Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Flu? Yep. Definitely.

It hit us hard yesterday.

Everything was fine until about 7 o'clock. We had finished the nightly routine of supper and baths for the girls and were hanging out in the living room. I was sitting near Avery as she started to cough. And then she got a weird look on her face and I knew it was coming. The only thing I had available was my hand. So yes, I caught her vomit in my hand. At least the first bout anyway. Jared grabbed a baby blanket off the floor and caught the rest of it. The poor girl was covered.
Bath #2.

We put Bailey to bed a short while later, but were afraid Avery still might be sick, so we set her up on the couch just like I did Bailey the day before. Like clockwork she vomited multiple more times, but we were prepared with a garbage.

About this time I got a call from Justy. She has been staying at our parent's house a couple nights a week while they are gone on their vacation. She was calling from their bathroom floor. She couldn't stop dry-heaving and was so sick and weak she couldn't get off the floor. Jared went to pick her up and bring her to our house so she wouldn't have to be alone.

I was sitting in the recliner feeding Graham. Not five minutes after Jared left, Avery started making the face. But with a baby on my lap, I couldn't get there in time. It was everywhere.
Bath #3.

Jared got back with Justy and she set up shop in one of the bathrooms for a good long time. By the time I put Graham down to sleep at 9, I was already feeling sick. By 10:30 I was vomiting too. Afterward I felt immediately better. I slept for 30 minutes and woke back up feeling sick. I vomited again. Back to sleep. Repeat, repeat, repeat... all night long. My body felt like it had been run over by a truck. Actually, it still does.

Thankfully Graham chose last night to sleep for 9 hours.
9 hours straight!
Hallelujah! He couldn't have picked a better night. Although I did check on him every half hour when I got up - just to make sure he was okay. {The last couple days he has woken up every 3 hours, so I needed to make sure he was indeed still breathing.}
So far today, we have barely moved. I have consumed about 8 crackers total so far. Jared has so far not come down with it, so he has been refilling the girls' sippies with Powerade and distributing crackers around the living room. We have watched more movies in one day than I can ever remember doing.
I am hoping for a peaceful, uneventful night tonight. My aching body could really use some good rest.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I awoke before 7 AM yesterday because Bailey was crying. Well, actually Jared jabbed me in the ribs repeatedly, but hey - I did get up.

I went to her room to tell her to get back in bed, it wasn't time to wake up yet. She continued to whimper. I told her again with a bit more mommy attitude to get back in bed. I was longing to climb back into bed, but instead I jumped the baby gate to go lay by her. That is when I discovered both the bed and Bailey covered in vomit.
Happy Monday!

I stripped both Bailey and the bed and we made our way downstairs.
Load of laundry #1.
Bailey seemed to be feeling just fine. She was begging for milk so I gave her a small amount of juice. We settled in and she watched some Sesame Street. She made it about a half hour before having her second round of vomiting. All over the couch, carpet, and herself. Thankfully it was just juice.
Load of laundry #2.
I had other clothes to throw in anyway, so why not?
This time I wizened up and covered the love seat and floor in front of it with an old twin bed sheet set. But not 15 minutes later...Session #3. This time it was contained to one large blanket and her pants.
Load of laundry #3.

The rest of the morning went pretty smoothly. We watched both The Lion King and Lady & The Tramp. Thankfully Graham was content and Avery slept in until 10 AM. I begged a favor of Justy and she brought over some 7Up for Bailey to drink. The thrill of drinking pop lasted for a good hour before Bailey was again begging for milk. You couldn't tell she was sick. She was dancing to the songs on her Disney movies and fighting with her sister.

She ate some crackers for lunch and then it was nap time. She actually napped pretty well. When she woke up crying, Jared went to get her. She was covered in diarrhea. So was her bed. And the down comforter she laid on top of...
Load of laundry #4.
She had a piece of toast for supper and seemed to do okay. She got a thorough bath and went to bed more easily than she has in weeks. I didn't hear a peep out of her all night, but this morning I discovered she had again covered her bed in vomit and relocated overnight to Avery's future bed in the same room.
Load of Laundry #5.
So far today, she has eaten half a chicken nugget and three crackers. The stubborn thing won't try anything else. But so far, so good. No new pukes. Hopefully that's the end of it. I hate seeing Bailey hurt. And I do not want to change that damn daybed one more time!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Cleft Book

Recently I was asked to submit Bailey's story for a new book called  
I Wish I'd Known, How Much I'd Love You.

I submitted a short essay about our experience, along with Bailey's information, and before and after pictures.

It's going to be a compilation of stories from parents of cleft-affected children.
The goal is for the book to be a reference for parents going through the same ordeal.
All proceeds from the sale of the book and related items will go to cleft charities like Smile Train
(Which is an amazing charity by the way!
An entire cleft repair surgery is only $250. amazing!)

I think it is a great idea.

Finding out about your child's cleft when you are pregnant gives you time to prepare.
But it also gives you a TON of time to worry, too.
You worry about the most ridiculous things.
And the not-so-ridiculous things: like surgeries, feeding problems, and more surgeries.
The title for this book is so true; there are so many things I wish I'd known.

For me, there were a few things I knew without a doubt.
I knew Bailey would have great medical care.
I knew our families would love her no matter what she looked like - they already did.
And above all, I knew we would love her no matter what.

But there were so many other things I didn't know...

Would her cleft be big?
(Yes, it was pretty big for being just on one side.)

Would her cleft "bother" me?

Would I notice it all the time?
(Again, no.)
Would people make mean comments?
(No, except from a lab tech who said to a week-old Bailey, "You'll be beautiful someday!" I feel lucky that that is the worst we ever got.)
Would we get weird looks from strangers?
(Nope, not really. If anything people came up to us and complimented Bailey while telling me stories of someone with a cleft in their families.)
Would she be able to eat okay?
(She ate like a champ from every type of special bottle we tried.)

How would surgeries go?
(Bailey always did awesome and was back to normal within a day or two. And while she has quite a few more to go, we are taking it one at a time.)
Will she get made fun of?
(We haven't crossed this bridge yet. And I am sure the answer will be yes. Every kid has some weakness that gets pointed out eventually. Hers is just worn in an easy-to-spot place.)

Every parent wants to know that their child is going to be okay and have a normal life. I hope this book helps calm some of the worries that cleft parents face.

I will share more info when the book is published later this year. :)

2 months

The 2 month stats
Height:  24.25 inches    (above 95th percentile)
Weight:  12 lbs  13 oz        (50-70th percentile)
Our little guy sure is growing.
He has gained exactly half a pound every week since his last appointment - right as he was getting over RSV.

Sleep is going pretty well too.
He sleeps in his pack-n-play for stretches of 6-7 hours most nights. It had been from about 10 PM until 5 AM, but now he keeps trying to drift off at 8:00. I much preferred 10... 
No complaints here though. 
I don't mind getting up once during the night. We cuddle up with a warm blanket and I catch up on my trashy tv while he eats/uses my boob for a pillow. {And for those of you who know me, it is most definitely not a large, plush pillow, but he does seem to enjoy it...}
wrapped in his swaddle and asleep for the night
I get decent sleep most nights, especially since I can come back to bed and sleep until 8 or 9 AM - depending on how well the girls play in their rooms once they wake up.

We are getting lots of big smiles these days,
along with some cute little baby coos and ah-goos.

He rolls up on his side as soon as we put him on his back. One of these days I am going to find him completely rolled over.
ahh.... I can't believe how fast our little baby is growing!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

this week without words

We haven't done much of note this past week, so I will let the pictures do the talking.


{Okay, I had to break in. Don't you just love all that hair?!
I want to put a cute little pink bow in it so badly!}

He melts my heart.
Gotta love that little grin...


Monday, January 14, 2013

Jail break!

Yesterday I escaped!
Because yes, it does feel like a prison break-out when you get to finally leave the house (and the kids) for a few hours.
It was the longest I have been away from the kids in oh... 7 weeks exactly.

I went with Justy to see Les Miserables in the theater.
Just seeing a movie in the theater is a real feat these days.
I thought it was good.
There were times I was thinking, Really? You need to sing this line?  but not too many.

Per usual we snuck in cans of pop in our purses and purchased a popcorn to share.
Blame my dad, but I just really hate paying four bucks for a small-sized pop.
It was really quiet in the theater, so we waited for a loud part to open the can. And we planned a cough along with it. {Keepin' it classy.} Then when it was time, we totally misjudged and the loud crack! came just as it got quiet again {oops, my bad} which made us both laugh really hard. I am sure our fellow movie-goers' eyes about rolled out of their heads.

After the movie we headed to Walmart so Justy could get some "much-needed groceries." She proceeds to pick up two cans of tuna, whole wheat pasta, and one other item I can't even remember. Wow - no wonder this girl stays so skinny if that is her entire grocery list. My blood sugar dropped to a super low number while we were in the store, which basically makes me feel drunk and sometimes I act inappropriately.  Like laughing when I shouldn't and saying things I probably shouldn't. Also having just seen a movie with lots of music in it didn't help. Turns out it's extra fun to sing every word you say. 
Fortunately Justy is a good sport.

One thing I always love about riding in a car with any one of my sisters - we know all the same old songs. We put on old CDs we made back in high school or look up a song that is really obscure - one only we seem to know all the words to. Then we sing really loud. And with some songs, there are hand gestures and actions.
Yep, we are that cool.
Justy didn't disappoint and we listened to some good oldies, along with new songs she forced me to listen to to try and keep me somewhat with the times. (Spoiler alert- it doesn't really work.)

So while it was nice, it was good to get back home.
(Even if it was only because my boobs were about to burst.)
Yesterday was a win-win for both Jared and me:
I got to see the movie and he never ever has to.
You're welcome, Jared. 

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dancing and Dolls

This morning, as I did dishes with a sleeping newborn strapped to my chest, the girls brought in their dolls to have an impromptu dance session in the kitchen. They have quite the moves.

We were listening to the new CD I bought. Yes, a CD. Remember those? I honestly can't remember the last time I purchased an actual CD. Maybe 6 or 7 years ago?
Anyway... I bought the soundtrack to the show Nashville. {And if you aren't watching that show, you should start.}
It's good.
I like every song.
Especially this one.  
And this one.   
"You think you know what you’re looking for, till what you’re looking for finds you"...
I am such a sucker for a love song. Especially one with lyrics that ring true.
The girls and I were jamming out in our pj's. Because yes, we were still in our pj's at 10 AM.

Later, tired out from all the dancing, they begged for an episode of Elmo.
I came in a few minutes later to check on them and this is what I found.


They love their dolls. They really like that they can always tell whose doll is whose from the hair. Avery - being her ornery self - always steals Bailey's doll on purpose and runs away with it. Bailey is quick to remind her that her doll is the "brown one."

Bailey also informed me of this yesterday:
I'm Bailey Solko. She Marie Solko.

Whenever I tell Bailey that Marie is her middle name, she always insists, "No it isn't, silly!"
Apparently the doll can have it instead.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


I have been doing pretty good on my new year's resolution to keep a gratitude journal.
In fact, I haven't even missed a day yet. Pretty good for me.
Most nights I lay down Little Man in his pack-n-play in our room and ready myself for bed too. And because I set my glasses down on the bedside table, I always end up feeling my journal that is sitting there in the dark. And then I remember: oh yeah, I need to write in that.
So it is a built-in reminder apparently.
It hasn't been too hard to find things to be grateful for. There is a lot really.

Yesterday's entry:

1) Old friends
I met Kevin at Holly's house to meet her newborn daughter Landrey for the first time.
So cute! We just sat around gossiping, discussing gross birthing topics (sorry Kevin!), and holding our respective newborns.

2) Mexican food
We met my grandparents and my sister Justy for supper. The food tasted extra good now that I can finally enjoy a tiny little margarita with it.

3) Baby snuggles
Graham and I shared an amazing mid-afternoon nap in the recliner. Nothing better than a warm blanket and an even warmer little baby.

And speaking of sweet little babies...
 mine is letting me know it is time for a snack.
This mobile milk machine better get going!

Saturday, January 5, 2013


Today I spent the only free time I had sorting, organizing, labeling, and filing away 180+ pictures into the kids' photo albums. Leaving me with a hand sore from writer's cramp. I felt like I was back in college scrambling to write as much as possible on an all-essay final exam. {btw - those were always so dumb. multiple choice is easier for me and you, the teacher grading the test.}

I usually do this process every month, but this time I was about 3 months behind... oops. Living in a digital age where you can share pictures online and never have to leave your house to order them makes life so much easier. We have a photo-sharing group online with our family members, which is amazing. We never have to guess what photos people want and mail them - they can just do it all themselves online.

Now that things have settled a little bit here at home, I have things I need to catch up on. Like the photos: things that are no where close to urgent, but need to get done nonetheless.

My next goal is to write in the girls' journals.
After seeing how touched my friend Shelby was when she received a journal her mom kept for her from when she was a baby, I decided to keep a journal for each of our girls. I found these handmade journals on Etsy and absolutely love them.

I wrote about the day they were born, little milestones as they grew, and sweet moments we shared. Now, as they grow older, I also write down funny things Bailey says or how sweet Avery is with the new baby.

Now that we have a boy, I wasn't sure if a journal was too "girly." But most people I asked thought I should go ahead and keep one for him too. My hope someday is that all of our kids will appreciate being able to read about the things they were doing and how their dad and I felt as they grew up. And it's a good way for me to remember all the little things from our day-to-day lives together that become so easy to forget. So even if a journal is pretty girly, maybe some day when I am dead and gone Graham will appreciate it anyway.

Tonight Bailey offered her "help" in the kitchen. She likes to play with all her food toys, but cooking for real with Daddy is much more fun.
(And so is constantly trying to eat what is being cooked.)

This little terror was also roaming the kitchen,
looking for dropped food or anything she could climb on top of.
From the looks of it, we may need to invest in a high-quality hair net.
Meanwhile Brother took a nice long nap up against his boppy.
(That seems to do the trick lately!)
Of course he woke up just as i was sitting down to eat supper.
Of course.
Baby's have ESP for that, you know.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

life with a mama-lovin' baby

2013 has been pretty ho-hum around here so far.

Jared worked a double shift on New Year's Day, which translates into more money for us, but a pretty long day (after a near-sleepless night) for me. So I was really happy when my mom asked if she and my dad could come hang out later that night. They help with baths and are champion book-readers. Plus the girls always like to jump all over spend time with their grandparents. 

Graham has been making sure I don't get much done around the house.
That child doesn't want to be put down.   ever.
In fact he is chilling in my lap right now as I write this.
I can't remember the girls being quite this needy.

I am all for baby-wearing. I have a Moby wrap and I use it. But it is super hard to do tasks requiring bending over when wearing a newborn, especially one who weighs what most 3 month-olds do. Perhaps I am not doing it right, but I can't help but feel like his head is going to snap right in half if I bend over too far.
So unloading the dishwasher is out. So is picking up toys. And laundry for the most part.

If I sit/lay him down for even a few minutes, this is the face I get:
So sad, right?

It doesn't matter if he is completely asleep when I lay him down, he wakes up within seconds. And that nice swing we bought just for him? Forget about it.

We were doing really well at night - sleeping 5 hours at a time, but he seems to have hit a growth spurt. He sleeps well, just not by himself. He is a bit codependent you might say. He snoozes just fine as long as I am within one centimeter of his body. Each and every time I try and put him down in the pack-n-play. If he lasts an hour, I am amazed. Most times he wakes up within 15 minutes - just enough time for me to have fallen asleep - a hard sleep.

And I know I shouldn't, but I get up and put him in bed with me. Instantly he stops crying and makes this sweet little baby sigh as he snuggles up next to me. Ohh...it's just so cute...{Clearly, he is one manipulative little baby...} I don't sleep nearly as well because I don't move the entire time, but at least it is sleep. We won't make a habit of it (personally, I think those "family bed" people are bat-shit crazy) but it is what is working this week.

Speaking of beds, we had a family movie night on ours last night.
Oliver and Company was what was showing. (Pretty awesome, I know.)
We all cuddled up together under the covers and watched a Disney movie together. Bailey was pumped just because there was popcorn. Sister loves her snack foods.
It was a sweet moment.
Like the ones I pictured when I imagined having kids some day.
And those moments are what make the hard days and long, sleepless nights all worth it.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Ringing in 2013

My sweet New Year's Eve celebration:
a cranky one month-old boy.
a small glass of delicious wine (good pick, Beaner!).
DVR'ed episodes of random TV shows.
a husband that wimped out on me by 11 o'clock.

Lackluster. to say the least.

I didn't even see the ball drop.
Graham finally gave in to sleep around 11:20 and I decided I should take my sleep when I can get it. And good thing I did.
I technically did see the new year in as I was awake trying to console my fussy baby. In fact, I probably got as much sleep as those out celebrating and having a good time. But sadly two hours of sleep is a little bit cooler to talk about when you were out drinking and dancing the night away.

2012 was a good year for us - full of big changes.
I found out I was pregnant.
We moved.
Both of us took new jobs.
We moved again.
We had a baby.
And we finally are no longer homeowners.

It sounds pretty simple when I list it all out like that, but really, there was a lot of stress involved.

For 2013, I am happy to be settled.
We are in our house to stay. Our newest little addition is healthy (and usually happy). We no longer have to worry about selling our house. We can enjoy just being.

I am not big on resolutions.
Obviously I want to lose the rest of the baby weight, but I am not even going to make a resolution about it. I have a one month-old and there is a lot of snow on the ground: I am clearly not going to exercise... And yes, I need to stop with the Christmas candy. But I can't  let it go to waste! I will not - I repeat, will not! - do that to a delicious Reese's tree. Soon it will be gone and then I can start being good, right?

One resolution I do want to make: keeping a gratitude journal.
Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds all Oprah-y. But I was watching some news shows the last few days and they listed a gratitude journal/list as an easy and effective way to improve your outlook and attitude on life.
And as a mom to 3 kids under 3, I think I could really use that.

All it requires is writing down 3 things every single day that you are grateful for. I think it sounds like a good exercise in teaching myself to notice the small things again. I hope it can help me focus on what I do have in my life versus focusing on the negative or what I wish was different. Because when it comes down to it, I have a lot to be thankful for. And while I know that, it is always good to have a reminder. Plus it will be an easy resolution to keep.

Hopefully other people had a more exciting New Year's Eve than me. In fact I know they did because I am bombarded with fun-looking pictures on Facebook.
Maybe next year I will get my New Year's kiss.
Between work and babies, it's been a few years.    [Damn we are old...]