Welcome to the mother of all blog entries. It’s been pretty hectic here the last few weeks, and I haven’t published an entry not because there was nothing going on, but because I just didn’t have the time. Anyway, we have lots of pictures to post. Holiday’s were celebrated, stomach flu’s were passed back and forth, and first hairs were cut.
Before the pictures, I just want to mention that all of the kids are doing great. Madison has stabilized and it’s been a smooth recovery from her last flurry of surgeries. She’s getting pretty talkative, and has added a few words to her repertoire (for example Q:”Madison is a …?” A: “Baby!”). The other kids will chirp every so often with an answer, but Madison still leads the pack verbally. As a group, they are eating pretty much whatever we eat, and we are up to four gallons of milk a week.
Noah and Chloe are like a roving wolfpack. They crawl around the house trying to open every door, climb every step and (successfully) tip over every glass wine rack they come in contact with (lots of broken glass, but no broken skin). Chloe is getting pretty close to walking, but Noah is content to army crawl everywhere. Madison is a roller.
There’s been lots of playing going on.
Chloe gives Noah a ride.
Noah talking smack with Chloe.
Madison playing with Chloe
And Chloe playing with Morgan
Chloe has leaned to climb on her rocking horse and swing back and forth.
Madison exploring under the couch
And Chloe performing CPR on Elmo. “Breathe, dammit, breathe! You’re not gonna die on my watch!”
We’ve also been taking the kids out a lot more. They are really, really well behaved in restaurants (knock on wood). We get some pretty worried looks when we sit down next to someone, but we’ve never had a problem. In fact, we’ve even gotten unsolicited complements, which is nice. Here are Madison and Mom about to dig in at Noodles & Co.
The holiday season started with a party at the Children’s Hospital. The hospital throws a party for children with hydrocephalus, which is the condition that Madison has that has led to all of those surgeries. All the kids could go, and everyone got a present from Santa. The pictures are below, but in short, Noah was too distracted with his present to notice the large, red-suited man to his right, Madison needed to give Santa a good look before accepting the gift (safety first!), and Chloe played the Grinch while Santa wondered what the hell he just did.
On the way home from the hospital, Chloe threw up all over herself and her car seat. We didn’t think much of it at the time. Perhaps she ate a new food that didn’t agree with her? Sadly, that was not the case. The next day, she continued to throw up, with non-stop fluids coming from both ends (if you know what I mean). By Monday, she was better but Noah and Madison had caught it. By Wednesday, Madison was better, but Chloe had it again. Round and round it goes, where it stops nobody knows. All I can say is that it didn’t stop in the diaper. It was not long before every diaper change was followed by an immediate bath in the utility sink.
I think at one point we may have gone through close to 80 diapers in less than two days. We knew it was time for drastic action. Our first and hardest decision was to cancel our trip to see Julie’s grandmother for Christmas. Driving 20 hours overnight to Iron Mountain, MI is actually a lot of fun for us, but the non-stop flu-related episodes made that undoable. Second, we went on the offensive against the flu. Every night all of their toys got an antibacterial wipe down. Sheets and blankets were washed every day. Bottles were never to be shared. After a week, I actually started to wonder if we’d every get past this. After about 10 days, though, we were in the clear.
My sister was nice enough to offer to fly out and help us through the thick of it, which we totally appreciated. While she was here, it came to our attention that it might be time to get the kids their first haircut? What do you think? 1 year old boy, or the Nutty Professor?
So the day after Christmas, it was off to Fantastic Sam’s for a group cut. Noah was up first, while Madison and Chloe watched, totally unaware of what was in store for them.
Noah was not happy.
But all’s well that ends well, if by “well” you mean “with my first lollypop”.
Chloe was next.
Good thing she saw Noah go, or she might not have known you are supposed to cry.
Still, a lollipop makes it all good.
Then it was on to Madison.
A trend was definitely forming.
Give me the lollipop now!
Back home, and we were all back to work and back to normal.
Noah was looking sharp, although he has a habit of crawling out of his pants.
Madison was left wondering why Chloe is on her tray
and Noah was “rockin” in the New Year with babysitter Beth.
My sister left just before New Year’s and Julie’s friend Drue came in to take a shift. He was last here almost exactly a year ago when Chloe first came home. What a difference a year makes.
One last funny story for you. While we home for the week, another family in the neighborhood gave us a case of Strawberry Pediasure (high calorie drink like Ensure, but for kids). We put the case of drink on the floor of the garage, intending to carry it in the house once we had made room in the pantry. Well, Julie came home later that day to find the case of Pediasure still in the garage, but all of the bottles were gone. Had Bill put them inside already? No, Bill was at work all day. Where could they be? Was Al Qaeda involved? It was the Great Pediasure Caper of 2008. She was about to alert the FBI, when she noticed Maggie, our black lab, looked way more guilty than usual. A quick check in the dog run, and the mystery was solved.
I have no idea how she knew what was in the case, let alone what was in the bottles. Nor do I have any idea how she unscrewed all the caps. Anyway, our vet assured us that ingesting 96 ounces of strawberry Pediasure would be harmless.