Thursday, June 27, 2013

True Stories Thursday

David: Mom! I don't know how to read these letters to make them fit this puzzle!
Me: Well, let's sound them out and find the matches. What is this letter?
David: Umm, uhhh, Duh, Duh, Duh...a Gee!
Me: Think about it David. "G" makes a "guh" sound and "D" makes a "duh" sound. You had it right the first time.

He puts it in the right spot. I cheer and clap. We do a "high five".

Me: Let's do another letter.
D: ok! I want to find the one that goes with the Guh Guh Guh...Grapes!
Me: Ok, well, we're looking for the letter "G" then. It makes the sound "guh" as in grapes. Do you see it?
D: ...
Me: here it is! (I put in in the slot)
D: VERY GOOD MOMMY!!! Good job!! You did great matching the letter and the picture!! (puts his hand up for a high five with a HUGE grin on his face)

Mary Louise: (whining)
Brent: Mary Louise. I just asked that you eat what you asked to have. Eat what's on your plate before asking for something else.
ML: But I don't want this! I want something else!
B: Then you shouldn't have asked for that. Just try it. Then you can have something else.
ML: (whining)
B: If you keep behaving that way, we can't go anywhere today. No one likes to be around whining.
ML: Something ELSE! (stomps her feet and balls her fists) you stop being mean Daddy!
B: Mean? I'm not the one whining and not eating. Maybe you should call Mere and Pops like you wanted to and tell them I'm being mean. Maybe they can help you.
ML: Mere and Pops don't like me! I can't call them.
B: What are you talking about? Mere and Pops adore you.
ML: I'm talking about Mere and Pops don't like me when I'm whining. I can't call them right now.

Me: Mary Louise what is wrong?
ML: I feel angry!!! I have my angry face ONNNNN!!!
Me: Well, what can I do to help you find your happy face again? I miss my happy Meesey-pie.
ML: I don't know where to find my happy face Mommy! It's around on my body somewhere...but I can't find it right now.

I love that they can tell me how they feel.

The big kids have fully embraced teaching Everett all they know. Furthermore, Everett has fully embraced the role of "student". It has empowered Mary Louise and David who I've heard, on more than one occasion, speaking softly but sternly to Everett about table etiquette, toy room manners and navigation of the house in general. They demonstrate, he watches and listens, he tries it, they offer constructive advice. It's amazing. The added pressure and responsibility of having a constant audience sponging in all they do has tailored their behavior in such a positive way. My hope is that they look back on these years with all of the fondness - maybe more - that I have for my baby bros.

Mary Louise and David are constantly asking about boundaries as well: Mom? Is this ok? Can we...? Are we...? Will we...? Is this how you say...?  They are spending less time pushing boundaries and more time understanding why they are there in the first place.

And finally:


Everett has been taking steps for quite some time - months in fact. However, he typically does so when he's set up - I place him standing, Brent sits with arms open waiting, Everett giggles the few steps in between us and so on.

Last night, Brent walked in and Everett suddenly got down from me on the sofa and crossed 2 rooms to get to his daddy! We were all so proud - possible none so much as Everett himself. He's continued his efforts today. He'll fall and instead of reverting to a crawl, he stands and tries again.

Growing babies, greatest blessings.


Monday, June 24, 2013

Back to it...

Happy Monday.

Within 72 hours of completing summer camp (which was absolutely wonderful), the entire family has snot noses. I really should have just made pedi appointments for this week way back in January when I signed the big kids up for camp. But, I wanted to be hopeful...and I still am as we're not THAT bad right now- in a snotty, "darnit, I don't have time for this" sort of way.

Hanging in there...

It occurred to me this morning that I'd never shared the kids' birthday party here. I'm somehow sure it doesn't need to be discussed or even mentioned, but I did not have the easiest of Springs. The luxury of mourning beat on my emotional door and I chose to let it in a bit...sigh on this.

We gave the kids gifts on their actual birthdays:

bikes for Mary Louise and David as well as "professional what I want to be" outfits:

"Docca Meese"

"on call":

her first patient:

Fire Fighter David:

and Everett got a "tent city":

From 14 ounces and 10.75 inches in length to a big boy bicycle and fire fighting dreams...from 1 pound 6 ounces and 12 inches in length to a big girl bicycle and healing the sick dreams...from having 7 minutes to live to happily exploring houses just his size...Bicycles, dress up and tent might have been their birthdays, but the enormity of the gifts I've been entrusted to love and protect has not, for one second escaped me...

A few weeks later, we celebrated with friends and family at home - a big LeBlanc kid birthday bash!
Cake table: fireman cupcakes with green icing per David's request; ballerina cupcakes with pink icing per ML's request and a fruit salad with watermelon - our traditional first birthday celebratory food!

Party favors:

Mary Louise and David really loved helping to make everything!

I made clothesline garlands with pictures of the kids.

We had a ton of balloons. I made play-doh and put chalk and bubbles outside. We borrowed a small space walk from a friend. I bedazzled the mess out of some party hats - then totally forgot to force people to wear use them.

It was fun - a wonderful celebration. I still can't quite comprehend how we all of a sudden have 2 4 year olds and a 1 year old at home...

No matter how much time passes, I still have moments of such intense gratitude...for these precious moments we've been given...


Thursday, June 20, 2013

True Stories Thursday

I think we need a day to stop, sit back, and take in all that happens around here. The ironies, the funnies, the sads, the happies. All of it. Realizing that's pretty much the whole blog...I still think we should have a "thing" here to recognize those moments that aren't super mega spectacular in the world news sort of scale - but things I'd want to remember and laugh about later. A celebration of these early years that are a blur now, even as I'm in their midst. I know they are going by way to fast and I'm holding on - hoping some of it stays with me so I can savor the smell and marvel at the fading blooms a little longer...

We came home from the last day of "school" today to find quite the surprise. A man was here working on our windows. Lizzie, our 11 year old Weimaraner, had broken out of her kennel (she's been kennel trained since I was given her at age 4 months and often "puts herself to bed" when we stay up later than what pleases her.). She was running around the house wide eyed and exhausted. She had been quite busy. One would *think* she might have been busy barking at windows with strange men peering in them. No no. In all of her geriatric glory, she broke open a new box of her "Mix ins" food packets. She didn't actually eat any of the food - she is a notoriously picky eater which is why we have those funky things at all. She just broke open the box, shredded the card board and spread the packets around. Fair enough, easy clean up. However, she wasn't quite done with her attempt at stress eating. She broke into a 5 pound bag of organic garbanzo beans sitting on the counter. We eat a ton of hummus - enough to justify ordering garbanzos in bulk from the co-op. Apparently, Lizzie would like in on that action? It looked as if she'd had fun at any rate. After letting her out, she promptly went back into her kennel blankets for a rest. I'm pretty sure busy girl's eyes closed before her rump hit the bed. At least David is very into helping me clean right now.

For the last day of camp, Mary Louise and David got to release butterflies! It was really beautiful and the kids were very respectful of the delicate insects. I love watching them learn. Their enthusiasm is contagious!

To quote their teacher's Facebook status:
You know you've been a good teacher, when on the last day, your kids respond like this:

"Would you come see me, please?" 
"But we can see you from here, would you rather us come walk to you?"

"Mrs. Dru, my vertebrae scratches (itches), would you help me?"

We all had a wonderful time participating over the past 2 weeks. The big kids learned all sorts of wonderful things about the world around them in the company of great friends. Their teacher got to follow a great calling and share her beautiful gift with us. I got a little running time each morning - about 2 hours to be exact. I am hooked again. Monday, I got 7 miles done. Tuesday, I did 7.6 miles in the morning and dragged on to the gym in the afternoon - putting 1 more mile in as well as lots of stretching and abdominal work. I feel wonderful and am hoping I can continue at least some of what I've been working on.

I've learned loads about Mary Louise and David throughout their class time as well. We are staying at home next year. This process (camp) has helped me view their learning from an outsider's perspective. I am excited (and nervous) to facilitate learning together, growing together and playing together. It's what we've been doing all along, but with more of a (concrete) purpose (I think). Ha- clearly, I'm still a bit unsure...

Everett and I are on day 2 of a dairy reaction. He got some of David's eggs last night...said eggs had cheese in them (a very rare treat but one that David thoroughly enjoys when offered about once a week or so). I am happy to report that Everett's reaction is far less severe than it was a year ago. However, the reaction is certainly still there. Boo on this. Mr. Grump Grump is definitely running full force. I can't wait to have my happy little man back. I miss that sweet guy.

So very ready for the weekend!!!!!! We've had our front porch rebuilt and the windows sealed. We have a ton of painting work to do over the summer - but for now, we rest and enjoy the company of Daddy (he'll be home tonight - weeeee!! after almost a decade of marriage...I'm still embarrassingly giddy over our time together...- we've missed our Brent so much this week!!)


Friday, June 14, 2013

So, we joined a co-op!

Yep! That's right. We're what I would consider to be "deep" in that Kool-Aid...but we don't drink don't miss the irony in the expression...

I'll be honest, Brent has been "importing" odds and ends from various locations throughout Louisiana since, well, since we moved the Lake Charles. We've always been foodies really - but the obsession hobby has certainly intensified with children, dietary restrictions, motivating health issues and learning in general. I LOVE food. But what's more, I love to know exactly what's in the food I'm eating - where it comes from, how it was grown, how to use it best to maintain greatest nutrition. I love starting with raw ingredients and making something beautiful, boxless, delicious, and satisfying. If there is a processed food that I'm thinking I can't get around, I learn about it - the processing to achieve that finished product. After that, I think about making it myself, cutting it altogether or only using very sparingly. Learning about our food from start to finish - including how our bodies process it once eaten - has helped me to cut portion sizes, enjoy each bite, and to simply listen to what I'm craving in terms of nutrients over food products.

The kids do what they see. It's that simple here. So, we try our best to stay on the fresh whole foods train (and of course derail on occasion and as necessary).

Anyhow, the co-op. So, my immediate thought about food co-ops: bunch of granola hippies. (and I mean that in the most affectionate, playful non-negative way if you're sitting there all puffed up with the hair on your legs standing on end. Sniff some lavender and embrace the humor. I'm in this with you...minus the body hair...)

I'm not here to clear the stereotype. Stereotypes are typically earned over time. They don't apply to everyone in a group - usually the loudest - but they do apply...digress digress...stay on task...

There was an Azure Standard drop organized about 20 minutes away from us. I looked into it. Actually, you can too. Just go here and you can browse their offerings yourself. You can also order without a drop near you but you're limited to non-perishable items and you'll have to pay shipping without a co-op. Anyhow, I opted to try it out and see how it would go.

Our order was dropped today. I wish I would have had a camera...because I kind of got tickled at the scene.

So, most of the pick up people were, of course, mothers. Mothers with kids - lots of kids - some had 5 little ones following like ducklings in a row - each waiting for Mother's orders to help with a box. There were a few men picking up - but we'll leave those sweet boys out for now because the women totally dominated.

Large 18 wheeler truck - 1 young (man) driver hops out. Mass of women hover around with black sharpie names on white papers as if we're all waiting to pick up a mega famous super star. I picture us screaming and fainting for a minute and smile to myself. The fact that most of the group is so straight faced and serious only makes it more comical to me. Man gives out clear, concise order information. I'm rather dazed (still making up stories in my head) and ML and D are dancing around my legs begging to play on a nearby swing set. I don't hear a thing. I ask the lead Mom in Charge (that's her official title...not really - but it fits). She graciously reiterates and organizes me, my kids and my things. I think I should get my ***t together for next time maybe - or just continue to be *that*'s not so bad...I don't think I can be quite as zealous as the "unloader moms" so I might as well just stand and allow our order to fall at my feet. I think I might have adult ADD...I had this problem in school too...thank goodness for clinical focused.

I'm sad I forgot my coffee on the kitchen counter.

I grab a few of our boxes. Of course I try too many at first and ML and D are miffed because they are all too heavy for them to carry. They still want to play on the swings anyhow and begin a wind up I can see from about 2 miles out. I walk faster with the boxes toward our vehicle. They get louder. I fumble one box and leave it in the grass for a minute so I can get the kids tucked in and the other box put away. We make it just in time for them to crawl back into their seats with just a few whines and sighs. A man saw that I was having trouble and gracious brings the stray box to me. I thank him and haul what's left at the drop site to the car. It's 9am and 90 degrees with 100% humidity. I wore work out clothes and wet hair. Win.

Everett was sleeping when we left and I know he's waking now and probably yelling, "nuh nuh NUH!!!" Brent is probably trying to give him water and snacks. Everett is probably throwing them back in his face. Literally. Sure enough, they're waiting at the back door when I drive up.

I bring the boxes in as Brent and the kids watch. Brent is excited (for me- ha - he has no idea what's in said boxes. Sweet man is just excited because I am.) He helps me divide items and doesn't even ask what in the world I plan to do with 5 pounds of organic wheat germ. He does ask, however, how often "this truck" will be in town - ha.

I mention that I'll make some granola. Brent grins and says he's going to work unless I need something else. He likes my homemade granola. Everett yells, "NUH NUH!" while doing the sign for milk. It's the only sign he knows...and that makes me laugh.

The items are wonderful by the way- packaged and shipped at proper temps and delivered perfectly. The whole pick up took about an hour - and over half of that was driving to and from the drop site. Far easier than grocery shopping and I didn't have to bother Brent for anything.

That, my friends, is (us) participating in a co-op (in case you've ever wondered about such). I'm off to organize and make some granola with flax and chia...because, you know, I have stereo types to maintain.


Thursday, June 13, 2013

True Stories

Last night Brent had a funny smirk on his face as he came down from reading the big kids to sleep. David's prayer for the night included the following:

"Please God, help Mommy to not be very very tired."
"Please god, help Mommy to not be too angry so that I can watch a yittle show on my TV"

Yesterday, I was cleaning downstairs. Mary Louise stopped, looked at me with her hand on her hip and said, "Umm, Mom? Could you please stop all dis queening business uh-cause it's annoying us and it's hurting our ears."

*They are learning about their 5 senses at camp. Don't worry, I thanked the teacher for facilitating that little gem.*

Working together at camp:


Everett saw that the gate was open when we were all upstairs. I went to get him. We made eye contact. He smiled and crab crawled backward toward the top step so fast I thought he'd surely fall. To my surprise, he stopped just short to check his placement with his toes before easing down the first step. That boy is processing his environment and all around him so fast it makes MY head spin. He just sat and giggled on the first step as I carefully bent to grab him tightly snuggle him.

When he was backing up, his faced looked a bit like this:


Everett wore size 18 to 24 month shorts this morning. The waist was big, but his fluffy double stuffed Fuzzi Bunz diaper held them up just fine.

David wore size 24 month shorts this morning. The waist was big, but his Dapper Snappers held them up just fine.

Since Everett nursed and ate beef stew, roasted zucchini and squash for lunch, and David ate rice cakes, crackers and a little hummus for lunch, it is within the realm of possibility that David might actually wear Everett's hand me downs at some point...

Last weekend, we went fishing at the nearby Minnonite catfish ponds. David, in particular, LOVED it (which makes his dear daddy wicked happy).

Mary Louise could take it or leave it

having a great time until that big fish came popping out of the water - which is when she would use Everett as a sort of human shield (he didn't mind):

Everett did a whole lot of this:

(you know, in between protecting his big sister)

and I picked up the slack. This isn't really my "thing" but, I surprised Brent by effectively holding my own and helping David out a couple of times. Photo proof:


Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Needed: My lesson in growth and letting go

Mary Louise and David started going to a Montessori camp today. I called it school (because that's really what it is - but just 2 weeks worth of mornings) and prepared them just as I would for any other new activity or lesson. They were excited - a little nervous - but mostly really really excited.

I have talked to their teacher for months...and by "talk" I mean obsessively emailed, texted and called with obnoxious updates and suggestions regarding the ever changing and constantly developing personalities, dynamic and function of Mary Louise and David. She's a good sport about my helicopter parenting. She doesn't just listen, but actually follows up with exact examples and super descriptive instances where my force fed information might have (possibly) come in handy - then she does one better and tells me how my over zealous hovering is not just ok - but maybe even justified - ha.

I offered to be a "room mom". But, I couldn't shake the feeling that this was just one of those times I needed to step back and let our littles shine in their own lights. Admittedly, I also felt a hefty push from within to take advantage of those few precious hours with Everett and just enjoy a slightly slower pace for a little while.

I brought them over this morning with plans to run while they had school time. I was really excited about the chance to put in a few miles, sweat the good sweat and breathe in the warm sun while sorting through my crazy brain for a bit - clarity with exercise followed by that complete exhale- it is my one of most favorite feelings.

We were the first to arrive. Yeah. Don't think I was all organized and graceful either. I did set out clothes and things the night before - but we still ran late and ripped into the driveway 5 minutes after the hour. Ha - apparently, the other moms were just slightly more frantic than I was so we didn't miss anything!

Mary Louise and David didn't bat a eye and marched right up to their teacher and her daughter and said their good mornings. They immediately made themselves at home - exploring all of the new school props about (the teacher also led their music class and we've had play dates with her family so this was all familiar territory for Mary Louise and David - win!)

I was the one who sort of froze for a bit. Everett looked around and crawled under the carport. The other children and room moms arrived. Everyone did just fine. I stood watching for half and hour - realizing the whole time that our sweet kiddos adjusted so immediately and seamlessly that I had to mentally catch up to their level of comfort.

I told them I was going to go for a run. They stopped, looked, listened, nodded, said, "ok mom" and went right on about their day. It was one of the first times I felt as if I was just there because of me, rather than them. I hovered closer for a few minutes...breathing down their sweet little necks...forcing myself to meander on over to the car and get the stroller set up. I looked back at them. Still fine. Not even noticing. Big kids.

I started out on my run. It felt good to connect with the pavement again.

I remembered having a fuss with my mom after the kids were home (from the hospital). Mom looked at me, appearing bewildered at what I had asked (I don't even remember what it to be honest) - she said, "you just don't need me anymore. You're fine. You can do this. You don't need me. None of you do..."

I started to cramp and kept running - slowing just a tad and focusing on breathing. I found my sweet spot in form and kept going. My legs going a little numb- moving instinctively. Steady pace. I thought of my mom's eyes in that moment...

I was heart broken. I felt I needed more than she could give and didn't blame her at all for the remark. To me, it was just part of her grieving. I just felt sad. Didn't she know? There have been so many times that, as an adult, I felt I needed my mom more than I did as a child (and goodness knows more than I needed her as a teen -*grin*). There has not been one moment - not one instant - that I have not needed her. Ever. Not once. Not wanted her? sure. Not needed...never.

And there it was...clarity.

Everett started a fit and I ended up not only nursing openly on the side of a south Lake Charles road amid small farms and large pick up trucks, but also carrying that stinker under my arm - screaming - for over half a mile. A man working on a tractor offered me a ride - bless him - I'm sure it's not a regular thing to see a sweat drenched flustered mom pushing an empty double jogger while carrying a baby kicking and fussing down the side of a fast paced country road. The man was the teacher's father. It made complete sense that he'd offer a ride - and I knew he meant it. They are that family. Without a second thought before or after, giving of themselves is as natural as breathing.

I trudged down the drive and plopped into the front seat. I didn't want to interrupt the kids - and Everett needed a quiet moment anyhow. I nursed him again and we cooled off awhile. I thought about running a marathon...or a half...or a full...

We ran an errand and came back to see how Mary Louise and David were doing. They were playing with HUGE tired grins.

Loaded in the car, they told me basics about their day. Then David suddenly said, "Mom? Did you have a good run?"

"Yes," I replied.

"I missed you and Everett. But I had fun at my school Mom."

"Wonderful. Would you like to go back tomorrow?"


And that was that. I reminded myself that needs simply change and develop over time. Physical transforms into emotional, mental, collaborative. The need just shifts. Then I gave myself permission to linger a little longer and recognize that it was for me - that was my "me" moment WITH the kids. Recognize it. Embrace it. Let it go.

Family growing moments. I keep finding myself wondering who really is learning here...the answer, for me, is always the same: all of us.


P.S. Grump Grump Everett is teething again - explains his less than stellar road side show.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Breaking My Silence

So a month has gone by. A whole month. A MONTH!! If I don't blog soon, I'll build it up far too much in my head and just stop altogether...I know - makes perfect sense right?

The kids are finally feeling better after a week with snotty noses and coughs for the big kids and a nasty tummy bug for Everett. There is an upside...I hesitate to put it in writing for fear that the old "if you proclaim it aloud, it will happen" rule will get us...but my mom says never to react or do things out of fear so here it goes...

We did NOT have to resort to nebulizer treatments!!!! In fact, we didn't even go to the doctor. Mary Louise had pretty ugly sinus congestion - and it actually STAYED in her sinuses!!!!!

Good grief!! and Amen!!

I'm not sure how much I've skipped over in the past month or 2 - but we have been wildly busy and I rarely re-read my old some of the following posts may be repeated information...

We went to the pulmonologist a number of weeks ago. He put Mary Louise on Advair as we'd already tried and failed with his first 3 suggested preventative med schedules. He changed a few things about our daily routine and wholeheartedly supported our daily probiotic use. We also use Elderberry syrup and local honey daily - increasing the usage of both during illness. He didn't know if either of those would help - but didn't mind that we employ them so we are continuing.

The Advair is wildly expensive. So expensive, in fact, that the doctor didn't even want to prescribe it - assuming we wouldn't be able to keep up with the daily or month cost.

But we have 2 insurance policies for instances such as these - so we got the script and the meds - and are hoping the big kids will get to keep their secondary policy for another year as their cases are being reviewed once again.

Within days of her first dose of Advair, I noticed a difference in Mary Louise's breathing: less wheezing, deeper breaths. It worked. For the first time since her asthma symptoms started, she had relief. All we had to do was wait for a(nother) virus or infection to breeze through and we would see if the effects would hold strong under pressure. We waited a few weeks...and David woke up with a cough...and I furrowed my brow, stared out the windows and looked for the storm clouds...I knew the drizzle would turn into hard rain...

and it did. Unfortunately, it waited until we were at Mommom's house to really let loose - but she was a really good sport about it all.

The big kids got full sinus congestion but no fever. I thought that might be the end of it as it had been days since symptoms started and Everett was happy as ever. Then, he felt warm. Then warmer. His fever blew past the 101's and settled in the upper 102's. He felt crummy and slept awhile, woke, puked, slept, and had HORRIBLE tummy cramping.

It was a rough weekend. But Brent and I did sneak off for a nice dinner and Everett started to recover after an extra night of rest in Houma. Though he's still pretty much only nursing with a few bites of solids here and there, he seems to be feeling much much better - playing, laughing and sleeping - so recovery well underway.

We came back to Lake Charles on Tuesday just in time to see the construction crew finish leveling our house (I know - I mentioned - busy). We start a sort of "phase 2" of repairs and maintenance next week. We've had a bit of a time retaining the services of contractors so I'm hoping the ones that finally did show and have been predictable will follow through with quality...

Mary Louise and David had eye check ups on their birthday - I know I know - not very nice but it's just how things worked out. They had a special day just the same and the check ups were very quick and non-invasive so it wasn't so bad. Their eyes have remained the same and they have been cleared to go back to yearly check ups for now unless we have any concern about their prescriptions. They have done very well with glasses though we have to have the adjusted VERY frequently and, honestly, the things just slip no matter what we do. Nonetheless, they actually ask me to put them on if we forget (and we do) because they realize the lenses help them to see clearly. Nice.

We also had a visit with an ENT per the pulmonoligist's request. (Our parting gift was the buffet of viruses discussed at the beginning of this post...) The ENT was very nice and VERY patient. When meeting new doctors, we go as a family. This can be rather precarious when we have to wait over an hour for an appointment. But, Brent and I feel it's important for us both to hear advice, suggestions and feel out personalities, so we take the plunge and the kids together.

Though she wasn't complaining or having obvious symptoms, Mary Louise had very swollen adenoids. Her tonsils were fine - very small in fact. Her ears have never given us issues. But her adenoids were irritated and large. After some discussion, we decided our plan of action would be to try Nasonex for a few months to see if it would alleviate symptoms. Surgery (removal of adenoids) is a possibility long term -but is not on the table right now for a few reasons:

1. we don't know what is irritating her adenoids. Removal would obviously give some immediate relief - but long term, symptoms would likely return because the actual problem wouldn't be addressed (swollen adenoids is the symptom)

2. Mary Louise's immune system is becoming more and more specific. This process will continue over the next few years and by age 7, if there are no more serious injuries (illnesses) to her lung and respiratory system, there is a very good possibility for her to outgrow much of this. (and it is my firm belief that with a ridiculous amount of commitment and diligence, that will, by golly, happen!!)

Therefore, if we find a non-invasive / low risk temporary solution to bridge the time gap for a couple of years, sweet girl can keep all of her parts! win!

The pulmo ran a general immune function blood test on Mary Louise as well. We don't have the results in hand, but I assume they are unremarkable as we haven't had any phone calls...we will discuss this further next month during a recheck. We will also be referred to an allergist here in town for testing there. Mary Louise is a little young, but with her history, an allergy screening would offer a more complete picture of her health and immune system. I am waiting to hear from the local office for our first appointment and we'll go from there.

If you're keeping count, we are minus a cardiologist and adding a pulmo, ENT and allergic to our doctor soup. At least the 3 newbies keep in touch and seem to communicate very well with one another...sigh.

Everett has sort of put walking on the shelf for a bit. He *can* take up to 10 steps or so when he so feels inclined, but typically chooses to just crawl wherever her wants to travel. He does, however, enjoy doing the Evie shuffle - proudly standing in place while dancing up and down - which provided endless grins and giggles in our house.

He's climbing like mad - up the stairs, down the stairs (mostly - it terrifies me to allow this on our main steps but he has done very very well with just a few steps on porches, etc). He also gets on a off the sofa, beds, pew in our entry way, chairs and anything else he can hoist himself upon. He's amazingly careful with it all and can be trusted to navigate furniture and home very very responsibly (even though he recently learned to flush the toilet - and enjoys doing so while cramming it full of whatever he can reach. I call it House Cleaning by E and would be happy to bring him over should anyone need help clearing a room.)

And finally, Everett is officially TALKING!!!!! He can say: Momma, Dada, pat pat (referring to petting the dogs), outside "tie" or "out-tie", hot - while pointing and waving at coffee or a pot on the stove, cat "tat", bye bye, hi, clap clap "cap cap"and "nuh nuh" which is "nurse nurse". This is a really good thing because, as it turns out, our wee one is following his big brother's footsteps and turning into quite the head banger.

Oh my. This causes me more stress than I care to think about.

The one consolation is that Everett is what I would refer to as a "careful" headbanger: he typically uses a pillow or soft furniture under his head. David would wildly thrash on anything at all and had so many bruises from his fits. So, I'm grateful for the little concessions. Nevertheless, I'll be quite happy when Everett gives up his relatively new little coping skill...

Now, I suppose I'll break down and review a few past posts to see what pics I've neglected to advertise.