4th Birthday Photo Session

4th Birthday Photo Session

Friday, June 27, 2014

Gratitude Instead of Bad Attitude

It's pretty easy to complain.  It sometimes feels good to unload, and frankly, it's a bit therapeutic to dump your worries.  Today, one of my friends posted this on Facecrack... and it slapped the desire right out of me. 

It's so, so, so very true.  It's wonderful to get that reminder, even in tough times, you probably have it better than some. 

We had our 4 year old "well-child" visit with Andi's new pediatrician yesterday!  Andi is 28 pounds, and 35" tall.  So, if my memory serves, she has gained about 3 or 4 lbs since she had her g-tube removed 3/11/13.  However, even though she's growing, she's not even on the 'typical' height chart, but for her height, she's in the 5th percentile weight-to-height ratio.  We are getting a referral to all the new Dr's we need to see over the year:  cardiology, ENT (possibly), endocrinology (growth Dr.).  The Dr. got the full low-down on all things Andi.  I find it refreshing when Dr's have human reactions to some of the things I say. When I told her of our surprise diagnosis after being in perinatology every three weeks for ultrasounds, she visibly grimaced with humanity.  I think I'm going to really like this Dr!  YEA! 

I'm coming to find that a lot of Oregonian practices and preaching has really stuck with me.  I am horribly appalled at the amount of plastic bags they use here.  And Styrofoam?  They still use Styrofoam here.  I mean no disrespect to my new state / part of the country, but ding dang - it's time to move into the 21st century.  Have you ever heard of reduce, reuse and recycle?!  While the PNW is forcing composting, and every other week garbage pick-up to get people to cut down on waste (I believe up to 30% of the stuff we throw in the garbage can is compostable material!)  Here, they just use, buy more, use, buy more, use, buy more.  It might be green here, but it ain't environmentally "GREEN" here.  And I write this as I think I actually missed the trash pick-up this morning, as I was late getting my cans to the curb.  That's okay though, because our trash can isn't half-full, unlike our overflowing can every two weeks in Portland. 

Wow, tangent. 

In any case, we're adjusting our attitude to gratitude, and settling into our new lifestyle.  It's getting hot here and we're loving it.  I can't help chuckle at Portland's cloudy sky forecast on my iPhone with a high of 63 in June.  While the rest of us are already knee deep into summer. 

Well, the kid wants to go drive her convertible.  We got our original car replaced and this new one actually has the engine sound and a horn that honks.  She loves it all that much more now. 

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Miss Social Strikes Again

Andi is a rather social little kid.  She waves at people, smiles with her tongue out, flirts, waves again... sometimes she'll say a rather enthusiastic, "Hi!"  Today, after riding bikes for about 10 miles, we suited up and headed to the neighborhood pool.  So thankful to have this perk!  The neighborhood pool is all sorts of awesome!  After we spent a good 45 minutes in the pool, we got out to de-prune.  Andi instantly started flirting with this man sitting on the lounge chair next to us.  That turned into waving at his wife across the table.  She kept flirting and flirting and flirting... next thing we knew their neighborhood friends showed up, and their daughter, and a few others stopped by to chat.  Miss charming had them all swooning.  She didn't even want to go into the water with Mommy and Daddy, no she wanted her new friends to take her.  She told them she loved each one of them, and simply had a ball.  With time, I told them about CHARGE and gave a glimpse at some of the good times she's had these past four years.  We're giddy at the connection we made, because now we know some people from the neighborhood!  YIPPIE!  I'm even signing up to join the women's tennis group in the fall.  Super excited about that.  Apparently, it's a lot of fun with a focus more on food and beverages than getting uber competitive on the court.  We also saw a neighbor a few houses down that we've met a time or two.  He's aching to get back to So. California, and I said I understood - as we just felt that way about getting here and out of rainy-town, U.S.A. 

In any case, due to our new friends, we spent about two extra hours at the pool than we intended.  Daddy Bean wasn't as diligent with his sunscreen, so ... let me say that he won't be teased as being the pasty-white guy from Oregon at the office anymore.  Andi did not get sunburned at all.. and although she left the pool super exhausted, she's finishing up her first hour in bed singing her songs and still going!  Hopefully, she settles down soon so she doesn't get too worn down.  It has got to be exhausting being so charming... and Miss Andi Bean is definitely charming, borderline ham!!!  :)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Welcome Wagon & Socializing A Bean

Since Andi has determined she really enjoys the stimulation of the WWE wrestling drops on the couch (standing on the couch then falling to it), I decided to take her over to Catch Air today for some bouncy-house, play-gym fun.  Andi was practically running from object to object.  She was so excited, she could barely contain it.  She was giddy!  I think this was the fourth time I've taken her over there. I noticed she's gotten noticeably stronger & more confident.  Today, she went down the slide by herself (I went down the slide next to her!).  She climbed a lot of structures, she even went to the back of the bouncy castle and jumped, fell backward, climbed over everything.  It was pretty impressive.  The only real concern I have is not only her social skills, but my social skills as well.  Andi gets grabby, tries to hold onto someone's leg or pull off their socks, and I assume it's to get their attention.  I told her she needs to keep her hands to herself, 'no touch!' and am working with her to use her words.  "Hi, I'm Andi... wanna play?!" Hopefully that will enable her to reach peers easier, with less resistance.  However, in noticing Andi's behavior, I also noticed my own.  I'm that Mom hovering over her child, laughing and applauding, but I'm hovering & shouting/signing commands!

"keep your socks on!"   
"no touch!"  

It's fairly annoying.  I don't look at, socialize, or make any connections with other parents.  And I sit here day after day wondering why the Georgia welcome wagon hasn't stopped at our door.  Hmmm... maybe I'm part of that problem. 

I guess I should add the thing that's really bothering me.  There were these slightly older boys bringing all the padded blocks up onto this fort.  Andi went up there and started "cockroaching" -- she was completely excited and stimulated.  She reached out to touch a kid and he moved away from her.  After a bit, he moved a block and sat on it staring down at her like she was the biggest annoyance.  The other boys were busy, until at one point one of the boys looks at Andi and rudely says like a typical little boy, 'ewh, she's a g-i-r-l!  He saw me stare at him when he said that and sort of straightened up when he saw that I saw/heard him be so rude.  I guess the issue I had was that they weren't engaging Andi at all and it makes me worry about her future and how kids will treat her... I know her personality will win them over, but, at first... are they going to be mean?  I suppose so.  I suppose all kids go through some sort of harassment at some point... but as a parent, I want to protect her and arm her with every trick I know.  We've already started discussing how to engage other kids.  She wants friends so bad... I hope she's able to make some friends here soon.  Us too.  So far, this local welcome wagon has a broken wheel!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Amusing Super Trooper

Snot monsters, coughing, and green eye boogs are gone -- although we were saddled with some pukes.  Even though I vowed to hang up my white coat, I lowered the dosage to half and we seem to be good with that.  Will continue for the full 10 days.

Today, we went back to the audiologist to get a new ear mold done.  When I removed her hearing aid the other night, the tube came out again and when I went to squeeze it back in (it looked rather tight), I noticed a good hole in the mold. Yeah. This one will be here by Monday, whereas the old one would've taken weeks to arrive.  Problem with that though is the cost is double the amount.  One ear mold set me back 80 friggen dollars.  That's like almost two tanks of gas in my ancient 4-Runner. 

Which leads me to my next update, my ancient 4-Runner.  I love my truck and am SO thankful I bought him used many, many, many years ago.  Shrek is 15 years old, and been with me 13 years this September.  I absolutely love him and love driving him, and love his minimal maintenance.  In Portland, my check engine light kept coming on.  I took him into my local mechanic and he said, 'hmm, I haven't seen this error code before.'  So, they googled it, and decided step #1 was to clean the part.  So, that set me back around $90.  The check-engine light returned, but he couldn't get the new part in time before we moved.  So, I have been driving around with this light coming on every five or so starts, then it goes off for five or so starts.  I decided he's driving okay, so let's milk it.  (Don't worry Dad, I signed up for AAA here!)  In any case, the other day the light came on and he started handling different.  One of the benefits of having the same vehicle so long, you're like two pea's in a pod, you know when something is different.  And like Dr. Cohen said often about Andi, 'let me know if you notice anything 'different' cuz that's reason to have her seen.'  So, awhile ago I used Yelp to find highly regarded mechanics here in town.  I swear the two scariest parts about moving is finding a good hair stylist and a good mechanic. I called them yesterday, and brought Shrek in today for an estimate.  They not only priced it cheaper than the Portland mechanic, they had the part delivered in minutes and we were on our way rather quickly.  They priced out the other big service I will need eventually (having all the gasket caps cleaned/changed) and it was considerably cheaper than my trusted Oregon mechanic.  Wowza. This place was awesome and I'm thrilled to have found it.  I can't remember the last time I was treated so well by a auto mechanic.  Well, actually I can... and back then I got a date with a hottie out of it! 

Andi's been a super trooper today.  She's chillin' with some Muppets on the iPad this minute while I spend a few hours in the office.  She has taken to repeating me, "No watching Lady Gaga! No watching Miley Cyrus!"  and starting to open her ears and mind to a lot of different music.  In the past she's been so quick to say, 'don't like this!' instead of listening to it.  Now she's asking for a lot more, and I'm trying to shove more variety at her every time we're in the car.  Yippie, super score for me.... although next she will likely start repeating my new phrases, "we're not listening to the Wiggles!  We're not listening to Barney!"  I don't know where she picked those up, but I am not amused! 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Pee Piles & Antibiotics = GOOD TIMES!

Potty Training ain't for wimps!  Today, we haven't had much luck either, but this afternoon... the pipe burst and the Bean pee'd all over the kitchen floor.  She looked down seemingly surprised by the puddle at or on her feet.  She'd pick up a foot and then try to move away from it, but find herself still submerged. We're working the potty training chart, earning a sticker for each attempt.  Sometimes, I just want to stick her in a diaper, close the office door and let her continue to listen to Pharrell over and over... (uhm, that's going on this minute!)

Two days ago, we met our new audiologist.  Liked her instantly on the phone, and just as well in person.  She tested Andi's hearing and came up with similar findings as the Portland Audiologists!  Yippie.  They even put in a new tube to fix the one Andi pulled out of her ear mold.  It's a bit long though and makes the actual aid fall off her ear.  Boo! ... but an easy fix.

Yesterday, I called to get Andi in to see her new pediatrician before the 6/23 'Wellness Check'.  Thus, also giving me an opportunity to pick-up her 400 page medical file they scanned into their system.  The retriever of that file said, 'whoa! that's a lot!'  I didn't have the nads to say, 'yeah, and that's just the Kaiser file, not the hospital file.'  I thought Andi had a nice case of pink eye caused by touching her eyes with dirty (poopy) hands.  Turns out the cold she's had for awhile is a bit of an infection, so she's now being treated with Amoxicillian for 10 days. The goop out of her eyes is considered mucous coming out from the sinuses.  I guess I should hand-back my white Dr's coat (that I bought at Marshall's) and hang up my fake stethoscope.  Time to stop self-diagnosing... ugh.  But hopefully, she'll be snot-free soon.

When we go back for that wellness check, the Dr. wants to spend a full 1/2 hour appointment.  Before that appointment, she said she will make time to read Andi's file, as I just gave her the highlights during yesterday's appointment. I need to have all my papers in a row for the Katie Beckett Waiver and she'll sign what I need her to.  All in all, felt good about about the initial meeting.


Here's Andi's first car.  A convertible, of course!  Still working with the company to troubleshoot the lack of horn & engine noises.  Hope we can fix quickly, because I'm sure Andi will be all about tooting the horn like Max, a character in a book she likes!

Having A Ball!
 Andi took uncle down the street to Catch Air... a super fun place to play.  Andi's been doing some couch diving since, having discovered she likes the sensory input.

Princess Andi!   


Monday, June 2, 2014

Doozy Of A Day

I'm not very proud of myself today. Some days this life is just hard.  Really, really hard.  Days like today, even reminding myself how far we've come and how lucky we are, didn't shut out the frustration, and anger.  It was difficult to be kind.  I am so disgusted with myself, and that's a hard thing to admit.  It's the 2nd week of Andi being out of school.  Her routine is gone.  Last week, uncle was here, and even Poppa & Ginga for a few days... last week was fun.  But here it is a new week, and it's just Andi and me, and Maddux the dog.  Let's not forget Maddux who is not as innocent as he seems in today's debacle.

Today started out innocent enough.  Daddy had to get up extremely early to head out of town for an overnighter at a different office.  I "slept in" ... until 6:15 when the princess decided it was high-time to get up and get started on our day.  Shortly after getting up, it started.  Potty training.  My game plan this time is to leave her bare-butt and "sit on the potty" every 20 minutes or so.  Every time she sat on the potty, she was given a sticker for her homemade (a.k.a. 'lame') potty chart.  If she went "pee pee" on the potty, she would be given five stickers.  If she dropped a stinky, (snickering because Daddy Bean would roll his eyes!), she would be given 10 stickers!  10 whole stickers!  Now, I'll have it be known that these are (insert sarcastic tone here) VERY impressive stickers.  The first sticker was a $.10 sticker from box I bought when I thought I'd actually do a yard sale in Portland.  The rest are a gift from once giving St. Jude's $20. a few years back.  There are soccer balls, footballs, butterflies, ducks, flowers... really super tiny ones...like three of them would equate one of my fingertips.  Whoop! Whoop!  Fancy!  Well, Andi got into it, and spent the majority of the day parading herself around the house butt-naked, and collecting a sticker every so often.  She never went potty, and she never had an accident (that I've found, anyway!)  She collected 12 stickers.  We resorted to a diaper twice, no, three times.  One when we went for a neighborhood walk to shake up our energy.  One after lunch when I know she normally drops it like it's hot... (bad use of lyrics, ...but I can hear a few people I know chuckling!) And lastly, when we ran up the street to Sweet Tomatoes for a to-go salad to turn my frown upside down! 

So, let me share the rest of the story... weird... we were just talking about Paul Harvey the other day!  With Andi out of school, I have to find ways to keep her occupied while I sit in my office and work.  If I'm not working, I'm "networking"... I'm looking for jobs, or checking in with Facebook, or working on the calendar, or trying to figure out how to make Twitter cool if you have nothing to sell, or simply trying to catch-up on balancing two checkbooks as we transition away from our Portland bank and switch to our new bank.  It's usually a full-day of office time for me.  I'm always online and I'm trying to get stuff done.  THAT says it right there.  I'm TRYING TO GET STUFF DONE!  So, let me refresh your mind.  Andi is home, not engaged in her Yo Gabba Gabba or iPad, or Barbie/Ken, her countless books, play-dough, toys, she's having none of that today.  With school, she's used to being engaged and here I am, totally unavailable.  I try to set her up at her table (next to my desk) with play-dough, but because I'm not sitting there like uncle Chris did last week, she keeps coming over, wanting up, interrupting me, or simply trying to get my attention.  She won't leave me alone no matter how many different activities I tried to set her up with... and therefore, she won't let the dog alone, because that's what she does... smoothers the dog.  It's really, really annoying, frustrating, and irritating. 

So, I start yelling.  I start time-out's. Double time out's.  Taking toys away.  Well after she colored the wall with a blue crayon, it was when she ripped out her hearing aid and separated the new mold from the tube, I snapped.  Yelling at her, I actually spanked her bare lil' butt.  Usually she laughs, but this time, she looked at me like 'Wow, I'm in trouble!'  Now, for those that don't really know me, I'm not beating my child, so please... back off.  I'm trying to discipline an incredibly smart, incredibly fearless (in certain regard), high pain tolerance Jekyll that just laughs at you when you try to correct behavior.  Like I said, I'm not proud of myself, at all.  I don't want Andi to grow up with someone yelling at her. I certainly don't want her thinking to hit is okay.  She really just wants someone to play with her. Someone to engage her.  Someone to teach her.  I feel so heartbroken. I wish I could have given her a sibling to help her, but after what we went through and my age, I just didn't think I could handle it.  I get so frustrated with her holding onto my legs while I'm in the kitchen trying to move around.  I get so irritated at going into a store, or anywhere, and having to hold her up or carry her... because her walking is so sloppy and slow.  She moves in a different rhythm and sometimes I don't want to take a half-hour in the store to grab four things because she wants to push the cart or hold my hand while I steer the cart with the other. 

I wish I didn't have to work, but I do.  I need to work more than I do so I can pay someone to take care of her, engage her, entertain her, teach her.  I need to get an identity of my own that isn't just "Andi's Mom".  I need to stretch myself, so I can be better for her.  But yeah, there are days like today, where despite all the obstacles she has overcome, it's still hard.  Andi's made me a better person, but she hasn't made me perfect.  Some days, I just lack patience. Today was one of those days.

I failed to include Maddux's part in my furor. The barking.  A neighbor three doors down farts, and Maddux feels the need to bark.  The neighbor comes home and he can see her in her driveway across the street, and he needs to bark.  Heaven forbid someone actually knocks on our door... It's totally annoying.

So, I'm putting the cap on this day and stepping away to zone out in front of the TV before I crash and try to refresh for a brand new day.  At dinner, I asked Andi for forgiveness for losing my temper.  She was quiet and soon-after was nodding off asleep in her high-chair.  I guess this day has been a doozy for both of us.