I feel like the stage of life we are currently in is walking a fine line between sanity and shear madness.  I feel like I am losing my mind.  I am totally exhausted and feel like I just keep saying the same thing over and over again.  I can’t keep up with the speed at which my children go through laundry or their creations of more chaos.  I need time to care for myself and my own health, but if I focus on anything other than the day-to-day keeping-my-head-above-water tasks, it all goes to “hell in a hand basket “. There are not enough hours in the day! I see other moms that are so sweet and so patient, while I am pulling my hair out.  I want to run away, scream, cry, hit something, scream some more, sleep, maybe scream a few more times, and then when I return, have every chore done, the world organized, and my children behaving like sweet little humans instead of a pack of wolves.  ”Please use your inside voice, walking feet, use your words, please put your dirty clothes in the laundry basket, let’s go outside, use your normal voice, please pick up these toys, why are you screaming, you don’t need a band-aid, you aren’t even bleeding, brush your teeth, time for bed, you don’t need a drink and yes you are tired!”  … and repeat!  Everyone says to cherish these days for they will be over too soon, but really, I am not so sure I am going to see the day. I miss the days when they were little babies that just sat there a cooed, but I remember that being challenging as well, just in a different way. Is there something wrong with me, or is this really what it is all about?    

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I am so excited for some family fun time this summer.  We have some great adventures planned including two plane trips, one long and one not so long, but very early in the morning, and one long road trip.  For the long road trip and the shorter but early plane trip, we will be traveling with my in-laws and two nieces  We have a little girl who is almost 3, a boy who is 4 and 1/2, and the cousins are 2 and almost 5.  It should be great!  The worst thing that could happen is they scream and fight the whole way, but to ensure that they will be happy and cooperative for at least some, if not most, of the trip, I have been planning for weeks!  Here is a quick guide to a successful adventure with 2 toddlers, and sometimes more!

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Tip #1: Have little goodies wrapped individually!  This is so much fun for the kids and it slows them down so they don’t go through all the resources too quickly.  I collected a variety of items from the dollar bins at the craft store, grocery store, and of course, the Dollar store.  Not everything was a dollar, but there was nothing over $5.  There are some new things and a few items they just play with when we travel. Included in this picture:

– “What to Doolde at the Zoo” (There are a variety of these little activity books) 

http://www.amazon.com/What-Doodle-Zoo-Dover-Books/dp/0486478181/ref=sr_sp-atf_title_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1370040725&sr=8-3&keywords=Doodle+at+the+zoo

-“Water Wow” activity book (these come in a variety of topics) 

http://www.amazon.com/Melissa-Doug-Water-Activity-Book/dp/B009B7F6E8/ref=sr_sp-atf_image_1_1?s=aps&ie=UTF8&qid=1370040796&sr=1-1-catcorr&keywords=water+wow+melissa+and+doug

-Magentic activity board- (also in a variety of themes)

http://www.amazon.com/Imaginetics-M81051-Ballet-Time-Set/dp/B004OKY6PC/ref=sr_sp-atf_image_1_1?s=toys-and-games&ie=UTF8&qid=1370040982&sr=1-1&keywords=ballet+magnetic+toys

-STICKERS!

-New coloring book

-Silly Putty

For this long road trip, we are talking about 4 toddlers and four adults in one vehicle for 8 hours each way! I have a set of wrapped activities for each kiddo and we will space them out along the way.  We also went to our local library and picked out a couple of books on CD for the kiddos.  We have a portable DVD player and Ipads if push comes to shove, but I would really like to keep their little brains moving as much as possible, since their bodies can’t be.

Tip #2: Have an abundance of car-friendly snacks including fresh fruit, fruit leathers, crackers, veggie sticks, trail mix, etc.  Try to stay away from sugary snacks, but a sucker may keep them busy for a bit too if they are being extra good. It is fun to put things in little containers for each kiddo- this is not only fun for them, but it may save on messes for you.

Tip #3: Keep little Hands busy!  This little homemade activity is a marble maze.  I made a couple of them and they are each different.  This is working their brain and hands, but is totally quiet, and mess free! Take a piece of felt and a piece of fabric the same size and sew the maze onto both pieces, creating a pocket for the marble.

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Tip #4: When traveling by airplane, try to keep the activities small, light weight, quiet, and highly engaging.  Our plane trip this summer will be across the country.  Our flight leaves very early in the morning both ways and will take 3 different planes.  I will need to remember to pack my patience hat, and a lot of fun! Here are some ideas.

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All of these items fit nicely into my carry-on with plenty of room for changes of clothes snacks, etc.  Each kiddo will also have their own little carry on that they get to help pack and I will use my bag of tricks to keep them engaged when they need a change.

Tip #5: pack changes of clothes in Ziploc baggies! This makes a trip to an airplane bathroom easier to manage and it keeps any soiled items away from everything else in the bag. A small bag of wipes (regular or flushable) is a good idea too.

Tip #6: Plan extra time for everything, no matter how you are traveling.  There might be something cool to see along the way, there could be traffic, there could be lines, there could be someone who needs to go potty, AGAIN!  Traveling with kiddos should be about the journey and the memories made along the way.  It should be as relaxed and fun as possible.

Tip #7: Don’t forget your child’s special thing!  My son has a blue blanket and my daughter has a stuffed puppy and if we forget them, there will be no sleep! They are also a comfort in strange places and a distraction when times get tough.  

Tip #8: Travel in light weight and soft clothing.  Comfortable slip on shoes are a must for everyone.

Tip #9: Remember to pack a light jacket or sweater in the carry-on bag. You never know if it will be chilly or too warm, but it is better to dress in layers and be prepared.  The worst thing is a whiny little person who is cold and cranky because of it.

Tip #10: Post pictures of who will see a few weeks before hand, where you can talk with your children about who they are going to see and the fun things you are going to do together.  Get them involved in the preparations and excitement before the trip.  This will help them be more cooperative to get there.

Remember to have fun.  The whole point of having a family was to have people to share your life with and traveling can be such a great experience.  My children are great little travelers, but it usually takes a bit of planning and forethought on my part to make it a lot of fun.  If they are having fun, we are all having fun. I hope these ideas are helpful and you enjoy the journey with your little people!

 

It is amazing to me how time flies!  I can’t believe the last time I blogged was shortly after Jeliya’s birth. Oh wait, yes I can, because right after that I lost my mind and every username and password stored in it!  I forgot I had a blog until I recently had the urge to share some craft ideas I had and pass along a bit of wisdom to anyone who would listen. I told my husband I wanted to start a blog to share my thoughts, and he said I already had one.  Well, indeed I do! So here goes- this blog has evolved and will be a place for me to share the craziness of our lives, the fun projects I attempt and any wisdom I have to offer that may be useful to another mama/parent during these precious years of raising little people.

When I awoke at 6:30 Monday morning, my world was spinning. I felt like I needed to go to the bathroom but as I stood up, everything went sideways. I clung to the bed, the walls, and the counter as I stumbled to the bathroom. Nausea overwhelmed me and I began to heave. I returned to bed, and asked Geoffrey for a Popsicle. It was raspberry. I ate it and then lost it a few minutes later, but at least a little bit of sugar and fluids made it into my system. I returned to bed once more and lay there wishing the world would just stand still. I felt the smallest little twinge and heard a quiet snap in my belly, but thought nothing of it because this baby had been so active and I had heard little sounds like that before. At one point I turned to Geoffrey and said, “I wonder if this could be a little person trying to make its way into the world. Maybe this baby will be born today.”
Around 7:00 Caleb stirred and Geoffrey went for him. I stood up to prepare to start the day and felt the familiar gush of water. I waddled to the bathroom trying not to drip. The water was clear and it was pooling on the floor. I grabbed a hand towel and walked to the bathroom doorway where I announced to Geoffrey, “My water just broke”, with a smile and a nervous giggle. Geoffrey and Caleb showered, while I heaved some more, and then I called Missy, our midwife. Given our past experience with Caleb’s birth, she was nervous to wait too long in coming over, but I assured her there were no contractions and I felt fine, other than the occasional nausea which seemed to have subsided for the moment. I showered and dressed in a comfy purple dress, and did my hair up for the impending labor ahead.

Missy called to check on us when she was on her way over. She wanted to stop for a coffee but didn’t want to risk being late for a birth, but I assured her again that things were not moving nearly as fast. She arrived a few minutes later, coffee in hand, and we began the process of preparing for a birth. She checked our vitals, listened to baby, took some notes on what all had happened so far, and we went upstairs to unpack the birth kit and set up. I had mild contractions off and on, but no worse than Braxton Hicks in recent days. My body surged with excitement and fear. Missy watched us for a while and then decided to send us on a walk while she attended to other matters. We were to eat, drink, walk, rest, and check in with her in a couple hours. We put Caleb in the wagon and went walking. As we walked, we picked blackberries, ate yogurt, and tried to process what was and what was to come.

Throughout the day I drank red raspberry leaf tea, went for walks, and breathed through each contraction as it came, but the road was long. We continued to check in with Missy and when she arrived to check in on us as evening came, we were all certain that this little babe would emerge under the cover of night.

I awoke to some good contractions at 1:00 a.m. and managed through them until about 4:30 when they slowly subsided. Caleb sensed the changes in the air and joined me through most of this wakeful period. As much as Geoffrey and I tried to get him back to sleep, he could not rest until we all did. There was no call to Missy, there was no baby.
With the dawning of a new day and the clock ticking, I felt a sense of urgency in the morning. I awoke around 6:30, before Caleb and Geoffrey, and snuck quietly out of the house. I walked as fast as I could, trying to stir up some contractions, but they did not come. I continued to leak water with every step. Just before 8:00, I called Missy. She had just woken up and was so surprised that she got a full night’s sleep. She took her time getting ready and came over to check on us.
In the meantime, we got up, got some breakfast for Caleb and arranged for him to go to Tata’s (Esther Bain). She very rarely misses a day of yoga, but this was a special request and she arrived about half an hour after we called her. I needed to make contact with my primal brain and that is just not possible when dealing with the minute to minute of a toddler’s life.
Once Caleb was gone and Missy had come, we had some decisions to make. We had already passed the 24 hour mark from the time my water broke. At this point, there was no sign of any emerging infections, but time was running out. If we were working with an OBGYN we would’ve been “forced” to deliver at this point, but being that we were at home under the watchful eye of our midwife, we had until the 48 hour mark, if all was well. At 11:00 a.m., our options were (a) to wait until 6:00 p.m., the 36 hour mark, and see what happened, (b) to check me and see if progress was being made, and in doing so, sweep my membranes, or (c) to head to the hospital ASAP. We chose option (b) because after sweeping my membranes with Caleb, it still took a good 12 hours for my body to really respond and we wanted to give my body every chance of catching up in time to deliver at home. The down side of the option we chose is that we really only had 12 hours after an exam to deliver safely because each exam could potentially introduce bacteria that could cause an infection. Since my water had been ruptured for so long, we had to make very calculated decisions at this point. Arriving at the hospital with water broken for 48 hours would mean that mommy and baby would be put through a lot of tests, pokes, and chaos, and as it was we would have to have two rounds of antibiotics as a precaution.
With all of these possible scenarios running through our brains, we set out to give it all we had, pull out all the stops. We swept my membranes and at 11:00 I was 1 cm dilated and about 30 % effaced; we had a long way to go before 6:00, our 36 hour deadline in which we would have to make some tough decisions. Geoffrey made me some extra strong tea and we went walking. On our walk we discussed the issues in front of us and came to the consensus that we would go home, try the breast pump as a last attempt to pick up speed, and pack our bag for the hospital. We thought we should go sooner rather than push the clock if the pump didn’t work.
As we walked in the house, I grabbed a suitcase from the garage and carried it up the stairs. I got online and found a hospital checklist and got packed. Geoffrey reminded me to try the pump, and behold contractions 4 minutes apart, 1 minute long or more; a steady pattern and it continued after the 20 minutes of pumping were over. I started this round of pumping and contractions at 12:45 p.m. We called Missy at 1:30 and gave her the news. She came over to check on us and by the time she got here, the contractions were intensifying and the pattern was holding. I sent Geoffrey out for a sandwich and Cheetos because I was starving and knew I would need my energy. It was the same sandwich that I craved in the early weeks of my pregnancy and he knew it well. I munched through the sandwich between contractions and it never tasted so good.
Missy arrived around 2:00 p.m. and we proceeded in the preparations for this baby to be born. The birth tub got set up, we sent Geoffrey out for a clean hose to fill it, our back-up midwife, Sarah, arrived, and the contractions continued. Missy and Sarah checked heart tones every half hour and the time seemed to be flying. When the contractions had a break longer than 4 minutes apart, I went back to the breast pump and they would pick back up and get stronger. I walked the stairs, pumped, ate, and tried to crack jokes in between contractions. Missy and Sarah were attentive but also gave us space as needed.
At 5:15, after a quiet stretch, it was time for a heart-to-heart. We were approaching our 6:00 deadline and it was time to make some decisions. Missy checked us once more and swept my membranes again in an attempt to stir up the contractions, but the news wasn’t great. We were about 2 cm and maybe 50% effaced. We had made a lot of progress in just a few hours, but time was running out and we needed to have made more progress than that. Our options now were to continue to push on to the 48 hour mark, 6:00 a.m., or to go to the hospital in a calm fashion, get started on the two rounds of antibiotics, and see about some intervention to get my body moving. Our bag was already packed, so we chose to go. I showered and finished the last minute packing, Missy ran home to settle her own home for what may lie ahead and gather her own things, Sarah cleaned up the birth supplies so we would come home to a clean house, and Geoffrey drained the tub. Once again that tub had been set up and taken down with no baby born in it.
I was filled with emotions. I was fearful of all of the unknowns that lay ahead. I didn’t want to go to the hospital and face all of the things I had pictured in my brain. I wanted the home birth experience we had the first time. I was excited that this baby was going to be born in the coming hours. I felt so bad that Caleb would come home and we wouldn’t be there, although he was in good hands with Uncle Ben and Aunt Amy. I sobbed in the shower and welled up at the thought of anything, other than the immediate task at hand.
We got in the car and headed up a caravan to Eugene. In the previous hours, Missy had made arrangements for us to go to Sacred Heart Medical Center at Riverbend in Eugene, as opposed to going to the hospital here in Corvallis because of who was on call Tuesday night. The OBGYN on call here has the nickname of the “Corvallis Butcher” and has the highest C-section rate in this area, as well as a reputation for not being much fun to work with and botching some of her surgeries. Missy said she couldn’t take us there in good conscience, knowing us and what kind of birth we wanted.
I had a glass of white wine before we left to make the ride more manageable, and it was quite pleasant. Geoffrey and I joked, and talked and were quiet as we made the trip. I shed a few tears as I processed it all, and then would look at him and smile. I felt so blessed to have him and our team of midwives behind us.
We arrived with our ante rage, and walked into the most beautiful hospital. It felt more like a resort and part of me felt like I was going on vacation. We went up to the fifth floor and turned left off of the elevator; the sign said labor and delivery, but it all felt so surreal. A blonde-haired nurse showed us to our room; room 13. This no longer felt like a resort and the reality of the situation began to sink in. We all made small talk about the view and the posters on the door until the admitting lady came in.
She was a serious older lady with gray hair in a ponytail and glasses. Geoffrey, trying to be a good husband, walked over to answer her questions. She asked for a name, meaning my name, and he gave her his. She said, “are you the patient?” Funny question given that we were in the maternity unit. He said no and she pretty much told him he wasn’t going to be of any use to her. Missy, Sarah, and I chuckled at her and I proceeded to answer her questions. She said, “Race for the government” and I just looked at her, quite perplexed, not knowing how to answer. She wanted to know my race as I would like it to be known by the government, but I totally didn’t understand. I said, “I don’t want to run for government” and we all had a good laugh, although I was serious. She didn’t find it funny and pressed on with the correct options; Caucasian. We finished signing the paperwork around 8:30 as the contractions began to pick up speed once again.


We met our nurse, Danette, and she got the IV carrying fluid and our first round of antibiotics started, and we got hooked up to the monitors. Blood was drawn and the journey continued. The contractions resumed the 4-1 pattern although it seemed like they were much closer to me. Missy was right by our side every step of the way, matching me breath for breath. She knew when to touch me and when to give me space. The Dr. we were working with wanted to start Misoprostol, which is a cervix ripening agent in the form of a vaginal suppository, but can cause contractions to be stronger. It is usually used in women that need or choose to be induced because the cervix has to soften and open before dilating. I commented on how long the applicator was because I didn’t realize how far up my cervix was. Danette just looked at me and said, “well if you think about it…” and we all had a really good laugh. Before we applied the Misoprostol, I felt like I needed to pee in order to relax for the procedure. The movement of getting off the bed and going to the bathroom caused the contractions to intensify and they seemed to be closer together. Missy got on the phone with the Dr. and convinced him that the Misoprostol would make the contractions uncontrollable and we wouldn’t be able to reverse it, and I probably didn’t need it; all I really needed was time.
During this time, baby’s heart tones dropped from the 130’s down to the 90’s. They would come back up, but decelerations like that are an early sign of fetal distress. I wanted to take a bath, but Missy and the nurses wanted me to get back on the bed so they could more closely monitor baby for a while longer. I didn’t know all of this until later, but that is probably a good thing. Baby’s heart tones came back up after about four contractions and stayed perfect throughout the rest of the labor.
After the heart tones issue, the blood work came back and I had an elevated white blood cell count which is an early sign of infection. In hindsight, I could’ve had an underlying infection which caused the water to break, as opposed to baby breaking it, or my hormones causing it to thin and break. Also, Baby’s heart tones decelerating could have been attributed to the start of an infection in her and they resolved about the time the antibiotics reached the placenta. We may never know what caused it all to be, but it was a good thing that the blood work results came back after the heart tones had returned to normal, because water being broken that long, plus the white blood cell counts, plus baby in the early stages of distress, could have put us on the road to an emergency C-section really quick, when it wasn’t totally necessary. On all accounts, we had made the right decision to go to the hospital when we did and receive antibiotics because it would have been a very different situation had we waited any longer or not gone at all.
The contractions began to feel more like what I remember with Caleb and my body was involuntarily pushing at times. This alerted the Dr. and the nurses. At one point I went into a contraction holding Geoffrey’s hand and no one else was around. When I came out of it there was Geoffrey, Missy, Dr. Morgan, and two or three nurses encircling my bed and all eyes were on me. I opened my eyes, stopped mid breath, and said, “hi” to them all and they all laughed. At least I still had my sense of humor. They decided it would be best to check me because they didn’t want me pushing against a cervix that was not ready, causing it to swell and make things more difficult. It was around midnight now and I was only 6 cm and 70% effaced. We had made so much progress in a short amount of time, but I was discouraged and wept. I was just sure we were closer to the end than we were.


I begged to get in the bath tub and this time they let me. It took a few contractions’ time to get the tub filled and they helped me in. The water was such a relief! It didn’t make the contractions any easier, but the relaxation in between was so much deeper and gave me the energy to come back on top of the next wave. At the peak of each contraction I had to fight the urge to push, blowing out a million candles with quick breaths. Geoffrey and Missy stayed with me breath for breath and their breathing reminded me of what I had to do. I was lost in labor land, but at one point a bubble escaped from the tub jets and I said, “that wasn’t me”. I still had a sense of humor. I also commented that I didn’t know why people did this birth thing, it was much too difficult.
After a few uncontrollable contractions, I mentioned that things were starting to burn down there. Missy asked me if they were burning like crowning and I said I didn’t think so. After another contraction I said things were really burning. I think we had 1 or 2 more contractions and Missy and the nurses were yanking me up out of the tub. I was pushing with each contraction now and a nurse with black shoes said, “no pushing in the bathroom”. I yelled, “Shut up” in her direction and Missy said, “this is what she does best”. Would it be the worst thing ever to deliver a baby in the bathroom standing up? Oh wait, I have done that and it all turned out just fine.
Assisted by Missy and Geoffrey on each of my arms, I made my way to the bed. The room seemed to be much busier now and the nasty nurse with the black shoes was ordering me to get up on the bed. She probably wasn’t as pushy and mean as I remember her being, but my perspective was a little different then. With a few short breaths between contractions, I tried to be compliant and do what I was told. I climbed onto the bed and black shoes told me to climb all the way up and roll over onto my back. Part of me was revolting because I never wanted to be strapped down and deliver lying on my back, the most unnatural thing to do, but I did as I was told. At this point in the process, I just wanted the baby out and I didn’t care what I had to do. Black shoes was trying to check me to make sure my cervix was effaced and dilated, while I alternated yelling, “it’s in my butt, it’s burning…”, and pushing the baby out. Shouldn’t that have been a sign to her that no matter what her check revealed, this baby was coming? Hadn’t she ever seen a natural childbirth and been trained to recognize the signs of transition? I screamed at her “GET OUT” and she was gone.
Missy got my attention and we locked eyes. She said I was complete and free to do whatever I needed to do to birth my baby. She told me to take a big breath and focus my energy on the baby and not let it out of my mouth. I never thought I would be a loud birthing mother and the second time surprised me as much as the first. I did not scream, but I growled like a wild beast; a sound I will probably never make again. I wanted to get up off the bed or move into a new position, but I seemed to be paralyzed. I reached my hand down to feel the baby but it still seemed so far away. I took one giant breath in and held it, forcing the baby down. In that moment the room fell silent and everything seemed to be moving in slow motion. I could feel my baby’s warm, slimy, hairy little head emerging from my body. I was the only one who could birth my baby and I was doing it. Somehow the Dr. and the nurses knew not to interfere; I could do it myself! My eyes were closed, but they flew open the instant her head was out and her slippery body was a tiny pop later. I saw the Dr. grab her and lay her on the bed between my feet. I heard Geoffrey say, “What is it?” and then we all shouted together, “it’s a girl!” In an instant she was on my chest, covered in sticky baby butter, and she was beautiful! Geoffrey and I both looked at each other and then back at her, then at Missy and back to her, and we wept with joy.


In the midst of this beautiful moment that I will never forget, the Dr. and nurses were surrounding us with total chaos. With another contraction and a push, the placenta was out and all hell broke loose. I was getting a vaginal and rectal exam while one nurse was doing something with my IV, and we were trying to get my sports bra off so baby could nurse and people were barking orders. The Dr. began suturing before the anesthetic had taken effect and I yelled at him, “I just had a baby, take it easy.” I just wanted to focus on my baby and this beautiful time in her life. This is what I had expected from the hospital and I did not like it one bit, but in hindsight, it was over quickly and then the room was very quiet once again, all but the tiny squeaks and grunts of a newborn baby.


The rest of the story is uneventful. I showered and was escorted to the Mother and Baby unit where we attempted to get a little rest. But who can rest after such a wild few hours. It was already 4:30 in the morning and our nurse would be back at 6:30 to check our vitals. After that there was a steady stream of nurses, Dr.’s, tech’s, housekeeping, an electrician, someone from the kitchen, someone to take pictures, etc. Hospitals are there for a reason and it is where we needed to be, but it is not a restful place to heal. We got discharged as soon as we could; just after noon probably so they could charge us for two days, but whatever.

I remember a conversation with Missy on Tuesday afternoon and she said that we wanted to be able to look back on this experience and say that we played our cards just right and made the best decisions all along the way. I feel like that is the case. I didn’t want a hospital birth, not because I felt righteous about being a strong woman and birthing at home, but because I liked the quiet and the intimacy of our first experience. The hospital was not quiet and intimate at the time of the birth, but it wasn’t all bad. I have healed much faster this time, possibly due to the fact that the suturing was done before anything had time to swell. We got to experience the joy of bringing home a new little baby and carrying her in. We got a lot of free goodies from the hospital and Caleb wasn’t exposed to the chaos and possible trauma of natural childbirth. We still were able to have a natural birth without any medications or interventions, but we did have to have one round of penicillin. We were supposed to have two rounds through the IV, four hours apart, before baby was born, but we had one round in for 3:51 and the Dr. let it slide. Neither of us had to have prophylactic antibiotics. The Dr. called Missy the next day to thank her for her work and for changing his perspective. He had only had one other experience with a homebirth transfer and it was not a good one, so for him to experience our birth with a great midwife had an impact on him.

No matter how much I plan, there is always a bigger picture and sometimes I have to surrender what I envision for the better of myself or my children. My two children have been complete opposites since they were in my womb. Their birth stories were complete outliers in the realm of “normal” childbirth, but all natural nonetheless. I feel privileged to have had two amazing birth experiences, both with their pros and cons. But most of all I am honored to get to be the mother of two amazing, healthy, beautiful little babes! Thank you, God for my Caleb and Jeliya!








Last night around 3:30 a.m., Caleb was crying in his sleep which he doesn’t normally do. After a few minutes when it seemed to escalate, I went in to check on him. He was laying down and crying but didn’t really seem to be awake. I touched his small back and he jumped to a sit. I picked him up and he laid his head on my shoulder and calmed. After a minute or so, he said,”wuv you”, and I said “I love you Caleb.” He then said, “ok” and I proceeded to tuck him back into bed. He was calm for a little while and then fussed some more. Geoffrey took him downstairs, got him a drink, read him a story and then he went back to sleep. I wonder if he had a bad dream or something that caused him to need a little love in the night, but he sure was sweet.


Caleb is growing so quickly and understanding so much every day. He is climbing everything, taking a few tumbles, and learning how to brush himself off. I learn so much from him each day. We have been working on a new discipline technique and it seems to be working. In the middle of a huge tantrum at the library I saw a book on the shelf called, “Positive Time-Out, and over 50 ways to Avoid Power Struggles in the Home and the Classroom”. The premise is that kids behave better when they feel better and punitive time-out does not meet that goal. We have made a time out spot that we call the Quiet Cubby and when Caleb is acting out we ask him if he needs to go there and calm down. He usually chooses to go there on his own, where he takes a few deep breaths and comes back, shows us gentle touches or apologizes and then moves on. It is all by choice, and if he really needs to go there but doesn’t choose it, we go there with him and help him calm down, but not forcing him to sit there like a punishment. We praise him for going to his cubby and for calming his body down and when he returns we ask him if he is feeling better. In the past couple days his behavior is evolving and it seems to be working. When he gets upset outside of the house, we can usually get him to take some deep breaths and only once have we had to take a quiet time in the car until he was feeling better and ready to handle the situation calmly. Now I find him taking big deep breaths even before I remind him or whenever he feels tense. It is so cute and I find myself giggling, but it truly is a good technique that will serve him later in his life. Sometimes Mommy takes a time-out too. I love learning with and from my child. Thank you God for this blessing!


Today was such a beautiful day in Corvallis; a little chilly but the sun felt nice.  We had a picnic in the park, the first real one for you where you got to have your own little lunch and do it yourself.  You had a PBJ sandwich with some tomatoes and cheese, and then you shared a couple cheetos and juice with us. 


After lunch, you and Daddy played on the playground.  Climbing through the tunnel and swinging on the swings were your favorite options.  It sure made my heart smile to see you and Daddy having so much fun together and I know it was special to him too.  You and Mommy spend a lot of time together and it is so neat when it is Daddy’s turn.

Speaking of which, Friday evening I did some yardwork and took a shower while you were napping.  When I came out, I heard you and daddy playing a game on the phone but all the rooms were dark and I couldn’t find you.  I turned on the light and this is what I found.  You and Daddy sitting in your crib playing a game on Daddy’s phone.  It was so funny!  You too are such an awesome pair.

Life is full of new things to try, but tonight we attended a free trial tumbling class at the Little Gym.
Often when we are in a new situation Caleb tends to sit quietly and observe, but he jumped in with both feet to gymnastics and had so much fun. He was giving high-fives to the instructor, following directions, trying all sorts of new things and interacting with the other kids.


Near the end of class it was time for balls and bubbles. Caleb just ran from ball to ball kicking and throwing them and giggling all the time.
He was even a good helper when it was time to put all the balls away. He thought it was pretty fun to run and get a ball to throw into the big trash can.  At music time Caleb took the basket of shaker eggs and handed them out to everyone.  He wanted to shake the whole basket instead of just one shaker and he didn’t mind sharing.  When it was time to put them away, he walked around the circle and let everyone put their shakers into the basket.  Again, he tends to be the observer, but he seemed to be pretty comfortable tonight and it was so neat to see him trying new things.


We are still undecided on whether or not to enroll Caleb in this class, but he sure did have a good time tonight. It was so nice to see him interacting with other kids and adults, following directions and having so much fun. He liked the silly songs, the tumbling mats, the balls and the bubbles, but the most special thing was we got to do it together.


We were lucky enough to hear our little baby’s heartbeat last night. Caleb wasn’t quite sure what to do but he enjoyed playing with the stethoscope and the blood pressure cuff in Missy’s basket. It is so special that Caleb gets to be a part of each visit on our journey to meeting this new little baby. He is and always will an important part of our family along with the new baby and it is fun to see him getting involved.