My latest obsessions

So, i've fallen off the posting wagon. I promise to get back on shortly but first i thought i'd tell you what's been keeping me away from the old computer at night. First and foremost there has been the continuing saga of Silas ear infections that won't quite go away (although i think we may have finally found the right antibiotic). Then there's the Christmas decorations to be putting up, the Christmas gifts to be making (i'm getting into needle felting and i'm attempting to make superhero capes for the boys.) Right, of course there's Christmas shopping and then there's www.etsy.com-- my true obsession for the last many weeks.

For those of you that aren't familiar with etsy.com, it's a site similar to Amazon but for the sale of handmade goods. Each seller has their own page or "store" but they're all set up to look the same and navigate the same. You can search in a myriad of ways but one of the best time-wasters i've found yet is the "pounce" feature under by. It shows you a list of 10 items that were just purchased from various stores in the last few minutes as well as several other listings from those stores. Of course you can pop over to the stores to check them out and save stores or specific items to your favorites for later.

It's fun, it's different stuff than you'll see in the mall or a catalog, and did i mention it's addictive. So much so that i have to give myself firm time limits or i'd never get to sleep!


The pox, oh wait, just another ear infection

I'm running out of funny ways to talk about people being sick around these parts. We took Silas into the Ped. today and she asked "have you guys been sick, was he exposed to anything?" and the litany of sicknesses was a little long; double cases of bronchitis, sinusitis, ear infections, scarlet fever, etc. He's got an ear infection and a likely case of strep, but thankfully the more powerful antibiotic he's taking this time cures both so we were spared the strep test.

I guess it's a good thing that Henry was sick and got better just in time for me to head out for a week-long trip to NM. Everyone held it together while i was away and Silas started feeling bad late Saturday night.

My trip for work went well but it was a long-one, although to be totally honest i extended it an extra day to make a side-trip to Santa Fe. I started working with Aspen 7 years ago to the week of my NM trip and my first day on the job was in Santa Fe. On the last day of that very first work trip i got to visit the ten thousand waves spa just outside Santa Fe and i've been scheming how to get back ever since. The trip didn't disappoint even after i'd built it up for several years.

On Monday morning when i was saying my goodbyes to the boys they decided it would be fun to snuggle together in Henry's bed. I laid with them for a good 10 minutes and they happily stayed put when i left.


Strep Throat and possibly Scarlet Fever

So Henry woke up in the night on Wednesday night absolutely burning up and drenched with sweat. Over the next 36 hours we proceeded to dose him regularly with motrin which brought the fever down to around 100-101 but it never went away. A rash then developed on his face that looked like he was sunburned across his cheeks. We noticed a rash of light red dots on his chest, back and arms and when he woke up this morning still feverish and with those sad sick eyes, we called the Dr.

We got him in this morning and the Dr. said that it was probably strep and maybe scarlet fever. I'm a little fuzzy on what she said because i associate scarlet fever with an antique childhood disease that used to kill children and necessitated burning the Velveteen rabbit. I had scarlet fever as a child and (correct me if i'm wrong parents) but i stayed in the hospital.

The Dr. today said that pre-antibiotics, scarlet fever was a terrible disease. Now it's not really a big deal and is treated exactly with the same antibiotic that is used to treat strep throat. I believe they both come from the same bacteria and the "strep" just denotes the presence of the bacteria not necessarily if it's scarlet fever or strep. So, that's about as clear as mud but with the fever and the rash i think it's scarlet fever.

Either way we've now given two doses of antibiotics. 24 hours from his first dose he stops being contagious and hopefully by tomorrow morning he'll be feeling better and the rash will subside. In the meantime we're watching Silas for any signs and are comforted that strep is rare in children under 2 and in adults. Although i'm packing my "backup" pack of antibiotics for my work trip next week.


We'd like a side of small mammals with our support for the troops

JT and i both had off today for Veteran's day and the boys were home with us. First thing this morning i headed over to the library to see what museum passes they had available. I decided to go to our "other" library branch (Logan Square) just to see if i had better luck with anything being in. I was lucky enough to be able to pick from three passes to museums that i thought would all be workable for the kiddos. I jumped on the elusive Field museum pass. I'm a little chagrined to say that we've lived in Chicago for wow, 7 years now and this was our first visit. We just tried to focus on a few areas and the boys immensely enjoyed the first exhibit we spent a chunk of time in all about animals-- different shapes, sizes, colors, habitats, skeletons, etc. Henry had several favorites from this part of the museum. From there we went through the more "traditional" mammal exhibits which are pretty awesome-- including three full-size giraffes, a rhino and hyenas which Henry liked immensely.

We took a gander through the Native American section and Henry liked their "fancy boots," the totem poles and the dioramas of life in ancient villages. The area was overrun with school children and Henry's energy was flagging (Silas was happily munching away on crackers from his stroller at that point) so we headed to one last exhibit on the way to out to the car-- Ancient Egypt and mummies. It was really too old for them and a tad gruesome and Henry said he wanted to leave so we did. Both boys conked out in the car which i assume means the trip was successfull. Thankfully they both napped after lunch at home as well.

We hope to make it back and hopefully enjoy some other museum outings on holidays in the new year. I haven't posted pictures yet but when i do i'll include some here. Once we got home and the boys were in bed i headed out for a 4 mile run, in the sleet. So, you could say i'm rightfully tired.


Accomplishments and Phases

From October 2008

I don't think i've given a proper update in awhile about the various stages the boys are in. Silas is 19 months now and Henry is around 3.5 years old. Let's do Silas first.

His funny bone seems to be developing more and more. He has a quick temper and can be loud and irritable when frustrated, but he's just as likely to crack up or do something silly and wait for your reaction-- then crack up. He started this trend during the visit to Oklahoma when he purposely "missed" his seat and fell down-- laughing the whole time. I think he's legitimately ticklish because when you try to trim his toenails he laughs and then squirms uncomfortably while he's laughing.

Speaking of nail trimming. Hallelujah! My least favorite chore seems to have turned a corner. Henry has been very good about having his nails cut for a long time now and will tell you when they need to be done. Until recently trimming Silas' nails was just awful. It didn't matter what you had to distract him he was squirming and screaming and mad and doing nothing to help speed the process along. He doesn't have a bluebird on his shoulder yet, but he generally sits somewhat patiently and just watches as i speedily make my way through all his fingers. This, and sitting in the bath, are pretty huge in my book-- forget about first steps, to me *these* are the real parenting milestones.

Silas' favorite activity at home is pushing his shopping cart back and forth in the house. He enjoys it immensely and if someone else, a visiting friend or say his brother, decides to take the cart for a push, he generally shrieks and then just watches until the unsuspecting shopper abandons the cart for an instant. He throws down whatever he's doing and runs with arms outstretched, toddling back and forth, to recover control.

Henry is getting very good at puzzles. Several of the large floor puzzles he got for Christmas last year (approx. 25 pieces) he can now put together either by himself or with a little support from an adult. He's somewhat obsessed with his letters and can now recognize all of his letters (at least all capital letters and most of the lowercase letters). He can write many of them from memory now and is completely adept at tracing-- stays right on the dotted line. One of his favorite activities is his "homework" which basically means any type of letter or number work.

We're still working on cutting, but he can now move the mouse where he wants and click the correct button. We actually find that we have to actively limit the amount of "screen time" he gets now between his old tivod favorites (Dora and Curious George) and his new computer faves (www.pbskids.org). During the week he's limited to one of either for a total of 30 minutes. On the weekends we've been letting him do closer to an hour spread over the day.

His language continues to develop apace. Recently he's been putting his final understanding on subtle words like "definitely," "similar," and "delicate."



We managed to enjoy Halloween with boy boys even though Henry came home the night before with a high fever and feeling terrible. The poor thing just lay on the couch listless until the motrin took effect. We were worried he'd miss trick-or-treating but by the morning he seemed fine and enjoyed his "sick day" home with us immensely!

Although there was a decent amount of belly-aching by Henry about how far it was to walk and how heavy his candy bag was i think he and Silas had a great time. Silas made a trick or treating buddy with Tiffany who seemed to give him just the right amount of confidence to go up to the houses, hold out his bucket and get the candy. The first couple houses we visited he went through the first couple steps but would then pull his bucket back when they tried to give him candy. I think he thought they were going to take something from him. A few houses let him choose and then he was in the groove and ready for the rest of the night. At this point there's a group of kids that ranges from 19 months to 5 years so we were spread out over a 2-block distance for much of the night. Henry and Silas were generally bringing up the rear-- Silas because he's little and Henry because he was just moving along at his own pace.

Henry was very, very good at making his way up the steps, saying "trick or treat" and always remembering to say thank-you. Both boys, but Silas in particular loved rifling through their candy when we got back home to see what all they've had. Henry has found some new motivation to eat his dinner since then and Silas seems to have forgotten all about his candy.