Monday, December 29, 2014

Oscar is 18 Months

Another birthday milestone for our littlest guy.  These come so fast and furious with the second kiddo.  18 months definitely doesn't sound like a baby anymore, and Oscar wants you to know that he's definitely a big boy.  He's really developed a fabulous personality and I sure love all the talking.

First things first, here are his stats. If you're curious, here are Walt's 18 month stats (so similar!)

Weight: 27 lbs 8 oz*...... 87%
Height: 34".....................92%
Head: 19.8"....................98%

*We are pretty sure this weight is super inaccurate. Oscar has been sick and not eating much, plus it took three attempts to weigh him because he was such a mess at the doctor's office. This is only 1 oz bigger than his 15 month check up. The funny thing is... he's still huge. :)  Oscar was a huge baby (9lb 10z) and that's a terrible indicator of how big the will actually be. Many kids even out and normalize. Not Oscar. Or Walt for that matter. I think it's pretty clear that we spawn some big kids.

Here's some fun stuff O is up to:
  • Talking - he talks up a storm! He loves animals and knows many sounds (see video below). Other new words he says:
    • Wahhh (Walt)
    • Bentley
    • Applesauce
    • Cracker
    • Chicken
    • Sassy (paci)
    • Sorry
    • Nana
    • Papa
  • Eating - He continues to eat pretty much everything we put in front of him (with the exception of eggs, but he'd eat those too). He gobbled up some pasta and homemade sauce at Christmas. He even likes salsa and queso!
  • Playing - He's started playing more structured. He like stacking things and matching things. He starts a new class at school on Jan. 5 where they will start with some Montessori exercises. It will be interesting to see his motor skills develop!  Most importantly, Oscar really likes to play with Walt and Bentley. He watches what Walt does and mimics. Walt is a very patient older brother!  Oscar is also very good at independent play. I can tell that he's more comfortable playing alone than Walt ever was.
  • Health - After our 2-day stint in the hospital in October, it's been a struggle to keep this boy healthy.  We've diligently been administering steroid nebulizers twice a day for two months, in addition to lots of saline and nose suctioning (disgusting). He just can't seem to stay100% well. I'm hoping this is just the age and the time of year.
I will say this much about our fun-loving second born... this kid is a champ at bedtime/naptime routines. I feel like I have to brag about this because it took what felt like FOREVER for him to comfortably sleep the entire night through without any wake ups. I always thought Walt was a champ going to bed, but Oscar is so easy. He is happy for you to read 2-3 books, then goes right into his crib. There are nights that he stays awake for up to an hour, but he's so content in his crib and makes zero noise. He's the same most mornings. Just wakes up and plays nicely in his crib.  I'm definitely enjoying this, because Walt is SUPER needy when he wakes up in the morning. 

As promised, here is a fun clip of Oscar showing off his animal sounds:

Friday, December 26, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014!

I seriously love Christmas. I love giving gifts. I love receiving gifts. And, I sure do love the excitement as the boys come down the stairs in the morning.

We didn't do a super big present this year for the boys. Last year we outdid ourselves with a very realistic kitchen and a bike. It was hard to top that. Don't worry, they were still well taken care of.   Plasma Cars, Ninja Turtles, Elmo... the list goes on and on.

I was lucky enough to get hit hard with a nasty virus a few days before Christmas. I thought I  was way ahead of it (went to the doc on Mon and got antibiotics and steroids). I even tested negative for the flu. But it came back with a vengeance on Christmas Eve. I was able to power my way through wrapping presents, but I could barely keep my head up at my parents (it's so sad that I don't even remember tasting my mom's homemade ravioli and eggplant Parmesan). What's worse than that is I watched a super nice bottle of Kathryn Hall Cab get poured all around me.  We left for home early and I had enough strength to crawl in bed and just hope I saw improvement.

Luckily on Christmas morning, I did feel slightly better. This virus is no joke though. I'm going on day 13 of symptoms. I was hoping the boys would skate free, but more on that in a later blog.

Enough about me! Here are pics and a video from Christmas morning (you'll notice that Oscar doesn't know what to think, and eventually gets scared by Elmo)

Our tree with so many presents!
Bentley overseeing the Santa operation
Yay scooters! (Bentley just wants to love on Oscar)
This big boy needed no help in opening his presents!

More Elmo!

As I was miserable in bed (and so upset I was worthless), Santa wrote a super sweet note to the boys and reminisced about their photo opp
After presents on Christmas morning, my family came over for brunch. Oscar slept through the entire thing, so we had a THIRD round of presents after he woke up.  We are looking forward to Nana and Papa visiting next week so we can continue our Christmas celebrations!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Meeting the Big Guy

I had a premonition that we wouldn't quite get the Kodak moment we got last year. Or did we?  Honestly, I had no idea how Oscar would react.  The first time Walt met Santa Claus in person he was nearly 3 #parentsoftheyear.   Last year, Oscar just stared a hole in Santa.

We chose to go see the Santa at the Villages of Fairview because you can make an appointment. I can tell you that this phenomenon did not disappoint. We parked close, walked right in and were done (start to finish) in 10 minutes.  Well done, Santa + elves!

The whole way over, Oscar kept saying "Santa!" and pointing to Santa pics.  As soon as we walked in the door, his grip on me tightened. As we got closer to Santa, I could have let go of Oscar and he would have stayed firmly affixed to my hip. That's how tightly he was holding me.

And then this happened...

Its a Christmas miracle. Goodness he got MAD 

Afterwards, he was happy as could be with his candy cane and Rudolph on the TV

Just for grins, this is last year's pic.  Everyone is so happy!
So, maybe next year we'll have all smiles. I'm pretty happy with the complete meltdown pic.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Christmas Caroling

We introduced Walt to a new holiday tradition this year: Caroling! I've mentioned before what a super cool neighborhood we live in. It's a very social neighborhood with tons of kids (young and teenage) and just a super nice group of people.

Walt and I bundled up on Saturday night ready to go singing. I wasn't sure how this would go over given that he only knows four Christmas songs. Unbeknownst to me, he knows a lot more! He sang along to almost all of them. It also helped that one of his beloved babysitters, Morgan, was there to impress.

Walt was the official doorbell ringer. He happily rang every single doorbell. As a group, we wished more people had been home, but it was such a fun experience. We can't wait to participate next year.

Gotta warm up our voices with cookies and hot chocolate!

Friday, December 12, 2014

Cypress Creek Montessori Holiday Program

One of the things I look forward to the most with having kids in day care/preschool are the programs. Cypress Creek Montessori does a end-of-year program (Graduation) in May and a holiday program.  Last year's holiday program was mostly watching a bunch of 2.5 - 3 year olds stand around and bebop to the music. What a difference a year makes! This year was full-on singing and dance moves.  With the exception of a crown malfunction with one of Walt's buddies, the entire performance was flawless.

They sang:

  1. Marshmallow World
  2. Frosty the Snowman
  3. Jingle Bells
  4. Let It Go (yay, Frozen.........#sarcasm)
  5. Feliz Navidad
For purposes of memory keeping, I'm posting the videos below. They are short, and worth a peek.  My favorite part is the boys bowing at the end of each song (I think I only got this on camera once).


Thursday, December 4, 2014

I Love JT

The subject of this blog is a surprise to no one. I know this. I won't bore everyone with me gushing about how much I melt over JT. But, seriously. What is not to like about this guy? He can sing. He can dance. He acts. He's funny. He's a guy's guy.

Before you start lumping me in some category of girls who unconsciously swoon over JT, it's worth a brief history.  I have adored JT since the early 90s when he showed up on The Mickey Mouse Club. It started with my childhood friend, Erin, and we'd sit at her house and watch HOURS of this show. We memorized skits, copied the dance routines, and Erin even got to go see some tapings #jealous.

The very second that 'N Sync came out (long before anyone even paid them any attention), I was buying their European album, racing to see them at Six Flags, stalking meeting them at gas station convenience stores, and I even created a fan website (yes, I just admitted that). I really loved them. All in all, I probably saw them in concert 10 times (which is quite a feat considering they probably only toured for three or four years).

All of this leading to my love of JT because he's awesome. Thank goodness I have a patient husband. I nearly lost my marbles last year when JT performed at the MTV VMAs and reunited with 'N Sync. It was almost too much.

So, THIS is why we never miss a chance to JT. It's always so incredibly worth it. Someone asked me how many times I've seen JT. I don't really know. Six??  Stori and I saw him at a club show at the old Gypsy Tea Room in 2007 and that was perhaps the most unbelievable experience.  Here a few snippets of the show last night at AAC in Dallas...

And probably one of my most FAVORITE parts of the show: 

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Thanksgiving 2014 in Gilmer

Chris and I have been together for nine years (!!) and began spending holidays together pretty early on in the relationship. Not sure how we established this, but we began alternating Christmas and Thanksgiving with his family and mine as soon as we began sharing these holidays with each other.  It's been beyond helpful.

The years we go to Gilmer for Thanksgiving have such fond places in my heart. I love the way east Texas looks this time of year (tall pine trees with lots of reds, oranges and golds). I love how the chaos of Christmas hasn't quite started and everything just seems quieter in Gilmer.

Gilmer is fast becoming one of Walt's favorite places.  He loves his Nana and Papa, but probably what he loves the most is golf.  Check out this tee shot from #1.

We also had the pleasure of Chris's aunt and uncle, Bernadette and Frank, making the trip from Austin. It's always great to catch up with the Bruns' side of the family.  With our bellies full of bacon-wrapped green beans and oyster casserole, we were happily content with another lovely Thanksgiving.
This guy devoured his Thanksgiving dinner three different times. He was in love with the sweet potatoes.

Walt's caddy crew. Cousin Maddie, Oscar, and Daddy (and mom the photog)

Happiest boy in his happiest place

Monday, November 24, 2014

Family Trip to Broken Bow

After Jess, Stori and I took a girls' weekend to Broken Bow, OK in February, we knew we needed to come back with our families.  It's a quick 3-hour drive from Dallas (unless it's nighttime or snowing) and the scenery is gorgeous.

What's "camping" without s'mores?
Between the three families, there are six kids that are 6 years old or younger.  So, we knew sleeping would be a challenge. Luckily, Broken Bow cabin rentals have lots to choose from and we landed on a house that had plenty of rooms and tons of space.  Let's also be clear this is far from a real camping experience. The cabins are just nice houses with lots of wood details. We had stainless steel appliances in the kitchen....

We divvied up the food and meals and ended up with enough food for about 20 people for four weeks. Roughly.  Not to mention, enough alcohol to sedate a dozen horses. If we would have gotten snowed in, we would have been fine. Lucky for us, the weather was actually awesome. It was cloudy, overcast and drizzly, but mid-60s. Perfect weather for exploring in the woods, and enjoying some movies and puzzles inside.

Oscar was prepared with his camping boots
The kids were amazing. They all got along and the three big kids slept in the same room. This may or may not have been detrimental to independent sleeping once we all got home. The kids enjoyed lots of junk food, lots of mac n cheese, and the adults enjoyed some scrumptious comfort food like chicken spaghetti, breakfast casserole and loaded baked potato soup.

This weekend was such a success we're already thinking of the next time and how much longer we can stay.

Working the perfect roasted marshmallow

Walt actually liked the smores!

Oscar had fun no matter what we were doing.

Look, mom. A giant rocking chair

Sleeping arrangement #1 of 45.  All three big kids in one bed... with many electronics.

Sleeping arrangement #36 of 45. Walt and Reese in the bed. This is how they stayed all night :)

Ruby girl enjoying the outdoors and her daddy!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

How to plan an engagement surprise

This is not something I ever thought I'd need experience in, but now when Walt or Oscar decide to pop the question, I'll have all sorts of pointers.

I've been friends with Jessica since college. We met our junior year through Fish Camp (Camp Bush 2001).  We became fast friends through a mutual infatuation for 'N Sync. We would sit in my college apartment and choreograph N Sync dances while simultaneous watching VHS tapes of the Mickey Mouse Club (MMC). And the startings of a true friendship began. (You wonder why I love JT so much!)

In January 2002, we got this crazy idea to find out how people became seatfillers for awards shows. Three weeks later, we were at the Staples Center in LA sitting next to No Doubt and Nelly wondering how the heck these girls in prom dresses were let through the door. #originalgrammygirls

From the time we met until the time we graduated was not even a year and half. But, somehow we cultivated a friendship that survived her moving to Denver for seven years, and me trying to find my footing in Dallas.  We shared the turmoils of the 20s. Jobs, relationships, everything. When I got engaged to Chris was when she decided to come back to Texas.... and land in Dallas.  A friendship that started in 2001 was about to be live and in person in 2009.  Jess has been a champion by my side through major life decisions like getting my MBA, fighting my way up a corporate ladder, and more importantly finding the love of my life, getting married, and having two babies. My favorite title for her is "Aunt Jess" and what a favorite aunt she is.

You can imagine my glee when her now fiance, Shawn, told me he was planning on proposing to her. Better yet, he wanted a helping hand in the proposal. I immediately looped in Stori and off we went. Shawn gave us the big idea and Stori and I added some special details.  It started with a casual girls' brunch complete with Jess asking, "When is he going to propose already????" With that, we asked for our check and attached was a pretty envelope.  The card sent us on a fun scavenger hunt through Frisco and Allen with clues that were meaningful points of Shawn and Jess's relationship.  At each stop, were two of Jess's life-long friends ready to send her off to the next stop.

The hunt ended at her and Shawn's house, where the backyard was lit with tiki torches and Shawn was standing patiently.  You know the rest, and she definitely said yes.  Jess gets an instant family, as Shawn has two kids. It's a role she has embrace from day one. I think Aunt Jess played a big role in this!

As our lives continue to grow and change, my heart is full to know we get to spend it together.  Jess, you're a gem of a lifetime. I love you!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Halloween 2014

This year's Halloween was fun all around. Walt finally grasped the concept and even picked his own costume. I've been in awe of friends who's kids knew what they wanted to be at 2 years old.  Walt just never really got it. He's not into dress up so maybe that's part of it. Plus, I'm terrible about talking about this stuff in advance. I have a hard time with "coaching" weeks before an event because it garners lots of questions and Walt wonders why we can't do said activity tomorrow.

Justice League meets Marvel
Back to this year. Walt chose early on to be Spider-Man (thanks in part to a super hero b-day party we went to in late Sept).  Luckily, Oscar is too young to have an opinion, so he got to be Batman. Then the whole family played along. Even Bentley.

Walt had the BEST time trick or treating and could have gone all night long. It's really a shame that we have to take away more than half his candy because of peanuts. Truthfully, he probably wouldn't eat it anyways. We threw away most of the candy a week later.

Since Oscar was only three months old last year, it was fun to see him toddle around to a few houses.  He started to grasp the concept a little bit and loved following big brother.
What a trooper
Also, Walt and I braved the crowds a week before Halloween to trick or treat in Frisco Safety Town. I think all the pre-Halloween activities really solidified the concept for Walt.

Jake show  us how smart he is (get it??)
Oscar's all, "I got this!"

Spider-Man was so excited at Frisco Safety Town 
Walt with his buddy, Austin (and his little bro, Jackson) ready to take on the crowd at Frisco Safety Town.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Oscar's First (last???) Trip to the Hospital

Well, it's been a wild week to say the least. After a wonderful long weekend in Gilmer for the Yamboree, things just never got back to normal, In fact, they turned down right scary.

Oscar and I came back from Gilmer on Sunday afternoon, while Chris and Walt stayed back to play some golf.  So, Monday a.m. I went about my business getting O ready for school and myself ready for work. Nothing was unusual. He was a bit congested, but not uncommon after a road trip. He was also mildly wheezy, but this is a regular occurrence in our house. We self-manage this with two different types of breathing treatments. No. Big. Deal.

I got a call on Monday afternoon that Oscar had a slight fever. My first reaction, "Great. Here goes my normal work week." I had no idea what was ahead.  His fever was very mild (100.4, which is exactly what gets you sent home from school).  He was definitely not feeling good, but nothing concerning. We just gave him Motrin, let him sleep, and gave him breathing treatments.

We had to keep him home on Tuesday because they have to be 24-hours fever free before returning. He was actually doing much better. No fever. Great mood. Still wheezy, but in our world, we usually deal with wheeziness for a week after a cold comes knocking on our door.  By Tues. night I had my head wrapped around started that "normal week" I so wanted to have.

Wednesday morning we woke up. I got ready and went to go get Oscar. His wheezing had gotten worse (that's not a good sign... stable or better is what we're going for). He was still in a good mood, but his little tummy was working hard to keep up the breathing. I knew our pediatrician has a walk-in clinic from 8a-9a. In my feeble little head I thought, "I'll just take him in. They'll give him a steroid. And off to work and school we go."  This is what happened.

We got to the doctor and the receptionist was even worried about Oscar b/c he was breathing so loudly and clearly working hard to breathe. They got us back in a room around 9:00 a.m. and his pulse ox levels were not bad (95... you shoot for 100, so we're within normal). They proceeded to give him three back-to-back breathing treatments with Albuterol. Poor little buddy just got worse and worse. His tummy was pumping faster and the area around his collar bone/neck was retracting deeply with each breath (so scary!). His pulse ox was also dropping. At this point it was 92. Now they start to get concerned. They can't give us another treatment (even though he needs it) because all that Albuterol requires close monitoring of his pulse. So, off to Children's hospital we go. Sadly, a place where we are not strangers.

Super sleepy after so many breathing treatments and hating it.
He ran away from me and just stood there and sobbed.
They got Oscar right in and immediately began another breathing treatment that lasted AN HOUR. Oscar is no longer jovial. He's pissed, tired, and annoyed.  Try dealing with that while keeping a mask on a 16-month old's face. #awesome.  He had some monitors hooked up, so I could see his pulse ox holding steady around 94-95 but his pulse was 190!!!! No wonder why he was pissed!! I lost track of how many breathing treatments he did in the ER, but it was at least three.

So. Sleepy. Treatment #49592
A brief break between nebulizers. He didn't want to be held, but happily laid right next to me. 
When Daddy showed up at the ER, Oscar was very relieved. 
Finally, after getting him "stable" for about an hour they told us they needed to admit him for overnight monitoring. The good news is we could now move to treatments every three hours. So, we made ourselves comfortable in our room. Oscar napped for a bit, and then we did more treatments. All.night.long. He was such a little trooper for all of it. Really, he just wanted to sleep. He didn't want me to hold him. He wanted to lie in peace in his crib.

Thursday we woke up with a very, very, very slight improvement.  They continued to administer oral steroids (which totally makes him agro) and breathing treatments every four hours.  We had to maintain stability on this every four hour cycle to be considered for discharge.  The good news was we also go upgraded from breathing treatments to an inhaler! This went from a 20-minute treatment to a 3-minute puff fest.
Pooped again. Only awake for 90 minutes.

This was our normal look every three hours.
The doctor ultimately made it our decision whether to stay or go. He was improved enough that he could go home, but would require close monitoring (either by us at home or here in the hospital). Knowing he just wanted to sleep, I felt comfortable with us monitoring this at home.

Still a goofball and finding time to smile.  

 The whole time, I never felt like the situation was dire, but I wondered what it would take for him to finally turn a corner. The truth is, it took a long time. Even after we got home, we were sticking to medication schedules and he was sleeping better, but he sounded like a vacuum for a full week. We were told to see a pulmonology (we have one!) and stick to 2x daily steroid treatments for the duration of the winter. Hoping this keeps us out of the hospital FOREVER.

I also wanted to thank everyone who reached out to help or just check on us. We definitely felt the love and I think that's why we never felt alone or desperate.  It's so nice to have a close and extended support system!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Yamboree 2014

It's that time of year. When the weather should be getting cooler, but it's actually still really warm. But, when I start seeing pumpkins and we get a nice northerly wind, I start to think about the Gilmer Yamboree!

Since meeting Chris in 2005, this has become one of my fondest memories of our family. I'm so excited we get to share this little taste of Small Town America with our kids.  This year was just like the others. We got to ride some rides on the Square on Friday and enjoyed the parade as always. This year was Oscar's first year to partake in festivities. While he made the trip last year, he was only 3 months old so he stayed at Nana and Papas most of the time.

The best way to describe the weekend is in pictures. Lots of pics of Stinks because Walt was VERY busy.

Waiting as Walt rides a million rides...

Riding the cars!

Oscar secretly (not so secretly?) jealous

Getting some quality time with cousin Maddie. She loves these boys so!

Ready for the parade! Walt loves the fire engines, but is very concerned about their loud horns!
First (only) ride on a ferris wheel!
All that Yamming sure makes one tired!
 We were gone for less than three days. We left Friday around noon and Oscar and I were home just after 2 p.m. on Sunday. We had someone watching our sweet dog, Bentley, who could do no wrong...until now. Turns out, he enjoys our company more than we gave him credit for. I came home to find that Bentley was desperately looking for us. He was convinced we were outside... or hiding in the blinds.


Part dog, part velociraptor???

More of his handiwork.

Let's not forget the door too. He did a number on it all!