Tot art

On Friday our county library was having an art class for children ages 1-3, so we decided to take Mingli and Ebo.  I wasn’t sure how much Mingli would like it, but it was a lot of fun.  His favorite part was painting a snowman.  They gave him a large cutout snowman and some kids paint rollers with different patterns on them and let Mingli roll paint onto his snowman.  Then they had glitter to put on the snowman, and Mingli just loved this.  He put his own cup of glitter on his snowman, rolled it around, then went around the table looking for more glitter (we were late and the other children had already finished this activity).  After that was a craft where they made reindeer hats.  We didn’t want to force Mingli to do it any certain way, so he ended up with several eyes and noses glued wherever he felt like putting them.  It was a strange hat, but I liked it even better than if he had done it correctly, because he did it how he wanted.  The last activity was coloring, and Mingli just didn’t seem interested in this, even though he usually loves it, so instead he went and played with toys on the floor.  It was so much fun, and I am so excited to go again.  Our library has this activity every couple of weeks, so we can go often.

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2 months

Yesterday Iella turned 2 months old.  I can’t believe how big she is getting.  At her last doctor’s appointment she was almost 11 pounds!  She is such a sweet baby and loves to cuddle.  She often tries to get herself closer to me if I am holding her or laying with her, and I just love when she nestles into me.  In the past week she has hit a couple of cool milestones.  I have started laying her down on Mingli’s old playmat sometimes, and a few days ago she started swatting at the toys hanging above her!  She was really intent on it and managed to hit them several times.  She now does that almost every time I lay her on the playmat.  She also started cooing on Friday.  I love her little noises.  Her smiles are also getting more and more frequent, though I have still only heard her laugh a few times.  I love her so much.

Making a difference

While on our adventure over the weekend I was driving while Kaanas slept at one point and he woke up to me sobbing.  One of the songs on the radio I was listening to had gotten me thinking about child hunger, and I started imagining what it would be like to not have food to give Mingli, to have to listen to him crying every day because he was hungry, and possibly even watch him starve to death.  I realized that is what some mothers are living with, and I decided that I need to do something.  I have always donated little things here and there, a couple of dollars to whatever charity the store I am shopping at is raising money for, a toy in the box at Christmas.  I don’t like to pass by a charity without giving something, but I have never sought out a charity and really tried to make a difference.

My first thought was that I wanted to donate a little bit each month to a different charity, even if it was just $10, so I started looking up charities.  The thing I was drawn to, though, was not something little.  The thing I was drawn to was donating an entire herd of animals to a community who needs it.  The only problem was that it cost $5,000 and there was no way Kaanas and I could afford that.  I started looking at other stuff, but kept going back to the herd of animals.  Then I realized, I don’t have to actually pay for it myself.  I decided that I am going to raise the money for it, even if it takes me months.  I spent some time looking up fundraising ideas and found a whole list.  Right now I am starting with wrapping gifts.  I have advertised in my church that I am wrapping Christmas presents for whatever donation people feel like making.  I have other ideas to do after the Christmas season as well.  I am really excited about this.

Our Weekend Adventure

So on Sunday Kaanas, Mingli, Iella, and I were on our way to church when we passed our exit.  We were trying to find a place to turn around when we got a call from Anais saying that church had been at a different time that day and we had missed it, so obviously the only thing to do was to just go home.  As we got off at an exit to turn around Kaanas said that it would be fun if we could just keep going and spend the rest of the weekend in Louisville.  I laughed and said that I wished we could, so Kaanas said “ok” and got back on the interstate and a couple of hours later we were in Louisville.  I was kind of in shock.  I has thought we were just joking, but it was so much fun, and really exciting.

Our first stop on our adventure was to Walmart.  Since we had just been on the way to church we were all in church clothes and had nothing with us except a couple of diapers that I had put in my purse.  Since we were planning on staying until Tuesday morning we definitely needed some supplies.  We had to buy clothes, jackets, shoes, diapers, phone charger, swim stuff, and several other things.

Our next stop was the hotel.  By this time it was getting late, so we picked up dinner on the way and settled into the hotel for the night.  After dinner we got ready in our swim stuff and went down to the indoor swimming pool.  This was really important for me because I have really fond memories of hotel swimming pools as kid and really wanted to share that with Mingli.  It was so much fun.  The pool had pool noodles that people could use and Mingli just loved them.  After we had been playing around for a bit I actually let go of him and just let him kick around on his own.  I of course made sure I was always within arms reach, but he had so much fun and was able to make himself go in circles, forwards, and backwards.

The next morning we had breakfast at a local bakery before heading to the zoo.  Mingli loved the zoo!  Not all the animals were interesting to him, they either had to be close to the glass or moving, he didn’t want to have to look for them, but there were plenty of animals the he had fun with.  The orangutan and the emu both got right up next to him so he could see them.  Many of the other animals, like the pink flamingos, were active and interesting.  And of course there was grass to run around in and squirrels to chase.  We also got to see the elephants, which are still Mingli’s favorite animal.

After the zoo we went to visit my brother.  Earlier this year my parents bought a large plot of land in Kentucky, like 80 acres.  They are letting any of my siblings who want to build a house on their land, and my brother, Roark, is the first one actually doing it.  He has been talking about buying land and building his own house for years, now he actually is.  Right now he is living down there building a tiny house(like 8×12 feet, 2 stories) that him, Anais, and Ebo can live in while they are building a larger house.  Since we were going to be down in Kentucky Roark invited us to come see the house that he is building and have dinner with him.  We got there just before dinner and explored the land for a bit while dinner finished cooking over the fire.  We also got to see their house, which really is tiny, but he has all the walls up, insulation in, and carpet in the upstairs.  It is really exciting because right now he is down there by himself building the house while Anais and Ebo stay up here with my parents because they don’t want Ebo camping at a construction site in the middle of winter, but they really want to be able to join Roark and all be together again.  It is looking more and more likely that they will be able to go back down with him after Christmas.

We stayed in a hotel again that night, and the next morning (yesterday) we headed back home because Kaanas had to work that evening.  We were going to just come straight back, but we got sidetracked when we saw a billboard for the largest McDonald’s in the Midwest, and it said it had a tree house play place.  We stopped for lunch and let Mingli play.  It wasn’t as big as I was expecting, but the play place was pretty cool and Mingli enjoyed it.  After that it was back home, and our adventure was over.

Doing this felt completely crazy and something that normal people just doing do.  It was completely spontaneous and unplanned, and so exciting.  I am so glad that we did it.

My birthday

Yesterday was my birthday.  I am now 28!  Kaanas worked in the morning, so I just relaxed.  When he got home from work we went out to dinner at Cracker Barrel, which is where I like to go for dinner every birthday.  Most of my family is gone right now.  The only ones home were Anais and Ebo, so we invited them to come out to dinner with us.  It was a fun dinner at my favorite restaurant, and after they even gave me free pie!

On the way home I saw some Christmas lights and decided I wanted to drive around and look, so we did.  It was so much fun.  It is still early, so not as many people had lights out, but there were still plenty of houses with beautiful lights.  I love my birthday being at the beginning of the Christmas season.  I love the music, lights, decorating, all of it.

At home Kaanas, Mingli, Iella, and I just hung out some and watched some shows.  It was a wonderful birthday.

Thanksgiving

This was the first Thanksgiving I have spent with my family since Kaanas and I started dating.  The first year we dated we went to his family’s house for Thanksgiving, then after that we were married and he was working at Walmart, which meant he couldn’t get Thanksgiving off so we couldn’t travel anywhere.  It was fun to get to participate in all of my childhood traditions and spend the holiday with my family.  All of my siblings except my brother, Siarl, who is on a mission for our church, were there.  Glynae even brought a boy home.  They are just friends, but he seemed really nice, so we will see what happens.

Thanksgiving morning started off with the Macy’s day parade, just like always in my family.  When Santa came at the end I grabbed Mingli and we cheered.  He had no idea what was going on, but I wanted him to know who Santa was.  Then of course we had all the usual things for Thanksgiving, and even more.  This year in addition to the normal turkey and ham that we always have we also had duck.  I know this seems like a lot, and it is, but we have a large family, and all of the food means that we have left overs for a week.

After dinner we set up our Christmas tree.  We usually don’t set it up so early, but it is one of Glynae’s favorite things to do, and she was only here for 1 day because of her work schedule, so we decided to go ahead and do it.  I decided to put myself in charge of the music this year, so I sat against the wall finding songs to listen to while everyone else decorated.

Kaanas and I also went black Friday shopping, something we have never done before since he has always worked that evening.  We managed to get all of the presents we wanted for Mingli except 1, all of the presents we wanted for Iella, and all of the clothes we needed for Mingli since he just moved up a clothing size a week ago.  Kaanas also has his shopping done for me, so now I just have to do my shopping for him.  It is nice to have it done early so we don’t have to worry about it, but now I am really impatient for Christmas.  Honestly I think I am more excited for Christmas as a parent than I ever was as a kid.  I remember as a kid waking up early then laying in bed waiting for my parents to wake up so I could see my presents.  Last year I actually woke up even early than I did as a kid and just laid there waiting for Mingli to wake up so he could see his presents.  I keep imagining how happy he will be and I can’t wait.

Tummy problems and hurt toes

It’s been a busy couple of weeks, but a big thing that happened was that last week both of my kids had their first emergency room visit, and both were unnecessary.

For a couple of weeks Iella has been acting like she wasn’t feeling great.  She was having dirty diapers less than once a day, throwing up (it was very forceful and she would cry like it hurt her), and often acting like her tummy was hurting her.  At first I was just hoping that she would get over it, but after about a week and a half of her being uncomfortable I decided I needed to do something, so last Monday morning I called her doctor and asked if she could get an appointment for the next couple of days.  The person I was talking to put me on hold, then after a couple of minutes told me that they thought it was best if I took her to the emergency room.  At this point I started freaking out a little.  I had called the doctor with what I thought was a minor problem, and they told me to take my 5 week old to the  emergency room, so it much have been a lot more serious than I thought, right?  I remembered that when Iella was in the NICU they wouldn’t let her have breastmilk for the first little while because they told me the oxygen deprivation could have done something to her bowels, so what if it had damaged it, what if she needed surgery?  If they were sending us to the emergency it must be serious, right?

When we got there and told them what was going on and that our doctor had sent us there the nurse actually said “Why would they send you here instead of just taking care of it in their office?  They could have handled it.”  That actually made me feel better, because obviously the hospital nurses didn’t think it was anything serious.  I also found out that one of the quickest ways to get through the emergency room waiting room is to have a newborn.  They didn’t even let us go sit down, they immediately took us back because they didn’t want Iella exposed to whatever contagious diseases were in the waiting room.  Even with that we were there for hours.  They checked for an infection and made sure she didn’t have a blockage, then told us to go to Walmart and buy gas drops.  That was it.  Hours at the hospital to be told that she needed some gas drops.  It has been helping a lot, though.  She doesn’t seem nearly as uncomfortable, isn’t crying a much, and is happy again, so I am glad we went, I just wish that our doctor could have told us that.

Our next emergency room visit was when we went down to visit my grandparents.  Mingli was exploring the new place and was looking in the drawers in the living room when he pulled one out and it landed on his foot.  I was in one of the bedrooms laying down with Iella and I heard a crash then heard Mingli start crying.  I started getting up to go in, then I heard someone say that he was just scared, so I started settling back into bed.  My mom was out there and could handle Mingli being scared.  Just as I was getting settled again I heard people start yelling, “There’s blood!” “Oh my goodness!” “We need to take him to the doctor!”  At that point I figured I definitely needed to go out there so I jumped out of bed and ran out.  The drawer had landed on Mingli’s toe, smashed it, and pulled his toenail mostly off.  Honestly, it looked terrible.  Mingli was screaming, Avana was crying as hard as Mingli, most people had to go into a different room because they couldn’t look at his toe.  Even my grandmother, who was a nurse, wouldn’t look at Mingli’s toe.  I was really grateful for Roark because he was the one taking charge and the one who actually examined Mingli’s toe to see how bad it was.  The fact that he was willing to do that meant that I could put all my focus on Mingli and comforting him.  Poor guy, I had never seen him cry so hard.  There wasn’t much I could do, but I held him and sang to him and played wit his hair.  After Roark looked at the toe we decided to take Mingli into an urgent care because the toenail needed to come off.  We got there and and the doctor came to look at him after taking an x-ray to make sure his foot wasn’t broken.  Honestly, the doctor didn’t really know what she was talking about and actually told us that the toenail would never grow back and that she needed to take it off and then sew it back on.  She told us she wasn’t comfortable doing it because it was a child, there could be permanent nerve damage, and that we needed a plastic surgeon.  So she sent us to the emergency room.

At the emergency room they were again surprised we had been sent there because they should have been able to take care of it at the urgent care.  Being at the hospital was so hard.  Mingli was still screaming, he had been screaming for a couple of hours at this point, and all I wanted to do was break down and cry, too, but I couldn’t because Mingli needed me, and if I broke down who would be there to help Mingli.  The doctor gave me the option of putting Mingli under general anesthesia, but recommended again it because there were more risks and we would have to put an IV in his arm, which sounded awful.  I decided to go with his recommendation of using local anesthesia, but regretted it as soon as they started.  He screamed so hard and I felt awful.  He is doing a lot better now, though.  He barely limps when he walks and doesn’t scream when someone even talks about touching it anymore.  I am just glad my baby is feeling better.

So I had my first emergency room visit with both kids in the same week.  I thought once I was not pregnant anymore we could stop going to the emergency room so much, but I guess not.

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