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Coming up fast!

18 Dec

We are due to leave for Louisiana on Tuesday. To say that it has snuck up on me would be about the biggest understatement I could make. I think in my mind, it’s still September and I have plenty of time. Needless to say, I’ve been ordering presents like a madwoman for the last two days. Some will be opened when we get back from Louisiana and some will be opened (the Santa gifts) Christmas morning/eve with the families.

Eli completed the screening test for Advanced Learning. For K-2, they do a shortened version of the test (5 10 minute sections) and then if the child tests above 94%, they are invited back for the full version (2 hours). I continue to have discussions with other parents about what I should do if he were to qualify.

Regarding Will’s presents: he wears a size 13 shoe and his current shoes (in my opinion) are pretty sad. So gift cards for Zappos, DSW, etc. would be good. He wears a medium shirt size and pants are 36/36. He’s hard to buy clothing for so probably gift cards?

Andy has a show tonight so the boys and I are laying low today and resting up for the exhaustion of Tuesday. I’ve gotten their kindles mostly working again so they should be good to go for the flights/car drive as well as downloaded movies to the iPad. We got new headphones for Eli since his head is now too big for the little kid ones we’ve used for years 🙂 We’re going to have some Pho delivered in a few hours for dinner and then probably some board games to round out the night. I work tomorrow so I’ve been starting packing today. There is still some degree of Christmas shopping I’ll need to do when I get to Louisiana but it’s just for a few things, not a ton.

I’m also working on my resume. The hospital where I work is restructuring their SW departments. Previously, inpatient social work fell under Care Management while ED SW fell under the ED. They have now united the two under Care Management and have appointed a Care Management Director to oversee all of it. They also created a new position, Social Work Manager, who will oversee ED, inpatient SW, geropsych SW, and the ambulatory care clinic SW. My wonderful boss, Annie, applied for and got this job. When I applied for my position three years ago, I was quite bold in that I said I wanted to be a supervisor within five years. That being said, she wants me to take her job when she goes.

We have to post the job internally but there shouldn’t be any other applicants (well, there might be one, but she definitely won’t get it). It’s been explained to me that this is largely a formal process but the job is essentially mine. Which is amazing because it’s exactly where I want to be but the timing makes me a little sad since it’s a full time position and I still have Ben two days a week. So there’s been some scrambling trying to figure out how to make 40 hours in a week. The good thing is that it’s salaried so I can just squish in hours here and there until he starts kindergarten but I’d prefer not to do that since it’d involve basically going to work any time Andy is off so I’ve been looking for a nanny to pick up some hours here (Small Faces is full and can’t take Ben the other two days now and also his gymnastics is paid through March, on Wednesday mornings, and non-refundable). I also would still like to have some time with him. So I’ve been trying to work all of that out the last week.

Ben just walked up to me and said, “Sometimes I can roll a mashed potato into a ball” and then walked off. You have to love 4.

SO looking forward to seeing everyone Tuesday. Have a great day. 🙂

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Flickr pictures up

23 Nov

I think I managed to get most of the pictures up from the last year. They’re not organized yet but all in good time. It took me a while to just find the camera cord to upload them!

I will definitely try to do better updating the blog in the coming year. Lots of changes are brewing and I’ve enjoyed this outlet to keep everyone informed. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and we are looking forward to seeing everyone in December!

Ben finishes the puzzle!

20 Nov

Really looking forward to seeing all you guys next month. The boys are doing well. Eli has his Advanced Learning exams in the next month, not that it will mean much. We already decided he won’t switch schools even if he qualifies but it will allow for some additional attention in the school he attends now. We mostly wanted to get an idea of how he’s doing in relation to his peers so we can accommodate.

Ben is getting way better at puzzles. Here’s his most recent learning story from school:

Ben Finishes the Puzzle
A learning story by Ben Smith and Teacher Mollie

It was morning in the Mountain Room and circle time had just come to an end. The teachers told the children what was on the tables for morning activities; everyone ran off to pick.

Ben stood up at circle and looked around. His usual friends he played with were not there that day. Ben walked over to the square yellow table and sat down next to his other friend, Reegan.
“What is this?” Ben asked Reegan.
“It’s a kind of a number puzzle,” Reegan told him.
“Could I help? I am good at puzzles,” Ben asked
Reegan said, “Sure.”
Ben grabbed a couple of the pieces and started helping. There were already a couple pieces matched together. Reegan put the next on. Ben then put his piece on and then noticed Reegan’s piece was on wrong,
“Reegan, this has to be moved,” Ben told him. Ben then moved the piece around and added his. Reegan grabbed some more pieces and Ben noticed. 
“That is a lot of pieces, Reegan! I need some. Give me them!” Ben demanded.
Reegan looked at Ben and said “I have them.”
Ben then took a deep breath and said, “Please, Reegan, can I have a couple?”
Reegan smiled and said, “okay!”
Ben smiled back and said, “Thanks.”
After a couple minutes, they both finished the puzzle. Reegan stood up and went to play somewhere else.
Ben looked around and then back at the puzzle, “I am now going to do it myself.” He took it all a part and started off from the beginning.
“I know it starts with one and then two,” he said out loud as he found the pieces that made the number one and two. He then looked at the pieces, “Teacher Mollie, I can’t find the other ones,” he made a sad noise and then crossed his arms. I then showed him how to set up the puzzle box to see what the picture looked like.
Ben relaxed and put his arms down and then looked at the box.
“Oh, I see! The three is right there,” he then picked out the ones he needed.

Ben continued to work with the box propped up and finding pieces that he needed.
Ben then finished the first row and went on to the next number on the bottom. As he put the piece on the bottom, the top broke. He fixed the top but then the bottom piece fell off. He sighed loudly.
“This is too hard,” he yelled.
Ben crossed his arms and put his head down. After a couple seconds, he looked up.
He looked at his hands and then proceeded to hold one side with one hand and put the piece back on with his other. It worked. He continued to put the other pieces on. Throughout the process, the puzzle would come undone with the slightest movement. Ben continued trying his technique out by holding one side down, while he fixed the other.

As Ben got closer to finishing it, he had a smile on his face. He then found the last piece and put it on.

He laughed as the piece snapped in. He looked the box and at the puzzle and smiled. “It looks like the box. I finished it!” he said.

What does this mean:
Ben, I loved watching you with this activity! It was great to watch you with a friend and then try it by yourself.
Ben, a lot of times you can get frustrated in both situations. Maybe a friend is not listening to you, or you need some help when no one is around. Either way, you can get mad or sad and then forget about the activity.
In this story, you showed us how you took the time to work with Reegan and with yourself. The first part of the story, you and Reegan worked together to make the puzzle. You showed that you could take turns and even share the pieces. In one part of the story, you demanded pieces from Reegan. You knew that is was not fair for him to have all the pieces, and you expressed that. Reegan also chose to not give them to you. I noticed you had two choices at that moment. You could keep demanding and getting angrier at him, or ask him more kindly. Ben, you chose to calm down and ask him in a different way; Reegan then gave you some of the pieces.
The second part of the story Ben is how you dealt with your own frustrations. You wanted to do the puzzle yourself! It can be so self-rewarding to try at something yourself and complete it. There were a couple times in the story that you got angry. I could tell by your sighs and grunts that it may have felt like a lot of work. Ben, you worked through it though. You proved to yourself that you could figure out the problem and find ways to work around it. That is amazing! A lot of people have an easy time getting angry at a problem and not wanting to try new ways to fix it. You, on the other hand, asked me for help and liked my advice. You also knew that that you could help yourself if the puzzle was falling apart. I am very proud of you, Ben.

Future Possibliities:
I think this story showed the two sides of Ben. His curious and exploration side and his frustration, self-doubt side.
Ben tends to get overwhelmed easily when something is not working out. In this story, it showed when Reegan would not share the pieces, and then when the puzzle was falling apart. Ben allowed himself to get frustrated but then used strategies to fix the issues he was having. He chose to use kinder words with Reegan, and then find a solution to the puzzle not staying together.
I think with this story; Ben will only become more and more confident in the things his friends can do and what he can do himself. Moving towards the future, he will hopefully get less frustrated when things are not working and then start to think of people or objects that can help.
In the classroom, we like to do a lot of team building activities. I hope for Ben to be a part of these activities. That way he has more opportunities to interact and understand how friends can help one another. He also will pick up how to ask nicely for something from his friends.
We can also start exploring new activities, projects, and skills to help Ben work on himself. He can have those moments to try new things and have the help around him when he needs and asks for it. I think Ben is a bright kid and knows what he wants. When it does not happen the exact way, that is when it can be overwhelming for him. With practice and patience, Ben will understand how he needs to work and what he is capable of.

*Since I got this, we’ve been working with Ben on games in general and puzzles in an effort to help him learn frustration tolerance. I can’t help but feel that some of his frustration comes from being a younger sibling and often Eli will “help” Ben in a very demeaning way “Ben, it’s not that hard, stop freaking out.” I wish he’d be more positive and encouraging but he’s coming from the standpoint of (I think) still having some resentment about not being King of the Mountain. In positive news, we have progressed from 24 to 46 to now 100 piece puzzles that Ben wants to do all on his own and when he gets frustrated, he’s stopped saying “I can’t do it” and instead just taking a break then getting back to it. Super proud of that kid.

We recently got the board games Ticket to Ride and King of Tokyo and we’ve been having a lot of fun with those. They are super fun for Eli and even the grown ups really enjoy them. We’ve also been doing a lot of puzzles in general.

The last month has been hard. Hard in a way I don’t really know how to quantify. I’ve been sick and having a lot of problems with nausea and throwing up but I’ve been well connected with my PCP and I think it’s getting under control. It’s been stressful and difficult. That being said, I feel lucky to have such a solid family foundation with all of you and I know things will even out. I am really, really looking forward to Christmas.

Have a holly jolly Christmas…

6 Dec

Christmas time! As the parent of a two and six year old, there is truly no better time of the year. I can vividly remember harassing my parents about putting up the tree, wrapping presents, and WHEN WILL CHRISTMAS BE HERE?? I’m happy to report that nothing much has changed with kids in the years since I was little. We put up our Christmas decorations last weekend and the house is feeling downright festive. Although we bought that darn Elf on the Shelf a few years ago, I was sort of hoping Eli had forgotten about him but no dice. Several days ago he started asking where he was so I had to put him back out two nights ago. I find the elf to be a bit creepy and I also don’t necessarily dig the whole “the elf is watching and reporting on you so you better be good” aspect of it all. I would rather the boys be good because they’re just being good and not necessarily because they think they’ll get more presents because of it. So we bring the elf out but we never threaten with the elf, we never reinforce the whole “the ELF IS WATCHING” number and instead hope it’s just a fun thing for them that the elf pops up in a different place every morning. Ours is a sometimes very fun but mostly lazy elf, often finding a comfy place to hang out for several nights in a row because he “must have just really liked that spot” and Eli seems okay with the elf not moving every night. Seriously, I do not have the time for inventive elf games every night.

Ben is being a champ about not messing with the tree so far although Will’s gigantic bean bag, which had previously taken up space in the corner of the living room, had to be booted down to the playroom to make room. Ben has asked several times to get rid of the tree so the bean bag can return because he liked propping up the end of his slide on it for never-ending opportunities to crack his head open. I assured him the tree won’t be around for long and he can resume his teetering on unstable slides as soon as January rolls around. He really likes the tree lights as well as the lights we put all around the outside of the house. Although it was a HUGE pain in the butt to light the house (involving two ladder rentals because of the distance over the garage to the gutters), in the end we still think it was worth it. Parts of the front of the house aren’t as lighted as I would like but we figure we’ll buy a little more every year until we achieve Griswold status.

For what it’s worth, clothing sizes:

Eli:
Shirts size 8
Pants size 7
Shoes size 2 (kids)

Ben
Shirts size 4T
Pants 2T or 2 years
Shoes 9 (toddler)

Ben starts Small Faces in a few weeks and he’s pretty excited about it. It will be so good to have him around other kids again although we’ve been spoiled with BP and will have to do most of his potty training on our own. BP really took the lead and handled most of it with the kids. I got the potty seat out a few weeks ago and although we’ve been plunking him on it here and there, we really have to start buckling down as it’s an extra $75 a month for kids who are still in diapers. ON TOP of the $1100 a month for three days a week. They should be feeding these children gold and star dust for those costs. Ridiculous. So probably in January I’m going to start busting Ben’s chops about getting potty trained ASAP so we don’t have to pay that any longer than we have to. He’s amused by the potty but doesn’t really have any inclination to it so far. I’m hoping peer pressure will work in our favor once he starts at Small Faces and he’ll get more interested.

Ben’s been on a tear so far as getting out of bed the last few nights. The other night, he got out of bed three times because “I poopy, Mommy” (he was not but he knows I’ll check). Then twice I saw the light on in his room and when I opened the door he was sitting in front of his bookshelf looking at books (THE CHILD WHO WILL NOT SIT STILL FOR A BOOK). Then one time he came into the living room with his pj pants in his hand declaring, “My pants fell off!” Like, what the heck? How did this happen, Mommy? My pants just totally fell off! It was hard not to laugh because he was totally trying to play it off as a legit reason for getting out of bed.

Eli started karate classes at Washington Karate by our house. He really loves it. We signed up for three months and I told him if he did the three months and wanted to stay in it then at that point I would buy him the karate uniform. I just don’t see the point in buying it now since who knows what he’ll think three months down the road? He can do his classes just as well in sweatpants for now.

I’m doing as much cross fitting as I can in the garage. It’s not a lot of space so I do what workouts I can. I’m signed up for 12Ks of Christmas in 2 weeks and then the Hot Chocolate (15k) in March and the Lake Sammammish 1/2 marathon the week after that so I’ll be getting a lot of running in. I really miss Crossfit. I am hoping that once Eli no longer has kindergarten tuition that I can go back to it as it’s just really hard to replicate that level of intensity on my own. In any case, I’m fortunate to have a squat rack and weights in my garage so I’m doing what I can. I’ve been talking to Eli about running with me and doing some of the kid fun runs (1k) that usually happen with my races and he’s shown some interest. I think it would be super cool if eventually we could do some 5ks together.

Andy still isn’t fencing yet. He’s gone a time or two but both times really aggravated his knee so he’s been holding off. He’s going to go back this coming week and we’ll see what happens. I’m worried that fencing just won’t be in the cards for him anymore but that’s hard to know without him trying it more and more PT. Fingers crossed.

Enough for tonight. 🙂

Freeze! Go! (but not really, please freeze)

14 Nov

Oh my. If I could freeze time right now, I completely would. Ben is two, wonderfully, gloriously, two. That has all the inherent two-ness involved, of course, but he has reached the delicious stage where he is amazingly verbal yet still has the very Two way of pronouncing things and declaring whatever is running through his very Two brain. He is ridiculously cute. We thought (knew) he was already cute but I can’t tell you how many times a day Andy or I will talk with him or he will run up to us to tell us something he’s discovered and we just look at each other and remark on how absolutely delicious he is these days. He’s finally at an age where he and Eli can play–really play- together and although there is much injustice and screaming in the household over various and perceived slights, they have as many moments where they delight in each other and make the best playmates. I can only see their ability to play together improving (and getting louder) and it’s just amazing. Right now they mostly bond over pillow fights, hide and seek, and Ben copying whatever Eli does (this is not always so awesome, parentally speaking).

Ben is just bursting every day with new words and thoughts. He always wants you to “Yook!” “Yook what I doing!” He wakes us up every morning declaring “I get out of bed! No seeping, Mommy! I want a waffle/cereal bar/cereal/bacon!!” Most days, he eats like a horse. Although he continues to miss school and is looking forward to going to Small Faces, he seems to enjoy his time at home which is heavy on the local playgrounds, long walks to take Eli to or pick him up from the bus stop, or helping out around the house. There is one huge puddle that is pretty much always there on the walk to the bus stop and we routinely spend a good 20 minutes there both in the morning and in the afternoon so he can throw rocks. This week, it’s been frozen in the mornings which has made the puddle even more exciting than usual and has led to long talks about why the ice is gone when we go back in the afternoon to get Eli.

As Ben was rapidly outgrowing his crib, we decided to get some bunk beds for their room. I spent a few weeks compulsively refreshing craigslist and we finally got an amazing set for $200, easily a $650 set if we were to buy it in the store. Go Craigslist! Although Ben is slightly bummed over his lower bunk status, we set it up on Tuesday night. Eli loves being king of the mountain and Ben really seems to love being in a big boy bed. I will either get around to posting his crib on Craigslist or we will have a garage sale next summer since our garage is filling with things we really need to get rid of but I think we could make some money off of them in the process. I expected to be a little sad that our crib days are behind us but I’m really glad it’s done. I love (other people’s) babies and I sure loved my babies but big kids are just so much fun. The baby days were amazing but it’s so great to be able to really communicate with them and do family stuff together where everyone can participate.

Halloween was super fun with the boys. Ben totally got into it and although he had some trouble keeping up with the big kids, he got into it in a way that Eli couldn’t at two because he didn’t have an example to follow. He mostly went up to people’s houses and would just hold his bag out or if they let him take his treat, he’d just keep taking and taking until they would look up at me and I’d have to remind him to knock it off. It was so much fun. Although Andy had to work that night, he arranged to go in an hour late so he could go with us. After the trick or treating, Andy went to work and the boys and I came home to watch the Nightmare before Christmas and the boys ate their weight in candy. Such a fun night.

Eli’s birthday was great as well. We did Remlinger Farms and on his actual birthday took cupcakes to his class so they could have a little celebration for him. That night we went to the Hi-Life (his request) and Ananda joined us. Eli requested a “Halloween cake that is chocolate with orange icing and looks like Halloween”. I feel like I delivered:

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I just checked and I haven’t uploaded videos since May. I say this with all seriousness, if you’d like to see more videos, please text/email and remind me to upload. I am always recording videos of them and I usually (mistakenly) think I’ve updated more recently than I have! I do not mind ONE BIT if anyone sends me a reminder that it’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. Although I can’t update with the frequency that I used to, if the blog is still something people look at and not just my own baby book, I really could benefit from a friendly nudge now and then. Knowing that others look and enjoy is very motivating.

Developmental info: Eli’s got a second shark tooth coming in. It’s the other bottom front and we’ve set him to wiggling the baby tooth but it doesn’t really feel loose at all. Ben’s got pretty much the whole alphabet down! It seems to have happened overnight–a month or so ago, he had five or six down now he’s whipping them all out on command. Unfortunately, he has ZERO interest in doing this when he’s being taped so I can’t provide a video but it’s stinking impressive! He loves going to the library (so many books to pull off shelves!) but still not as into reading although he does really like the Little Blue Truck series. He has no interest in sitting on the potty (It’s too big, Mommy!) although I suspect that will change once he starts Small Faces in January and has a little peer pressure. Eli continues to read up a storm and can read somewhat comfortably at a second grade level and can read a fair portion of what the internet says is a third grade level. He’s doing a lot of math at school and really enjoys asking about numbers and several times a day is showing off his addition/subtraction skills.

We enrolled him in some karate classes at the community center but I’m less than impressed with them. The classes don’t really seem geared towards kids at all and the instructor has what Andy referred to as “the personality of a dead fish”. He’s not very good at engaging the three kids in the class. They also started off with instructions in Japanese (without explaining to the kids what they were saying and just expected them to follow them, which they eventually did but then the instructor seemed annoyed that it took them a minute to catch on). I guess this is what happens when you pay $9 a class. They started straight in with punches and kicks with instructions like “If you want to knock the wind out of someone, this is where you hit” and things like that. I’m not totally comfortable with that. So I’ve been calling around to other places that have kid-centered classes to try to find a better fit.

So that’s all for now. Here’s some videos to help pass the time:

I have a loud, awesome house:

Pillow fight:

This is from Remlinger Farms. It cracks me up because Ben is so very two and over it quite quickly whereas Eli really struts his stuff.

Life with boy children, it’s so spitty.

The part where he closes his eyes to wish gives me the warm fuzzies.

The cutest Power Ranger

What’s the point of 2 year olds if you can’t have any fun?

Nothing happened in April 2014.

6 May

Oh, I wish that were true but in all honesty, I could just not get up the motivation to post.

In April, we went to Oregon. We took a two night, three day trip. We drove to the coast to the Garibaldi/Tillamook area and went to the cheese factory. We also stopped at Haystack Rock on the way down and the boys really loved playing at the beach. The next day we drove to Portland and went to the children’s museum, walked around downtown and got some Eritrean food from a food truck, and camped out in the hotel. The next morning, we walked to the donut shop, then went swimming before checking out. Our plan was to go by Mt. St. Helens on the way back but it was pouring rain–like Louisiana downpour–and we decided against it. Eli and I were a little bummed about it since we had gotten a DVD from the library called MT. ST. HELENS-BACK FROM THE DEAD (ha) and he had been learning about volcanoes and whatnot to get ready to see it. However, the weather was so bad there wouldn’t have been any way we could have seen anything from the car and I was not about to drag those two out in that weather to go for a hike. So, maybe next time. It’s only a few hours away.

Ben’s language is EXPLODING. Words, words everywhere. Some of them even sound like they’re supposed to. For some unknown reason, banana and airplane both continue to be “mee mee” although airplane has an ever so SLIGHT difference of “mah mee”.  In all honesty, I usually only know which one he’s saying by seeing if he’s pointing to the counter or the sky.  He can repeat most words quite well if he’s in the mood for it but he doesn’t enjoy showing off what he can do as much as Eli did. Usually this means he does something cool, I ask him to do it again and he refuses. Especially if I have my phone on him to record it! Obstinate second children!  He’s getting his manners down lately and it’s adorable.  Please “meesh” and thank you “Tay-too mahmee” are about the cutest things ever.

We are getting things ready for lots of changes in the fall–Eli will be at kindergarten full time and our beloved Berry Patch is closing so Ben will temporarily be relocating to the daycare where I work. He has a spot at Small Faces starting January 2015 but we have to cover that gap so he’ll have to switch for five months. I hate putting him somewhere for such a short period of time but he’ll get over it. Eli will be starting North Beach elementary this fall. Unfortunately, it’s one of the few schools that you have to pay for full day kindergarten ($280 a month). Between that and having to pay for part-time before/after school care at Small Faces, we aren’t going to be fully going back to just paying for one in daycare for another year.  However, it will still be a little cheaper and anything is better than how it is now!

We finished the Whole 30 a while back and it was fine. We were really glad to be done with it but I feel like we’ve gone too far the other way now. We’re having wine/beer probably 3 times a week and our diet, although it has never been full of processed foods or anything, hasn’t been so great with the grains and breads and all that. There have been a lot of tacos. We’ve both noticed the change in how we feel daily and so we’ve been talking about what to do about it. Neither of us want to do the whole 30 again for a loooong time but we’re figuring out what we can cut out (or at least minimize) to feel better without breaking the budget–a diet of nothing but meat and fresh produce is pretty stinking expensive. We’ve switched to a lot of frozen vegetables which works fine for some stuff but we tend to roast veggies a lot and the frozen stuff, it’s squishy even after you roast it for a long time.

I’ve got a lot of videos and pictures to get on this blog. I’ve been uploading videos for the last few weeks and i haven’t done the pictures yet but Saturday night Andy is on a night shift and once the boys go to bed, I’ve scheduled that evening for getting all those online. I find I do better if I actually put it in my schedule.  Our calendar looks a bit nuts with all the varying work schedules, fencing, crossfit, boys’ stuff, and everything else.

Ah, life is wonderful and hectic. Today the boys are at school. Ben is normally home on Tuesdays but since I work a swing tonight and Andy doesn’t get off until 6:30, we paid for an extra day. Currently, one of the BP teachers, Neale, is watching them when Andy and I have scheduling conflicts. She and Ben take the bus from BP to Small Faces, pick up Eli, load Ben in the stroller I leave at SF, and walk home. Tonight, since Andy is off at 6:30 she’ll just be here a few hours. Other times, like this Friday when Andy is on a night shift and I’m on a swing, she’ll stay here until I get home at almost midnight. Oh, I am not looking forward to tomorrow and Saturday! The boys are home with me both days and I don’t get off work until 11:30 (if I’m lucky and get out on time). Then up early with both of them and it’s go go go all day long because Andy will be at work and then fencing tomorrow. Saturday, he’ll be asleep all day then back to work at 6 PM.

The days are long but the years are short and I have to get ready for work. 🙂

 

I’ve worked in an ER for 4.5 months and now I think I’m a doctor.

10 Dec

Lo and behold! The thing that has made me Most Miserable the last few months, I have diagnosed myself:

<a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piriformis_syndrome”&gt; Piriformis Syndrome! </a>

Basically, I have a pain in the butt.  Quite often it translates into some wretched sciatica that shoots down to about my knee or so but now that I’ve started focusing more on core work, it has retreated largely to the glute area.  I consider this to be a GOOD thing–if it’s just a muscle thing then it’s not a back thing.  Woohoo! The fact that after all the extra strengthening/stretching it’s retreated to mostly just the glute region lends me to buy into the piriformis idea.  That and I’ve never wanted to accept the idea I have a bulging disc or something like that.

Which all goes to say that it’s been killing me lately.  It used to shoot down my leg and now it’s mostly just in the glute and sometimes shoots down the back of my leg to my knee–usually when I’m trying to sleep, it seems–but it just is really bothering the bejesus out of me most days the last week or so.  Good, non-butt pain thoughts appreciated!  I have started googling specific stretches for piriformis syndrome and have also started working on my foam roller several times a day.  Hopefully, I can get rid of this soon or at least make it less annoying.

/And…that above bit is from 11/23 (shows you how well I’ve been doing updating) and I’m glad to report that the stretches/exercises have relieved about 91% of the pain!  For some reason it bothers me a lot driving in the van…something about how the seat hits the back of my leg really seems to set it off if I have to drive for longer than 10-15 minutes but I feel pretty confident I can get it to go away entirely.

Everything here is going swimmingly.  Eli is doing well and is as smart as a whip, which usually is really enjoyable but sometimes, the questions, you know? Constant questions. How does this work, why does this do that, etc. The other day driving home from soccer I had to field in depth questions about (1) evolution (how did a bird get to be a bird? did it just show up on the earth as a bird? what do you mean it used to be something else?) and then also (2) urban planning (how did they know to put houses here? did they put the electric poles up around the houses that were already here or were the poles first? what about the streets? how do they decide how long to make the blocks?)  I often say at work that I enjoy training people because it really reinforces that I know what I know but having an extremely inquisitive five year-old? Really points out HOW MUCH I REALLY AM GUESSING.  I answer a fair amount of questions with “let’s look that up when we get home” or “why don’t we google that?” (and I can hear my dad laughing from here but now I know THAT YOU JUST WEREN’T SURE) and then I also answer a good bit with “Let’s ask your dad about that one” because Andy will tell him.  Andy is really amazing at giving very complex explanations in a way that really holds Eli’s attention.  It’s kind of amazing and also funny that Andy didn’t decide to teach–he’s so good at explaining stuff in a way that people can comprehend.

Mr. Ben is doing just as well.  He is still a constant chatterbox and comprehending more day by day. He’s starting saying his own version of “cracker” and is getting fairly good at getting his point across to us. He still loves nothing more than to be outside and we take him on a lot of walks.  He looooooves animals and particularly dogs. We are watching our friends’ dog for the next week starting tomorrow so I’ll get a chance to see how he actually does with one in the house (no, I am not ready for one yet). Ben’s been catching his quota of daycare illnesses over the last few weeks–a respiratory bug, then a weird stomach bug that mostly killed his appetite and made for some NASTY diapers but left his mood intact, now another mild cold that is hard to tell if it’s a cold or teething–he’s drooling up a storm (soaking shirts, that’s how bad it’s been) but also has a super runny nose (clear). His mood has been mostly fine, if a little tired.  At this count, he has 11 teeth and usually will eat most of what you put in front of him although he’s definitely showing himself all around to be more particular than Eli was (or at least that I remember).

Both of them hit some kind of growth spurt two weeks ago because we had this weird 5 or 6 day stint where they were both eating nonstop–and I do mean pretty much nonstop, and Eli kept complaining that his legs and arms hurt–then all of the sudden their clothes didn’t fit.  For Ben, this isn’t as much of a problem–we have all of Eli’s hand me downs and so it’s fairly easy to size up.  For Eli, all of his 5T shirts suddenly hung above his wrists and his pants are fitting perfectly–which means he has about another week or two left in them. I’ve never seen him do such a noticeable spurt–really, in the course of a week, ALL of Eli’s shirts were really short on him–and I was not prepared. He went to school for a week with cold wrists and an easily exposed belly until today I got to the store to get him some 6/7 shirts and larger jeans. He had worn his 5T stuff for about the last 8 or 9 months so now that he has outgrown that, his wardrobe has significantly shrunk.  I gotta get on that.

We are gearing up for Christmas.  Is there nothing more fun than the holidays with little kids?  We have a gate around the Christmas tree because of Ben and his liking of smacking down ornaments but other than that, the house is festive. Andy ended up picking up an OT shift on Thanksgiving night so we had dinner early that day so he could go to work on time. We weren’t going to do the elf this year but Eli somehow remembered him and started asking about him when we were unpacking all of the Christmas stuff.  We went to cut a tree weekend before last and Will went with us.  It was a fun day, we went to the tree farm and they cut it down, then we all went for lunch and Will came over while we did ornaments and tree decorating and all that. He was also here on Thanksgiving and we had a great time.  At some point since he moved out he watched all of the Doctor Who series and I’m only on the 3rd season (of the new ones that started in 2006) so he watched some with me. It was nice to spend some time with him.

I’ve got a little bit of online shopping left then I have to hit the sack.  Good night!