Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why me!?

I finally have a working computer again, which I am very grateful for.  It is extremely slow, but I will make it work.

I really should finish the last couple days of our recent trip and that will follow soon.  Today is more or less what is on my mind.

Livy is being a pill lately and we have had several days, including today, where she is a cranky tired toddler which results in an angry mama.  She has been such a great sleeper that I simply don't know how to fix the problem.  She is fighting us with bedtimes, continues to get out of the bed (yes, sometimes she is poopy and I want her to get up for that) and gets up way too early.  The situation probably wouldn't be as bad if I wasn't exhausted from being pregnant.  By 8pm I am finished for the day and need to be in bed by 9p.  

Last night she fought us until past 10p.  This is odd for my little girl who never argued about going to bed at 730p.  It is still a good time because she is obviously tired.  She is waking up multiple times in the night for requests like chocolate milk, water or for us to fix her blankets.  Then she is up bright an early at 630a.  I can't handle this anymore.  I can't function because I am SO tired.  I have no idea what to do.

Today I am researching blackout curtains for her room.  Perhaps the sun is waking her at 630a or a passing school bus so perhaps a white noise machine.  The cats are now permanently locked in the finished basement at night (one woke me up in the wee hours of the morning with his bawling).   But getting her in bed is where I'm lost.  I can't take a nap during the day or go to bed until I know she is sleeping.  Any suggestions?

Other then that, today I am heading to the hospital for genetic testing.  There is no concern, it is one of the prenatal test that my doctor does with all expecting mothers.   Also, the test results from the blood work came back a while ago.  It appears that I had Fifth Disease as a child and therefor immune.  It was certainly a load off of my shoulders!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Feeling out of the loop

I use the Internet as a major lifeline.  It is my access to the outside world in so many ways.  Instead of phone calls, too many times I send a message on facebook or email.  It is also my source for news (in a way, I haven't watched the news in 7 years!  Too depressing!) and media considering we don't have a TV either.  

So what do I do when I wake up Friday morning to a near-dead laptop?  Let's say it was a rough day in which I accomplished much.  I had moments like when Livy was in bed for the night and Eduardo was in a meeting that I wondered around the house thinking, "Now what?"  But I survived. I am hoping to have my computer fixed this weekend so I can continue communicating with the outside world. 

In case you don't see me around in the blogging/facebook/email world, it probably means my lifeline is dead and I am deep cleaning something in my house.  

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It's a pig, not really! Trip part 2

Day 2 of our long weekend trip took us to beautiful Zion National Park. I had never been there before (Eduardo had) so it was a wonderful surprise. I wasn't expecting the beautiful scenery!

We tend to take the back road into things. I don't think we actually plan to take the long route or the back entrance to busy places, it just happens. I am thankful for that. It has saved us several hours standing in long lines at places like Chichen Itza, Mexico and the Grand Canyon.

The first lookout point in Zion's is this. It was a neat huge rock but more importantly is the wildlife on it. Livy spotted it (look closely) and called out pig! No not a pig but a Big Horned Mountain Sheep.

Drive a little further you come to the tunnels. Two tunnels with one of them being a mile long. Look close in the picture and you can see two windows cut into the mountain. The tunnel is there with several windows for light and air. It is amazing to think that these tunnels were completed in 1930! What a task that must have been!

We made several stops to check out the scenery. One part of the park is closed to personal vehicles and you must ride the bus. This wasn't bad at all. We parked the car, boarded the bus and listened to the driver tell about the rock formations, names of things and some history. You have the option to get off at various points and get back on. We rode to the top nonstop and on the way down got off to explore places like "Angel's Landing" and "The Patriarchs" (named by a Methodist minister during the early 1900s.)

By the end I think we were all a little tired. Poor Livy would ask to lay down each time she saw a rock ledge.

For the night we headed to St. George to see a few sites and sleep! We were exhausted!

We love to stop at temples while we're on trips. I think it is important for Livy to see these beautiful scared places and know that they are all over the world. Plus it is always nice to find a peaceful place once in while during vacations.
To be continued...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I thought I was escaping the cold--vacation part 1

We love to travel! Naturally I prefer to head out of the country and experience something completely new, but at times it is great to explore your own back yard.

Eduardo spent months planning out our trip, only to find out a few weeks before that we couldn't go for the entire week. Disappointed, we came up with a great trip for shorter Spring Break. Our never-ending winter was still in full-force at home, at least it seemed, and I was ready for sunshine. Let's say I was grateful I took my heavy coat!

Day One we drove down to beautiful Bryce Canyon National Park in Southern Utah at an elevation of over 9,000 feet! We followed that morning's winter storm all the way down and was greeted with plenty of snow.

This was one of the only nice photos of the canyon before the snow started up. I have fond memories of Bryce Canyon as a teenager when I went with a youth group from church. I wish that Eduardo and my family could have seen the Bryce Canyon that I remember.

Although, I'm sure that this is a trip that they will NEVER forget. Our travel companions consisted of my mother, Livy, myself, Eduardo and my little sister Kachena.

We never expected to see so much snow. There we several outlooks on an 18 mile stretch of road. There is plenty to see and many hiking trails, which naturally we weren't interested in.

Part way up the canyon, we picked up a hitch-hiker. This is usually a no-no in my book. He asked us to take him to the end of canyon to pick up his car. He and his college friends from Indiana had been back-country hiking for the past 4 days. Apparently the first few days were great until the end when they were hiking in near waist deep snow. Not my idea of fun!

On Day Two, all bundled up we stopped at Red Canyon on our way out of Bryce.

Red Canyon was gorgeous, even with the sprinkling of snow. It didn't receive nearly as much snow because we had descended a few thousand feet to a lower elevation. One interesting thing about Red Canyon is that this is where the infamous wild west outlaw, Butch Cassidy, had one of his hideouts.
(Side Note: I have always loved history. In high school I took an extra history class just for fun. This wasn't any old class about ancient history but rather an exciting class on the history of the American West.)
I saw a red dirt road running along the canyon and thought it would be fun to see Red Canyon up close. It was a beautiful drive although we it took us some time to find a way out.

Our drive continued sometime to make our next stop at Zion National Park, also in Southern Utah.

We came across several of these sheriff vehicles on this drive. The odd thing is that there is a mannequin sitting in the driver seat.
To be continued...

Monday, April 20, 2009

I'm back

I am back from my 1500 miles drive and have lots to share. First, I must pick up the dog from the boarder and should really wash the car. Until then....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Do you take a change of clothes to work?

Normally when I am getting ready for a trip, it turns out to be a week long event. I make lists of all the mundane tasks that I MUST complete before I go. Some actually make sense like use the milk in the fridge and take out the trash. And other things I'm sure only I think of. Sometimes the thought will run through my head that if I were to die on this trip, what would my house look like for my family to go through. Would they find piles of junk or questionable items or would they find the home that I hope to achieve; well organized and clean.
This time around, I hope to accomplish one thing: Pack. I haven't had the energy to deep clean the house and do laundry. Of course there was the very important task of booking a boarder for my dog, Sam, and making sure he had his shots.
Yesterday I completed this exhausting task. Anytime I must take Sam out in public, it is an embarrassing task. Why can't he be a normal dog!? We watched the movie "Marley & Me" over the weekend and there are so many similarities between Marley and Sam. I can't help but think, at least Marley liked other people.

Since we replaced one of Sam's knees last summer (MAJOR surgery) he hasn't been the same. He is terrified of everyone he doesn't know. I had the thought yesterday that we could never move out of state until Sam has died. It would be an impossible task to find a new groomer and boarder. Unfortunately, after yesterday's events we may no longer be allowed at the Vet. This isn't the first time this has happened! It is never good when you take your dog in for a check up and the Vet insists on seeing your dog through the car window!

I normally stay on top of Sam's vaccinations. But with the move, I completely forgot he needed his Bordetella and Parvovirus boosters which are essential for him to stay at the boarder. So off to the Humane Society yesterday to get inexpensive shots and no exam (which can't be preformed on Sam anyway). I made sure to put on his extra thick muzzle and ignored all the looks of disgust from the people in the waiting room. I even had one old lady ask why I had that on his mouth. I wanted to tell her because he will either do two things to you, attack you or pee allover your shoes, but I didn't have the heart. I took the nicer approach and tried to explain that he had surgery last year and is simply afraid of strangers.

The Vet Tech finally came to take Sam back and I had to explain that I NEEDED to be in the room with him. I went over the same story about the surgery and she seemed to understand. I don't think she expected him to act the way he did though and I am positive it would have been worse without me.
Once in the room, he coward in corner or tried so hard to attack the poor tech. (Yeah for me for remembering the muzzle) Finally the doctor came in to administer the shots. While trying to keep Sam from attacking and pulling him out from the corner, I ended up getting my shoe peed on. This was nothing!
By the time the wrestling match was over and the shots were given, I realized the mess that Sam created. He had several squishy BMs all over the floor and on top of the Vet Tech's shoes, peed large puddles on the floor and the worst of it on the poor tech. She was soaked! I hope that she had any extra set of scrubs!

All said and done, the doctor recommended that we sedate him before we bring him in again. I may have to remember that one!

On a lighter note, I should know what my test results are for the blood work I did on Monday sometime while I'm gone. Not exactly the answer I was hoping for when I called yesterday. I was told at the time I had the blood drawn that this was a simple test where they are looking for the fifth disease antibodies and I should have the results on Tuesday. I called and all they could give me where the test results from the last panel of blood work I did last week. Which is great to know considering that my childhood MMR shot has worn off and I can now get Rubella if exposed. Joy! It really shouldn't be much to worry about considering that you don't see Rubella or German Measles as often.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Terrified **Updated**

I recently found out that I was exposed to Fifth Disease. I have no clue whether or not that I've had it as a child (you tend to not get it again if you've already had it), but I do know that it can be deadly or cause complications to my unborn baby if I catch it. I have the first few symptoms and am terrified of what could happen. I will call my doctor first thing tomorrow morning.

***Update*** I talked to the nurse this morning and they requested I go in for more blood work. I say more considering I had blood draw last Tuesday for the usual beginning pregnancy workup. I should have the results tomorrow. It test will tell me one of three things, If I had Fifth Disease (aka Slap Cheek) earlier and now immune, if I have never had it and not immune or if I have it now. Let's hope that all I have is a cold and that I had Fifth Disease as a child.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Smarty Pants Take 2 or how I teach

After my post about what Livy has learned before turning 2, I was asked by a parent how I teach her.

I have divided the alphabet, colors, shapes and numbers into different months and put various flashcards and books into Ziploc bags. I want to continue to review what we have already learned and add to it. I have one bag for each month and plan on focusing on one letter for a two week time period. Some months will have 3 letters, but should still work out fine. We do one color, shape and number a month since they are less than letters. (We are working to number 10 for now.)

I don't sit and drill Livy with these things. The bag is perfect to take in the car when we are driving an hour to grandma's (naturally I'm not driving when I do this) or while I'm making dinner Livy likes to look at the pictures and in a way play school with me. She'll ask what certain things are. I think it is important for her to drill me and remember the pictures and letters that I tell her as it is for me to ask her what the objects are.

Now details for the bag contents. These are all things I have had around the house with the exception to the sandpaper letters that I purchased at a local educational supply store.

Each month I have flashcards for a color (one color card shows the sign), shape and number.

Letters. The black and white cards are sandpaper letters. Livy likes to trace her finger around each letter since it is textured. I read in a Montessori book that this was good to form pre-writing skills plus another way for the child to learn the letter. We each have a way of learning whether it is visual, audio, etc. We like to review the sign for each letter as we learn them. Signing time is great for learning this. They have an ABC video which is perfect! It is another way for Livy to learn her letters.

For each letter I have various flashcards, mainly animals since that is what I had on hand, that show the letters. I ask Livy, "What is this?" And she will respond with the correct animal. Great way to boost vocabulary. Naturally she knows what these animals are, but I will point out the letter to her. "You're right, this is a Bird. Look here is the letter B. What sound does the B make?" Sometimes I will point out the other letters to her. To my surprise a few days ago, I was showing Livy the cat flashcard. (We're currently working on our C's.) I covered all the letters and showed her the C and asked her what is that. Her reply, C. I uncovered the A and since she well knows her A asked her what that was and she replied A. Before I could uncover the T she shouted T. She knew what came next!

For fun, I recently added some animal flashcards we picked up at the zoo. I like to ask her what the animals are. She doesn't know all of them, but it is fun for her to look at the pictures and learn new words for animals. We have advanced past calling every primate a monkey. Now they are monkeys and orangutans.

I purchased these toddler friendly magazines off of eBay while I was doing daycare years before I had Livy. I put these into the bag as well for another fun way to build vocabulary, learn about new animals and to look for letters, colors and shapes.
We look for letters on signs, shapes around the house and colors. It surprises me how much Livy has grasped!
Another great resource are the videos from Preschool Prep Company. Meet the Letters, Meet the Numbers, Meet the Colors and Meet the Shapes. We haven't purchased Meet the Sight Words yet. Before Livy can watch any other shows she can choose from one of her educational videos. So she can choose from Signing Time, any of the Meet the videos, or a few others. I like to point out the letters or shapes that we are talking about while we are watching. Just another way for her learn. It is actually surprising how much she has gotten from these videos alone!
Livy loves the website Starfall. We mainly stick in the alphabet section. If you are not familiar with Starfall, you click on a letter and it will introduce it to you. After that the only words or noise I should say that it will say is the sound that letter makes. I have other friends who have used this site and found their kids love it and are learning the letter sounds.
I have also started a homeschool preschool curriculum with Livy from Sonlight. It is a very basic curriculum for her, we are doing the pre-preschool but we are enjoying it. Filled with fun books and activities we can do after reading. Basic things like building blocks, baking cookies or building a tent under the table. It is another way to make learning fun and we get to talk about the story afterwards.
For our family, education is more than just learning your letters and such. We also have some religious activities. We read and look at the pictures in the Book of Mormon reader, talk about the stories in the Bible with various books, we have Family Home Evening every Monday where we get to talk about different things. We have been using the new nursery manual for this. Livy has been fascinated with temples after we took her to the Draper Temple Open House. She also loves to look at any picture that has Jesus in it.
Do you have any fun activities you do with your children to teach them the basics like their letters, numbers, colors and shapes?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Trick-or-Treating for Eggs?

Every year for the past 14 years, my mother has had an Easter Egg Party for the granddaughters. (I can say granddaughters instead of grandchildren because she has no grandsons!) Each year she plans out a different craft, delicious food and some sort of hunt.

Due to the rain and snow, our outside hunt turned into a trick-or-treat. The teenagers and grandma went into various rooms in the house and the younger grand kids went around collecting their loot.

Olivia and I ready to start our trick-or-treat for eggs and surprises. Notice the sand pail being used as a basket. Every year my mom find some fun bag, basket or bucket for the girls to use. I love that it will be used for lots of sand fun this summer.

This year's craft, the girls made foam flower necklaces. Livy loves doing crafts! Of course, she loves taking them a part when we get home too. I believe all the children made a necklace or magnet for their mom's. You can see the one Livy made me in the first photo.

And no party is complete without food. I provided deviled eggs and my homemade potato salad. Unfortunately for me, there were no left-overs!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Fatigue, exhaustion, and plain old tired!

That is exactly what I am right now. Part of it is pregnancy related and bound to get worse. Right now I am 9 weeks 5 days along and officially due November 6th. Oddly how this pregnancy is nearly identical to the one with Livy. The only difference is that I have felt pregnant and had symptoms from day one! With that being said, at about 10 weeks with Livy I hit a complete zombie stage. I could do nothing except lie on the couch. Going to the bathroom or even changing the TV channel was too much to handle. I am NOT looking forward to this!

To top everything off I am having some issues with my once good little girl. She is still good, but is trying every fiber of my fatigued body right now. She is being destructive and is not sleeping well. She used to sleep from 730pm to 800am and nap from 1pm to 245/300p. Those were the days!

Now she is fighting me about going to bed. We go through our bedtime routine and get her in bed by 730pm. Perhaps because it is still light out she thinks it is time to play. She will destroy her room or even sneak down to the playroom. I have to check on her every few minutes until she is asleep. I should add that there is A LOT of time out right now, but it isn't phasing her. Last night she finally went to sleep at nine. Would that mean that she will sleep in this morning? NO! It means we get up at 6am!

So today she gets to deal with me! Olivia has already called me "Angry Mama" and unfortunately it fits. I am expecting her to get cranky at 10am and have to fight her to stay awake until a proper nap time only to fight her to sleep. Once sleep, it may only be a 45 minute nap.

Any advice for a tired, cranky and now angry mommy?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Smarty Pants

I wanted to post this before Livy's second birthday (March 14th) but I was a little (okay a lot) under the weather.

What does Livy know before turning 2:
*All of her shapes including an octagon!
*All of her colors and most of the corresponding signs.
*Beginning to count. She can get to 4 and then skips several numbers. She is very fond of the number seven right now.
*Pick out most numbers and name them.
*Recognizes most of her letters out of order.
*Knows the sounds to several letters and the corresponding sign to go with them.
*Still signs on a regular basis even though her vocabulary is good enough to tell me exactly what she wants, most of the time at least.
*She has a wonderful memory and can recall things that we did together or said. If we are driving to a familiar place, she will recognize major buildings and know where we are going. Like when she sees St. Ann's she knows that Grandma is right around the corner. She has been talking about a small family outing we took over a month ago.
I am excited to see what we will learn this coming year!