I love, love, LOVE this video, which is stitched together from the daily self-portraits taken by Christoph Rehage as he walked across a significant chunk of China. He grows a pretty gnarly beard as he goes, which is fun to watch. Enjoy!
Otto measured 44" today, 43 lbs, perfectly healthy and normal. He told Dr. S a long story about... something... while she tried to examine him. And he protested mightily about the shots, but got through it OK. I told him later he'd been brave, and he corrected me and said "no I wasn't!"
(Four shots takes a mom wrapped like a pretzel around an upset 5-yr old, and 2 nurses with 2 jabs each. 1-2-3 GO!)
He also had his eyes and hearing tested and came through fine in both, which is sort of amazing because I stood back and watched as he questioned the (very nice, very patient) nurse about the equipment throughout the exam. I'm amazed he was able to focus long enough to pay attention to the test part. On the plus side, he could now probably run an audiology exam.
Then we went to Target, where he picked out Lugnut to take home. I told him he'd earned him.
After Target he helped me mail something at the post office, where he exhibited the BEST behavior while standing in line. He is normally a busy, wiggly boy who hates to sit or stand still. His teacher said he's one of 2 or 3 kids in class who have trouble sitting still through circle time, and she often thinks he isn't paying attention to the lesson. But then she'll quiz him and he'll parrot it back, so he's obviously absorbing it.
I told her he'd explained secondary colors to us the other night, and she rolled her eyes and said "see! I was telling them about that earlier this week!" Then she said "I have learned a LOT from Otto this year!" And I immediately wanted to knit her a scarf, buy her a box of chocolates, and give her the week off, because that's the nicest way possible to tell you your child is a bit of a challenge. She and her co-teacher have been wonderful this year with him -- he's improved leaps and bounds in confidence, and academically is doing just fine. Best of all, he's happy. We've come a long way over the past year.
Five is fabulous, I must say. Life is full of amazing things to wonder at, ask about, and imagine!
I stopped briefly in the little resale shop downtown today -- it's the kind of resale shop that will convert you quickly to shopping resale, if you're not already a fan. As usual, there were several gems!
They had a set of heavy, well-built chairs this week - four for $150 - and the almost-modern, sort-of-mid-century design would fit into lots of homes:
I imagine them painted like this:
Much better than boring brown! I wonder if I could get the local body shop to paint them for me? They already think I'm nuts for having library book drops painted purple, so it's not like I have anything to lose by asking.
In the craft section they had a number of big embroidery hoops, and I can see them framing fun, bright fabric and hanging on the wall as art:
Would be cute, wouldn't it? I like this example at The Purl Bee, where they call them swatch portraits.
It's a textile-type project that I might actually be able to finish these days (sigh). I wonder how these would look in the bedroom over the bed? Might be a nice alternative to a traditional headboard. Oh look! Someone tried it and it looks beautiful!
Of course I browsed the book section. They had some really cute board books for $ .50/each, and I picked one up for Bel that features farm animals. She loves making cows moo, horses neigh, etc. For Otto I snagged a gen-u-ine Hank the Cowdog audio book:
Most nights he likes to listen to a story as he drifts off to sleep. He has full control over our old Sony boombox, which sits on the bookshelf at the end of his bed, and he loves (loves!) choosing a CD or cassette to pop in. In the morning he'll often listen to a music CD, and on weekends he and Annabel sometimes have dance parties on his bed.
Which is evidently much more comfortable now with his cozy new duvet. Bel went into his room this morning and climbed into bed with him, it was so snuggly in there. They are very funny together.
Otto's 5-yr checkup is Thursday! And Annabel will be getting ear tubes next Wednesday, thanks to a cancellation at the ENT's office. Onward and upward, I suppose.
Visited the Henry Ford for Engines Exposed, where
On the way home we stopped at Ikea. Annabel was sleeping, so Jon stayed in the car to read while Otto and I ran in for a few things. We briefly hit the kitchen department (I'm looking for a bargain-priced over the range microwave), but spent most of our time in the kid area and bedding area getting duvets and covers for the kids. Annabel is almost ready to go from crib to toddler bed, we think - though we'll wait until after she gets her ears done to try it. Hooray for Ikea, who makes toddler sized duvets and covers. And I've been meaning for a couple of months to get Otto a nice duvet of his own.
He and I were standing in the duvet section, where they group the comforters by warmth level. I asked him if he got hot at night when he was sleeping or if he got cold. "Cold," he answered instantly. OK then... we grabbed a warm rated duvet while I tried not to feel guilty about him shivering in his bed at night. Makes him tough, right? And it's not my fault if he kicks all his covers off, is it?
Then it was back to Jon and Annabel in the car, and on home for laundry, pizza, football, and kids playing. Lovely, lovely weekend. Makes me hopeful for a lovely week ahead.
Looking through my sister-in-law's photos last night, I came across this one from a past Thanksgiving in Iowa:
And there was Jake, smiling at me. I can tell he was either "talking" (Husky howling to get attention), about to bark, or up to some other mischief. With Gracie there, he was feeling lively and playful. With Herb there, he was anticipating trail walks in the woods. He loved visiting.
We've talked a little about getting another dog, but we're not ready yet. Plus, with our awful commutes and schedules, having a new pup would be hard on him/her and us.
When we adopted Jake from the humane society in Madison he was about a year old. He'd been out running the streets and needed quite a bit of work and socialization after we brought him home. Most of his therapy involved moving: long walks with Jon in the morning and me in the afternoon, weekly trips to the dog park for flat-out runs and playing, car rides around town, visits to dog-friendly places and events. An exercised Husky is a happy husky, and Jake was happy. He slowly learned to trust us and to follow (some) orders. We learned how to communicate, which is how I know what he was thinking here - the set of his ears, his open mouth, the way his tail is flat out and ready to wag, tell me he's feeling playful and wants something. Probably a walk. "Rarf!" = grab the leash!
We don't have time right now to devote to a new family member, and it wouldn't be fair to get a new dog unless we did. So we'll wait a bit longer, until the kids are a little older and we're less stressed for time.
It's not the same around here without him though, not by a long shot. I'm missing that energy, that enthusiasm for life and unconditional love that's the specialty of great family dogs everywhere.
Thanks, Meredith, for a great snapshot!
Annabel's scheduled to get ear tubes on Mar. 3, and I'm calling tomorrow to see if we can move that up any earlier.
Here are 3 reasons why:
They're all antibiotics for ear infections, and they have all caused rashes in my lovely daughter in the last 6 months. Being concerned about this trend, our careful pediatrician sent us to see an allergist to find out what's going on.
The allergist (a nice guy who was unfazed by my wild-acting children in the exam room) took a careful and comprehensive family history. I gave him my own list of do-not-takes, and he looked at me and said, "so... what do you take?"
Heh. Heh heh. Hah hah hah!
Based on family history and the history of Bel's reactions to each drug, we decided that yes, she may have a true allergy to those 3, and no, it's not a great idea to keep giving her meds for recurring ear infections. In fact, we started her on Nasonex to try and keep her nose from backing up into her ears and starting infections between now and Mar. 3. Or an earlier date, if I can arrange it.
After that, after she's healthy and flu season is over and her system is clear of infection, we're going back to the allergist with a prescription for amoxicillin (augmentin's younger, cuter cousin) to do an oral test to see if she's really allergic. The docs keep telling me her rashes aren't a "true" allergic reaction, but no one wants to prescribe those antibiotics again, so we're kind of stuck. It'll be good to have the allergist's recommendations.
It'll also be good to have the tubes done. Otto's got him through 2 winters and healed fine on their own, so we have a good track record so far. Fingers crossed we'll have another good experience. I'm still kind of on the fence about the greatness of ear tubes, but... I'm not a hysterical mom. I don't take Bel to the doctor unless she's got stuff coming out her eyes, can't sleep lying down, or has a fever. The allergist looked in her ears the other day and said "um, yeah, I can see why they're recommending tubes. Fluid and... stuff. Yep, those are some bad ears." Poor kid.
So, we'll fix the ears first. Then we'll figure out the antibiotic situation. One battle at a time.
Last year we spent New Year's with our friends in Indiana, torturing the kids by making them line up on the couch for a photo.
This year we tortured them by making them line up in front of the wall for a photo. Oh, and we made Liam hold someone new on his lap.
Take it from me - he's the perfect way to end the decade. What a sweetheart! Jon spent a lot of time holding him over the weekend. I think he misses the portability and snuggleability of a 6-month old.
During our visit this year we got to go to an indoor play place called Monkey Joe's, where the kids exhausted themselves on enormous inflatable slides and climbers. Otto kept grabbing Annabel's hand and saying "c'mon Annabel!" and hauling her onto the tallest, most difficult, most challenging ones. There were only a couple of them that she couldn't get through at all. There were another two or three that she made it through with Otto's help. She grinned the whole time, even while zooming down the biggest slides.
Fearless is her middle name.
Otto had such a great time that when we left he asked, "can we move to Indiana?"
I know exactly how he feels. So fun!
I should be baking a 2nd batch of cupcakes right now.
The supplies for the build-a-bot table are organized, I just need to print the robot coloring sheet, make sure I have a CD with some robotic music (for robot freeze dancing of course), and make some frosting.
Tomorrow we celebrate Otto's birthday at school. Sunday we'll probably celebrate here at home just the 4 of us, unless our neighbors are at loose ends. Then I'll see if Brendan and Reese want to come over to play and have some cake.
FIVE YEARS! I just can't believe it.
We had a great holiday -- a quiet and cozy Christmas at home, and a fun and busy weekend in Indiana with the Farr/Barry gang for New Year's. My mom packed up and left Michigan, so after 4 months of having grandma almost next door, we're back to flying solo. We miss her, but she's so happy to be home that it's OK.
This week we were supposed to be getting back to normal (or what passes for normal at our house), but Bel came down with a stomach bug going around at school and I've spent the last 2 days with a little cling-on shadowing my every move. And I've been doing laundry. LOTS and LOTS of laundry. Toddlers don't tell you when they're going to spew, and they don't run to the bathroom. Nope, they don't. And I think that's all I need to say about that, except for one little piece of advice: when the kid seems to feel better and asks for milk, DON'T GIVE HER ANY. You'll regret it. I know I did.
Fingers crossed that I don't get it now myself. I can't afford any more days off -- I'll be working Saturday now as it is, and should probably work Sunday too, but it's Otto's birthday and I want to hang out with him instead. Too bad work doesn't "get sick" and slow down when you do.
Oh, and it's finally snowing. Our reprieve from the big snow is over... it took Jon 3 hours to get home tonight. If I have made any resolutions this year, it's that we have to look at where we are, where we want to be, and what we can do to fix things. We've done pretty well so far with the commuting, but it's tough, and it's not going to get easier when Otto starts school next fall.
So - cupcakes. The vanilla ones are done. Now for the chocolate!