Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Preemie Life 18 months - 15 1/2 months adjusted

My little Cheetah is 18 months today.  How did this happen?  Why can't I just freeze time for a second.  She is growing like a weed, literally.  At her appointment she measured 31 1/4 inches which for her adjusted age puts her in the 65% for height.  This is nuts to me.  She still seems so short, but apparently she isn't as short as I thought she was.  She has definitely made strides in her height.  Her weight on the other hand...not so great.  She is 19 lbs, 9 ounces which puts her in the 8th percentile for her weight.  She is dropping off her growth curve.  This isn't my first time at this rodeo.  Gigi was off her growth curve and then at four she jumped up in height again.  Captain E was a huge baby but then as he got older while he stayed on the taller side he continued to get thinner and thinner.  Such is life.  Cheetah loves to eat.  She loves apples, bananas, strawberries, cheese, chicken, noodles, chocolate chip cookies, lettuce, potatoes, popcorn, rice, oatmeal, cereal, and her absolute favorite is lasagna, or "basagna" as Peach likes to call it.  She also loves popsicles and you will often find her running around the backyard half-eaten popsicles in hand.  She loves being outside.  Thank goodness we got a fenced in yard because she loves to be in it.  Her favorite hangouts are the sand box, digging and getting dirty make her happy, swinging on the swing, and the top of the play house.  This girl is a climber.  You often find her on top of tables, dressers, sofas, and ladders that are available.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that her favorite word is "UP".  "UP," she yells, "UP, UP!"  At fifteen months I was worried because she was hardly speaking at all but recently her language has started to blossom.  She calls knows my name, her dads, Captain E's, and her sisters.  She can tells us to pick her up.  She ask for food and drink.  When you give her something she will tell you "Thank you."  When she hands you something she will say, "Here you go."  Cheetah loves to read and will bring a book to me and say, "Mom read."  She loves the dog next door which is crazy because that dog is not so nice.  I keep telling Dr J I'm worried the dog is going to bite her, and really do we need to do another emergency room visit this year?  Really.  She is a good girl.  A joy to be around.  She has a great laugh and gives great cuddles.  Her siblings and parents adore her, although captain E will often tell me, "This little girl is trouble."  And he is right.  But she is also a delight.  Cheetah we love you so much.  It is fun to watch you as you grow and gain skills each day.  You really are a great kid!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


I have a sister in law E who I have never met.  Seems a little weird right...well welcome to our lives :)  Long story short Dr. J has a step brother who happens to be an attorney on the other side of the country.  We share in-laws, Facebook, Instagram, and ironically because of our age, religion, marriages, ages of our children and position in life sort of are living parallel lives...anyway I'm sure if we ever do meet I'll love her because she's pretty and fun and cool, and she unfortunately would just get stuck with me...sorry E but no coolness here ;-)  BUT, one of the things she introduced me to is this band Imagine Dragons.  She is really into them.  High school friends maybe? relatives? I'm not sure, I just know she is connected to them in some way and that because of her I stated listening to them and paying attention to what was going on with them, and they rock.  I mean really. They are sort of getting huge right now so if you haven't heard of them you might be living under a rock but on the off chance you don't know who I'm talking about let me introduce you to Imagine Dragons, Las Vegas raised, and their rocking song Radioactive.  I've listened to their live version probably twenty times just today and it's great, I mean just amazing, but today I also found this cover of it done by Lindsey Stirling and Pentatonix and I loved it as well.  To my children, in case you were wondering why I want you all to play the piano it really has nothing to do with trying to saddle you with church callings playing in primary, instead it it is because I want you to be able to choose any musical direction you want and if that direction just happens to be stings well then know your dad and I will pay for the lessons, because there is nothing I love better then when string instruments meet up with rock, feel free to blame my embarrassing teen obsession with Apocalyptica :)

Books to Read (OR NOT!)

I used to read all the time but three things have taken a major cut into my reading time.

1) My beautiful children.  A mother reading is like a blinking billboard saying, "Jump on me."
2) My Iphone and all the media it puts right into my hands.  That's right Hulu +, PBS on my phone, Netflix...you guys are putting a major cut into my reading time.
3) Finally my scratched cornea.  Two years ago baby Peach scratched my cornea.  The wound has mostly healed but my left eye still is/will always be a little blurry.  The result is reading for a long time gives me a headache.  It is like my brain keeps trying to correct the blur and when it can't it just doubles down and tries harder.  It can be exceptionally frustrating and has cut down on the amount of time I'm willing to sit reading.

The result, a girl who used to read a book a week in the very least is lucky to read a book a month.  A book a month???  I feel like I've lost my mind.  But that is where I'm at.  So these are the books I've read most recently.

John Grisham - The Racketeer.  A Wish I Hadn't Read.  Seriously the worst Grisham book ever.  I have a soft spot for Grisham since he was the one who first got me into mysteries, but seriously just not the best.  Grisham specializes in a flawed character who has a good heart.  I just never felt it, and if you hate your protagonist then what is the point.

File:The Book Cover Of The Racketeer.jpg

Attica Locke - The Cutting Season.  I was reading this at the same time I was reading The Racketeer.  The Cutting Stone was definitely better.  It is a mystery about a migrant worker found dead on a historical plantation.  The mystery is sort of secondary to Caren Gray the protagonist trying to figure out what to do with her life.  I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, but I would definitely say it was better than the John Grisham.  Maybe Grisham it is time to take a little break.  

David Mitchell - Cloud Atlas - I decided to pick this book up because I knew Tom Hanks was in the movie and I love Tom Hanks.  Good grief it was a chore.  You have seven stories going on that loosely weave together.  You get each one in a half and then move on to the next so I spent the first half of the book feeling like nothing was being finished.  Then finally we got to the second half.  Unfortunately at that point I just didn't care anymore.  It was a headache.  

Finally the only book in the group I'd want to read again Leigh Bardugo - Shadow and Bone.  It is a teen drama book, so big surprise there for me right?  Well I was surprised because the last two series I've tried to start I hated.  Sorry Divergent, I just didn't like you, and Matched I didn't like you either.  Youth books I've loved, The Hunger Games (OBSESSED WOULD BE THE BETTER CHOICE), Harry Potter, Artimis Fowl, The Last Apprentice  The Host but none of the Twilight books.  I can't explain my taste but this one I knew I liked two pages in.  I started it at the gym while I was on the elliptical and had it done before the kids came home.  The positives, it was a quick read, it is a singular book so no finishing it and realizing you have three more years for the series to be finished, romance, magic, a dark lord, a protagonist who doesn't realize her own beauty.  This must be how a good majority of woman feel in their teen years because pretty much every girl youth book is written that way.  Anyway I loved it and would read it again in a heart beat.  Congratulations this is my winner of the four.  

Monday, April 22, 2013

Our Trip To Mammoth Caves - Picture Overload

A few months ago I got an e-mail from the head secretary of Dr. J's residency.  It said, "I just wanted to let you know the end of the year is coming quickly and if Dr. J doesn't schedule his last two weeks of time off he is going to lose it."  Lose 2/3 of his vacation...heck no!  I e-mailed Becky back and asked if I could fill the forms out.  She said as long as he was ok with it she was as well.  Thank you Becky!  So I talked with him and and returned the forms and like that Dr. J ended up with two weeks off.  The unfortunately thing, it had to be in a rotation that started at the very end of the kids spring break.  The fortunate thing, they overlapped four days.  We used those days to get away for a quick trip.  I'd heard mention of this place called Mammoth caves in Kentucky.  We decided we wanted to go there and sort of on the fly planned a camping trip.  

 Cheetah loved camping!  I mean just adored it.  SHE WAS EVERYWHERE!  At one point I put her in the tent to try and keep her from chasing after dogs that she saw going past the camp site.  She screamed and screamed, ran into all the walls and eventually found a ventilation hatch on the back of the tent to escape from.  Oh this girl, containment, containment, containment!  We just continue to have containment issues!  Multiple times we pulled charcoal from her mouth.  She spent most of the trip looking like she'd just eaten an Oreo except there was no Oreos to be had.  Oh Cheetah!

Our kids spend a lot of time of their father's shoulders.  This is how they have seen much of the world.  You have to love the relationship between a father and his children.

A big part of the trip was a tour through the caves.  If you are going to go I suggest you buy your tickets online before you get there.  Even online many of the tours had sold out.  When we got there all the tours were gone.  Thank goodness we'd reserved our tickets before hand.  I was exceptional anxious about going into the caves.  I am a person riddled with anxiety.  I dislike heights and do no enjoy confinement.  When I read the description of the tour I started to get a sick feeling.  It said,

"If you have a fear of heights or suffer from claustrophobia, this tour is not the best choice for you. Please read tour descriptions carefully when making your selection."   

It also said,
"There are hundreds of stairs on this tour."

Not recommended for visitors with known heart or respiratory problems, poor circulation or difficulty walking long distances and negotiating stairs. Evacuation from the cave to a hospital for medical attention could take several hours."

Seriously why would I want to do this?  I said to Dr. J, "I can't do this.  I don't do heights.  I don't like small spaces.  I don't like the dark.  Why would I do this."  His words to me, "You can do hard things."  And so I did.  We started off by going down 280 stairs.  They were steep, they were narrow, they were often times wet.  It was exhausting.  I was carrying Cheetah in a sling.  Sometimes the cave came in on the side and on top and I'd have to tilt and squirm, squeeze her up, squeeze her down.  There were drop offs, and deep holes, my palms were sweating, my back was sweating.  Dr. J had Peach.  Sometimes he carried her, sometimes she was on his back, sometimes the stairs were so steep that he was pushing her forward or dragging her back.  Gigi and Captain E had boundless energy and had no problem with the heights or the encolosure although Captain E said about ten times, "People could fall and die in here."  Well thanks honey that is not helping mama. We finally got to a big cavern where we stopped and the ranger gave us a geology lesson.  And Cheetah screamed and screamed.  She did not like being forced to stay in my arms and I'm sure my sweaty stressed out body was giving off terror hormones.  Finally we started hiking again and the gentle up and down of the stairs finally lulled her to sleep.  Meanwhile my legs were jello.  We saw some more of the dry cave and then we finally made it to the part called Frozen Niagara.  It is the only part of the cave that has stalactites and stalagmites.  It was pretty cool.  There were also several bats flying around and cave crickets.  And then two hours after we entered the dark stuffy cave I saw the sweetness of natural light again.  It was glorious, one of the best feelings I've ever had.  I guess I'm not ready for the city of Ember.  I was covered in sweet, I was exhausted but in the end I had made it.  I guess Dr. J was right.  I can do hard things.


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