Archive for the ‘Parenting’ Category


Filed under: Parenting — Amy @ 8:13 am



Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

Filed under: Parenting,Such is Life,Travel — Amy @ 4:57 pm

So, I know I didn’t mention it here (because I’m just sneaky and paranoid like that) but many of you are aware that we just returned from a trip to Singapore.  We were able to visit our longtime friends, Rich and Tricia and their family, and had a wonderful time touring the city.

Details and pictures from the trip are coming soon, but for now we are readjusting to the time zone and preparing for company and Koren’s 1st birthday celebration.  The latter tasks are going much better than the first. 

Our systems are apparently still on Singapore time, as we find ourselves waking up at 2am every morning, unable to go back to sleep for the rest of the night.  The kids, whether for better or worse, are not having any time zone difficulties and remain more or less on their normal schedule…which means that by 3 or 4pm every day, Jens and I are WIPED. OUT.

There’s something nice about having the solitary quiet time in the middle of the night for reading etc, but it’s totally not worth it the next day.  Today especially was a challenge, and by 4pm I was seriously considering shipping the kids to Dubai.  At some point today, they both lost the ability to go for more than FIVE MINUTES without incurring a head injury. 

While I was comforting Koren, Kaelin would run into a door knob.  While I was seeing to Kaelin, Koren would end up flat on his back on the tile floor, bawling.  This went on for half an hour until I put them both in the bath tub for their own safety.  It didn’t work, because they got into a tug-of-war over a toy that ended up smacking Kaelin in the face when Koren let go and fell backward.  More hysterical crying ensued. 

So I pulled Koren out of the tub and he immediately took off running across the tile floor while I was trying to wrap a towel around him.  You can guess the outcome of that scenario.  And that’s about the time I committed myself to a mental institution.

On the bright side, thanks to my new mid-night hours, I’m getting caught up on my feed reader.  I’m now down to less than 80 entries to read (from several hundred).  Perhaps I’ll get some pictures and updates posted tonight, er, tomorrow morning.

Lights!  Buttons!  Beeping Noises!

Filed under: Parenting,Photos — Amy @ 7:12 pm

Need an idea for occupying a couple of grumpy kids for a very long time?  Apparently, it does NOT get better than this…




Pep Talk

Filed under: Kaelin,Parenting — Amy @ 2:40 pm

I had a long talk with Kaelin this morning on the way to school.  We discussed being a “big” girl (an idea she’s only eager about when it suits her).  We talked about how she was the only one that could control her emotions, and that she COULD control her emotions.

We talked about how sometimes we have to do things we don’t want to, but that doesn’t mean we get to throw a fit about them.  We talked about laundry and dishes and all the chores that Mama doesn’t want to do but has to anyway.  And what would happen if Mama broke down into tears and whined and fussed every time she didn’t want to do something (an idea she seemed to think was rather entertaining).

We talked about how the other kids in class don’t cry, so maybe if they’re not afraid then there’s nothing to be afraid of.  We tried to pick out exactly what it was that makes her so fitful at drop-off time, after she’s had such a good year.  She never could pinpoint what it was.

We talked about steps she could take when she felt herself getting emotional, and what she could do to stay in control and steer clear of a crying fit.

We talked about how much she likes her teachers and how they must feel when she cries at them for the first half hour of every class.  We talked about her friends.  We talked about how much fun she had every day at school and how her favorite parts were ROMP and Chapel. 

And then I bribed her with ice cream.

In the end, I don’t know if it was the pep talk, or the ice cream or the fact that Mrs. April swept her into activities before she had the chance to think about becoming a drama queen, but whatever the reason…

There were no tears today.

Mother’s Day

Filed under: Holidays,Kaelin,Koren,Oh the Cuteness,Parenting,Photos — Amy @ 4:40 pm

We dedicated Koren on Mother’s Day.  Thanks to a reappearance of the Easter Outfit (I’m totally getting my money’s worth out of this thing), he got his share of “oohs” and “aahs” despite the fact that he was one of the oldest babies in the processional.

Yes, as much as I would love to say, “We were waiting for Mother’s Day,” the truth is that we just dropped the ball on that one.

Hi.  I need a tan.

This past week I had the pleasure of attending a Mother’s Breakfast, courtesy of Kaelin’s preschool class.  The kids made a collection of goodies for all the moms, including a handprint oven mitt, Mom poster, recipe book, and a questionnaire in which they filled out statistics about their moms.  According to Kaelin, I have blue-black eyes and weigh 2005 pounds.  Awesome.

The kids recited a verse with motions.  I didn’t understand a word of it, but it was very cute to watch.

A closeup of the picture on the front of Kaelin’s cookbook.

One of Kaelin’s favorite little friends.  Landry’s PRECIOUS and it’s a delight to watch these two play (and scheme) together.  Oh, and Kaelin’s not a midget, she just “went in low” for the hug.

A Mystery, Wrapped in an Enigma

Filed under: Kaelin,Parenting — Amy @ 7:05 pm

I’ve been mulling this around in my head the past few days because when something less-than-ideal goes on I’m never really sure how to write about it.  And maybe I shouldn’t write about it at all, except that I recall all the times I have read other women’s stories of woe and thought THANK GOD I’M NOT ALONE.

When I started this blog back in the dark ages (you know, 4.5 years ago) it wasn’t meant to be just a string of pictures of MAH PRESHUS BABIES and happy-go-lucky Easter Bunny stories – it was/is a chronicle of my life and real life parenting.  Sometimes I forget that and it’s too easy to erect that protective wall of sunshine for the real-life people I know who read this.

Anyone who has watched her grow up knows that Kaelin used to have some pretty intense separation anxiety issues.  Even at 2 years old, she would cry when I dropped her off at her weekly Mother’s Day Out program.  And FORGET about trying to take her to the “childcare” at a gym or any other facility.

Over the past year, she’s made some remarkable progress in that area.  She LOVES “school” and would chatter all the way into the classroom, often leaving me behind so she could run in to play with her friends and hug her teachers.  It was a breath of fresh air, a relief, and one of those parenting moments that makes you stupidly proud.  We were finally past that stage of being “the crier” in class, and everywhere else. 

Until a few weeks ago.  Since then, we have had a major regression in her insecurity areas. 

She bursts into tears when I drop her off at school and clings to my leg, forcing me to physically remove her and push her away and leave her calling after me while the teacher holds her.

She has major meltdowns over the most random stuff almost every day.  The other day she decided she wants to move back to our old house (which we left 2 years ago).  When that wasn’t an option, she melted into a puddle on the floor because she doesn’t like THIS house anymore and wants to move somewhere else, anywhere else.

She won’t leave my side, won’t even allow me to drop her off with Grandmommy while I go to the store – which even in her most intense 1-year-old separation-anxiety stage was never a problem.

And even when she’s happy, she’s not … herself.  It’s a manic, uncontrolled “happy” that has her bouncing around and being more physically aggressive than I’m used to or comfortable with.

My mom tells me I shouldn’t overreact and I’m all, ME???  OVERREACT???  I DO NOT OVERREACT. 

I have to admit that there’s a part of me that determined, WE GOTTA MOVE BECUZ MAH BABY GIRL DOESN’T LIKE OUR HAAAUUUUUSE!!!

Ahem (stuffs freak-out southern accent back into pocket).

I’m pretty sure I can trace it back to Jens leaving for a business trip a few weeks ago.  He’s had a couple of them recently and it really seems to be hitting her hard – which is pretty new.  Each time he leaves, she deteriorates further.  And I spent 2 nights away from home for an out of town wedding 2 weeks ago.

So I guess I sort of GET it, but I don’t UNDERSTAND it.  And I sure don’t know how to FIX it.

Because empty words like, “It’s going to be ok, you’ll have fun” aren’t enough for a child who can’t rationalize her fear.

And knowing that “It’s just a phase” doesn’t mean anything to the parent whose heart is being sliced to pieces every time she has to don the facade of cheerfully peeling her child off her leg and waving goodbye. 

It’s not enough when you’re scooping up a child who doesn’t even know why she’s screaming at the top of her lungs and holding her tight while she thrashes about because of an internal stress she can’t explain. 

It doesn’t suffice when anger over a completely inappropriate screaming fit that woke the baby wars against pity for a hurting child… and the knowledge that regardless of which one wins, I’ll regret the way I handled the situation.

…So Jens is back today.  And I saw hints of improvement in Kaelin’s demeanor.  Tomorrow he’s taking half a day off and we’re taking a family trip to the Children’s Museum.

But guess what?  In a few weeks, we’re dropping the kids off with their grandparents in Seattle for a week while we take the trip of a lifetime to Singapore.

And my head is in my hands imagining the repercussions of this little pleasure jaunt we thought was such a great idea.

Filling Space

Filed under: Blogging,Koren,Marriage,Parenting — Amy @ 7:21 pm

I know it’s been a little quiet around here lately.  I don’t like that.  Because as much as I love and adore you beautiful people and it warms my heart to read your caring and funny comments, the truth is that I do this blogging thing for me. 

For my own ridiculously deficient memory so that later I can look back and relive all those moments I would otherwise have forgotten.

For all those nostalgic moments when I see my kids growing up entirely too fast and wish I could hold onto those pieces of their youth just a little tighter, for just a little longer.

And for my children, so that when they’re older they can look back and see what it was like to be their mother – the milestones, the incredible highs, and yes, even the lows.

So when I don’t get around to posting frequently, it amounts to lost time.  A wider gap that will probably never be filled in. 

It’s not that every moment needs to be chronicled – I’m not under the illusion that our lives are that important or interesting.  But I find that a lot of the moments I treasure in retrospect are not necessarily things I think are that momentous at the time.

[insert subject change]

I took Koren to the ENT today, and it looks as though our dear little boy will be getting tubes.  This has been a long time coming and can’t happen soon enough, IMHO.  He’s been on a steady stream of antibiotics since January, which bothers me on a couple of levels – not the least of which being that they haven’t actually helped.  He STILL has ear infections.  Because antibiotics just keep bacteria at bay, but they don’t help the root of the problem, which is the mass of fluid buildup that he just can’t get rid of.

He has made some improvement over the last week after a particularly strong dose of antibiotics (the shots, I don’t recall what they’re called), and he is no longer doing the incessant Nazgul shriek that had me clawing at my own ears.  And despite the still-infected ears, he’s a generally happy little guy, which tells you that they must have been REALLY painful before (“puss” is not a term you want to hear when the doctor is describing your child’s inner ear).

So on that front, it looks like we’re heading toward the light at the end of the tunnel.  And not a moment too soon.

All in all, the timing of the ear infections was pretty rotten because we had JUST gotten him to start sleeping through the night.  But with ear infections and illness, teething, crawling and the general 8-Month Sleep Regression upon us, it pretty much created the perfect storm of CRAP NIGHTS.  As in, Child Can’t Sleep AT ALL Unless Mom is Holding Him in the Rocking Chair nights.

There is nothing that throws my own frailty in my face like losing sleep.  I mean seriously, I know people who are dealing with cancer, ailing parents, financial horrors, and children diagnosed with debilitating diseases.  And here I am, crippled into a sobbing nervous wreck because ONE of my otherwise healthy children has an ear infection and I’ve lost some sleep.

Thankfully, I have a pretty stellar husband who, when I finally asked for some help because I could not handle another night of it without throwing myself down the stairs, took over and let me get a full night in peace.  I woke up a new person, with a clear head and a greater appreciation for this partnership called marriage.

The sleeping thing?  It’s still not great, but it’s getting better.  As I type this, Koren has been asleep in his own bed without assistance for almost 3 hours.  And now I’m going to shut up about it before I jinx it and mess up a possible night’s sleep.  Ciao!

Sick Update

Filed under: Family,Holidays,Kaelin,Kid Quotes,Parenting — Amy @ 7:07 pm

Well, the kids are mostly well, though it is no coincidence that Kaelin’s new favorite pretend game is “playing Doctor.”  The one remaining problem is that we just can’t kick Koren’s ear infections.

After the 3 rounds of medications, we ended up giving him some shots yesterday, and he goes back for a second round tomorrow if the doctor doesn’t see enough improvement.  If those still don’t do the trick, we have to start talking to ENTs about going the tubes route.  Not entirely surprising, since Jens and I both struggled with ear infections as kids, and I had to have tubes put in.  Twice, I think.

Predictably, I ended up catching all the junk the kids were going through a couple of weeks ago, so I’m just getting over the cough and it’s making its way into my nose and eyes.  This event has brought me to a revelation about parenting that I’d never really considered before since I so rarely get sick:

When your children are sick, you take care of the children.  When you get sick, you take care of the children. 

Does it sound slightly unfair to anyone else that parenthood is the only job to which you can’t “call in sick?”

But enough about all that.  Even I’m tired of hearing myself go on about HALP! MAH KIDZ R SIIIIIIIICK BLAH BLAH AAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH, so I can imagine you all are ready to beat your heads with a frying pan because the coma would be a relief.

Tomorrow is my 29th Birthday!  Well, my first 29th birthday, at least.  I’ll probably have a few more before I’m ready to embrace the reality of “30-something.”  I received a wonderful surprise from my husband for my birthday, as a brand spanking new convection oven showed up at our house yesterday! 

As in, an oven that can actually get hotter than 350° AND manages to reach something close to the temperature you set it to AND stays at that temperature longer than 10 minutes!  Obviously, this is a drastic improvement over my old hunk of junk.

This splendid piece of equipment means that if my baking sucks now, it is actually my fault.  While that seems a little daunting, it’s totally a risk I’m willing to take.

As a side story, Kaelin is at the point now where she occasionally tries very hard to act all “grown up.” 

Case in point, when the guys showed up to install the oven this morning, they called me “Ma’am” when they had questions.  After chatting with them and listening to them for a little bit, Kaelin turns to me and says, “Um, Ma’am, I’ll be back in a little bit.  I need to go over there and help them work on this.”

Wishing it was Just Yellow Cottage Cheese

Filed under: Koren,Parenting,Peaves — Amy @ 10:51 pm

Today (well technically, yesterday) I came dangerously close to hurling poopy diapers at a couple of old ladies.

It was one of those days.  The weather was horrid, and school was delayed, but Koren’s doctor appointment wasn’t, so I had to bring Kaelin to the appointment which was sort of bad because if you’ve met my daughter you know I can’t have a conversation with Kaelin in the room without telling her to be quiet 523,423,456 times. 

We spent 45 minutes trying to drive a distance that should have taken 10 minutes because Texas drivers tend to FREAK OUT because OMG IT’S COLD OUTSIDE WE DON’T KNOW HOW TO DRIVE WHEN IT’S COLD AAAAAGGGGHHHH and the doctor’s office couldn’t wait on us, so after we had suffered through the entire drive (seriously, 5 mph down a dry road) they called to tell me I had to reschedule the appointment.

Finding myself with an hour to kill in 20° weather with 2 kids in the car and nowhere to go, we decided to stop for bagels before Kaelin’s school started.  I opened the car door and immediately found myself flat on my back in the iced-over parking lot. 

The kids perked up in the bagel shop, evidently not nearly as scarred from the wasted morning as I was, and both were in a good mood in the warmth of the shop.  Such a good mood, in fact, that I had to take them out because they were laughing at each other so loudly that it was causing a disturbance.

I had managed to snag a same-day rescheduled appointment for Koren, so we again tried the trek to the doctor’s office after we dropped Kaelin off at school.  Fortunately, we were closer that time.  The appointment went pretty well except…

Koren has been suffering from a bout of diabolical mutant diarrhea which renders all diapers and attempts at containment useless.  Apparently, it’s been going around and it sounds like he got it from school.  It shoots immediately out the back of the diaper and soaks through his clothing and anything else within a 5-foot radius.  Consequently, we have all been undergoing multiple clothing changes per day.

We finished the appointment and he got his shots and I was doing the post-trauma hold and comfort.  And that’s when I heard it.  Then I felt it.  It was monumental.  It was suddenly everywhere, on everything.  PEOPLE, THE CHILD HAD POOP IN HIS ARM PITS.  I even had to change his socks.  Except, I didn’t have any extra socks because for some reason when I think “diaper change” it doesn’t occur to me that he will poop in his socks.

I spent 15 minutes in the tiny exam room trying to clean runny yellow cottage cheese off every body part and surface I could with the pitiful number of wipes I had available.  Koren’s doctor’s office makes you take dirty diapers with you instead of throwing them away in the office, so guess how excited I was to find out I was on my last disposable diaper baggie.

When I finally finished, I exited, lugging my very heavy baby, a giant baggie full of nasty, a diaper stuffed with poopy laundry, and my personal belongings out the door.

…Which is where I ran into two older women who saw fit to inform me that it was COLD OUTSIDE and give me grief about the fact that my baby needed a blanket in this weather.  They continued the conversation between themselves as I left.  Jesus saw me mentally giving them the finger.

I still had errands to run and couldn’t drop Koren off at Mother’s Day Out in his current condition, so he had to come with me, which meant a trip to Babies R Us to restock supplies.  My poor best friend happened to call while I was huffing around the store, and was (along with the other customers) subjected to a rant about I QUIT, I’M DONE, This is the WORST! DAY! EVER! and OMG TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS FOR A BABY BLANKET, AT WHAT POINT DID I LAND ON PLANET INSANE?

I think it might be a while before she calls me again.

When we got home, Koren spent some time on the poop mat.  And this is a testament to the severity of our situation:  People, we have a POOP MAT, which is where he gets to spend a few minutes in his diaper after every bottle until we hear the inevitable explosion.  It’s even better in the middle of the night – and it ALWAYS happens in the middle of the night.  If this thing doesn’t clear itself up in a day or two, I’m going to start entertaining thoughts of throwing myself down the stairs.

Plz send wipees.  And chocolate. kthxbai.


Filed under: Current Events,Parenting — Amy @ 9:29 am

I’m sorry, but THIS:

On Tuesday of this week, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said that it found the toxic chemical melamine in … formula made by the three biggest U.S. manufacturers: Abbot Labs, maker of Similac; Mead Johnson, maker of Enfamil; and Nestle, maker of Good Start.

really just pisses me off.

Particularly this:

FDA officials insist the levels are so low they don’t pose a health threat…

followed by this (emphasis added):

Last month the FDA said any melamine exposure level is unsafe for infants.

Can someone please tell me what melamine (or a “chemical by-product of melamine”) is doing in American-made baby formula?  And why the FDA seems to be changing their stance on melamine now that it’s an issue here?  And why it took a “secret test” to determine that there were harmful chemicals in the formula, despite the assurances of the manufacturers?


Letter to the Manufacturer

Filed under: Parenting — Amy @ 2:35 pm

Dear God,

I think there’s been a mistake.  See, I’ve looked EVERYWHERE and I can’t seem to locate the “Mute” button on my children.  I’m sure it must have been an oversight. 

Also, I have yet to find the “Sleep Mode” button.  Please send a technician out to install both.  And if you could throw in a remote-control version, that would be helpful too.  I would be willing to pay extra for that feature.

One more thing, I seem to have misplaced the owner’s manual – although oddly, I don’t remember getting one – and so I need some troubleshooting assistance.  See, my new KJ2008 version is awesome, but seems to have this tendency toward exiting Sleep Mode at some truly blasphemous hour in the morning.  I would appreciate it if you could send some instructions for rectifying this problem. 

Or at least send some caffeine.

One Tired Mama

He’s Lucky He’s So Cute

Filed under: Holidays,Kaelin,Koren,Parenting,Photos — Amy @ 7:57 pm

Last week I took the kids to a Pumpkin Patch.  Twice.  It sort of went like this…

(Ok, deep breath)

We left the house and Koren was sleepy, so rather than go to sleep in his car seat he started crying.  The crying escalated just in time to get trapped on the highway because they blocked off all the exits to the roads we needed to take so it took us an extra long time to get to the pumpkin patch, which was difficult to find because it was at a church under construction so they had no sign and about 2 pallets of pumpkins sitting on the ground with construction trucks in the background. 

It was supposed to be a play date so while we waited in the parking lot to see what the next course of action would be, Koren went into convulsing hysterics because he had also realized that in addition to sleepy, he was hungry.

Everyone else decided to go to the nearby mall but there was no way I was going to take Yelly McScreamypants into a mall and Kaelin had her heart set on going to a pumpkin patch so she started whining about the pumpkin patch and then crying because Koren was screaming so loud it was making her ears bleed. 


Feeling unable to make it all the way home amidst the screeching, I pulled over to comfort him and try (unsuccessfully) to convince him that no baby has ever died from drinking a lukewarm bottle and that it might actually help him feel better.  When that failed, my Plan B was to offer his pacifier.  His response to both was something along the lines of NO THANKS, I WOULD RATHER CONTINUE CRUSHING YOUR WILL TO LIVE.

So we drove the rest of the way home with the screeching which, predictably, stopped exactly 15 seconds before we reached the driveway.  I trucked everyone and everything into the house, stopping briefly to torch my husband who happened to be standing in the way because there’s something about being screamed at for a solid hour that MAKES ME STABBY.  I hurried to heat up a bottle which I ended up putting back in the refrigerator because the babe was sound asleep and had no intention of waking up for something as inconsequential as FOOD.

Kaelin was still begging to go to a pumpkin patch, so I got on the internet to find a replacement that hopefully didn’t SUCK SO MUCH and settled on a nice little one (with pictures!) about 15 minutes away.  So when Koren woke up and had eaten, we and my MIL trekked out to the new patch and arrived to find a patch full of ROTTEN. PUMPKINS.

Evidently you have to buy Halloween costumes a month early if you want to get good pictures at a pumpkin patch.

Fortunately, Kaelin didn’t notice because she was having entirely too much fun rolling around in the dirt and hay.  And they did have a small “hay maze” which kept her occupied for at least 10 minutes.  So she got her hay and I got my pictures and Koren narrowly avoided getting shipped to Zimbabwe and somehow we all lived to tell the tale.

Pea Pod & Daisy

About Me

Hi. I'm Amy. I started this website in 2005 as a place to deposit my journal and photos. It has gone through a few incarnations and masquerades as a family site, but since I'm the only one who contributes to it, it's really all about ME, ME, ME.

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