Thursday, August 30, 2007

What was I thinking?

I gave McLaren some banana tonight. I was making dinner, and Kate was ... being Kate, and I was tired and hungry and I thought, hmmm, how about some banana? Yes, it was in a mesh bag. But hello! bananas don't have juice! They are just pulp! They are just solid! And we all know how she does with solids. I fed it to her at 6pm. It's now 7:40pm, and I figure I have about 20 minutes before the barfing begins. I just now checked on her, and there is no vomit. Can you feel the tension?

For those just joining us, Claire has some trouble with solids. She started out just fine. She downed a whole box of oatmeal cereal and a whole box of rice cereal. Not in one sitting, c'mon. But over the course of what, about 6 weeks maybe, she ate like a champ. Then one night, she ate peas (after successfully having eaten them before) and she woke up with her head completely encrusted in them. Pretty much ever since then she has been unable to keep solids down for more than 2.5 hours. Seriously.

We've done 2 ultrasounds on her abdomen. The first one showed fat in her liver. I chalk that up to Dion the wonder tech. As a result of his ineptitude, Claire had to have blood work done to make sure her liver was okay. It is fine, one giant arm bruise later. The second one came back normal. No problems. No pyloric stenosis. No nothing. Next we are trying some sort of upper GI thing where she has to drink some fluid as they probably x-ray the crap out of her. Joy.

I'm sort of tempted to just wait a month and see if she can eat solids when she's 8 months old. I just don't know that all these tests are worth the heartache and pain that both McLaren and I will go through. Also, the tests are so expensive. Crazy expensive. Her lab work last week? That drawing of blood billed $180, of which TriCare paid $27 (I mean, really, it's a vial of blood). The ultrasound cost $762. Good God. When Kate had her UTI, they wanted to do all sorts of tests on her, too. Turns out she is normal, but I feel like we put her through hell to find out. Is it silly to want to wait this out? I mean, it does seem like something is not right. She used to be able to eat solids, and now she cannot. But she is certainly gaining weight, so I don't know that we have a really big problem right now.

7mo of chub. Is it Claire or Kate?

5mo of that same kind of chub... who is this?

*** 9:30pm update ***

Claire is sleeping like a baby! There is no puddle of banana goo under her chubby little face! I don't know that I'm in the clear yet, but it's been 3.5 hours!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Nothing Says Romance Like...

From Tim: Well, it's my turn to Blog again, and that usually means something dramatic is going on. It is 9:40 pm on our Anniversary Date Night and I am blogging instead of sipping wine and eating steak across the table from my blushing bride... so what happened?

Where do I start? We had plans for Sushi and a movie on Saturday, but the big dinner reservations were for Flemings ( on Sunday.

On Saturday we had a fun day at home and a repeat of last year's experience where our babysitter fell out by accidentally scheduling two families on the same day. Luckily Dexter came through for us and we were able to go out as planned. Just before we ran out the door we opened our gifts to each other, and they were both the same thing!

Today (Sunday) all we had to do was hang out at home, do some chores, run some errands, get dressed up, leave the kids with a sitter and go out to celebrate. The chores in the yard ended with pool time, since it was a bit muggy, and Kate was swimming like a champ. For some reason she liked Mommy more than Daddy, and at one point grabbed onto the side of the pool and went from one end to the other to be close to mommy. Then she said "Hi Edge.", "Bye, Bye Edge" and swam out to the middle of the pool to Jen.

At lunch Kate was getting cranky and started to complain about her leg, which she seemed to have hurt while playing in her room. When she woke up, not only did the leg still hurt, but now she had a fever too. Our little bundle of energy quickly became a couch potato, and the fever continued to rise.

Anyone who knows Kate would expect something was wrong seeing her sit quietly in one place for more than 2 minutes!

So, our dinner plans evaporated with the rising temperature of our first-born and we cancelled the sitter and the reservations. I fired up the grill, and Kate watched most of our DVR collection of Wallace and Grommit, Clifford the Dog, Veggie Tales and Blue's Clues without moving an inch.

We managed to pull off a dinner of Steak and peas, with a bottle of Oregon wine we imported on our last trip while consoling the distraught toddler.

Not the night we had planned, but Happy Anniversary Darling.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

How did you meet?

The newly-engaged couple: Superman and Wonder Woman. October 2000.

Sailing in the San Juan islands, summer 2000.

It was the fall of 1993. I was a junior at the University of Washington, and Tim was a senior at Oregon State University. I was just transitioning out of AFROTC, and Tim was getting ready to complete his last year of it before he headed off to nav school. Several of my friends talked me into getting involved in Silver Wings, the civilian component of Arnold Air Society, and we all headed down to Portland, Oregon, for ARCON (a meeting of all the AAS groups from the NW area schools). Tim was the public affairs officer for his AAS group, and I was heading up Silver Wings for the region. His job was to take pictures, and he managed to make sure I was in most of them. I was pretty flattered, and freely gave him my new email address I had at UW. We didn't talk much that weekend (even then there was a rivalry between UW and OSU), but I soon started receiving emails from that PA officer at Oregon State. My boyfriend was pretty ticked, but flirting over email was so fun.

The following spring was NATCON, a gathering of all the AAS groups around the country, and several of my friends and I headed to Scottsdale for a long weekend of riotous drinking, staying up until 5am, and roof-stomping a Colonel or two who had accompanied us to the convention. Tim was supposed to be there, too, and I spent the first night looking for him. Something about too much to drink and singing Take Me Home, Country Roads, and I couldn't find him. I did finally meet up with him the next day, and we spent a lot of time talking in person. I wish I remembered more of that weekend, but there was a bit of alcohol involved and it was 14 years ago.

We spent the next several years keeping in touch via email and the occasional phone call, with him moving to Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Idaho (in 1998 when we finally dated for the first time), back to Texas for pilot training and then to Arizona for the B course. I mostly stayed put in Seattle, with a short move to London in 95-96, and enjoyed my stable life. I loved Seattle and was pretty sure I wasn't going to love, say, Goldsboro or Wichita Falls, as much as I enjoyed the Emerald City. So, we kept talking, and finally in the summer of 2000, I flew down to Tucson to embark on a backpacking trip to the Havasupai Indian Reservation in the Grand Canyon with some friends. I stayed with Tim for a couple of days before we left for our trip, and that started me thinking. After some good reflection time in the Grand Canyon, I went back to see Tim again in Tucson for a couple of days before heading back to Seattle. He drove us back to his quarters, where he had a bottle of wine, all sorts of yummy bubble baths and lotions, and a nice dinner. I had never been so happy to take a shower, and while I was soaping all the dirt and grime off of me, it suddenly dawned on me that I had the most fabulous man in my life and what on earth was I thinking not doing something about it? We started dating then, got engaged like 6 weeks later, and here we are. Happy Anniversary, Tim!


Okay. I know I have readers out there. You know who you are. Leave a comment and tell me how you met your spouse! I'm talking to you, Dad, Grandma, Jessica, Cheri, Carrie, and all others who are reading this right now! I want comments!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Toddler for sale

Okay, before you call CPS and/or hit the comment button to post a bid, know that I am (mostly) kidding. In general, Kate is one of the best 3 things that has happened to me. But this week she has come into her terrible twos with a vengeance that even I was not prepared for. She is hitting, kicking, screaming, and throwing herself on the floor in full-up tantrum mode that only a toddler can achieve. The other night, she cried so hard she made herself sick, literally. She got a bath and I got to clean up chunks of dinner. Normally I just ignore the tantrums if we are at home, but with her ability to cry so hard that she actually throws up, I am forced to double-think that method of tolerance. If I let her cry too hard, I'm afraid of what the result will be. I am thankful that she is not biting, and pray that no one mentions this out loud near her lest she get any ideas.

Mostly, I cannot understand what she is crying about. She is crying so hard and screaming and I just can't understand what she is trying to say. I know this is frustrating for both of us. I think the past 2-3 episodes have involved clothing: she either wants to wear something or does not, and I want/need her to do the converse of what she wants. For instance, I won't let her go to bed without pants on, because she'll take her diaper off, and that's just too much. I cannot figure out a solution. Ideas?

On the other hand, Claire is at my favorite age. She is able to sit up (mostly) unassisted, she can't move besides rolling from her back to her tummy, she coos and dissolves into a fit of screamy giggles when you snort on her neck or belly, she grabs her toes and chews on them, she throws one arm across her eyes and puts her other thumb in her mouth when she's tired, and the only things she can say are 'Maaa!' and 'Aaaaah!'

Now, I don't not love Kate (for those who don't like quadruple negatives, this translates to: I love Kate dearly), don't get me wrong. I'm just near wit's end trying to sort out how to handle her. Until then, I'll just enjoy her nap time, and hope that this stage passes. Fast.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


Do you double-wash the toddler vomit-soaked clothes/changing pad cover/carpet, or just burn it all?

Monday, August 20, 2007

Who are you, and what have you done with my daughter?

As you know, Kate started swim lessons in May. She hated them. Passionately. I thought we were doomed to have a daughter who disliked the pool immensely. After a month off, we're back at 'em, and she's a totally new girl in the water.

To compare, here's a lesson from June.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Eww, eww

A few days ago, I had the brilliant idea to start bribing Kate with candy to get her to use the potty. She has a crush on M&Ms, so I bought a package of the dark yummies that were on sale at Target. I also bought a bag of Reese's peanut butter cups, because they sounded oh-so-good. I just opened one foil-wrapped candy, thinking what strange light was filtering through my windows that made the wrapper look yellow-ish. The candy inside was a bit gooey, and stuck to the paper cup, and I thought I smelled the sickly sweet scent of bananas. Dying for some peanut butter and chocolate, I ignored both of these warning signs, and popped the gooey mess into my mouth (as good as you can 'pop' a melty chocolate glob). No sooner had I done so when I had the sinking realization that that crazy banana smell was not a figment of my imagination: there truly was banana in my Reese's peanut butter cup. ICK. There is not much that I dislike more than banana-flavored things. Gross, gross, gross. I just downed a (small) fistful of Kate's dark M&Ms to try to get the taste out of my mouth, but it's still there, taunting me.

The house is so quiet. Everyone is asleep. Claire has been sleeping for almost 3 hours now. She likes to flip over onto her belly and suck her thumb to sleep now, and I guess it's doing the trick.

Claire is cracking me up now. She yells (YELLS) when she wants attention, or when she is tired. I found out the latter today at the commissary when I took too long to shop. She was very vocal about her feelings.

Does anyone have any suggestions on how to keep up with the constantly changing baby clothes? I feel like every other week I'm pulling clothes out of the girls' drawers because they don't fit anymore. Then I come across some cute little outfit that will just barely fit for a week before it's too small. Organization tips? What do you do to stay organized with your kids' stuff?

Friday, August 17, 2007

Trying to fit in

Well, Claire wouldn't feel like one of our daughters if she didn't need to have some extra medical exams. We haven't had to visit the ER with her yet (do I even dare say that?), but her pediatrician called me this afternoon to let me know that she wants more tests done on Claire to find out what is causing her to get sick when she eats solids.

First, the ultrasound. We went to TMC for what was supposed to be a short ultrasound of Claire's tummy. What I got was everything from a lecture on how I should be breastfeeding my baby ("not that I'm trying to tell you what to do, and I'm not a doctor, but you know, it worked for my 2 kids"), to the tech telling me that he wasn't really sure what test he was supposed to be performing (at which point he sighed heavily and left the room to call the doctor's office to check). There was a lot of sighing from him over the next 45 minutes while he tried to scan her stomach, as she became increasingly impatient and tired. By the end, she was crying and cranky and we still did not have a good read on her stomach.

So, the pediatrician called me this afternoon to tell me that the results were a little odd and that we need to have some bloodwork done to rule out some problems with her liver. We also need to repeat the ultrasound to see if we can get some better results. For now she is fine with liquids (and she is obviously gaining weight), so we'll wait and see what the tests say.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

The Ultrasonic Vomit Sprinkler

As the husband and "old guy" of the family I rarely get to comment on the blog. My reactions are reserved for concern for my wife's well-being and bodily functions of children. Today I have the privilege of recounting the latter.

As you may have read, we had a few hectic times this weekend. Most notably me getting to bail from a pool party in order to work on a Saturday. Leaving a single parent with two kids inside the fence line of a 5-foot deep pool is a little heartless, I know, especially since Jen needed her energy for what was to follow.

Claire has been having a little trouble keeping solid food down lately. After a month of cereal she decided that she would have none of it. During our time in Oregon we discovered her new hobby of dousing the room some 3 hours after her last meal. Being the caring young parents we had the doctor check her and true-to-form the doc recommended some tests--Ultrasound to be exact.

So I figured it was probably "just a phase" or something in the water in Oregon and figured we should try to feed her again... but just a little ... just in case. My co-conspirator mixed a quick meal and Claire downed a whopping 3 bites from a baby spoon or about the content of a thimble. Two concerned parents looked on, awaiting the arrival of Linda Blair but Claire seemed fine. Later she had a bit of a nap and woke up happy and playful.

In the meantime, Jen and I pressed with the plan of re-arranging the furniture to put Kate and Claire in the same room. Kate latched onto her music box that puts her to sleep at night and started walking around the house with it. She set the music box on the coffee table and would hit the button to start the music, and hit the button to stop the music... like you do when you are a toddler and seeking to prove you have power over something.

In came Claire to sit with Daddy and Kate. Daddy decided Claire could hold herself up at the table and watch. Kate decided she could show Claire how the music box worked. Kate, one at a time, would grab one of Claire's hands and hit the button thereby starting and stopping the music. Both kids enjoyed this tremendously and were laughing and smiling in a concerted effort to get Daddy's guard down. Claire sits down on my left knee and I have Kate sit down on my right knee to have a group hug... mommy is getting the camera, but is too slow.

From out of the blue, the adorable child on my knee begins to projectile vomit everywhere... I mean everywhere... her range was really quite remarkable - and the aim too. On Dad, on big sister, on the carpet... down Dad's leg and into both shoes... and after a few second a pause. I had just enough time to mutter comforting words to the toddler (covered in puke) trying to keep her from bolting across the living room dripping vomit, when the whole thing started all over again. Bluhhhh, bluhh.. and it was the good stuff too! None of that wimpy baby-milk spit-up stuff here-- we have full-up 2 am at mardi gras in New Orleans flashbacks, both with the smell and with the pair of vomit-soaked shoes you want to burn when you get a chance.

Kate's hands are up in the air, and I'll remember the "Uhhh... Daddy what do I do?" look for years. I was waiting for the "All done ... all done..." but it never came. She stuck it out, listened to dad and did not spread yak from one end of the house to another.

It suddenly became "Bath Time" and poor little Claire spent the next few hours sleeping it off.

I can't imagine why she keeps getting sick...think it's the beer? Or maybe the pickles.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Confessions of a 30-something drama queen

Okay, okay! I'm fine, really. I know that after that last post most of you are wondering if I am doing okay in the mental department. I'm fabulous, really. It's just hard being a mom of 2 small children sometimes, you know? Anyone? Someone back me up here. Anyway, these things make for good blog stories, and so you have to take some liberties.

Like yesterday, with Claire the Sprinkler. That's a fun story. But I promised Tim the rights to that one, so you'll have to wait.

Kate surprised me last week. We were over at Dana's and she started saying her ABCs. She does this often. But this time, she kept going. I think she made it all the way through V. Since then she has done this several times (including WXYZ nowIknowABCsingwithme), so I know it's not just a fluke. She is also counting past 10, but I'm not certain where past 10. I heard 19 once, but I can't recall if I heard all the numbers between 11 and 18 first.

Claire enjoys a nice amber ale.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

I don't know where to begin

My list of stuff to do is so long that I'm at a loss. So I'm blogging. Sounds like a good place to start, right?

I did get the floors cleaned yesterday, which gave me much satisfaction. That feeling of accomplishment is now gone, however, as I take inventory of every horizontal surface in the house and find them all covered in mail or clean laundry, and see that my hope of crossing more stuff off my list this weekend dwindling. We've only been home a week, right? I guess it's not that bad. But my Monica instincts are so...strong...and it's making me crazy! The disarray is truely giving me heart palpitations.

We found out that we are off the VML. We thought we'd be moving by May of next year, but the Air Force has extended us and we are now in the next VML. That likely means a move over the summer of 2008. Personally, I'm hoping for Europe. But I've been hoping for Europe since, well, 2000, when we got engaged. North Carolina, Korea and Arizona have not quenched that desire to live in Europe. I'm not picky. I'd take England. I know it's not technically Europe, but it's sort of closer to it than we are here. Or, I'd take Italy. Or Germany. Hell, I'd take Hungary. Come on, people! Send us to Europe! Please.

We went to a birthday party this afternoon. I don't have any pictures. This is because it went kind of like this:

Arrive at community pool where party is being held. Try to entertain a toddler while your husband holds the baby. Swim in the pool with the toddler because it's so damn hot out that it's miserable if you're not in the water. Second guess your idea that 2 kids in the pool would be too difficult, and feel really guilty when your baby looks really really hot. Spritz her with the spray bottle you brought and hope that cools her and her father off. Notice that it does not seem to help. Get out of the pool and try to appease the baby while your husband goes to get food for the toddler. At 5:15 when the toddler is mostly done with her meal, say good-bye to your husband who has to go home and get ready to go to work (Go Lightning Strike Force, woohoo!). Nod in agreement to all your friends who point out that it's Saturday. Try to corral the toddler who is now wandering about in a heatstroke daze, dangerously close to the pool. Also try to keep the baby cool since she never got to swim and cool off. Put the baby in the stroller, hoping that errant toddlers won't feed her red vines while you chase the toddler around the far end of the pool. Glance back at the baby and see another toddler try to take her toy from her. Watch her start to cry. Try to herd the toddler back to the other side of the pool so we can take care of the baby, and have some cake. Thank your friends profusely when they offer to hold the baby. Finally get everyone into the car to head home, where life is a lot easier.

I'm a drama queen, I know. It really wasn't that bad. But pool parties with 2 kids and 1 parent are really just not fun. Period.

My goal is to sleep in tomorrow. I know it's totally unrealistic. But you have to have goals. Tonight, my goal is to finish the bottle of Petite Syrah that is on my kitchen counter. I think I might accomplish that one.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007


This is Claire's first word. I'm counting it, as she says it repeatedly, and I'm certain she is referring to me. She also says 'pppppptttt' a lot, and I'm certain that does not refer to me.

Swim lessons began again Tuesday morning. Kate is finishing up and will probably be done next week, and Claire is in lessons for about 4 weeks, learning how to float on her back and to roll over onto her back. She does not like the lessons much, but is a good sport about them for the most part. I feel just terrible watching her cry and then suck in water, but I know it will be great to have her able to float.

Claire's 6mo well baby check was this morning. The doctor isn't sure what is causing the massive vomiting episodes after she eats solids, so she wants to do an ultrasound on her stomach. Sometimes the opening between the intestine and the stomach becomes too narrow to let solid food pass through. I'll keep you posted on what we find out. For now, her stats:

height: 26.25" (75th percentile)
weight: 17lbs 12oz (75th-90th percentile)

We've been back for several days and the house is a disaster. Dis-as-ter. There is nothing quite like going on vacation for 5 weeks to cause the mess that is my house. I had grand hopes of being totally unpacked, with the floors swept and the bathrooms cleaned by now. Ha. None of those things has happened yet, although I have wonderful delusions that they will come to fruition in the near future. In the meantime:

Unfortunately, my kitchen table is not the only surface that looks like this. Ugh.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Finally, we are back!


We got back on Saturday afternoon, but our modem was fried (monsoons? lightning?) and we couldn't get online. I realized then just how very horribly addicted I am to the internet. And how much other stuff I can get done when my beloved internet is not working. Tim, luckily, is also addicted to the net, so he was on a mission to fix it. Thanks to his efforts, I am back online.

The drive back was...somewhat more painful than the ride up. It didn't help that we took the 'long' road back through Idaho and Utah. Six days later (and more than 3000 miles driven in the past 5 weeks) we are all much happier to not be sitting in a car.

We spent 2 nights in Boise, soaking up the fun and the good beer (we took the girls to 2 breweries while we were there); drove to Ogden, UT, where we stayed at Hill AFB; braved the crazy torrents of rain and flood waters south of there to arrive at Cedar City, UT, near Zion; drove through Vegas on a Friday, stopping only at In N Out Burger for lunch; spent a night in Kingman, AZ; and finally arrived home on Saturday afternoon. Overall it was a fairly uneventful trip home (minus Kate's total meltdown at McDonald's in Wickenburg on Saturday - she just did not want to go into the restaurant and threw one of the biggest fits I have ever seen when we tried to get her to sit down and eat her cheeseburger).

Our house is still standing, although the pool is quite green and so is the yard. We are still unpacking (I think this process might take a week to 10 days) and trying to get organized. Monsoon season is in full force; it took Tim 45 minutes to get to work this morning (normally a 15-minute drive), and the girls' swim lessons are cancelled today. It's dark inside even though it's almost 8am, and I can hear thunder rumbling in the distance. Time for me to go make some breakfast and get some stuff done while the house is still quiet. Pictures soon, I promise.