Saturday, July 31, 2010

Trip to Michigan Part I - Chesaning Here We Come

Two weeks after starting my new job as SAHM, we took off for a 10 day trip to visit family and friends in Michigan.  We rented a car (gasp!) and drove the 18-hour trip straight through.   Dylan was a champion traveller and - thanks to Baby Einstein and in-car DVD players - we barely heard a peep from him the entire time.  (Note: since returning, he cries whenever we put a Baby Einstein on.  I think he is over it. We feel his pain.)

Our first stop was Chesaning, MI where some of my family lives.  Uncle Bob and Aunt Cathy graciously hosted us and all of the accessories that come with travelling with a 1 yr. old.  We stormed their house much like a road crew storms an arena on the day of the show.  We joked all week that we were Dylan's roadies whenever we invaded a house.  We had our set up and pack up process down to a science by the end of the week.

I always knew Uncle Bob was very handy, but he turned out to be a wealth of information for some around-the-house issues we were having, as well as some fun facts.  Here are the top three:
  1. After hearing us complain that Dylan's kiddie pool is really hard to drain, he explained to us how siphoning works.  Actually, he explained to us three or four times how it works because Bryan didn't believe him that you can trick the water into travelling up before going down.  We will probably try it out this weekend since rain water has filled up the pool.
  2. Both of our cars have air-conditioning issues, a total drag since it is July and we live in Florida.  Uncle Bob showed us how to add Freon to our vehicles.  Bryan has gone three summers without AC in his car and has refused to even get it checked out to see what is wrong.  He's going to be really upset if all it needed was some Freon.
  3. Uncle Bob showed us that you can squish lightning bugs on your skin and then you glow in the dark just like they do.  A little gross, but way cool.

Dylan and I on the swing at Bob and Cathy's.
Dylan trying to wiggle out of Aunt Cathy's arms. 
Dylan couldn't get enough of Michelle.  He parked himself by her all evening.
Uncle Bob trying to squish lightning bugs on Dylan.
Bryan was very impressed that it was light out so late.  We had to look at a US map to see how much farther West Michigan is than Florida - turns out, quite a bit.  It was so light out at 9:30 p.m. that Bryan could track his hit golf balls into the woods. 

Stay tuned for Part II - The Invasion of the Keeler House.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Why Didn't We Do This Sooner?

This was the picture that Dana sent to me half way through Wednesday at work last week (vegetable lasagna - excellent). The excitement that I felt could be topped only if she had sent a naked picture of herself. I knew, right then and there, we made the right decision to bring Dana home this summer. Dana worked her last day on Friday, June 25th and immediately transitioned into her new role as Residential CFO and SAHM (Stay at Home Mom.)

It had been a tough decision to bring Dana from working full time to staying at home. We talked about it for the past year ever since Dylan was born. Her heart was always at home taking care of him, and though we tried to make it work with us both working full time, we both just wanted her to be home. We felt out of balance; all work/no life, and felt like we were in constant scramble mode, from Monday morning through Sunday night. If you read our finance blog,, you would know that we (I) take our budget very seriously. To take a nearly 50% hit on income, doesn’t help from that perspective, but we have done our due diligence from a financial standpoint to get to this point. Like any other family that has gone from two incomes to one, we will find a way to make it work.

So far it’s gone well although Dana had a seemingly rough transition the first couple of days. Tuesday evening, she looked at me and said, “I feel like I am wasting away. I need a list!” As if I had it ready in my pocket, I quickly reeled off a healthy list consisting of 12 bullet points. I even pushed the limits and put “clean the garage” on there. Chew on that this summer, Dear.

Two days later, half the list was complete, including the garage! I thought the garage bullet point would go unscathed through the summer and into the fall. Dana springs into action as soon as Dylan goes down for a nap and starts knocking out her work. I am impressed. I figured it would be a full week before she changed out of her pajamas. We will need to come up with a longer list when she completes the current one.

Saturday, I woke up and wandered around the house for the better part of the morning. I usually start the laundry and go to the grocery store after I wake up. When I come home, I fold the laundry (I never actually put the clothes away, they just stay in the basket in the bedroom) and, if I am feeling really ambitious, tackle bathroom cleaning (Note from Dana: While Bryan did those things, I took care of Dylan, Oscar and usually made Bryan a huge bacon, egg and cheese bagel sandwich). All of those tasks were complete this past weekend when I got home on Friday enabling me to sit down and watch the entire Germany/Argentina game at 10am without having to think about anything else. I remember thinking to myself, “Is this what balance feels like?” If so, I really like it.

Now, I am learning that we have a set of different challenges (they really aren’t too bad). I need to talk about my day, ad nauseum, especially on the days when Dana hasn’t had any other adult interaction. I don’t always (read: ever) want to do this. I will need to carry my weight, unless I want hear a play-by-play of the Ellen DeGeneres show or the Baby Einstein Animals in My Neighborhood DVD.

To prove my point, here is a sample of an email Dana sent me on Thursday at 4:27 p.m.:

D is taking his second nap right now - he just went up a few minutes ago. We've had a good day. We went grocery shopping and then had a snack (grapes and blueberries) and now it is nap time. :)

Dylan continues to grow and learn by the day. He is walking all over the place now and coming up with new words. It is the perfect time to have Dana home to teach him these new things. After two weeks with Dana home, I wonder why we didn’t do this earlier.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

All This for a Sprained Ankle...

So they say embarrassing stories make good blog posts, so this should be a good read. 

On Wednesday afternoon I took Dylan to the neighborhood playground to push him in the swing.  I'm not sure what our community planners were thinking, but there isn't a sidewalk that leads to the playground, so to get to it you have to push the stroller through a parking space, over a curb and then through the grass.  I have twiggy, bird-like ankles and can basically twist them on a crack in the sidewalk (yes, I have actually done that before), so it came as no surprise that when returning home I twisted it pushing Dylan's stroller back over the curb.  To my delight (and surprise) although it hurt badly when it happened, I walked home normally and without a limp or swelling.  That whole evening my ankle barely hurt and I even mentioned to Bryan how lucky I was to not have a worse injury.

About an hour after we went to bed, I woke up with excruciating pain in my foot.  It was paralyzed - I couldn't flex or point it, or turn it from side to side.  Every move of the sheet over my foot caused a wave of pain to go through my ankle and up my leg.  I thought surely it had swollen up to the size of a baseball, but every time I reached down to check it felt perfectly normal. 

I decided to get some Tylenol from the bathroom to help with the pain, so I got up and limped across the room ... then everything went black.  The next thing I remember, Bryan was standing over me with the phone at his ear and a panicky look on his face.  I was confused and uttered "Where am I?" and Bryan stressed into the phone "She doesn't even know where she is!" At that point I realised who Bryan was talking to.  When I passed out, he heard a thud and woke up to see what happened.   I had landed next to his side of the bed so when he got up he nearly tripped over me. Then he shook me a few times and I didn't wake up so he called 911.

Within 5 minutes the paramedics arrived and 5 huge, strapping young men lumbered up the stairs and filed into our bedroom.  They took my blood pressure and it was crazy low - like 90 / 50.  They took it again and again, but it wasn't getting any better and I was still  feeling light headed and nauseated so they insisted in taking me to the hospital because my sprained ankle didn't really explain the hypotension.  So, off the Baptist South I go in the ambulance with Bryan and a sleepy Dylan following shortly behind.

I get hooked up to an IV and once I get to the hospital they take an X-Ray of my ankle.  They had to keep asking which one was injured because there was no visible indication of an ankle sprain.  Of course nothing was broken, but it did make me feel slightly better that the X-Ray did show some inflammation so I wasn't totally crazy to be in pain. 

After several hours, my blood pressure returned to normal and the Doctor told me that I had a vasovagal (rhymes with bagel) response, which basically means I'm a wimp and passed out from the pain of a mildly sprained ankle. 

Since we've been home, for pretty much everything I do Bryan tells me to be careful otherwise I might pass out.  I guess I deserve it.   I walk very carefully when pushing Dylan in the stroller and I haven't been back to the sidewalkless park for fear of hopping the curb and twisting my ankle again.

On a different note, Dylan was a champ at the hospital and despite being woken in the middle of the night he was very well-behaved. On Friday I took him to his doctor for his 1 year check up and he is 95% for height at 33" and 85% for weight at 26 lbs (although he feels more like 30-35 lbs).