Sunday, November 30, 2008

some more boston...

Although a lot has been going on lately - (Dix-D's housebreaking woes, Thanksgiving, Judy in town, Asher's 1st entire day without spitting-up, Twilight with the girls, selling half my wardrobe, decorating for Christmas, Asher's 3rd ear infection, Ruby's prolonged incorrigibility...etc, etc, etc) - I feel I can't move forward until I've finished documenting our Boston trip. We had such a fabulous time, and I fear if I don't write it down, that it will eventually become a blur on account of my less than perfect memory.

Because of it's place at the forefront of American history, the city - naturally - abounds with museums and monuments...memorials, exhibits, and fascinating historical sites. There is so much to do and see, and although we did and saw a lot, we didn't even skim the surface.

Everyday we had something on the agenda though, and even though there were things we wanted to experience, but weren't able to (Martha's Vineyard, for one), I still feel like we were able to do so much...

Friday - Full day of travel

Saturday - Newbury Street, Boston Common, Public Garden, Freedom Trail, Quincy Market, Mike's Pastry

Sunday - Church with Aaron and a delicious pork roast dinner (made by Dorothy).

Monday - We headed over to Cambridge to take a stroll around Harvard Square. We first got something to eat at a yummy burger joint called Flat Patties, and then set out to do some shopping. We ended up spending a good portion of the night - escaping from the cold and biting wind - in the basement (sale section) of the Urban Outfitters...where we did some serious shopping. Before heading home for the night, we treated ourselves to the some of the richest hot chocolate I have ever tasted. I wish I could remember the name of the cute little cafe that sold it to us...but it was seriously like drinking a melted chocolate bar...nothing short of divine.

Tuesday - Plimoth Plantation...and on Tuesday night, we were lucky enough to take a drive up to New Hampshire. John was scheduled to give a presentation at a law school, and I was privileged to finally meet - in person - one of my favorite blogging friends, Melanie. She and John have known each other since their freshman year at UVSC, and have maintained a friendship all these years. I have gotten to know her and her sweet family, just over the past year or so, and only through blogging. I just love her and am so glad that we were finally able meet...face to face. Ruby and Gretta totally hit it off, dancing on the coffee table, and singing songs, while Michel accompanied them on the guitar. We were supposed to stay the night at their place, but Ruby was starting to come down with a cold, and Asher's poop filled diaper (which was long overdue for a change), had seeped through his pants, and then traveled up his back, through his three shirts, his really thick red coat, and onto his infant carrier. It was a rough night - to say the least - so we decided to just head back to Boston. On our drive home, Ruby couldn't stop raving about "how cute that little Gretta girl was", until she finally drifted off to sleep.

Wednesday - We took a trip out to see the U.S.S. Constitution. We first browsed through the museum, which was alright...or in Dorothy's words "kinda coo, kinda foo", but we were really excited to see the "Old Ironsides" itself. One of the museum workers told us to that there was actually a tour starting in 10 minutes, and to "head outside, go around to the back of the museum, and to the end of the dock". We followed his erroneous instructions, and ended up in line for a boat transit of some sort. So, after getting correct directions from a local, we ran as fast as we could (pushing babies in strollers) back to the opposite side of the museum, and to the other end of the navy yard - with just minutes to spare - for our tour of the...U.S.S. Cassin Young? What? But where was the Old Ironsides?

Me and Ruby after touring the U.S.S. Cassin Young shipyard

A Cassin Young employee pointed it out to us, so we took off running, once again - strollers and kids in tow - arriving precisely at 3:00, only to find that U.S.S. Constitution was closed to tourists for the day. Ha ha...well at least we were able to get in some serious exercise...and if that wasn't enough (exercise, I mean), well our next activity, let's just say, I paid for, for days! By the time we got to the Bunker Hill, I had had enough cold for one day, and decided to stay in the car with Dorth and the kids while John explored the monument himself. He returned about 20 minutes later, completely out of breath, but also totally enthused about his venture up the monument's 294 stairs. 294 stairs? That's nothing, I thought. I'll bet I could run the entire way up without having to stop even once to catch my breath. Oh boy, was I ever mistaken! I started off sprinting up the stairs, and by the time I reached #75, I was about to kill over. I should've stopped and turned around there, but my pride got the best of me and I continued upward...however, not without a weighty struggle. By the time I reached the pinnacle, I was so consumed with holding back the urge to vomit, that I couldn't even enjoy the amazing vistas that are presumed to make the journey worthwhile. I gripped the handrail the entire way down, as I expected my legs to give out right from under me. I was sore for days to follow, and had a strange cough, which I think was a result of pushing myself too hard in the subfreezing (at least that's what it felt like to me) air. (I think I hear the gym beckoning my return...)
That night, we ate the most de-lish Chicago-style deep dish pizza at a place called Uno, and then concluded the action-packed day by visiting the Museum of Fine Arts, acknowledged as one of the most comprehensive art museums in the world.

Thursday - was not quite as eventful, but we did hit up a place called Building 19 - a chain of discount stores in New England. Ever since Ace and Dots moved to Boston, they have heard things about we decided to check it out. For me and Aaron, it was a bit reminiscent of our childhood and some of the places we used to frequent with our mom and grandma, ie. Jobbers Odd Lot and Pick 'n Save. Basically it's a huge warehouse full of junk...but if you dig long and hard enough, you can find some real treasures. I found some great kids' books, a darling food and water dish for Dix-D, and some clothes...all for under $30. We laughed that we had driven so far, and in so much traffic, to shop at a place whose motto is "Suffer a little, Save a lot" about self-deprecating.

Friday - We attended the New England Aquarium located at Central Warf, and then viewed Wild Ocean 3D at the adjacent IMAX Theatre. It was really good, but of course, Ruby wouldn't hold still. We were sitting at the very back of the theatre, and she would occasionally pop up out of her seat, walk to the end of our row, down to the front of the theatre, across (and in front of the screen) to the other side, and then back up to the top, down our row again, and to her seat. She repeated this process probably 3 or four times...I was tired of the fight, and because I was also in the middle of feeding Asher, I just relented and allowed her some freedom. With John's absence, I felt like I had no other alternative, and am just grateful that at lest she was quiet.
That night we decided to take a drive out to the Honey-Pot Hill Orchards, for (according to Aaron) some of the best cider donuts you'll ever taste. The farm was a ways away, and with traffic, it seemed even further. It felt like we were in the car for hours. When we finally arrived at their store, we were happy to see a lighted Open sign in the window, despite the deficiency of cars found in the parking lot. However, upon entering, we were told that they were sold out of donuts. What? We had traveled an hour and 1/2 for one of these delicacies, and they were sold out? The clerk felt sorry for us, so she offered us some hot apple cider on the house, after which we each purchased a caramel apple, and headed out for the long haul home.

Saturday - The weather was a bit gloomy and rainy, however, very warm, making a stroll through the heart of the city quite delightful.

Me and the Sleeping Ruby in front of the Trinity Church

We shopped at H&M, and then browsed some stores at the Prudential Center Mall. Before heading home for some take-out and movies, we caught the elevator to the 50th floor, and glimpsed the amazing view of the entire best we could without paying for the tour :)

Sunday - Another full day of nightmarish travel.

So there you have it...10 days of travel, and a life-time of memories...packed into one blog post.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

the truth about the first thanksgiving...


One of my very favorite things about our trip to Boston was spending a day at the Plimoth Plantation...where I finally learned the truth about "The First Thanksgiving". Contrary to what I had been taught in my elementary history class, what we call the first Thanksgiving, was actually a traditional English harvest celebration to which the colonists invited Massasoit - the most important sachem among the Wampanoag. Both cultures actually had their own separate traditions of giving thanks that predated this particular event. I also thought it was interesting that neither culture called it a Thanksgiving at the time. It wasn't until the 19th century that this event became identified with our American Thanksgiving holiday.
Always learning something new, I guess.

The Plimoth Plantation was very different from a traditional museum or guided tour. Rather, it was a re-creation of a 1627 English village, as well as a representation of a Wampanoag homesite.
The English village was my favorite. It was set up with homes, gardens, animals, fields, and storehouses...with role players throughout the town portraying "pilgrims", and going about the rhythms of their daily life. For example, we saw two men painstakingly chopping at timber to build a house, we saw another man on top of his home - repairing the straw roof, we saw women in their homes - cooking in their hearths. Others were gardening...some tending to the animals. We even heard different views on religion, and some gossip going on. At times I was surprised by their candor.

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We were encouraged to go from home to home and to ask questions about what they were doing and why. It was fun to hear the actors speak in 17th-century dialects as they answered our questions, and explained their unique way of life.
I truly felt like I had traveled back to the year 1627, and just happened upon this Plymouth Colony. I was fascinated with the townspeople of the community, how they tended to their livestock, how they cooked - utilizing ever part of the animal, how they slept families of six or 8 in a one room home, how they all worked together in one cause, how they had nothing...but still had everything.
It made me think about our society today, how busy we have become, how wasteful, how selfish and greedy, how much "stuff" we have.
What would it be like to live a life of simplicity - void of ostentation and pretension? Well, that's precisely the life I lived...the day I visited 17th-century New Plymouth.

A visit to the Mayflower II

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

the cradle of american history...


Boston is one of the oldest US cities, and therefore is rich with history and culture. I knew before going that there would be so much do, and even more to see. On account of that, we decided to rely wholly upon Aaron and Dorothy's expertise and seasoning in the city, to give us a true taste of Boston.
First and foremost, they took us to Newbury Street, a mecca for visitors and locals alike. I've never been to Europe, but walking along Newbury Street made me feel like I was in a different country. Everything from the 19th century architecture, to the eclectic mix of high-end retail shops and restaurants...with the coolest cathedralic looking churches popping up sporadically. I can't even describe the feelings I felt as I window shopped and people watched along Newbury Street. There was just this buzz and excitement in the air that I can still feel, but can't explain. It housed a rich urban feel, too - full of uniqueness and individuality that was so different from other shopping districts I've been to.

So, at the end of Newbury street, we entered the most beautiful and ethereal park I've ever been to. Where are we? I asked. To which Dorothy replied, Boston Common. Wow! That's all I can say. It was huge, and open, and heavenly...lined with majestic trees clothed in vibrant reds, yellows, and oranges - whose leaves swirled and spiraled in patterns...down...down...down...until they stilled upon the lush, green, velvety ground. I could have stayed in Boston Common, and the adjacent Public Garden all day...that's how exquisite and empyreal they were to me. I loved seeing families and friends congregating together - enjoying the beautiful weather; photographers - attempting to capture the park's essence and serenity through their art; musicians - adding to the unique feel and unmatched ambiance that already existed. All the history, the beauty, being with those I love...the whole experience was something I shall not soon forget.

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From the Public Garden, we began (but did not finish) walking the freedom trail. The freedom trail is about 2.5 miles, and it passes some of the city's most prominent historic landmarks. Dorothy was a great tour guide...she showed us the Massachusetts State House, Park Street Church, the burial grounds of Benjamin Franklin's family, Mother Goose, Paul Revere, victim's of the Boston Massacre, and some of Boston's most famous revolutionaries; she also showed us the first public school, and the Boston Massacre sight. That was a really weird feeling for me to stand on the same corner where innocent civilians were brutally murdered some 230 years event which culminated in the American Revolution.
From there, we visited only the restrooms in Faneuil Hall, and headed over to the Quincy Market to get some dinner. It reminded me a bit of mall's food court, but it was hundreds of feet long, and housed somewhere around 50 fast food restaurants. We walked up and back the long corridor, through the crowds of people, until we finally decided on pizza at Regina's.
Next up, was a stroll through the North End, and a stop at the world-renowned Mike's Pastry to indulge our sweet cravings. Through the pouring rain - and with our boxed pastries in hand - we raced to the car...and within minutes were home - warm, enjoying a nice movie, and devouring our cannolis.

It was the perfect a more than perfect day.



Monday, November 24, 2008

flying with babies?...never again!


I've never been big on traveling long distances in a car. I don't like road trips. I get carsick. I get bored. I get restless, and uncomfortable. Air travel has always been my preferred means of getting from point a to b...until I tried doing it for two full days (thankfully not back to back), with a baby, and...well...just a bigger baby. Ruby has definitely not yet reached the age where she can be of assistance and help lighten the load. In fact, in my opinion, flying with a 2 year old is harder than flying with a 2 month old. And flying with both of them at once - even with an acutely helpful husband - is not something I plan on doing again for a really, really long time.
Actually, the flights to Boston, were not at all bad. We flew from Phoenix to Denver - which was a couple of hours; had a 2 1/2 hour layover; and then traveled about 4 hours from Denver to Boston. We arrived at the Phoenix airport in plenty of time to check in our baggage (which after just some minor adjusting, all weighed in under 50 pounds), breeze through security, get something to eat, arrive to our assigned gate, tag the stroller and car seats, and relax somewhat before boarding. Once aboard the aircraft, both kids fell asleep, and pretty much remained sleeping for the duration of the flight. Our connecting flight was the same way...except for when Ruby woke up - disoriented and out of sorts - and in a panic, began kicking the woman's seat in front of her...repeatedly.
So, apart from a few irrelevant hiccups, our trip there was a breeze. It's actually the traveling home, that makes me want to shun the "plane and small children combo" for the rest of my life.
So...let's see...what was it that made me suddenly and vehemently despise air travel?

Could it have been walking through one of the airport crosswalks in front of a giant bus, who's driver had kindly stopped to let me cross? There I was, confidently pushing the double stroller with one hand, and pulling the 60 pound suitcase with the other, when suddenly, I was struck by a huge gust of wind, that didn't succeed in knocking me over, but did manage to force me into doing a 90 degree directional change, in front of a the giant bus full of ardent passengers. As I was standing in the middle of the crosswalk - stuck in the mini tornado, unable to move forward or back - I looked through the giant windshield, and inside I saw a crowd of people peering back at me...laughing hysterically and pointing mercilessly. I'm thankful for the bystander who came to my rescue, grabbed the suitcase out of my hand, and escorted me to the ticket counter. (In case you were wondering where John was this whole time?...he was involved in his own struggle with three large suitcases, and a carry-on bag. I still don't know how he did it so gracefully.)

How about when we finally made it to the ticket counter, only to discover that two of our suitcases were way too heavy? We depleted the next 10 or 15 minutes transferring items to and from our 4 bags. It was more than embarrassing having to shift around our personal belongings, in front of an audience of passengers and ticket agents.

What about going through security? I just hate that they make you remove your babies from their car seats...and take their blankets, and jackets, and shoes off, too. Both Ruby and Asher had fallen asleep at this point, so besides having to wake them and strip them down, we had to remove our own shoes and jackets, unpack the laptop, etc, etc, etc; and send our 15 plastic bins through the x-ray machine. John was holding Ruby - who happened to sleep through the entire process, and I had Asher...but just as I was about to take him through the metal detector, he threw up everywhere! And I'm not just talking about a wimpy baby spit-up either...this was some serious chunkage. Two piles on the floor, and a stream running from my shoulder, through my hair, and down my pant leg to my toes. It was awfully humiliating.

And then boarding the plane...I still can't think about this undertaking without becoming disgusted in humanity. We had gotten some food, but didn't have time to eat it before they started boarding the plane. So besides having to close the stroller at the bottom of the jetway, and remove Asher from his car seat, I had to figure out how I was also going to carry on the diaper bag, the camera bag, the free popcorn bowls we got from Dale and our two take-out styrofoam lunch containers. And the whole time, there was a line of people just staring at us like we were the traveling circus. After almost losing my grip on Asher because the diaper bag slipped off my shoulder, and knocked our lunches to the ground, I just wanted to scream at everyone..."Thanks for being being so helpful, you good-for-nothing, inhumane, imbeciles!" Good thing I bit my tongue...I would have regretted that later. But by the time me were seated, John and I felt like joining in with Ruby and Asher...who were both crying profusely.

What about trying to catch our connecting flight in Washington DC? I mean really, who needs gold's gym when you can get your workout in at the local airport? Our family was the last to disembark the plane, and unlike our first day, where we had a 2 1/2 hour layover, this time we only had an hour in between flights, which might seem like adequate time, but, it's totally not when the gate to your connecting flight is about two miles away. Honestly, I didn't know I could walk that fast without actually running. Asher was screaming in his stroller, but I just had to keep on pushing...which precipitated graceless stares from the masses we were weaving through. I got the most disgusted look from two employees who were camped out at a bank of payphones. I have never been so tempted to use my middle finger. Once again, I'm glad I maintained my dignity...I totally would've regretted that one down the road. The kids and I made it to the gate with 5 minutes to spare...but where was John? I turned around to see that he was about 30 feet behind me and still cutting through the frenzied crowds. I wasn't sure if that was part of his strategy to avoid being seen with the crazy olympic speed walker and her two babies...or if he really just couldn't keep up. He said he couldn't keep up, and I believed him because giant beads of sweat were exuding from every pore of his face. Thankfully, we had a few moments to catch our breath, and attempt to calm our upset kids, before boarding the plane...for the 4th and final time.

How about the 5 hour flight home? Ruby had to use the bathroom so bad, but was terrified of using the in flight lavatories. I can't count the number of times we walked from our seats to the bathroom,and back again. She finally relented, only out of utter desperation, but then wanted to go back again and again. Those mini bathrooms, with all those fun little buttons, became irresistible for our once terrified Ruby. She was so restless on this flight, that at one point, she leaned forward and grabbed the woman's hair in the seat in front of us. She gave it a little tug, but luckily the woman didn't protest. She must've realized how hard it would be for a two year old to be perfectly behaved on a flight like that. (I'm thankful for patient, understanding people.) When we finally landed, and the fasten seat belt lights went off with a "ding", Ruby exclaimed "yay...we did it!", which gave everyone around us a good laugh. She said exactly what I had been feeling at the moment...which was essentially, "hallelujah...we made it!"

Next time I complain to John about having to drive to Utah, I will remember (but wish I could forget) this adventure in flying with two babies. I will be grateful that I don't have to have my suitcase weighed, meaning I can pack what I want (also meaning I can pack more than three pairs of shoes). I won't have to worry about having perfectly behaved children (although it would make my trip nice). I can have all the leg room I want, and will be able to recline my chair more than a measly inch or two. We can stop when we need to, and take as much time as we'd like. And even though it may be a bit cramped, at least it won't be me, my husband, two kids, and 5 carry-on's, crammed in one teeny, tiny 2x4 ft row...and boy am I thankful for that...

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I really can't imagine why we got so many crazy stares...can you?

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

not just a pipe dream...


If I had a life list - (I do have dreams and ambitions...wishes and aspirations - just haven't formulated them into a physical, concrete, catalogued arrangement) - taking a trip to Boston would be somewhere near the top of that list. Ever since my brother, Aaron, and his wife, Dorothy, moved out there nearly four years ago (to pursue dental school at Boston University), I have been dying to make the trip. At this stage in life, and in our current financial position, I have considered this a hope that would be impossible to achieve...just another (of many) pipe dreams.
After this last week, however, I'm proud to announce that my life list (if - hypothetically speaking - it actually existed) now looks like this: Take a trip to Boston! That's right, we did it! We spent 10 days (minus 2 for travel) - walking, and running, and driving, and going...just about everywhere; and seeing, and doing, and eating, and enjoying...just about everything we could - in and around, beautiful Boston, Massachusetts. John had a few things lined up out there for work, so we decided to take the whole family and make a trip out of it; and, what sweetened the deal even more for us, was that we got to stay with Aaron and Dorothy, and be the first in the family to meet their baby (Asher's newest cousin)...little 2 1/2 week old, Cormac. I couldn't believe (but was completely thrilled) that Aaron and Dorothy were so laid back about us staying at their place, and so willing to be our hosts and tour guides...despite Cormac's newness and delicacy.
We have been home for almost a week now, and I still haven't been able to completely readjust to normal, everyday - life. In fact, my suitcase still lies on my bedroom floor, with it's contents spilling out and forming trails...trails which have now branched to every corner of the room. Luckily, I did all of our laundry at my brother's place before we left - making it fairly easy to put all the kids' stuff away upon our return home. I guess there's still a small part of me, though, in denial...a part of me that wishes we could have stayed forever...a part of me that resents the fact that - due to our empty pocketbooks - not to mention jobs, church callings, bills, and other responsibilities - we were forced to come back to the daily grind. So, until I can fully embrace the idea of being home, I imagine that my poor suitcase will remain in it's sad little corner of our cluttered little bedroom.
I do have to thank John for realizing this longtime dream of mine; and Aaron and Dorothy, for being so good to us...always so hospitable, and oh so much fun to be around. This trip far exceeded my expectations, and I have no doubt it's memories will remain etched in my heart and soul for years to come.

*pictures and outline of activities to follow...

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

meet dix-d...

the newest member of our family.


Ever since Ruby's frightening encounter with Rocky - the dog who attacked her face - she has been pretty leery of any and all dogs. But really, who can blame her? John and I have been concerned, though, that this incident (which happened nearly 9 months ago) may have caused permanent damage to her little psyche. It breaks our hearts to think that our sweet little girl could go through the rest of her life being terrified of dogs...especially because we both love them so much; and have always hoped that our children would feel the same towards - for the most part - such a lovable species.
About three months ago, my sister-in-law, Julie, got a purebred Yorkie puppy for her kids. I took Ruby over that very day, and her first words upon seeing him were, "oh, look, cute kitty cat!"...i guess because he was so tiny, she thought he was a little kitten. That was the first time since her accident that I had seen her get close to a dog, let alone pet him. She loved little Sparky, and when we were told that he had a brother for sale, we seriously considered buying him (for the sole purpose of helping Ruby overcome her fears). After much thoughtful consideration, we decided against making the purchase for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, was price...we definitely couldn't afford a purebred Yorkshire puppy. Secondly, we felt like it wouldn't be wise getting a puppy just days before we were headed to Utah to pick up our new baby boy. Simply put, the timing just wasn't right.
The very night we had decided against getting the pup, we were hanging out with our friends, Tim and Kate, a couple who had just recently moved here from England. Coincidentally, they were talking about how they wanted a Yorkie puppy really bad, and had spent the past few days pricing them out. We told them about Julie's friend, the dog breeder, and told them that there was actually one puppy left who was calling their name. They were so excited, and ended up buying the dog the very next day. Being that Tim is a professional soccer coach, and has a passion for all things soccer, they named the dog Dixie - after Dixie Dean, a legendary football (soccer) player in England.
Well, to make a long story short, after only being here a few short months our friends encountered a few bumps in the road, and ended up needing to return to Manchester. We asked them what they were going to do with Dixie, and they told us they would have to have to find a new home for him. So, I'm sure one can guess how this story ends...they give him to us, John and I are ecstatic, Ruby is thrilled, we change his name to Dix-d (because that's how Ruby says Dixie), and now we're a happy family of five...who all sleep in the same bed - (but that's another story for another day...)!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

a possible antidote to tears...?

We may have actually found something here. On Halloween night, Asher had his longest stretch of "no tears" yet; and, I know this sounds funny, but I totally attribute it to his costume. I'll be honest, I thought he would throw a complete fit when I put it on around his face; but quite the opposite happened...he actually stopped crying, and then carried on being happy and contented the entire night.

Well, the other night something similar happened. We're getting ready to go to Boston, so I've been gathering up some coats and warm clothes for the kids. I found a 12 month coat for him in one of Ruby's clothes' bins in the garage. I really didn't want to have to buy him something new, and was really hoping this coat would just do the trick...(even though it's like 4 times his size). As I was trying it on him, he was throwing a hysterical fit, but the moment I tied that hood tight around his face, he fell asleep...and slept for a really, really long time.

Lately, I've noticed that when I put him down, if I just put another blanket around his head...he falls asleep so much quicker, and sleeps so much longer. Weird, I know...but it may just be the antidote to some of his discomfort.



Wednesday, November 5, 2008

hardly a reason to smile...

Our sweet little heart just breaks for him. Poor little angel has had such a rough go at life. We first noticed signs of irritability when he was about 5 days old. He would just cry, and cry, and arch his back, and cry. And it wasn't just the usual (I'm crying because I'm hungry, tired, or need my diaper changed) baby cry either. This was always a cry of distress...a cry of pain. We took him to the doctor, who refused to treat him because he was too young. Our suspicions, based on his symptoms, were that he had acid reflux; but the doctor told us that acid reflux doesn't normally manifest itself until the baby is about 6 weeks of age. However, as the days and weeks progressed, it became more and more apparent to us that the reflux was indeed what had been ailing him. At two weeks old, he got a double ear infection, and was hospitalized for four days. We were told that babies with reflux are more prone to ear infections because the acid from the stomach can come up and settle in the small pockets located behind the ears...which then turns into a bacterial infection. To prevent this from happening in the future, we were told to feed him while sitting up, and then to keep him upright for about an hour after each feeding. We were also instructed to have him sleep at an incline. Unfortunately, even after following every instruction, both his ears became infected just 4 weeks later.
In his short life, I have taken him to 15 doctor's appointments, three different hospitals, we've seen half a dozen pediatricians, 2 chiropractors, he's had 4 sessions of cranial sacral therapy (which is a very light touch massage type therapy), he's been on four different antibiotics, and two different dietary supplements including Magnazymes and Probiotics, two different anti-acid medications (Zantac and Prevacid) for the reflux (and even stronger dosages of each of these prescriptions), we've tried five different formulas (one of which was very expensive and still didn't help), and even experimented with adding rice cereal to his milk (in an attempt to weigh it down so that it would stay in his stomach). Although some of these things have helped relieve some discomfort, nothing has seemed to provide complete relief. He's already over two months old, and still hasn't even gained a pound. In fact, it wasn't even until a couple of weeks ago, that he finally surpassed his birth weight. (When Ruby was his age, she had almost doubled her birth weight.)
My mother-in-law used to call every day and ask if our little guy had smiled yet. Finally I just had to tell her that he really has had nothing to smile about. Who feels like smiling in the midst of so much pain and discomfort? (I am quite happy to announce that he is smiling a little now. That - and the fact that he is still sleeping through the night - has literally been my saving grace these past couple of months.)
Due to his slow weight gain, and constant discomfort, our current pediatrician finally ordered an upper GI - a fluoroscopy x-ray examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract. We took him to the hospital for the test, and after drinking a contrast material called Barium, the x-ray indicated that his anatomy was perfectly normal, but that indeed he has GERD - acid reflux. I was relieved that we weren't dealing with any other serious issues; but at the same time feeling a bit frustrated with the diagnosis, simply because we had already been treating him for reflux...and obviously none of these treatments have properly treated him. Our doctor has now referred us to a pediatric GI, who can hopefully help us find some answers to relieve some of his painful symptoms...symptoms which have prohibited our little sweetie from being the happiest little baby he could be. I just love him so much, and it hurts my heart to see him have to go through so much at such a young age. They say that this is definitely something he'll grow out of, but I don't want to wait that long. I want to find him some help, and some 10 months from now. I want all of this because I want his first year of life to provide him with countless reasons for smiling.

These pictures were taken during his Upper Gastrointestinal Tract Radiography...
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Don't you just love our stylish (radiation) protective aprons? You can tell John sure felt cool in his :)

Monday, November 3, 2008

we followed the yellow brick road...

We had been planning this probably since last halloween; and literally this is all Ruby has talked about for the past two months. We were able to get her really excited about her costume by telling her that it was a very special tin man cinderella outfit. That totally did the trick, and everywhere we go, she tells everyone we meet that, "Ruby is gonna be tin man, and Asher's gonna be lion...rrroaaar, and momma's gonna be dorofy, and daddy's gonna be scarecrow." And even still, in her daily prayers, she makes sure to tell Heavenly Father what we are all going to be. I wonder if she realizes that the fun is all over...

well, at least for another 360 some odd days.

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I told Ruby that she was going to be the prettiest Tin Man Princess the world had ever seen...and she was.

My handsome Scarecrow.

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By the end of the night, we had a grumpy tin man and a really tired lion on our hands.

Our cute niece, Allison, popped in this picture with us...she was the sassiest little witch ever.

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I couldn't believe how happy our little lion was. Everyone kept telling me that he was probably burning up in that costume (because here it still gets up in the 90's every day). Believe me, if he was burning up, he would have made it known. He was actually perfectly content and happy all night long! We were loving it.

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Any guesses as to why I was so captivated by these...?