Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Alexa update to the update

Okay...so I was a bit more optimistic than I normally am. And this time my optimism proved failed me. After school she nibbled at lunch and went to nap. By afternoon she was vomiting again.

Today she's just been laying around, actually in bed since 12. She was able to handle breakfast but nothing but a cracker (1/2 actually) and water since. And started vomiting again this afternoon.

Chris is planning on taking her over the ER when he gets home this evening. I hope she won't have to stay but if she needs to she needs to. My mom talked to a dr friend of hers and he gave his recommendations as to what he would check for if he saw us in the ER (which won't happen b/c he's someplace sunny and warm...lucky duck!).

Monday, January 26, 2009

Alexa update

Yesterday brought about the close to what has to be the longest, almost most stressful week of my entire 30 years.

It all started the 16th when Alexa refused to eat lunch citing she didn't like it. The rest of us thought the ham quiche was delicious, she wanted peanut butter. I stuck to my guns and said no lunch unless you eat what I am serving (trying to end being a short-order cook). Later that evening we went to a cousin's son's birthday party. Alexa kept complaining about her belly hurting and needing to lay down. She did for about 5 min at a time and then got up and zoomed all around. She managed to eat some cake and a half slice of pizza.

Honestly - I figured she was just really hungry. Saturday she went to my mom's for a sleepover with her cousin. Again she complained about the belly pain, would lay down, then run all around. This last 3 hours - then she vomited all over my mom's kitchen floor and living room chair (thankfully leather, easy to clean!). Chris went to fetch her home and we ended up dealing with vomit all night.

Sunday seemed to dawn a better day. She insisted on having mac and cheese for lunch and again with dinner. No complaints about anything (except about wanting to watch "her shows" on tv). In the wee hours of the morning it started again. And she kept vomiting everything up but water until yesterday (the 25th).

The week included 2 doctors visits and one ER trip for rehydration. The ER thought they could get away with some zofran and pedialyte, but that just came back up while getting ready to leave. Instead she ended up hooked up to an IV, which according to Alexa "she screamed her head off about". Their diagnosis: stomach virus and a UTI. Apparently they had to collect urine twice. The first one they felt was contaminated. Retesting showed no infection till it was cultured. She never once complained about anything hurting when peeing. The only thing she complained of was belly pain around the belly button. No fever, no diarrhea. And the strangest yet best of all - no one else in this house got sick. Obviously whatever she had wasn't contagious. So did the UTI cause the stomach issues? Or vice versa? I have no idea and the drs seemed a bit baffled as well. We narrowly avoided having to take her back to the ER for hydration and possible overnight with hard work of sipping water.

And so today she's off to school with orders to take it easy and drink water, only eating if she feels up to it. She's slowly being herself again - friendly and loveable, instead of bossy and bitchy. I really do feel for whomever she ends up with in life - like her dad she is a lousy sick person! She hated being in bed and I don't really blame her, as she is normally a pretty active child. She's lost a good amount of weight in my opinion, probably about 6 lbs. Enough that I had to readjust her pants today (thank you adjustable waists!) so that they would stay up on her.

We'll get to go back to the dr the first week of February to make sure she's infection free. And hope that whatever struck here doesn't strike again.

Friday, January 23, 2009

life with an 18 month old x 2

Jacob and Elizabeth have become holy terrors. I think that if I was to put them into a padded room with no windows and nothing in it beyond themselves they'd still find something to get into.

How can such sweet looking children cause such havoc? Very easily!

Dumping: At first it was just their toys bins. All would get dumped and sometime thrown. Now they've moved from dumping their things to dumping ours. After picking cds up 3 times yesterday I started boxing them up. But first I had to put the right ones back in their cases because they'd switched some around. Another favorite activity is to pull all of their clothes out of their drawers. All I can say is thank goodness they haven't mastered opening our drawers! However, the dumping instinct comes in handy when it comes to loading clothes in or out of the dryer.

Climbing: What don't they climb? The walls, not that Liz hasn't tried. And they haven't been able to get out of / in to their cribs yet. First the bed was mastered. Liz uses the gaurd rail to haul herself up and over. Jake take the more cautious route. He climbs into the glider at the foot of the bed and then across. Now they've moved onto bigger and better. And it helps to have something to step on (this is where the emptied toys bins come in real handy). Now they can get onto the couch, the chair, the trashcan. Yep - the trashcan. It's handy to the sink now that the stool kept there has gone away. Jake started climbing on there and turning the sink on and playing in the water every opportunity he got so it had to go. So he came up with an alternative. The best of all in their climbing - the dining room table. When I found myself scrubbing footprints off of the surface I knew I had to stop it. Now the chairs must go onto the top of the table after meals. Lining them up on the wall isn't good enough when your kid figures out to push it across the room. Now I just need to figure out a solution to the computer chair. Just this morning they realized they can climb in that and get to all the treasures on the desk.

Terrorizing: Each other, their older sister, mom and dad, the cat. Just little things. Like tearing stuff apart. Standing in the way of the tv (that really sets Alexa off). Getting into Alexa's room. Yanking on the cat's tail and letting go just before the cat hisses. Taking toys from each other just because they can. Slapping people is a new game for Liz that we are trying to nip - it can hurt if she gets you just right. She just laughs when she does it. If you say "no" stern enough she'll either laugh or burst into tears.

While they do drive us crazy I wouldn't trade them for anything in the world. Just this last month has been exciting/entertaining/insane. It was amazing watching one learn and grow. To watch two do it at the same time is really beyond description.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

No Cry Solution

I have told many friends in real life and online about my sleep bible - the No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantley. It is what helped make Alexa the great sleeper she is today while the twins are still a work in progress (my fault at being weak-willed!).

I'm fortunate to have good nappers, something I give thanks for every afternoon between 12:30pm and 1pm till around 3pm. But I know so many others out there aren't so lucky. Elizabeth's new book (the No Cry Nap Solution) is out to help save your sanity!

Here's an excerpt from her book:

Dear Reader ~

I thought I knew everything there was to know about naps, since I’ve written two other books and countless articles about children and sleep, but I was shocked and amazed at the new information I discovered while writing this book.

I set out on this venture knowing that parents struggle getting their children to nap. Everyone knows that children need naps, but the biological reasons behind this will convince you, without a doubt, that you should do everything you can to provide your baby or young child with daily nap time. It is common knowledge that when a child misses a nap he gets cranky, but you will be intrigued to learn the actual reasons why this happens.

Naps take only a few hours of time, but naps – or lack of naps – shape all twenty-four hours of your child’s day. The quality and quantity of your child’s naps influence his mood, behavior, health, and brain development. Naps can affect how happy your child is when she wakes up in the morning and how easily she’ll go to bed at night. An appropriate nap schedule is a vital component for your child’s healthy, happy life. When you consider all of this, you’ll also understand that your child’s naps – or lack of naps – can affect all 24 hours of your day, as well as your child’s.

While all experts agree that naps are important, and while they all know that nap problems can be a challenge to parents, what’s often missing are gentle, sensitive, loving solutions. Every idea I present is kind and respectful of the needs of both children and parents. In addition, I know that all children and parents are different, and cookie-cutter solutions are not what parents seek, so I include many options that can be customized to your own needs.

I have included excerpts for you below. For a complete set of excerpts please visit my website here: http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth


Elizabeth ~^*


The Volcano Effect: Why Skipping a Nap Results in Meltdown

By Elizabeth Pantley, Author of The No-Cry Nap Solution

From the moment your child wakes in the morning he is slowly using up the benefits of the previous night’s sleep. He wakes up totally refreshed, but as the hours pass, little by little, the benefits of his sleep time are used up, and an urge to return to sleep begins to build. When we catch a child at in-between stages and provide naps, we build up his reservoir of sleep-related benefits, allowing him a “fresh start” after each sleep period.

As shown on the sleep chart below, as children age, the length of time that they can stay “happily awake” increases. A newborn can only be awake one or two hours before tiredness sets in, whereas a two year old can last five to seven hours before craving some down time for a nap. When children are pushed beyond their biological awake time span without a break that’s when they be com e fatigued, fussy and unhappy.


“Happily Awake” span of time between naps


1 – 2 hours

6 month old

2 – 3 hours

12 month old

3 – 4 hours

18 month old

4 – 6 hours

2 year old

5 – 7 hours

3 year old

6 – 8 hours

4 year old

6 – 12 hours

As the day progresses, and the sleep pressure builds, a child be com es fussier, whinier, and less flexible. He has more crying spells, more tantrums, and less patience. He loses concentration and the ability to learn and retain new information. The scientific term for this process is “homeostatic sleep pressure” or “homeostatic sleep drive” . . . I call it The Volcano Effect. We’ve all seen the effects of this on a baby or child, as it is often as clear as watching a volcano erupt; nearly everyone has observed a fussy child and thought or said, “Someone needs a nap!”

As a child progresses through his day, his biology demands a sleep break to regroup, refresh and repair. If a child does not get this break the problem intensifies: the rumblings and tremors be com e an outright explosion. Without a nap break, the homeostatic pressure continues building until the end of the day, growing in intensity – like a volcano – so that a child be com es overtired, wired and unable to stop the explosion. The result is an intense bedtime battle with a cranky, overtired child, or an infant who won’t fall asleep no matter how tired you know he is.

Even more, a child who misses naps day after day builds a sleep deprivation that launches her into the volcano stage much easier and quicker. If she is missing naps and also lacking the right quality or quantity of nighttime sleep…watch out!

Newborns and young babies have a much shorter span in which their sleep pressure builds. They rapidly reach the peak of their volcano in one to three hours. This is why newborns sleep throughout the day, and why young babies require two or three or four daily naps. Over time, as a baby’s sleep cycle matures he will be able to go longer periods between sleeps. It is not until age 4 or 5 that a child is able to go happily through the entire day without a nap, and sleep research suggests that even through adulthood a mid-day nap or rest break is extremely beneficial in reducing the pressure in all human beings.

The Volcano Effect is not something reserved only for children! This biological process affects adults as well. Understanding this can help you interpret what is really going on in your home at the end of a long day, when children are fussy and parents are grumpy – resulting in a whole mountain range of volcanoes.

Sleep pressure can be exaggerated by environmental issues such as the previous poor night’s sleep, on-going sleep deprivation, or daily stress. What's more, each person’s moodiness feeds off the others, causing contagious crankiness. And then you’ll find yourself losing patience and saying to your child, “I’m sorry, honey. Mommy’s just tired right now.” (This is a very telling explanation we don’t often stop to analyze.)

This Volcano concept brings to light one more important point: Quality naps can make up for lost night sleep – but extra nighttime sleep does not make up for missed naps, due to the homeostatic sleep pressure concept. Therefore, no matter how your child sleeps at night – great sleeper or poor sleeper -- his daily naps are critically important to release the rising sleep pressure.


This is a copyrighted excerpt from The No-Cry Nap Solution: Guaranteed Gentle Ways to Solve All Your Naptime Problems by Elizabeth Pantley. (McGraw-Hill, December 2008).

You may reproduce this on your website or in your work. Please include my name and book title. More excerpts (available for reprint) are posted on my website. http://www.pantley.com/elizabeth

So why I am I sharing this here? Well first of all I agree 100% in not letting your child cry (and this doesn't mean the little whimpers or a minute or 2 of crying, I'm against the your child is so upset they are puking sort of crying). And I know how important sleep is to the entire family. Plus I get entered into a drawing to possibly win books. So it's good for everyone all around!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Laurie Berkner Band

Feel free to "demand it" for Alexa!

View all Portland events at Eventful

Thursday, January 1, 2009

snapshots of 2008









October (plus cousin Blake)



Holiday Update

We survived the holidays intact! We had a very busy, but family-oriented Christmas which was wonderful.

We started Christmas Eve by traveling south to have lunch with some good friends. We then headed to Chris's sister's house for unpacking and resting before the big family gathering on the hill. It's been about a year since we'd seen everyone! The kids did great despite only napping in the car (which I don't consider a real nap). We got back to M's around 9 and eventually got everyone to bed.

One bit of excitement during the night was the wind. I woke up around 2 or 3 to the house shaking, or so it seemed. Turns out that gusty wind blew our van down the hilly driveway. Luckily it just missed the ditch, and going into the road. But we couldn't retrieve it till some of the ice melted.

Alexa was so excited when she saw that "Santa" had filled the stockings she'd left out and enjoyed the cookies and milk. I wish I'd caught it on video because her reaction was priceless. The best way to describe it was just pure joy. When Grammy K and Grampa C showed up we got to opening gifts. There is nothing better than having the 5 year old that can only read her own name.

With the van loaded to more than full (of items, not gas) we made one more family party stop before heading home. It was so nice to get home and unload! We finished up Christmas on Saturday by having my immediate family over for lunch and gifts.

New Year's is uneventful for us this year. I was in bed by 10:30 because the twins woke up. I welcomed in the new year around 2:20am. Chris and Alexa have headed out of town for the day leaving me and the twins home alone. I was going to go visit my dad but it's too bloody cold and windy to go anywhere. So instead I get to do laundry...and catch up here!

Jacob's milestones

  • weight/length @ 7: 55.6lbs, 48.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 42lbs, 43.5"
  • weight/length @ 4: 36 lbs, 39+"
  • weight/length@ 3: 32lbs, 36.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 26lbs, 33.5 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 18lbs, 29 inches
  • walking: 11/17/08
  • standing: 3/31/08
  • crawling: army, 2/5/08
  • first time rolling: 9/30/07, belly to back
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:49am
  • birth length: 19.5 inches
  • birth weight: 6lbs, 1oz

Elizabeth's milestones

  • weight/length @7: 53lbs, 47.75"
  • weight/length @ 5: 40 lbs, 42.25"
  • weight/length @ 4: 34lbs, 38"
  • weight/length 3 years: 28lbs, 35.5 inches
  • weight/length 2 years: 24lbs, 6oz 33 inches
  • weight/length 1 year: 18lbs, 1oz 27.5 inches
  • walking: 9/1/08
  • standing: 4/4/08
  • crawling: army 3/16/08
  • sitting alone: 2/29/08
  • first time rolling: 11/23/07, back to belly
  • first smile: 9/7/07
  • birth date/time: 7/8/07, 12:50am
  • birth length: 18.75 inches
  • birth weight: 5lbs, 8oz

Alexa's milestones

  • weight/height @ 10 (really 10.8): 186, 5'3"
  • weight/height @ 8.4 years: 113 lbs, 55.5 inches
  • weight/height @ 5 years: 61lbs, 4oz 45.25 inches
  • weight/length @ 4 years: 49lbs, 42 inches
  • weight/length @ 3 years: 38lbs, 38 inches
  • weight/length @ 2 years: 32lbs, 8oz 35.75 inches
  • weight/length @ 1 year: 22lbs, 3 oz 29.5 inches
  • 1st day of preschool: 9/3/08
  • solo somersault: 3/4/08
  • whistling: 3/2/08
  • potty training: 10/7/05
  • walking: 12/21/04
  • standing: 8/23/04
  • crawling: 8/21/04, only a week, then became a butt scoot
  • first wave: 7/27/04
  • rolling: 5/2/04, belly to back
  • sleeping thru the night: 3/1/04
  • first smile: 1/20/04
  • birth date/time: 12/4/03, 10:41pm
  • birth length: 20 inches
  • birth weight: 7lbs