Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sweet Meese Moments

Mary Louise has had yet another rough recovery. She had some clear "snotties" that just wouldn't stop, then all but disappeared only to leave a really awful and nagging cough behind. I listened to her chest and didn't hear anything really obvious - but opted for a safe second opinion to be sure.

Brent took her to the NP yesterday. Her chest is still clear and she confirmed that we were employing the correct medication schedule and just needed to keep it up until her sinuses dried. She's doing quite a bit better today it seems.

Her appetite still isn't much and she and David have both had some transient nausea (I suspect their post nasal drips are the ultimate issue and hope that clears very soon - these kids can't really afford to go another day without eating).

Last night she was fussing. I went in to talk to her. David was fast asleep. I told her I'd lie with her a bit and would then only be a few feet away with Everett. She asked, "Mommy? Will you sing me a wittle song?" She snuggled in to the crux of my arm and shoulder and closed her eyes. I could smell her hair and hear her breathing. She moved her ear over my chest. I sang quietly:

You are my Sunshine
Jesus Loves Me
If I were a Butterfly

I realized I was rather mindlessly going through the songs I'd learned with my grandmother and at school so long ago. Mary Louise smiled in her sleep. I started again:

One Man Went to Mow the Meadow

I have no idea what the name of that song really is - but my mom taught it to me for the long hours of rocking and coaxing to sleep (after having kids). I used to sing it to Mary Louise and David almost every night. David stirred when he heard it and put his head on the other side of my chest.

It was heavenly. Inhaling the smell of their little heads - I can still catch just a hint of my sweet tiny babies there.

I crept back to bed only to have Mary Louise wake again a little later. Brent went in this time as Everett was nursing. He unlatched and rolled a little. I looked at his profile in the moonlight showing through the window. There he was - just for the tiniest instant. Kuylen. His lines were there. Everett turned and Kuylen disappeared again. But I know he's always here with us in some way.

My dad died 5 years ago on October 20th. We were in the throws of puke-fest 2012 so I didn't write anything - but thought tons. 5 years ago- our family is physically not the picture he left behind - always changing and growing. I remember bits and pieces of that day - most notably, my mother's voice on the phone trying to ask us to please come. I remember the last face to face conversation I had with my dad - his serious face, his hurt and disappointment over a situation he could neither fix nor control - his dry humor. I remember watching his shoulders relax each summer as we crossed into the city limits of St. Augustine - that tiny smile that would spread across his lips when he first set foot on the warm sand. He would put on his classic Ray Ban sunglasses, swim suit and literally not move for hours as he sat under an umbrella with a book (but I'm pretty sure the book was just a poser - the snoring usually gave him away). He was at peace there and I suspect he is now as well. It's amazing to me how much I am still learning from him...

This morning Mary Louise sat next to me on the sofa playing with Everett's feet while he nursed. He looked up at her with a milky grin. She said, "Momma? My would yike to keep dis baby." She was very matter of fact and rather serious.

I asked, "are you talking about Everett, Mary Louise?"

She nodded with an excited smile.

Me: "Well, that's good Mary Louise because I would like to keep him too. Why don't we let him stay awhile."

She nodded again. "I would yike to be a mommie I fink."

Me: "You are a great Mommy helper right now Mary Louise! Just like a little Mommy to Everett. Do you like being a big sister?"

ML: "I am a Mommy Big Sister for Everett. One day I will dus be a Mommy."

Me: "Maybe so baby girl. Maybe so. Thank you for always helping me."

ML: "You welcome Mommy."

and with that, she went back to watching Sesame Street.


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Our Day's accomplishments by Everett and David:

Most of us are feeling better - Mary Louise is trailing behind as is her typical - she developed a cough today. Breathing treatments are helping as much as they can and I'm hoping we can make it through this without another pedi visit complete with antibiotics (and possibly another illness - now I'm really gun shy). 

Everett has been grabbing at our plates and glasses for awhile now and after some thought, Brent and I set him up this afternoon with a mashed avocado on his high chair tray. He thought it was just about the most fantastic invitation. Ever. 

We've opted to employ the old "food before one is just for fun" mantra and let Everett just play and explore however he likes...novel idea I know (kidding). He smushed the green around awhile...

before finally getting a little taste of the goods:

and thought they were, well, ok:
Possibly even yummy!

He seemed to love the experience - which means we'll try it again soon. 

(We're not starting baby food and have chosen to skip cereal - but the occasional soft / mashed fruit or veggie is a fun treat!)


David did something fantastically amazing today!!:

(he usually does this little wiggly celebration when he accomplishes something like that - but the camera in his face threw him off his game! - my shy boy)

He's been able to count to 20 pretty well for awhile now - but he's a little inconsistent. This was different because he's learning to identify the numbers. We've been working with this puzzle for a few minutes every day to every other day (he doesn't really enjoy puzzles or drawing sheets or the like so I have to catch him in the right mood - so most of the time, we count items - without the actual numbers nearby). Anyhow, he got it today! Way to go David!! So proud of you!! You can do anything!


Monday, October 22, 2012

All Systems GO!

We have a virus. I think "plague" would aptly describe it. I'll start on Thursday - because I'm pretty sure that's when we met our unwanted house guest:

Everett's 6 month check up:
He's 16 pounds 15 ounces
26 inches long
head is 44cm in circumference
He had 2 injections and his last rotovirus (oral) vaccine

The visit went as well as it could have with the "big kids" in tow - but they took off running into the parking lot afterward and I honestly thought I was going to have a panic attack over it...but I didn't - just cried and fussed a little (like a baby). Believe it or not, they've never gone that far before...

We came home, went to bed a while later and had a pretty good Friday. Brent was coming home from an overnight business trip and we spent time on the patio and in the garden - weeding, trimming and planting. Mary Louise and David were great helpers! We even had plans to paint our big pumpkins after cleaning up the gardening tools and supplies. But I was exhausted and Brent got home and it was nearing bed time so we put it off. The pumpkins are still sitting there waiting for their little Picasso's.

Friday night, I plopped on the sofa - felt really tired but otherwise, fine. Brent and I decided to have a take out meal and little home date night. Fast forward a couple of hours when I stood to go to bed and felt the first official wave of nausea.

Never before have I prayed and begged that I had food poisoning over something contagious.

Within an hour or 2, we found out it was no food poisoning - Mary Louise and David both woke in a mess of a bed and the nightmare went on from there.

We have done 16 loads of laundry - 2 diaper loads and 2 clothing loads - the rest linens, towels, puked on odds and ends.

My chest and back are really sore from being sick so many times and I have lost 9 pounds to date (which good golly I'd be super proud of if it had happened via awesome work out schedule - and was maintainable) - but today held down a cup of chicken broth and some plain roasted potatoes as well as 5 liters of clear liquids - so I'm coming around.

Brent held out for his turn until yesterday - which means he's pretty miserable today.

David and Mary Louise seem to be doing well as far as the nausea, but in the meantime have developed runny noses and coughs (because really now, nothing skips us). Breathing treatments have been started to try to keep the congestion in their sinuses. They are both doing well with drinking and better with eating - the amount of food isn't much - but it's better every day so I'll take what I can get.

Everett is amazing. He threw up 3 times the first night and had 3 really ugly diapers - but never lost his sweet smile. I am thankful that he has happily nursed the whole time and is about 10 times better in health than the rest of us for it.

Brent was certainly our hero on Friday night - coming back from working hard to work harder in what can only be described as a scene from a horror movie. I can't count how many times I heard, "please! try to make it in the bucket this time!" haha - poor thing - knowing the whole time the cards were seriously stacked against him to stay healthy for more than 48 hours to come. He was amazing though - and slept only 1.5 hours that night - total. David scared the tar out of Brent as he is a very restless - but very hard sleeper. He would literally vomit in his sleep - while lying on his back. So, each time Brent would have to jump out of bed, sit David up and coax him out of sleep over a bucket. David would get startled, yell (and cough) about not wanting to "fo-up!" and fall to sleep again only to get sick just a little while later. Meanwhile, poor Mary Louise would wake every half hour - as would I. Brent was a very busy man that night.

I was completely out of commission on Saturday and just tried to focus on drinking whatever I could keep down. By the end of the day, I was marginally better - no food - but keeping down fluids. Sunday was better still but Brent started feeling bad. I took my turn at trying to care for all of us but by Sunday night, I was sick again...

And that brings us to today. We had to sadly stay home from music class and I've cancelled David's teacher session for tomorrow. We'll see about Wednesday's activities - but things don't look too good for attendance there either. Hoping to really be up and running soon - but at this point, I'd settle for the kids to just be up and eating! Yowza - this really hit us!


Friday, October 19, 2012

Weekend Getaway

We took off at the end of last week to Mere and Pops' house. I treated it like a little vacation - left the blogging alone for a bit - and just enjoyed family time.

David has been having horrible night terrors for awhile now. Brent typically sleeps in Mary Louise and David's room at some point during every night so that I can tend to Everett's night nursing. In short, we're tired - and hoping David can get some good rest soon.

Mary Louise is as feisty and sassy as ever. She is doing well with potty training - and I dare say - she is completely done with diapers during the day. She wakes dry probably around 60% of the time and occasionally gets up during the night for a bathroom trip - but is by no means consistent - and I'm not inclined to set an alarm to get her up at this point. This evening, she didn't want the avocado she asked for - so she just dumped it on a throw rug and proceeded to walk on it. I calmly told her she was done with dinner and put her in the bath tub. After she calmed, we talked about the incident and she said she understood that it "was not nice" to smash food (or drop food for that matter) on the floor. She chose something else to eat and went to bed enlightened and happy (I hope).

This morning was rough. We had our music and movement class. Mary Louise and David are both getting very comfortable with the setting and therefore taking over the room immediately upon arriving. Couple that with a grumpy David and it's just no good waiting to happen. He tackled Mary Louise during one exercise and dragged her down by her shirt during another. Then stole a little girl's book when she had her head turned and yelled, "dis is MINE!!" while waiving it in the air. After I talked to him, and he agreed to "bein' have", he turned and took his shoe off and started beating Mary Louise in the head with it. (at least it was a Croc and therefore made of foam...)

Anyhow, life was exciting - in an embarrassing and exhausting sort of way. Thanks for keepin' Mom humble kids...but I didn't think for a second I had "it all" figured out so I'm pretty sure the little reminder was unnecessary.

Believe it or not, Everett falls asleep - or tries to - during every class! (I keep him with me in my Ergo carrier).

We had a wonderful weekend in MS (even though it now takes us just over 6 hours to drive a distance that used to take 4). Mary Louise and David played and played - and played on the back porch and in the yard.

They've both become pretty proficient at kicking a ball around.

We got to see a few family friends.

We walked downtown for a bit as "Cruisin' the Coast" was happening. The classic cars were beautiful. The LeBlanc kid personalities were not. We left and went to lunch at a local dive.

*****Mary Louise and David FINALLY eat decent meals most of the time. (can I get an AMEN for that?)

Here's to great visits with family (and a little time away from most of technology).

Favorite moments:

David at lunch - suddenly announces, "I'm getting a yittle bit tired guys!" (and he was - he subsequently dosed a bit while trying to chew!)

Mary Louise not only overcame her fear of horses - but actually rode Pops' horse a bit!

Watching Mary Louise and David explore with magnifying glasses - they were so excited to tell me about the leaves, the flowers, the anything they saw - just a little bit closer.

Watching David play with his dad's old toys. LOVE.

Seeing Mary Louise dance in the grass - with wings...

Seeing David proudly wear his little cowboy hat and swagger out to help Pops with his horse "Wi-wee" (Wiley).

Everett was introduced to Wiley as well - amazing to watch his wheels turn:


Saturday, October 6, 2012


*******Brent: Everett my peanut butter! I love you!!
ML: Daddy! Everett not a peanut butter! He's a baby!
Brent: He's my peanut butter! My little peanut butter man!
ML: Daddy! He's my baby! He's not a sandwich! He's an Everett Daddy! You stop!
(and that is our Meese-y pie these days - full throttle with the preschooler sass and smarts!)

We attended the (sort of ) annual NICU reunion today. It was, in a word, surreal. Honestly, our family has been through ridiculous heart ache, stress, and triumph behind the walls of that hospital and here we were, celebrating with the very medical staff that made our children possible. Amazing.

Everett was asleep when we got there and Mary Louise and David were a little out of sorts with all of the activity going on...

But they quickly got over their qualms (and Everett woke up with a smile) and participated in sliding, throwing, popcorn eating and socializing.

(yes, I did)

We had a good time - and even made the 6pm news with an all too awkward interview about "life in the NICU and beyond". Thankfully, my reaction to a (stupid) question was cut: How was it being in the NICU? Me: horrible. I was honest - but I'm pretty sure the guy was expecting the "roller coaster" analogy. (for the record, I was up for a number of hours last night with E and Brent was up with Mary Louise and David. The fact that we had pants on was a good thing this morning.

We also showed at our neighbor's birthday party this afternoon. We were pushing things as far as the baby sense of humor goes...but it was great fun while we could enjoy it. Classic birthdays are the best. Though we only lasted just over an hour before seeing total LeBlanc meltdown on the horizon, the kids were able to partake in a few games and cake.

One of my most favorite photos - ever:

Intent on listening to the rules of a game:

Precious birthday boys:


We spent the remainder of the evening drawing on the patio and having an uber fun bath with bubbles and roll on know, between the inevitable tantrums that just come with a day of (too much) fun.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Rainy Weekend at Home

We so look forward to our weekends here. In our history (mine and Brent's) we have shared our weekends in many ways - mostly work, lots of extended family time prior to children - but now, we tend to hoard our weekend time and enjoy it together. Quiet time at home, cooking, coloring, simple as it sounds (possibly boring), I absolutely love it - and always ALWAYS want more in my greedy way.

It rained this weekend though - and Brent returned home from a meeting in the evening on Friday which stole a number of hours we'd usually have to catch up on our week. So on Saturday, we were all a little out of sorts and tired in addition to the rainy weather. Everett's teething is driving my poor boy up the wall. He actually chases things to chew - pouncing on his own hands even in his sleep.

With no teeth in sight just yet, I needed to find some relief other than teething tablets, frozen wash cloths and comfort nursing. Enter amber necklace:

(comes complete with a happ(ier) baby)

that also sleeps soundly:

I kid you not - it helps - and fast!
********(feel free to google the medicinal properties of amber)

On Sunday, we played hookey from church (forgive me, the idea of heading out in torrential rain to wrangle kids for an hour just wasn't giving me the get up and go I needed) and instead spent the day doing some hands on family cooking.

We made crackers as a snack - super easy, very good and a whole lot cheaper than $4 a box! Also, the dough is dairy / egg free so safe to eat and doesn't stick to things like Play Doh. (winner winner)

For dinner, I made a batch of pizza dough and let ML and D make their own pizzas. They had so much fun - not just deciding what to eat, but how to eat it. They actually ate ALL they made!

Their toppings of choice are worth mentioning by they way:
David: sauce, seasoned ground sirloin, fresh tomatoes and provolone cheese. David usually eats one to two small tomatoes a day.
ML: sauce and mushrooms. Yes. (no cheese) Mary Louise currently eats about 2 pounds of mushrooms per week - typically sauteed with garlic or cooked into a soup or stew - she hates cheese and any visible butter.

They had a great time cooking and playing with the different dough. People, I have finally found a groove with age 3 (I think...heck it only took me 6 months for goodness sake). Attention spans have lengthened and interests are evolving. I love it. (and happy Momma = happy kids right?)

We went to a Montessori style Music and Movement class (very) early this morning.

Perhaps the most beautiful thing happening right now between Mary Louise and David is their budding personality differences. Ok - they aren't budding - they've been there since they barely had arm buds on the first ultrasounds - but they are becoming more and more defined and I'm having a grand time working with them and offering tools to help them grow in comfort and navigate their own skins. (realizing the previous sentence breaks all sorts of grammar rules...)

The class was so much fun! Mary Louise immediately took to it all - introducing herself loudly and even hugging the teacher at the end. We sang, we danced, we moved. I sat with them and had Everett in his carrier - he slept...through the whole thing. Mary Louise almost didn't even need me there. Each time the teacher would start a new song, she would barely wait for note number 2 before trying to join! She spent much of the time standing in the middle of the circle with one other little girl participating to the max!

David hung back with me. He would look to me for encouragement and reassurance and once or twice whispered, "I can do anything" while smiling. He loved the props the teacher used - a sheer scarf and some shakers. Though he didn't take part verbally very often, he did dance and clap in a very subdues manner. I never know how much he takes in until later: on the way home, that sweet boy didn't stop talking once and told me about the entire class - every song, every move, every clap - and asked to do it again "uh mor doh" (tomorrow).

The atmosphere of the class is beyond relaxed and is somehow appropriate for ages 18 months through 4 years of age. Pretty amazing (if you ask me) to accommodate that age range all in the same classroom.

Back to the weekend:

We played dress up (again):

and jumped on Halloween mats:

and kicked a ball:

(David loves his ball):

and Everett worked on his tripod sitting:

but didn't really appreciate encouragement:

We had a bit of fun with blocks (and apparently lost some clothing between here and there):

and there was much stomping in puddles when the rain finally took a short break:

(yes, we march down the road scantily clad as well)

and in the end, more water was in their boots than in the puddles

before going in for the night, we checked on our urban crops:



bell peppers:


Believe it or not, we've been on a project and activity run as of late - today we also trekked to the teacher supply store and, among other things, got some window markers:

After getting over their shock that I was asking them to actually draw ON the house, I think they had a pretty good time.