Thursday, March 29, 2012


Norah had a play date with a friend from school last weekend. She is still little enough that play dates for the kids are also play dates for the parents. Thankfully, the parents of her friend were quite lovely and we had a nice afternoon with them. At one point the topic turned to media and books and how hard it is sometimes to support our girls' obsessions with all things pink and princess. I was complaining about the book Pinkalicious and from across the room Norah announced, "we don't like Pinkalicious. She's a real butthole."

Well, she is.


Lou is legitimately a walker. He very rarely crawls and instead walks in all directions, can turn on a dime, and is starting to run. He still looks like Frankenstein the majority of the time, but we are officially classifying him as an upright person. I took this video about four days ago and he's already much better. I need to get him some shoes. The kid has the longest, narrowest feet. He got several pairs of Caleb/Lucas hand-me-downs that he wore two or three times before outgrowing them (they got passed down to Reid-score for him!), and the few pairs I have bought are too wide and he can't keep them on his feet. First world problems, I know.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lou Walks!

About a week ago, Lou started taking steps here and there. A few days later I took this video, which shows a legitimate Frankenstein walk. A few days after that he was full on walking and trying to run. I would say he is walking about 75% of the time now and only resorts to crawling when he has to get somewhere fast-like chasing the cat. Clearly, he spends about 25% of his time chasing the cat.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paranormal Activity

Last night a thunderstorm woke me up about 2:00 am. I looked over at the baby monitor, saw this and just about had a heart attack. See, whenever there is a demon/possessed baby in a horror movie, there is always at least one scene where the parents witness their kid doing something totally creepy on the monitor. For a split second I thought Lou was sitting in the middle of his room. In the middle of the night.

It was just his bear.

Saturday, March 17, 2012


There is a blogger iphone app which is awesome because I can directly upload pictures from my phone. But, the sizing is kind of wonky and I think the resolution isn't as good. I suppose that's what you call a First World Problem.

Lou is completely done with bottles and formula and a full-time real food eater. He pretty much hates all fruits and vegetable. I spend a lot of my day figuring out a way to sneak these things into him, despite his protests. He was flinging something or other on the floor the other day and I told him that he had a tough life with a mom who just wanted to make sure he doesn't get scurvy. I of course then had to explain what scurvy was to Norah and made the mistake of using pirates as an example of people who might be susceptible to it. She is now very concerned about Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Most days Lou cannot wait for me to get the food on his plate so he hangs out next to me in the kitchen and has a little appetizer.

Look closely to see who spends a significant amount of his day trying to climb into the fireplace.

Lou got a ton of awesome birthday presents. Caleb and Lucas and Ruby and Ella sent him a personalized chair, since he has always been mildly obsessed with Norah's. He LOVES it. He sits on it, has his bear sit on it, climbs up it, and flips himself off the side. Norah makes quite an elaborate fort with both of the chairs and tells me that as soon as Lou is allowed to watch tv, she wants a special room with just "the kid" tv and both of their chairs. Clearly someone is getting acclimated to Texas living.

Best part of having older cousins is all the hand me down toys. Megan gave Norah about 300,000 barbies that are in a regular play rotation around here. Lou likes to be the red head.

You would think there is nothing more annoying that having to mop the floor three times a day. Add in a 3.5 year old who insists on helping mop the floor three times a day, and BAM. More annoying.

Norah takes all the couch cushions down on a daily basis and makes a troll bridge. I usually have to be the troll. Which involves making up riddles for her to solve. That's harder than it seems.

Both kids love hanging out in the master bathroom. I do too. We are used to a bathroom that's single occupancy only. This bathroom is big enough for a cocktail party. The tub is really deep and so Lou is not allowed in it. We spend many a morning with Norah taking a tub and Lou being pissed on the sidelines.

Norah and I had a special date to see The Lorax last weekend. We loved it. It's entertaining enough for older kids, but even a three-year-old got the message about how important it is to take care of the Earth and plant trees. I am totally the mom that smuggles in snacks in my purse, but I made a big production of making sure Norah collected all our our garbage and threw it away as we left the theater. There was so much trash strewn about, which is obnoxious anyway but especially obnoxious at this particular movie, and Norah asked me why other people didn't throw their trash away. All I could do was tell her the truth. Some people are just assholes.

Norah loves to pretend she is the mom. I asked her the other day what she wanted to do as the mom. She said, "drink coffee in the big bathroom and tell dad, 'hey, dad, you're stinking up the joint'." Done and done (that's milk in her coffee mug).

Someone thinks the distribution of pictures "on the computer" favors Lou and wants more with her face.

We went to a super fun birthday party for Wyatt last weekend and got to see the completed house renovation. Included in that is this play loft accessible only by ladder. I thought there was absolutely no way Norah would go up there. I am so excited and impressed at her recent explosion of risk taking and bravery.

The other day Norah, Lou and I were playing "Cinderella, Anastasia, and Druzilla" and Lou was Anastasia. Norah and I decided he needed to look the part so we put him in one of her old dress-up dresses. He discovered warp speed crawling is a bit difficult in a dress and threw a fit until we took it off of him.

On the contrary, this one can't get enough of dresses. Here she is modeling her Easter dress from Bubby. Every day she asks me for "high heels I can wear outside." That makes me scream a little bit on the inside.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Lou got a real haircut yesterday. He cried the entire time. I cried afterward. No more surfer boy. He still looks cute. In a Moe from the Three Stooges kind of way.

Friday, March 09, 2012

Louis: TWELVE Months Old

So, a week and a half late, but there's been a lot going on.

We finally had Lou's twelve month well baby visit Friday and he is weighing in at one ounce shy of 20 lbs, which puts him in something ridiculous like the 10th percentile for weight. He is either 30 or 30.5 inches (it was really hard to keep him still), which is between the 50 and 75th percentile for height. His head is on the same curve and so I totally didn't pay attention to the numbers. He's a string bean.

He's really close to independent walking which will, without a doubt, do me in. He is the fastest crawler I have ever seen and climbs with the agility of a mountain goat. He is a lean, mean, motoring machine. Norah calls him her "cute little monster." I can't really disagree with her. He opens cabinets, pulls things off shelves, crawls under beds, and gets himself into as many perilous situations that are possible in one day. You can't turn your back on him for a second or you will find him in a dresser drawer or licking the shower drain. He's doing a lot of independent standing and has taken a few steps, but I do think we are still weeks away from actual walking.

He's done with bottles with the exception of one bottle of formula before bed (as soon as the can is gone, he's totally done), and has transitioned well to whole milk. His eating has really taken off, with his favorites being any kind of meat and any kind of carb. He especially loves salmon and french toast. He's hit or miss on fruits and vegetables and I have resorted to pureeing veggies and hiding them in meatballs or pasta sauce or otherwise sneaking them in to something he finds more appealing. He will self-feed from those squeezeable pouches of baby food, so he gets some veggies in that way as well. He's actually surprisingly good with a fork and spoon and I can get him to eat stuff like yogurt if he feeds himself. Mealtime has become a bit challenging because he is a flinger. As in, flings food. Flings utensils. Flings his milk cup. I mop the floor. A lot.

His favorite activities include: destroying the train table, hiding small toys in bigger toys, splashing in the bathtub, tackling stuffed animals, and climbing anything he isn't supposed to be climbing. His favorite toys are: his ride on car, and and all balls, his drum, the ball popper, and a wooden puzzle with colorful animals. He currently hates: having his diaper changed, being told no, and being banished from Norah's room.

He is still taking two solid naps a day, sometimes for up to two hours each. This past week he's been waking up at 4:00 am wanting to party, which is about to do us in. I really, really, really hope it's just a phase. He's getting better at entertaining himself for a bit in his crib before demanding to be rescued. Although, I am not sure how I feel about that. The other day I went to get him up from a nap and he was holding his night light. The stinker apparently reached out, got it out of the outlet, and proceeded to hold it up triumphantly as soon as I walked in to get him. Ugh.

He's a big talker and says, mama, dada, , go, got it, ball ("ba"), and cat ("ca") in the correct context. He loves his sister and has started wrestling her. We are having a bit of an issue with him head butting everyone (I thought he cracked my skull the other day), and when he gets really excited he will flail his arms and take out anyone in his path. He thinks his cousins (especially the big ones) are the bees knees.

We are so lucky to have him and can't wait to see what the next several months bring (I hope not more headbutting).

Thursday, March 08, 2012

This One...

...just might end up with curly hair after all.

The Experiment

During the three days that it was actually cold around here last month, Norah and BVZ conducted an "experiment." This consisted of leaving multiple cups of water outside in different places and different containers to see which would freeze. It was a big hit and Norah now frequently comes up with new experiments to try.

The other day she wanted to see if toilet paper would dissolve faster in hot or cold water. As it turns out it doesn't fully dissolve in either. Imagine the disappointment.


Despite all of my bitching about Texas, I have to admit that it's an exceptionally family friendly place. The other day it was incredibly windy so we couldn't go to the park and I had been promising Norah a new Frog and Toad book, so we went to the local Barnes and Noble. We spent about an hour in the children's section and then on the way out discovered a lego table. The kids played peacefully and happily at that thing for a good 45 minutes. I may or may not have sat on the floor next to them reading The Hunger Games....

Wednesday, March 07, 2012


I have no twelve month update because we haven't been to Lou's appointment yet. I am waiting until a sufficient amount of time has passed for his latest ear infection to clear up because I absolutely refuse to pay one more co-pay than I have to.

We went to the ENT last week and it was a good visit. The first thing we did was meet with an audiologist who conducted a hearing test. She first measured the amount of fluid behind Lou's ear drums. As we suspected, his right ear has a moderate to severe amount of fluid, while his left has much less.

The hearing test consisted of me sitting in a sound proof booth with Lou in my lap. I had a book that I had to make him pay attention to but I couldn't speak to him. That's harder than it sounds. The audiologist (and BVZ) were outside the booth and she activated a series of tones in different parts of the room and gauged how quickly and accurately he responded to the tones. There were also battery powered stuffed animals in clear boxes mounted on the walls that would randomly start moving. Lou would jump every single time. He has the VZ startle reflex for sure.

He passed the hearing test with flying colors. It was a Friday and the audiologist said he was the easiest kid to test that she'd had all week. Apparently, the ideal hearing test is one in which the patient wears ear phones and the audiologist can accurately determine which ear either hears the tone or doesn't hear it. That's obviously not possible with a baby and so the results aren't quite as accurate. Because his right ear is always full of fluid and infected much worse than the left it is possible that his left ear is compensating and he was registering the tones coming from the right side with his left ear. It's pretty much impossible to tell right now. (Of course there is a hearing test for kids that involves sedating the patient and measuring, oh I don't know. Brain waves? But we clearly aren't in need of anything remotely that intense or invasive right now).

Next we waited in the exam room for about 40 minutes while we tried to prevent Lou from destroying everything in his path. At this age, Norah was more than willing to sit in my lap and read book after book while we waited for the doctor. Lou wanted to strangle himself in the blood pressure machine, lick the floor, destroy a jar of tongue depressors, and activate the chair's hydraulic lift. Over and over and over.

The ENT did his examination and then we talked about our options for about 45 minutes. I am one of those with a lot of questions. He was great. Basically we have three options. The first is to do nothing and see if Lou just grows out of it. The other extreme is to have ear tubes put in. It is an out-patient surgical procedure, but the kid has to be completely sedated. The tube, which is about the size of the head of a large pin, allows the fluid that builds up in the eustachian tube and harbors bacteria (resulting in an ear infection), to actually drain. There are some consideration with tubes...they can fall out and have to be replaced, the kid can't completely submerge his head in a bathtub or swimming pool, and in rare cases, the tube has to be surgically removed and/or a small perforation in the eardrum can result (rare and totally fixable). The ENT was supportive of Lou getting tubes if that's what we wanted.

The middle of the road option was to try and clear up his ears and see what happens once we are out of cold and flu season. The problem with chronic ear infections is that the fluid behind the ear drum never clears out and becomes a breeding ground for bacteria. Kid gets a cold, bacteria is introduced, and BAM. Ear infection. The ENT's recommendation, and what we were most comfortable with, was to put Lou on a five day course of oral steroids to dry out the fluid and continue his current antibiotic for another ten days, so that there isn't a re-infection while the fluid is drying up. Once the fluid is actually gone, we can see what happens the next time he gets sick. If he gets a cold and automatically gets another infection, we will know that the anatomy of his ear is preventing the gunk from moving through like it's supposed to and tubes will be the next step.

He finished the steroid a few days ago and for the first time in five months he doesn't have a runny nose. I suspect that he is actually allergic to Texas, just like 95% of the population (myself included). There is all kinds of cedar and oak and mold and pollen around here. It's a wonder anyone can actually breathe.

I am glad to have a plan and that he seems to be responding so well to said plan. Stay tuned.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Lou's birthday party was on Saturday. I decided to go with the popular, yet awesome, theme of the Very Hungry Caterpillar. As Norah says, "that little bug eats some healthy food and some delicious bad food!" I found an Etsy seller who designed the paper products on the cheap and I printed everything out. I broke down and decorated with latex balloons (I have an irrational fear of latex balloons, especially around kids), and while they looked great I immediately regretted it because Lou was BANANAS for them all day.

The front door:

I should have thought twice before giving my kid a name that ends in S because I am forever in conflict when it comes to Louis's versus Louis'. The first way is more grammatically correct but the second is way more aesthetically pleasing. It's an idiotic thing to think about, I know.

The dining room table was set up with the favors and the guest book.

The favors were balls of homemade play-dough.

With a tag that said, "thanks for inching by my party, love Louis."

The guest book was a hardcover copy of the Very Hungry Caterpillar that we had everyone sign. Since I am not exceptionally sentimental, I was very impressed at myself for coming up with this idea.

All the tables (two inside and two outside) were covered with different, brightly colored table clothes and these centerpieces. There were four designs that got mixed and matched.

On the mantle was the caterpillar I made with each of his monthly pictures.

It turned out super cute.

The food was based on the first part of the book. I wish I would have gotten a close up of the food signs, but they said, "On Monday he ate through one apple." For apple I made a toasted baguette slice smeared with brie, topped with a green apple slice that had been sauteed in brown sugar and butter.

I somehow managed to not get a picture, but if you look to the far right you can see a pear. That was, "On Tuesday he ate through two pears." For pear I made homemade thin crust pizza, with mozzarella and Parmesan cheese, topped with sweet onions and sliced Bosc pears. It was probably the most popular dish.

Then, "On Wednesday he ate through three plums." Plums was a fancy plum jam mixed with cream cheese and spread on ciabatta bread and then topped with diced plums.

Next was, "On Thursday he ate through four strawberries." Strawberry was a mini-muffin that actually turned out a little dense (I think I over mixed the batter). Eh, they were still good.

Finally there was, "On Friday he ate through five oranges." Orange was a spinach and bacon salad with an orange zest vinaigrette. This was probably my favorite.

Then there were a couple of platters of the five fruits.

Here's the hanging banner I made from the Etsy files (some one else designed, I printed).

Uncle Andy started the tradition of giving each kid a bear for their first birthday. That's where Norah got her Bear. You know, the Bear in every single picture of Norah for the past two years. He actually doesn't really even look like a Bear anymore, but I suppose that's an entirely different story. Anyway, before the party started Andy gave Lou his bear. It was love at first sight.

He may or may not have spent the better part of the evening humping the bear. But again, that's a story for another day.

After Reid's birthday party I knew for sure that I did not want to have anything to do with Lou's birthday cake and that I wanted Aunt Stephanie to have EVERYTHING to do with Lou's birthday cake. She did not disappoint.

She made low sugar, fruit filled cupcakes for the kids with a graham cracker sprinkle and raspberry on top. Although to be honest I did not see a single kid eat one. They were devoured by the adults before any of those kids even had a chance.

There was Lou's very own butterfly smash cake.

And the piece de resistance..... the caterpillar cupcake cake.

It was definitely quite the spread.

Lou was pretty uncertain about all the commotion surrounding the singing of Happy Birthday.

He was intrigued...

Although it didn't help that Norah was chanting "smash, smash, smash!" the entire time.

He dabbled. Maybe had a lick or two.

And then it was all over. My suspicion is that he just got a little overwhelmed by the number of people around him and freaked out a little. No tears, just was not about to smash that cake. We tried again later after everyone had gone home and it was pretty much game on.

Amy made an awesome pinata and stuffed it with goldfish crackers and fruit snacks. It was the hit of the party (despite Norah almost getting scalped with the broom handle at one point).

As we have always done in the past, in lieu of gifts for the birthday kid, we ask guests to consider bringing a new childrens book to be donated to a shelter network. Our guests were awesome and we collected a huge stash to donate. Obviously Lou is way too little to understand what it all means, but Norah gets it and she totally digs it.

Overall, it was really a spectacular day and we were overwhelmed with love for our little dude. I could not have done a thing were it not for my sisters and my mom. I honestly don't know how I ever planned a kid's party without them. They are that good. That being said, we really, really missed our California crew. They are that good too.