay, so I am a day late. It was a busy one. I worked on the morning of the 31st, then we had friends in for dinner and evening celebrations, then I popped out for about 1.5 hrs to drive up to the airport and collect my Mom, who is visiting for the week.

We've had a good New Years though. Full of friends and family, just the way I like it.

Here I am, wishing my friends and family the best of times and much health in 2009.