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Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Capturing Calvin: 2 Months

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My littlest C is now two months old!  Here's what the handsome fella has been up to this past month:

At his 2 month check up the doctor still thinks he has more allergies.  The way he has terrible eczema all over his face, arms and legs she says it's probably something I'm still eating since I exclusively nurse.  I was pretty bummed, and had truly been hoping to only have to cut out dairy.  I want healthy kids, damnit! She told me that I know best having done it before and to decide what to cut out myself.  Here we go on another hunt!  The only direction she gave me was to start with Carter's biggest triggers too.  I haven't done anything yet, because just that same week I had tried dairy again.  I had gone without it for a little over a month and since we had seen some improvement (better temperament--but still fussy sometimes, and better spitting up and burping--but still some) I wanted to make sure he hadn't just grown out of it and that I was avoiding dairy for no reason.  So, I'm not sure if his skin freaking out is due to the dairy or something else because I hear it can take a few weeks to leave your system.  I'm PRAYING it's just the dairy.  His face has cleared up, so I'm hoping his legs and arms do too soon.  If his face is like Carter's...it's the first place to react.  I had to avoid eggs, whole grains and soy when I was nursing Carter, so those will probably be the things I cut out next if I have to.  Until then, I'll be on a soy sauce binge.  Ug...

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Also at his checkup his stats were: 11.16 lbs (29th percentile--up from the 9th percentile at his last appointment), 21.75 inches (7th percentile, and I don't think she measured well, because that would mean he's only gained 1.25 inches and by the way his clothes fit I'm doubting it), and his noggin is 15.5 inches--yeah, almost as big as he is tall (65th percentile).  In typical St. Germain fashion he's an orange on a toothpick like his dad and brother were.

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Carter was also gaining good weight at this point, but Calvin has really shot up.  He weighed a pound less than Carter and weighed even MORE at his 2 month check up (Carter was at 10 pounds something ounces at his 2 month).  He's my rolly polly (as much as I'll probably ever get) and it's SOOOOOOO relieving to have a kid that seems to gain weight easily.  I'm clinging to this fact, and hoping this is a sign he doesn't have EOE.  I'm praying this continues because all of Carter's weight issues just about gave me a heart attack!  Calvin's a great eater, and thankfully is starting to go about every 3 hours between needing to eat, except for when he decides to just cluster feed here and there randomly.

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Just like clockwork, he has horrific cradle cap like Carter did at this age.  Guess it comes with the beautiful hair everyone raves about.

At first he did not like his play mat--didn't take to it like Carter did.  So, we put it away for awhile since our living room is so small.  We brought it back out yesterday and boy was he cooing at it and batting at the toys that hang down.

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At first he loved to sleep on his tummy, but he's doing it less and less.  It seems that only works if he's pretty much passed out.  If he's slightly awake he takes it as a challenge to do tummy time and practices lifting his head until he's crying.  So, most of the time I put him a bit raised, and on his side.  Speaking of his head and neck--he's had that mastered for quite sometime and can really hold it up for long periods.  

His spitting up is A TON better since cutting out dairy in volume and frequency.  He doesn't act bothered by it now (versus crying/upset when he had to spit up), and I'd say it's a normal amount here and there.  Thank goodness!

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He's mostly a happy baby--he's very smiley now and I'd say even more vocal than Carter was.  He's very into cooing at you and likes to have a full on "conversation" back and forth.  But, he doesn't stay happy if he's set down too much, or when he doesn't want to be.  He will start to do what we call "angry breathing" for a little while and then from there it's loud wails!  Our poor neighbors.  Also, he likes to be held upright with his chest at your shoulders so that he can look out over your back.  He's particular and likes to be held while you're standing, even if you don't change your position from sitting down.  Odd, huh?  You would think it wouldn't make a difference.  Since he doesn't like to be set down much we wrap him to us (yes even Claudy has started wearing him in the moby wrap!  Funniest and cutest sight ever!) He'll now sit in his swing, but only for a few minutes.  I sure wish he'd like it, because he likes to be upright, and that's one of the only safe places for him to be upright if we're not holding him!

He's still sleeping in his bassinet next to our bed, but he frequently lucks out and I fall asleep nursing him in our bed.  He loves to snuggle in the laying down nursing position and fall asleep after eating.  Spoiled!  Carter never got to sleep in our bed. I'm becoming so lax!  He doesn't seem to really get in a night time/sleeping mode until around 11pm--from there, he's great at going down after every feeding.  I don't have to rock, or even burp him.  I can nurse him and promptly put him back down and he goes right to sleep with no help.  That is a huge blessing!  Now, if we could ONLY get him to not need to eat so much.  He still eats around 4-6 times a night (and that's counting from 11pm-8am).

His day time sleeping is starting to find it's rhythm though.  He's only awake for a bit in the morning and then takes a good, long nap.  From there, it's the typical eat, play, sleep the rest of the day, with the awake periods being pretty short.  In the evenings he has a hard time being able to go to sleep and can get pretty grumpy because you can tell he needs to, but he can't seem to fall asleep no matter ours and his efforts--often for hours.  And, I know babies aren't meant to be up that long and boy can you tell!  Ug.  And this always coincides with Carter's bedtime, or when I need to freelance, or clean up dinner...etc.  I'd die if Claudy wasn't home in the evenings.

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He seems to like to watch Carter.  Carter even lulled him to sleep one time because Carter was jumping on the opposite end of the couch where Calvin was laying down.  I was about to get after Carter for jumping so close to the baby and then realized it was totally putting Calvin to sleep!  Carter hasn't given us any problems with Calvin in forever.  He either ignores him, or is giving him kisses--and those two extremes are fine by me.  Carter likes to give Calvin goodnight kisses each night after family prayer.  MELT MY HEART!  I had Carter hold him on the couch for a minute while I went to fill up his sippy.  He's not great at holding his head up and was over it after a few seconds.

As is normal, he doesn't have great control over his arms and they can keep him up at night if he's not swaddled.  It's kinda funny because he just sits and rubs and rubs his face, but seems upset that he can't make it stop.  Thank goodness he's OK being swaddled with his arms down (the first while he wasn't) so he sleeps swaddled most of the time, unless he's on his tummy.

He had his first real bath (I get paranoid about slippery babies so we sponge bathed him forever).  It's just in the same, little plastic, blue, bath Carter had.  He LOVED it.  He used to scream with the sponge bath and instantly when I set him in you could see in his eyes he was like "this is AWESOME".  We call it the baby hot tub.

After Calvin's immunizations we took him to church for the first time last Sunday.  We got lots of "he looks like his brother".  I was proud to show him off!

Whenever we post pictures to Facebook we get lots of comments on how they look alike.  I think Calvin is a chubbier, darker version of Carter.  However, he seems to be lightening up with all of the skin that's been falling off with the eczema.  Here's a comparison of Carter (right) and Calvin's 2 months.

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And, here's a comparison of Calvin at 2 months (left) and Carter at 3 months.  I think they look more alike here, because of Calvin's chubbiness matches more with Carter at an older age.

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Calvin has also been super active (I LOVE having a summer baby!).  He's gone to a water park for the first time (7 peaks), gone to a parade (Provo's 4th of July parade), gone hiking and fishing.  Of course, he's slept through most of them--but still!  So much better than being inside all day, every day during the winter.

I already can't imagine our family without this sometimes grumpy gus, wide smiled, snuggly little boy.  Happy two months, Calvin!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Health Matters: What's Been Working For Us

With Carter's health being miles away from where it was last summer I wanted to compile what we've been doing, so that I don't forget.  I'm not going to say that one of these is a "cure all" or that even the combo has brought about all of the improvements we've seen, but I certainly think they, and a lot of prayer, have helped immensely.  And, it's not just us seeing a placebo affect because Carter's EOE is in remission (a 100% clean scope) and all of his doctors and dietitian feel he looks and is checking out SOOO much better (we have lots of blood work and measurements to prove it).  Hopefully it can also help someone else.  I try to hide my craziness, and like to think I'm not too granola...but I'm gonna let it all out in this post.  Let's still be friends afterwards, even if you've seen my hidden hippie side, OK?

The most beneficial thing has been figuring out his allergic triggers.  I could go into the difference between IgE mediated allergies (those that can kill you--and go into anaphylaxis/you need an epi-pen prescription for) and IgG (those that cause delayed reactions like eczema, diarrhea, gas, bloating...etc.) but I won't and will allow you the opportunity to learn and research about it.  We found out Carter's allergic triggers by doing prick and patch testing with a board certified allergist.  But, even then there are false positives and negatives.  So, the only true way is trial and error.  The best way is to cut it out of your diet for several weeks, then re-introduce it.  If you feel OK, and notice no symptoms then your body is OK with it.  Often, people go so long with symptoms (I'm just gassy, I've always had eczema...etc.) that they're used to feeling crappy.  If you can bare cutting it out and notice how much better you feel I think it's worth it!  This was the hardest, longest step.  It is like searching for a needle in a haystack--I mean keeping a food journal and going through some super mundane meals while we slowly added foods back into his diet.  UG.  I still shudder when I think of how many meals of black beans and plain chicken this poor kid had to eat.  BUT, I will say I'm soooo glad we did it when he was small and didn't care that his meals were often different from ours.  Some of Carter's biggest triggers were random things like spinach, peas, turkey...not your typical nuts and sea food.  But, it was truly worth it to see him pooping regular, his skin eczema up, have a clean scope, have an appetite (because it didn't hurt his esophagus to eat), see him stop vomiting, see him stop having rashes, and to see him gain weight.  Talk to me if you have questions.

Along with cutting things out, we got a Blendtec blender and Carter has a smoothie just about every day.  I put fresh (sometimes canned if we run out) fruits and veggies in it.  He drinks anywhere from 2-4 cups worth.  I used to look for recipes, but now I just throw anything in and he'll drink it.  I can tell some days are better than others, and sometimes I have to bribe him (no more rice milk until you finish your smoothie) but it certainly helps me feel better when he passes on the fruits and vegetables at meal time.  I smile when I know he's drinking a sweet potato, squash, or broccoli covered up in strawberries or peaches.  Mu-hahaha!  Sneaky mommy.

I make homemade organic chicken broth.  Not sure if it truly posses all of the magical powers a lot purport it to (like this article), but even if it has a few it's worth it to me.  Plus, it's a WHOLE lot cheaper than store-bought...which according to rumor is made with the meat and not the bones, which is the beneficial portion.  Here's how I make mine:  I buy organic chicken thighs.  I boil it until the meat is cooked.  I pull the meat off and have Carter eat it.  I then put the fat and bones in a large stock pot. (The same one I cooked the chicken in, same water and all).  I then fill it up to the top with water.  I add a carrot, a large chunk of onion, a large handful of dried garlic, a good dash or rosemary and salt.  Really scientific, I know.  I cook that on low for at least 4-8 hours.  I then strain it and freeze it.  It's wonderful.  I don't know if it's just my recipes, but probably 70% of my recipes call for chicken stock and I just use this.  I also cook all of Carter's quinoa with it for flavor and the added benefits.  One could also throw in some celery to the stock broth, but Carter is allergic.

Easily enough, we found a multi-vitamin that Carter loves and will take every day--just to make sure that we're closing any gaps that he may have with his limited diet, and because like all toddlers, he is a picky eater.

I also read some studies that show that many people with allergies have low vitamin D.  We've had Carter's blood tested, and the allergist said it wasn't low, but it wasn't great.  We wanted a natural source, and found that cod liver oil has 116% of your daily needs in just one teaspoon.  We give him a teaspoon every night.  They have lemon, orange or unflavored--thank goodness!  I've really noticed a difference since we started doing that.  I'm not saying Vitamin D will cure allergies, since correlation does not equal causation, but it seems to help and I doubt it would hurt.  For example, last summer Carter had horrible eczema and seasonal allergies--the kid was on zyrtec ALL THE TIME.  We've been giving him daily vitamin D (even if he's spent all day outside) and his seasonal allergies and eczema is all but gone this summer.  There's only been a few days were he's needed zyrtec, and his skin is beautiful!

We also give Carter a daily probiotic.  I am probably feeding into the marketing of it--but I pay a hefty price for the Klaire Labs infant formula because it is free of the top allergens.  (Many probiotics come from dairy cultures which he cannot have.)  I mix 1/4 teaspoon into applesauce for him each night.  I really believe that it helps with gut health, which in turn helps with overall immune health.  Thankfully, this has been researched and isn't just "natural" health practice anymore.  His pediatrician told me to put him on one, and I even have little Calvin on the same one.  There's multiple studies out there that show the benefits, if you're curious.

I also try to cook from scratch and cook with whole foods as much as possible.  I make dinner every single night, and really the only place we've ever found that works for his food allergies is Chik-Fil-A which we let him have here and there.  Otherwise, it's at home every single night which can get tiring, but if giving my kid great nourishment isn't a part of parenting, then I don't know what is.  While it can be a pain sometimes, I only need to do it for 18 years, and it helps all of us be healthy too.  Plus, now I'm in the habit, so it's not so bad.  I was at my lowest weight ever since high school (before I got pregnant and without ever exercising) so I know it did us all some good.

We also ADORE coconut oil and have used many brands we've liked.  Again, it may be hype, but we have yet to see anything bad come from it either.  We were having a hard time finding a toothpaste that didn't have things Carter couldn't have with his 35+ allergies.  I didn't feel good about him accidentally swallowing chemicals, even from a children's toothpaste.  I read you could brush your teeth with it, so that's what we've done.  Praying all of his teeth won't fall out someday...Anyways, we do a huge, heaping lump on top.  He eats it off the toothbrush first and then we brush.  It's great for additional calories each day too.  Be sure to read up on coconut oil benefits, it's super interesting.  We also use coconut oil for his hair--it's the best gel for his mixed race curls.  We can just put that on, and it sets the curls perfectly, better than gel.  We also use it for general lotion, for him and us.  It's the best makeup remover for my mascara.  And, it's the best butter substitute for cooking and baking and wayyy healthier!

When Carter has still had outbursts of eczema (last summer) we knew we needed a good cream to attack it with.  I found out that a lady near us makes a homemade cream Teva Neta Diaper Rash Ointment, and I was all about that.  I love knowing that I'm supporting a local business.  I also know and trust her, so if she says it's "100% natural and 100% fair trade.  No parabens, sulfates, mineral oil, phthalates, chemical preservatives. Just pure, effective ingredients from nature."  Then I know that's the case.  Even though it was a diaper cream, she said it worked fabulous on eczema.  I tried it and have loved it.  Because it has beeswax in it, a tiny bit goes a super long way.  It's great at being a nice, thick barrier to help his skin stay moisturized while it's trying to heal--because if we're pulling this stuff out it's usually when an eczema spot has gotten out of control.  Often the skin is broken, so we need it to be sealed.  I feel so much better putting this on than a steroid cream.  I've also loved it for diaper rash as well.  Whenever Carter starts to get itchy he asks for his "cream".  

When there isn't a bad patch that needs extra love from the Teva Neta cream, we were recommended CeraVe from our allergist, and that works well too as his after-bath lotion.  We just barely pat him dry, so that there is still moisture on his skin and then trap it in with this thick cream.  

I also use a dye-free, fragrance-free laundry soap (pretty common).  I so miss yummy smelling laundry, but feel good not having added chemicals.  Just about any dermatologist/allergist will tell you to do this if you suffer from eczema.  We also don't use dryer sheets.  That was new to me, but I guess the dermatology clinic said not to, as the chemicals can melt onto your clothes and irritate sensitive skin.  

We also have Carter sleep with a humidifer every single night because it is such a freakin' dessert here.  I think that helps restore moisture to the air, especially since he sleeps 12 hours--that's a lot of time!  I think that has also helped his skin.

I hope this doesn't gross anyone out--but we also only bathe him once a week (unless he's been in a chlorine pool).  I find it allows his skin to make it's own moisture.  I'm sure we'll have to start bathing him more once he starts becoming a stinky boy--but for now it's working.  

And, last but not least, we sacrificed a virgin.  That seemed to really appease the Gods, and probably brought about the best results.  Just kidding!

This all being said, we've definitely had to use swallowed steroids a few times (twice for his asthma, and once to heal the cysts in his esophagus--a result from EOE), and topical steroids here and there.  But, I like to use those as a last resort and feel that all of the above measures keep us from having to use them as much as we used to.  I'm grateful for the wonderful combination of natural and modern medicine--I couldn't go without either, and am glad I don't have to chose!

This may seem like a lot, but it's so second nature that I rarely think of any of it.  It's worth it to see this little man be happy!

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If you have any natural remedies that have worked for you--let me know!

*FYI--None of the above products were sponsors, except for a free sample I received from Teva Neta*

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Glamorous Freelance Writer's Life

I love being able to write from home.  It keeps my resume current,  allows my writing to stay sharp, gives me experience, adds much needed income, and allows me to think about things other than sippies and slides which is a welcome exercise for my brain.

However, working from home is hard!

It's much easier to be in the office, sitting comfortably in my office chair in the peace and quiet.  

It's funny because I used to think that a freelance writer's life seemed glamorous and exciting.  I guess it could be if you didn't have two kids under three.  Here's a peak at my "glamorous" freelance life from just yesterday:

Write.

Chase naked toddler trying to convince him to wear underwear.

Sit down and try to focus, write a little more.

Nurse the baby.

Try to remember what you were writing about, write another paragraph.

Clean up pee from your almost-potty-trained-toddler.

Write another paragraph.

Wrap screaming baby to your body, hoping you can reach around him to write, and pray that he'll sleep once he's cocooned to you.

Munch on a few of your toddler's fruit snacks while writing another paragraph.

Make lunch for your toddler.

Write another paragraph.

Turn on TV for toddler, and feel a bit guilty about it--but realize it's better that you're doing it than a babysitter.

Proof-read whatever it is you've cranked out and pray while you hit "send".

Meanwhile, you're still in your bathrobe, without makeup and it's now 3 p.m....almost time to start dinner.  There's no heels, coordinated and ironed outfits, adult talk, business lunches, and socializing with your fellow employees.  Just the work part.

It's a juggling act for sure, but one that I'm very grateful for because of all the good reasons I mentioned at the beginning!  If any of you know of other writing opportunities, I'd be happy to throw another ball in the air.

I sure hope my boys appreciate the sacrifices I make for them to provide, but still be as reachable and present as I can be.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Roasting Marshmallows for the 1st Time

When I think back to last summer, and how very few foods Carter could eat it still gives me the shivers.  I am beyond thrilled that we've made so much progress and that this summer we have many yummy foods we can enjoy as a family.  

One food that I was exceptionally thrilled for was marshmallows.  Not only are they yummy plain, and can go in a lot of desserts, but they can be ROASTED.  Nothing says summer like roasting marshmallows.

I thought this would be a fun family-home-evening activity.  I was excited all day and had glorious dreams of us in the canyon, among nature, roasting marshmallows over a roaring fire.

Unfortunately, we weren't sure where some fire pits were in Provo Canyon.  While driving up the canyon, we called Provo Info and they said every park had one.  I think the guy we talked to confused bbqs and fire pits.  We pulled off to the first one and couldn't find one.  We walked for awhile, and finally due to the heat, decided to just do it on a bbq.  We had forgotten to bring newspaper, and Claudy couldn't get a fire going.  We had also packed/lugged around camping chairs, only to realize that there were picnic tables.  We brought things we didn't need, and didn't bring things we did.

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We finally called it quits because Carter was just running around and Calvin was crying.  Sigh.  

We got home, and Claudy was sweet enough to stay outside.  When I came out, he had pulled our small bbq to the grass, and he circled our chairs around it.  We roasted marshmallows in our own front yard, and we probably should have done that in the first place (Claudy did suggest it, but I was set on the canyon).  

Carter insisted that "Carter do it".  Unfortunately, his way or roasting marshmallows is rubbing it all over the grills.  Our grill was covered in melted marshmallows, but I finally talked him into letting me do it and we had a yummy marshmallow.  I don't think he enjoyed it as much as I did--but I'm sure he'll come around as he has with anything sugary that I've shown him.

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Yay for memories, and for watching Carter try things for the first time!  It's so fun to think of new things to show Carter.

I'm grateful for FHE and the fact that it gives me an excuse to do fun things with my family!

Potty Training

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We debated potty training Carter before Calvin came, but we had heard that some kids regress when a younger sibling comes, and I didn't want to chance having to do it twice.  Plus, when I was super pregnant, I didn't have much energy for anything extra, and didn't want to be bending over with my belly to clean up pee.

Another hurdle was that Carter wouldn't go on the potty--which is kind of crucial to potty training.  He'd use his potty as a regular chair, or use it as a stepping stool, but if we tried to sit him on it with his pants down he'd freak out.

Thankfully, while my mom was here she got Carter to go a few times on it.  I figured if she'd done it three times before that she'd be a pro...and she was!  I knew she had started the momentum and I had to just keep it going.  The Friday after she left I got serious!  I decided to go with the 3-day method that's the rage among all the moms.  I wanted to do it on the weekend when Claudy would be home the most, so I could have an extra pair of eyes to watch him and look for his clues before he had accidents.

I really liked the 3-day method!  We armed ourselves with a bunch of new undies (Cars of course) and planned to not go anywhere for three days.  It was a boring weekend, but worth it!  He only had to have it trickle down his leg a bit to realize "Ought oh!  I'd better do something about this!"  So, he never even had full on accidents.  I was terrified for naps, but he did great.  We didn't dare do bedtime like she suggests.  We'd put a nighttime diaper on and then his underwear over it, hoping to reinforce he had to "keep his underwear dry". And it worked!  He'd go his whole 12 hour bedtime without wetting his diaper.  We did this for about two weeks, until we were brave enough to cut it out.  We've now been keeping him in underwear 24/7.  He'll sometimes wake up around like 3am and call out that he needs to go potty.  It's a bit annoying, but glad that he recognizes he can't go in his crib. He's had a few accidents, but it's usually because we don't get to him in time.

Sometimes I do wish we had done it before Calvin came.  It's hard to pull down underwear on a wiggly, dancing toddler when you have an infant in your arms, but we've done it!  We're definitely over the hump (even though he went pee in nursery last week...)  I still get nervous when we're in public, or far away from home, but we'll get there!  I just have to carry a change of underwear and clothes in the diaper bag for Carter AND Calvin.  My diaper bag is GINORMOUS in between that and Carter's medications.

He still has accidents here and there.  We'll have a few great days, and then a bad one.  It gets my hopes up and then I'm up to my elbows in wet underwear.  It's so random!  I know it's clicked because he can go for so long without an accident.  It seems to be especially hard for him to remember if we're playing outside.  Thankfully, his accidents inside are just going a bit before he realizes he needs to go to the potty.  Most of the time we can be pretty hands off.  I don't have to remind me anymore and he'll just run in and do his thing.

Every once in awhile when I'm doing wash for the upteenth time that's just full of his wet underwear I think potty training is over-rated.

But, when I'm not having to change a diaper, or especially pay for diapers I'm glad he's (mostly) potty trained.

I was quite scared to try it, but it really hasn't been that bad.  I'm so glad it caught on with him and that he was willing to do what needed to be done!  And, for once, I'm SUPER grateful we're renting so he's not ruining our carpet.  

It's official, I'm definitely growing a small human.  He now knows how to eat and go to the bathroom.  He's basically ready to contribute to society!  Plus, him in his whitey tighties in the cutest thing ever.  Just that sight alone has made it worth it.

Thirsty??

I am thrilled that I have boys.  I always wanted boys.  There's only a few times that I question my preference.  One of those times is diaper changing.  Boys can sure spray ya!  Diaper changing is always a question of whether or not you'll be hit or not.

Thankfully, Calvin's only gotten me once (so far...).  He's also only gotten Claudy once.  But, I have to say that Claudy got the worst!

When Calvin was just a few weeks old, I was changing him in the middle of the night.  We only have a small light in our room, coming from Carter's video monitor.  Therefore, it's hard for me to see exactly what's going on.  I had Calvin laid down on our bed (because he sleeps in our room) and got to work.  I didn't see that the missile was about to launch, and it wasn't until he was spraying me that I noticed he was peeing!  I hurried to cover him, but I knew he had gotten our bed and myself wet.  Thinking Claudy was sleeping I thought, "Crap, I'm going to have to clean up quietly".  

But, just a split second later Claudy exclaims, "WHAT WAS THAT!!?"

I'm like, "Oh, sorry, Calvin peed."  Thinking that he wondered why I had jumped.

I cleaned everything up, and just when I was laying down again I hear Claudy laughing hard.  I ask him what's going on and he said that he had been sleeping with his mouth open, and Calvin's pee stream had gone directly into his mouth!

Talk about a hole in one!  Calvin totally got the bull's eye on that!  Claudy said he thought I was pouring water in his mouth as a joke at first.  He said he felt like he was drowning until he came to.  What a startling way to be woken up! When I told him what it was he was upset.  I guess after a few minutes of being totally disgusted he started laughing realizing how funny it was.  

What are the odds? 

We'll have to never let Claudy live down that he's tasted pee, and we'll have to tease Calvin that he peed in his dad's mouth when he gets older.

Oh, the joys of parenthood!  Just glad I got to watch and not have it happen to me.  We chuckled a long time until we finally passed out from exhaustion.  

Alanis Morissette Had it Right

Life is ironic, isn't it?

I feel like so many things that I tried to avoid, that I worked hard to not have to go through have snuck up and bit me in the butt, regardless of all my preparation.

I feel like such an ass sometimes, because the very thing that I judged people for I am now going through.  I reasoned I would never experience it, because I was smart enough to chose a different route. Well, it looks like some roads take detours, and some roads have the same dead ends as others, even if they start out differently.

I'm coming up on a year anniversary of crap hitting the fan, and things becoming a whole lot more difficult.  I've clawed my way to happiness, and most days found it.  It's surprising how you can still find so many happy, positive moments amidst an overarching trial.

It's still not over.  I don't know when or how it will be over.  But, I know this.  I know I have to continue to be happy.  I've found that being grateful daily takes much of the sting and negativity away.  I still struggle with hope and not knowing the future.  But, I dream of a blog post where I will someday say the happy ending to the story and I'll be glad for the growth that happened along the way.