Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Thanksgiving in Review

I've been trying to write this post for at least three days now.  I'm either too busy or too tired to finish it each time, but hopefully today will be the day...

We certainly had an eventful Thanksgiving weekend.  Wednesday during the day we went to Jacob's Thanksgiving feast at daycare, since he was off school.  I brought a few gluten-free accoutrements to replace the things he couldn't eat--stuffing, rolls, and gravy--which worked out well.  We managed to get all packed up that night and head to Buffalo right around bedtime for the boys, so they got some sleep on the way there and settled in pretty well at Craig's parents once we got there.  We had a comfortably lazy morning before heading over to Craig's brother's house in the early afternoon.  We snacked, watched some football, and played with Carter before eating closer to dinnertime.  I tried to help prepare the food a bit, but Carter is going through a mommy phase right now and would not stop crying (whether he could see me or not) until I was holding him.  So I'd do what I could while he was distracted, hold him for a bit, and repeat it the next time someone wanted to hold him. 

Our dinner was a fantastic and mostly gluten-free affair.  While there were a couple gluten-filled items, there were gluten-free substitutes.  Cornbread stuffing, gluten-free drop biscuits, gluten-free gravy, and lots of naturally gluten-free items as well.  Dessert was much the same, with some layered rainbow jello, apple and cherry pies with gluten-free crusts, and a yummy gluten-free Oreo pie as well.  Everything was delicious.  We had a pleasant evening and then headed back to get some sleep and check in on Black Friday online shopping (not successful). 

We left late Friday morning and had a late lunch at home.  I took down all of my fall decorations, made up some Thanksgiving leftovers for dinner, and made popcorn for movie night.  I didn't get nearly as much done as I would have liked, though. 

Saturday morning was equally low key in that the kids and I were in our pajamas until at least 11am.  Craig had an event to go to at 11, Jacob was content watching TV and messing around with coloring and hockey tape (don't ask), and Carter went down for a great morning nap.  During that time I managed to get a lot of the Christmas decorations up from the crawl space and scattered around the house.  I also got the tree out, but it sat undecorated for a couple days.  If it wasn't pre-lit, it wouldn't have had lights either.  When Carter got up from his nap, the boys and I went out to run a few errands.  I stopped to get a pair of boots I'd been eyeing up for a while (a very good sale), then we went to the dollar store to pick up some supplies for a couple projects Jacob needed to do for school.  We got a note home before Thanksgiving that each kid needed to contribute a decoration for their door, as well as a stocking to hang by the classroom "fireplace".  UGH.  I mean, it's fine...but I hate projects that end up being more work for the parents than the kids.  And with Jacob, everything is a battle so I knew it would be a bit of a long haul.  Still, we managed to come to some fairly quick agreements and escaped with only having to spend a few bucks.  Our final stop was Lowe's, where I needed to get desperately overdue filters for our refrigerator and furnace, as well as some replacement nuts and bolts to fix our broken kitchen drawer.  The wheel that keeps it on a track came unscrewed from the drawer, and the screws would no longer hold it in.  After wracking my brain for a while I realized that screws with nuts to hold them on would work, so I just needed to get a couple of those.  And yes, it worked.  Go me.

We went home, and all my productivity vanished into a frustrating evening.  We found out that Craig's Nana was in the hospital and not doing well, so we concluded that it was important that we go visit her on Sunday.  We're happy to do it, of course, under those circumstances in particular, but it definitely dashed my hopes for a productive yet restful last day of the long weekend.  On top of that, Jacob (who had been rather cooperative for most of the day) turned back into a maniac.  I didn't know what to make for dinner, and reluctantly settled on breakfast for dinner.  I've been doing it a lot these days and it seems like a total cop-out, but it's so easy to make gluten-free pancakes or waffles and some eggs.  I got more of my decorating done, and spent the rest of the night working with Jacob on his school projects.  We got the body and face of his hockey-playing snowman decoration done--posterboard and glitter glue--and set aside to dry.  I wrote Jacob's name on his dollar store stocking, also with glitter glue, and set that aside. 

Sunday I felt compelled to get up and go to church despite our busy day ahead, if only because it was the first practice for the Sunday School Christmas program.  They pretty much only have two, so that was important.  Not that Jacob usually participates willingly, but it's worth a shot.  We came home, had a quick early lunch, fed Carter, and got on the road to Buffalo.  Both kids slept along the way and we arrived at the hospital around 3:30 thanks to some really bad traffic on the way in.  Craig's brother's family arrived shortly thereafter and we took turns going up to visit Nana so someone was still down to watch the kids.  It was great to see her, and by the time we got there she was doing better.  What they thought was an intestinal blockage possibly wasn't, and they were hopeful that antibiotics would do the trick.  If she would have needed surgery it would have been devastating, as she's 94 and her heart isn't particularly strong.  We originally thought as we were going there that it might be the last time we saw her, but the prognosis has gotten better over the last couple days so we're hopeful she'll pull through.  Still, it was good to see her and talk to her, and it definitely meant a lot to her that we came. 

We decided to eat dinner at the hospital before returning home, mostly because there was a conveniently located Mighty Taco in the lobby!  Mighty Taco has a great gluten-free menu.  In fact, the only alteration to what Jacob normally eats there is a corn shell instead of a flour tortilla.  It does make me a little nervous with all of those flour tortillas lying around, because cross-contamination would be easy, but they make a pretty big deal about their gluten-free menu so I'm hoping that means they take it seriously.  It was nice to have a "normal" meal out, and we headed back home with some evening time to spare.  Jacob and I spent most of it working on his school projects again.  I let him loose on his stocking with the glitter glue, and we were lucky to have it 99% dry yesterday morning (36 hours later!) when he had to take it in.  He did a great job, though.  I forgot to take a picture, but maybe I'll post one after he gets it back after the holiday. 

The bigger challenge was his snowman.  The assignment was to create a Christmas/winter-themed decoration for the classroom door.  Jacob wanted to do a snowman, and he wanted it to play hockey.  Ok, that seemed doable.  The assignment gave suggestions on materials people have used, and I decided a trip to the dollar store was in order.  We bought posterboard, googly eyes, glitter glue, and craft foam.  We had originally intended on using cotton balls, too, but we forgot about that until it was too late...same with the googly eyes!  Jacob had a lot of ideas about how he wanted to do it--including real sticks for the arms.  It turned out that the real sticks worked well, but then he wanted to make a hockey stick out of the sticks, too, but that just didn't go well.  But he fought us on it for quite a while.  I think he's got this thing where he can totally see something (that a certain outfit makes him look like a sports guy, for example), but he can't understand that no one else will see it that way.  Our big concern was that no one would know that it was a hockey stick.  Same for when he tried to make a goalie mask out of the foam, which pretty much just covered the entire face.  Or when he wanted to add a chin strap and it looked really strange.  It took a lot of convincing, but eventually we found acceptable other suggestions and let him do a lot of the execution.  I tried to only step in when a step had been going on for far too long or if a screw-up would have messed up everything to the point we'd have to start over.  I helped do the arms (since it took some engineering), did the nose (since it was a mix of two colors of glitter glue), connected the stick to the arms (again, engineering), and did the skate blade glitter and some of the cutting around the skates (since we had to cut before glittering and Jacob couldn't quite visualize leaving space for it).  But he did the vast majority and we were thrilled with how it turned out:
Success!

So, it was a busy weekend and this week hasn't slowed down.  Craig has a busy week and I haven't been feeling well, and I feel like there are a million things I need to be doing to get ready for Christmas.  At the same time, Carter is getting to be very active and will not sit still for anything (or be far from me for long), so it's hard to get anything done.  Oh, and Monday night as I was playing with him, I thought I heard him grind his teeth--which is impossible with only bottom teeth--so I felt around, and sure enough, one of his top teeth is coming in!  The other one doesn't look far behind, and I think I can even see another couple looking like they're coming soon!  What happened to my baby?!  Oh, and he's totally pulling himself up now, and this morning Craig put him in his crib for a minute and came back in to find him standing up!  I've already moved the mattress down once and I don't see him going all gymnast on us anytime soon, but the final mattress move is coming sooner than we thought!  He's getting to be a major handful, which is a little frustrating at times, but he's still darn cute...

We also started putting a half scoop of sensitive formula into his bottles last weekend, and so far he seems to be tolerating it, which bodes well for dairy.  I bought some of those yogurt melt things last night so we can try that, as I'm having major anxiety about his ability to do solid table foods at his age and his rice intolerance makes finding suitable foods difficult.  We seem to be upping his food intake a lot now (usually an entire jar of food and some oatmeal at each meal), and last night I gave him a couple Cheerios, which he successfully ate without choking.  He even got one in his mouth by himself! 

Ok, one more story from the weekend.  I happened to put up the tree and lighted garland during Carter's nap on Saturday, and I was interested to see his reaction when he woke up.  I carried him out of his room and his eyes instantly went to the tree.  He stared at it for a few seconds, unsure of what he was seeing.  Then a coy little smile popped out with a little grunt/guffaw he's been doing lately when he's amused by something.  He's been staring at it (and crawling toward it) a lot ever since.  I was trying to get a good picture of his fascination, but between him moving and his short attention span, this was the best I got.  I know it's blurry, but I just love the sweet look on his face...and you still can't beat those cheeks!
Oh, that face...
So, yeah, things are a little crazy.  But we're swimming along...

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