Laughing, Weeping, Living

Life happens. You laugh about it or cry about it, sometimes both.

My Baby Boy

Today my baby boy turned two years old! Now we can officially stop counting his age in months. “Oh, how old is your little boy?” people would say. “Um, well…he’s…[counts in head] 22 months,” we would awkwardly respond. Or we would just say, “He’s almost two.” And now we can simply say he’s two. What a relief!

To celebrate his birthday, I baked a cake. We have been running non-stop getting ourselves settled, so in my exhaustion I only managed to put together a sheet cake from a box mix. I figure it’s good enough for a toddler. I did make the frosting from scratch though, because I wanted to do at least a little something special for my big boy’s second birthday. He really loves the Nickelodeon show Yo Gabba Gabba, and the character Brobee in particular. He even says “Brobee” [“boy-ee”] as one of his choice dozen words that he regularly uses. So I managed to decorate his birthday cake with Brobee:

brobee cake 2

I used Stephen’s Brobee toy as a model. I whipped up the frosting and tinted some of it green with food coloring, then I bought a can of red frosting and some black writing gel. The last time I tried to tint frosting red at home, it just got pinker and pinker and never went toward red. So I cheated this time. I used dark green sugar sprinkles to make the stripes. Stephen liked the cake. He definitely recognized the picture and of course he tore into his piece with gusto. I did get pictures of Stephen with his cake, but the cable I need to upload pics from the camera is upstairs and I’m feeling way to lazy to go get it. I will post them soon, I promise. For presents, Stephen got a card full of money from Uncle David, which we took to the toy store and used to buy a fancy toy. I’ll post a picture of that soon, too. We haven’t unwrapped the new toy yet since Stephen needed to be thrown in the bath right away and giving him a new toy right before bath time ranks right up there with Really Bad Ideas.

Stephen is really enjoying hanging out in our new home. He gets to play with two kitties [“Ki-ki”] and Quinn the Dog [“Wouf-wouf”]. He gets to run around in the large yard and feel the grass tickle his ankles. He gets to sprint up and down the driveway and get boo-boos on his chin from tripping and falling. He gets to see Grandma and Grandpa every day and then be very heartbroken when they leave for work in the morning without him.

We are trying to establish a new routine. I do apologize for not keeping up my posting schedule, but it’s being hard enough for me to remember to take my medicine every day and make time in the morning for our family rosary, much less remember to write a blog post in the evening. We have been super productive around the house since the last time I posted, though:

We’ve nearly finished painting our room. All that’s left is the final coat on one of the window frames and the other half of the closet door.

We rehung the closet bar and brought our clothes dressers up to the room. We filled the closet with our clothes, so now we don’t have to live out of suitcases and wear the same outfit three times in one week! Woo-hoo!

We cleaned out Stephen’s room and assembled his crib. We assembled our bed. We laid out area rugs in both our bedrooms.

We unloaded two of our four U-boxes and started replacing the contents with items my parents have consented to sell at a yard sale. Jeremy and I hope to hold the sale Saturday May 18. Sorry, no antiques, just old stuff.

We are well on our way, working furiously. Hopefully after the next couple days we can slow down a little, because, man am I tired!


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Epic Road Trip: Hustle East and actually we’re home

Okay. So after we left Billings, MT we really booked the heck across the country. We drove from Billings to Richardton, ND where we spent one night at Assumption Abbey. Assumption is a men’s Benedictine community whose main industry is hospitality. They have a large guest house that used to be the dormitory for the school that closed back in the ’60’s. They rent rooms to groups and families at a very reasonable rate, plus then you can go to the liturgies which are always a breath of fresh air after you’ve been busy at life. We had a nice little stay with the monks.

Then we hustled to St. Joseph, MN just outside of St. Cloud. We spent one night there catching up with a couple friends we haven’t seen in a long time. It was great to hang out and chat with them.

Then we tried to leave St. Cloud, which was really difficult because all the on/off ramps to the interstate were closed for road construction. We ended up following a lengthy detour and getting on the interstate in Clearwater, a detour that added 30 or 40 minutes to our trip. But we were fortunate to buzz through Minneapolis when we did because as soon as we left apparently they got a Happy May Day snowstorm and the highways were closed because of all the snow fall. Ah, Minnesota.

We drove to Milwaukee and had a little time to visit with some more friends who live in a really cute neighborhood about three blocks from the shore of Lake Michigan. We were able to take a walk to the lake and stand on a hill, gazing at the vast ruffling waters. Then when we got tired of leaning against the bitter gusting wind, we went back to our friends’ house. It was a great little visit.

Then yesterday we drove from Milwaukee to Toledo, OH where we have some relatives. We were able to fairly breeze through Chicago, which was unexpected and very pleasant. We bought an I-Pass thingy for the Illinois tollways which made it super easy to get through the city. The I-Pass works everywhere EZ-Pass is accepted, which means it will work on the Ohio Turnpike. We will be using the turnpike a lot to get between my parents’ house and all my relatives in Toledo. Plus we have friends in Chicago and Pittsburgh, so we can use it to visit them, too. It was a good purchase. Anyway, we spent last night with some of my wonderful relatives, and we made the final short journey home this morning.

Maybe you are sensing that we’ve been pretty much either driving or sleeping this past week. Actually, I’m glad we did the trip this way, because we never had to drive an unreasonable length of time in one day. We got a few hours of decompression time in the evenings with our friends, then we were off the next morning, bright and early. Stephen did just marvelous in the car the whole trip. I think if we had had longer driving days it would not have gone so smoothly. As it was, he was able to mostly entertain himself with toys and playing silly games with whoever was in the front passenger seat. He took some naps and ate some snacks and looked out the window. I would do this again, but I will say I am very glad to have reached our final destination.

It doesn’t feel final for me yet. I still kind of think we’ll have to be up and on the way again in the morning. As soon as I can get a domestic routine going the better. I need to start cooking and doing some housework and I’ll settle in fine. Our U-boxes are being delivered on Tuesday and we’ll really get to start moving in. It will be an adventure to move back in with my parents and we’ll have to get used to living together. I think it will go okay; the animals are going to have the hardest time living together! They’ve been growling and scrabbling at each other a fair amount, trying to suss out a pecking order. Hopefully they get it worked out soon. They’ve come pretty far already since my cat arrived two weeks ago, but things are still a little testy. I’m hoping we can smuggle our cat into our bedroom tonight so we can sleep with our kitty again. I really missed our kitty Sashimi!

Now that we’ve made it home, I should be able to post every day again. Stay tuned for my riveting updates on moving in to my parents’ house and trying to apply for Medicaid with only approximately 8 weeks to go on the pregnancy. And I will be keeping you posted on the status of our little one. My first appointment with my new doc is Monday. Please keep praying! Especially for her to stay in her hot tub as long as possible so I have time to get on Medicaid!

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New Page and Frenemies Update

I just have time for a quick update tonight. I added a new recipes page that I will update and add to as time goes on. Keep an eye on that if you are into recipes as much as I am!

Also, my mom has reminded me that I am leaving my blog readers with the impression that Stephen and Quinn the dog are not getting along. Well the quick version of the story is that now they are getting along. You know, just so long as there is no prolonged face licking or loud barking involved. It freaks out the dog. That was a joke. Laugh with me. Ha ha. Ha ha.

My strategy was: I sat Stephen down to play with legos and made Quinn lay nearby. After a while Stephen became less cautious and now they’re cool. I think Quinn also needed to get used to a shorty being in the house too. Stephen will even pet the dog, and earlier today he was brushing the dog with the pet hair brush. He also treated me to a little grooming and did his own hair while he was at it.

And one more quick thing before I sign off for an early bedtime: Stephen is actually nearly 3 feet tall, not the 2 feet that I had previously stated. That is all.

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So Stephen and I are in Ohio now. I was really excited to come visit my parents for a lot of reasons, but I only want to write about one of them today. The last time we came to visit my family in Ohio, we brought our dog, Quinn, with us to stay and live with my parents. Quinn had been living with us in Billings, MT but for one reason or another, I decided that he was no longer welcome in our home. We had the dog before we had Stephen, and when we brought the baby home we had some problems that I just could not learn to live with. Quinn is big and noisy and he would stomp around and wake up Stephen from napping. Or Quinn would try to get between me and Stephen because he was jealous or territorial or who knows what. I kept getting mad at the dog, and my confessor told me to avoid near occasions of sin, and since the dog inspired Anger, I decided the dog had to go. Anyway, that’s the background. When we came to Ohio back in May, Quinn stayed behind and Stephen continued to mature in a now dog-free house. Stephen was about 12 months old when Quinn left us, and now he’s 21 months.

Okay, so the point of all this. I was excited for Stephen to meet Quinn again and play with the dog since he has so much fun with Sashimi at home. I thought the dog would probably not run away from Stephen like the cat does, and they would get to have some real fun! Well, it turns out Stephen runs away from the dog! He sees the dog from afar and thinks he is great, but if Quinn comes close Stephen wigs out. Like, screaming, crying, horrible running away wigs out. He giggles at how silly the dog is over there, but if the dog comes over here to be silly, it is the end of the world.

Here is proof that they used to get along great.

I guess when you’re as young as Stephen, 9 months of absence makes a huge difference and he forgot all about what it is like to live with Quinn. This development in the Stephen/Quinn relationship is making my visit so far really a drag. I have to pretty much carry Stephen all over the house to keep him up above dog level. And close the door to whatever room we’re in to keep Quinn out. It’s sad because I want to be with the dog and now I have to be mean to him! It’s not his fault he’s a big, goofy, 75 pound dog that scares the crap out of a 2 foot tall toddler! Not to mention my nerves are already on their last short lengths because we all know baby screams–even the justified ones–are very trying.

I’m hoping when Stephen wakes up from his nap today we can have some structured together time with him and Quinn and make the dog less terrifying. Though, Quinn did cause quite a big of trauma in the pre-nap warm up period so I’m not extremely hopeful. If they can’t work it out, it’s going to be a very long week.

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