October 2005

Last Thursday was a busy day for me; I kept Alex in the morning, took Max for his 9-month checkup at 2pm and went out on a date with my honey that night!

Alex was good, as always. We’ve moved the play pen into the living room just to the right of the couch…he and Max played well together. The crazy thing is that every time Tj walks into the room Alex starts crying! If I leave them together for more than a minute then he’s ok with Tj, but the very next time he sees Tj he cries again! I wonder what that’s about? I guess it’s just because he’s a kid.

Max’s checkup went well. I didn’t know what to expect and thought there’d be a lot of stuff done, but it wasn’t much longer than the other ones. His nose had run for at least a month…I assumed it was teething…and then it just stopped about a week or two ago. It started again last Wednesday. Because I wanted Katie to keep him I asked the doc if he looked contagious and he said no. Max weighed in at 20lbs 15oz (50%) was 27” (25%) and had a head circumference of 18.5” (90%). Now that last one just seems crazy to me…his head looks exactly proportional to his body…I can’t understand how it can be so out of whack with the rest of his dimensions! Oh, well. He had his finger pricked to check his iron levels and he’s a bit low…10.9 when it should be 11. I had to go buy some vitamins with iron in to give him every day for a month. He was preoccupied while she pricked his finger so he didn’t even notice. One thing I’ve noticed about him is that he hates for anyone to force his hands to do something; so after the finger pricking when the nurse was trying to get a drop of blood onto the tester he was pulling away with all of his might! Silly boy! He got his second flu shot and his last hep shot. He cried like he’d never cried before…I was so glad to pick him up at the end and hold him. He got over it pretty quickly, though.

As usual they asked me several questions that I wasn’t prepared for. Does he say “bye bye”? Uh, no, I haven’t thought about teaching him that until two days ago. Sorry. Does he mimic your speech…well, no, I mimic his mostly. Does he play peek-a-boo with you? Well, he likes it when I do it to him, but he doesnt cover his own eyes. There were a few others that I hadn’t thought about until she asked me…and then I told her that even though she hadn’t asked he was doing something…when I pour him some Cheerios mixed with Gerber puffs he eats all the Gerber puffs first before he even touches the Cheerios! Now, isn’t that something!?

My girlfriend Katie has had a rough time this year. The first day I met her (at MOPS) she was asking for prayer. She was pregnant but was spotting. The next week she said she’d lost the baby that night! I”ve since found out that she’s lost her grandmother and grandfather within the last ten months. And the latest bad news is Thursday before last her daughter (Maddie, one month older than Max) spiked a 103.9 temp and had a seizure; Katie had to perform CPR on her! She’d had a fever all day and Katie was waiting for her husband to come home to help her. In the last hour before he arrived Maddie’s fever went up two or three degrees. When he got there they were changing her diaper and Maddie just lay still looking up at the fan. Katie realized that she wasn’t blinking, and then touched her and felt that she was so stiff! Craig hadn’t even realized that something was wrong. They called 911 and they went to the ER.

Maddie is doing well now, but her diaper rash is horrible. I found all this out last Monday. When I called Katie to see how she was she mentioned that she’d been planning a huge cooking day the next day and had 30lbs of meat in her refrigerator. I told her I was coming over the next day to help her. I stayed about four hours…we had a great time.

While there Katie told me that Maddie had horrible diaper rash. She kept having diarrhea…the antibiotics she was taking for the virus that brought on the fever were really messing with her stomach…and because of that they couldn’t get rid of her diaper rash. I could hear Maddie screaming so loud when she was being changed. Katie said the next day that they’d started using cotton balls with just water to clean her off.

We’d planned a couple of weeks ago or so to start switching out a pair of weekend nights…we’d each keep the other’s kid and let the parents go out on a date. This was our first weekend to do it. I called Katie Thursday, when I was supposed to keep Maddie. We decided to change days because Tj was flying out Friday for San Antonio. So Thursday night we dropped Max off at Katie’s…I met Craig for the first time…he seems like such a sweetie! I was feeling a little guilty for leaving Max because of all the trouble Katie’d had with Maddie and because he’d just gotten shots…but he’d never reacted at all to any other shots…so I took a chance. Tj was still at work so I drove there and picked him up…we went to Dave and Buster’s and played games. Lots of fun! We drove back to Katie’s separately…I really wanted Tj to meet Craig, too. They both said that Max was and easy baby to keep…I’m glad he didn’t give them any trouble. Katie said she’d call me the next day to get directions to our place.

Well, I waited and waited for her to call. Donna kept Max for two hours that morning while I went and bought jeans. Then Tj called and asked if I wanted to go to lunch with him. I threw Max back in the car and drove down there. Tj drove us to Ruby Tuesday’s. I got back home around 3pm and waited some more for her call. Finally, at ten minutes to 5pm she called saying she wasn’t sure they would come…Maddie’s diaper rash was really bad. I told her to bring her on…they both needed a break and I could handle Maddie. I figured that I’d have to change her every hour and I could handle three diaper changes no matter how bad. They came and had a good night out. The changes were pretty bad…she never had diarrhea while she was there (Katie said she had it as soon as they got home) but she screamed and bucked around the whole time! Poor sad baby! I was so glad I could do this for them, though. I know that must be so trying to have to do that so often every day. After they came back we sat and talked a good bit…hopefully they’ll be a great couple to be friends with! Yea!

Last Wednesday Tj and I were scheduled to teach the lesson at the kid’s program (Awana) at our church. I was so shocked that Tj volunteered for this…I’d told Amy that we weren’t ready for that yet!

We volunteered three weeks before our night came up. Amy said that night would be inside/outside night…although if we wanted to choose another topic that would be just fine. I laughingly told Tj we should teach on the whited sepulchre so they’d never ask us again. I looked a bit online for an object lesson and Tj looked but we just didn’t find anything right. I told him that I didn’t want us to mess around until the last minute…we really needed to find a lesson. One evening he came to me and said he’d found two lessons…one was to cut open an apple and a carrot and talk about the inside/outside difference and about how God wants us to be holy as He is holy and that you can’t do that without being saved. The other had something to do with chocolate…I don’t remember what. We decided to combine the content of the first one but use chocolate…a Butterfingers bar and a Hershey bar. I was so proud of him for coming up with the lesson, and then he said he’d teach it! I love my man!

After we taught the lesson we had candy to give out to each child. When one of the worst kids walked through the door I could see that he had the whole Butterfinger I’d used in the lesson in his hand! I asked him why he had it and he said that one of the ladies told him he could have it. Of course my immediate thought was that he was lying, so I asked him to point her out. He couldn’t see her and kept looking for her and finally pointed to a woman far away. I took his other hand and said ok, let’s go talk to her. At that point I guess Tj heard what was going on and told me that she had told the boy he could have the candy. WHAT!!??? I let the boy go but I couldn’t believe it! Why would an adult give away something (no matter how small) that didn’t belong to her? And why would she give it to the boy who never pays attention and disrupts every class? I was so annoyed with her, but then later I realized that that wasn’t very Christian of me. I’m trying to get over it, partly since there’s no polite way to bring it up with her.

Finally I’m gonna write about our trip to Texas last weekend. I’m not saying I have time to write, but I’m just gonna do what I can in between taking Max to his 9-month checkup/flu shot today, keeping Alex, washing/folding/putting up clothes (some from last weekend), etc. etc. etc.

Ok, well it’s now been more than 24 hours since I wrote the above paragraph, so I’ll get started! By the way…it’s also been two weeks since our trip. Anyway, here goes:

Wednesday night I called Donna to double check if she still needed me to keep Alex, and she said she did. Tj stayed home Thursday morning, but we didn’t do any packing until Alex had been here an hour! Alex left at 10am and we didn’t get out the door until 1:30. We did manage to pack and load the car without fighting, though. I don’t mean to give the impression that we fight all the time, but it does seem that every time we leave on a trip or we put together a piece of furniture or make a house repair we end up arguing. I think (and hope) that we’re on our way to breaking that habit, though.

We drove straight through to Shreveport…it took us 10 hours. I’d wondered how Max was gonna do…the last time we’d taken a big car trip with him he was young enough to sleep most of the way; I didn’t think we’d be that lucky this time. Instead of stopping to feed him every so often I pre-measured three cereal bottles. As we went along I mixed the cereal with juice and gave it to him when he was fussy. He ended up not eating as much at each meal, but he did eat more often. I don’t know if he had the overall same amount of food as he usually eats, but he sure seemed satisfied! He was such a great traveler! He only ever fussed off and on and never for longer than 10 minutes. I think we could go anywhere with him. (We’ll see how he does at Thanksgiving, though!)

We spent the night at Barksdale, and the next morning we set out to buy Tj another mess dress shirt and pants. I also wanted a back-up shirt for the wedding, just in case Max happened to my one shirt. The ladies at the tailor shop were so nice; they hemmed Tj’s pants in 20 minutes! Wow! I found my shirt, and we also bought a wedding present there (nothing like planning ahead, huh?). Tj had reminded me several times before the weekend that we needed to get a present but I never remembered. Ugh.

We ate lunch on base and then headed out for Clarksville. The drive was only about 2.5 hours. When we were 10 miles out from Clarksville I asked Tj if we’d passed thru a cow pasture or if that was Max I was smelling. Because it came on so sudden I just figured it was a pasture. Two miles later I looked back at Max and saw that he had poop everywhere! On his hands, on the handles to our trip bag, on his toys, and yes, folks, above his lips!!! What a horrible mother I am! I started laughing…it was so funny…what a boy! Anyway, Tj suggested we stop before we got to the B&B to clean Max up but I figured since we were so close we ought to just wait. I wiped up Max’s hands and mouth and then sat turned around in my seat holding his hands so he would stop spreading the poop. I suggested we stop in the parking lot and clean Max up before we go inside and look for Mike; Tj said that sounded good. So of course we drove right by the B&B and there was Mike on the front porch…Tj rolled down the window and yelled “Hey Mikey”…really subtle. Mike walked out to meet us and we laughingly told him of our predicament. He said his in-laws’ house was less than a mile away so he rode with us over there. This wasn’t the first impression I was hoping to make, but oh well! We met Emily and her mom and then I carried in Max butt-first to get him cleaned up. Emily led me to her tub…I just put him in with all of his clothes on. Poor dirty boy.

Afterwards we went back to the B&B…we had such a nice room! It was really beautiful. Because we had three people we got the biggest room and had our own bathroom. We also had a private porch! We really lucked out! It was a beautiful old place. We fed Max out on the porch and then Tj had to go to the rehearsal. The rehearsal dinner was at the Lennox house…another old home filled with the original furnishings. The dinner was great! Roast beef with au jus, chicken cordon bleu, new potatoes, broccoli, etc. It all tasted wonderful. I wasn’t able to just sit there and enjoy it, unfortunately, Max was being a little handful. He’s a really great kid, but with all the traveling we really changed anything that might resemble his schedule.

We brought him back to the room not too long after his usual bedtime. I nursed him on the balcony…that was a wonderful ending to a good day. I really enjoyed my time with him there…I really focused on him and thought about the fact that it was one of the last times I’d be nursing him. Tj and I talked about it a month or two ago and decided that 9 months was a good time to wean. It was a great last feeding.

The next morning we all three went down for breakfast. Mike’s dad ended up feeding Max a good bit…he obviously loves babies…he’d held Max a good while the evening before, too. Tj left early to go to the church for pictures. Max and I headed over after Max’s lunch. I, of course, was worried that Max would interrupt and just generally be a baby but overall he was great. Tj was sooooo nervous! I’m not sure how much of the ceremony he actually heard…every time I looked at him I could tell that he was on pins and needles. I did help that the ceremony was short. Max made little sounds every so often, but he never cried. I had a supply of cheerios and bottles and it all worked out.

I’d driven Tj crazy double- and triple-checking that it was ok to bring Max to the ceremony. Finally I promised him I wouldn’t say another thing about it. The ceremony was beautiful…Mike wrote a letter to Emily’s son saying that he was glad to be in their lives and how he was promising to be a good father. I hope this works out for Mike. I learned new things about him this trip. The only Mike I’d ever seen was the jokey kidding Mike. Always laughing…never serious. The Mike I saw this trip asked several times to hold Max and said that they’re hoping to have children in 18 months or so. He was very considerate to me several times, going out of his way to check on me and Max…he made sure that we were well taken care of. I’ve liked Mike since the first time I met him but he was even better than I knew.

We’d planned on spending the night in the B&B again until Tj heard that one of the best men was leaving right after the wedding. Then Tj started thinking about leaving early too; what were we gonna stay for? So after he had his mind made up Mike told him we were invited to a dinner after the ceremony! Tj said that was the first he’d heard about the dinner, but it was too late, he was ready to get on the road. He’d called Mrs. Norma (the lady who made us possible) several times and had only just gotten a response from her before the wedding. We called her after the ceremony and she offered to let us stay with her that night. We threw everything into our bags and headed out right about dark.

It was good to visit with Mrs. Norma again. It was as good as when we first knew each other. Sunday morning Tj went out to start the truck and saw that one of the tires was flat! He dropped the three of us off at church and went to have the tire repaired. Of course nothing was open at that time so after the church service he joined Mrs. Norma and me in her Sunday School. Afterwards we went to her house and talked for a bit. Tj took the truck again; I’d made plans to meet Mrs. Shirley at Outback so he was trying to get the tire repaired before her church let out.

He got back just in time. We drove to the restaurant in separate cars and had a great time there. I met Mrs. Shirley’s husband and her new grandson…he was a cutie! He was about 9 years or so old and he just played with Max so well! He was very outgoing and friendly. After lunch Mrs. Norma went home and the three of us drove around Shreveport a while looking for my old haunts. We went back to Mrs. Norma’s in time to spend time with her before visiting the Macks’. I told Mrs. Norma she was invited to the Macks’ but she opted to go to church.

We had fun at the Macks’, of course. Mrs. Mack made soup and cornbread for supper. They put Max in the highchair that was from Mr. Mack’s childhood! There wasn’t a strap so Tj used his belt to strap the boy in. Unfortunately Max was too wiggly and we had to take him out. We let him scoot around on the floor and he actually crawled for the first time! I was really excited that Tj got to see that at the same time as me.

We visited with Mrs. Norma a little the next morning and left for home around 9am. We had another great trip back.

We had a few days to relax (of course my time was filled with various errands and meetings) and then we went to pick up Mrs. Deb Saturday morning. Well, I see I’ve already written about that so I guess it’s time for me to hit the hay! Yea!

Well, Gmom’s been and gone. We had a great visit…but it was way too short. We got up Saturday morning and picked her up from the airport. On the way home we stopped at Ikea for lunch and then to pick up a third bookshelf for the guest room and the glass doors that go to all three. We didn’t think it would be a big deal…but because we had Gmom sitting in the back row we figured we’d just tie the shelves/doors on top (that’s why we got the crossbars anyway). Well, once we bought the stuff and rolled it outside we realized we had no idea how to tie knots that would without doubt make it the 45 minutes it would take to get back home! Gmom sat in the car with Max while Tj and I worked and worked. It was the first time we accomplished a whole project with absolutely no bickering! I was so excited about that, if nothing else. After wed tied it up I went and got four long pieces of extra string…we planned on driving a little ways and then stopping to check the knots to see if theyd loosened significantly. Before we even got out on the road we realized that I could watch them through the sunroof as we drove. They hardly even shifted! I was really excited that our knots held…but we should find out how to tie stuff on securely in case this ever happens again.

We drove home and, because I hadn’t even started thinking about supper we ordered out Chinese. Its the second time weve ordered from the place near Wal-Mart…its good! Id cooked a roux the night before so this night I cooked a gumbo. I was really hoping it turned out ok. That night Tj suggested watching Spiderman II but after just a few minutes Gmom was asleep and I was fast approaching it.

Sunday morning Gmom decided to stay home. Max wore his blue tennis shoes from Carmen for the first (and most likely last) time…I even had to put powder on his feet to get them in! I think I’ll take the soles out of those shoes to get him to wear them a few more times. I’m excited to watch him grow, but it’s sad to see the things he’s leaving behind…he’s worn his leather shoes (from Aunt Ally to Aunt Jo and then me!) for the last time. My growing boy!

After church Tj helped me cut up lots of veggies to roast while the gumbo heated up. We had those two things plus Jennifer Salad for lunch. None of those items really go together but I’d had a hankerin’ for all of them lately. My gumbo tasted a lot like Mom’s! Yea!!! I want to freeze some for her to taste and give me any pointers on.

Sunday afternoon we went to Mt. Paran’s park…it was mine and Max’s second time but Daddy’s first time there. Tj played just like a little kid…he’s so funny. He, Max and I went down a really wide slide together, and Max loved the swing as much as he did the first time.

That night Gmom babysat while Tj and I went to The Melting Pot (aka the fondue restaurant) and boy was it great! It was terribly expensive ($100.23 plus tip) but wonderful. We had a cheddar fondue at first with granny smith apples, bread (white and brown) celery, carrots and cauliflower to dip. The second course was a salad with a sweet dressing and walnuts and gorgonzola on top. The main course was coq au vin in the fondue pot with steak, chicken, pork and shrimp plus potatoes, broccoli, mushrooms and squash. For dessert we had a mixture of chocolate and caramel with pecans and to dip there were bananas, sponge cake, cheesecake, pineapple and the best two: oreo covered marshmallows and strawberries!

Monday we got up and all had tea with spearmint. Gmom and Tj had a bagel for breakfast but I skipped ahead to lunch and gumbo. We played a couple of hands of poker, then gin rummy and then some yatzee; and then it was time to get ready to go. Gmom’s visit was definitely too short…hopefully the next visit will be longer.

Man, my life is so busy now…I’m taking 15 minutes before the alarm goes off and I need to shower to blog. This’ll be concise.

I had a blast last night! A week ago Temple asked me if we could let the guys babysit and the two of us go out to eat…that, of course, sounded wonderful. As luck would have it she called Thursday morning to say that John had to work both evenings…we’ve moved it to next Tuesday. I called her back a few hours later and left a message saying I could keep Luke Thursday night and she could go out solo and then Tj and I could go out the next night while she kept Max…she never got the message. It was a big deal…I didn’t know if she’d go for it anyway.

But then an hour or so later Thursday night Stephanie called me. She said she was a bit nervous about asking me this, but she wanted to go out on a date with me Friday night! Crazy girl! Her husband is out of town and her kids are being kept by her MIL so she wanted to ask me out! Yea!!! I told her I’d love to go and told her about Temple and we laughed. We talked about a movie and then said we’d call each other Friday afternoon. I asked Tj if he minded keeping Max and of course he said no problem.

She’d said we could go out around 7pm Friday night…so I called her around 5pm to see about movies. After we talked a little bit I told her I was ready anytime so she said she’d be here in half an hour! I was so excited I ran up the stairs to tell Tj! So she came and picked me up (as any good date should ) and we discussed whether we should drive-thru or sit down to eat before the movie. We ended up driving through BK and it was a good thing…with traffic and the rain we got to the theater as the movie was starting. We stood in line a few minutes until I saw the electronic ticket stands…I went and bought them and we ran inside. We saw Elizabethtown…and had a blast! As we were walking out we said there was no way we could go home…we needed to take full advantage of our free time. She said we should do something crazy like see another movie…and I promptly agreed! She couldn’t believe I’d want to see another one! I thought what the heck…we don’t have to be back till morning anyway!

Well…the clock just struck 8am. We’re leaving soon to pick up Gmom from the airport so I’ve really got to go. Hopefully I’ll have more time to finish this soon.