Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Feeling Good Again

It is hard to believe that it's only been a week... We had an amazing weekend with friends and family in Waco, but we are so glad to be home. I am more than ready for my Friday off this week, and we're hoping for a little relaxation time over the weekend.

Last Friday, we got an early start to Waco. We wanted to squeeze as much Baylor time into our weekend as possible! We started out with a quick trip to the bookstore for some BU apparel for Cullen. It's hard to believe, but he has already outgrown almost everything he's got! After that, we headed to the bear pit so Cullen could see the bears. I loved seeing Cullen's face when he finally noticed the bear, and I really enjoyed seeing James soaking up that father-son time. Cullen kept looking at us to make sure we saw the bear, too.
Then we headed to George's. James and I spent so many Friday afternoons there in college, so it was really fun for us both. Unfortunately for James, I wasn't willing to let Cullen sit in the smoking section, so we weren't able to play with the jukebox. It was still a great time with friends, and we even let Cullen try a crazy wing (a bacon wrapped piece of chicken with cheese and jalapeno in the middle). Cullen licked the bacon and then threw it on the floor, but he seemed to enjoy those 7 seconds.
Friday night was the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner. Somehow, we managed to get Cullen to nap in his stroller while we ate dinner and visited with friends. Everyone loved getting to see him, because he was the first baby of our group and the only one in attendance. In all fairness, there is only one other baby, and she's only two weeks old.

Saturday was full of seeing old friends and prepping for the evening wedding. It was a stunning wedding and reception, and we really had a wonderful time. As usual, we forgot to take pictures until we were already back at the hotel, and there was no one available to take a picture of the three of us. I hate this picture of me, but it's pretty clear that James had both Cullen and me laughing. So sweet!
Sunday morning, we got up early to take pictures of Cullen on and around Baylor campus. Since it was his first visit, we had to take him to about a million places. Our first stop was the suspension bridge. It was right next to our hotel, and it holds a very special place in our hearts. James proposed on February 14, 2005 right next to that bridge. Naturally, I told Cullen the entire long story while we took pictures.
On campus, we got several pictures, but one of my favorites is this one of Cullen on the Baylor seal. I'm hoping we can get a similar one each year as he grows. We'll see if I actually remember that by football season next year.

After pictures, we rounded out our weekend with a lunch at Ninfa's. Cullen enjoyed a cheese quesadilla and promptly passed out in his high chair. I always feel bad when he does this, but I would be lying if I denied the frequency of it. As long as he's happy, I'm totally fine with it.
We talked at lunch about the misfortune of the bride and groom. Their limo had broken down just outside of Waco that morning on the way back to Houston. They ended up hitchhiking with some random stranger to make their flight in time. We couldn't help but laugh about that story.

Little did we know, our car wasn't going to start when we got outside. A friend tried to jump it, but that didn't work, so we called a tow truck. If you're keeping count, that's the second time we've used roadside assistance in as many months. So worth every single penny. While James waited in the 105 heat, Charly picked me up with Cullen so we could get him into the a/c. While I struggled to get Cullen's car seat into Charly's car, James got this precious picture of Cullen standing in Charly's lap. He loved climbing on the steering wheel and honking the horn.
After an hour of waiting, the tow truck arrived and was able to jump our car. James came to pick us up at Charly's, and I got to move the car seat again. I am incredibly cautious about Cullen's car seat, so I take every single option to safely install it. Last time I got it checked, the fireman actually asked where I had gotten it installed. Awesome. One of my secrets is actually sitting in the car seat while tightening the latch belts. This picture is incredibly unattractive, but it's a great example if you're looking to install a car seat in the near future. I'll be practicing my skills again this afternoon, as I install our newest Britax. It will be so nice to be a two car seat family again!
This morning, I went in to see an orthopedic surgeon about my knee. My knee has been bothering me since June, so I thought it was about time to get it looked at. After a myriad of tests and x-rays, it was determined that I've bruised the cartilage behind my kneecap. Nice, right? Even better is how it most likely happened. Long story short, I went jogging while I was in labor. I think my jogging days may be over, but I start physical therapy on Friday. I'm looking forward to it in that not-so-much sort of way.

We have lots of little plans for our weekend, and we're hoping to rest up. Here's hoping we all get the chance!

xoxo Ashley

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Another Week, Another Tooth

As always, the Shuler home is buzzing with activity. Work is busy, but we're managing to squeeze everything into our work hours so we can have family time when we get home.

I had my Friday off last week, so I ran errands all day, squeezed in a play date and got a lot done around the house. It seems like we spent most of the weekend getting things done, but we were able to breathe a sigh of relief on Monday morning. This week, our only work is getting ready for a friend's wedding and trying to get some rest for the fun in store!

Here is a precious picture of Cullen trying to look out the front window when Amy and Hadley pulled up. He was so happy to be looking outside, so I opened the blinds for him. I'll have to remember this one next time he's bored with me!
Last Wednesday, some good friends of ours had a little girl. I had high hopes of getting a picture of Cullen with little Madison, but he was too busy climbing onto their coffee table to notice another baby. Spending a weekend in a hotel room with him is going to be super fun. I'm sure of it. *sarcasm*

Cullen is getting closer and closer to standing independently, and it will only be a matter of time before he's walking. As soon as he figures out this faster mode of transport, we're going to be busy. I'm really looking forward to him walking, but I'm sure it will be one more of those bittersweet mommy moments.

As he gets closer to walking, we are getting more serious about childproofing. We've been working our way through a pretty extensive list, and we're just about done. The only thing left is to assemble the remaining cabinet latches and to superglue the rubber ends to the doorstoppers. Cullen already found out how easily they pull off, so I'll be making that change while he's asleep.

Saturday night, we purchased and put up a blockade to keep Cullen from getting to the dog bowls quite so easily. He was really curious on Sunday morning, but that wore off pretty quickly. After the initial meltdown or five, he found out that all of his toys were on the same side of the wall as he was, and he moved on to other activities.

Do any of you parents out there have any childproofing recommendations? Things you didn't realize you would need to do? I would love to find the trouble spots before Cullen does!

Yesterday, we took Cullen in to see a new pediatrician. After a bit of pressure from family, we decided it wouldn't be a bad idea to get a second opinion about Cullen's health. He has been doing breathing treatments since he was six weeks old, and we wanted to make sure that we weren't over-medicating him.

In my usual manner of preparation, I created a list of questions for the doctor before our appointment. Mostly, we wanted to make sure he needed his medication, but I also had a long list of questions just to ease my mind about his development. As a first time parent, you can only be so sure of yourself.

Dr. Dondlinger spent almost an hour with us answering questions and telling us how wonderful Cullen is. As if we didn't already know... She said that his development is great, and his motor skills are awesome. He monkeyed his way around the room the entire time we were visiting, so she really got to see how active he is. We even got a chest x-ray done to make sure that reactive airways were the only issue for Cullen. After an afternoon of sweating, I got a call from the doctor letting us know that there are no other issues. Woohoo! We are even exchanging his nebulizer for an inhaler. Now his "breathing treatment" takes less than 30 seconds!

The best part of Cullen's appointment was when they weighed and measured him. James and I have noticed that Cullen has been eating a significantly larger amount since we started the iron supplements, but we were really shocked when we saw the numbers. In just 12 days, Cullen grew 3/4 of an inch and gained a pound! He is on target to be tall and thin, and I couldn't be happier to see my happy little guy thrive.

During the chaos of Cullen's appointment, we also noticed that he has another tooth coming in! This one is on the top. Although his teeth aren't coming in by the "normal" order, the doctor said it was completely normal and hereditary. Apparently, either James or I had teeth come in differently, too. Neither mom remembers it, but I seriously doubt I'll remember this twenty plus years from now either.

This morning, Cullen bit me with his top and bottom teeth while I was giving him his iron supplement. Not that I blame him, but it was still interesting to see the difference. I hope we can stop these vitamins before he gets too many more teeth!

xoxo Ashley

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Houston, We Have A Tooth!

I am giving away the goods at the beginning of the post today. My most exciting news to date... Cullen's first tooth popped through his gum this morning! I know for certain, because he bit me while I pried his little mouth open for iron drops this morning (more on those iron drops later). It was sharp, and I loved it!

This is exciting for multiple reasons. First, I'm tired of people telling me to not give my kid table food. He likes it, he eats it, and he doesn't choke to death. If I prepare it properly, it doesn't matter that he doesn't have teeth. I am seriously convinced that these people have never been bitten by a baby. Those gums are just as tough as teeth. My kid has jaws of steel.

I'm also happy, because I was basically accused of being a bad parent recently. "Your son doesn't have teeth? Oh... He must be malnourished." I want to blow raspberries in that person's face, but I will not. Because I'm a grown up and all. Anyway, he has a tooth. Maybe it isn't a mouthful or anything, but it's a start.

I've also started reading other people's blogs lately. Don't get me wrong here. I'm busy at work, but I now fill my breaks with blogs instead of Facebook. I guess strangers lives are more exciting than my friends? These blogs have inspired me. I want more pictures, more humor, and I want sponsors! Why not, right?

It also made me realize how human I am. I'm going to make a list of a few things, because I love lists. Shocking, I know.
     *I now find it okay that I made up reasons to skip baby showers after losing baby #1. Other people do that. It's part of the grieving process.
     *I now know that it is okay that I tell myself every morning that I want to go to work even though it isn't true. If that's what gets me out of bed, then so be it. I love my kid more than any career, and that will NEVER change.
     *I am not the only mom who frets over each little accomplishment. I'm proud for a split second before dividing my thoughts between pride and the next big step.
     *I am not the only mom who gets angry when people question my parenting skills or insult my kid. I am a mama bear, and I will eat you.
     *I am a lucky girl. Lucky, lucky, lucky. I have a great husband, a great kid, and a great family. Bumps in the road are to be expected, but they're no big deal!

Enough with the list making. You get the point.

In other news, we've been doing lots of fun things lately, and I made James put them all on the computer so I could share with the world. And here we go...

This picture is old as dirt. And probably older than any dust you will find in my home. Cullen is off the pacifier. Cold turkey. Done. Before he had the chance to get too attached, I yanked it. I'm sure there are times when our life would be easier with it, but I sure don't miss that Soothie. It bounced everywhere, and I was glad to see it go. Cullen sure did look precious with it though.
As we all know, Cullen has been enjoying the standing up side of playing. His favorite activity is to stand up while buckled into his stroller while we're cruising the mall. I don't know how he manages it, but I'll let him keep it up as long as he's in the straps. Mother of the year award for me.

I love this picture, because it's one of the first pictures I caught of him standing while playing. It's like he's looking at me and saying, "Look at ME! I'm standing!"
Last week, we took Cullen to James Coney Island. He had already eaten his lunch, but it didn't stop us from trying to give him a tater tot. As to be expected, he loved them. I don't think he would belong to me if he didn't. I love that little face. Nom nom nom.
This past week, we took Cullen in for his nine-month checkup. I'm sitting there proud mom style while the doctor tells me how great Cullen looks. Then they break the news to me that they're going to bleed him dry as part of his appointment. Maybe they didn't totally drain him, but it sure felt that way to me.

Somehow, I drew the short straw and got to hold him while he broke into a cold sweat. James took pictures. Cullen handled it like a champ and really enjoyed his Daffy Duck bandaid. I didn't even know Daffy Duck was around anymore. Cullen gnawed on it and enjoyed himself while in the doctor's office.
The nurse recommended that we remove the bandaid for the drive home so that he didn't loosen it and try to eat it while we couldn't see him. I won't post the picture here, but it was like a battle scene when we got home. Apparently, he managed to re-open his wound in the car, and there was blood everywhere. On him, on the car seat, on the seat of the car, on his clothes, in his hair, on Rupert. All in a ten minute drive. I could seriously go on all day. Alas, I will just let you imagine what I got to clean while James watched Sports Center.

So we get home from the doctor, and my little man is getting all grown up. He is now too tall for his infant seat, so we had to order a new fancy convertible seat for James' truck. Thank goodness we already had one in my car. We are currently accepting donations, because carseats are not cheap. I have now spent nearly $600 on car safety. Wow. Britax must love us.

 On Friday, we get a call from the doctor. That's never good. When you're healthy, they mail you a letter to let you know that you're not dying. They call when something is wrong. So Cullen is anemic. I know he isn't the first or last kid, so I'll spare everyone the woe is me speech. According to my super-extensive research, roughly 2% of all kids are diagnosed with anemia, and lots of them grow out of it. Cullen is going to be one of those kids. I can just feel it. For the next three months, we have to give him two iron-based drops after breakfast. No milk for little man until after his one-year checkup. I was so hoping we could start that. I will not miss formula at all! They will bleed him dry again at his new appointment on November 8th.

And because you kick a mom when she's down, Cullen's reactive airways are still acting up. He has to do two breathing treatments twice a day. And we're supposed to keep this up until his next check... Since one of his meds breaks my whole body out in hives, James gets to be the one to distribute the most exciting time of day.

After nine (clearly not long enough) months, Cullen has started watching television. James has found that the best way to keep Cullen still during his breathing treatments is a great little show called Wonder Pets. If you want, I can sing the theme song for you. Linny, Tuck and Ming-Ming. Silly animals with their catchy tunes.

This past weekend, Cullen got to attend a first birthday party for his good buddy, Noah. Noah's mom and I went to middle school together, and now we're raising our kiddos together after years apart. I adore Dana, and I'm super excited that her husband and James get along so well. In this picture, you see James with Cullen and Brian with Noah as they float around the lazy river at Noah's birthday party. I so need to start planning Cullen's first birthday. Ah!
Now that I look at it, it's a pretty crummy picture. But you get the idea.

Because the day hadn't been exciting enough for Cullen, he decided to explore the house in new and exciting ways that afternoon. After mastering the stairs, Cullen found Scout's kennel. Although it looks like we locked our child in the kennel, it really isn't the case. Cullen is actually the one who closed the door. He's mad, because Scout tried to open the door. I can't wait to work on sharing in a few years!
And there is my mega post. Because I am awesome. And now I've forgotten to eat lunch. Because I update this blog during my Wednesday lunch. Oh well. Another pound of baby weight down.

xoxo Ashley

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Exciting Firsts

As we all know, Cullen is growing and changing every day. He is crawling like a pro, clapping, and even pulling up. Daycare told us yesterday that he is starting to cruise on the cribs, so we're looking forward to seeing that one at home.

On Monday, they went ahead and graduated Cullen to his next classroom. I'm almost glad it happened so quickly, because I didn't have a chance to get anxious about it. From what I understand, Miss Sylvia (his old teacher) is jealous of the new teacher, because she loves Cullen so much. When I got there Monday afternoon, he was napping in his old classroom. For the time being, he has a crib in both rooms. I love that his teachers love him. It sure does make dropping him off a whole lot easier.

One of my proud mom moments for the week was when I picked Cullen up yesterday. The director of the daycare told me that Cullen is by far the most advanced kiddo in his class. Not only is he crawling around better than the other kids, he is also the only one clapping. During music class yesterday, Cullen sat with the teacher and clapped his hands. I had to stop myself from letting her know that we already knew he was the best kid there. :)  My next project with him is waving. It doesn't take too much to thrill me.

Last week was my first week with a Friday off. Three day weekends are amazing, but they are incredible when I can consider the fact that it won't be months before my next one. I get another Friday off next week! Wahoo! Of course I celebrated by spending extra time relaxing and running errands.

My college roommate, Katie, came into town for the weekend. She arrived on Thursday and stayed until Sunday. I don't usually get to keep her for so long, so it was an extra thrilling time for me. We spent a good bit of time Friday shopping at the Galleria with Cullen. He was a really good sport for most of the trip, but his favorite part was the Nordstrom shoe department.
After purchasing his new Pedipeds (his back to school shoes for the fall that just happened to be a part of the anniversary sale), Cullen got his very first balloon. Funny how I don't recall getting a balloon when I bought my Uggs in the kids department. :) Cullen was completely enamored with the balloon, and it stayed by his side almost until bedtime that night. He really enjoyed playing with the string and teething on the balloon. I'm sure teething on a balloon is totally risk-free. I'm relatively certain that I'm not in the running for mom-of-the-year anyway. After the Galleria, Cullen had his first PF Chang's dinner provided by some of James' birthday gift cards. Thanks Lynn and Corie! Cullen really enjoys chicken fried rice, and I really enjoy his leftovers.

The next day, we went to a friends to go swimming and grill ribs. They are expecting a baby girl in the next couple of weeks, so it was fun for them to spend time with Cullen, and Cullen really enjoyed his time in the pool. I love seeing him so happy, and the day was made even better with the addition of sangria and loads of ribs. Someday in the not too distant future, Cullen will be eating ribs, too!

This weekend, Omi is coming into town. She hasn't seen Cullen since he was just a few weeks old, so we are all looking forward to her seeing the changes he's made. Maybe I can even squeeze a haircut into Saturday morning before their visit. With Omi living states away, it's nice for Cullen to look his best for his Omi. It will also be Cullen's first chance to meet one of my cousins, since Shannon will be making the trip with Omi. It is so nice to spend our time with family!

xoxo Ashley