Saturday, August 29, 2009

Working on regrets

I (like most of you, I'm sure) have the image of "the perfect me" in my head that often seems just out of reach. I need improvement in so many areas it's hard to know where to begin to make changes, so often I just do nothing more than I'm already doing. Last week in church someone suggested we take 1 goal and work on it exclusively for a shorter period of time like a day or a week. I really started thinking about this today.

Since coming home with Walt I've felt like an escalating broken record with Dean. Part of it is because he's having a hard time adjusting, "Please don't touch him. Get off of him. It's NOT NICE TO POKE HIM IN THE EYE! What did I just say? LEAVE HIM ALONE! For the love!!! If you do that once more you're going into time out. That's it!" But some of it comes because he's just at that stage where he feels compelled to get into everything. "Get out of Dad's desk. Please don't open his drawers. Don't play with his stuff. I said DON'T TOUCH HIS STUFF! You can't eat his candy. You CAN'T EAT HIS CANDY!" He's figured out how to pull a chair to the counter and climb on up. Looks like I'm going to have to start locking up my knife block. I feel like I yell a whole lot more than I used to and I don't like it one bit. That needs some attention.

Another struggle I've run into is family meals. My family ate 2-3 meals together every day growing up. I think it's super important. There are lots of benefits to it. Despite my feelings on the subject, we don't eat meals together as a family at the table. At all. Well, Dean and I eat breakfast together in the morning, but Matt's never ready to eat before he goes to work, so he takes a yogurt or something with him. I rarely eat with Dean at lunch for some reason. And then dinner. Ugh. Don't even get me started. Ok, I'm started already so I might as well finish. Dean has an early bed time, 7. That means we start his bed routine at 6:30. That means if we were to eat dinner together it should be between 5:30-6. When I teach piano I'm usually not finished teaching till 5:30, but it doesn't really matter since Matt's not ready to eat that early anyway. So I generally end up slapping something together for Dean, getting him ready for bed, then making our meal. Nearly every night Matt and I eat in our computer room, doing our own thing in front of our own computers, barely interacting. Sometimes I wonder how this came about, though I know full well how it did. (After talking about it with Matt, we've decided to try and institute an earlier family meal time at the table.)

Then there are health related regrets. While I consider myself a generally healthy person, I definitely have my days where I don't drink enough water, eat too much sugar or snacks, don't eat enough lunch, don't eat enough veggies, etc.

And we can't forget how I fall short of personal and spiritual goals. I don't study my scriptures that often and even struggle to read them sometimes. Prayers could use some attention. We used to be really good at FHE, but that's fallen by the wayside. I'd like to waste less time in the evening at my computer and either read or get more projects done.

Ack. As I write this all down it feels like my list of "NEEDS IMPROVEMENT" is longer than I originally believed.

So, I think I shall try a goal a week. Focus on 1 thing specifically that week. For example, this week I will try to have dinner made and on the table by 6 at the latest. Next week maybe it will be no yelling or harsh words, regardless of how ornery or disobeient Dean is. One thing at a time and hopefully some things will stick.

Wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

One month and one day

It's hard for me to believe it's already been a month and a day since we had little Walt. We went to the cardiologist to check up on his heart and - GOOD NEWS! - his heart murmur is innocent. I was surprised to hear that 7 out of 10 kids with "normal" hearts will have innocent heart murmurs during their childhood.

They weighed him there and he was a good 9 lbs. 10 oz., a whole 2 lbs heavier than his 2 week check up 2 weeks ago! It's amazing how quickly little babies change in the beginning. All of these pictures are from today.

He's definitely becoming more aware of what's going on and is a little more opinionated about things.

He absolutely detests having his diaper or clothes changed, especially when he's hungry. He's still sleeping pretty well, but is sooooo squeaky, wheezy and grunty when he's trying to go back to sleep at night after I feed him (well, any time he's awake really). He doesn't usually cry (thank heavens!), but his grunting can go on for 20-30 min. and it's pretty hard for me to tune it out since he's in our room. I have definitely spent more time awake at night with him than I ever did with Dean, but he sleeps much better in the day than Dean ever did.

He poops a lot, just like Dean. I change probably 10 poopy diapers a day (not including Dean's diapers). I guess that's better than a few poops that result in blow outs.

He's not as content hanging out in his chair so I've been "wearing" him more. It's really unfortunate that TX doesn't really have baby wearing weather right now because we both end up pretty sweaty. It's nice, though, that he falls asleep almost immediately after getting in the pouch or wrap. I've cooked, mopped, and walked to the park, etc. with him asleep in the wrap.

He's kind of hard to swaddle. He has very strong arms and legs, and his arms are so long they hang out the arm part of my stretchy swaddle-wrap blankets! He then will reach up and around the blanket and still get to his face. His long arms also make it harder to change his clothes and get him into his car seat.

Dean likes his baby brother a little more each day. He always tries to share his food, treats, toothbrush, milk, blankies, toys etc. with him even though I'm constantly telling him he doesn't have teeth or can't have those things. He has fewer jealous moments and has been more himself. I do have to put him in time out about 4-5 times a day for trying to sit on Walt, poke him in the eyes, etc. I need to learn to not lose it when he does harmful things. I get over it quickly and show lots of love, but I hate yelling at him to stop doing mean things to Walt.

Tonight I tried to get some pictures with just the two of them. I wanted Dean to try and "hold" Walt. He was unsure of it at first, but started crying when I took Walt away. Walt didn't care much for the situation.

Our Boys

Dean "holding" Walt.
A very, very common occurrence.
Dean's "riding" on the front of the seat after stealing Walt's pacifier.
This was his answer to me telling him he couldn't sit directly on Walt.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

A Jet Plane

I may not be the most well traveled person alive, but I love to do it. We did most of our traveling growing up via road trips. You coudn't very well fly a family with 7 children anywhere on a teacher's salary (and can you imagine the evil glares you'd receive from other passengers?). We set out from AZ with destinations such as CA, UT (many, many times), IL, and FL. We mostly camped at KOA's on the long trips. Because, once again, can you imagine how expensive it would be to get a hotel/motel for 8-9 people every night for 2-3 weeks?

I was 14 the first time I flew on an airplane. I went to Boston for 2 weeks to visit my brother and his family. I flew by myself and was a little nervous. I remember being too unsure of myself to use the bathroom on the plane, and for some reason I didn't use one in the airport once I landed. After a 6 hour plane ride and decent car ride to their apt., I sure did have to go badly!!

I think it was 5 more years before I flew again. I went to visit Matt in CA after our freshman year of college, a month or two before he left on his mission. It was the end of July. I flew out of Phoenix and into Oakland. My body was in total shock after getting off the plane. The temp. at PHX was 118* when I left and was 65* and FOGGY when drove up the coast from the airport to Moss Beach.

Just a few months later I took my LONGEST plane ride involving the most plane changes to China. When our plane sat down in China, we went to use the restroom. There were 1-2 regular "sit down" toilets and the rest of the stalls were squatters. Most of the gaggle of girls waited for the regular toilets, but I figured I was there to stay for 6 mo., so I might as well get used to the culture from the get go. If only all the squatters in China were as clean as those in the airports (or McDonalds. They always had good restrooms too.).

Since then I have flown to or from UT, TX, VA, NY, PA, AZ, CA, England, Guatemala City, and Tikal, Guatemala. Some of those trips were when I was single. Some were with Matt after we were married. We had an every-other-year-trip going for our anniversary. This year was going to be Scotland, but I was a bit too pregnant to fly.

After missing our trip this year, I am getting that itch. Every time I hear a plane over head (which is frequent since we live close to DFW airport), I have that burning desire to be on a plane flying somewhere new. Or old. Just somewhere different. A change of scenery. A change of weather.

I want to fly.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Forming Habits

Yesterday Dean picked up the set of scriptures we read with him at night and nestled into the couch. He opened them up, folded his arms, and after a minute proclaimed "amen!" It was too cute to pass up on camera.

This is a good habit.

Two days ago when we were coloring with markers, I looked over to find Dean sniffing the markers. Now, I can only imagine he's sniffing them because we smell things like shampoos and body washes while at the store. The last picture sure looks like he's getting a little buzz from it! haha. He looked like a little Hitler or Charlie Chaplin. Cracked me up.

This is a not so good habit.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Menus: back in the saddle again

I was super good at meal planning the first four months this year. That's the longest streak I've ever had with planning out menus. It's the only thing that saved me when I was having pregnancy nausea. Well, I stopped when Matt was traveling for work and I never got back into the groove. I know I'm spending more on food now, and yet it seems like we never have anything decent to eat when meals roll around. So, I'm trying to pick myself up off the kitchen floor and start once again.

The problem is, nothing sounds good. My stand by meals sound too over done and I don't have the energy to search out new meals that are cheap enough, easy enough, and delicious enough to fit the bill. Waa, waa. I know. I need to get over it and get going.

Any favorite ideas, links, or dinner recipes people want to share?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

No longer the newest

Well, little Walt has had cousins on both sides born within days of him. My oldest brother Bryan and his wife Stephanie had a baby boy 2 days before I had Walt. My in-laws Th. and Lady Steed had a baby boy two days ago on the 11th, so he's 2 weeks younger than Walt. Congrats to all the new babies and parents in our family!

It'll be nice to have cousins so close in age! Reunions should be fun.

Here are a few more pics. from tonight. You can see his little cleft chin in these. It's so cute.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Walt at 2 weeks

Walt and I headed to the pediatrician this morning while Matt worked from home to watch Dean. I had hoped we'd pass everything with flying colors. But not so.

She commented on his long extremities noting that he has very long arms and legs in comparison to his body. Not good or bad, just an observation.

He was a little uncooperative and wouldn't open his eyes for his eye check. He was also very resistant to the hip check.

The good:
weight: 7 lbs. 10 oz.
  • He's gained back all of the weight he lost in the hospital (he was 6 lbs. 15 oz. when we left) and added 2 oz. for good measure. Good. We need to get a little meat on those bones.
height: 21 1/4 in.
  • He grew 3/4 in. in 2 weeks. Not bad.
His circumcision has healed nicely.

Hips seem fine (though he was very uncooperative with his left leg and wouldn't let her move it for awhile. Strong legs.)

His jaundice is mostly gone. His nose is still a little yellow, but you wouldn't look at him and think he looks jaundiced.

The not so good:
He has a little heart murmur. She didn't seem overly concerned about it but wanted us to go to a cardiologist to get an ultrasound. It could be one of two things.
  1. He could have Peripheral Pulmonic Stenosis.
  2. He could have Ventrical septal defect (VSD). That's a small hole in the heart.
Hopefully it's really not a big deal...

His cord hasn't fallen off yet, but it should be ok as long as it falls off in the next 2 weeks. She thought it needed to be aired out a bit and that if it starts to stink to use the alcohol like they used to recommend.

There's also a minor urological issue, but hopefully that will resolve itself in the next month or two.

What he's like so far:
He's really been a good baby. Doesn't cry a whole lot THANK HEAVENS!! He is a pacifier kind of guy and almost always wants to be sucking something (his hands, the blanket, a pacifier) when he's awake. So long as he is sucking, he's generally happy. He doesn't like diaper changes much, but he hasn't made a real fuss over the sponge baths. He sleeps pretty well, much better than Dean did so far. He's kind of a grunter and is a little noisy in his sleep, so sometimes I think he wants to eat when he doesn't. He's pretty tolerant of Dean's "loves" and "hits". Dean has already tried to make him stand up by pulling on his arms, and today Dean tried to pick him up by his feet. I got there just in time to make sure his head didn't slide right off the swing and hit the ground. Guess I need to belt him in so Dean can't do that.

Overall he looks like my side whereas Dean has more of his daddy in him. The mouth and chin are different from my family though. You can't tell in these pictures, but he has a cleft chin. It's pretty cute.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

My little helper

Yesterday as I was making breakfast, Dean decided he wanted to help. He found some empty canisters and tried to fill them up with flour. I was a little bugged at first that he'd made a mess that I didn't want to clean up (Matt actually cleaned it up later that day), but then I rethought it and found it to be pretty cute and funny. I mean, it's not like he was trying to be bad or make messes. He was just trying to be like me. So I busted out the camera to keep the memory.

I mean, honestly how cute is that little face and those little foot prints...

The last picture is Dean trying to get Walt stand up.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

And today I know I'll be okay

Last night I got a blessing from Matt and my dad that my body could heal up properly and that I could deal with the changes. My dad also gave me a father's blessing this morning before they left.

Today actually went better than I expected. I physically felt much better today. The burning I was having in my incision was greatly reduced. My back didn't hurt as much either. Walt slept more than normal, so he and Dean really didn't interact all that much today. I just hope that Walt doesn't flip flop his days and nights since he slept so much today. During the first feeding Dean hit Walt 3 times and kicked him in the head once, but the second feeding I found that if I completely covered Walt with a blanket Dean left him alone more. Similarly, I have found that Dean isn't as threatened by Walt if he's in a wrap or sling. I have a pouch sling that is super easy and comfortable heat wise, but it did kind of exacerbate the back pain I've experienced during recovery. Today I tried the Moby-like wrap my friend Lisa sent me. It was much easier on my back, but definitely toastier. So, I'll probably alternate the two.

Anyway, I am grateful for blessings and my husband and my parents. I know that I'll be fine, even if I (and Dean) have a few meltdown moments here and there.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The name game: a follow up

When we got to the hospital we were still unsure of a name for our baby. We had 5 names that were on the "short list" for a first name: Edward, James, Luke, Garrett, and Walter. James is a family name on both sides, and Walter is Matt's great, great grandfather (though we didn't know that when it first made our list). Edward was a name that topped Matt's list for years, and Garrett was Matt's current favorite boy name. Luke was a name my dad suggested since Matt's dad's name is Mark. Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

For middle names we only had two ideas: Campbell and James. Campbell is the Scottish clan on Matt's mom's side.

Initially Matt got to see the baby longer than I, so as we were waiting to get him back from the clean up and tests, I asked if he had any names stick out to him. He said there was a name that came to him, but he wanted me to see him and hear what I thought before he told me his idea.

After I saw him, two names popped into my head and I thought both were quite suitable for our little blondie. One was Walter James. The other was James Campbell. The name that came to Matt was Walter Campbell. I thought that was also a suitable name after hearing it. I was totally torn and couldn't figure out what name was "the best" for him. After mulling it over two days in the hospital, I kept coming back to Walter. Maybe it was because I mentally referred to him as such the last few months of pregnancy.

I really liked Campbell for a middle name, but it just didn't seem to flow right syllabically with Walter. Wal-ter Camp-bell Bras-field. It wasn't bad; I could live with it, but it just didn't feel right to me. So then I was back to Walter James. When I told Matt I was leaning toward that, he said to go with it.

Even after we put it down on the birth certificate papers, I was a little worried we'd given him the wrong name. Was he really James Campbell?

After having him home for a week I feel like we made the right choice. Walt just works.

Deep Breath

More tears today.

Some came from anticipating my parents' leaving tomorrow morning.

Some came as I was realizing that Dean will never again be the boy he was and I will never again be the mother I was just one week ago.

It's all a part of life, I know.

Every phase of life has made me a different person, and has provided new opportunities for growth. I'm usually just fine closing old chapters and starting new, but this has felt a little harder. I am very happy to have our little Walt. I just need to come to terms with the fact that life will be different and I won't be able to meet all of Dean's, Walt's, Matt's and/or my needs all the time. I also need to figure out how to let Dean know I love him when I can't hold him. Additionally, I need to figure out how to teach Dean that Walt is fragile so I can keep Dean from killing him out of jealousy and/or love.

As a side note: Dean is completely avoiding our bedroom and is still pained an panicked at the rocking chair being in there.

Saturday, August 01, 2009


Dean and Walt look quite different as babies. Dean had dark hair and was much more filled out. He never had the "old man" look. With Dean I thought Pampers were horrible diapers because they never fit him properly. Low and behold, Huggies are a little too big for Walt and the Pampers fit him! haha. So, Pampers for skinny babies and Huggies for chubby babies...

So far Walt has really been a dream baby. He rarely cries and he has his nights and days correct. He has been so laid back and relaxed and I am very grateful for that!! His jaundice is getting better and he's not quite as yellow today. He eats really well and generally doesn't complain. He's a little squeaky at times and occasionally the sound of his breathing scares me, but he's been great.

My incision burns much more than I remember. It's worst when I move a lot and after I sleep. My back seems more tired as well, but that's probably from having another little guy to look after. With my parents here I've been able to keep up with the two boys. We'll see how I do come Wed. when they leave, I can't drive, and Matt's at work. =( I tried going to the store with Matt last night and it's amazing how taxing it was just walking around!

It was Matt's 28th birthday on Friday. We had a german chocolate cake with delicious homemade frosting. He had to cook his own birthday dinner (pastrami burgers, grilled zucchini and fries), and I felt kinda bad about that. All part of adjusting to a new baby, though.

Dean really has been behaving much better than I had anticipated. He seems pretty panicked that I'm going to leave him again, and it breaks my heart I can't pick him up to console him. Considering his life has been turned completely upside down, he's been quite good. He'll tell me to put down or stop feeding Walt occasionally, but he's also shown his "baby brother" lots of love.

Here are some of the good:

Yesterday Dean said "share" and put his favorite blankie on Walt. SO CUTE!

Dean likes to pat Walt's head and usually is good about being gentle. It's a little scary though.

Dean often waves to and tells Walt hi.

He tries to rock Walt when he's in the swing or in his car seat. Again, a little scary, but he's trying to show love.

The not so good:
He steals Walt's pacifier for himself. (Which is funny since he never really used one as a baby.)

Last night Dean had had enough change and had the biggest melt down I've ever seen him have.

We've kept both a rocker and a glider in Dean's room since he moved in there at 3 months. Yesterday Matt moved the glider into our room for night feedings. Dean did not like that one bit, but got over it. I decided I didn't want the glider because it just didn't fit right, so at Dean's bed time (mistake one) I had my dad trade it out for the rocker. We didn't bring the glider back first (mistake two), so Dean thought we were taking both of his chairs. He went berserk. Hyperventilating, crazy talking, running around, scream-crying. My mom was changing Walt's diaper at the same moment and was hungry, so he was crying too. I was beyond hungry and quite tired, and I started yelling at Dean to stop acting like he was. I yelled for Matt to come help. We finally got the glider back in his room and I read him books before bed. We were both still crying a little, and he cried himself to sleep.

This morning when he got up, the first thing he talked about was the chair. He had mini melt downs any time he entered our room and saw the chair. Poor kid.