Tuesday, May 31, 2011

It's That Time Of Year Again...

It's Kidney Day everyone!

No, not World Kidney Day, but a very special day nonetheless.

13 years ago today is the day one of my best friends received his second life saving donor kidney. I first met Padrin in 2003 when we both worked for the same company. He invited me out to celebrate Kidney Day the first year I worked there and I've been inviting him and his kidney out to celebrate ever since. BTW, I named his kidney Squirtle that first year and it kind of stuck.

So wherever you find yourself today, give your kidneys a hug. Take them for a walk, treat them to a cranberry juice, make a donation to the Kidney Foundation or sign up to be an organ donor. And don't be shy! I know you're out there, so take a minute and drop Padrin and Squirtle your good wishes in comments. : )

Happy Birthday little Squirtle – you're officially a teenager now!

- L.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Where The Ability To Share Responsibly Is Directly Proportional To The Covet Factor*

I was trying to take a few pictures of the boys a couple of nights ago. Or whenever the last time we had good enough weather for them to be wearing their new summer-time one-piece outfits. I find I sometimes lose track of entire days around here by the way. Chasing toddlers all day tends to have that effect I suppose.

But I digress...

Aside from the cute summer togs, somehow the rinsing cup for the bath ended up in the nursery and Nate and the cup were soon inseparable:

Which made taking a picture of him a little difficult since he clearly preferred the cup-over-the-face look:

Of course, when you have something so new and easily coveted, it's only a matter of time before your brother notices and absconds with said item:

Shown: Seth reaching into Seth's Library™** with his right hand.
Not shown: The coveted cup in his left hand.

Also shown: The offended party being most offended indeed.

You know, I don't normally take the time to snap pics of my babies crying since I have a tendency to put the camera down when someone is unhappy so I can offer comfort and restore order. But I've had a few people ask if my babies ever cry because no one ever sees them crying. So to all those who were in doubt, this pic is for you.

After order was at last restored in the nursery, Seth put on his best innocent face for this pic: 

I is innocent everyone! 'Dis face look innocent, right?
Or does I need to practice more?
And you know, if I hadn't been on the scene to see what went down, I'd find this look pretty convincing. I have a feeling I'm going to be quite sunk if/when any real trouble goes on around here.

- L.

* Nate and Seth are surprisingly good at sharing given that they are not even 16 months old. But at any given time, there is always one item that is coveted above all others and squabbles ensue. I'm not clear on how items become THE item, since it's seldom something brand new that piques their interest (although in this case it was). Often the coveted item du jour is a toy or book that has been around for awhile. I'm starting to suspect that all the Dibba-Day speak of late is when their strategies for the week get mapped out, including this one.

** I will post about this one of these days. It's totally a nursery landmark and deserves much more than a passing mention here and there.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Double Your Dibba Day, Double Your Fun!

I'm not sure this post requires an explanation beyond the title.

If you'd like to double your fun in a Dibba Day kind of way, then you'd best head on over to our YouTube™ channel post haste.

- L.

Cakey, Chee & Bumba-BEE!

We are awash in a sea of new words over here. I can't believe how much the boys' speech has taken off in the past couple of weeks. Currently, Nate and Seth are averaging one or two new words per day and for the most part are very consistent with each other.

Without further ado, all the words they can both say:

• Banana (sounds like "Nana!")

• Puppy (sounds like "Puppy!")

• Diaper (sounds like "Die-dah!")

• Cracker (sounds like "Cah-caw!")

• Toast (sounds like "Toh!". Also applies to French Toast.)

• More (sounds like "Moh!")

• Kitty-cat (sounds like "Kih-Kah!")

• Blue (sounds like "BOO!" which is not to be confused with the sound a ghost-cow sometimes makes. "BOO!" is said with much more enthusiasm while waving around something that is, in fact, blue.)

• Down (sounds like "Dow!". Goes nicely with "Up!".)

• Pear (sounds like "Pah!")

• Cookie (sounds like "Cakey!")

• Bubbles (sounds like "Buh-boo!")

• Cheese (sounds like "Chee!")

• Grapes (sounds like "Gape!")

• Shoe (sounds like "Shoe!" or "Zhu!", depending on who is saying it)

• Paper (sounds like "Paper!", "Pay-Pah!" or "Poo-Poo" depending on who is saying it and/or the whims of the person saying it at the time)

And some individual words:

Nate also says "Cuddle" which sounds like "Duh-Duh" and is often followed by a cuddle. Very sweet. He will also say "Choo-Choo" if you ask him to say "Train", which is both cute and clever (and makes his Mommy giggle just a little).

And lastly, Seth's Baby B mystery has been solved! He really is trying to say "Bumblebee" and gets very animated when he hears that word via Dr. Suess' ABC's (a la "Barber, baby, bubbles and a bumblebee"). He's been working hard on this one since it now sounds less like "Baby B!" and more like "Bumba-BEE!". The "BEE!" part is said with much enthusiasm in case that wasn't obvious. He also busted out an unmistakeable "Bagetti!" this evening when I served up spaghetti.

For now, "Apple!", "Baby!" and "Up!" continue to be everyone's very favorite words and often are the first thing I hear over the baby monitor in the morning, occasionally coupled with a well-timed "Dibba Day" (or two).

- L.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Just In Case...

Just in case you thought Nate was the one to watch after my last post, rest assured his brother gives me plenty of reasons to fret as well.

Seth sporting the aftermath of his latest boo-boo: 

He didn't quite have his hand on the infamous white box when he decided to rest his weight on it and went down like a ton of bricks. He caught his lip on the way down. It wasn't as much of a bleeder as you might guess looking at these pics, but it left a pretty noticeable purplish bruise in its wake. 

Typical tough guy Seth, full of smiles regardless: 

- L.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Nate's Big Adventure

Yesterday morning Nate and I took a trip to Sick Kids Hospital to have an X-ray taken of his hip joints. This was the first time I've used my Ergo Sport carrier instead of a stroller since we had to take transit to get there. To be honest, wearing a 23 lb. toddler felt a lot like being pregnant all over again – complete with not being able to see my own feet, and coupled with a persistent ache that rapidly formed somewhere in my lower spine. Combined with all the requisite gear I had strapped on my back just getting there definitely qualified as a work-out and then some.

You can see Nate looks pretty thrilled too. 

Nate and Daddy in the Radiology waiting area. I loved the creative paintings on the walls that reflect the nature of the different departments. Every hospital should look like this one.

Nate post-X-ray. Don't worry, it didn't make him grow an extra ear or start melting. My camera setting accidentally found itself on some kind of long exposure setting. 

Even with the top of his head morphing into vapor, you can't miss that sad little face. X-rays are scary when you are too small to know what's going on, even when Mommy and Daddy are right there with you.

Our chariot approaching for the ride home. It was also Nate's first time on a streetcar, and the Touching Finger was out in full force once we were aboard. The window screws were especially fascinating. 

Me and my sweet boy heading home. I'm not sure I'm a fan of the baby carrier overall, but I definitely like the non-stop cuddle factor. 

And lastly, a little souvenir from Nate's big adventure. I let him wear it for the rest of the afternoon. He didn't even seem to mind that someone spelled his name wrong.

•   •   •   •   • 

Mommy note: I last wrote about where things were at with Nate still not sitting unassisted towards the end of this post. Since then I've continued to try to get Nate interested in sitting with either legs out in front or campfire-style. Campfire style was recommended by our pediatrician who clearly doesn't get that a boy who is unwilling or unable to sit isn't going to appreciate the added joys of being turned into a little pretzel. And although I take time to incorporate both styles into our daily activities, I'd just be happy for Nate to sit comfortably unassisted any way he chooses.

At this point, I'm convinced that sitting is causing Nate actual discomfort. It is not a position he will move himself into voluntarily and one that he quickly wriggles out of when placed that way. When moving away isn't an option – sitting in a high-chair at meals for example – he leans back and lists to his left for the most part.

Of course while I was explaining all of this to the pediatrician Nate decided it would be a good time to sit up on the exam table.

On his bum.

With his legs out in front.

As though it was no problem at all.

And even though I know why he was suddenly able to do that – the pedi positioned him that way and then brought out her penlight and stethoscope (very exciting and distracting btw!) – I'm sure I looked like a bit of a loon.

The thing is, I can get Nate to sit briefly too if there is something super distracting going on, but it's pretty difficult creating that level of super-awesome distractibility on a daily basis. And it's impossible to create and sustain a level of distraction for any longer than a few minutes. I know this because we go through this every day.

In the end, Dr. C. wrote a referral for Nate to have a hip X-ray done at Sick Kids. She did (again) note that he has an unusual degree of rotation in his knees and ankles, but I think an equal share of her motivation might have been just to get me out the door. I think she thinks we are just not trying hard enough, and she thinks I don't believe her when she says nothing is wrong.

And she's right about the last part anyway. I don't believe this has anything to do with a lack of motivation, except in the way we all might not be motivated to do something that causes us discomfort.

Whether Nate's hip turns out to be the problem or not I hope at least we are on the road to getting some answers. For what it's worth, I'm a bit dubious about his hip being the problem, but given the extra rotation in that area (as well as many of his other joints) I don't think it's necessarily a bad idea to see what's going on in there for its own sake. The degree of flexibility he has in his ankles, knees, shoulders, elbows, and thumbs is bound to have an effect on Nate at some point since all of these areas will likely be more prone to injury as a result.

I've mentioned before that I do have a concern about Nate's spine. The listing and leaning back while seated are one reason, but the other reason is this photo I took awhile back.

When I look at it, I see this: 

Dr. C is 100% confident that there is nothing wrong with Nate's spine and while I trust her as Nate's pediatrician, I plan to bring this as well as other related photos along to our next appointment. At the very least, maybe she can at least explain to me what I'm seeing.

Either way, it will be interesting to find out what, if anything, the X-ray turns up.

In the meantime, we wait.

- L.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

The Post In Which I Confess I'm A Bad Mommy

I confess it. I'm a bad Mommy.


Oh sure, the boys are doing well. Great even. Learning new skills every day (and lately at an alarming rate).

But still.

Still, there are certain milestones you don't completely forget to mention. Some are pretty big events after all.

Like taking those tentative first steps.

And yet.

And yet I just had to go digging for the post where I tacked on an "Oh, by the way Seth is walking now" note at the end.

Sadly, Nate didn't even get that much. 

This is not good. This is the stuff bad Mommies are made of. This is stinkeroo everyone. 

So let's just clear up a few very important details right now:

Seth took his first steps on April 8th, the day after the great Penaten caper. The jury is still out on whether Penaten might have played a role in this, but Penaten Power or not an event like this deserved its own post.

Nate took his first steps on Easter Sunday. For the record, that was nearly a month ago – and while I'm starting to suspect Nate is a bit of a showman and prefers to save his really big moves for special occasions (and in all fairness to busy Mommies everywhere, including me, things tend to be exponentially busier around special occasions) – still... I found time to make no less than three posts about Easter and Nate didn't even get a note tacked on at the end about said new moves.

This is beyond bad Mommy.

This is sitting rather squarely in SUPER bad Mommy territory at this point.

This is not a good place to be. Not a good place to be at all.


I can only hope the incredibly cute video I've just posted to our YouTube™ channel will immediately make everyone forget my transgressions. Like throwing sand in your eyes to distract you, but in a cute way.

A really cute way.

Complete with walking. And hijinks. And babies.

Oh my. 

- L.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

This Isn't What You Think It Is

It's better. 

My alternate post title was "I Can't Believe It's Not Ice Cream".

Because it's not.

Although it sure looks every bit as yummy as ice cream, doesn't it? It tastes just as good too and unlike ice cream it's 100% naturally fat-free and actually good for you. It was also a snap to make since it only has one ingredient.

That's right – one ingredient. You might even have some on hand in your kitchen at this very moment. I know we are seldom without.

It's bananas, everyone. 

Frozen bananas. 

That's it.

And just in case my photo isn't selling it and you are picturing some kind of frozen pure├ęd fruit concoction, stop right there and just go make some and try it yourself. You will swear you are eating dairy. The short version of the "recipe" can be found here, and step-by-step instructions and more photos can be found here (click on the photos for details).

Please don't let the following customer reviews put you off. My other alternate post title was "Yay! More For Me!" since Nate and Seth are still a little unsure about really cold things at this point and/or they don't know a good thing when they see it. Just so they wouldn't feel short-changed after supper, I also served up some homemade applesauce for dessert and let them choose. 

– I choose ah-poo-sauce, everyone! Is not cold like cold new food. Someone tell Mommy to warm that stuff up next time please. 

– I chose ah-poo-sauce also, everyone. Is long gone by the time Mommy take my picture because is yummy and I don't waste time when it comes to things that is yummy. I agree that strange new cold food is offputing for eating... 

–... but certainly is fun to play with. I bring out the Touching Finger for 'dis one! *touch* *touch* *touch*

- L.

Friday, May 13, 2011

15 Month Check-Up + Stats

– Hi everyone. Is me, Nate. Don't worry, I still has all my hair. Turns out I is only 6 months old in 'dis photo. Mommy find it on her camera not too long ago after memory card get fixed and is apparently too cute not to post. Also, is relevant since I is about to get a check-up.

– While I wait long time ago for nice doctor, I get a little busy with paper sheet to pass the time.

– Or a lot busy depending on how you look at things. It fill in time nicely. Try it next time doctor keep you waiting. Was big hit. Bigger hit than how I usually spend my time on paper sheet anyway.

•   •   •   •   • 

Mommy note: Nate speaks the truth. These pics were downloaded along with the infamous playdate photos back in March and I have no idea how they were overlooked back when they were originally taken. These were definitely too cute not to share.

Nate also speaks the truth about typically finding other uses for that paper sheet as he is notorious for christening every exam table and/or scale at our pediatrician's office at this point. He knows how to choose his moments I suppose. At this point, I'm only surprised when there isn't an incident. His timing is pretty much legendary.

I mention this only because this was our first visit with the pedi where it was suddenly OK to do the weigh-ins with diapers on.

As though there was a change in policy for some reason.

Weird, I know.

Nevertheless, here are the recent stats (although weights may be slightly inflated due to said suspicious new policy):

Nate: 23 lbs. (10.4 kg.) | 32 in. (81 cm.)

Seth: 21.5 lbs. (9.9 kg.) | 31.75 in. (80.5 cm.)

The good news: even though no one sent any sandwiches, Seth appears to be back in the 10th percentile for weight. Although that is on the lower end, it is consistent with his growth curve – which, like his brother, appears to be mainly spent on vertical pursuits (my future basketball all-stars are both solidly upwards of the 75th percentile for height).

In lieu of the sandwiches that no one sent (seriously, not one sandwich!) – and on the recommendation of our pediatrician – I've been adding heavy cream to Seth's bottles of milk (2-3 oz. per 8 oz. bottle) as well as providing a relatively high-fat diet for both my guys. Olive oil and butter are regular additives to anything they can be added to around here. It sounds contrary to good health, but as fats go these are considered "healthy fats" and when you have skinny babies you do what you need to do to avoid the negative percentiles (which actually exist) and a diagnosis of FTT (failure to thrive).

In other news: since we all share many of the same foods it's become obvious that I'm most certainly thriving – although by "thriving" I mostly just mean my pants are getting tight.

And lastly, news that initially gave me epic Mommy panic, but turned out to be nothing-to-panic-about news (according to the pedi, Dr. Google and other mommies who have been there): Seth has a heart murmur. Specifically a flow-murmur which is apparently very common and not a cause for concern or alarm. 50% of children have this at some point and it simply resolves itself in time.

The pediatrician could only hear the murmur when Seth was laying down, which I suppose is neither here nor there since it's a benign affliction, but I have to say I definitely felt a sudden need to lay down myself when I could see she was taking an unusually long time checking his heart. It was one of those moments where a part of you desperately wants to ask what's wrong and an equal share of you is hoping just as desperately that nothing is wrong and that maybe you're imagining how long a routine exam is taking.

In the end it was somewhere in the middle: there was a good reason for things taking so long, but the reason is nothing to worry about. I hope. Let's just be glad the pedi wasn't checking my heart at the time – the loud knocking about probably would have broken her stethoscope and damaged her hearing all at the same time and it's probably best to leave both intact for future visits.

- L.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Field Trip: Swingin' At The Park

– Oh boy! We is at park! In funny ride-type contraption! 

– Now where is ride proprietor? 'Dis thing needs to get moving. 

– I is also waiting for ride proprietor, but you has to admit... 

– ... nobody makes waiting look as cool as I does. 

•   •   •   •   •

Mommy note: with all the nice spring weather we've been having it was time for a field trip to the park to finally check out swings for the first time.

Not that you'd know it especially from these pictures, but swings are a big hit!

Almost as big of a hit were all the things to look at, especially the older kids running around:

And I had to add this last pic because whatever Seth is doing with his eyebrows mid-swing gave me a bit of a giggle:

Spring weather, swings at the park and the two best guys on the planet to share it with? Oh yes, we'll be back.

- L.

Monday, May 9, 2011

My Awesome Mother's Day: Part I

AKA my favorite part because unlike Parts II and III, my boys really did come up with this one all by themselves.

It all began shortly after everyone woke up.

Nate started it.

But then Seth pitched in too. 

And he even stuck around to pose with the finished result. 

This was better than flowers any day. Colorful, fun and made of awesome – and if I can take a moment to brag a little – downright ingenious.

I halfway considered buying a second train set for salvage just so I could make these permanent drawer-pulls.

I'm still not entirely sure I won't.

And while I know they didn't actually do this for me, the gift of watching my boys put this together was priceless. 

- L.

My Awesome Mother's Day: Part III

Did I mention we had beautiful weather here on Sunday for Mother's Day? After our big photo shoot and a quick snack to refuel, the guys announced we were heading out for a walk – ostensibly to enjoy some sunshine – but then surprised me with a crisp $20 on our way out the door* and told me to get myself something nice.

So I did.

Here are the guys all ready to go help me spend my Mother's Day loot:

They helped me pick out some pretty flowers and then insisted I get myself a treat from Starbucks on the way home. Such thoughtful boys! 

And see how pretty? They have excellent taste as well. 

So I'm sure you can imagine after all this I was pretty surprised to find that Nate and Seth still thought I still hadn't done enough to treat myself. They absolutely insisted I pick this up also: 

I really couldn't say no.

And so ice cream was served all-around after supper along with chopped mango. I decided to revisit these bowls again rather than rinse off their dinner plates – and the results are much like you'd expect. 

– How 'dis thing come off again? I think I look under here for clues. 

– Forget getting bowl off mat, Nate. I has better solution.

And just because I know how much their Gamma Rita likes a good "food face" picture, here's what the aftermath looked like: 

How about some kisses, Gamma Rita?
- L. 

*Said crisp $20 actually arrived a few days prior via post, but it really was from Nate and Seth – even if the writing in the card did look suspiciously like Gamma Rita's. : )

PS. In case it wasn't obvious from the last picture, the bowl did indeed end up on the floor. Seth managed to dump the contents out onto his tray first though – no sense wasting perfectly good ice-cream covered mango after all. Smart boy.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

My Awesome Mother's Day: Part II

Don't worry, you didn't miss Part I – I'm just saving the best part (which also happens to be the first part!) for last.

This was part two of our day, when Nate and Seth were unwittingly dragged off for absolutely insisted on some photos with their mommy, because they are still quite helpless thoughtful guys that way. I'm trying out my camera remote control for the first time in case you're wondering what that device is. I'm sure there's a better way to get stealthy with it in the future even if you happen to have a squirmy perfectly willing and enthusiastic toddler on your lap.

Even with all that willingness (and enthusiasm!), I'll admit a few props were necessary.

Sometimes coupled with silly faces (mine). 

And occasional wrestling moves. 

I love the way I'm still smiling here,
as though there was any chance this photo was going to work out.
Not to mention a glance heavenwards. 

Is 'dis almost over with, everyone?
And an outright "is you kidding me?" face. 

Seriously everyone. I not sure I agree to whatever 'dis is.
I think even I was starting to question things at this point.

But in the end, a couple of shots I can live with. 

Quite nicely.

Thanks to my handsome guys for suggesting this toughing it out.

- L.

Happy Mother's Day Everyone!

I hope you were suitably and lovingly celebrated today. My guys definitely outdid themselves this year. Many posts to follow.

- L.