Saturday, April 30, 2011

Fun in the Sun

Today the girls and I went to the beach with my friend Amy and her three kids, Haley, Ashlyn and Johnathon.  I don't know who was more eagerly anticipating this trip -- Delaney or me.  In the morning while we were getting ready, she said to me, "This is going to be the best day ever!"  I fervently hoped she was right.  Annie, of course, was just along for the ride.

We left at a few minutes after 9 and arrived around 9:45.  It was a perfect day in Atlantic Beach, sunny, breezy and warm, almost 70 when we arrived.  The parking lot was already filling up quickly, and I was glad to be there early.  Annie did not remember what sand was like, and she seemed a little uncertain about it, but Delaney got right to work with her shovels and buckets.  A few minutes later, Amy and her kids arrived, and not a minute too soon.  I already had to use the bathroom.  The walk to the bath house seemed long enough with Annie on my hip.  It would have been three times as long if I'd had to drag Delaney along too.  Oh, the joys of pregnancy.  As soon as I arrive anywhere, I'm looking for the bathroom.

I loved every minute of being at the beach today.  The kids were having fun, Amy was such good company, and Haley and Ashlyn, who I believe are 8 and 6 respectively, were being a huge help with the girls.  If Delaney wanted to run down to the water, there was always one or the other of them trailing after her.  They tried to help with Annie too, but for the most part, she didn't want much to do with them.

The water was still a bit chilly for our taste, so we didn't go in any further than our knees, but there were plenty of braver people further out in the waves.  The little kids loved to run up to the water and then run away as the water chased after their feet -- until they got too close and a wave knocked them over.  That happened to Ashlyn, Delaney and Annie at different times.  Annie was a little scared of the water, until I got the idea to hold her hand and let her run around in circles next to it.  For her, running around in circles makes everything more fun.

She even got used to the sand too.  That's good because she was completely caked with it in the first five minutes.  Then right before we left, she started wallowing in it like a little piggy.
Annie was none too happy about the ocean at first.  She warmed up to it later, and that's good because she'll be seeing a lot more of it in the coming weeks.
Delaney loved it.
For some reason, Annie liked it when Ashlyn poured sand on her feet.
Here's a video of Annie being really silly with the waves.  I'm sorry you can't see it, Tim, but I will put it on a disk and send it to you.
Here's a kind of serious video of Delaney deciding which shells to throw in the ocean.  I wish I could have captured her laughing hysterically at the waves, but this little girl is very evasive when it comes to the camera.  
Annie and I, and the bump that is Timmy
I would have been happy to make it two hours, but we ended up staying three and a half.  I knew that meant that the girls would conk out in the car on the way home, and there would be no nap for me.  I decided it was worth it.  Amy and I thanked each other for coming, and we'd like to do it again next weekend if it's nice.  We hope some of our other friends can make it too.

There was a whole line of cars coming into the parking lot as we were leaving, and as I was loading my car, an older couple in a convertible called out to me, "Are you leaving?"  I said, "Yes, but it's gonna be a few minutes."  No kidding.  Annalise's bathing suit bottom was not only packed full of wet sand from my failed attempt at showering her as we left the beach, but her diaper was full of diarrhea.  (Annie's irregularity issues are another post entirely.)  Diarrhea and wet sand together.  What a lovely combination.  I laid her down in the cargo area at the very back of my car and cleaned her up as best I could while the old people waited for me to leave.  I tried not to show her sandy butt to the world, but I heard someone remark, "It's like she's getting a loofah wipe."  Yes, I'm sure Annie's bum is very well exfoliated now.

Somehow it only took a half hour to get home.  The girls, as I'd predicted, fell fast asleep within two minutes of driving away, and I'd planned to leave the engine running when I got home and let them sleep a little while longer.  But both their eyes opened as soon as I shifted into park.  I was surprised when Annie, who's accustomed to a three-hour nap every afternoon, woke up happy; and Delaney who's used to no nap at all, woke up a little beast who cried and whined over everything.  Not even a bath lifted her mood.  But eventually she cheered up after watching some of a Barbie Princess movie, and we went out to eat at our new favorite restaurant, the Cow Cafe.  

It was a great day, and what's even better is getting to turn the calendar to May tonight, finally!  I thought this month would never end.  

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ant bites 2 days later

I said I could handle the pain of an ant bite, and I can.  But what I can't handle is the horrible 24/7, wake me up in the middle of the night, make me want to take my skin off ITCH!!  It keeps getting worse, and I want to know  when it's going to get better.

Just like my internet research said, the bites form little pustules that itch worse than anything else you've ever had in your entire life.  And I'm no stranger to itch.  I've had mosquito bites, chigger bites, and athlete's foot.  Now my toes are swollen and red and I am cranky because nothing is helping.

When it was just a regular itch, I used hydrocortisone cream and that helped.  When it got worse and woke me up at 1 a.m. last night (and hydrocortisone didn't help), I got on the internet to look for remedies.  I found many different suggestions, and most of the things that were suggested I didn't have in the house.  But I had hot water and tea tree oil.  So I scalded my foot with water as hot as I could stand it and then applied the tea tree oil.  That made it bearable so that I was able to go back to sleep.  I also felt good knowing that tea tree oil is an antiseptic because I'd scratched a little.  I couldn't help it.  And scratching a pustule is probably a bad idea.  I thought I'd found the solution once and for all.

But in the morning the itch was back and the tea tree oil and hot water do not help.  My foot has been on fire all day, and it's taking all my willpower not to scratch it bloody.

Two days ago when the ants attacked, I thought, 'This isn't so bad.'  But I had no idea what I was in store for.  This itch is driving me to distraction.  It's hard to think about anything else.

I refuse to ever again be bitten by a fire ant.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

They're ba-aack

Remember my post last year about the fire ants?  Well, it's already that time of year again here in the south.  Today the girls and I went to someone's house to purchase their co-sleeper through Cherry Point Yard Sales.  When we got there, and I got out of the car, I saw the ant mound at the edge of the driveway, but thought I would be fine as long as I didn't step on it.  It was on the side that Delaney was on.  I unbuckled her and let her out, away from the mound, then went around to the other side to get Annie.  It was while I was unbuckling Annie that I started to notice a pins-and-needles sensation on my feet, as if they were waking up.  I thought, 'That's strange, my feet weren't asleep.  I must be having some circulation problems.'  And then I looked down and saw the ants all over my feet and starting to work their way up my ankles.  They were surrounding our car.  I backed away from the car, and took off my flipflops, rubbing at my feet and ankles madly, to get them all off.  On the other side of the car, the woman who lived there was taking Delaney's flipflops off for her and doing the same thing.  She was very apologetic, but I was quick to tell her we'd had our own experiences with fire ants at our house last year.  I understood.  I told her how last year, the girls had stepped in a mound, and I ended up stripping them down in the front yard like a madwoman, slapping and rubbing at their bodies to get the ants off.  If I hadn't had my own fire ants to contend with, I might have thought, 'I'm not buying anything from a house that has fire ants!'

Then we all went inside where I, with my feet and ankles still smarting from ant bites, looked at the co-sleeper.  Delaney never said a thing, so I don't think she got it as bad as I did.

The good news is that, unlike what my internet research led me to believe, an ant attack is not an unfathomable hell.  At least not around here.  Maybe elsewhere in the country, or even elsewhere in this state, it is.  Foot-waking-up kind of pain I can handle.  But it's still only April, and I'm worried we're in for a long summer with these nasty little nuisances.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Annalise at 23 months

At 23 months old, Annie is as lovable as ever, and full of attitude.  She is expressing herself in so many ways now.  She can be so much trouble, but most of the time I want to squeeze her.

It makes my heart melt when she takes my face in her hands and gives me a kiss.  That is the sweetest thing ever.

She loves to play 'Ring Around the Rosy' and asks for me or Delaney to play with her all the time.  She holds up her hands and says, "Rosies."  Imagine her delight when we were at the playground and another little girl asked her to play.  Then Delaney wanted to play, and somehow the girls' mother and I also became part of the game.  I felt just a wee bit silly playing 'Ring Around the Rosy' in public, but I think Annie was in seventh heaven.  She didn't want to fall down all the way, and the other little girl, who was just a little bit older than her, thought that was so funny.

She loves to be tickled.  She says, "Tickle me!"  She's very ticklish on her belly and in her armpits.

She doesn't eat much besides cereal, crackers, pizza and raisins.  She and her sister both are the pickiest little girls on earth.  I'm hoping little Timmy will come along and show them how to eat.

She is a fan of Barney, but she only gets to watch when Sissy's at school.  (Delaney is the bossy older sister when it comes to movies.)  It's the first thing she asks for when we get home from dropping her off.  "Watch Bah-ney friends!"  She can put the DVD in herself, and enjoys doing that.  I remember when I used to say, "My kids will never watch Barney."  Why would I have ever thought, as a 14-year-old babysitter, that big purple dinosaur would still be around when I was having kids?  But now I can't help but hum along to some of the songs, and sometimes out of nowhere (only around the house), I'll start singing, "Colors make me happy everywhere I go.."

As we already know, she has quite a temper.  But she has been displaying it a lot lately.  One afternoon, we picked Delaney up from preschool, and Delaney brought home a bag of plastic eggs filled with goodies that she'd gotten at the school's Easter egg hunt.  In the kitchen, Delaney asked me to open a little package that contained a little bouncy ball attached to string with a ring at the other end.  I got it out of the package and handed it to her.  Annie grabbed the other end at the same time, thinking the toy was for her.  I had to take it out of her fingers and explain that it belonged to Sissy.  Annie flew into a rage.  Delaney ran, and she chased her, shrieking like a banshee all around the house.  She took a long time to calm down after that.  10 or 15 minutes later, she was still whimpering a little.  It is hard to be the little sister sometimes.  But I do have to say that Delaney was being a good sharer that day.  She gave Annie a couple of the toys, a piece of candy, and a sticker.

Her stranger anxiety has waned a bit.  I left her at the CDC (Child Development Center) on base for an hour-and-a-half the other day.  She didn't cry when I left her, but she was very quiet and I saw her lower lip sticking out as one of the teachers took her by the hand.  I thought to myself, 'Brave little girl!'  When I came back, I saw her contentedly playing with Legos with a little boy.  They told me that she had done really well and had had fun with the other kids. That was music to my ears because the CDC is a resource I plan to use a lot in the future, especially with Tim not around.  I get 10 free hours per kid per month there while he's deployed, and an additional 10 per kid per month just for doctor or dentist appointments (either mine or one of the girls').  I was also very relieved in light of how very badly it went the last time I left her in a drop-in daycare setting just a couple months ago.  The CDC is way better than this other place was, though.  The CDC has a limit on how many kids can come at one time, so it is much quieter and calmer in the rooms.  The kids are divided up into age groups, and there is a much better adult-to-child ratio than there was in the drop-in daycare out in town.  The CDC also seems much cleaner.  They make the kids wash their hands as soon as they show up, and you would never see ground up Cheerios all over the floor in there.  I really don't have a reason to go back to that other place at all.
I'm not planning to start potty training her until some point this fall or winter, but I've been noticing her thinking about it.  She has a Barbie Princess bath toy that she, for months, likes to say has pooped.  For awhile it was, "Princess poop!"  and I'd say, "OK, you'd better wipe her then."  And she'd simulate wiping her.  But recently, she's been saying, "Princess potty!"  Then I take one of the other bath toys and say, "Alright, this is her potty, put her on it so she can go."  So she does, and then we say the Princess is "all done!"  On occasion, if I see her trying to poo, I'll ask her if she wants to sit on the potty.  The answer is an emphatic "No!"

We've already gotten her two-year well visit out the way, because I had to get health screening forms done for the CDC and preschool next year.  She is 33.9 inches tall (61st percentile) and weighs 26 lbs 11 oz (59th percentile).  Very healthy, very average, despite her non-eating ways.

A year ago today:  Annalise at 11 months

Friday, April 8, 2011

Delaney at 3 and 3/4

Delaney is curious, inquisitive, outgoing, happy, and above all, full of energy.  I can't believe the way this girl attacks every day.  She bounds out of bed and is just ready to go.  She's asking me things, telling me things, wanting to make plans, and I'm hopelessly behind.  I'm still in a fog, all I can focus on is breakfast, and she's like, "What are we doing today, Mama?"  She must get it from her dad.  He says that before he had kids, he used to rise at 6 on the weekends with no alarm, and be off.  When he was stationed at Camp Pendleton, he relished being the only one up and about at 6.  He never had to wait in traffic or stand in any lines, and he'd get everything done before the rest of California woke up.  Yes, she definitely takes after him.  Good for them.  I'll never be that way.  I'm pretty sure the only time I ever happily got up early was on Christmas morning when I was little.
Go get 'em, Delaney!
She goes all day long.  Naps have long been a thing of the past for her, but she will settle down on her Elmo couch upstairs and watch TV while Annie and I take naps.  The rest of the day, I try to make sure there's something for her to do.  Now that the weather's nicer, we get out more.  But even if all I can do is send her out in the back yard, that's better than nothing.  About a month or two ago, I started letting her and her sister play out back without me there.  I tell them to stay in the back so I can see them out the window.  I do whatever I'm doing, and every minute or two, run over to the window to make sure I know what they're up to.  Having no fence still makes me nervous, but I don't feel like hovering over them out there either.  I'm trying to raise (sort of) free-range kids.
She fights a lot with Annie, but she can be so sweet with her too.  Sometimes she'll try to help her put on her shoes, saying in her 'little Mama' voice, "Annie, do you need help putting on your shoes?"  Other times, she'll "teach" her to say things.  One night at dinner, I told her, "See, you tried it and you liked it."  Delaney started saying "I tried it and I liked it," in a sing-song voice, like on Yo Gabba-Gabba (which is an awful show, rarely viewed in this house).  Soon Annie chimed in, to Delaney's delight.  She laughed and laughed, and said, "Say it again, Annie, say it again."  Sometimes I can tell she is making an effort to get along with her sister, like when she hands her the toy that they both want.  A minute later, Delaney will turn to me in tears saying, "I shared with her, but she won't share with me!"
So far I have not seen her "regressing" in any way, as I'd been warned by other Marine families might happen when Tim left.  She is still potty-trained, but since she's been for over a year now, I would be really shocked to see her start wetting her pants again.  She never was potty-trained at night, so that hasn't changed.  She sure did soak her bed the night before he left, though, right through that pull-up.  But that's been it.  As I mentioned in another post, she does get extremely moody in late afternoon.  That part of the day, when he's supposed to be home, is hard for her, I believe.  I try to remember that and bear with her, instead of becoming frustrated.

She loves to pick little wildflowers,  little rocks, and anything else she finds interesting, and show them to me.  Then she puts them in her pockets.  She sees what's beautiful and special about simple things.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

23 weeks and midwife appointment

Today's appointment with my midwife went well.  It was short and sweet this time, under an hour, since she had another client waiting.  Yes, it's true, most of my midwife appointments go at least an hour because we spend a lot of time talking about my health, my life, plans for the the birth, and anything else that comes up.  With the exception of a runny nose I've had ever since the day Tim left, I am in good health.  So far I'm holding it together mentally and emotionally too.  I haven't gone crazy yet, but there's still time.  Delaney told the midwife and her assistant about her busy day at school today, with pictures and Trike-a-thon.  I love how, with my midwife, the kids are welcomed and included.  That is definitely not the case with the OB office, where they frown upon you for bringing your kids to checkups.  That's probably because, when you're running a place like an assembly line, kids have a tendency of getting in the way and slowing things down.

Delaney opted to stay in the waiting room with the other client and her little boy, playing with toys, while we went to the back for my exam.  I tipped the scale at 127, so I've gained 6 pounds since my visit 5 weeks ago.  She felt Timmy's position in my belly, and he is mostly head down but slightly transverse.  His heartrate was 160.  She asked me if he was active and I said, "Oh, yes."  Annalise stood next to me and watched with her round blue eyes through everything.  She was curious about the blood pressure cuff, the tape measure, and the probing hands of the midwives on my belly.  I asked her if she was taking mental notes so she could do this.

My pregnancy is a lot more noticeable this month, especially with less need for a jacket now that the weather's warmer.  A few weeks ago, strangers began asking when I was due.  (I still can't believe how readily people do that.  I will not ask a woman that unless she is clearly in her third trimester.)  Today, one of the teachers at Delaney's school said to me, "If you're that big already, you're going to be really big by July."  Another pregnant woman might have gotten offended at that remark, but I know it's the truth.  I get huge, and fast.  She did follow up that comment with, "It's because you're so small anyway."  Nice save.:)

Giving the girls baths is one chore that is already becoming difficult, and that is not encouraging at all!  I am hoping they'll let me give them a shower one of these days, because then I wouldn't have to hunch down over the side of the tub anymore.  When I give them a shower, I'd better have a bathing suit on because that water will be all over the place.

These girls sure do wear me out.  I live for afternoon nap/quiet time and especially for their bedtime.  They are good girls, but they are little and they do require a lot.  I just have to try to remember to be patient with them, and know that I am never more than a few hours away from a naptime or a bedtime.
Here's my belly shot for the month.  I cropped my face out of it this time, because I never know what my face is supposed to look like in these pictures, and as a result it looks awkward.  But I do want the belly pictures so I can look back and remember.

Monday, April 4, 2011

1 week down

We are now one week into this 10 month deployment.  Above is the big vase of Daddy's jellybeans, minus 14 of them that have been consumed.  The girls each get one of Daddy's jellybeans every day until he comes home.  That is a LOT of jellybeans!  Trying to explain to Delaney how long her daddy was going to be gone was impossible.  First, I tried telling her that it was going to get warmer and warmer out until it was summer and her birthday, than cooler until it was fall (and Halloween), then colder until it was Christmas and New Year's, and then Daddy would be home soon after that.  But since she doesn't really think about seasons and holidays happening in any kind of order, this did not help her understand.  Then I remembered a friend's suggestion of a jar of jellybeans.  A couple nights before Tim left I painstakingly counted out enough jellybeans for her and her sister to each have one a day for 10 months.  They filled this big old vase.  Now I tell her Daddy will be home when the jellybeans are all gone.  That makes much more sense to her.  Annie doesn't really care, she just likes jellybeans.  I like that they get something sweet every day to remind them of him.

So far we're doing well.  Tim has email for now, and his own computer, so I hear from him a few times a day.  He really misses home, but he's adjusting to life on the ship.  We're keeping fairly busy, and we've been out a lot in the nice weather.  We're looking forward to our vacation with my family in Florida the third week of May.

From time to time, the girls will see Tim's truck when we pull  in the driveway and say, "Dada!"  Then we talk about why his truck is in the driveway, but he's not home.  I say there's no room on the ship for anyone to bring their cars, and besides, there's nowhere to drive on a ship.  I don't think they get sad about him not being here, but sometimes in the evening, Delaney seems extra whiny and needy around the time he'd be home, and I think that's her missing him.  I think we're all feeling his absence in our own way.  I sometimes get whiny in the evenings too.  I'm still at the point where I'm overwhelmed by how long 10 months is.  I'm sad for the girls about how long they will be without him, because they don't know any better.  I just keep telling him how much he misses them, and we read his recordable storybook, and of course they have their Daddy Dolls.

I am going to be glad when that vase doesn't have so many jellybeans in it.