Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Brick Anyone?

Ok, ya'll, I need a brick. Seriously.  Whenever I would go and visit my grandma as a child she would always say on our arrival, "I need to put a brick on your head."  It was her way of saying that time was going too quickly and consequently her grandchildren were growing too quickly.  I am in need of a brick for our little Miss Anya.  Today she stood up in the middle of the living room, while I was cleaning up from lunch. Soren yelled, "Mommy look!"  I watched her and started counting out loud.  "1....2.....3....(Soren is now jumping around Anya)....4...(Anya sensing something fun, puts on a big smile and starts flapping her arms)...5...flailing arms cause her balance to be knocked off followed by a straight forward face plant....and then yes lots of crying and cuddling.  Now, you are probably asking yourselves the same question Erik asked me, "Why didn't you run to her when you first saw her?"  I honestly was in shock that she was standing, I almost had the sense if I don't move, she won't either.  I felt like time froze in those seconds as we just stared at one another, me in disbelief and Anya in blissful ignorance.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Anya is 6 months!

What a joy Anya's first six months have been!  Here are some highlights of her from the last few months.

- At her 6 month appointment she was 18 pounds 4 ounces (90%) and 27 3/4 inches tall (98%).
- She is very intense and determined to get her mouth on EVERYTHING! (Her intensity is what made her pediatrician predict crawling by 6 months and walking by 9 months.  So far her predictions have been right, but hoping the walking one is wrong. ;-) )
- Loves to chew on her fingers and cloth as a source of comfort.
- Enjoying 2 meals of food a day.  She had a steep learning curve with food and gagged a lot, but now she has learned how to move the food around and swallow it.  She LOVES to eat.  Feeding requires two spoons, one for her and one for me.
-Can use a soft spout sippy cup.  She can lift it to her mouth, but if the water comes out too fast, she needs help pulling it away.
- Has her two bottom teeth.
- Sat up independently by 4 months.
- At 5 months, up on hands and knees and scooted around the living room using a worm maneuver, toe pushes, elbow crawl, and rolls.
-At 6 months + 2 days she got up on hands and knees and crawled across the kitchen floor in a length of about 10 feet.
-Can go from her belly to a sitting position.
-Pull herself up to a standing position. (This is very scary as she is not stable on her legs and falls over easily like a big tree going "timber."  She has hit her head a couple of times already, ouch!)
-She pulled herself up on a laundry basket and side stepped around two sides before falling.
-Loves to stand.  She makes her body stiff when you try to sit her down because she wants to stand, not sit.
- Has become a real "Mama's girl" and cries a lot in the nursery at church and the fitness center.  (We are slowly making progress in this area, we just keep trying.)
-When with Dad or Mom, she is very happy and smiles at anyone who stops and talks to her.
- Laughs at everything Soren does, especially when he wrestles her.
- Loves it when Olivia sings to her and enjoys her gentleness which is in great contrast to Soren's touches.
-Enjoys peek-a-boo.
- Plays with her feet when nursing doing yoga type positions.
-Each week she gets fixated with a different sound. Sometimes it is a high soft "ahhhh" while other weeks its nonstop raspberries.
-She has some crazy hair going on.  It is getting beyond that butch look and actually laying down at times, but sometimes the static makes it stand on end, soooo funny.
- Horrible sleeper at night- typical night she may be up 3-4 times. (We are working on that and making great progress!)
-And in Olivia's words we all "can hardly remember life before Anya." 
- We love you Baby Anya!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We had a fabulous Halloween celebrating fall and making fun memories. With a child in kindergarten and one in preschool, we seemed to have lots of chances to be out in the fresh, crisp autumn air celebrating. We have been so blessed with amazing weather this fall. We are still enjoying 60 degree days in November, awesome!

Soren's preschool took a field trip to a pumpkin farm and after a wagon ride into the field, each child got to pick any pumpkin they wanted. It didn't take Soren long to find THE one. They also had a corn maze and lots of fall cutouts for Soren to poke his face through. His class also had a small Halloween party which was jumped started by the kids singing some very cute fall songs for the parents.

Olivia's school had a fall party at school as well. I am a room parent this year and one of my responsibilities is to plan the 3 classroom parties that will be held this year. The other two moms and I decided to divide and conquer the party. I was in charge of the craft, so we made pumpkin sun catchers using contact and tissue paper. I always enjoy going into Olivia's classroom to see her in that environment. The kids were really behaved considering it was a party at the end of the week...perhaps it helped to have all their parents around. ;-)

Costumes this year were really pretty easy. Olivia's Cinderella costume still fit from last year and she was very excited to wear it again. She did throw on some wings at one point and called herself, "Cinder-fairy." Soren still had the fabulous fireman's costume, which he chose for his preschool party. I had also found an awesome dragon costume at a second-hand store a long time ago. I had forgotten about it until I came across it in the Halloween bin. This is a great costume!  Little miss Anya made an adorable ladybug. She was happy to go along for the ride. She pretty much just enjoyed sucking on her zipper. I will have to find the CD-Roms of Olivia in this costume, because the resemblance between the two is amazing.

Since Halloween was on a Sunday, different towns had different times for trick-or-treating. We really wanted to give the kids an opportunity to pass out the candy as well as receive it. So, on Saturday we found a small neighborhood to go trick-or-treating in. Then on Sunday we made our no-fry donuts, oh these are sooo good. The kids kept looking out the window all day for trick-or-treaters, they just couldn't wait to pass out candy. When the doorbell finally started ringing. They would jump up and down with excitement as they scrambled to the door. Pretty soon they just waited outside the door, then on our sidewalk, then in our driveway, they were full service candy-passer-outers. ;-)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Our Family Nemesis: Strep!

Uggh…strep, how I loathe thee. Strep has yet made another round of victims in our household and this time I think I just about lost it. For those of you who aren’t up to date on the battle of strep vs. Ouimette family here is a quick recap. Although I think this outline is just as much to help me process what we have been through. Warning: This may be a looooong post.

May 26- Olivia stayed home from preschool with a sore throat and fever. Fever broke within 24 hours so never went to the doctor, mistake #1!

May 28- Olivia’s last day of preschool’s family picnic- Note on door that said, “Your child has been exposed to strep.” I remember thinking, “Hmmm, that must have been what O had, but she seemed to fight it off pretty quickly and easily. Good for her. Must have been a mild strain.” WRONG- This should have been when I ran to the Dr. to get a culture because this strain, even when symptoms are gone will live in the back of the throat at least 2-3 months.

May 29- E very sick, extremely high fever, talking incoherently, dehydrated- goes to dr. tests strep +

July 3- Arrive at fabulous ranch with family and E gets sick again, high fever, sore throat, etc. Dr. visit in Panguitch, UT confirms yet another strep. We think that perhaps the first antibiotic didn’t kill it, so gets a stronger one.

July 24- Weekend with the Cox family, after our visit their girls get sick and Ashlyn was confirmed with strep.

Aug. 7- E very sick again. It’s on another weekend, decided to wait to Monday morning to go to Dr. But by Monday am he is feeling much better and decides not to go.

Aug. 24- Playing with the neighbors a lot and then they get sick with yup, you guessed it, strep.

Aug. 25- Starting to think all this strep around us is too weird. O and S are showing no symptoms, but take them in for a culture anyway. Dr. thought it was a bit strange that I wanted a culture since strep usually takes care of itself if not treated with antibiotics. But she is quiet when the results show they are both +. They had been reinfecting Erik and others. Another round of antibiotics.

Aug. 26- Decide to have myself cultured just to see. My test was -. Phew, improvement. E was in Orlando for training, we talked on the phone about him getting cultured when he got home, but when he returned life got busy, no culture completed…another mistake.

Sept. 15- O home from school with fever and sore throat, but she tests negative for strep.

Sept. 23- S sick with croup like cough. Strep doesn’t usually come with a cough, so just did the nebulizer and got better in a few days. He did have diarrhea and so we thought his sore bottom that started around the 26th was a result of irritation from loose stools….yet another mistake.

Sept.29- L sore throat and fever. Dr. reveals + strep result.

Sept. 30- Take O and S in for cultures again. O still -, Soren’s strep was all throughout his colon and now coming out of his bottom in the form of mentioned above. Another round of antibiotics please.
I have a theory that E had strep in the beginning of Aug. and perhaps reinfected the family so E goes and gets culture. Quick test is negative. Guess I was wrong…

Oct. 1- Phone rings, it is the Dr. the 24 hour culture for Erik showed that he was strep positive. He hasn’t had symptoms for nearly 2 months, so the strep was still living back there all this time allowing it to spread to the rest of the family. Perhaps my theory was correct this time...

Oct.1- Call Dr. to see is Anya should be cultured. Strep in babies is very uncommon, but not impossible. She says if she develops a fever, then we will culture her and to keep an eye out for yellow/green mucus and a fever.

Oct. 2- Anya’s nose begins to run, sleeps horribly. I am thinking that she has strep for sure and take her temperature every hour, but never a fever.

Oct. 3- Anya wakes up with her first tooth, runny nose stops and returns to sleeping normally. Hmmm, must have just been the tooth, or not?????

One of the many hats a mom has to wear is that of a nurse, but I am feeling like a pretty lousy nurse these days. All this strep has not only taken a toll on our family physically and financially, but it has started to attack me on a more personal level. I have been humbled by doctors questioning our living environment and hygiene habits. I promise I really do sanitize the house weekly and my home doesn’t resemble those of hoarders. I throw toothbrushes away each time, which is another expense that is adding up since we use an electric toothbrush. And yes doctor, each round of antibiotics was taken correctly and completely.

My philosophy prior to this incident was one of letting the kids’ bodies fight for at least 24 hours, unless they were absolutely miserable, and then consulting a doctor if their little bodies needed some help. But looking back, if I would have just taken Olivia to the doctor at the end of May when she was sick, this whole thing would have been avoided. Instead, it came in to our family and has ping-ponged back and forth. My main job right now is to take care of the family, but I just can’t seem to get this one licked. I have sanitized ever surface I can think of, including ever tiny Lego, soap dispenser, knob, etc. I made chicken noodle soup last night in efforts of enhancing immune systems. Now I just pray that strep will leave this family alone and health can be restored…now, time for my antibiotic.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Cold Season has hit!

Now that school is back and session and kids and their germs have merged once again, we have been fighting the common cold around here.  Olivia was home a couple of days last week with a 102 fever and today it is Soren's turn.  Perhaps this is why I am blogging when the sun is up?!?  Time to make some chicken noodle soup, and read some more books and snuggle up this little guy.


Last Sunday we decided to go out and take a Sunday drive and look for signs of fall. It was fun to meander through the beautiful countryside and see the bits of orange sprinkled throughout the trees. We ended up at a family-friendly apple orchard that had a corn maze, jumping castles, bouncing balls, swings, pumpkins, and of course apples and apple cider, yum! Here are a few pics of our outing.

Well, they say the squeaky wheel gets the oil and it looks like our squeaky wheel, Anya has had enough of this watching the family eat and wants to join in. Lately I have been feeling that Anya is just hungry! She is still a good nurser and eats about every four hours, but this just doesn't seem to be cutting it anymore. She has been waking up somewhere between 12-2am to eat and she guzzles during this time. So, with the hopes of better sleeping and the desire for Anya to be full, solids have begun! Most books will tell you that it is not nutritional necessary until 6 months, but I am finding my mothering experience to not completely agree on all terms of "the books." In my five years of mothering I have learned to educate myself and then combine that knowledge with my God-given intuition. With Olivia, she too was an early sitter and was just about crawling when I started her at 5 1/2 months. I really tried hard to wait until 6 months, but her activity level just required more. Soren got his first nibbles at 5 months and he too was already sitting by this time. And now Anya is 4 1/2 months and has been enjoying tasty morsels of avocado. See a pattern here? I guess I just keep moving up this milestone by 2 weeks with every child!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Big Preschool Boy!

Soren had his first day of 3 year old preschool and he loved every minute of it! We went back and forth on whether we were going to do preschool this year, but we thought that since Olivia was going to be at kindergarten that it might be good to let him have a school experience too. He has a wonderful teacher and is having an amazing experience.

Soren has had to stand by and watch Olivia experience a lot of things first, so we wanted to make this day special for him. I made his name in pancakes, which he loved and now requests often for breakfast. Sorry honey, those are for special days, and days when Mommy has more time and patience. :-) Erik and I both went to drop him off and he went right in to the classroom without incident. The teacher had several activities out and around for the kids to choose and with only 7 students in his class there was a lot of empty stations. Erik and I kind of looked at each other with a bit of surprise when he went in and picked the "fine motor center" stringing beads on a string. That is usually something that frustrates him, but apparently not when you are in a preschool room! He has picked that same center first everyday, so I think making some beaded necklaces may be in our future. When we picked him up, he was having recess in a small play area and playing with some other children. It was so fun seeing him interact with his peers. He was so excited to tell us all about his day. I think he has been listening to his sister's retells because his retell included just about as many details as she puts in...."We did the hokey pokey where you put your hand in like this....we ate crackers in the shape of Toy Story and had juice with a picture of Clifford on the box...we had recess..."

Afterwards we drove through the McDonald's drive thru and ordered 1 vanilla cone and I wish I had a picture of his face lighting up when we handed the treat to him. To make the day even better he got to sit on the front step and eat it while watching a cement truck right across the street from our house. What an amazing day!

Monday, September 6, 2010


Well, our little peanut has reached the .33333 mark of her first year. This past four months has been a busy, fun time. This time period included a lot of traditional firsts, like first bath, first outing, etc...as well as some fun ones like our first road trip to visit family in Utah, and first hike in the mountains of Colorado. We were very thankful that she took this 4,000 mile journey at 2 months when she was still sleeping a lot, it made the trip much easier for everyone!

At her 4 month check up she weighed in at 16.5 pounds and was 25.25 inches long keeping her in the 90 percentile for both. Some of her milestones during this period has been first smile, rolling over (she is now officially a tummy sleeper), first giggles, and most recently sitting. Her temperment is still pretty laid back and only fusses if she is hungry or tired. When we are shopping, she loves to give anyone who stops and says hi to her a nice big smile and if they are lucky some coos as well. She has discovered her voice and not only like to coo, but make many other silly noises, like a coughing sound or low grunts. The hair on top of her head has also started coming in, but we are still uncertain of its color. At this point it is looking like a light brunette. The verdict is still out on her eye color, my prediction is that they will be similiar to Soren's color.

Ahh man...I just spent an hour making a slideshow collage and it won't load becasue I made it with a noncompatible program. I just figured out an easier way to make a slideshow on picasa, upload it to the web and then just embed the url, but this mama is too tired. So I will give it a whirl tomorrow. And because every post needs a picture :-) here is one of Anya "helping" me carry the laundry upstairs.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Off to Kindergarten!

Well, it is official, we now have a kindergartener in the house. Today was her first day and what a day it was! Last night the school had an open house for the families to come and drop off school supplies, sign up for various events, meet the teacher, and get familiar with their new classrooms to help ease first day jitters. It was helpful for Olivia to have some sort of idea what to expect today. She woke up bright and early this morning and was really excited to go, but for the first day the second half of the alphabet was only going in the afternoon from 1:15-3:45, so it was kind of a long morning for her. Her normal day will be from 8:45-3:45 every day. As the time for her to get ready got nearer she grew more and more nervous and truthfully so did I. Once we got in the car to drive to school she started getting nervous and said, "I don't think I am ready for kindergarten." "What if I don't know what to do?" We reassured her over and over and tried to calm her nerves. Once we arrived she joined one of her friends from preschool in line, but just couldn't hold back the tears. She cried a little and told her teacher that she was feeling nervous. Olivia's tears opened the waterworks among the mothers waiting by for their kids to march off into the building. The moms were on the brink of crying just trying to hold back and as soon as they saw Olivia crying they couldn't hold it back anymore and well with Olivia and moms around me crying, I was toast too. ;-)

Soren had a great afternoon without his favorite playmate. He actually fell asleep for the first time in a long time during rest time, I think he actually let himself rest knowing that Olivia wasn't there. I think sometimes he just gets down right exhausted trying to keep up with Olivia. After he woke up we went outside and waited for Olivia to get off the bus. The bus driver pulled up and gave Olivia instructions on how to safely cross the bus. She was half way across the street and we noticed she didn't have her backpack, so we yelled, "Don't forget your backpack" and I think our yelling scared her, like she thought a car was coming or something. But she ran back to the bus, got her backpack and came running to my arms and collapsed into her safety net and let out some of her anxiety in the form of tears. Once we got in the house, had a popsicle and heard about her day she was very excited. We had her favorite dinner, spaghetti, and heard all about her day. Everything from the songs they sang...thumbs up, bottom out, tongues out...to Mr. Monkey, a stuffed monkey that the person gets to hold when they are talking during sharing time, to super stones for super behavior. I love how Olivia not only includes the activities in her retelling of events, but also her personal narrative about what was happening in her mind. "Well, I felt a little nervous when we were walking down the aisles (hallways ;-)) but then I got into the classroom and put my stuff away and then we started to do fun things and I thought, well, this is going to be a lot of fun. When we started singing all my nervousness just went away." We are so proud of you Olivia!