Tuesday, June 28, 2011

It's Amazing!

I am forcing myself to take a break from these pesky papers that I have due this Sunday to recap yet another awesome weekend for the Mandell household. While we did not spend the weekend together as a family, we all had such an amazing time. Justin went to Pittsburgh with my family to watch the Red Sox play a few baseball games. The group that went saw a game Saturday night and Sunday during the day. Justin wined, dined, and gambled all while building a better relationship with the McCabe's. From what I hear it was an amazing weekend filled with fun, sun, and a one armed waitress my cousin might have taken a liking to.
The boys left for Pittsburgh Saturday morning and Ethan and I finally saw Justin Monday night.
Here is a picture of the boys before one of the games:
In the picture: my grandfather (Heap), my two cousins (CJ and Mac), my brother (Marc), my uncles (Bill and Chris), my dad (Jim), and my adorable Red Sox hat wearing husband (Justin).

Ethan and I hung out with my mom in Lynchburg for the weekend. The whole plan was to take Ethan to Amazement Square in downtown Lynchburg. He loved going there. There were so many things for him to do. He was mostly interested in playing with blocks, balls, and they even had a "river" inside where he was able to let boats float in water, play with the water, and eventually end up wearing the water. It was a good time and by the time we left, I was exhausted, my mom was exhausted, and Ethan threw a tantrum because he was NOT ready to go (surprise, surprise). When we got into the car, he fell asleep within the first three minutes. So I know he definitely had a great time.

Some pictures of our adventure:

Ethan on the Johnny D tractor located on the "farm"
 Ethan playing with the blocks. He really just wanted to put them away after another child was finished with them
 Ethan playing with some fruit
 Ethan standing on some life sized building blocks
 Notice the shirt? The result of the "river"
 Ethan checking out the boats with GG
 Ethan opening up the dam to let the water and boats go through

All in all it was a good Saturday. We went to amazement square, ran some errands, and had a girls night to include dinner at my mom's with my grandmother, cousin, mom, and aunt.

There was one downside to the weekend. Saturday morning Ethan woke up with a little bit of a rash on his face. I did not really think much of it because he was acting like his normal self. It seemed to subside as the day went on and we just attributed the rash to a little irritation from the detergent on a towel that he used Friday night after his bath. Well, we were wrong. On Sunday morning this is what I woke up to:

Ethan not only had a full blown rash on his face but it was now EVERYWHERE. It was on his back, stomach, feet, hands, ears, EVERYWHERE. I gave him a dose of Benedryl hoping it would help and when we made it back to Hampton I even bathed him in Aveeno oatmeal wash. Nothing seemed to help. We finally ended up going to talk to a pharmacist and were told it might be a reaction to the amoxacillin Ethan had to take for his double ear infection he had the week before. So I did not give him his last dose of the antibiotic and we went about our normal routine for the night. I dropped Ethan off at school the next day and of course he did not make it through the entire day. I got a call letting me know he was now wheezing. Well fear started to set it that something more serious might be wrong and since it was too late to make an appointment with his PCP, we ended up in the ER. Ethan took it well and eventually it was concluded it was probably just a reaction to the amoxacillin, it might be fifths disease, or it might be something more serious but since he did not have a fever and was acting as normal as ever, we could disregard the more serious diagnosis unless his symptoms changed. So he received a breathing treatment for the wheezing, he is now on a steroid to make the rash go away, and he is taking Zyrtec. I am also happy to report the rash is slowly going away and he does not look as "scary" as some people treated him the other day.

All in all from these pictures you can tell Ethan did not mind being in the ER and had a great time!

So that is what the Mandell's have been up to the last few days. A lot of fun, a little sickness, and now a lot of writing!

Until next time...

Friday, June 24, 2011

Thoughts on pregnancy...

So when I was pregnant with Ethan I kept a running list in my head of things that really bothered me when it came to pregnancy and people's perceptions of pregnant woman. The this included my own feelings, comments people made, or just things in general about pregnancy...

So here is my list that I have now. Some are repeats of when I was pregnant with Ethan, but some are new since times have changed in the past two years.

1. Pregnancy is not in the water. I cannot stand that staying "must be in the water"...I think we all know how it happens, so just own up to it and do not be ashamed of it!

2. Unless I say it is okay, do not assume you can just touch my belly. If I do not know you, why would I let you touch my belly? If I do know you (unless you are my husband, son, or parents) it would still be nice of you to ask. I already feel as big as a house so I do not really need you touching me too.

3. "Does it have a weight limit?" Now I must laugh at this because my own husband said this to me
when I put Ethan's toddler bed together. I am sure it does have a weight limit but I had to show him how to use his bed, and it didn't break, so lay off! :)

4. Not being able to breath stinks and being kicked in the bladder is no fun.

5. Having to roll out of bed is not as fun or funny as people think it is.

6. C-sections are MAJOR surgeries so when you scoff or make comments like "it is just a c-section" you've probably never had one and you would not understand. It is a MAJOR surgery and it takes longer to recovery from a c-section than a vaginal delivery, so keep your comments to yourself!

7. Swelling is no fun and knock on wood, I have not had any yet. My rings still fit, my shoes still fit, and I do not feel like an Oompa Loompa walking (yet).

8. Ethan it's not appropriate to smack mommy's belly trying to play it as if it were a drum. If you do not watch out, your brother is going seek revenge on you one day!

9. Just because I am pregnant does not mean I will eat anything that is offered to me. In fact, it means I will eat more of one particular food than a variety of foods.

10. If you see a pregnant woman waiting to cross the street, let her cross! It's hot outside people and having another life incubating inside of you makes it twice as hot.

11. Stop asking me if I am pregnant. I am almost 32 weeks pregnant, you've had a good 20 weeks to ask that question, now I am clearly pregnant. If people do ask, I generally answer "no". You should be able to just tell.

12. I know I've gained weight, but you do not need to draw attention to it. Usually when bigger people say something about it ("oh you're so big") I usually want to respond (but never do) "I'm pregnant, what's your excuse?"

The list goes on and on but those are some of my favorites. Be considerate when it comes to pregnant woman and cut them some slack, it's not easy creating something so perfect!

Until next time....

Back to square one!

Well well well...looks like we are back to square one with regards to the timing of our newest additions arrival. Two weeks ago I had a doctors appointment and basically my doctor (I am alternating through three different ones mind you) stated he wanted to set a date for baby #2 to make his presence. He wanted to take the baby in the 37th week, I convinced him to move it to the 38th week, and after Justin and I had discussed that August 10th would be an excellent day to have him, I was told I really cannot schedule to have him until the 39th week. Confused? Yes, so am I. When I called to change the date from August 11th to August 10th the lady that does the scheduling told me that she is not allowed to schedule the birth until the 39th week. I learned today that it has a lot to do with the due date estimation, length of stay for mother/baby, and other additional factors. So when I looked my doctor in the eye today and asked him realistically when we are looking to have this baby, he said "the 39th week". So if all goes according to plan, 7 weeks and 2 days from now Luke/Colin McCabe Mandel will be here (although I am currently measuring about 2 weeks ahead of schedule)!

We wanted to have the baby on August 10th because that is my grandfather's birthday also. How cool would it be to be a grandfather and have your great grandchild born on your birthday and vice-versa? Maybe he will be born then, maybe he won't, but we certainly thought it would be the perfect day! But instead we are back to an extra week of waiting, holding our breath my body decides to cooperate, and keeping our fingers crossed my mom and dad will be there this time!

Until next time....

Monday, June 20, 2011

What a weekend!

We finally were able to get a diagnosis for what was plaguing Ethan for the better part of last week. After his fever was coming and going and just eventually seemed to come back and NOT go down, Justin and I decided we needed to get the little guy to the ER. Ethan has a PCP but his doctor works a lot like my doctor does and closes for half a day on Friday. In hind sight I probably should have taken Ethan to see his doctor  on Thursday but he was feeling fine for the majority of the day and the Motrin we were giving him was keeping his fever down, so I simply thought he might have just had a little bug. WRONG! Turns out Ethan had a double ear infection but showed none of the typical signs other than a fever. We took him to the ER, they gave him a super strength dose of acetaminophen, gave us a prescription for an antibiotic, and before we knew it he was bouncing off the walls and seemed to back to his normal self (although he was still tired). Below are some pictures from our trip:

This is Ethan after his temperature was taken rectally since he would not cooperate any other way

This is Ethan after his dose of acetaminophen loving his daddy

This is Ethan knocked out right before he got his second wind and started being his cheery self again!

Thankfully Ethan started feeling better because he had a big weekend coming up! Justin went out of town to go Phishing so it was just me and little man for the majority of the day on Saturday. We ran some errands, picked up some father's day gifts/cards, and played with crayons for what seemed like an eternity. Ethan's Peepa (Grandpa) and GG (Grandma) also came into town to take some furniture back to my brother since he's moving into his own apartment. It seemed like it took forever for them to get here but when they did, Ethan (and I) was in heaven. Peepa is Ethan's buddy and is next in line to daddy so he was ecstatic when they got here. This visit with them was a little different than their previous visits because this time Ethan took it upon himself to "test" his grandparents and define the boundaries for what they would allow him to do. He learned quickly that GG and Peepa are not much different than mommy and daddy and the boundaries do not extend much further. It think it was a good learning experience for all of us!  When Ethan did something that I did not like and I scolded him all he would do was call for "Peepa, Peepa, Peepa" and would not stop calling his name until Peepa picked him up, played with him, or calmed him down. And when Peepa left to go back home, Ethan cried, and did not want him to leave. I know it has to make my parents feel loved that he does not want them to go but I always reassure him that we will see them again and I think that makes him feel better.

Ethan also learned a couple of new songs that his GG taught him. They sang "Old McDonald", "The Wheels on the Bus", "ABC's", and "Twinkle, twinkle, little star" endlessly and now Ethan's favorite things to say are cockadoodle-doo, all through the town, and E-I-E-I-O (of course with some extra vowels added in). It could truly listen to him sing all day!

It was nice to actually see my dad for Father's Day and I know it meant a lot to him that he was able to spend time with all of us on his special day. Below is a picture of Ethan and GG (definitely the best picture of the weekend):

So all in all it was a great weekend! Justin got to see two Phish concerts, Ethan got to spend time with his Peepa and GG, and I got to see my dad on Father's Day! Life is good!

Until next time....

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Happy Birthday to you!

This past week was a somewhat a trying week for the Mandell household. The week started out smoothly but that all changed on Wednesday (6/15). I received a call from Ethan's school that I needed to come get him because he was running a fever. I raced to go pick him up and when I got there he looked at me with the saddest face, walked over to me, wanted to be held, and did not want me to let him go. I knew something was going on with him because normally when I go pick him up all he wants to do is go see his daddy (like his dad is the cool parent or something). So I get Ethan home and all he wants to do is snuggle on the couch, watch his favorite show, and drink his juice. He did not want a snack which seemed weird to me because normally when we get home he's ready for dinner (mind you we get home a little after five). When Justin got home it was a completely different story. He wanted to play and no longer wanted anything to do with mommy. We managed to keep to our regular nightly routine although we skipped our weekly pizza outing and Ethan really did not eat dinner at all that night. Now since his school's policy is that he has to be fever free for at least 24 hours, Justin volunteered to stay home with him since Thursdays are hectic for me work-wise.
That night I was reminded how I actually spent the night before Ethan's birth: with little sleep and uncomfortable. Ethan ended up in bed with us for the majority of the night, blazing hot, and unable to sleep. Since he was not sleeping we were not sleeping. Finally we caved and gave him some medicine to hopefully break his fever. This did temporarily make him feel better, allowed him to sleep some, and most importantly allowed Justin to move him back to his crib giving us hope to get a little bit of sleep. I think all in all I got about three hours of sleep. The night before Ethan was born I think this is the same amount of sleep I got since I had a raging headache, my neck hurt, and Justin's snoring was making me crazy! So if the same holds true next year the night before Ethan's birthday, I guess we will have to start calling this a tradition!
So the big day arrives! Ethan turns two and it was probably one of the worst days he has had in a long time. He slept in which was weird for him. He napped more than he probably does all week and by the end of the day it seemed like his stomach was in knots because he could not keep anything down. We thought he'd only be sick for one day since that is normally how it goes for him, but by bedtime it was clear I was going to have to take the day off from work because there was no way he was going to go to school again.

So all in all Ethan's birthday was nothing like I had hoped for him and all we can do it hope that next year will not be the same! We still celebrated as best as we could and as much as Ethan would allow, he did manage to open all of his gifts. So all I can say is happy birthday baby boy, mommy loves you, and you have given me two of the best years of my life!
The birthday boy eating pizza with mom and dad for lunch:
 So until next time...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

That's Elmo's World

We celebrated Ethan's birthday today and even though it was his second I think it's becoming tradition to have his party on the hottest day of June. Last year was sweltering and this year did not disappoint either. Now normally I do not mind the heat but with an extra body invading my space, I definitely tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible and Justin was on Ethan duty for the majority of the party. To show just how hot it was, here are some pictures of Ethan red face and all:

The beginning of the party did not start out so smoothly since Ethan decided he likes to be a dare devil and walked right behind a girl swinging on a swing. As she was coming back on the swing, Ethan ran right behind her, and BAM! Ethan was on the ground crying, the girl was crying, and I was covered in mulch and tears. Thankfully Ethan was just in shock and probably a little embarrassed but I think he learned a valuable lesson: DO NOT WALK NEAR THE SWINGS! We are thinking he might have a little bit of a black eye tomorrow but that beats a broken bone.
I think the highlight of the day was Ethan's AWESOME Elmo cake. We chose to have Elmo as the theme of the party because while he does not watch Sesame Street, Ethan loves Elmo. He has Elmo shirts, socks, books, stuffed animals, and as most moms know, Elmo is even on diapers these days. Therefore, it was only fitting to have an Elmo cake. Our very talented friend Christina Carpenter was the first person we could think of to take on such a task. We could have gone to a grocery store but we wanted something unique that no other child was lucky enough to have before. Christina did an Elmo cake, Elmo cupcakes, and even a number 2 cake just for Ethan to enjoy. Not only did the set up look amazing but the cupcakes tasted great! We are really looking forward to cutting the Elmo cake on Ethan's actual birthday (6/16)! Take a look a look for yourself:

Great job Christina, we really appreciate all of your hard work!
Thank you to everyone who came to celebrate with us, we hope you all enjoyed the day, and we really appreciate it!

Until next time...

Friday, June 10, 2011

Babies"R"Us - Baby Registry

Babies"R"Us - Baby Registry

Registry? What registry?

So our second little dude will be here before we know it! Here's what he looked like a mere 10 weeks ago:

Recently the ladies at work have been asking me about a baby shower and my registry. From the minute we found out we were pregnant, I just assumed we would not be having a second shower because I literally saved every piece of clothing Ethan has worn (except newborn stuff that was given to Justin's sister) and we still have all of the "big ticket" items: the crib, stroller, car seat, high chair, pack and play, etc. so I thought a shower would not be needed. Once I explained this, I still was asked questions about the registry. I was told that even though I am not having a shower, I should still do a registry. It never really occurred to me to do one until I started stalking Target and Babies R Us for the latest and greatest in children's products. I have to admit a lot of new things have come out since we had Ethan and it has only been two years! I can only imagine how my mother feels about all of these products since I was born 29 years ago and more than half of the things they have now had not even been thought of back then. Therefore, we have created a registry at Babies R Us for our second little guy. Take a look and make suggestions if need be. I like looking at other people's registries, so I figured maybe someone would like to look at mine!

Until next time....

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Rivah

What a weekend! We had a great one! My cousin Elizabeth is now the most recent graduate of our family and we had such a good time celebrating with her and the rest of the family. After the graduation, we made our way back to my aunt and uncle's house on The River (located in Mathews right on the water!). It is amazing to think the last time we were there Ethan could barely walk and this time there was no stopping him. I think Ethan was on the go from the minute he woke up to the minute we had to force him to go to bed. Saturday was a long day but well worth it. We had hamburgers and hot dogs, s'mores, and hung out with each other telling stories and just having a great time! The hamburger I had was the best I have had in a long time. The only thing that could have made it better was having the bun toasted (ahem, Jim McCabe). And the s'more I had was the best I have ever had, perfectly burnt (thank you, Nan Bowden)! It was so nice to be around family that it seemed like I had not seen in ages and it was really nice to just relax and hang outside with not a care in the world (thank you Justin for chasing Ethan around all day).
Here are some pictures from our weekend:

This is Ethan with his grandmother and great grandmother. He is showing them some of his sign language skills. Everyone thought he was blowing them a kiss goodbye but really he was signing "thank you".

Ethan found the cooler full of ice at the graduation party my aunt and uncle threw for their daughter Elizabeth. Ethan had a great time taking the ice out and putting it back in. I wonder if anyone had a problem that every single piece of ice was touch by him!

This is Ethan back at the house. He was feeding everyone grapes and this is the face he made after someone ate a grape, he thought it was the coolest thing in the ever!

Ethan had a great time hanging out with his uncle Marc, my brother. When Ethan was younger, Marc did not really want a lot to do with Ethan because he was waiting for Ethan to be able to walk and talk and essentially be "more fun". I personally think Marc kept his distance from Ethan because Ethan was a small child and Marc did not want to hurt him. Since Ethan is now his own person, he has such a good time hanging with Marc. It is so great to see my brother so attentive and so caring and my hope is that some day Marc will know what it is to be a parent and have a great time with his own children.

My parents decided to surprise us all with something they purchased this past week. When my mom told me about it, all I could think is that my parents are both going through their mid-life crisis at the same time. Below is what they surprised us with:

It's a VW, but I like to call it Ethan's education money (just joking of course)!

So all in all it was a great week and I cannot wait for this coming weekend when we are celebrating Ethan's 2nd birthday!

Until next time...

Friday, June 3, 2011

What did you say?


Ever since E was a little guy, he has always had this light about him when it comes to learning. I personally have always thought he is cognitively more advanced than his peers and perhaps that is why I have always treated him like he is older than he actually is. Sadly, I have to admit these "smarts" do not come from his me but from Justin. As many of you probably do not know my husband belongs to an organization called Mensa. What is Mensa you ask? Mensa is an international organization for people with very high scores on IQ tests. The members have an IQ that is in the top 2% of the WORLD'S population. So to put it mildly: my husband is a genius! Naturally, I would not expect any less from my children because as I have heard from day one Ethan is his father from head to toe (although he gets his attitude from me or so I hear!).

We put E in a learning center that would not only help him grow in his intellectual abilities but also encourage them. At first, we looked at the school (The Learning Experience) because we wanted him to interact with children his own age but once we received all of the information on the school, we were really impressed that they do stress education and even teach the children sign language. Now if you have never seen a child sign then you would not understand just how cool it is. E first used sign language at home when we were watching a show that was going through the ABC's. He signed "more" because he loves this song and wanted to sing it again. I looked at Justin and he did not see it, but then I asked E again what he wanted and he signed "more" again. Of course we applauded him and made it seem like the most awesome thing because a little positive reinforcement goes a long way. This proud mother can now say my son knows how to sign: "more", "please", "thank you", "eat", "sad", "hurt", and "happy"! By the months end he should be able to sign "water". Now I must admit, my son is also very perceptive so if he really wants something he will put a smile on his face and sign and I usually cave and give him what he wants.

The sky truly is the limit for my little guy!