T Rex Family

T Rex Family

Monday, January 31, 2011

A Party Fitting a Princess...

When I was born, my mom was quite ill. She endured an extra lengthy, high risk pregnancy to get me into this world. And when I finally arrived, I think I left her worn, ill, and tired. At the time, my sister was living at home and attending college. She stepped in and became like a second mother for me.

For my early years we were quite inseparable. She used to take me everywhere with her - even on a few dates with her now husband of thirty years. We are still close. Her own handsome son is almost a teenager. I know she always wanted a son, but I also know she always wanted a baby girl of her own, too - probably remembering our early days together.

When she said she wanted to throw Bebe Sister a birthday party, I thought, "Great. I don't have the bandwidth with everything going on so this will be wonderful." Of course, I seem to always forget that my sister could have made a career out of organizing parties. I know she might have gone a bit over-board but since I'm the one blessed with the baby girl, I am happy to share.

So here you have it, photos galore of our family party for our sweet little princess. Many of the photos lack faces. I apologize for that but many of the people attending the party prefer to not have facial photos online.

This is me just prior to the gathering - I was trying to be artsy be taking a self-portrait in the balloon's reflection. (By the way, take a good look at that sweater - it accidentally went through the wash so it will be up-cycled into some pants for Bebe Sister very soon.)
Bebe Sister and her Cousin Dede - he was entertaining her so the rest of us could enjoy some lunch. He is the best big cousin - really great with both the kids, actually.

Party games - once again, T Rex Dad won the chop stick game. He is undefeated three times and counting. He is challenging his sister and his sister-in-law here.

My mom and aunt working on another party game - word scramble. Gotta love Auntie in a crown!
Even T Rex insisted on wearing a crown.
Cake time - my sister made the entire cake from scratch - it was delicious. Apparently, it took three attempts to meet her satisfaction level.
Ready to have her cake and eat it too - pinata to the left - a long standing family tradition.
Clapping along to Cousin's singing.
Mmm - delicious cake made even better when eaten off a princess figurine.
More of that great cake because I was just having the best time with it!
A few posed shots...
With Auntie JAZ.
With her Mama.
With her Nana.
T Rex Dad took most of these photos, hence his absence in them. And he also took her official one year old photos this day, too. Those will be forthcoming and published on her blog soon.

Thank you to my sis for making this event amazingly special, memorable, non-stressful and the best one year old birthday party I've ever attended.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Walking Update...

I am declaring the official walking date for Bebe Sister to be Tuesday, January 19th, 2010. When I arrived home from a very long but still very interesting day at the woman's clinic (you can probably deduce what I did all day!), Bebe Sister saw me, crawled out of her Nana's arms, and holding onto one of her brothers Cars took seven steps to me. 

Since I stated the walking definition as more than 4 steps, I would say this qualifies. Since then, she is now standing up on her own from the floor and taking several steps. It's still quite different than when her brother started walking. He just stood up one day, started walking, and then never stopped.

However, she may not have walked really early but she's quite the chatter box. The other day I was on the phone and she kept insisting she wanted the phone - pointing and saying, "Dis...Dat" (this...that). When I finished my call I handed her the phone and asked, "Do you have Mommy's phone?" She replied, "Yessssss....Mama". I looked at her and exclaimed, "What did you say?" After which T Rex replied, "She said, 'Yes, Mama'". I could not stop laughing after that! If you'd like to read more about her speech and her one year check up, you can go here.

So, here's a recent walking video of Little Sister...

Our winner of the homemade item is Nina. She guessed the exact date for walking!

Monday, January 24, 2011

This is how...

So, ever wonder how I get my studying done these days?

Last year when Bebe Sister was just a tiny bug, this was how I studied. It was delightful. But now that she's walking (more on that as soon as I get a video uploaded) and for the most part no longer an infant but rather a toddler, I have to be a bit more creative.

I set up bins of toys in a line in the living room. Then I sit with my laptop on the couch so that I can look directly over my laptop and see what they are doing. Bebe Sister is at that stage where she kind of needs to be watched constantly because she can turn anything into a choking hazard. T Rex is actually getting much easier and he can go into the playroom for 15 minutes and I can be fairly certain he has not climbed out the window or built a bomb or set something on fire - I'm sure this is all forthcoming. 

However, as you can see, it leaves quite the wake of devastation. That's alright, when these photos were taken I was actually mid-lecture. And sometimes the kids take interest in my lectures and want to come listen or watch - that's actually pretty cute. 


The best piece of advice anyone every gave me as a new parent - be flexible. This is one example of me being flexible. 

What was the best piece of parenting advice any one ever gave you?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Life is Good...Wait and See

Both kids have their very first ear infections. 

We took the wait and see approach with T Rex meaning no antibiotics. This was appropriate because of his age and that he was asymptomatic. However, when he developed a fever and ear pain a week later this tells us the infection has not cleared on its own. 

Bebe Sister was also diagnosed with an ear infection earlier this week. Temperature of 103 with accompanying chills. All this at the tail end of the cold/virus. Clearly indicating bacteria took advantage of the situation. After 24 hours of antibiotics she was feeling 100% better. Hence, the bacteria must be sensitive to the amoxicillin she took. Therefore, when T Rex manifested symptoms this morning, we opted to start the same antibiotics obviously with different strengths.

I liked the "wait and see" approach with the ear infection. It keeps the use of antiobiotics down. Antibiotics account for more adverse drug reactions than any other drug - blood thinners and heart medications included. Additionally, one in six ER/urgent care visits are due to adverse reactions from antibiotics - usually allergy related. Plus, at least half of ear infections are viral and therefore antiobiotics will not be useful.

The "wait and see" approach is not appropriate for everyone - babies under 6 months should always be treated. If there is pain or the infection is severe - treatment should be initiated. Really, the wait and see approach is for otherwise healthy children with uncomplicated otitis media (middle ear infection).

Despite 8 straight weeks of illness and utilizing the health care system way too much lately, life is still good. Especially when I see how much love these kids have for each other.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, To Our Little Lady...

Happy Birthday to our:

Bebe Sister
Little Lady

It's not that you're the easiest baby EVER
Or that you rarely cry or freely give snuggles. 
It's not that you're the petite baby girl we always wanted
Or that you're cute in your home made clothes
It's not that your brother absolutely adores you
Or that you're a girlly girl who loves dolls and playing tea
But can still drive Cars with Big Brother like any little brother could or tough as nails.

It's not that your entrance into this world was perfectly timed.
Or that you're still very feminine even when wearing Brother's hand-me-downs.
It's not that you wave like a princess and have the cutest baby feet
Or that you eat anything and everything (especially Mom's home-cooked chili and spaghetti).
It's not that you look so cute in your cloth diapers when not sitting on the potty
Or that your smile can melt hearts and part seas.
It's not that you snuggle into the nook, suck your thumb, and wake up in our family bed...

But it's your sweet gentle spirit that has filled so many places in our hearts. Which explains the many names we've bestowed upon you. We did not know how much you would add to our lives. We love you so much. It's been an amazing and unforgettable first year of your life!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

A Great Excuse...And Any Day Now...

When I was completing my undergraduate studies, I always had a professor or two that would specifically state in the syllabus that everyone had to show up for the final exam - no exceptions unless you were experiencing child birth at the exact time of the exam. I always thought how wonderful it would be to get to use that excuse.

Last year at this time, we had a sushi date followed by a dinner gathering planned at our home. It was all scheduled with the caveat that I could go into labor at any time and we might have to cancel. My due date was still almost a week off and since I went 2+ weeks over with T Rex, I felt fine planning such gatherings. Additionally, the school semester had already started so no matter what, the timing of the baby's birth would impact my school. At least I thought it would. (Seriously, what was I thinking? I was more worried about the impact on my school and not that I was about to experience child birth. Priorities...?)

Well...the night before our sushi lunch I emailed my friend and told her I was having some contractions and I thought I should cancel lunch. She was fine with that having only recently given birth herself. I think she was a bit nervous I'd have the baby during lunch! And since she's a nurse and her husband and surgeon, they'd be the likely health care providers assisting! We opted to cancel and reschedule. (We still have yet to have that lunch date! We're hopeful, though.)

Well, as you can read here our baby was indeed born that weekend. And having been so preoccupied with weirdly prioritised thoughts, I had completely forgotten it was also a three day weekend. In the end, I did not miss a single moment of school. However, I did get to use my really awesome excuse for canceling our gatherings - child birth! But alas, not for any school related activities - which I'm glad.

Reflecting on this makes me remember those feelings of anticipation. The feeling of "this could happen any time now - how exciting!" Lately we've been experiencing this with our little girl. She is on the verge of walking and every day we think "this could be the day" and then it's not. But I just know she's going to surprise us when the timing is exactly right. In the mean time, it's kind of cool to relive that "any day now" feeling. 

(Yes, I made her shirt/pants - another completed project.)
(Stay tuned  - we had her family gathering for her birthday today so lots of wonderful photos of the event coming.)

So, anyone care to place bets on when she'll start walking. Walking being defined as more than 4 unaided steps? (Homemade prize to first person who guesses the correct date.)

Monday, January 10, 2011


We went to a birthday party several weeks ago. I just found these photos from our fun time. Here are a few of my favorites...

The license plate on this cozy coupe says "Princess". Interesting that she gravitated to this exact one.

T Rex in the pirate ship bounce house with a long time friend.

T Rex exiting the pirate ship to be greeted by his Bebe Sister.

A the top of the slide - that's T Rex catching some serious air.

It was a fun time. I think we'll be visiting there again soon. Especially now that we're all on the mend.

Do you have a favorite place or activity when you need to burn some toddler or toddler-like energy off?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cloth Diapering...Yes and No

About a month ago my neighbor called me. Her voice was frantic on the other end of the phone. "I desperately need to talk to you. I need some cloth diapering advise." She had switched her two year old daughter to cloth because she was having such severe diaper rash. She's expecting a baby in the next couple months so she was not ready to pursue potty training for fear of regression. Hence, she opted for cloth. Since the switch, her daughter is significantly improved. And we've worked out her very simple diapering issues. 

I had not even spoken to her about cloth diapering except she once saw me change Bebe Sister and she wanted to see the diapers I use because they look different. Cloth diapering is just part of our lives. And a very happy part. But I cannot help but wonder if there are other folks out there that see cloth diapering as some strange often scary practice. I will also say, cloth is not for everyone and it is certainly not my intent to alienate some of my dearest followers by writing this. We are all parents and in this experience together. 

However, I cannot help but feel the need to share some of our experiences in case there are others out there like my dear neighbor who might be overwhelmed or even confused.

1. Cloth is less expensive. Yes AND No. It really depends on the type of disposables and cloth. If we were to purchase disposables (which we have not in about 10 months), we would purchase chlorine-free. These cost at the very least $0.25/diaper. If we continued that for 2 1/2 years (the average length for kids in disposable diapers) that's about $1875 spent in diapers. There are complete cloth diapering systems starting at $100 and can go all the way to about $500. These would work for the duration of the child's diapering days which would likely be less than 2 1/2 years since cloth kids usually potty train sooner. However, we've invested in what I consider some fancier diapers so our start up expenses have been closer to $750. There are some added expenses with laundry soap and energy/sewage consumption but I consider these minor. If we went really fancy with the diapers, we would probably hit the $1875 mark but initially our intent with cloth diapering was to save money. And indeed we have. If on the chance we decide we want to add a third child to our family, we already have plenty of diapers and start up costs would be zero. 

2. There is more laundry with cloth diapering. Yes AND No. I do on average 2-3 loads of diapers/week. However, in the past 10 months, I've only had to change Bebe Sister's clothes or the bed sheets due to diaper leaks or blow outs about 4 times TOTAL. I don't know anyone else who can say that! So, that saves on some laundry related to diapering issues. Secondly, I already do 6-8 loads of laundry  per week (not including diapers) so I have to say adding the simple laundering of diapers to the regimen, hardly noticeable.

3. You have to touch more poop with cloth. Yes AND No. Babies are messy - period. Diaper changes are no different. I don't care what kind of diaper you use, eventually you'll get poop on your hands. My hands do sometimes get dirty when dumping the poop into the toilet. However, if you look at a disposable diaper package, it actually says you're to be dumping solids into the toilet before disposing of the diapers. Not many folks know that. Technically, solid human waste is not supposed to be disposed of in the trash. Regardless, I'd say, it's equally messy no matter what diaper choice. We don't, however, have a stinky trash can or diaper pail. That is very nice.

4. Cloth diapered babies get more rashes than those in disposables. Yes AND No. With cloth, our daughter has had 1 bout of diaper rash. With disposables, she would get regular rashes. This is not to say that cloth cannot bring rashes, too. It can, especially if the diapers are not changed frequently enough or if they are not washed properly. But for us - our son who wore disposables had chronic diaper rash. Applying cream was part of the diapering routine. With our daughter in cloth - we haven't purchased cream since she was born and only used the cream we had on hand a couple of times. 

5. Cloth diapering is difficult and complicated. Yes AND No. It can be as simple or as complicated as you want it to be. There are all-in-one diapers that are just like disposables except they go in the wash rather the trash. There are also more complicated diapering systems with a menagerie of inserts, soakers, and fabric options. There are also several different types of fastener options - snaps, velcro, pins, or snappies. We have tried all these options and have a couple different set ups. My mom watches the kids when I have school. Her arthritic hands cannot work snaps so we use velcro (also called hook/loop closure). She also gravitates to the "girly" colors and prints, too (a good excuse to have those one hand)! I like to use "fitted" flannel diapers with a wool soaker when we're at home and pocket diapers for nights and outings. T Rex Dad is good with any and all options.

For us, going cloth has been one of the best things we could have done for our daughter. I only wish I had known about it sooner. So this is me telling you so you don't miss out like I did. 

Plus, it is a good excuse to post some cute photos of the kids getting into the diaper laundry - a very favorite activity.

Bebe Sister clutching a prefold. You can see one of the flannel fitted diapers on the far left - a gift from blog follower mitchsmom.

Bebe Sister catching some air while she and big brother T Rex toss the laundry. She's wearing a bib from blog follower JKMommy.

Was any of the information presented here interesting or surprising to you? Do you or anyone you know use cloth diapers with their kids? Has this impacted your thinking on the matter?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Resolutions 2011

Here are our goals for 2011:
 T Rex Mom:
1. Finish the projects I start. I have sewing projects that are cut and waiting to be sewn, books that have been started but never completed. Poor T Rex Dad asked me to alter some pants 4 months ago and I finally finished them this weekend. Thus, any project I start must be finished before the end of the year. Guess, it's a good thing I'm starting a big quilting project in January!

2. Health maintenance. This sounds like one of my diagnoses but it's a good description of what I am aiming for. That is to continue healthy eating and drinking habits (I tend to not get enough fluids in the day), regular workouts with emphasis in cardio (I was blessed with my dad's very slow heart rate so getting my heart rate into the 120s is actually really tough), taking my vitamins (ugh - not my favorite thing to do), and do all my annual physical and wellness appointments. 

3. Add a few more meals to my cooking repertoire. I get in the habit of cooking about the same 5 things and every week it's the same thing.

4. Stay in touch with the friends who want to be in touch. Last year's resolution was to regularly connect with my friends for a lunch or outing. But then I felt more like a stalker than a friend because I was always asking them if they wanted to meet for sushi or take the kids to the park. Alas, my fire has gone out. Maybe I'm tired from school or the kids or both, but I didn't think it cultivated any better of friendships. So, my policy this year is I'll do my best to stay in touch and extend offers to get together. However, if those offers are not accepted or calls/emails are not returned, then I'm not going to feel hurt or disappointed (like I was in 2010). These days, folks are just really busy with their own lives. I need to accept that as a fact of life.

5. Be more patient, especially with the kids, especially with T Rex. I think this is just a standing resolution. And I think from where I was at this point last year, I did really good in 2010. I want to continue this trend. I think this will actually get easier since he is getting easier - listening more and spazing out less (yes, if you've ever had a toddler you know what I mean). I think it will be the little T Rex Princess who will try my patience in 2011. So far she doesn't get into trouble because she's so tiny and cute but soon she will have to learn that pushing her brother and tearing his glasses from his face is not acceptable behavior.

T Rex Dad
1. Get and stay organized. Also called GASO. This is a long standing goal for our household. It doesn't sound like much but it's probably tougher than all our other goals combined.

T Rex
1. Try new foods. As charming as it is to see him regularly refuse sweets it is not so charming to see him also turn away healthy foods. He's down to about 5 meals that he will happily eat making me a short order cook. SpongeBob Mac'nCheese is getting a little old. But I admit, it's pretty tasty. So, once a day a new food will be placed on his plate. If he eats it, he earns a surprise. We'll see how it goes.
2. Keep growing.
3. Take vitamin drops and allergy meds every day.
4. Brush teeth 2-3 times/day.

T Rex Princess
1. Drink her milk. She's still regularly nursing. While she was sick with this recent illness she refused nursing for 5 days straight. I thought we were done but I just kept pumping and giving her milk via cereal. She was refusing all foods so I was forcefeeding her. Not so much fun but if not, we were headed for the hospital. Then she magically started drinking again and with more interest than I've seen in several months. 
2. Keep growing. She lost a little bit of weight with this recent bout of illness so that might explain her new found interest in nursing. She, unlike her brother, will eat just about anything you put on her tray so I think the weight will be made up in no time.
3. Take daily multivitamin.

Have you made your resolutions for the new year yet? How likely are they to come to pass?