Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Hilton Head Part 3: Sunny Skies and Beaches

Unless you looked at a calendar, you wouldn't have known it was February while we were in Hilton Head this weekend! The high was between 65 and 75 every day we were there, and a lot of the time we wore short sleeve shirts.

We went on several walks near the boats:



We also walked on the beach a little bit. Russell loved it! We knew he would since he loved it in September when we went, but this time he could actually walk. He liked feeling the sand between his toes. We only went on the beach for a little bit - it was so breezy that he wasn't really dressed appropriately.


So we went to the pool next to the beach, which was sheltered from the wind and felt warmer. They keep the pool heated, so it was comfortable enough to get in. Russell kept looking and smiling at the pool:


Unfortunately for him, I don't own a maternity bathing suit, and no one else was wearing a bathing suit either, so he had to settle for playing on the pool steps. He didn't seem to notice he was missing anything - he had a blast!


Okay, so that's all for my Hilton Head posts. We had a lot of fun and I'm so glad we went. Who knows when our next vacation will be? We'll have our hands too full to even think about it soon enough :)

Hilton Head Part 2: Children's Museum

On Monday morning, we decided to stop by the Hilton Head children's museum. Even though we have reciprocal membership passes to lots of children's museums nationwide, ours wasn't good at this one :( Oh well, at least kids are free until 2 years old, so it wasn't too expensive.

Although small, this museum had tons of things that were fun for young toddlers. As soon as we got there, Russell made a beeline for one of his favorite things:


I am seriously thinking about getting a fish or two for him, he loves them so much!

The next room had lots of toys and a small indoor playground. Of course he found his favorite toys right away.


But he figured out that the playground was fun too - there was a small slide, a few steps, a ramp, and a tunnel - all of which he loved!


We made it upstairs to see another one of Russell's favorite things:



From what I can tell, almost all little boys love train tables. Strangely enough, though, Russell doesn't really care about the Thomas the Train TV show - he likes it okay, but not like his first love, Curious George :)

Photo with Mommy:


Alas, there was one sour note in this experience. One of Russell's favorite animals is an alligator - he points them out in books, on t-shirts, wherever he sees them. So he was thrilled to find this one in the gift shop...which led to a major meltdown when we told him he couldn't take it with him around the museum.


Can't win 'em all, buddy! In the end, I'd still call it a successful outing :)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Hilton Head Part 1: Disney Resort

We had the awesome opportunity to have a 4-day weekend at Hilton Head with my parents this past weekend. As I'm 32 weeks pregnant, we knew this would be the last time we could do something like this before Meredith comes, and the last time for a vacation as a family of 3.

Even though Russell and I both had colds, I am so glad we went. It is exhausting to travel with a toddler, but Russell was very good on the 6-hour car ride.

We stayed at the Disney resort on Hilton Head. Jason and I like Disney, but we aren't "Disney people" - you know, some people are Disney super fans and we're not them. Regardless, I think this is an awesome place to go with young kids. Plus, Disney resorts are always well-kept, well-decorated, very clean, and have some planned activities, so those are great things.

We may not be "Disney people" but Russell very well might be! He absolutely loved this Mickey statue in the lobby.


(side note: why, yes, I am wearing my husband's coat - I refuse to buy a maternity coat for what I think will be my last pregnancy!)


The playground, of course, was a favorite spot of Russell's. There were no swings, but I don't think he missed them, since Pops and Daddy went down all the slides with him multiple times!


The kiddie pool was right by the playground, and he just loved the frogs that shot out water - here he is, totally soaking Mimi:


The resort has its own mascot - a very well behaved dog named Shadow. Russell was so excited to see Shadow, and was very gentle with her, petting her softly.


It was so nice to see Russell bonding with my parents. At one point, he was bringing a book to me to read to him, then changed his mind and took it to my dad. I just loved that - it shows me how he loves them.



Hopefully tomorrow I will post about some other things we did in Hilton Head - I just felt it was too much for one post!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

First Day of School

We knew we wanted to put Russell in preschool for several reasons, but went back and forth about when to start him. Well, although it may not be traditional, today - a random Thursday in February - was Russell's first day of preschool! He is only going 1 day a week, from 9-1. He's going to a church that's 5 minutes from our house.

Here is his stuff before we left - packed and ready to go:


Everyone needs a special breakfast before the first day of school, right? We had made-from-scratch pancakes and a banana on the side.


Here's his first-day-of-school outfit. You can see him trying to take the backpack off. It's only his second time wearing it; hopefully he'll get used to it soon!


Look at my big boy! Walking to the car with his backpack on; this picture almost made me lose it. I can't believe he's not a baby anymore...but I guess that's a good thing, since we'll have another one soon!


We were one of the first in his classroom, so the teachers weren't too busy. I made one of his teachers take a photo of us - don't worry, I brought my point-and-shoot instead of my DSLR - I thought that might be asking too much! It's really not a good photo of either of us, but I'm so glad I have it.


I was so worried about how he'd do. Well, he barely made a peep when I handed him to the teacher, and by the time I'd finished signing him in (which took about 1 minute) and peeked back in the room, he was already standing with 2 new friends, looking happy. I don't think I'll ever forget that.

I definitely cried in the parking lot. We can blame that on pregnancy hormones ;)

I called at 11 to check in - I had decided that I would pick him up early if he wasn't doing well. They said he'd been doing great all morning and was playing in the play room at the moment. So I didn't pick him up until 1. He had a great day!

I had an ultrasound for Meredith this morning, and she's doing well too! So wonderful to have (almost) 2 healthy, happy children!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Playgroup Valentine Party

Kathy and Eliza hosted a fun Valentine's party for our playgroup yesterday!

Kathy provided some yummy snacks, and everyone brought a homemade mailbox for the kids' Valentines.

My creation

The moms distributed Valentines to each child's box; of course, the kids had no idea this was going on, and they didn't really care! Let's face it - at this point, these parties are about 70% for the moms and 30% for the kids - and that may be generous :)

Somehow we got all the kids to sit on the couch again for photos. (Maybe they're getting more mature and willing to sit for longer? Or maybe most of them were just entertained by their party favors (Slinkies).) They all looked so cute in their red, white, and pink!



Then we gave them their boxes of Valentines. Russell actually picked up each one separately and looked at them - it was so cute!


And then came what we all knew would be the most popular part of the party: cookies! The kids were supposed to be decorating them. Do you think my child did that? Of course not - give him sweets, and they are inhaled.

Each child had an individual container of sprinkles for decorating. My son tried to drink the sprinkles straight from the container. (I really wish I had a picture of that - but at the time, I was just trying to keep him from dumping them!)

My creation

Holidays, in my opinion, are so much more fun with kids! Happy early Valentine's Day!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Wonderful Weekend!

My parents came in town this weekend for an early birthday celebration. (Here I will note that I am still 28 for another day and a half.) We had the best time! I had been needing some rest and relaxation, so on Saturday morning my mom and I left the boys and headed out. First, out to breakfast for some amazing strawberry pancakes, then a little shopping, and then manicures. I was so refreshed by the time we were done.


Later on, we went over to my Grandmother's house where Pops and Russell enjoyed a few drinks together (excuse the terrible quality - cell phone pic):


And then we all went to dinner at a restaurant that is way too nice for kids to go to. Or for our kid, at least. Russell was actually pretty good, but it takes a lot of work to keep him entertained and fed and interested in staying seated. The next time we go to a nice restaurant we are definitely getting a babysitter.

I don't think I have any other photos of Russell signing, so here he is signing "more":


Me and Jason:


On Sunday, after church and saying goodbye to my parents, we had the M family over for a very small Super Bowl party. Caleb liked Russell's Toy Story truck.


I don't think I've ever seen Russell so hyper in my life. He was laughing hysterically, running all over the house, and being so crazy! It was definitely a sight. He is such a goofball.

Please ignore the bottle in his hands - Jason thought it was hysterical to give Russell a (totally empty) beer bottle. Russell was laughing because everyone else was!


The only problem with this weekend was that it flew by. It really couldn't have been better!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Can You Hear Me Now?

I'm going to try to make this brief.

So on Wednesday, when Russell was evaluated for therapy, they also did a hearing test. It was a last-minute, just-in-case decision to administer it right before we were done - almost an afterthought.

Well, he failed - both ears. This completely surprised me and the therapists. They said my next step should be to take him to the pediatrician (to rule out infection or wax buildup), and then to an audiologist for a full hearing screen.

On Friday at 5, Russell had his pediatrician appointment. Once again, his ears looked perfectly normal. But this time the doctor did another test: one where he blew air into Russell's ears to look for vibrations. (Ear drum vibrations are what enable people to hear.) Well, the right ear did not vibrate at all, and the left only barely vibrated.

This means several things:
1) Russell has a buildup of fluid behind his ear drums (Serous Otitis Media is the official term). It hasn't been detected before because you cannot see behind a person's ear dums. The only way doctors know about it is if the fluid gets infected.
2) It is likely (though not definite) that this fluid has been there ever since Russell started having ear infections - at 9 months old.
3) Fluid buildup makes sounds very muffled, like you're hearing underwater. It's no wonder Russell isn't speaking - he can't hear well!

Our next step is to consult with the ENT (next week), and after that, probably tubes.

My mommy heart is very frustrated by all of this, and so sad for my baby.

Intellectually, I know that: a) it's good that this is an easy, routine fix, b) once his hearing is better, his speech should really pick up, and c) I should be glad it's not something more serious. I know all this. And I'm really trying to adjust my attitude.

Hopefully we can get everything done really soon so Russell can finally hear!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Sunny Days

Today was so nice and pleasant outside! After Russell's nap, we took the big stroller and headed to the park. (Russell gets so excited to get in the big stroller, as opposed to the umbrella stroller that we use for shopping trips.)

I just had my cell phone with me, but had to get a couple pictures. Can't you see how happy he was?



He saw several dogs, and a truck and a tractor that workers were using to help trim trees and bushes at the park. He was in heaven!

And this one is from a couple weeks ago but so cute: we were on our way home from a play date, and only in the car for 15 minutes, and he must have been exhausted because he absolutely never falls asleep in the car. So I had to capture it :)


18 month stats and therapy

Last week, we finally had Russell's 18 month doctor's appointment. We switched doctors around Christmas (finally, after commuting back and forth to our old doctor for a couple months after we moved), and it took them a while to fit him in. His stats are:
Weight: 26 lbs 10 oz (55th percentile)
Length: 32 3/4 in (50th percentile)
Head: 19 1/4 in (75th percentile)

I feel like he's finally leveling out to where he should be, since he was about 50th percentile at birth.


Also, though I'm not going to go into much detail, Russell was evaluated by a state agency today and is eligible to receive speech therapy services and fine motor skill therapy. I have been on a roller coaster of emotions about this, but I am glad that he'll be getting some help that he needs. It is praiseworthy, though, that his social, gross motor, and comprehension skills are all normal!


Right before my last ultrasound with Meredith - when I was nervous about her growth - I discovered a Bible verse that I now love and cling to with each of my children. Proverbs 14:26 - Whoever fears the Lord has a secure fortress, and for their children it will be a refuge. How awesome is our God, that if we have faith, He will protect not only us, but our children as well?