Wednesday, May 19, 2010

of blood, tears, and stuffy noses

I was run over by a truck yesterday. Or so it felt. Monday night, Grayson woke up about an hour into the night, crying like he was having a nightmare. After he couldn't calm himself back down, I went in, got him settled, and he fell back asleep.

15 minutes later, he was screaming again. My wife went in that time, tried to calm him down, did, and at that point we were both getting into bed (around 10:30, I think).

A few minutes later he cried out again, and we noticed his nose sounded stuffy, so she suctioned him out.

When she returned, she noticed some pink on her shirt, and assumed that the aspirator had given him a little nose bleed (happens from time to time, we avoid using it unless it's really bad- he's learned to blow his nose thankfully).

At about 11:30 she went in again because he was being fussy..turned on the light, and I hear commotion, an "oh my goodness", and my name being called. Now, I really wish I'd taken a picture, but his sheets had blood all over them and he looked like a boxer that had been punched in the mouth. At some point during the times he'd woken up (or perhaps he did it in his sleep and that woke him up?) he managed to bite not one side, but both sides of his inner cheek. I'm talking huge chunks. So the inside of his mouth was really swollen and he was not happy. The initial pain must have gone away, because he didn't complain about it while up, but he couldn't sleep because he must have kept irritating it. Compound all of that with the fact that he's been drooling like a beast, so 2 year molars must be on the way, AND he had a very stuffy nose (I attribute to the teething). So, to sum up, we all had a tough night. I took him to see the doctor yesterday morning, and she said though it looked bad, the mouth heals really quickly, and she just told me to avoid certain foods, provide lots of cold foods, and give tylenol/motrin as needed. Everything seems to be okay now, with the exception of his stuffy nose. Fortunately, yesterday's nap and last night went perfectly fine. Now I have to catch up on things that did not get done yesterday because I was just too tired to do them.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Another Mother's Day

Yesterday was Mother's Day for my wife's mom. We had the family over to our house, and I grilled teriyaki chicken, bell peppers, squash, zucchini, and onions- without getting soaked by passing showers, remarkably enough. It was a nice, relaxing day, with not a lot on the agenda. Those kind of days are few and far between. I'm thinking this week is going to be a steak week. I haven't cooked any steaks or burgers on the grill yet, and prime grilling weather is soon approaching. Actually, any weather is good grilling weather, though I'm not sure I'll be one of those who grills in the snow.

Backtracking a little bit, my interview at the board of education went very well Friday afternoon. Lasted about an hour, easily the most thorough and professional interview I've ever gone through. Lots of questions that were similar to the interview for the teacher education program, and by the end of it, I felt like she really liked me. It was nice to find out that she was a person who saw me working with special needs kids as an assistant a few years back and actually recommended that I get certification in Special Education. I'm now waiting on the principal to contact me. Considering he has already recommended me for hiring, it seems that it's just a formality until I can sign a contract. Hoping to before the beginning of June.

Back to the day's activities. Grayson and I decided that today we were going to eat lunch with Jennifer, so we planned an entire morning around that. We went to the library across town and got some books not available here in town, hung out with Memaw for a few minutes, then went to Barnes and Noble for a storytime they do every Monday. He had a lot of fun, though not as fun as at the Library. I'm very impressed with his ability to sit and listen to the story being read, especially as other kids are walking around. We browsed the books, played with a train set, and eventually left for lunch. As a side note, I could easily budget $50 a month just on children's books for Grayson. Getting books from the library every week helps alleviate the desire, but we love getting books!

Grayson is currently...hmm..I can't say with certainty what, which means I'd better check. Sitting on the couch, eating cheese. Better make sure the couch is clean before Mama gets home...

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Let's Play Catch Up

The semester is over, exams are submitted, and I now have 3 weeks of a break before the summer session begins. Grayson is doing his thing, exploring the backyard, reading books, watching his favorite cartoons; I'm trying to catch up on a semester's worth of housework, maintaining a lawn, reading books that have been on hold since December; my wife is counting down the days until summer break. Not a lot has gone on lately, well except that little natural disaster we had down here in Tennessee. During the storms, only our sun room received flooding. Fortunately, it does not look to have sustained long term damage, though my wife wants to have someone come out and inspect the wood that may be rotting. I spent the better part of two afternoons cleaning out our gutters after the rains, and hope I don't have to get back up there again this season.

I have an interview at the board of education this Friday! I've already met with the principal at the school I'd like to work at, and I'm certain he intends to hire me as soon as the board gives their approval. I'm not technically going to be eligible for the transitional license until later in the summer, but hopefully I can get prior approval to be hired. My Master's degree and full licensure won't occur until next year, but I can live with that.

A rant: So, Gray and I were at the library yesterday and today. This morning, during story time, the children (typically up to age 3) sit on the floor, in chairs, or in their parent's lap. Well, there was this one child that was 3, going on 4, and he just would not sit down. He would just stand in front of the book and point at things. None of the other children could see because of him. The librarian quietly suggested that he sit on the floor, which he did not do. Fortunately (at least I thought), his mother (or grandmother) came up and told him to have a seat. He sat. For all of 7 seconds, then proceeded to stand up again. She asked him to sit down again, and he ignored her. Alright, this is where I got frustrated. I have a 21 month old who HATES sitting still, yet he can sit in a chair by himself for 5 minutes while the story is being told. This little brat not only cannot stay out of the way, but his caretaker has ZERO control over him. She must have said to him "Sit down" or "come here" a dozen times. Did she actually physically go and get him? Nope. I am guilty of making idle threats, but if I'm in public, I follow through. I can't imagine what she was thinking, with all those other parents right there hearing her. It's one thing to let your child just go wild and not care about the other kids, another to actually realize they are doing something inappropriate and still not do something about it. Grr. I wanted to take grab the child and say "IF SHE TELLS YOU TO DO SOMETHING, YOU LISTEN, YOU LITTLE SNOT NOSED PUNK!" (well, maybe not in those specific terms)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Life of a homeowner

This sounds like a broken record, but I'm just too swamped to consistently think through and type up posts. I try to keep updated through facebook, though. It's so much quicker. So anyway, what's going on now? We're living in our house for the second week, and though much still needs to be done (as far as organizing the chaos) it feels like home. Have had some first time homeowner issues creep up, such as the refrigerator going out. Imagine the difficulty in going 4.5 days with only a minifridge. Not fun. We still haven't gotten it back (they can't find the leak, though they know it has one), but they were kind enough to bring us a loaner. It's in the garage, which is slightly inconvenient, but is a full size fridge. Gray and I went out this morning and restocked nearly everything. There's a slight leak on the tub/shower diverter that I can fix, but I haven't had the time. I gotta get under the house to reroute some phone line, but it's been pretty miserable outside lately. I should probably replace our bathroom outlets with GFCIs as well. So all these things will get taken care of in time. It was nice having someone else be responsible for stuff when living in a rental, but I'm actually excited to learn more about do-it-yourself home improvement stuff.

I've made it past the half way point of the semester. despite all the stress of previous assignments, I managed to pull the trifecta in grades. 3 out of 3 A's. The semester is only getting rougher though, with a number of assignments left. Grayson is very helpful, but I feel bad that he spends so much time playing alone. I guess it's good that he can, but I very much want to play with him or take him out to interact with others more. I'm just on such a tight schedule during the day.

I just realized something that needs to be taken care of before I leave for class this afternoon. Will make some mini updates throughout the next few days as time allows.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Research and observations and housing, oh my!

Where to begin? I'm not all that keen on reliving the past several weeks, as it has essentially consisted of waking up, eating (at home or in the car), planning and implementing my research, staying current with reading assignments for all three classes, making sure that Grayson is cared for and not ignored, observing at a vocational rehab center, and going to class at night three times a week. Somehow, I've seen and spoken with my wife during this time frame. Not to mention having to go through the process of applying to teacher ed at the grad level. Deep breath. Oh by the way, throughout this entire process I (along with my wife) have been going through the somewhat complicated and stress ordeal of buying our first house!

I'm not looking for pity, because I know that despite my recent schedule, it pales in comparison to others. However, I'm pretty proud that I have made it this far without falling apart. Approximately 21 pages of research have been accomplished, my observations are finished for one course, I've read everything that needs to be read for the week, Grayson is alive and thriving, and my wife still recognizes me!

The house. So this is quite an accomplishment. After searching, hoping, failing, and hoping some more, we finally have a contract on a house! Was agreed to just under 2 weeks ago, and we close this Monday, God willing. Mountains of paperwork, phone calls, and faxes, and I'm still on pins and needles, just hoping that everything goes through. I'm not going to exhale until the papers are signed Monday morning. We should have key in hand some time on March 5th. We've been saving for this moment since we got married 5 1/2 years ago, and it's hard to believe the opportunity has finally come. Once the house is truly ours, I'll get some pictures and descriptions up.

I have midterms next week, so my weekend will be full of studying. Fortunately, the weekend of possession begins my spring break, so I'll have a little breathing room to work on the house. It's in move in shape, with the exception of a couple of paint jobs that need to be addressed.

I'm sure more things have happened over the past 3 weeks, but honestly, I probably missed them. I hate missing the Olympics, and all of my tv shows (except LOST, it's the only show I haven't missed lately). I even miss facebook at times. No comments from the peanut gallery on that one, please.

Well, this should do it for now. I needed this just to bring some normalcy to life. I gotta get back to work now, as the boy seems to be stirring from his nap.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

An excused, extended absence

The whole family has been down all week with a stomach virus. It's been awful. Dealing with school (which doesn't take a break, even when I need it) and the sickness has prevented this from being updated. If you read this, pray for my mental and physical sanity over the next 3 weeks. I'll be back with more soon!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Dinner with friends

Whew, it's been a tiring weekend. Saturday evening we went and had dinner with a couple of college friends. Hadn't seen them in quite some time, so was good to have a chance to eat and catch up. They've two young children, so it was definitely a kid friendly night. Grayson had a lot of fun playing with Avery and Oliver. It was funny watching Avery play with Grayson...she's soon to be three, and has the older sibling mindset down pat. She was constantly "helping" him do things, showing him new toys, and generally being a bossy sister. Looking forward to that dynamic between siblings.

Robert and I actually go back to my days at MTSU, as he led the Christian Center group on a few mission trips to Tanzania. We were roommates for a few years, and I was in his eventual wedding (I was friends with his future wife...she met him at a birthday celebration for me). A year later, he officiated my wedding. Even though we hadn't been in real close contact over the past few years, it was awesome to catch up.

In other news, school is pretty stressful right now. It's going to be a long semester, unfortunately. I need to do some school related activities while the boy is down. I'll end this brief note with a few pictures from Saturday night. I love the shots of Avery putting Grayson to "sleep".

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A quick catch up

Going to try to get something posted before the week gets away from me. Grayson is fortunately napping right now. He's got a stuffy nose and it's a horrible sound listening to him try to breath while sleeping. He had a pretty rough night last night, so the nap today is a good sign of things to come. No other symptoms currently, and while he's up and about, nothing seems to bother him. I could rant a little about the possible origin of this little bug, but I won't. Let's just say that he interacted with a child that was obviously sick recently. The interaction was completely unnecessary, as the parent and child did not need to be around. That's just the way things go sometimes, I guess.

Has been a good start to the semester. I have two classes that will be exclusively online for the first 4 weeks. That means I'm only driving into Nashville once a week at this time. Neither teacher is much of a favorite, but I really don't have a choice about my professors. I do find it somewhat (okay greatly) ironic that the instructors that are "teaching" me how to be an effective classroom teacher have never once taught in a K-12 setting. They're just long time students with doctorates and have done some research, but haven't actually had to manage twenty-five bratty, snot-nosed third graders. What do I know?

It's been raining a lot over the past several days, and so our library trips have been cancelled. A day or two ago, we did get out in between the showers to play outside. My mistake, as the yard was very muddy. I should have taken pictures of his hands and pants. I did get a few shots of him playing soccer, though.

The focus of Pelé...

On Monday, since everyone was off, we went shoe shopping for Grayson. He's now up to a size 6. Got a good deal on a couple of pair at Target. There's a second hand store near the square, and several months ago we found an absolutely adorable pair of size 7 Timberland boots for $6. Essentially brand new. I can't wait until he grows into them.

Grayson's imaginative role play is becoming increasingly more fun each day. This week, we've really been having a good time with all his vehicles (dump truck, firetruck, cars). He has little drivers for them that he's given names, he has them "talk" to each other and shake one another's hand..just fun sitting on the floor and watching him play on his own. It also gives me an opportunity to read through my textbooks while also keeping an eye on him.

What else? He understands a large number of colors and shapes. He can name them when shown and bring them when asked. He's also beginning to grasp the counting concept. His counting consists of "two, three, two" pretty much- the ideas are turning in his little mind though.

He's obsessed with cleaning. From an early age, he's always liked wiping things with rags (walls, desks, cabinets), but now when he sits at the table if he sees crumbs, he asks for a napkin and sweeps them onto the floor. He loves to "help".

Speaking of helping, yesterday we made it to the store between the passing rain showers, and when we got back in he pulled every nonbreakable can and jar from the bags and put them in the cabinets where they belonged. I was impressed. I wonder how long this helpful attitude will last. If only through adolescence.

Well, he's still asleep, and I have to get a few things ready before class tonight.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Semester begins...18 months already?

A few items on the blogging agenda this afternoon. I fear it will take quite the discipline and time management to keep this going on a consistent basis over the next few months. My class schedule is a bit of a doozy, and free time is now fully devoted to reading and writing school related topics. Not something anyone here wants to read about, I know!

Speaking of school, my first class of the semester began last night. It was nice to walk into the room and see about 2/3 of the room filled with people I already knew from the previous semester. Will definitely make the projects and group work that much easier, knowing that I can count on those classmates. It was an abbreviated night, primarily for going over the syllabus and getting to know everyone. My other two classes, Mondays and Tuesdays, won't actually meet in person until midway through February. The professor has had recent knee surgery. We'll be meeting online, so I'm not sure if that's going to be a good or bad thing. We'll see.

In more on topic news, Grayson had his 18 month well checkup this morning. He was fantastic, impressing everyone who saw him. Last night, Jennifer read him a Dora book from the library about going to the doctor. He was actually excited about going this morning. One of the benefits of having an early appointment was the lack of wait time. I'd say we were in the observation room within 10 minutes of getting signed in. Nurse asked the routine big concerns..He's at about the 75 percentile for height and 50 for weight..32 3/4 inches and 25lb 11oz. Everything on him looks good. He has 15 chompers, with breakthrough on the 16th imminent. Of course, a pleasant visit with the doctor was concluded with more vaccinations. 4 in all, I believe. He wasn't thrilled with those, but by the time he was on his feet with his pants pulled up, he'd pretty much gotten over it. The mean nurse gave him a sucker and a sticker and all was well.

We came in and immediately upon arriving, I asked him what he wanted to do. He indicated he wanted to watch Toy Story. Sigh. So we watched Toy Story for what seemed to be the 30th time in the last 30 days.

He's napping now..though he took a lot longer to settle down to sleep today than usual. No fussing, but I heard a lot of talking before silence. As tough as the first 8 months were in regards to nighttime sleeping and napping..I'm so happy for how he's developed into such a good sleeper and napper. Knock on wood..I know that fighting sleep is probably around the corner, but I can dream my son will always do this well, right?

The weather is amazing outside right now. I may take a textbook outside and read while he naps.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Why, yes I do read women's magazines

I'm a man. Really. I have a full beard, I love football, and I'm interested in mechanics, carpentry and other masculine stuff. My magazines include Popular Science, National Geographic, This Old House, and other virile reads. Note that I use the term "interested". I don't claim to have any skill in such topics. I also read Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, and Better Homes and Gardens. I readily admit that. That's because I also like reading about decorating, organizing, and cleaning tips. Again, I don't claim to be good at that either. Only that they interest me.

That being said, I understand marketing to a specific sex. Despite the latest trends, women do still make up the majority of the "family" magazine market. Few men read Good Housekeeping. Even fewer openly in public. I also read a ton of parenting magazines. The following is what actually annoys me. The marketing of "Parenting" magazines. You know, Parents, Parenting, American Baby, Today's Parent, etc. I can read the entire magazine, and without fail, this is the layout, time and time again:

60% - dedicated to child raising using the mother's unique perspective.
20%- solely dedicated to the mother's health and beauty (aren't there enough magazines just for that? Why do I have to read/skip 30 pages about the mother's skin care in a magazine about parents raising children?
17%- legitimately involving the perspective of both sexes.
3%- dedicated to the man's unique perspective.

Now some would say, "Keith, you can get stuff out of it even if it's focused on the woman." Yes, yes I can. And I do. I wouldn't continue reading them if I didn't. However, if society expects men to continue to be more involved with direct, day-to-day care of their children (as they should be), can I have a good parenting magazine that gives a little more balance to who the reader might be? I don't need 15 ways to get rid of the baby fat...