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awesome... just friggin awesome...

"oh my god.. i thought you sang twice..."

just awesome.

btw... David Cook is the man.. he had better not be in the bottom 2-3 tonite or I'm going to have to actually start voting!

Last week at this time, I was in Daytona Beach, Florida on a business trip. At this time (4:45pm), I was sitting in a construction trailer checking some emails for work and downloading some test data that I had collected on site earlier in the afternoon. Later in the evening, I would be going out for a steak dinner with the client's rep, owner's rep and the lead contractors. I would miss American Idol.. not arriving back to my hotel until 9:30pm and then changing rooms twice (the first room had bugs and the second had no power on the wall that the TVs were plugged into.. it was a HILTON).. The job itself was difficult in that I have one or two moral values and the type of facility that I was testing was one that I'd likely picket if I were the activist type.

The one redeeming moment (actually.. 20 minutes of moments) was on Wednesday when I was on my way out of town and I had the chance to stop at the beach. I drove on, parked.. and walked a bit before sitting down near my car and watching the people and the surf. The warmth felt wonderful and to be honest, there is nothing more relaxing and grounding for me than the ocean. Water in general (lakes, rivers, snow, etc.) is a good thing for me (plus it defies most laws of matter.. but that's a subject for a different blog).. After 20 minutes, I felt like I had hit the rewind button on the past day and a half and was ready to be home with my family. I felt a level of relaxation that only happens occationally for me and I equate it with reaching a state of grace. Everything makes sense and life is good.

As usual.. that was short-lived. I drove back to Orlando only to stand in line at the Jet Blue ticket counter for close to an hour waiting to see if I could get on an earlier flight back to Boston only to have the mean behind-the-counter-lady tell me that I had missed the cutoff for that flight by 10 minutes and if I had just called the airline from my cell phone when I got to the airport and had the ticket changed electronically, I would have made the flight.

[insert sound of relaxed state of existence exploding]

The good news was that Benji was still awake when I got home and I was able to rock him before we put him to bed for the night.


I mean seriously.. it's the norm.. I'm at work getting ready to head out to pick the big guy up and race home to play/make dinner/etc. before going over a friend's house to watch NEIL DIAMOND night on Idol! We've both been waiting for this show for weeks and have it all sorts of built up in anticipation. I hope the final 5 come through for us! I'm sure I'll be blogging about it tomorrow! Today hasn't been as "exciting" as last week... thank GOD!

Sweet Caroline... oh oh ohhhhhh.... Go RED SOX!

First of all.. who is it that coined the word "playdate". I mean seriously.. whatever happened to opening up the back door and yelling "be back by dinner" to the kids as they went out to explore the world? (um.. that was before MY time.. but I've seen it in movies..)

Anyway.. on Saturday we met up with our friend and her twins. The Twins, Maddie and Riley, go to daycare with the Jammer (a.k.a. Ben). As it turns out, their mom also knows just about every person that I've met outside of work since moving to Boston.. crazy. Anyway.. we thought it would be fun to bring the kids to this place where you can pick and paint pottery and they fire it for you after-the-fact. We had an absolute blast. The twins made their mom a nice big cereal bowl and Ben made us a treasure chest bank that we plan to use as our "idea jar" for free-time activities.

Here is a pic of Maddie putting the final touches on the lavender and yellow cereal bowl..

Here is Ben showing his artistic side..

The absolute highlight of the day was when Maddie and Riley went nuts stirring the water bowl.. The only thing cuter than this pic was seeing and hearing this in person...

Seriously... too cute for words...

Our only line of defense was the Bink. Ben has taken to eating everything he touches. He is particularly fond of dirt, rocks, homemade playdoh and paint!

It was a great morning. We capped it off by getting a cookie from the bakery down the block and with a nice long nap (for the kids at least...)

...and my beautiful little boy can morph from an angelic little blue-eyed prince into something out of Invasions of the Body Snatchers.

Here is a photo of a happy baby.

...still happy.

"did you just tell me NOT to TOUCH the lens?"

[meltdown ensues]

" &%#$%@% #$@% %#$@* " (<== baby cursing)

I've spent the past.. oh, about 30 hours, in Florida for work. There were several aspects of this trip that just plain made it weird. First, I was working with a relative.. or at least someone who married into and out of the family. Second.. well.. the job itself goes against some pretty strong beliefs that I have.

oops.. boarding time... to be continued...

At 8pm last night (Idol night), I was (this is tmi) sitting in the bathroom at a steak restaurant texting shiela telling her that we HAD to buy tivo because i was STILL working and was going to miss the ENTIRE show. I sent the message, put my work-face back on, and pretended that it wasn't like being stuck with flaming needles. (more on that later)

David A can really do no wrong.. he's just too cute for words. I have to say that I sort of agree about his eyes.. I had just started to get a bit irritated by how he always had his eyes half-shut when he was singing.. it just didn't seem natural.. or it didn't seem like it changed with the song.. and i can't imagine that one has the same feelings when they are sing "dancing queen" and "the theme from ice castles".. but i'm fairly sure that if you turned the audio off on those two performances (which haven't happened, but I surely think should, then you'd have a hard time telling which was which. That is, unless he wore his leather pants again. Still.. loved the song.. it didn't give me chills, but it was still good.

David Cook, if you haven't noticed yet.. is my favorite of the season. He can do no wrong. I thought his performance was brilliant. Not my classic "david with the les paul".. but still awesome. Definite chills when he hit the gravel ridden high note.. very nice. I would have liked it if he goth'd it up a bit and made it a bit more like manson's version of the eurithmics "sweet dreams".. but what do I know. At a minimum it needed a bit of a White Stripes feel. But it does show that he's well rounded because while that performance wouldn't have flown on broadway, it would have rocked the house in a high school musical.. (just kidding.. i love you david). Paula said he has a beautiful instrument. What more could be said?

As a quick aside: I'm watching these clips and blogging while sitting in the Orlando International Airport.. already peaved that I missed the earlier flight back to Boston that would have allowed me to hug my son before his bedtime.. *sniffle* To rub it in, there is the most annoying 8 year old girl sitting like 200 feet from me (i moved) and i can still hear her cranking about being bored and how her parents suck and her parents constant bickering trying to duct tape her mouth without it coming across as child abuse.

ok.. now back to idol...

now.. jason castro. jason.. seriously. please.. you should have just packed your bags and signed an independant contract after you sang Hallelujah. Memory? first of all.. this triggers all sorts of memories of my sister tormenting me when i was 10 years old and practicing this song for our chorus performance at school. I still haven't lived it down.. and I think that I actually outsang Jason this time around.. and I SUCK.

Carley Smithson. Hands down.. best of the night.. most improved of the night. absolutely great performance.. finally she dislodged the stick up her butt and actually performed instead of yelling at us with scary eyes.. loved it. Randy is a moron.

Can't wait to get home to watch the results show (all i can say after THIS trip is that my flight had BETTER arrive on time! i'm ready to be home!)

On Saturday, we spent the afternoon at a friend's house for a playdate and some cake. I zapped out the pic of Ben's friend in this pic because I know that his mom doesn't post pictures of the kids in her blog.. but I had to share that Ben successfully climbed up the stairs to their deck and then into the kitchen without a single scream or fall or any negative incident.. he just crawled right up.

My friend got a kick out of me whipping out my camera from my pocket.. I rarely go anywhere without it.. which is one of the reasons why it's so funny that I want a Nikon D60.. THAT bad boy won't fit in my pocket. Well.. it might fit into the pocket of my old shorts..

We had a blast and can't wait to play again!

i can confidently say that he's "going through a phase". He wants to do everything by himself, but he doesn't want to be alone. He wants to walk up (and down) stairs holding the railing, but his legs are too short and arms aren't long enough (i.e. he's not tall enough) to do that.. so he basically screams because he wants to, but he can't. so we can let him scream or pick him up.. and when we pick him up, he screams because we picked him up... so then we put him down.. and then he screams because he didn't want to be put down.

sound fun? tiring... definitely!

we went to a friend's house over the weekend and it was perfect because they have a fenced off "deck" (it's the roof of their garage.. i love boston) and they have a little backyard like ours, but it's fenced in and safe.. so the kids could just explore and they were fine. yesterday, we tried to bring ben out to our driveway to play with his bikes and some other toys and all he wanted to do was walk out into the street. [insert similar screaming story from above].

being that yesterday marked the start of the revolutionary war.. at about 3pm, the British came and ran through our neighborhood in a parade while firing muskets. That didn't go over well..

we went to the park.. that was all fenced in and has a huge beach area (it's at a reservoir in town) to let him run some of his energy off.. he basically was afraid to go more than a few feet from us, but then didn't want our help with anything. it started to be funny after a while.

we ended up at friendlies for dinner where he smeared ketchup over his burger and only ate fries (after a lunch of jello..)..

finally we were home and just plunked him into the bathtub where he was the happiest that he'd been all day.. what a relief! of course.. that was until he started standing up so he could splash water on his penis.. which is against the rules.. he can do that if he's kneeling.. but there's no standing in the tub.

i'm going to daytona tomorrow for work. i am determined to sit on the beach and watch the sun rise on wednesday morning and if i'm lucky, i may take a dip in the ocean before heading back.

Ok.. the Commodores weren't exactly lyrical geniuses... Here is a snippet of the lyrics to "Brickhouse"

"Ow she's a Brick-house,
She's mighty mighty,
Just lettin' it all hang out
She's a brick-house,
That lady's stacked,
And that's a fact,
Ain't holdin' nothin' back,
Ow she's a brick-house,
Well we're together everybody knows,
This is how the story goes...

She knows she's got everything,
That a woman needs, to get a man
How can she lose, with such a youth,
Thirty six, twenty four, thirty six,
What a winning hand!"

yeah... it just makes you feel warm and fuzzy, eh? Very romantic. When I think of being shaped like a brick house.. it doesn't inspire thoughts of 36-24-36.. i'm thinking more like 38-38-38... which is what brings me to the subject of this blog.

I'm back into that in-between awkward stage when no clothes fit me. When I was in my teens (and earlier).. I'd go into a dressing room with 30 pairs of jeans and was lucky if one... yes.. o-n-e.. fit right. Being fat changed all of this.. as soon as I hit a solid size 18W.. purchasing clothes got SO much easier.. my only problem was that I have no boobs.. and for some reason, clothes designers assume that a fat woman will have larger boobs. not me.

So I finally got to the point where I couldn't function in my old, larger, clothing. I could barely keep my jean shorts up yesterday.. they kept slipping over my hips. After a trip to the park, we decided to do some quick clothes shopping. I didn't want to buy anything too high end because I totally plan to be this size for a short period of time and would like to lose enough to get down another size bracket or two.. maybe wishful thinking.. but I don't want to blow a ton of money on clothes that may not fit again in a month.

Given my self-imposed monetary constraints.. we wound up at Target. Shiela took Ben and did some important shopping like picking up more toilet paper and a big jug of bubbles. I tried on clothes.

The selection I went into the change room with initially was about 50% women's clothing and 50% men's. The women's section had crap and I tend not to like a lot of the styles. As it turned out.. all of the clothes that I purchased were men's. For a very short moment, I felt stereotypically "gay".. oh yeah.. that's me.. the gender bending "dress like a guy" lesbo.

uh... no. that's NOT me. i'm a girl.. i like being a girl.. i just happen to be a tomboy, so I don't like lacy stuff and I am shaped like a BRICK (see song lyrics above with the disclaimer that the song is most definitely NOT about me.. the block of masonry is more what I'm comparing myself to...) I have no boobs.. no hips.. no butt.. and just a leftover flat tire that used to be my baby belly.

Men's clothes make sense. Your waist.. your inseam.. done. Pick a style.. and they are all there.. boot-cut, straight leg, relaxed fit, low rise, etc.. and just grab your size and guess what? it fits! The other issue with women's clothing is that they cut things weird.. I wanted a few polo shirts. Women's polo shirts have arms that are little puffy things that are cut too short on the underside.. so anyone that has any "i'm 33 and have lost 60 lbs" less than toned underarms are left to flop in the breeze. No.. I want regular short sleeves thank you. So back to the men's dept.

Don't even get me started on the shorts. I tried on ONE pair of women's shorts and didn't even zip them.. they made me look like a total dork. I went back to the men's.. picked the relaxed fit denim that i liked and grabbed my size.. given in inches, so i knew it would fit.. and it was fine. no daisy-duke shorts for jen.

Ben has stolen your hairstyle... Benjamin got his very first "fauxhawk" today. Basically it's just buzzed short on the sides and a bit longer on top so you can spike it up a bit.. i'm in the process of uploading some pics. without the hair gel, it looks like a normal short haircut.. but he's still too cute for words!

While I'm waiting for the photos to upload.. I'll give a general update on the big guy. He went in for his 15 month well visit today (he turns 16 mos tomorrow). Unfortunately he needed two shots. Other than that, everything went great. He's 26lbs 12oz and is 33 inches tall.. that makes him in the 68th percentile for weight and 88th for height. All of his parts checked out fine and the doctor noted that his vocabulary was very advanced for his age (they count the english, spanish and signing) and his fine and gross motor skills are right on. Ben performed like a champ and did a great job, even with the shots, even thought it was his naptime.

We had a nice talk with the doctor about autism. We've had the panic in the back of our heads like most parents of boys these days that have any clue of the statistics. Given the seizures and what I had been concerned about with his progress of development (when he walked/crawled/etc.).. we had both entertained the "what if" thoughts. Our doctor, who rocks by the way, was amazing and assured us that not only is ben definitely NOT autistic now, but he's not showing any symptoms of being at risk for autism in the future.

We also talked more about the seizures and are both fairly comfortable with the concept that he will likely have more seizures until he grows out of this childhood seizure "disorder". *cross fingers* that he will not have any more "complex" seizures like his first one (that lasted an hour)... but we're pretty confident that we can deal with (emotionally) the short duration "typical" seizures.

here we go:

My friend's blog yesterday reminded me of a debate/parenting-issue that my sister has been struggling with for years. Now that we have a little boy.. I know the time will come when we're faced with the same dilemna.

My question to you all is simple. How old is a child "old enough" to go into a male restroom by himself. For our family, unless we're with friends.. he's got two moms.. so we're not allowed in there.. although I might consider finding a hat and fake mustache at some point to sneak in. The concern? Stranger Danger.

My sister's son has been pushing to go into the men's room by himself when his dad isn't around for years (he's 8 now).. my sister still drags him kicking and screaming (not quite) into the ladies room where she can keep a close watch on him. One time, she was at a family restaurant and he BEGGED to go into the men's room by himself. So she gulped and said "ok" and then sat about 8 feet from the door with her heart in her throat while he walked through the door. What are the odds that a freaky perv is in that particular bathroom at that particular time? who knows. Shortly after he went in.. a man came out.. looked around for my sister and came over and said something to the effect of "how dare you allow such a young child in the men's room alone.. don't you know what can happen?". Of course, my sister was ready to smack the guy but he also confirmed all of her fears and she was ready to charge in there and pull her son out. He came out a second later with wide eyes and came over to my sister, so she knew that something had "happened". He said that the guy had told him that it was "just wrong" that he was there and for a good kid like my nephew.. this flabergasted him. Becky explained that it was no business of this guy to talk to him and that things like that were the reason why she always insisted that he follow her into the ladies room.

I've watched other parents of even much younger children just let their boys romp into the men's room by themselves.. peeing over god knows what and falling over themselves as they come back out. I do believe (at least to save my sanity) that most people in this world are not pervs.. but it's the chance that there's just that one that will have me bringing Ben into the ladies room until he's taller than me.. i think that will be my criteria.. when you're taller than I am.. THEN you can go in without me.

That may backfire on me since the kid is already gaining on me.

We're no where near potty training.. so this is WAY premature for me to even be thinking about.. but I am curious how mom's address this.

On the flip side.. we went to the movies with my brother in law and 4 of his 5 kids.. ranging in age at that time from 4 to 9 i believe.. the youngest needed to pee halfway through the movie so he sent the 9 year old out with him. I was pregnant at the time and had a hard time not following but this went against every mothering instinct I had.. they walked out of the movie theater.. down the hall.. to the bathroom.. and all the way back all by themselves. I was practically in tears by the time they got back from relief and then I was mad at myself for not just getting up and following them.

One thing I'm thankful for? Family restroooms.. they are starting to catch on here in the northeast and hopefully will be the norm across the country so we can avoid this all together. IKEA has a great one.. it's big enough to get a whole brood of children in there, change diapers, nurse, and for everyone to go potty in a place where the only people in there are the mom(s)/dad(s) and the kids.

I'm going to have to rely on Ben's grampas and older male cousin's and some of our male friends to show him how a urinal works. I just can't imagine saying "pee into that troff on the floor..." at red sox games.. oh well!

Rarely is this man on my mind.. but for some reason, all I can hear today is his version of "Always on my mind" which I happen to think is a brilliant song and a brilliant arrangement, especially from such a scruffy dude who obviously has lost a few brain cells along the way..

I didn't take my anxiety med this morning. I totally forgot. It has been interesting to experience a "normal day at work" without the "chill pill". I've been surprisingly not overwhelmed, but I have found myself saying "it's just chemical" when I start to feel a bit wiggy. Part of this is that I'm completely addicted to this particular medication. This isn't an epiphany or a major "coming out" moment. The med is highly physically addictive and anyone who takes more than a few of them would experience physical withdrawal symptoms (feels like the flu on acid). My ability to deal with real-world stresses is totally fogged. Anyway.. I've been saying that I want to lower my dosage on this stuff for months.. I just always seem to find a reason to say "maybe next week". Maybe I'm more like Willie Nelson than I thought.. :)

ok... real reason for post this.. (can you tell that I get a bit absentminded when my anxiety level is over the red line?)...

is this adorably cute picture of Benjamin:

It was taken on Saturday during a brief moment of "I'm not feeling so bad" when we went to the park to get some fresh air. Unfortunately.. the clouds arrived at the same time.. but they really did set off the red in his hair in that picture, eh?

Second thing on my mind right now is that I think American Idol should just quit while they are ahead and name David Cook the next winner. Even if he doesn't win, I think he's the only one on the show with a true future in pop music. David A. might have a chance, but I'd have to see him when he's in his mid-20's and without the leather pants that he was sporting last night. Jason Castro.. love him.. would listen to him play all night long at a beach party or coffee house.. but we need to snip the dreads. The rest of them? blech.

Here is his performance from last night:

At the time, I liked it.. but I can't say that I LOVED it. I have to agree with a friend though.. I think our sugar levels might have been low or something or we hadn't recovered from watching cowgirl sing because he sounded better on youtube than i thought he did last night. He can rock out with his.... um.. well.. i'm going to stop there.. any Ben Folds fan's out there know where I was going with that one.

Hope yer all well and that you can form a coherant thought. I'm going to bail early and go pick up my beautiful son and give him a HUGE hug.

I snagged this off of a friend's blog...
LogoThere are
people with my name
in the U.S.A.

How many have your name?

Interestingly enough:
# There are 1,415,947 people in the U.S. with the first name Jennifer.
# Statistically the 21st most popular first name.
# More than 99.9 percent of people with the first name Jennifer are female.

While this is an interesting little widget.. I'm not sure I trust the data.. I entered my sister's last name (married name) and it showed that there was no one in the U.S. with that name.. and I happen to have met a dozen or so of them... weird.

I know there are some subjects that can just open a can of worms. That is not my intent. This is just me "thinking out loud". As many of you know -- I consider myself to be a "recovering catholic". I was raised loosely catholic.. I was baptized, went to CCD, had my first communion, reconciliation and I made my confirmation.

There were a number of things that factored into my detachment from the teachings of the catholic church. First.. the gay thing. I just don't see that I'm a bad person.. end of story.. not up for debate. Second.. the church's response to the child molestation charges throughout the country, but primarily here at ground zero in Boston. the fact that the Pope won't visit Boston to meet with these families and the cardinal who was behind protecting all of these priests has a nice cushy job at the Vatican. I also hold issue with the fact that the chuch allocated a MILLION dollars to send a mailing to every resident of Massachusetts of voting age in an effort to mobilize the state to push against the legality of gay marriage here in the Commonwealth. At the same time.. the church was closing parishes left and right to come up with the money to pay their legal settlements with those children, now adults, who had been the center of the abuse scandal. Third.. I learned that it was just a recent decision to allow the children of same-sex couples to be baptized into the religion. That mortifies me. Regardless of your take on the gay "thing".. how dare a church cast out a child because of the so-called sins of the parent.

Regardless.. I don't consider myself to be a Catholic anymore. We're not raising Ben Catholic.. we will introduce him to as many religions as we can and let him make the decision as he grows.. if he chooses. I feel a slight stab when I fill out hospital paperwork for Ben and write in "none" where the name of his religion would go. But I really am not in a place where I know what else to do. He definitely won't be raised in the religion that I was raised in and he definitely won't be raised in the religion that shiela was raised in. That leaves us in a position where we're thinking about things like "does it matter" and "what is right".

I believe that I have a very strong faith in a higher power. I do not believe that our existence is a mere act of chaos theory. I do believe in evolution and the science/fact-based portion of my mind believes in all of the scientific data that backs up Darwin's theories. I just believe that there must be some higher power, i hesitate to say God, that plays a roll.. and I do believe that we all have souls.. and that we're not simply genetic organisms (probably the wrong term for it) that happened to evolve randomly from environmental changes over billions of years. I just believe that i don't know the answer. I get irritated when people try to force me into believing that their "answer" is the correct answer. The only truth is that we don't know the truth. That makes it very hard to know who to pray to.

Why do I want to pray? Well, for comfort.. for hope.. for any number of reasons. I have faith that there is a reason and a benefit to prayer.. it just doesn't fit into the confines of the writings in the bible or any other organized religion that i've found (so far.. i'm open to suggestions.. i hear that the church of scientology is accepting cash from new members).

My friend.. I'll call her "D".. had her baby boy yesterday. After a very difficult pregnancy, he was born prematurely at 28 weeks and 1 day. Thankfully -- he came out crying. He was delivered by emergency c-section and is currently in the same NICU that Ben stayed in during his first week. The big difference is that ben was 35 weeks along and was almost 6 pounds and breathing and feeding and keeping himself warm all by himself. Little baby Brennan is 2.5 pounds and will need a LOT of care over the next few months as he continues to grow and hopefully thrive under the care of the amazing NICU staff and the love of his parents and older sister. I believe the survival rate for "28 weekers" is about a 90% survival rate. That, in itself, is a miracle. But I put more weight of that miracle on the world of the March of Dimes and the advances of medicine that in a higher power.

Regardless of anything.. there is a little life.. a tiny little boy with ten fingers and ten toes who deserves a healthy and long life. I pray that his time in the NICU is spent growing and that he doesn't have any setbacks will the many illnesses that can affect premature babies. I pray that as his original due date approaches, and he is over 3 months old, that he will be perfectly healthy. I pray that he has no long term healthy problems due to his prematurity. I pray for a quick and complete physical and emotional recovery for his mom. I'm not sure who I'm praying to, but I hope that I'm being heard.

For those of you who haven't already donated toward our March for Babies walk for the March of Dimes -- please try to give if you have the means. It's not to support me or my family.. it's to support all of the little guys and girls like baby Brennan.. it's to increase survival rates for preemies, decrease health issues, and decrease premature birth as a whole. This has got to stop!

Day 4 (Sunday).. no real sleep since Wed night. Here's the story:

Thursday -- he had an awesome day at daycare.. played outside ALL day. after i picked him up.. we went to the park and played for a while.. then we picked shiela up and went to get pizza and he had a full piece and a glass of milk and some veggies for dinner and then we started to settle in getting ready for bedtime. we usually watch an episode of thomas, but i was going to lose it if i heard the theme song one more time, so we opted for dora (i know.. how is THAT less annoying?!).. he was resting on shiela's chest and was very lethargic.. he was just laying there watching tv. he doesn't typically do that.. he's always fidgety and will end up getting down to play. he watched the full half hour.. still not feeling warm or anything.. and shiela and i put him down in bed.

about 5 minutes later he realized that he hadn't finished his nighttime routine (no tippy of milk and he wasn't in his jammies) and he got up and was chatting with his doll in the crib. he chatted for about 15 minutes. i got his tippy ready and shiela went in to rock him and let him have his milk and get him changed. as she walked into his room, he was still chatting, but then stopped. she had her back turned to him because she was getting his jammies and a fresh diaper and all that.. when she turned around, he was seizing.

she called me and i launched off the couch almost throwing my laptop and ran into his room grabbing his seizure kit and the cordless phone on my way. by the time i got to his room (our apartment isn't big) i had already called 911 and the ambulance was on its way. the timing on the seizure was tough because we don't know exactly when it started.. but it was about 5-6 minutes. we were just getting ready to give him the rectal anti-seizure med when we heard the squawk of the ambulance outside and opted to wait for the paramedics. they whisked in and whisked us out and into the ambulance in just seconds. ben's seizure broke at about the time the paramedics arrived.. it was a relief that it broke this time on its own. about 2 more minutes of jerking and him not quite being responsive, but by the time we got in the ambulance, he was back with it. i got strapped on the gurney and held him on my lap. they tried to get an IV line going on him once, but opted not to try again since he wasn't showing any signs that he was getting ready to lapse into another seizure. he had pink cheeks and was a bit warmish.

we opted to go straight to children's since his medical history is all in their system and his neurologist is there (and because it's children's). they were wonderful, as always. the one big downfall was that we didn't have his binky. that probably created the worst trouble from that point on. we didn't get a room, they were so busy.. but it was ok because our hallway was pretty quiet. they took his temp in his ear and it was 99.. they did it again because the head nurse didn't believe it.. it was still 99.. so they took it rectally.. it was 99.2. leave it to ME to have a kid that is sensitive enough to have a febrile seizure triggered by his temp "spiking" to 99.. sheesh!

they gave him tylenol and his temp dropped down to normal before we were discharged. they checked his ears out and got a neuro consult and watched him for a bit. we tried out every type of binky that their "comfort cart" had and none of them were right.. the closest was a bright pink one that he'd at least accept SORT OF. he still wasn't happy about it. we got him to fall asleep, which made things much easier.. except usually someone would come and check his ears every time he fell asleep (it was like a huge red flag that he was just 3 weeks post-op).

they discharged us at some point and we headed home. i was blown away by how many sick children were waiting in the waiting room... poor families.. all the kids were so sick and i knew that they were so booked they had patients lining the halls.

at home, when ben saw his crib, he got all happy and the first thing he did was chuck the pink bink and grab his own bink and put it in his mouth and settle right down with his butt in the air and his hands tucked under him. we set our alarm and gave him tylenol/motrin alternating every 3 hours overnight "just in case" and he didn't start running a real fever until this morning around 10am or so on Friday.

Friday: Today ben is sick.. he's been running a temp of around 101 all day even while on the tylenol/motrin alternating combo. his ears are definitely fine.. at the ER last night they double checked them to be sure there wasn't a secondary infection from the surgery and to be sure he didn't have a fresh ear infection. It's all clear. He HAS had a stuffy nose for a little over a week.. so we're thinking that he might have a sinus infection or that it could just be a virus. Our plan is to go through today and tonite and if he's still running a temp while on the tylenol/motrin tomorrow morning, we'll be going in to see his pedi.

today has been rough.. first.. he's sick.. so he feels crappy. second.. he's coming off the seizure.. so he's unsteady on his feet.. so he falls more than normal and since he feels crappy.. this sucks. third.. we're exhausted from watching him like a hawk all day. we were fairly convinced that he was going to have another one at one point this morning as he got very lethargic as his temp was rising during the half hour before his next motrin dose.. same thing happened this afternoon with about the same timing and his eyes got glassy.. so he was definitely getting ready. we're changing from giving him the tylenol and motrin every 3 hours as recommended by our pedi because it's easy to remember to giving him his motrin every 6 hours and giving him tylenol 4 hours after ever motrin dosage so that the tylenol is at it's peak during the time where the motrin is at it's lowest. we'll see if that works better. for the night last night and again tonight, we're setting the alarm so we can keep the med stream going. my hope is that his temp will be normal tomorrow and we can start easing off the motrin/tylenol and hopefully it stays normal. regardless.. it's all scary.

so that's our story. we're waiting to find out when our follow-up will be with his neurologist. the neurologist had a note in the system saying that if he had another seizure he wanted him to be seen again to possibly be put on an anti-seizure med given the atypical aspects of the seizures (i.e. no real warning). so his next available appointment is in june.. so his assistant is doing whatever magic she can do to find a way to double book us in to see him asap. in the meantime, we need to figure out where his fever is coming from since he didn't have it in the hospital last night. my guess is that he'll see his pedi tomorrow morning and will probably end up on a course of the pink stuff.

we're exhausted.. but managed to go out for a ride and picked up the video monitor after talking with sheri.. i rigged it up when we got home and it's WONDERFUL. we're hoping we'll be able to sleep better tonight.

i'm happy to report that both of us switched into super-mom mode when the s*** hit the fan and neither panicked or anything throughout the entire incident. i had a few tears about it earlier and have popped my share of advil to take the edge off my tension headache.. but overall we're doing ok. let's just hope we can get through the remainder of whatever he's got brewing without another seizure.

Saturday: Things were fairly stable on Saturday. I went out for my second round at another MOT sale and snagged a nice bike trailer and an elmo chair that ben AND the cat love. Ben was still a bit unsteady, but was eating and drinking well and his temp was normal (while still on the motrin/advil). We even went to the park for a bit.

Saturday Night: Things took a nose dive. Shiela woke Ben to give him his Motrin at 11pm and he was warm so she took his temp... 101.9 degrees. She gave him his Motrin and took care of him while I was otherwise occupied.

side note: i'm either struggling with my own virus or the evil lizard spit was kicking my bum because I was busy puking while Ben was getting settled back down. I was also up at least 3 to 4 times an hour losing it the other way, if you know what I mean.

Ok.. back to the real story. Ben basically never really fell asleep between 11ish and 2ish. At 2.. his fever was up to just over 102. The motrin wasn't making a dent. We brought him out into the living room and called his pediatrician. i mentioned to shiela that if they said "give him a "tepid" bath" i was going to snap. they basically did.. but didn't used those terms, to it was ok. they had us give him his next tylenol dosage and get him into a warm, but not hot, bath. they clarified that she should not be shivering.. if he started shivering, then turn the temp up a bit and if that didn't shop the shivering, then get him out and dry him off.

So I hopped into the bath with him and we had a grand ol' time playing with his bath toys. he did ok, although it was clear that the temp of the water was cooler than the temp of his skin. the doctor told us to call back at 3:30 if his temp hadn't dropped at least a degree.. given the seizure history, they were going to have us go into the hospital at that point.

We put him to bed (he settled right down after the new dose of tylenol and bath) and set the alarm for 3:30am. His temp dropped almost 2 degrees. We were off the hook for the short term.

This morning.. shiela was a wonderful awesome parent and wife, because she got up and called the pedi when they opened and made an appointment for him and since i was still sleeping after being up much of the rest of the night being sick myself.. she took him in while i crashed. i felt guilty, but at the same time i was so exhausted that i didn't put up a fight.

As of this afternoon (Sunday).. Ben is asleep.. Shiela has a pizza on the way and i'm thinking i may try a bagel for dinner. Ben's temp has been down today, near normalish. We'll see how we do tonight...

Tomorrow.. shiela will be staying home with Ben as I drag my sorry butt to work. We need to check in with his pedi tomorrow to see if we should start trying to slow down on the motrin/tylenol. My guess is that it will depend on how he does tonight and if he runs a temp while on the meds again.

The pedi that he saw this morning took a guess that it might be Roseola , but acqnowledged that it was a guess. He had no symptoms of a bacterial infection.. which leaves us with a virus.. and since his only real symptom was the fever and he hasn't had that yet.. she took a guess. we won't know until after his fever truly breaks and the rash shows up. either way.. we're not out of the woods yet.

both shiela and i have been on high alert and have been barely sleeping for the duration of this given that we know how little it takes to trigger a seizure for him. We had a few close calls on Friday, but since then he hasn't looked like he was ramping up to a seizure.. but who knows since he didn't show warning signs on Thursday.

This video monitor is the best thing we've ever purchased. We can see him clearly night and day and can typically even see him breathing on it.. plus we can hear him. We're both pretty confident that the sound of his breathing when he has a seizure would wake both of us up with the monitor. It's the waiting and not knowing if it will happen again that makes you check the monitor regularly and jump at every squeak.

So that's the news from our end of the world. I'll update as he feels better, which will hopefully be very very soon.

Wait.. what... we're gay? you're friggin kidding!

I got an interesting random message from a reader who commented that he/she was surprised that my blog wasn't more about gay parenting. It struck me as highly interesting and a bit funny and probably says a LOT about who I am and what our family dynamic is.

I don't think of myself as a gay parent. I think of myself as a parent. I don't think of my wife as a gay parent, or as a "second mother".. I think of her as a parent. We're both mom's. We both love Benjamin equally or would be willing to arm wrestle over the issue. We are both legal parents.. but that's really just a formality. We were together in this from the start.. we were both there during conception (along with a very nice doctor with a HUGE mustache).. were both there through the pregnancy.. were both there through the rocky end of the pregnancy and the birth of our little guy. If anything, I think Shiela has had to deal with more stress from the experience of trying to become, becoming, and being a parent because she's had to deal with me too... and i'm a handful. Dealing with a woman duped up on fertility meds comes in neck to neck with dealing with a cranky pregnant woman.. and was one-up'd by caring for an infant and a mother with post partum depression.

We're parents. We forget that we're "gay". We are lucky in that we live in an area of the country where no one gets confused by the fact that we're both his mom and no one does double-takes when they hear us refer to each other as his moms or if they see us out doing crazy things like having dinner together at a family restaurant.

My blog isn't about being a gay parent.. because in all honesty.. there really isn't anything to talk about. The rollercoaster leading up to becoming a parent has some elements in it that obviously relate to us being in a same-sex relationship.. but since conception, the topic doesn't really come up.

If you have any questions about it.. shoot away (but be nice of course).. but it really doesn't make the top twelve things that define our family unit... so I can't guarantee an interesting answer.

As an aside.. all of that doesn't mean that we hide that we're gay or anything like that. we're out and proud man.. we both own leathermans and have a sears bright red toolbox will all of the accessories. we own our own softball mitts and know how to use them.

to quote my friend's kids.. "that's baby's mom".. "that's baby's other mom"..

Edited to add: I do admit that it is a bit ironic given that the title of the blog is "two moms and a baby".. so no comments from the peanut gallery!

Most of my friends are readers. I'm a reader. There is a big difference though. My preference in reading is pure fluff. I read as an escape from my day to day thoughts.. I read to NOT think. While I believe that I'm a fairly bright person.. I can hold my own at a game of dirty-word scrabble.. I typically don't choose to read books that tax me in any way. The same goes for movies.. the more explosions the better and the closer we get to catastrophe with a happy ending that is completely implausible.. the better.

I think that the only person I could join a book club with (it seems to be the current rage with 30-somethings) would be my mom.

Anyway.. Shiela got a shipment of new books from amazon the other day.. she was so excited she left her shoes right on the floor (*gasp*) and dropped her keys in the amazon box only to take hours to find them the next day. I was in Ben's room changing him into his PJs when she came hustling in saying "1500 pages..." in a pitch that was several octaves higher than her fundamental speech frequencies. She was so excited.. her eyes were wide open and bright and she kept saying "fifteen hundred.. i can't wait". I finally managed to pull it out of her that she was talking about War and Peace.

SO.. i took a photo of her latest "finds".. making note to put her in touch with whatacard's local used bookstore.

Then I pulled out the paperbacks that I've been getting ready to read including a new one that I borrowed from my mom when I was in KY.

It's a good thing opposites attract.. *laff* (and yes.. that is a cat foot)

Ok.. so aside from the sob-fest that vaguely reminded me of the old commercials with sally struthers where she put on about 20 lbs between each commercial filming about starving children in Africa.. the Idol Gives Back show had some really cool performances. I was a little put off by the heavy hand of Hannah Montana.. but oh well. The best part of the night?

Ann and Nancy Wilson. It doesn't get much better in my book. I could take or leave Fergie, but I know that they were trying to bridge some generations as most of the kids out there probably had no clue who those women were and why Barracuda is one of THE classic songs of all time.

Nancy Wilson, in particular, has always been a hero of mine. She's an absolutely inCREDIBLE guitarist and rocks out. There are very few well known GOOD female guitarists and while Lita Ford was "fun".. no one compares to Nancy Wilson in my book. Here is a perfect example of why:

seriously.. no one comes close.

You'll probably have to click on the picture below to see it in enough resolution to have any clue what you're looking at.

I've started going for a walk during my lunch hour. I've done it three times in a row now, so I feel I can officially announce that I'm doing it and I haven't quit yet. Basically, I work right near a big "pond" (local water supply) and they have a nicely landscaped path, mostly paved, around the entire pond. I can scoot onto the path from the main road and it's like escaping from it all for about an hour.

I'm doing this for a few reasons.

#1.. it's a healthy thing to do.
#2.. it's a HUGE stress reliever.. especially after 4 hours at work
#3.. it's a healthy thing to do.
#4.. i LOVE water and it calms me.. so I always feel better when I finish.
#5.. it's a healthy thing to do.
#6.. i get to meet a lot of dogs out on their walks.
#7.. it's a healthy thing to do.
#8.. i got to see real boobies yesterday (boy was she EMBARASSED.. serves her right for changing into running clothes at a public park and not in the car or something.
#9.. it's a healthy thing to do.
#10.. it's a HUGE stress reliever.. have I said this before?

Anyway.. I marked up the path that I've been taking on the photo below.. basically a circle around the pond. According to google's calculations, it's 2.65 miles door to door.

As an aside.. I'm getting better at it. The first time it took me an hour. The second and third times it took me about 45 minutes. The first time I got my butt whooped by an old lady with a pug. I kept passing her (in the opposite direction). So she basically did a lap and a half in the time it took me to do a lap. The "good" news was that by the third time I passed her.. she was carrying the dog.. so if nothing else, I know my endurance is better than an 8 year old pug.

Yesterday we brought Ben in for his post-op appointment with his ENT to check on his brand spankin new ear tubes and an appointment with his audiologist to check on his hearing. The last time we had his hearing checked (several months ago).. he was coming in with reading of about 20 dB down (the equivalent of sounds being 4 times quieter than someone with "normal" hearing). On the day of his surgery, his ENT guesstimated that he had probably been functioning with a 30 dB hearing loss given that the fluid in his ear had started to solidify. *gag*

SOoooooooooooooooo.... Ben was a champ and cooperated with the entire hearing test and even heard some sounds that *I* didn't pick up on. They can only get so detailed at this stage in his life.. when he's a bit older he'll have a more comprehensive test to determine his response over various frequencies where he'll wear headphones and will need to be able to communicate with the audiologist.. but at this stage their test is whether or not they hear a sound and turn toward it. He passed with flying colors.

Then we went in to see Dr Gallivan, who was the ENT who put his tubes in a few weeks ago. She checked them out and was very pleased to see that his eardrums have healed well around the tubes and that everything looks nice and clean and open. They also did a pressure test to double-check that the tubes were completely open and that came back fine as well. Ben was a trooper.. he hates things being stuck in his ears, but he has a pretty high tolerance for it given how much he has to deal with over the last year.

We also discussed the neuro issues that he's had (the seizure and the tics). While they can't say difinitively that the ear infections were the root cause (i love neurology.. they can NEVER say anything difinitively..).. the fact that his tics went from occurring 20-30 times per day to maybe once over every few days seems to say a lot. Our ENT agreed. His eye-rolling episodes have stopped it seems, but he still has a shiver that is not quite a shiver that we pick up on every so often. His neurologist does not think that this is pre-seizure activity and his ENT agrees with this and thinks that the cause could actually be a crack in his mastoid cavity due to the chronic severe ear infections. The picture below shows a cross section of the human ear. The spongy-looking bone around the ear canal and middle ear is the Mastoid Cavity.. it's basically bone with lots of air pockets and it separates the brain from the ear cavities. If there is a crack there, then pressure and/or infection could have triggered the problems that he had and this is something that would heal itself now that the middle ear pressure is taken care of. We hope that the tic will resolve itself as well. It's nothing that most people would notice anyway and it doesn't slow him down at all.


All medical jargon aside.. given that they want to be VERY careful about germies getting into ben's middle ear.. we had him fitted for custom molded ear plugs. He doesn't need to wear them in the bath at home, but he should wear them when swimming in public places, especially if it's a lake (which is key since we have a reservoir right down the street from us that we'll be frequenting this summer).

We have a few weeks to "test" the fit of the plugs to be sure that water can't creap in.. so we tried them out last night when he took his bath. Here are some pictures.. How cool is he!

So after a two week hiatus, I'm back on the lizard spit (i.e. Byetta). My endocrinologist suggested we give it a two month shot at a higher dosage and if I don't see any additional results, then we'll give it the boot. My sugar levels are currently well controlled with the oral med that i'm on, but we added Byetta to the mix because studies have shown that it can push along weight loss for PCOSers (that would be me). I didn't noticed any difference aside from feeling like crap for a month.

So I'm two injections into it.. and i'm pretty sure I just injected air yesterday because I forgot about "priming" a new injection pen. I've had a granola bar and i'm feel pretty rank.. the main function of this stuff is to slow your system down so food doesn't empty out of your stomach as quickly as it normally would. well.. as a result.. that granola bar I ate a half hour ago is sitting there churning.

*cross fingers*.. hope this will help! otherwise i apologize to all of those i get cranky around because my stomach is feeling blech.

Yesterday Ben and I took extended morning naps.. and while we were sleeping Shiela started some painting for his room. When he woke up he was pretty much a bear for a good chunk of the day until we got some Motrin into him (Teething Hell.. totally different topic).. then he wanted to paint too. So paint he did.

Edited 4/9: Pictures finally added!

Edited (4/10) to add: Yes.. Ben is wearing a t-shirt that says "Phat Boyz" on the front. I intentionally purchased two oversized t-shirts for like $0.50 each at the mother of twins sale for "art time".. so I wasn't very picky about what was on the front of them.

It's 7:30am. I've already showered, gotten dressed, gotten ben's lunch together for school... and I'm watching the news ON TV. I typically "watch" my news online because I'm NEVER up early enough to sit on the couch and turn the TV on unless it's to put Thomas the Tank Engine on to keep Ben's head from popping off while i'm getting ready in the morning.

The typical morning routine involves me snoozing my alarm long enough for Ben to wake up.. then the struggle to either take a shower while Ben is still playing in his crib or throwing him in his pack n play in front of the TV while I shower and dress. At some point he starts screaming because I'm not paying close enough attention to him. I then release him from "jail" and he trucks around with every intent of either getting into the kitty litter, splashing in the cat's water or the toilet water, yelling at me "nah!" when I'm in the kitchen where he can't see me while I'm throwing random items into his bag hoping that he'll eat some of it that day at school.

He's still snoozing right now.. the cat is sitting in the window watching the cars go by. I'm uploading photos from our evening of finger-painting last night. I've had a granola bar with some peanut butter on it and almost tried a fruit strip of ben's until I saw that it had 8 carbs and was the size of a stick of gum. Not cool for a diabetic.. i'd rather save those 8 carbs for some ice cream later..

I feel good this morning.. I hope work doesn't bust my mood.

So it's no secret that I have well um... i guess you could call it "social anxiety" issues. As a kid it was easy to say "oh.. she's shy". But as an adult who still makes her spouse call for pizza because she's afraid of picking up the phone 98% of the time.. it's harder to brush it aside as something that's nothing.. if that makes sense.

it's also no secret that I experience one humdinger of a case of post-partum depression. I could create an entire blog just about that.. and I tend not to delve into it much anymore because I've honestly made such serious gains emotionally over the last year that I got a new start at life.

This morning I went to something called the MOTS (Mother of Twins Sale). Basically it's a semi-annual gathering where somewhere between 60-75 (75 this year) mothers of twins gather items that they'd like to sell and the group rents space in a local high school that's open to members of the MOT group and also to the public. It's like a garage sale gone wild.. I managed to fill a black trash bag with a few dozen clothing items and about a dozen new toys for ben and I spent just about $50.. can't complain at all about that!

A friend of mine, Barb Luciano, came over to my house this morning to pick me up and we drove over together. When we arrived.. we saw our good friend, Sally (a MOT) and another friend of mine, Snickollet (another MOT).. they were both "working the show". We hit the sale like two women on a mission.. we each had a "plan of attack"... mine was to hit the big items and then the toys and then the books/dvds and then brave the crowd around the Boys 2T-3T clothing table. Along the way, I snagged a big bag of baby boy socks for a friend of mine who is on bedrest.

When I reached the point where I couldn't lift my bag anymore.. I decided to check out and drop my loot in the car and then go back in for one final sweep while Barb was finishing up. I went through Snickollet's line and we joked around and made plans for another Mariachi night.. yay!

As I was walking to my car.. I realized that last year's April MOTS was the first one that I had attended. It was also the first major outing that I had following my go-round with PPD (Post-Partum Dep.). I was just released from the partial psychiatric day program a few weeks earlier.. and had immediately gone back to work. The thought of being in a room filled with so many people, let alone visiting with people that I've been friends with for years.. was enough to really push me to my limit. I remember taking an extra anti-anxiety pill with me "just in case" and I made back-up plans with a few of my friends if I needed to "escape". We practically had code words and stuff in place. My friends were incredibly supportive and they all "got it" and really held me up. Getting to and through the simple "yard sale" was something that was like climbing Mount Everest for someone who had been through the wringer like I had been. I remember how proud I felt of myself. I remember how touch-and-go it was at times. I remember not having a "plan of attack".. my only plan was to go in and walk around.. if I saw something that I wanted to get for Ben, I had cash.. but I had no "list" and nothing that i "needed". I ended up spending about $20 and got a few clothes items and rattles. I remember having to take a step back a few time and practice my breathing exercises to keep a potential panic attack at bay. I remember the relief of walking out of the school with my friends and how it felt so good to be outside and not closed in with all of those people and all of the noise. I remember watching my friends talk and compare their "finds" and I believe that I took part in the conversation a little bit. I remember going home and being SO exhausted from the effort that the event took.

It's only been a year. Sometimes I think that I haven't made much progress with the social fears.. but then I note that I caught up with three people that I consider to be true friends today.. and then made small talk with a number of strangers that were at the sale.. and still managed to come home and get Shiela and the baby and head out to Barb and Paul's house for a little visit/playdate.

Am I tired now.. well of course. Sipping a mudslide "float" doesn't hurt.. *laff*

Do I still have panic attacks when I'm in public places... well yes. Can I usually stop them mid-stream before I get to feeling really badly.. yes. Do I find it humorous sometimes when all of the hairs on my arms stand up randomly while walking through Target doing some shopping? hell yeah. It's so dumb.. but recognizing that I have a touch of agoraphobia and learning to continue living my life and to seriously find my social life not only existing.. but being something that I enjoy.. it's huge.

Ok.. I've rambled enough now. I'm uploading pics to flickr now so I will have some really funny pics of Ben and his buddy Anna posted by tomorrow...

Ok.. it's time for my annual plea for donations to support our family's walk for the March of Dimes. This year it is called "March for Babies" instead of "Walk America" -- but it is the same event as what we participated in last year when Benjamin was 4 months old.

Here is a picture from that day:

Here is a picture of Ben just hours after he was born:

Looking over even a few recent posts on this blog will show you how far we've come in 15 months. Ben is walking, he understands spanish and english, he is able to use sign language, he can throw hot wheels cars at the cats (and hit his mark!).. he's a typical and healthy 15 month old (don't read too much of my blog though.. because you'll hear about a few of his health blips.. but to date, they have been minor and are hopefully completely under control.. *cross fingers*)

Disclaimer: The following video is touching and pretty much sums up all of the thoughts and fears that a family who deals with a premature birth encounters.. but it IS difficult to watch.

The two following video clips are public service announcements from the March of Dimes and are funny.

For those of you who are unaware of this, the March of Dimes originated as a foundation supporting the search for Polio vaccine. Ben's grandmother, or Jaaym - as we call her, had polio as a child and received first-hand the benefits of donations made to the March of Dimes. Here is a clip that shows a bit of history.

Again.. Please support us in our walk on April 27, 2008. We were lucky.. our son was born healthy and our family is blessed. So many families have to deal with so much more treatment and in too many cases, loss. We raised close to $1,000 last year and I hope to double that this year.

Click Here to Donate

Last night we went out with a friend and her twins to "Mariachi Night" at our local family-run Mexican restaurant.. we had a blast. The kids all loved the band.. especially Maddie, who clapped and asked for more music after each song. Benjamin refused to eat his dinner, but was ok with snagging Riley's avacado slice and some of his leftover cheese quesadilla. Luckily Riley was more interested in eating tortilla chips and eventually putting the basket on his head. Maddie was the little princess.. daintily dipping her tortilla chips into the salsa.. that kid can certainly pack away the salsa.. and I don't think she got a drop on her. Riley managed to pour a half of a bowl of salsa on his lap, but that was relatively well timed as I was just walking by him to go "borrow" a diaper from the twin's supply because Benjamin figured that it was an appropriate time to fill his pants.

In the end.. I think we all managed to eat our dinner (except for Ben) and as the clock struck 6:45pm.. it was enjoyable to watch all three kids lose their minds at the same time. Actually.. the gradual decline of Maddie and Riley was only really visable to their mom.. they hadn't started screaming or throwing things... unlike our little redheaded ball of fury. Seconds after the twins left (with mom, of course).. Ben and I headed out to the parking lot to offer some relief to the other patrons. Shiela stuck around to wait for our payment to go through and we headed home.

It was a great evening. It's so nice being out with someone with kids that are the same age as Ben.. especially when going to a restaurant that was filled with other kids that are all just like Ben. It seemed that everyone got a chance to pick up a toy that was chucked from another family's child across the aisle and smile politely while handing it back just to have their own child chuck something toward another family. Some may call it chaos.. we call it a relaxing Mariachi night!

Ben and I traveled to Kentucky for the first time ever (for both of us). The best part? We got to see Grandma and Grandpa...

We also got to explore their brand new house. They just closed on it last week and had all of their furniture from CT dropped off later in the week with us arriving on Saturday. Just about everything that we didn't need was still in boxes, so we didn't need to worry about Ben getting into things that he shouldn't. Grandpa did go out and purchase 30 electrical outlet covers to protect Ben from getting zapped in the main rooms. We closed off the bedroom, bathroom, etc, etc, doors so that he was left with being able to circle around from the great room down the hall to the dining room and through the kitchen and breakfast nook back into the great room. If he only knew that there was about 2000 more square feet of space available not counting the basement.. we would have been in trouble.. if he could open doors that is.

He explored...

We made ourselves at home...

The thing that surprised me the most was that even though 177 Blossom Circle in Kentucky is about as different from 221 North Street in Connecticut as it gets (aside from the horse pasture thing..).. being "home" didn't feel any different. It was all new, but it still felt like coming home. That makes me happy.

Once a goofball...

Always a goofball...

I have to say that while being a parent has got to be the most exhausting and sometimes exasperating experiences known to man (and we're just on month #15).. it's a friggin blast. We often comment on how wonderful it must be to "have a new brain".. everything is new to Ben.. at least the first time around. I can say that changing his clothes and diapers is NOT something new.. and he KNOWS that he needs to stay still. Obviously, we're still working on this...

This might be one of the most beautiful pictures that I've ever seen..

This is Ben with his main daycare provider, Ruth. I won't give you the whole saga surrounding our search for daycare, but it all boils down to the planets being in alignment or there being a higher power or just dumb luck or something.. because we managed to find a care giver who I trust with my son's life. Truly trust.. there isn't an ounce of my being that sits and worries about him during the day while he is in her care. She, and her crew, proved themselves when Ben had his seizure and she surprises me daily by how serious her commitment is to our family and to all of the families at the daycare. We are truly part of her family.

Thank you, Ruth.