Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Baby Sam's One Month Check up

Well, the results are in! Baby Sam is 2 inches longer, and about 2 lbs heavier. That is the sum of the information I got at his check up. He's thriving and doing well. Why then, do I feel like he just got a report card for being an infant?

"His weight is in the 50th percentile, his head is in the 75th percentile, and his length is in the 75-99th percentile."

So, is that a B+/A-? Will he make it into college? How can we make up his small head not keeping up with his superior length? What, as a parent, did I do wrong? If my kid isn't making the grade now, what does his future hold? Stupid.

Looking back, I figure that it's all just a ruse to make parents paranoid and/or competitive. Luckily for me, I have traveled this route a few times before. Not only do the parameters change year-to-year, but the numbers don't mean a gosh darned thing. My kid is 100%, A+, Top of the Class where he is supposed to be in his growth.

The best measurements come from a tape measure I have only seen in a picture; Mary Poppins. She wants a quick judge of the children's character and can simply use her tape measure to discover that Michael is: "Extremely stubborn AND suspicious." I want that tape measure! It was a dead-on measurement of something a parent would really want to know! Who needs these random high-faloutin' percentiles? Give me something I can use, "Rather inclined to giggle - doesn't put things away."

I think my kids are in the, "Inclined to pick on sibling, and treat floor as if it were a garbage,"phase - or, "Mischievous every time your back is turned," growth spurt. I dunno, it sounds right to me. And if anyone does find that tape measure, please let me know. I've always wondered if Mary Poppins and I were about the same height, "Practically Perfect in Every Way." :D

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wii're Ready For Summer!

Have you ever been caught short on something that you were going to figure out later? That precisely describes my next two months. Three children at home, one a newborn. Arizona heat. What are we going to do?

Matthew approached me with an idea - to help me out. "I hope it's not swim classes or something! I'm not haulin' around all these kids and trying to feed one, and wrestle the other one from drowning - I'm just not doing that this year!"

"No no," says he, "it's a way to keep the kids entertained, at home, while getting out their energy . . ."

"I'm listening . . ."

"How 'bout we get a Wii?"

I have heard about them, kinda like the Cabbage Patch doll, Tickle-Me-Elmo, shortages of the past. You are smarter not wanting one. And I'll be darned if I'm gonna pay more than retail for it too like those looneys who paid $3,000 for a Tickle-Me-Elmo that they were going to give the grandchild they hoped to have SOME DAY. Stupid - it hurts my Scotch.

Also every mother, I believe, has something that they do - raising their children - that qualifies them to answer the question, "Why I'm a good mother." There is a huge list of reasons of why I am a less-than-adequate mom - I scream at my kids, I let them eat a pudding cup before lunch or, perhaps sometimes, for lunch, I have taken a nap on the couch while Benjamin watched Mickey Mouse clubhouse, etc. etc.

But every mother is a stickler for something; some don't do tv, some eat organic, some start their kids on the piano at age 3, or potty train by 18 months. Me? Well, I have made sure that we don't do video games at my house. No X-Box, Nintendo, Furby, Digi-dogs, shoot 'em up, foul-language time wasters. Nope. I am the Miss Hannigan of video games. PBSkids.org, yes, FisherPrice.com, yes, ClubPenguin.com, yes and even the occasional MathBlaster. Anything else? NO! Not unless it can be shown to have a non-addictive and pro-educational format!! I will have smart and motivated children, so help me! They will be employed in High School, and go to college, not just rot on my couch eating Doritos!
Kids seem to waste inordinate amounts of time in front of them with no educational benefit WHATSOEVER, and the standards for these games are SO LOW. No, no, I won't allow it!

"But they move with the Wii - and it gets their energy out."

It must be sleep deprivation. It sounds like a good idea. And, I figure that since Christmas is over that it shouldn't be too hard to get one now that its the middle of May. So I call my friend Mish and get the lo-down on what to look for. She has four boys, and that, in my mind, is qualification enough to qualify as an expert on educational toys.
She is an uber careful mom, and she gives me the "thumbs up" on it. Okay. Make a little call to Costco - it's not yet 2pm, so we can go out after Abigail gets home and look around if we need to. "We had a pallet of Wii Fits delivered this morning, and we are all sold out. The closest Wii at a Costco is San Diego, CA."

What?!! You're KIDDING ME! Now, I think I want one a little bit more. Well, I'll just do a little research on my own. So I start calling around. Blockbuster. Let's try that.

Bing. "Ma'am [HOW I HATE THAT TERM!] - let me check, I think we may still have one. Yes, we have a Wii Sport, but we don't do reservations - the first person in the store gets it."
I may be indecisive at times, but I can MOVE when inspired! I got there, and got it the "Wii Sport", an additional controller - with 9 games included(for multi player games), and the driver's wheel attachment, complete with Mario Kart. That's a total of 15 games. Uhhh, yeah, that ought to do it!

The very next lady in the Blockbuster had two little boys and said with a frantic look, "I heard you had a Wii!" Well, she got nuthin' but disappointment as I loaded up my boxes and walked over to the checkout line. Now, I'm not totally sure, but I'm bettin' that she would have let the air out of my tires if she'd known which car was mine.

So, we have one. OH MY GOSH! We have one! Matthew set it up lickety split. We tried out bowling first. Matthew seemed to keep dropping the ball at odd speeds. Abigail took to it like fish to water. Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! STRIKE!

For Benjamin, we tried out the Mario Kart. Try to follow my reasoning, "because he likes the movie 'Cars'." It made sense at the store, okay!! Actually, he just holds the wheel at the same angle so that his kart never really passes over the finish line, it just keeps going in a circle with a little prompt that keeps saying, "Turn around!"

I'm starting to wonder about this brilliant plan, and then I see Matthew playing Mario Kart with Benjamin. *light goes on*

"Did you want me to get the Wii for the kids this summer, or was it all a plot just because YOU wanted it?

He avoids my eye, and just mumbles . . .


But, if it gets us through the summer, I'll just let this one slide. Come on over folks, we have Wii! Now, lets try this bowling one again. :D

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Angels Round About to Bear You Up

Today is a day for remembering, and I'm hoping, for reaching out. It has been four years since Hunter Bittle, a wonderful three year old, passed away.

The circumstances are terrible, an impaired driver who hit the car of Melanie Bittle, as she was on her way to Bible study. For details see: http://www.hunterslegacy.com/
I have never met Melanie face to face, but we are truly kindred spirits. I ran across her website when I was searching for a cover picture on "charity" for our ward (church) program in July of last year. It reminded me of the scripture from Moroni 7:47, "But charity is the pure love of Christ, and it endureth forever; and whoso is found possessed of it at the last day, it shall be well with him."

The picture seemed to fit so perfectly. We chatted back and forth, and she okay'd me to use it. Today, I grieve with my friend. Tomorrow it will have been four years since he slipped away. Her consequences of loss are overwhelming, while the driver is now walking free. She is having a hard time, and wondering about what kind of world we live in.

I know that I have THE most awesome friends on earth. Would you please be an angel and drop her a note of comfort? Her blog: http://www.melsperspective.blogspot.com/

D&C 84:88 And whoso receiveth you, there I will be also, for I will go before your face. I will be on your right hand and on your left, and my Spirit shall be in your hearts, and mine angels round about you, to bear you up.

i hope you can be an angel and help to bear her up - because I know too, that you are the best people on earth!

Before and After

Okay, okay, it has been a little while since we offloaded pictures from our camera, but here are a few I thought you would enjoy. We took before and after pregnancy pictures from our hospital stay. That is the same archway near the ER.

The idea seemed so charming at the start, but looking at these now I remember how I felt before and after they were taken. Quite the difference:

Before, I was so excited! We were going to see this little one; I would be done being pregnant, and finally get to hold and snuggle the angel that was kicking the daylights out of my insides. I was thrilled that I would get my body back, have normal bladder functions, and be able to resume normal living - like seeing my skinny ankles again, putting on pants without a struggle, and rolling over without excruciating pain.

After, however, was not the thrill that I had anticipated. It wasn't all that and a bag of chips. Noooooooo. When the "after" photo was taken, I had been on so many pain meds that it overloaded my system. I had just tossed my cookies minutes before. I was glued together at my incision, and walking like an 80 yr old grandma. I was so sore that I remember thinking, "Hurry up and take the dang picture already!" Can you tell? That is me with a fakey smile, just in case you ever wondered.

Things are MUCH better now, and a little time has allowed me to reflect about the differences between what life has been like before and after baby. It's a bit of give and take. Nothing was perfect either way, but we are definitely glad to be on this side of the whole affair. As you can see from my tummy, things were definitely ready to move. Not just the baby either - Yes, those are the infamous brown stretchy pants that were one of the FIRST things to get packed away. Somehow, I just know, that if I'd kept them out and worn them, I would have been but one step away from living in a mu mu.

Before Sam, we packed two able bodied children in the car by saying, "Get in the car!" Now, it's a mini-circus with bottles, cover up blankets, wipes, 5-point harness straps, binkie, and a carrier that weighs more than Sam. Before Sam, I was crossing off anywhere from 8 to 15 things off my "to do" list. Now, I'm lucky to get 1 - 3 things accomplished (one of those items being "take a shower").
But most poignantly, before Sam, we didn't know that our family was incomplete. Now that he's here, we couldn't imagine our family without him. We are all so attached to this little boy, and instead of their being less of love and resources to go around, there is more. We are so blessed to have this little man in our lives. He looks cute as a bug to us, and we think he will be very smart - he observes things very carefully. I also think that he will be tall like his dad. He's all tummy right now, but those feet are long, and look like they're gonna grow.

I am a lot more tired these days, and I drop thoughts and sentences like an old Nokia cell phone, but I am very encouraged that things will get even better, after he learns to sleep through the night! I just hope that happens before too long. :D

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

I have hit the Sweet Sixteen. That is the size of pants that I can fit into without looking like a sausage in its casing. For anyone who has watched their weight go up and up as baby got bigger, you can appreciate that this is quite the milestone for me.

Though I gained plenty with Sam, I took a different approach to showing it. Instead of doing the maternity wear this time through, I did Lane Bryant. Thanks to spandex and 22/24 sized shirts, I got through the majority of my pregnancy without many people knowing. Well, let me correct that, without many people knowing WHY I was in bigger sizes. And even I have to admit that the chocolate brown comfort pants should never see the light of day again. No one wants to ask the chubby girl, "Is that a bigger shirt and pants you're wearing this week?" They just make a mental note, "Crane-girl over there needs to lay off the bon bons."

I'll actually miss some of my clothes - especially that white top I wore around Easter, but I'll gladly pack it away and schlep around in my old 16's simply because I can. Is the elastic shot in my "snap back?" Um, yes, I think it's safe to say that #3 is starting to show some wear and tear on my butt. I used to be a terrific twelve, and after my mission even a terrific 10. Now I'm just glad to be able to buy something off the table at Costco.

And yes, I don't put that particular pair of 16's in the dryer, and they feel a lot more comfy by the end of the day... because I've unzipped them. And yes, the loose belly seems to resemble a second butt when I zip up, but they are ON! And I could zip them again if someone came to the door. I'm hoping that breastfeeding will live up to all the hype and that I can zipper all day every day after awhile. But for now, I'm just going to enjoy being sweet 16, and try and keep the zipper up a little bit more each day.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A Little About Sam . . .

Here are some Fun Facts about the newest member of our household:

Name: Samuel Richard Crane
Named After: Many Samuel Cranes on Matthew's genealogy roster, and my Dad, Richard Bruce Nielsen
Nicknames: Baby Sam, Little Richard, Chunky Monkey, Boobaloo (Uncle Joel calls him "Little Sammy Hagar")
Birthday: April 24, 2008 5:41 pm
Weight at birth: 8lbs 10 1/2 oz.
Length: 20 1/2 inches
Distinguishing Features: Hair darker than both parents, and Grandpa Nielsen's hairline - part on the side, long side burns and that "snap on" look.
Best Guess on all the above: Reagan Nielsen Dickson
Cutest comment: "Now you have a salt, pepper and cinnamon shakers for children!" - Logan Nielsen
Number of Cousins Sam has on My side of the family: Nine - 4 girls and 5 boys
Number of Cousins on Matthew's side of the family: Three - 1 girl (almost 2!)and 2 boys.
Number of relatives also sharing his birth month: five, April 2 - Liesel, April 15 - Noah, April 17 - Eli, April 24 - Paisley (and Sam!), April 29 - Uncle Joel.
Chinese Zodiac Sign: Sign of the Rat
Birth Month Gem: Diamond
Zodiac Sign: Taurus
Sam's favorite awake time: Around 11pm
Birth placement/order: Youngest of three, second son. Testosterone now rules in the Crane household. Matthew is delighted - especially considering that he grew up with 5 sisters and only 1 brother.
Disposition: Very calm, very cuddly - except when hungry. Baby Sam only needs three things in life right now: diaper changes, milk, and a warm body. He loves to fall asleep on anyone's chest, and will stay there for hours.
How the kids are handling the changes: Abigail - not much has changed in her life. She maintains her school schedule and bedtime, except that now she has a new toy to play with.
Benjamin - suddenly can't do a darn thing for himself, and has resorted to a lot of screaming, and my counterscreaming to stop the screaming. He tells me "no!" when I'm feeding the baby, and has been surprised that sometimes mom is on a painkiller enough to get up, baby still attached, and put him in time out. Driving me to my wits end.

Parents opinion: Sam is our Pride and Joy - enjoy the music link!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

E mocht na-Kaiserschnitt hab'n

When my big brother, Joel, was on a mission to Austria, he went with his companion to an Austrian barber. His companion told him that if he wanted a crew cut "flat top", he needed to ask for a Kaiserschnitt. So he did. Loudly, and slowly, a couple of times over, so that the barber could understand. What was he really asking for? A C-section. Elders can be so cruel to greenies.

And I don't think that he wanted one any more than the one that I got. Besides having a totally cold room and wearing nuthin' but my gown, I told the anesthesiologist that drugs take awhile to take affect with me. Gosh darn it! He gave me the same "Yeah, yeah . . ." that I always get. And it took longer than he thought for the drugs to take affect. At first it felt like I was laying on top of sparklers. And then it hurt. "OW!"

I don't know what he gave me, but I gave in to it and was on a magical ride to I-don't-remember-where. I know I said stuff, but Matthew said that I was only mumbling stuff that was completely incoherent. I think I was saying, "I told you so, you freakin' idiot!"

To add insult to injury, I got a "spinal headache" which sounds innocuous enough, but due to spinal fluid leaking out of the aforementioned epidural, I got the most incredible headache of my life - lasting about a week. At first it was like a vice-grip on my upper head, and soon followed with the sensation that I'd been hit in the back of the head with a baseball bat. It's rare. I was told that it affects less than 4% of recipients. Lucky me!

So, if you've wondered where I am, it has been in a drug-induced coma sorta place. I am doing a little better, and trying to get everything under control. Slowly. I've been hab'n na Kaiserschnitt.