Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Double Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave and Gravity

First, I want to thank everyone for their encouraging comments on my last post about Trent's therapy. I love the support I get from the blogging community!

Now...onto more important things... In my quest to see all the Best Picture nominees, I have stayed up entirely too late 2 nights this week watching 12 Years a Slave and Gravity.

12 Years a Slave
PlotIn the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Review: A piece of me didn't want to see this because I knew it would be hard to watch. And that's totally pathetic because someone actually LIVED this story. {Not to mention the millions of other slaves} But I'm really glad I watched it. This is a story that I wouldn't have believed if it weren't based on a true story. I thought all the acting was superb. Everyone deserves an award! To have to put yourself in the mindset of a slave would be hard, but I also think being in the mindset of the slave owner/racist would be hard too I think. All that hatred. Ugh. Several of the characters made my skin crawl. Overall, this movie was hard to watch. But it was amazing. I really thought it was well done, I have no complaints.

PlotA medical engineer and an astronaut work together to survive after an accident leaves them adrift in space.
Review: I really enjoyed this film but wish I had seen it in the theater {and maybe even IMAX}. Allison and I almost went this fall and I chickened out because I thought it was going to be too intense {Sorry Allison!}. But I think it would have been much better {but not too intense} in the theater. Sandra Bullock was amazing. I absolutely loved her performance! It did kind of remind me of Castaway because you spend a lot of time watching 1 person do stuff without much talking. And when it keeps you entertained, that's saying something about their performance.

I still need to see Her and Wolf on Wall Street, so hopefully I can accomplish that before Sunday!

Monday, February 24, 2014

The Latest on T

I haven't blogged about Trent's therapy in an eternity, but it's high time to do an update. I'll try to not make this super long, apologies in advance as I'll likely fail.

T today during our appointment

About 9 months ago, Brent and I were really frustrated with his 'special school' because they weren't working on the areas we felt were the problem areas. Trent was also acting up a lot more in anticipation of going. We decided it would be best to take a break for awhile. 

I don't feel like we did this in denial, but we all just needed to catch our bearings. Drew was still a baby, I was battling post-partum, and it was just all too much.

After about 5 months 'off' Trent wasn't any better or worse {not that I thought he would be}, but status quo for him isn't exactly ideal. Still lots of tantrums and out of control behavior ... and now there's a new little person in our house to protect. He is such a sweet and fun little guy. He loves to tell jokes and snuggle and read books and play. But when he loses it? He LOSES IT.

B and I were also debating a lot the right thing to do for T in numerous areas. We were still having some issues with our daycare - did we need to change schools? Would he be ready for kinder next year? {B said yes, I said no.} If we did decide to do kinder next year, where would he go - private or public? We were back to square 1 and it stunk.

Through a mom at church, I found out about programs offered by school districts for early childhood intervention and set an appointment for Trent to get evaluated through our district. If he qualified, the services would be free through our property taxes. We set an appointment for November and Trent promptly got his leg infection and spent a week in the hospital. Our appointment got rescheduled for January.

At the appointment, the therapists were pretty upfront that to qualify for treatment, Trent would essentially need to be pretty bad off. I immediately figured he wouldn't qualify and I was right. Thankfully, my kid isn't autistic or a danger to others, but it's pretty frustrating to be told there's nothing wrong and how ready my child is for kindergarten when I know these things are not true. No mom wants her child to be different, but when you know something isn't right and to be told by THERAPISTS that he's great...disappointment didn't begin to describe how I felt.

I decided to take a step back and set an appointment with our pediatrician. I put together some information about sensory processing disorder for the appointment {I don't know if I ever mentioned here before, but that's what I think T has and if you click on the link and look at the bullet point details...90% of that is T}. She decided we should see a behavioral/developmental pediatrician, and/or a psychiatrist, and/or a new OT. Brent and I discussed these options a lot and decided to start with a therapist. There are numerous delays/conditions that OT wouldn't help, and we still don't have an official diagnosis, so we didn't want to go down the OT path again just yet. We did set a developmental pediatrician appointment but due to their backlog, that appointment isn't until April.

Today was our evaluation with the therapist, Ms. Lauren. I came armed with a letter from our school Education Director about an evaluation she did with Trent, a letter from my parents about what they see from him on the days they keep him, a checklist on sensory processing disorder, and the original evaluation results we received from the first OT. Whew.

Ms. Lauren was great to talk to. She said she thinks we'll get to an official diagnosis and doesn't think it's something on the spectrum. We're going to officially start treatment next week and go from there to see what all this is going to entail.

I'm a little overwhelmed when I think we could end up in OT again in addition to therapy, and we still have to tackle his lisp. I feel like he and I are at doctor's offices non-stop. But I'm excited. For the first time in a long time, I feel hopeful and optimistic. I'm tired of not knowing how to help him and losing my cool more times than I'd like to admit. I'm ready to look forward and focus as a family on how to best help our wonderful, adorable, SMART, fun, and funny little boy.

Here's to the journey...

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Movie Review: Dallas Buyers Club

Allison and I are cutting it to the wire for Oscar nominated films, and to be honest, I think we're only going to get to 7 or 8. Boo but such is life. Tonight we were going to see Her, but the theater's times weren't right, so we saw Dallas Buyers Club instead.

Plot: In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

Review: Enthusiastic thumbs up! So far this is my favorite, and Matthew McConaughey is my favorite nominated actor. Jared Leto was amazing too. It was a very gripping story, and I kept thinking about how I would act in some of the roles. 1985 was a VERY different time {not that I'd remember given I was 5} when it comes to AIDS than it is now, and there were a lot of stereotypes associated with the illness. I also can't imagine the fear of being diagnosed when there wasn't much of a hope of treatment. Ron was a very brave and strong man to do what he did in this movie! For such a deep subject matter, I thought the actors did an amazing job of not making it too heavy. There were still moments to laugh or roll your eyes or have hope for their characters. Great story and great storytelling!

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rocky Start to a Great Ending...What a Day! {Randoms}

Today started off as one of those days that makes you want to go home and get back under the covers.
  • I stayed up too late working {so that's technically how today started which is always fun}. And the cleaning lady came today so I was trying to pick up last minute stuff and each kid was doing his/her darnedest to prevent me from finishing that task.
  • Because of the above, I was late heading to work. There was an accident on the highway. And they are filming a TV show near my client {Revolution} so there was nowhere to park.
  • I met a friend for lunch and that parking was nuts too. What was going on today in Austin?
  • Trent had another rough day at school. {At least it was better than Tuesday when BOTH kids got in trouble for biting. #awesome}
  • The following happened to Trent today while playing with Daddy. [sad face]

  •  And Sister had to steal Brother's 'ice' {her teething ring} because IT'S HERS!!!!

I ended the day with an awesome pedicure, Daddy and Trent watched an extra movie together, and Drew got her teething ring, so everyone ended up happy in the long run! But man am I glad tomorrow is Friday!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

My Breastfeeding Journey...Year 2

I remember being pregnant with Trent and registering, and I put a formula dispenser on my registry. Because everybody used formula, right? I didn't even think about what that meant honestly. My mom had breastfed me and my sister but so many moms I knew used formula. {And I don't say any of this as a knock against formula. It is just not what I choose for my children.}

Once Trent was born and I started learning more about breastfeeding, I decided I WOULD nurse him for a year. There would be no need for a formula dispenser. And through hard work, sheer will and determination, great supply and a great relationship with Trent, we nursed for 14 months. I also donated almost 1,000 ounces to the Mother's Milk Bank of Austin. I felt so accomplished and proud of what we'd done.

While pregnant with Drew, I started learning a lot more about breastfeeding and decided my goal with Drew would be 18 months+ to help fully develop her immune system. I learned how it hasn't really been that long that breastfeeding has been 'accepted' again {my mom apparently would have been in the minority with me and my sister}. And that makes me sad because the benefits of breastmilk are just phenomenal. Even for a toddler!

Amazing benefits to a toddler

Did you know that UNICEF has long encouraged breastfeeding for two years and longer, and the American Academy of Pediatrics is now on record as encouraging mothers to breastfeed at least one year and then for as long after as the mother and baby desire. Even the Canadian Paediatric Society, in its latest feeding statement acknowledges that women may want to breastfeed for two years or longer and Health Canada has put out a statement similar to UNICEF’s. {via}

In addition to the chart above, in the second year of life, 15 ozs of breastmilk provides {via}:

  • 29% of energy requirements
  • 76% of folate requirements
  • 94% of vitamin B12 requirements
  • 60% of vitamin C requirements

  • I love my milk {and spaghetti too}!

    When Drew actually got here, I was so worried breastfeeding wouldn't work. It had been such an amazing relationship with Trent, and I didn't want to think it had just been luck, but I was worried nonetheless. Other than a few setbacks {thrush, reflux, low weight gain, refusing bottles...#nobigdeal}, our breastfeeding relationship has been amazing. Drew loves to nurse. LOVES. Now I worry she nurses too much, but then I remind myself how silly that is. I guess a mom has to have something to worry about? {grin}

    A Dad's Thoughts on Breastfeeding:

    So Drew and I are entering new, uncharted waters for me. About this age, I was weaning Trent. I had stopped pumping, we were using frozen milk at school and drinking whole milk too. Now, Drew nurses whenever she wants on the weekends {which is sometimes still every 2-3 hours} and nurses in the morning, after school and before bed during the week with 2 sippy cups of breastmilk at school. I am still pumping once or twice a day {although producing about half as much as I was at our peak} and have yet to use frozen milk, so I still have a TON in my parents freezer. I did donate around 600 ounces to moms in need through Eats on Feet.

    My goal is now 2 years of nursing, and after that it's up to Drew. Eventually I want to stop pumping {but I get too uncomfortable still...and am still getting clogs, wtf} and we'll use frozen milk at school until that runs out and then probably switch to almond milk. Brent has been 100% supportive {and why shouldn't he be...see chart above, ha}, so I have high hopes we'll be successful!

    P.S. - That formula dispenser has actually been used. As a snack holder!

    Sunday, February 16, 2014

    Movie Review: Nebraska

    Allison and I saw Nebraska today in our quest to see all the Oscar Best Picture nominees.  This is my 4th film and Allison's 5th, so we still have a bit to go!

    PlotAn aging, booze-addled father makes the trip from Montana to Nebraska with his estranged son in order to claim a million-dollar Mega Sweepstakes Marketing prize.

    Review: Ugh. Where to start. I disliked this film immensely while Allison thought it was okay. It is depressing and gray. Literally. The movie is entirely in black and white to add to the drabness of the plot. It is slow, not much happens, it is a peak into how I imagine life to be in all Yankee states. Bruce Dern does an amazing job as Woody, the boozy dad. He is 85% unlikeable and 15% sad. He seems to have some sort of mental problem but mostly seems to not have much ability for affection for anyone in the movie - his wife, children or siblings. As the plot {ha, what plot} unravels, you learn how his past probably led him to this path...but by the time we learned a little more about him, I didn't care. Dave, the son who goes with him is just sad. Deadend job, living in a lame apartment, girlfriend dumped him. The mom is an annoying bright spot in the movie. She nags and nags and nags, but you can tell she cares. And she's sassy! The one eff bomb? From the mom! Allison enjoyed it a little more because {to quote her} 'I like movies about old people.' This coming from the lady who works for Adult Protective Services, so I can see why she liked it somewhat, ha. The movie irritated me so much that I called Allison after we left to talk about it more! We agreed that it made us think and be grateful that our lives are in color! And we imagine the director/writer of the film would be happy that it made us think and be appreciative of our lives...but I still didn't like the movie!

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    Valentine's Hilarity

    We have had a great Valentine's Day today!! The kids were in great moods {could be for Trent because he got a new toy from us, ha}, I was moderately organized for both their parties at school, just happy on the day of love.

    A Valentine's Miracle - they are both semi-looking at me and smiling!

    I had to share the outtakes from trying to get a picture of the kids. {grin}

    And because Daddy had already left for work, we made him a video. I am loud and annoying in the background, sorry about that!

    The hilarious part of the morning was getting both kids into school. I had SIX bags of stuff. 1 bag for each kid of the snacks for their school parties. 1 bag for Drew's class full of diapers and wipes {of course she was out today} and her 'gifts' for her class, 1 lunch bag for each kid, and another bag just for Trent's 'gifts' for his class of TWENTY-SIX kids. Can you say pack mule much?

    Then I treated myself with a chai and went home and promptly spilled it on the carpet. Guess who will stopping back by Starbucks during lunch?

    And then Brent asked if he could drink a few beers after work, but he said he'd bring home dinner for us both. Ah, romance at its finest!

    Happy Valentine's Day All!!!

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Currently...Procrastinating at Its Finest

    Current Book 
    Echo in the Bone (Book 7 in the Outlander series)

    Current Songs
    All of Me by John Legend {obsessed after his Grammy performance}
    Compass by Lady Antebellum

    Current Drink 
    Just finished a Chai I bought at the Target Starbucks...where I spent over $300 today. Eek.

    Current Shame-Inducing Guilty Pleasure 
    The Swedish Fish I bought on the same shopping trip

    Current Outfit 
    Jeans and an Old Navy t-shirt - I worked from home today, yay!

    Current Celebrity Crush 
    Jamie Fraser from Outlander!

    Current Mood 
    Over busy season...and we still have almost 2 months to-go!

    Current Excitement
    I guess Valentine's Day on Friday is exciting? B and I don't get too worked up about it, but we got the kids something small each, so I'm excited for them to open presents. And I got a cute scarf with hearts on it to wear. {grin}

    Current Anticipation 
    Jenna and I are teaching our first essential oils class next week. Anyone want to come?

    Current Film 
    Allison and I are hitting up Nebraska this weekend with homework to rent Dallas Buyers Club soon. Then I'll have 4 still to go before the Oscars, better get busy!

    Current Picture 
    Babyled weaning at its finest!

    Tuesday, February 11, 2014

    The Happiest of Happy Hours - Mayer is 1!

    Today my youngest love, Mayer, is ONE! 

    I am so blessed to be able to share in my niece and nephews daily lives and be loved so much by them. We had such a great time celebrating Mayer on Sunday at a Happy Hour birthday party.

    You might think it's weird to call a 1-year-old's party a 'happy hour' but {as Patty put in the invitation} his favorite things are boobs, bottles and snacks. Sounds like a happy hour!

    And now on to picture overload!

     My sis with her last baby {sniff, sniff}

    De ja vu much? {Miles, 3.6.10}

    All the cuteness! And sweet tea sangria!!

    This.Face. #love

    Babs and her girls

    This picture cracks me up, Drew looks like she is crawling up my dad.

    The 2 crazies ready to sing to the birthday boy!

     Happy birthday, Mayer David!

    Oooh, this is soft. I like it.

    Oooh, it tastes pretty amazing too.

    What? Do I have something on my face?

    Got any more?

    But, Mom, I was saving that icing for later!

    The big fail of the party was my inability to take a family picture of either my sister's family or my own. But the kids had fun, Trent was moderately well-behaved, so we'll call it a success!

    Happy birthday, Mayer! Aunt Allena loves you!! xoxo

    Sunday, February 9, 2014

    {Busy} Weekend Recap

    We had a very busy and very fun weekend! I love busy weekends because I think it keeps us from getting bored and irritable. Am I the only one who can get annoyed being home too much on the weekend? {grin}

    We started Saturday by inviting Bumblebee to breakfast.
    Don't tell Brother, he still doesn't know! #littlesisterlikesbrotherstoys

    Drew and I started a 'Parent-Child' swim class at a local YMCA. Our friends Dez {and Foster} and Susie {and Reid} are doing the class as well. True to form, Drew LOVED being in the water. She splashed and splashed and got everyone really wet. That girl is our water bug for sure.

    Mamas and babies

     The many silly faces of Drew and Allena

    Saturday afternoon we went to a Frozen themed birthday party. I had a stroke of genius when I remembered my *FMIL had bought the kids snowman shirts at Christmastime.

    Me with Olaf and baby Olaf

    Baby Olaf was worn out! {And loves herself a clutch to carry around}

    Today was Mayer's first birthday party. Another year that went by too fast. I took a ton of pictures as official photographer {of course none of my family or my sister's family}. The party deserves its own post, but I decided to share my favorite picture of the party.

    Don't even think about taking some of my cake.

    *fabulous mother-in-law

    Thursday, February 6, 2014

    Book Worm Rant

    I think I've mentioned a time or two that I love books. Well, I recently saw the below meme and was offended by it.

    Let me explain why...

    Is this picture trying to say that 'real' books are better than e-books? That's the way this picture comes off to me, and I just think that's dumb.

    Shouldn't we promote reading in whatever form? If a kid loves to read magazines, let's encourage it! {Trent loves his High 5 magazine he's been getting for years from Babs and Pops.} If a teen only wants to read on her e-reader, shouldn't we be happy she wants to read? If a young adult refuses to read it if they can't physically turn a page, let's celebrate that too.

    I love books and reading in all forms and fashions. Hardback, paperback, old, new, electronic, even audio {which is totally cheating, ha}. 

    I have a public library card and can't wait to get one for Trent on his next birthday. I love to go browse the stacks and read the flaps of books that catch my eye. I love the feel of peace inside a library. I love having a pile of books on my nightstand {and inside my nightstand...and in our office}.

    I also love my Kindle. Through my public library card, I have access to the Central Texas database. I love how easy it is for me to instantly download FREE books and books for T too. Or how quickly I can buy a book from Amazon when I just HAVE to have the next book in a series NOW. I love to snuggle in my bed with the lights off, my fans {yes plural} whirring in the background with the glow of my Kindle screen being the only light in the room. I also love that e-books don't create waste like a 'real' book does. And I love that I don't feel guilty about finding space for a 'keeper' in my already cramped bookshelf - I can keep ALL.THE.BOOKS when they are electronic!

    So that picture above offends me. Let's love reading in all forms and encourage our children to just read.

    Wednesday, February 5, 2014

    An Oils Adventure

    I've made no secret of my love for being as natural as possible. Well, my co-worker/friend and I recently discovered something that we are just NUTS about.  Essential oils.

    In just a short period of time, I have replaced so many products with essential oils. Have a cold? Diffuse lemon. Having trouble sleeping? Lavender and Peace & Calming to the rescue. Bad food smell in the house? Purification kills that odor! Sore muscles? Pan-away! And my absolute favorite is Thieves that has been scientifically studied and proven to be 99.96% effective at killing germs!! I clean with Thieves {think a SAFE, non-toxic Clorox wipe} and put it on the kids before going to school for an immunity boost. What Mom wouldn't love that?

    In one short phrase - This stuff is amazing.

    I have had several friends {and my mom too} try it and fall in love. My mom has really bad asthma and has to do breathing tests every week. Since using YL oils, she has had the BEST scores on her breathing tests EVER.

    Pretty amazing stuff!

    Jenna and I also started a blog about essential oils and plan to do a post or 2 a week talking about all the different oils we're trying as well as information about the science behind them and ways to use.  Check it out HERE.

    Let me know what you think about our new blog!!

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    Movie Review: Captain Phillips

    After seeing Philomena, Allison and I quickly squeezed in another movie that was at our local dollar cinema - Captain Phillips. It made me laugh we saw 2 movies back to back with 'Phil' in the title. #yesiknowiamadork

    PlotThe true story of Captain Richard Phillips and the 2009 hijacking by Somali pirates of the US-flagged MV Maersk Alabama, the first American cargo ship to be hijacked in two hundred years.

    Review: I would say Allison and I both enjoyed the film but don't really see it as a 'Best Picture' contender. Tom Hanks was great {as usual}, and we both commented after it was over that his performance in the last 5 minutes was really awesome. Overall it was good, not great, and we're glad we only paid $1.50 each!

    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    13 Month Memories!

    I'm not planning to do a full-blown monthly post for Drew anymore now that she's one but will still do them for all her well-checks {just seems logical to me}. But I did want to 'jot' down some of the things happening this month so I won't forget.

    Happy 13 months, my Love Bug!

    You are starting to talk, and I am pretty confident to say you have 6 words. 'Mama', 'Dada', 'Bubba' {Brother}, 'hi', 'no', 'mo' {more}. I feel like you're starting out a little slower than Trent did to talk, but you are quickly catching up!

    You love shoes! You are constantly bringing me shoes {yours, Brother's, mine} to put on you. You also love to play with the velcro straps on your school shoes.

    We have pretty much switched you to 1 nap all the time. If you wake up crazy early, you might still get 2 naps.

    You are biting, you stinker! You want to put fingers in your mouth - even your baby doll fingers.

    You still love your baby dolls {especially your cabbage patch one}, think books are okay, love to stack/knock down blocks, love to be held {especially by Mama} and think your brother is the best.

    You moved up classes at school to the 'First Steps' class and are doing great!

    Happy 13 months, baby!!

    And just because Brother seems to be sorely neglected on the blog as of late...{But lots of updates on him soon!}

    He wanted hair like the guy singing {Bruno Mars} during the 'half hour show' - love it!