Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Top Ten Tuesday: To Do List Edition

We closed on our house on Monday! We take possession tomorrow! Our stuff arrives on Thursday! I still have so much to do. So this week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is...

Top Ten Things I Need to Do This Week

10. Decide which bedroom is John's and which bedroom is Norman's and decide if I need an additional monitor since both boys will be upstairs and we will be downstairs.

9. Buy a thank you gift for Pat, the wonderful realtor we worked with here in Texas. I was thinking of doing a gift certificate to this yummy place. (I also need to get one for Kate, our realtor back in Ohio.)

8. Find a preschool for John. I hope to sign him up for 2 mornings a week in the fall. I guess this doesn't have to happen THIS week, but it does need to happen soon.

7. Get a Texas driver's license and license plates. I've only completed step one of a four stop process. Again, I guess this doesn't HAVE to happen this week, but it should be done ASAP.

6. Buy a washer and dryer. Front-load or top-load? Too many choices. Any suggestions?

5. Buy some bourbon and ginger ale so I can celebrate with my mom who is coming on Friday! This is not as easy as it sounds as our county is "damp" and only sells beer and wine. Luckily, I have to drive through a "wet" county to get to the airport.

4. Pack up the apartment.

3. Unload everything into our new house.

2. Decide where to put all my furniture and stuff. Where do we put the basement stuff now that we have no basement? Where do we put our table and chairs (in the dining room or the breakfast room)? What sofa goes into the family room and which one goes up to the game room?

1. Have fun with my mom, my husband, and my boys!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Movie Monday: Walking the Balloon Edition

Just a little John humor.

p.s. Please don't judge me by the amount of junk piled in my kitchen. It's a bit embarrassing.

Rough Riders

Thank you, everyone, for your kind comments and your thoughts and prayers. They are much appreciated. We are slowly adjusting to life without Pauli. John still doesn't understand. He asks about Pauli a lot. He knows that Pauli went to the doctor and didn't come back and that she is now in heaven. He doesn't understand it though. Brian had to go out of town again shortly after Pauli died. While Brian was out of town, John and I were talking about Pauli. John said that Pauli went to the doctor and I told him that yes, she did and then she went to heaven. John got a really serious look on his face and then asked, "Daddy doctor?" I quickly reassured him that Daddy was just out of town for work. So hopefully John isn't going to be scared to go to the doctor in the future.

We had an exciting night last night. We got invited to go to the Frisco Rough Riders game. They are the local AA baseball team and they play at Dr. Pepper Ballpark. We were in a suite with Brian's boss and some of his co-workers. I enjoyed getting to meet some of the people I had heard about from Brian. It was John (and Norm)'s first baseball game. John had a good time except for a close encounter with Deuce, the Rough Riders' mascot. John was terrified of Deuce. I felt really bad for him. It was REALLY hot (over 100) and we had to leave early because of bedtime, but we still had a lot of fun.

In other news, we closed on our house today and take possession Wednesday night. The movers arrive Thursday morning with all our stuff that has been sitting in storage since we moved into the apartment in June. We are so thrilled to be finally settling into our new home. Our biggest challenge will be figuring out where to put our furniture as this house is very different from our last one in terms of living space. We have too many sofas and too few dining tables and chairs. Wish us luck! I promise we will take lots of pictures and post them here.

Anyway, hope you all are doing well. Here are some fun pics of the boys and a few pics of the ballpark.

John enjoys the garden tub in our apartment. He likes to line up all of his toys along the edge.

Norm shows off his skills: the warrior position!

Norm and Zoe hang out on our bed together. The both look like they are keeping an eye on the other one.
Norm with all the toys that John brought over for him to play with.

John, Norm and I at the baseball game.

Dr. Pepper Ballpark

The view from our suite.

John, Norm, Brian and I.

The "Pool Zone": an area with a pool that you can rent out. Can you imagine watching a live baseball game from a swimming pool?

Norm and John with their stuffed animals that our realtor Pat gave them.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My Baby Girl

It's been a long week. It started with John's virus turning from a fever to hives (he's all better now!) and ended with the death of our Pauli. As you know, Pauli has not been doing well since we moved to Texas. We thought it was just anxiety at first and we put her on doggie prozac. After she failed to improve, we ran more tests and put her on antibiotics for a possible urinary tract infection and thyroid medicine for an extreme case of hypothyroidism. Pauli continued to be lethargic, to have trouble controlling her bladder, to seem to have trouble with her balance, to have difficulty going up and down stairs, to generally decline in her health and happiness so I called the vet and scheduled her to go in for x-rays. She went in for x-rays on Tuesday and the vet discovered several tumors in her lungs, one the size of a golfball. Apparently, her thyroid wasn't working because she had advanced cancer. Once Pauli was diagnosed, she seemed to go downhill rapidly. That night I was up with her all night long and we were both miserable. Brian was out of town at the time, but he rushed home early on Wednesday so he could spend some final time with Pauli. Wednesday afternoon, I took Pauli to the vet and she was put to sleep. This was my first experience with this and I was amazed at how quickly and painlessly Pauli was gone (literally seconds). Although I am relieved that Pauli is no longer suffering (by the end she couldn't drink, she could only eat if I fed her by hand, she wouldn't lie down because she couldn't get back up, she kept trying to hide around the apartment and kept getting stuck in corners), I am so sad to no longer have my baby girl. She was only 7 years old, but we were lucky to have her for those 7 years. Pauli was always a bit odd (she loved to guard things including ant traps), she was a lover and a snuggler. She also loved to take a sip from a cold beer. That's my kind of dog! Pauli wasn't a big fan of John's when he was born. In fact, she avoided him like the plague. If he entered a room, she left it. I think she thought if she ignored him long enough he would go away. As he got older, John grew on Pauli and she would occasionally give him a kiss on her way past. John always looked for Pauli because she was less likely to be close by. (Zoe is always close by John as she's the "mother hen" in the house.) Unfortunately, John has no real understanding of what has happened with Pauli. I guess in some ways that is for the best. Norm, of course, has no idea. But despite their short acquaintance, Pauli took to Norm very quickly. She would often lie down next to him when he was on his playmat. She gave him kisses somewhat regularly. Anyway, it's been a long week and those last 36 hours with Pauli were some of the toughest in my life, but I wouldn't trade loving her for anything in this world. She was my baby girl.

Friday, July 18, 2008

When It Rains It Pours

First, let me apologize for this giant marathon post. It's been an eventful week!

As most of you know, Brian had to go out of town for work for the first part of this week. It was the first time that the boys and dogs and I had been in the apartment without him. I learned that people tend to stop and say hello when you're out with two dogs with a 2 year old next to you and a 2 month old in a Snuggli carrier. Common response: "You look like you have your hands full!" In many ways, the days without Brian went better than expected. It was much easier than expected to balance the three schedules (Norm, John and the dogs). The days went by much faster than I expected. I didn't miss my computer time as much as I expected (I went to bed earlier instead).

Of course, I had to go to bed earlier as I wasn't getting much sleep. Pauli has not been doing well at all. She's been miserable--despite her "doggie Prozac." She had started to have accidents in the apartment on a regular basis--despite the fact that I was taking her out every 2 to 3 hours. This is a dog who used to go to bed at 6:00PM and easily made it until the next morning. Now I was having to take her out several times during the middle of the night--despite the fact I had taken her out before bed at 10PM and was limiting the amount of water she was drinking.

It's amazing how much you learn about your neighbors when you're wandering around with your dogs in the middle of the night or the early morning hours. I didn't realize how many of our neighbors stay out until the wee hours. There's nothing like standing in your pajamas with a roll of paper towels cleaning up a puddle of dog pee in the hallway while your neighbors get home in their mini skirts and high heels to make you feel old. Oh well.

Dragging Pauli out so often was miserable for me and for her and for the boys. The only happy one was my other dog, Zoe--she loves the extra trips outside and the treats on return. I've been giving them both treats each time that Pauli has a successful potty break outside in an attempt to make Pauli happy and motivated to go outside to use the bathroom.

Pauli (in a rare perky moment) hanging out with Norm.

Finally on Thursday I took Pauli back to the vet. She was way too pathetic to just be "unhappy" or "anxious." She acted like we were torturing her every time we made her stand up and go outside. She moved REALLY slowly on the stairs like it hurt her to move. She was loosing weight because she wasn't eating well. The only way we knew she needed to go out was that she would make a strange keening sound. It was so pathetic. They did another urine analysis and a blood scan. They found that she had signs of a urinary tract infection and an underactive thyroid. So now Pauli is on three meds--doggie prozac, antibiotic and thyroid medicine. Hopefully all this pill popping will do the trick and we will get our happy Pauli back. I miss her terribly. She is not herself at all in her current state.

The other reason I needed to nap is that John has some sort of virus and has been running a high fever off and on for the last 48 hours. So he has been waking up with his fever. I spent 3 nights up a LOT between nursing Norm, cleaning up Pauli's accidents (luckily the carpet in our apartment appears to be designed NOT to show pee stains--the pee literally disappears), taking Pauli and Zoe outside, and comforting John. Hopefully nights will get better soon.

On a positive note, Brian is home and we are enjoying some fun quality time together. He and John were having a wonderful time tonight pretending to be animals. I should have videotaped it, but didn't. I will get a video and share it sometime soon.

John in his Chic-Fil-A Cow hat.

John decided that Norm needed to wear the cow hat too.

On another happy note, the boys and I made our first trip to our new pediatrician on Thursday for Norm's 2 month checkup and for John's fever. We all really liked the pediatrician and her office staff. Everyone was VERY friendly. The nurse was nice enough to get me some info about mom groups in the area and the name and number of a person on the staff who has a daughter who is a stay-at-home mom of 2 young children. John got his first lollipop (cherry, sugar free) and LOVED it. That made him smile which made the doctor happy. Norm weighed in at 11 lbs 10 ozs--and is sticking strong around the 50%ile for height and length. He's still near the 10%ile for his head. I guess he's got my little peahead.

Norm--2 months old!

I noticed that Norm tends to look to one side more than the other and asked the doctor about it. I was worried that he had the shortened neck muscle thing that I hear so much about these days. She said that he doesn't have any visible signs of that, but he is getting a flat spot on one side of the back of his head--so we're giving him lots of tummy time to try to even him out. Lucky Norm! He doesn't mind it sometimes, but I think he gets tired of it after a while. Sorry, Norm! We're also doing some neck stretches, just in case.

Norm (traveling off the mat during tummytime) and big brother John.

Norm also got 4 shots during his appointment. The doctor usually does a "combination" vaccine so the children get less actual shots, but Norm couldn't get that one since he had already had 2 doses of the Hepatitis B vaccine. Poor Norm! He actually handled the shots great though. He stopped crying within seconds of the shots being administered. Also, thanks to the shots, Norm only woke up once that night. Unfortunately, I didn't get to appreciate the extra sleep as I was up with Pauli and John. Oh well.

On most nights, Norm gets up to nurse every 3 hours. It's not awful as he goes back to sleep very easily. I feel like he should be going longer at night by now. I know John was only getting up once during the night by this point. He was sleeping through the night by 12 weeks. Of course, John was also on a schedule. Norm is not on a schedule yet. His only "schedule" is that he eats about every 3 hours. Life has been so crazy that I haven't figured out what schedule to try to get Norm on. It's easier just to let him sleep when he can and go with the flow of the day. However, I think I'm making it harder for myself in the long run so I need to start focusing on getting him on a regular schedule. I have finally introduced storytime for Norm before afternoon nap and before bedtime. His "bedroom" is off the master bathroom in our apartment so I started reading him stories while John used the potty before his naptime and bedtime. It's a bit strange doing it while sitting on the bathroom floor, but John loves the company and it was a rare part of my day when I had time to do it. I'm sure this is normal for non-first children, but I feel like Norm has not gotten all the perks that John got. I'm sure it will all even out over time, but meanwhile I feel a little guilty.

In other news, we made it back to the McKinney Library on Tuesday for story time. John loves the songs--especially "Going on a Bear Hunt" and "The Hokey Pokey." (He's really getting into songs these days. This morning he was doing "Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes" in the bathtub.) We also got our library card and checked out three Sesame Street books and one Sesame Street DVD. We were definitely spoilt by the HUGE children's DVD selection at the Westlake library and John was a bit disappointed by the ONE Sesame Street DVD available at the McKinney library. Oh well. He was still really excited to check out the Sesame Street books. The self checkout system at the McKinney library was so easy that John could do most of it himself which he thought was very cool.

Anyway, we're looking forward to a fun weekend with Brian. He and John are planning to go to the pool if John is feeling up to it. We're also off to look at new potty seats. John's Sesame Street potty seat is bent in the middle and John no longer wants to use it. He hasn't pooped in the potty for two days :(. If a new potty seat is the answer than I am all for it. We will see. Brian heads out of town again on Monday. Hopefully by then Pauli will be feeling better.

And on a totally random note, I have decided to treat myself to a fun new bag--one of the ones that Tara sells. Anyway, I have decided the style bag I like (the Andi), but can't decide on fabrics. You can actually go to their website and design a virtual bag to see how the different fabrics work. If you want to play and give me suggestions, go here. You can create a bag and e-mail it to me at ehstone[at]yahoo[dot]com. Thanks for your help!

Hope you all are doing well! Happy weekend! Happy summer!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

MovieTime: Beach Edition

This is a movie I made while we were at the beach. My brother John was playing "motorcycle race" with the four older children--Michael (almost 5), Joe (3), Lizzie (3) and John (2). It may not be funny to people outside our family, but I thought it was hilarious. I love how my brother John would stop and try to block the children and the other children would push him or wait for him to get going. However, my John would just ignore the whole thing and keep going in circles. For more beach details and pictures, see previous post.

A Wonderful Time

Hey everyone! John, Norm and I are home from the beach and are excited to be hanging out with Brian, Zoe and Pauli.

We had a WONDERFUL time at the beach. It was so great to see my family. All together I think there were about 50 members of my extended family in Oak Island, NC for the week. Crazy, huh? In our house, there were 8 adults and 8 children. John had SO much fun with his cousins--especially the three older ones, Michael, Lizzie and Joe. In fact, he had so much fun with his cousins that by the end of the week, he was a crazy, wild man. Yes, quiet little John was a crazy, wild man.
Michael, my sister Cat, John and Lizzie
John wasn't too keen on the sand at first. I think because of his OMA and balance issues, the sand made him nervous, but he got much more comfortable with it as the week went on. John also got more comfortable with the ocean and by the end of the week would stand or sit in the surf and go in the ocean with me. My mom had brought a few life jackets and John chose to wear one most of the time we were on the beach. It was pretty cute.

Michael, Joe, my brother John, and John

We were in a new house this year (about 8 houses down from our old house). It was much roomier and we really enjoyed it. It was actually big enough for all 8 adults to sit comfortably together to eat a meal which was very exciting. The house also had a wonderful enclosed outside shower that was enjoyed by adults and children alike. There is nothing better than a nice warm shower with the ocean breeze blowing across your feet. Very cool! It was a crazy time as we had 8 children under 5 years old in our house, but it all went much more smoothly than expected.

Shelley brought her cousin Tara to help with the triplets (9 months old now) and she was great fun and a great help. Tara also introduced me to these really great purses and bags. They are all custom made and I had so much fun playing with all the beautiful fabrics.

Me, Cat, Shelley and Tara

I can't get over how grown-up Reed, Mary and Madeline seem already. They all have very distinct personalities and are so much fun to be around. I loved watching them interact with each other and with the rest of the family. It was fun to let Norman start hanging out with his cousins too. I think as they get older it will be so much fun since Norm and the triplets are only 8 months apart in age.

Madeline, Reed and Mary

My mom and sister were the champions of the week. They did the majority of the cooking and organizing and made the trip so relaxing for the rest of us. They were also really wonderful about taking John down to the beach while I was at the house nursing Norm and getting ready for the beach. I did manage to cook dinner one night ( a delicious and easy lasagna recipe my friend Leslie gave me.) If anyone needs an easy recipe, let me know! My brother was also really wonderful with his ability and willingness to entertain the four older children.

This was my first time flying alone with two children and it went remarkably well. Norm slept most of the time and only fussed on one of the four flights. We used the great nursing cover Kristin gave me and were able to comfortably nurse in the airport and on the plane. John was a champion traveler despite the fact that both days we had early flights so he had to be up by 5AM. He enjoyed playing with stickers and looking at books on the plane. Having a supply of fruit snacks and granola bars also helped. John loved that we went "up high" in the air and quickly became a pro at buckling his own seat belt. There were a couple unhappy moments, but they went by quickly. On our last and longest flight (from Charlotte, NC to Dallas), we sat next to a really nice gentleman who currently lives in DC, but is originally from Kenya. He was so impressed with John and Norm that he wrote John a note about how proud he was of his behavior on the flight. I thought that was so nice. I'm going to put it away in his treasure box.

Norm modeling the t-shirt we all got for the family beach week

While we were gone, Brian traveled to Connecticut to do some work at the pilot plant. He also got all kinds of free Chic-Fil-A cow stuff at work as Dr. Pepper is sponsoring a Chic-Fil-A Cow Appreciation Day. Brian thought it was a bit silly, but knew that John loved farm animals. John has had lots of fun running around with his cow hat on and mooing.

Only bad bit of news is that Pauli is still not doing well. She continues to use the bathroom both in the apartment and in the hallway outside our apartment. They've been painting the hallways so I'm sure that hasn't helped her comfort level. Anyway, we are still trying the medication, but so far all it seems to have done is make her more lethargic. It's very sad! Hopefully, we can get Pauli happy soon.

It ought to be a challenging week as Brian has to be out of town tonight through Wednesday. It will be hard to be without him, especially after I've been spoilt by a week with my family where everyone helped out with Norm and John when needed and especially with Pauli's issues. Hopefully I'll be able to get Pauli and Zoe out often enough with John and Norm. It's going to be hard since Brian's been carrying Pauli down the stairs most times since she refuses to walk down them. Hmm... Wish me luck!

I'll be computerless until Brian returns. Look forward to blogging again then. Hope you all are doing well and having a great summer! Only 3 more weeks until I'm in my new house! Can't wait.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th of July!

Happy 4th of July, everyone! We're having a nice quiet day enjoying the fact that Brian has the day off work. He and John went to the pool here at the apartment complex this morning and had a great time. John enjoyed hanging out on the pool stairs where he could hold on to the stair and float and kick his feet. He thought floating was especially entertaining. He also enjoyed sitting on the waterfall wall.

I've been busy packing all day as John, Norm and I head to the beach tomorrow morning for the Stone family reunion.

Brian and Norm having a little cuddle time.

It's been a nice week. John, Norm and I ventured into McKinney to the McKinney Public Library on Wednesday. Besides one wrong turn, the trip was relatively uneventful. We got to see some new parts of McKinney and I even discovered an outlet mall while trying to get back on course after the wrong turn. Outlet malls are always good! Luckily we had left early, so we still made it to the library in time for story time. It's one for children ages 18-36 months. There were about 10 children there and John seemed to enjoy it. I really liked the format and the woman who was running it. She seemed very child-oriented. Norm cooperated by sleeping through it. We got to sing songs and read books. John especially likes the "quack, quack, quack" song and the Hokey Pokey. On our next trip, I'll bring some proof of residence so we can get a library card. John found some Sesame Street books he wanted to check out.

Another exciting piece of Lottig family news--John has been using the potty both before nap time and before bed time. He usually poops and pees each time and gets very disappointed when he only pees. John has a Sesame Street potty seat that his Aunt Cat gave him and he loves using it. John likes to narrate his potty breaks--"I pee on Cookie. I pee on Elmo. I pee on Big Bird. I poop!" He likes to use the potty as a stalling technique so he can stay up a little longer. I don't mind though because I haven't had to change a toddler poopy diaper in about a week. VERY exciting! I hate those poopy diapers. When we move into the house, we will work on doing ALL peeing and pooping in the potty.

Norm and John hang out together watching Looney Tunes.

In less fun news, Pauli (our younger dog) is having a rough time transitioning to apartment life. She does not like the stairs going outside and doesn't like all the other dogs in the apartment complex. She's gotten to the point where she doesn't want to go outside and we have to force her to go out. After several accidents in the apartment and in the hall and stairs outside our apartment, we took Pauli to the vet. The problem is not medical--just mental. So we've decided to try some doggie Prozac and see if it helps our Pauli be a happier puppy. Luckily, Zoe (our older dog) is handling the move like a champ. She LOVES all the other dogs every where. On another fun note, both dogs are shedding terribly as they adjust to the Texas heat. Hopefully, they'll get the worst of it out while we're here in the apartment. If not, at least we have the great Dyson vaccuum--it really does work GREAT on dog hair.

The cardigan I'm knitting John--don't you love the yarn he picked out?

In knitting news, I haven't done ANY knitting since some time before Norm was born. I'm still working on John's rainbow cardigan. It's going to be my only project until we get in the house because the rest of my yarn and pattern books are in storage and I haven't found a knit shop yet. I still want to make a BSJ (Baby Surprise Jacket by Elizabeth Zimmerman) for Norm. Julie sent me some beautiful STR (Socks That Rock yarn) to make one, but I haven't had a chance yet. Cheryl sent me this beautiful BSJ that she made this week. Isn't it adorable? Can't wait for Norm to wear it. I promise pictures when he does.

BSJ from Cheryl (don't know why Blogger turned it sideways--sorry!)

Anyway, hope you are all having a lovely 4th. I'll blog again when we return from the beach. Wish me luck flying on my own with the boys. My double stroller has been ordered, but didn't arrive in time so I'm traveling with Norm in the Snuggli carrier and John in his stroller. Ought to be fun! No matter how the traveling goes, I know we'll have a great time when we get there. Can't wait to tell you all about it when we return to Texas.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Texas Trivia

Still in Texas. Still adjusting to the heat. Still hating taking the dogs out with two children and a flight of stairs. Still loving being together as a family.

We had our house inspection yesterday. It's amazing the things that can need repair on a four year-old house. The roof needs to be replaced--not due to general wear and tear, but due to hail damage. I guess that's really common around here. The current owner's house insurance should cover it so it's not a big issue. Glad to get it out of the way before we taken possession though. My realtor said that she doesn't know anyone who's paid to replace their roof because the insurance company replaces them so often because of hail damage. Another little bit of Texas trivia.
Other fun fact: The inspector said that there are two types of houses in Texas--the ones with termites and the ones that will get termites. Luckily, ours is still one of the former types. He said it takes a while for the termites to find the new developments. Something fun to deal with in the future!
Anyway, here are two new photos of the boys. Norm joined John in his bed for storytime on Monday night. As you can see, John brought lots of fun bedding (thanks, Aunt Cat!) with him from Ohio. I think he's getting spoilt by the huge bed. He may never want to sleep in his twin bed again.
As you can see, I decide to join in on the snuggling!

Hope you all are well. Please feel free to e-mail or call. We'd love to hear from you! Off to do some packing for our beach trip!