Sunday, November 30, 2008

Our latest trials and errors

We all have our ups and downs, and for the most part I feel that the girls are at the best age. They really are a lot of fun and I love that they just take it all in. But we are also having some definite issues.

Most nights (not all) Leah has been waking up screaming. We have no idea why. She seems to be scared by something and just screams. Of course we run in there (as this is not just whimpering and normally comes rather suddenly) and she is comforted as long as she is rocking on us. But the second we put her back in the crib she starts screaming again. Normally we have to stay there patting her until she calms down. She has to make sure we are still there a few times and then we can sneak out without her freaking out again. sometimes. I know Hannah is over there just wishing her sister would hush and let her rest!

The other night we put her down at 7:45 and she screamed until 9:30. We finally went in a rocked her. She feel back to sleep for 10 minutes. So we tried again. I waited until she was really asleep and snuck out. She screamed again in 10 minutes. Then we tried giving a bottle. She settled down again and then started up. Matt finally took her to the pack n play so Hannah could sleep and turned a movie on and let her rest. She finally fell asleep for the night at 12:30. Granted, this is not how it is every night. Sometimes she takes an incredibly long time to fall asleep and other times she wakes up suddenly.

This is all rather new, so I am hoping it is a phase. She did have her 3rd tooth pop through but I doubt it would cause all this. I guess we will see.

Which brings me to the bottle weaning. I think we are going to have 3 year olds on bottles. We have not been really consistent which I intend to work on this week. The plan was to take naptime bottles away and give a sippy cup of milk. They will not even touch cold milk, or warm milk for that matter in a cup. So I got some Ovaltine and Carnation Instant breakfast to put in the cups. That makes them drink about 3 sips more. They cry a lot longer without their bottle when going down for their naps, but for the most part they do go down. We are just bad about giving a bottle when we NEED them to sleep at a certain time so they can be awake at a certain time, and we cant handle an hour or more of crying. But I am off work this week so we are at least going to eliminate one of the 2 nap bottles.

We tried just giving them the bottle at night but not rocking them or making it dark. Just offering it before bedtime and then putting them down. Matt nixed that when we had the awful night with Leah that I talked about. Now we make it dark again and hold them for their bottle. We will work on this soon.

We may have made the mistake in giving them bottles to go to sleep but I dont think we could have survived otherwise. We are in for some big adjustments and I have to say I dont like it. My goal is to be off all bottles but the nighttime bottle by Christmas. Seems reasonable.

Anyway, I have rambled long enough. Bedtime.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This Thanksgiving I cannot even begin to express all the things I am thankful for, but I know I love my family more than anything and every day I get to spend with them I feel truly blessed.

And I would like to say I had a ton of pictures of this day, but alas, I dont have a single one.

I was on call Thurs-Sun this past week. My surgeon was supposed to be out of town starting Saturday though and had family plans on Thanksgiving so I figured I was safe. The plan was to go to my parents house to have our feast around 2:30. I got called in to be at work at 2:30 for a heart transplant. So I helped Matt pack up the girls and he headed to Mom and Dads and I went to work.

The rest of my Thanksgiving day went as I expected. The donor heart was good so my patient, who was extremely sick, got a new heart. It was a very difficult case but the patient did fine and I left work (starving) at 2:30am. I called Matt on my way home and asked if he wanted to partake in some middle of the night leftovers.

Well, we had no leftovers at our house. Turns out, when Matt returned home that night our entire neighborhood was out of power, so he grabbed some things and went to his parents to put the girls to bed. It was after midnight before the power came back on (Seriously bad for the neighborhood - the power went out at 2:00 that afternoon! I bet that ruined a lot of meals! 2600 people out of power because someone hit something!) so he left the girls at his parents and the food in their fridge.

Needless to say I was sadly disappointed. I did get some leftovers on Friday though! So I dont really know how Thanksgiving Day went. I guess Matt can tell about that if there is anything interesting. I did teach the girls to say "gobble gobble" though.

Saturday worked out much better. Matt and I hosted a McCay Thanksgiving/Iron Bowl get together (and No I do NOT want to talk about the results of that game). Matts mom provided all the food, and we provided the house. Worked out great!!! And I finally got to enjoy the meal that I had been waiting for! The girls and their cousins played great together and they all napped around the start of the game.

Nothing terribly exciting to report here, but I thought I would at least mention we made it through the busy week!

Monday, November 24, 2008

The baby gate from ....... Babies R Us

So when the girls started moving we had to put up baby gates. We have a rather large stairway so there is only a select few that fit our landing. So we bought this one first. While the gate itself is very good, the latch was horrible and broke within the first few days. Note to self read the reviews before purchasing. So much to my wife's chagrin, it has stayed basically broken for the entire year. Before you hang me understand it still closed in place and kept the girls safe, but did not work exactly how it was intended, and over time of course it got worse.

So my loving parents kept the girls Friday night and most of the day Saturday, giving us time to finish Christmas decorations and to clean the house in preparation for hosting Thanksgiving. This also included me fixing the gate.

So on Saturday morning, I set off to get a new gate and this is about how it went.

12:00 - Leave for Target
12:30 - Leave Target defeated because they have no gates, and if they did, they did a good job of hiding them, and if they have employees that help you find stuff they did a good job of hiding those too.
12:30 - Head towards Babies R Us
1:00 - Success...find perfect gate with glass front so girls cannot shake the gate like they love to do.
1:30 - Go to Lowe's and get proper tools to hang gate so I do not have to borrow my dads tools.
2:00 - Arrive home victorious with perfect gate and begin to unbox.
2:30 - Finally decide to measure staircase width and find out that the 42in max gate we got will not fit the 50 inch opening. Sigh in frustration and defeat.
4:00 - Head out with wife to return perfect gate and get another one.
4:30 - Arrive at Babies R Us where we find not so perfect gates that will fit our 50in opening. Wife also suggests we buy mounting kit, I disagree saying it is not needed.
5:15 - Arrive home and begin to try to install new pressure mounted gate.
5:30 - After some frustration relize the gate is broken and most likely we need a mounting kit.
6:00 - Leave for dinner with parents.
7:30 - Arrive home with parents where my dad will assist me in trying to hang the other gate that we bought as a backup.
8:00 - Realize for this one we really need to have a mounting kit.
8:20 - Arrive at lowes -- no mounting bracket
8:35 - Arrive at walmart -- no mounting bracket
8:45 - Call target -- no mounting bracket
9:00 - Call Home Depot -- closed
9:05 - BBB -- no gates at all
9:20 - Arrive home in pure defeat, dreading the wife's I told you so (which thankfully she did not give me, but I know she was thinking).

So Sunday morning, set off again for Babies R Us to take back both gates we have and find another one.

12:30 - Arrive at Babies R Us and return both gates
12:45 - Find better option for gate, but Babies R Us does not carry the extension kit needed for the 50in stairway, continue to look.
1:15 - Ask customer service to call toys r us in hoover to see if they carry the part. The lady dials the number and hands me the phone (awesome customer service, I could have done that on my cell phone)
1:30 - In frustration purchase the same gate we had (hopefully not broken) along with a mounting kit ($40 frickin bucks)
2:15 - Arrive home
2:45 - After eating lunch begin to install mounting kit.
4:30 - Mounting kit and gate are finally installed.
4:31 - Realize I hate the gate and that it will have to due for now, but will in the near future I will have to install another gate.
4:35 - Both girls start to shake the gate, which is why the glass gate would have been awesome.

Next stop, the gate to our real fence outside...I will make sure to do better planning this time.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Weekly update

Been a few days since I have blogged so I thought I would type a few things as I eat my wonderful dinner of Kraft Mac N Cheese (at 10:30pm). Yes I just got home from work a little bit ago.

Anyway, What has been going on lately?

My grandmother is all moved in with my parents and seems to really like her new home. She said a few days ago that she did not feel like she was "home" at the assisted living, but now she does. My parents have the upstairs fixed up really nice for her, and so right now things are working out great. Laura took Grandmother Christmas shopping on Monday, and we all went over there for dinner Sunday. Other than that, I have been so busy with work, and they have been so busy getting her stuff unpacked I havent seen her. I hope things will settle down soon!

Last weekend Jason, Katy, Walker, and Eli came over, along with a good friend of ours, Sara, and her 10 month old Isaac. So we had five kids here ranging from 10 months to not quite 3. (And Katy is prego, so does that count as the 6th?). It was hilarious to watch the crew, and amazing to see how much the age gap among all of them has just closed in now that Hannah is walking and Isaac is crawling. They just played together. I can NOT even imagine next year when there is ANOTHER little McCay. But it was good times :)

Work has been busy, as it normally is this time of year. But I did manage to get the Christmas decorations up yesterday, and hopefully my house will be clean on Saturday! I love having the tree up, and the girls are fascinated by all the balls. Of course that is one of their favorite things, and there are about 500 on my tree. Too bad they get told no every time they go near it. Maybe they will learn not to touch the tree by the time we take it down.

The latest on the kiddos:

Hannah is walking everywhere and there is no stopping her. She has gained a little independence with this stage though, and she will actually walk out of the room that I am in. She usually comes back quickly with some kind of toy to give me but Im glad she is gaining some sense of independence. Leah will always follow Hannah so it is good for her too.

Leah is not walking but seems like she wants to. She just gets too excited when she is standing and kind of hops and then falls. Her feet are shaped a little strange, mainly they just point a lot, so she cant quite find her balance. Not something I will worry about until a little later though.

We are trying to wean from the bottle. Honestly this is a weaning process for me too! Bottles are an easy way to get the girls to sleep and though I know it is time to start working on giving it up, I do not know if we are ready :). We probably resorted to giving a bottle in too many situations but I dont care. We did what we had to do. Problem is, they will NOT drink milk from a sippy cup, warm cold or whatever. So I may have to get creative in order to get their milk intake in while we are weaning. Ive heard adding Carnation Instant Breakfast to the milk is a good idea, but then I have to wean off that. So right now, instead of making it all dark and holding them for their nighttime bottle, we just give them a bottle around 7:30 that they can drink while they play and then we read them a story and they are put to bed. Seems easy enough. Then we can switch it to the sippy cup. Well, when we give them the bottle, they just lay down on the floor or climb in our laps so we can hold them while they drink. We tried just nixing the bottle at night and giving them a sippy cup - which they didnt touch, but they cried for about 2 hours. I dunno. Im a bad mommy I guess but I need to be weaned :)

Funny things

- The other day we were playing in the playroom, and the door to the den was open. The girls LOVE the dogs and like to share with them. So Hannah took a lego block out of the room, and when she returned a minute later it was gone. She got another, and left again, returning blockless. She did this about 7 times, and turns out she was taking them all to Millie and Kody who were laying on the couch. They had a nice little pile of Legos next to them, along with a few "little people". Such a sweet girl.

- Last night Matt and I were eating some leftovers, and the girls had already had their dinner. Of course they wanted what we had though. I was sitting in the kitchen, and Matt was in the den (about 10 steps away from each other). Both girls were at my feet wanting a bite of my dinner. So they had to take turns. Bite for me, then Leah, then Hannah, ... Hannah was in no mood to wait though, so she would get her bite from me then walk over to Matt so he could give her a bite, then back to me. Leah eventually went to Matt and stayed, and so Hannah would get her bite from me, walk over to see if Leah was still with Matt and then come back to me. Ridiculous. Oh yeah, when Leah had had enough she took her bite (a noodle) out of her mouth and gave it to Kody. Matt gave her another noodle (in response to Leah's open mouth) and she did the same thing. They have a little pact going Im afraid...

- Apparently when the dogs bark or the garage door opens/closes, the girls think Dada is home. It is so cute. They go to the front windows or to the top of the stairs saying "dada? dada?" over and over again. Unfortunately the dogs bark at everything so normally it is not Dada.

Not much else is going on right now that I can think of. But I do have to be up at 5 to go to work, so goodnight!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Just a reminder

Just a little reminder that I am still trying to start up the recipe club blog, so please visit here and send me an email at to get added as an author. The whole point is to have a lot of people, so come and contribute!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

6 things that make me happy

so I've been tagged by Sarah K to write 6 things that make me happy... Why 6? No idea :)
I could make this really easy and state the obvious : matt, hannah, leah, laura, abby, and kody. That's who all I live with! So instead I will try to be more creative since we are all made happy by the people (pets) we love. Here goes in random order...

Sleeping: mainly naps or sleeping in since I tend to stay up way too late. When kids come into the picture these things are never taken for granted.

Days off work with a clean house. This means I get to spend stress free quality time with my girls. Doesn't happen too often but it's always wonderful.

Christmas time. Pretty much everything about it. Cold weather and fires going with hot chocolate or a glass of wine by the Christmas tree. The decorations, the music, family, food, gift giving. It's just so cozy that nothing beats it.

Tcby. I'm obsessed. Ever since I graduated from auburn and they closed the tcby in Inverness I never get it. But it's so much better than ice cream! White chocolate mousse. Mmmmm

Changes in season. I couldn't think of what season was my favorite because I always get tired of one by the end and look forward to the next one.

The beach. Again an obsession but one that has varied since having kids. Gone are the endless hours of baking in the sun. Probably a good thing for my skins sake but I still love it. Especially when the water is clean and there is a breeze.

Ok there's my 6. That means I tag someone now huh. Ok. I tag Katy, laura g, and amy m

Let the fights begin!

The girls interact more and more with each other every day. Most of the time I find it hilarious. I love that they play peek a boo to each other, and follow each other around. If one leaves the room, the other goes to look for her. And though they have their moments, they normally get along pretty well.

A lot of times they will hold hands while in the high chairs, and give food to each other (not good when I am feeding one prunes to fix one problem and AVIDLY avoiding prunes with the other - if you know what I mean). And yet, they still share.

Until this week...

I bought these tiny Halloween pails that the girls like to carry around. I put some cheerios in one of them the other day for Leah. Hannah came up to her and wanted some cheerios. This would normally not phase Leah in the least. She would just let Hannah have some of the cheerios. This particular time however, Leah took the whole pail and hugged it close to her body, turned away from her sister and SCREAMED at Hannah. Hannah kept trying to reach for the pail, and Leah just turned more, clutched the pail tighter and screamed louder.

Second incident: If I buy them a toy, especially a larger one, they share. I am not buying 2 of everything! I got them the Fisher Price Laugh and Learn Sing and Story time chair.

I have mentioned their obsession with chairs and thought they would love this. They really love it. Unfortunately they both want to be on it at the same time and we had a near miss head injury from one child pulling the other child out of the chair at massive force. Sitting on top of each other is apparently fair game. I actually went out and bought another one, and now they happily play in their own little chairs next to each other - though they do switch often. They better not get used to that...

Of course these are just two moments that are currently in my head but these little fights appear out of nowhere now and I know this will only continue. At least most of the time it is funny... as long as someone isnt being hurled to the ground!

Goodbye Granddaddy, and Hello Grandmother!

The day after Halloween I took the girls to Columbus to be with my family in this time of grief. The strange thing was, I had actually booked a room to stay in the assisted living on Thursday morning for Saturday - just because it was a good weekend for a visit. I knew Granddaddys time was coming but I had no idea he would pass away Friday and my visit would be for the funeral instead.

Matt had been working late all week finishing a project that was deadlined for Monday, the day of the funeral. So he stayed at home and worked Saturday and Sunday and planned on coming Monday only for the service.

The girls were great on the trip down. But when we got there I became a little worried because Leah was not acting like herself. She was very fussy - and it turned out she had a little stomach bug that caused some LOVELY diapers. Sadly, Hannah had the opposite problem so the two of them were quite uncomfortable.

Grandmother seemed to really benefit from the time she spent with the girls and I am glad I brought them, even in their more ornery moments. Plus my whole family got there Sunday or Monday and some of them had never even met H & L yet. Leah really became attached to my aunt, who I think reminded her of Grammy.

The sleeping arrangement was less than ideal. I stayed in the assisted living so that I could easily go back to my room for naps, and then go right back to grandmothers for our visits. But, even though I had a full kitchen, there was no microwave. I hate to say it but the girls still take a bottle (I am not willing to give it up and they easily go to sleep with it!). But Hannah will not TOUCH it if it is cold. Even though it may be a bad habit, if one of them wakes up screaming in the middle of the night I can give them a warm bottle and change them and they are back down in 15 minutes.

The 3 of us shared a room and I had the pack n plays right next to each other. Leah awoke around 1:30 and was obviously in a lot of stomach discomfort. She screamed and screamed. And did not appreciate a cold bottle very much. Her screaming woke up Hannah which caused her to scream and neither would calm down because they were provoking each other. I tried to give Hannah a bottle in her pack n play (out of desperation to calm one baby), but she wouldnt take it cold. Leah was so mad she was arching her back and would not be held. I finally heated some milk in a skillet (thats all I had) and gave it to Hannah which allowed her to calm down enough that I could calm Leah down. It was terrible. I was exhausted that next morning but awoke to the girls laughing at each other playing peek a boo with their blankets through the pack n plays. As if they had not put me through torture the night before! :) I got a microwave from the activity room Sunday just in case someth Luckily Sunday night and MOnday night were not as bad because I think they were both feeling a little better - and I got some gripe water, gas drops, and culturelle to try to help. :)

It was great to see family though even in the worst of circumstances. Matt came on Monday as planned and we took the girls to the service together. Granddaddy had a military funeral and burial, something I had never seen before. It was very moving when the military guys (soldiers? army guys? I dunno what they want to be called) marched in and placed the flag over the coffin. There were some old friends and neighbors there and I appreciated everyone coming to show support even if it had been 15 years since they had last seen our family.

Matt had to take Hannah out of the service because she just wanted to walk and would not tolerate being held down. Leah crawled along the pew and kept waving and saying "bye bye". They brought joy to such a sad day - and as my older sister said in reference to hearing Leah during the service "That's the sound of life!" At least Leah was appropriate in her word choices.

The burial was very hard. He was buried at Fort Benning. The flag was draped over the coffin and the military men sat next to Grandmother. They had a 21 gun salute and I lost it during "taps". But it was just what Granddaddy would have wanted. All I can say is there are way too many women in my family and a lot of sobbing. Grandmother and Granddad had a son and a daughter, which lead to them having 5 granddaughters, 2 grandsons, 7 great granddaughters and 2 great grandsons. Thats quite a legacy. But almost all girls so lots of emotions.

Unfortunately Matt missed the burial too because Leah had a MAJOR accident in the car on the way to the cemetery and had to have a complete outfit change in the back of the van. She reappeared dressed in a miss matched pink outfit with backward pants... Nice.

It was a very emotional day for all of us though. I adored my granddaddy and even though I knew this was coming, and he actually held on for a lot longer than I had anticipated it is still difficult.

On a side note though, my grandmother is moving in with my parents! For the past 5 years it had been planned for her to live with my aunt, but for whatever reason she chose to live with my dad. It has to do with her wanting to have some independence and at my parents she will have the entire upstairs to herself. This way she can keep her furniture, which she was very concerned about getting rid of and have her own place (without a stove). I am thrilled because she is the only grandparent I have left on my side of the family and I love the fact that my girls will be around her. Also, I now have the opportunity to make grandmothers life a little better than it has been for the last 5-10 years. Even though I know she was doing exactly what she wanted to be doing, she has not had much of a life since Granddad got sick.

There are so many wonderful memories my granddaddy gave me and I know I will remember them all forever. I think one of the strangest thoughts I had was when I was driving home and realized I have no reason to visit Columbus GA again. I lived there for about 10 years and after we moved to Birmingham in 1993, I have visited frequently. Now I have no reason to visit so that chapter of my life is closed. At least grandmother is close by now!

I love you Granddaddy. May you rest in peace in Gods glory, and the 8 people you said were waiting on you.

The good, the bad, and the beautiful


It has been a really long week so I am just now getting to this post. First and foremost I got the call from my father Halloween morning that my granddaddy passed away. My dad had been in the parking lot of the assisted living and missed his death by mere minutes. However, Granddad did know that he was there, as if he had been waiting. But more on this later.

Of course my sister and I were very upset by this news but that really is not what this post is about. That will be my next one.

So Halloween day I happened to be home, and the plan was to meet with the neighbors at 5:30 for some trick or treating fun. The girls were not going to go door to door, but we wanted to walk around with everyone and enjoy some of the costumes.

Baby Ava came over before we walked out the door for a little photo op. We did not do too well though. Ava, though she is just a tiny thing has a lot of spunk and can hold her own to my kids. She really likes to pull hair. At least my girls are used to this from each other. But Ava was the cutest little ladybug! My girls were ballerinas. Aunt Katy made them the tutu's for their birthday and I thought this would be an easy costume to ensemble. It proved more difficult than planned though because I could not find a purple onesie to go with Leah's purple tutu. I got cream instead and it worked :)

The girls were the most beautiful little ballerinas though if I do say so myself.
IMG_3540.JPGIMG_3537.JPGIMG_3554.JPGIMG_3553.JPG (I even found ballet slippers!)

Matt and I enjoyed walking around with all the neighbors and their kids. The plan was to stroll the girls but they wanted nothing to do with that so we carried them the entire time. We needed our exercise!
Here is a group shot! A few kids refused to get in the picture though, but these are some of this kids from the street :)

We had a lot of fun though and unfortunately have way too much candy left over... still!