Monday, February 27, 2012

He's got great lungs

This will be short. Cheese Puff is getting used to this being in the outside world. He LOVES to be held. I love to hold him. But sometimes my arms would like to do other things, like write about how cute and sweet he is, and how sweet his brothers are being. Or how nice people are being to us. But, instead I will post some of his first pictures.
Proud Daddy with brand new baby Cheese Puff. He was still screaming.

See? He did not like leaving his warm cocoon for the super-cold and dry world.
Mommy and her body might have been ready, but Baby was not.

He had calmed down considerably by the time I got to hold him. But the screaming was kind of funny... at least we thought so.

We're not doing well with me putting him down. He doesn't want to be put down, and for the most part, I don't want to put him down. Luckily, we've had others here who are more than happy to hold him. Still, we (Cheese Puff and I) have to get better about him napping somewhere other than arms.

I keep saying I'll do a better job when I don't hurt so much. But I know that's a bad excuse.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

He's here!

Introducing Baby Cheese Puff! He came a little early -- 6 on Wednesday morning. He weighs 8 pounds, 3 ounces and is 20 inches long.

He's also beautiful. At this point, we think he looks more like Baby Plum than Little Elvis, although some family members see more of Little Elvis in him.

One thing he hasn't shared so far? Jaundice. I'm really hoping that he won't have any issues like both of his older brothers did.

This delivery/labor was by far the worst. I had fairly painful contractions on and off for 2 or 3 days before they finally settled into a routine late Tuesday night. Some were so painful, they made me cry.

We decided to head back to the hospital at 4 Wednesday morning. I called my dad and he came to stay with the boys while Bob and I headed to the hospital.

Once there, they plugged me in and checked. I was dilated and was having contractions. The admitting nurse confirmed that I was indeed in labor and we'd be having Baby Cheese Puff that morning.

They didn't call in my doctor, and we had issues before finally getting up to the operating room. I was bawling at one point, and was so embarrassed about that.

Despite that torture, Baby Cheese Puff made a very noisy entry at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, February 22nd. He was not happy to be leaving his warm, toasty place for the cold, harsh operating room. He screamed and screamed. They took him to a little room to weigh him and clean him off and we could hear him screaming through the glass. It was funny. Baby Plum was the same way. Little Elvis was quieter during his delivery.

Everyone in the delivery room kept telling us how beautiful and big he was. I guess it's because the "babies" we are around are 5 and 2 1/2, we thought Cheese Puff was a beautiful, tiny boy.

He's snuggly, sweet and seems to enjoy cuddling. We all love cuddling him.

We adore our sweet new addition. He's the perfect addition to our wild (and noisy) family.

More pictures and details later.

Review of "The Rules of Inheritance"

It's book review time again! I know the timing of this one is crazy, but it was an enjoyable read. I think there must be so many of us applying, and I'm always thrilled to get a chance to review.

BlogHer Book Club Reviewer

Not many people can, or need to write a memoir in their early 30s. How much experience and knowledge do you have by then?

Claire Bidwell Smith has a lot. In the span of a few months when she was 14-years-old, she found out that both of her parents had cancer. She writes about her experiences in "The Rules of Inheritance."

The memoir covers the experiences and feelings she goes through in the aftermath of this discovery.

Both of Smith's parents are older, and she is basically an only child -- her dad had three adult children from another marriage when she was born.

Smith writes about realizing that by the time she was 30, she wouldn't have either parent. In fact, she lost both by age 25. She does an amazing job conveying the loneliness she felt.

This memoir is not written in chronological order. Instead, it's laid out with the five stages of grief.

"The Rules of Inheritance," while extremely well-written, was difficult to read at times. I was bawling about three pages in. The death of a parent isn't something that I want to even consider or think about. I'm so lucky that not only do I have both of my parents, but all four of my grandparents are also living -- most in reasonable health.

Even though I've never dealt with the level of grief and loss that Smith has, I still identified with her on so many levels. Possibly because we are very close in age, and came of age in the late 90s. More likely it's because she's a truly great writer, who laid everything out for this book. She holds no punches, especially when it comes to herself.

One of the most heart-wrenching moments came when she was in the Philippines shortly after her father's death. She's decided to do a deep-sea dive with sharks, and can't go through with it. She realizes once she's above water that she was really doing something so dangerous in hopes of connecting with her mother, who died six years earlier. This moment is when she really accepted that her mother wasn't there, or coming back.

Smith also writes about being thankful that her mother went first, because that gave her time to really get to know her father as a person. While he had always been loving during her childhood, her mother got more of her focus and attention.

This book is very well-written and engrossing. There were times when I didn't want to put it down. There were also times when I wanted to hug the young girl who had lost so much.

I recommend this book, but probably not when you're 8-9 months pregnant. I will say that reading about what Smith went through made me feel silly for the petty things I complain about on a daily basis.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

Monday, February 20, 2012


Last night, I really thought we'd have a new family member by now. I was having pretty intense contractions about 6 minutes apart from 2-4 in the morning.

Once I called the doctor on call, they all but stopped.

We decided to go in at 6 anyway, since Bob was literally working all day and both of my parents were out of town. If something happened, I'd rather not be stranded at home with Baby Plum, scared to drive.

They monitored me, and let me out around 9 I think. The contractions, while painful, weren't close enough. Plus, my doctor was off for the day.

My dad had taken Little Elvis to the cabin for President's Day, but they headed back once we called them. They were home shortly after we left the hospital. Bob went to work a little late.

I spent the day trying to time the contractions, but they have been all over the place. Ten minutes to 25 minutes. No rhyme or reason, although if both boys were being super-wild, that did seem to cause a contraction.

These are super-painful. I'm even more ready now, even though the timing would be more difficult for everyone.

My next appointment is Wednesday morning. I know it's only 3 days until the doctor-selected due date, but these contractions are no fun.

Plus, they seem to be making Little Elvis way more wild than usual. I'm glad tomorrow is a school day.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Raise the roof

So, I realize that I am biased. But Little Elvis and Baby Plum are both so adorable. Seriously, they are.

This post will be about Baby Plum, and some of his truly adorable antics of late.

He's starting to talk a little more. He does lots of really cute animal impressions -- his roar for lions, tigers and bears is so cute, and I've taught him to rub his finger over his mouth to do the fish sound.

He says on, off, up, down, open (kind of), close, thank you (kind of), mama and dada, love, night night, ba ba for banana, and dat. He sometimes says Elmo. The thing about sweet Baby Plum is that he'd much rather show you what he wants than tell you.

He has two other new favorite words that he's been using a lot lately. "Yay!" and "Whee!" If I tell him we're going to Gram's, he'll say "Yay!" and sometimes he'll follow that up by raising the roof. Here he is raising the roof. We didn't catch them up in the air here, but he usually has his hands over his head.

He says "Whee!" whenever he's doing anything fun. Today, he climbed over the arm of the couch in an attempt to get Slappy. As he stumbled onto the couch, he yelled, "Whee!!!"

Baby Plum LOVES dancing to music. I've taught him the few dances I "know." He can roll, spin, chicken dance, raise the roof and air guitar. He will clap to the beat and try any dance move that you show him. He loves it so much!

We brought the iPod to Little Elvis' birthday party and had the boys' playlist going for most of the party. Baby Plum was so enthralled. It was the closest he'd ever been to the iPod, and he had the best time -- he almost broke the speaker thing, because he just had to touch it.

His favorite songs are "The Chicken Dance," "The Hand Jive," and "Intergalactic."

Baby Plum also adores ketchup! I'm fairly certain Little Elvis has never tried the red stuff -- he preferred mustard as a toddler. But Baby Plum could eat ketchup with a spoon. He thinks of fries as more of a utensil to eat ketchup than as the best food ever.

Speaking of utensils, Baby Plum loves them! He loves to pull out bowls and spoons or forks to eat anything. Orange slices? He tries spoons. Goldfish? Maybe a fork. He even pulls out the butter knives. This is odd for us, because we have to make Little Elvis use utensils.

Baby Plum also loves to help out around the house. He enjoys helping me with chores, and if Bob has pulled out any tools, then Baby Plum tries to get his sweet little hands on them and help. If we won't let him have the real hammer, he'll run and find his toy hammer to bang on the wall.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Meeting Elmo

Baby Plum LOVES Elmo. This is funny, since he doesn't watch Sesame Street. I've tried a couple of times, and I've tried just putting on the Elmo segment at the end of the show, but he doesn't care for it.

Still, he loves the furry red monster. We have some Elmo books and he has several Elmo shirts, which he LOVES. (He also loves his Cookie Monster shirt, possibly because he loves one of our Cookie Monster books.)

Anyway, Elmo came to our mall for Valentine's Day, and we took the boys to meet him. When we first found him, I thought they had just put a costume on a bench. But it did move... some.

Baby Plum was thrilled, and ran right up to him. This is unusual behavior for him. He's suspicious of any tall strangers.

Possibly, Elmo's lack of movement helped our shy Baby Plum.
He even hugged the huge Elmo, without encouragement from his brother.
Both were fairly excited, although Baby Plum was much more into Elmo.
He couldn't stop petting him. I guess to make sure he was real.

Times like this make me feel guilty. Little Elvis is SO into Buzz right now, but we aren't going to be heading to Disney World anytime soon. By the time we finally make it, so Little Elvis could meet a lifesize Buzz, he will be over it I'm sure. We get Christmas cards every year showing little boys posing with Buzz, and Little Elvis makes it clear that he wants to go to Disney World and meet Buzz. I told him that I enter every Disney World contest I find. Maybe the mall will invite Buzz to come for St. Paddy's Day. I think I should suggest that to them...

Thursday, February 16, 2012


I dressed the boys similarly for church the other Sunday. One of my friends has sons that are older. She gave us some cute dressy clothes that fit Little Elvis very well. And some of them kind of match his old hand-me-downs that Baby Plum rocks.

With the chance to sort of dress them alike, I had to take it. We are always super-rushed on Sundays, so I snapped this picture in the nursery right before Little Elvis and I headed to big church.

Baby Plum's holding his UPS truck. I'm not sure which car Little Elvis is holding, but they had to bring semi-matching toys as well. They are cute like that.

On Valentine's Day, Wal-Mart finally had some boys' sneakers on clearance. Both boys have been in dire need of tennis shoes. Little Elvis has flat worn his out, and Baby Plum has the sweatiest feet, and we've had to throw some away because they got so stinky. He has to go at least a day between wearing shoes, so they have time to dry out. No lie.

I got them matching velcro sneakers, and both were so excited! Me too, because I don't have to tie shoes right now. Poor things usually get hand-me-downs, or bought at the consignment sale shoes, so I understand their excitement. Yay for all of us. Both seemed to really enjoy showing off their new shoes yesterday.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Ready for Cheese Puff

My main commitments before Cheese Puff arrives are done. Little Elvis had his birthday party and will definitely not have to share his birthday. The workshop series I was leading ended last night. It was family night and I didn't realize how loud that many kids would be. Thankfully, we were all parents, so they understood. I also didn't bring enough forks. I told Little Elvis that he didn't like to use untensils anyway, which suited him just fine.

Now that that's all done, I'm ready to no longer be pregnant. I hurt, I'm huge, and none of my long shirts really cover my big ol' belly. I have a knit dress thing that I may try to wear as a shirt tomorrow, although it will probably be pretty snug.

On Monday, when I took Baby Plum to speech, I told him that he couldn't look at the aquarium for long, because I'm sick of the comments that the elderly lady and her buddy make at my belly. He was fine with it, preferring to play with the train table in the back more anyway. On Friday they tsked me, and it upset me. I know I'm pregnant. It's not something that ever slips my mind. I don't need old ladies acting like I'm the size of 3 houses. Even if I were that size, I wouldn't need to be reminded.

On Sunday, some woman that I've talked to maybe once told me she'd been hoping I was going to have a girl. Really, woman that I don't talk to? You spend time thinking about my family and pregnancy and hoping that we don't have another boy? I somehow doubt that. I'm sure you didn't think about my pregnancy until you saw me that morning, and possibly you remembered that I had 2 boys.

All of the boys in Little Elvis' class were curious about my huge belly on Friday. One wouldn't stop hitting me, and asking how babies were made and delivered. I told him that the doctor put up a curtain and I had no idea how the baby would be delivered. I was so happy when the teacher pulled his fist away from my stomach.

Baby Plum sometimes hits at my stomach, and other times he'll kiss at it. He definitely knows something is up, and has been more clingy to me this past week.

Little Elvis has taken to grunting when he bends down to pick something up for me. That's all my modeling. I can't bend down or stand up with some sort of "ooof."

And I can't hold either boy in my lap comfortably. Needless to say, I'm ready.

I told Bob last night that I was planning to push furniture around, but he has something he wants to do on Thursday night, so I guess I'll wait until then to start pushing around furniture. Plus, we haven't put the car seat base in the car, and I need to set the bassinet up. I've also got to scrub the fridge and the chair that holds Baby Plum's high chair -- it's a mess.

I've had a few contractions, but usually just 2 or 3 at night. That's not bad. And none today, so far.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

The big day!

This year, we had Little Elvis' birthday party at a local fire house. It's a nice service that our town does for free. You just have to call and reserve.

Little Elvis had been so smoke detector and fire extinguisher crazy for weeks, that we thought it was a good option. He was also adamant that he didn't want his party at our house. None of the other parties he goes to are held at homes, so his party shouldn't be at home either. What if he's laughed at? Next year, I plan to go back to having it at our house if at all possible. They were always a hit. But I understand his need to be like others. I don't LIKE it, but I understand it.

Anyway, since the party location was outsourced, it was much easier to plan. I didn't have to clean or plan entertainment. The firemen and their firetrucks did that. Yay! All I had to do was bake a cake, send out invitations and get some balloons. And there was a time limit -- even better.

But before the big party on Saturday, we made cupcakes for his class on Friday. This was a sore spot for Little Elvis. He wanted to give out the cupcakes on his actual birthday, but since that was a Saturday, it couldn't happen.

By the time Friday rolled around, he was ok having the school party on Friday. He was excited about the cupcakes, and Mommy having lunch with him. But he was most excited about Baby Plum coming and then getting to leave before naptime.

Here are the smoke detector cupcakes. I'm not sure anyone who wasn't Little Elvis knew what these were, but he liked them. Bob drew the circles.
Here we are at lunch. Little Elvis is sitting between his two best buddies. Little Elvis' best friend has the same name. I think that was the start of their friendship. It's sweet. They used to play Transformers together, but now it's Power Rangers.

The little boys in the class adore Baby Plum. They won't leave him alone. Whenever we are there, all you hear is, "Plum! Plum! Come here Plum!" And that's just from the boys. Some are a little more aggressive, and they just get moreso with each trip. I love that Little Elvis and his friends love his brother, but I hate when they try to "tickle" Baby Plum's cheeks. This time, Baby Plum clung to me a whole lot more. Poor baby, can't say I blame him.

But the school party went well.

Little Elvis didn't want to sleep on Friday night, and woke up at 4 on Saturday morning ready to open all of his presents. But he went back to sleep fairly easily and waited until 7 to open his presents from us.

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to the fire station with our firetruck cake in tow. It was a Family Fun magazine design and it turned out pretty well.
The icing was a whole lot more pink than red, but Little Elvis didn't complain.

One of his buddies LOVED the gumdrops and ate them right off the cake! Four of the six kids invited came to the party and we had the right amount of cake, which was nice. We only took home the piece that Little Elvis didn't eat.

Poor baby, I said to someone that he wasn't a "sweet person," meaning that he really prefers salty snacks to sweet ones. He overheard, and said that he was indeed sweet. I had to try to explain to him that I meant he didn't really like sweets all that much, but that he was indeed a very sweet little boy.
The firemen were a big hit. They dressed up in their fire gear. Showed us around the firehouse, and went down the firepole.
They also let the kids play in the firetruck.
I love this shot of Little Elvis. I have no idea what he's studying, but it's cute.
Here's a shot of most of the guests. See poor Baby Plum? I know he's thinking, "Stop petting me!" But at least his cheeks weren't being "tickled."
We invited 6 little boys this year -- one more than usual. Two were kids of our friends, and the other 4 were from Little Elvis' class. None of the ones in his class RSVP'd, so I was a little worried. But 4 little boys showed up -- our friends' kids and 2 school buddies. And one of our friends brought their daughter as well (whom Little Elvis proposed to last fall.) So, he had five friends at his birthday party, which was just right.

He had a great time, and did a great job at the party. No fits were pitched and he obeyed pretty well. He just had fun running around with his friends. We were so proud of our 5-year-old.

Monday, February 13, 2012

He's 5!

Little Elvis turned the big 5 on Saturday. I know I should have written this post earlier, but we had a rough week going into the big day. But then, he was great on Friday and Saturday, which was such a relief.

Baby Plum dragged the spaceship all the way through the house and back to his bedroom the other day. I couldn't get a great shot of both boys at the same time, but I love this one of Little Elvis.

He's getting so big. He doesn't look little anymore, and his hair is pretty much light brown at this point. It might lighten up in the summer, but then Little Elvis is very good about wearing hats, so it might not.

He's a lot like his Daddy. Long legs, pretty slim, big brown eyes and very, very outgoing. (Bob will swear he's not, but trust me, he is.) He's also extremely smart like his Daddy. Little Elvis has been reading for about a year now. We're not sure if it's true reading, or if he's got an astounding number of memorized words in his little head. People will look at me like I had anything to do with it. I didn't. When I try to help him sound things out, he gets frustrated with me. But he does a good job for his teacher. And he loves her so much. He's reading some 1st grade level books, while the rest of the class is mainly pre-K. But his teacher doesn't make a big deal about it, which I love. The other kids probably don't even notice that he's reading more... although, knowing our little attention hound, that might not be true, either.
Bob did a great job getting this "jump" shot. Little Elvis also has a good bit of his Mommy in him. He's been into movie production company's for a while. When I was younger, the production company intro to a movie was one of my favorite parts. Oddly, my favorite, was HBO's from the 80s or early 90s -- the music, the lights. I loved it.

Little Elvis likes Pixar and Disney, obviously. But he also knows about Amblin Entertainment, 20th Century Fox, Tri-Star, Universal, Columbia, etc. He'll gladly tell you which production company makes which movie, if he's even only seen a commercial. He's not a fan of 20th Century Fox, and says when he makes a movie, it will be for 50th Century Fox. He also made up the name of his own production company last night, and I've forgotten what he said. (He didn't, trust me.)

And he also loves to watch his favorite movies over and over again, but he'll cover his ears and hide when it gets to uncomfortable scenes. He doesn't like when Doc and Lightning have the confrontation over/discovery of the 3 Piston Cup wins. Doc scolds Lightning, and it makes Little Elvis uncomfortable. I am this way. I can watch "The Office" reruns, but when Michael Scott starts to do something really stupid/zany/bad, then I'll have to go to the bathroom or divert my attention. I'm pretty sure I've never done this in front of Little Elvis, or that I discussed production studios with him before he showed an interest.

He's already developed several movie ideas for Pixar/50th Century Fox. His current screenplay is titled, "Agent Explode!" and it's about a superhero named Super America. Pixar would have to work on this movie, because Super America's sidekicks are the characters from Toy Story. They like to thwart bad guys who try to steal everything from a Mommy, Daddy and Baby.

And then there are his constant jokes and made up words. He's saying cootie now for everything, because we got tired of the constant booty references. He calls everything some sort of cootie, and then asks us if it's funny. Sometimes, he uses so many made up words that I have no clue what I'm supposed to think is funny.

For the most part, Little Elvis also really loves his partner in crime - Baby Plum. I think Little Elvis (our chatterbox) would prefer it if Baby Plum would talk to him more, but they play together very well. They love to destroy our bed while listening to the iPod. Little Elvis chatters constantly, and occasionally asks Baby Plum's opinion. Baby Plum usually says, "Unh-unh." Bob thinks that Little Elvis will be some sort of entertainer and Baby Plum will be the critic. He's proving to be a very tough audience.

Oh, how we love the creative spirit of Little Elvis. The smartness and creativeness are tied in with a huge dose of perfectionism -- which is hard on all of us -- and a bit of a high strung nature. Our lefty doesn't like writing or drawing very much -- they don't come as easily as reading. Some days he will shock us, and color for about 3-5 minutes. Then, he's done for weeks. We've been told we have to work on his fine motor skills, though. So, writing is one of our biggest battles.

We are so, so lucky to have this sweet, friendly, outspoken little guy in our lives.

One more story -- Most people think Baby Plum is a girl. Just like they did with Little Elvis. Baby Plum is usually dressed in blue or green, but he has those pretty blond curls. A woman at Sam's the other day (most of our stories come from Sam's, don't they?) offered the boys some cheese. Well, she offered the boy and girl some cheese. Little Elvis snapped, "He's not a girl, he's a boy!" The woman didn't hear, and I was trying to get away before she did. Little Elvis wouldn't stop, though. He was defending his brother's honor. He just kept on, "He's not a girl! She called him a girl, but he's not!" The woman finally heard, and apologized. She said that Baby Plum was just so pretty that he could be a girl. I was a little embarrassed, (I tried to get him to stop) but understood. I want to say the same thing everytime someone calls my baby boy a girl.

Monday, February 06, 2012

The microwave has been discovered

Baby Plum and Little Elvis couldn't be more different. Little Elvis, while he loves to make a mess, doesn't really mess with things in the kitchen. He prefers to strew toys and pillows everywhere.

Baby Plum loves the kitchen. Loves it! My shower time is his happy, fun, raid the kitchen time. It's always something different. One day he took all of the silverware out of the drawer and took it to the playroom. He usually takes the melamine stacking bowls out and lays them in different formations. If I've left a box of cereal in his reach, he'll pour cereal in each bowl.

If I've left the cat gate open, then his real fun begins. The cat's food and litter is also located near our pantry. The cat gate doesn't keep Baby Plum from the cat stuff -- he doesn't care about that. It's the goodies in the pantry that he loves.

Last week, I got out of the shower and the kitchen smelled strongly of honey. I sniffed and searched all over, but couldn't find any sticky surprises. Then, I noticed the microwave blinking. Apparently, Baby Plum took our huge Sam's jug of honey and defrosted it in the microwave. I'm not sure how long he defrosted it, but the bottle is about one-half to one-third it's original size. Somehow, it managed to not melt and spread sticky honey all over the microwave.

I told Baby Plum not to play with the microwave, but it's too strong of a temptation.

Today, I decided to put off my shower until naptime. But I still needed to change out of my pajamas. Baby Plum thought I was taking a shower. I heard the pitter patter of little feet and the beeping of the microwave and ran out telling him NOT to touch the microwave.

So glad I skipped the morning shower, because he had put a box of Jell-o in the microwave for 20 minutes! I stopped it 10 seconds in.

I went ahead and took my shower this evening. I'll just have to grow out the bangs I guess.

The thing is, that although Baby Plum enjoys making huge messes in my absence, he's also more than willing to help me pick up the mess.

No pictures. I should have documented these messes, but it's kind of getting old at this point. A video would be much better, I think.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

He's 60 and he knows it

I heard on the radio the other day that a reality show mom is suing some tabloid for showing video of her young daughter singing and dancing to "I'm Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO.

The day before, on the drive home from school, that song came on the radio. Little Elvis (and I) loved the "Party Rock Anthem" song. This one's not as good, but it's still fun. Both boys bop their heads to it. And I don't change the channel.

That day, when it got to the chorus, Little Elvis started singing, "I'm 60 and I know it!" and I laughed. So, he kept doing it.

Bob kind of laughed when I told him about it. Not because of the content of the song, but because he's a music snob, and LMFAO is definitely not on his playlist. (Although the next time we get a free download, I may get the "Party Rock Anthem" song for Little Elvis. He requests something different every day.)