Thursday, January 29, 2009

Goal for 2009? Check!

Ok, folks, I think I might be the only person done with my New Year's resolution!

What's that, Heather?? You've already lost 10 pounds in 30 days? Um, no.

Lemme guess, you've been working out 4 days a week since 1/1/09? Uh... no. But remember I have a broken toe!!

Did you give up chocolate, start a cooking class, unplug your television?? No, no, and NO. But somehow I'm making myself feel guilty with my make-believe conversation.

Well then, what have you actually accomplished?

This...



: )

Now, I couldn't very well put my baby's bum on the internet! After what happened over at Allison's blog, you never know who's looking at your pictures. But let me tell you, "baby got back!" Definitely a little bootie on my man. And with his sacral dimple, his crack is all crooked at the top. Ah, it's adorable!!! Couldn't resist. Oh, and Kameron, he didn't pee!! Drooled a lot, but no pee. Woohoo! OH yeah, and I got a great shot of him checking things out, if you know what I mean. Definitely going in the senior slide show!!

And check out the double 'hawk! It stayed that way all day yesterday!!




Aidan got really excited playing with a bib. He'd twirl it around, shut his eyes really tight and make a crazy sound, and then open up and look at me. And then do it all over again. I couldn't tell if he was having fun or just really ticked!




Chad said he can picture Aidan as a teenager in this one. Ugh! He seriously does not look 8 months old.




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Never cry wolf.

I feel like I've been doing that lately... posting a blog, taking it away, building your excitement... and then usually it's no big deal. Well, I've been building up the reveal of Brooke's new blog that now I'm afraid to show it!! There's just a lot that goes into doing someone else's blog, and that's why it's taken awhile. She had a 3-column template, which was new to me. And I'm trying to add a navigation bar, which is challenging... especially since it'll work on one computer in the house and not on another. And when I try to view my site or hers at work, none of my background papers show. Makes me wonder if you all are seeing everything I'm seeing?! I know that my sidebar pictures are different at work and my font is different at my mom's house. Grrrr. The internet is definitely not a perfect place! Anyway, I should have it up and running this weekend, so you'll have to swing by and leave Brooke a comment. (and knowing two Brookes is confusing my husband!! There's this Brooke, with baby Ryan, who is my friend in real life, and then this Brooke, with daughter TemTem, who I met through Kameron, who I know in real life. Follow me?). : )

Also, I've been talking about having a makeover contest, but now I can't think of a contest!!! Where's MckMama when you need her? Oh yeah, lying on a beach in the Caribbean. Darn her. : ) So, any ideas for a contest??? And no, you won't win if you're the first to come up with an idea. haha I can see how your minds are working, though.

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By the way, have I blogged enough for ya this week?? : ) Aidan's been taking long naps after I get home, which is perfect blogging time. Oh yeah, and since the weather turned nicer, I've had the camera out more. Lucky Aidan. The big black lens staring at him is back.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Par for the course...

UPDATED: I have blogger's remorse. I admit it. I write a blog, post it, and then read it again on my site and change my mind about posting it! Or sometimes I post it and then think I should ask my husband his opinion, and then I regret asking! haha So Chad thinks the post below is too long and my point could've been made in fewer words. But since I am a woman of many, MANY words, I have decided to leave it the way it was and re-post it (hopefully Brooke's comment will come back with it!). It's just mostly me talking to myself anyway. And I DID get my 2009 goal taken care of today... : ) heehee You'll have to wait and see the pics!!

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Being a mom is hard. Yeah, yeah, it's rewarding, fun (most of the time), fullfilling, and something most of us have looked forward to becoming since our late adolescent years.

Being a mom of a cleft-affected child is no different.

Being a socially-affected adult is the problem.

After one of my best blogging buddies actually apologized after I mentioned the cleft comment issue ("You can hardly tell," or "Doctors these days are amazing"), it got me thinking... what is it about those comments that really bugs us cleft parents?

Picture this... you're in the bathroom in the morning, giving your hair a little bounce with that 400-degree burning stick you call a curling iron, when suddenly your hand slips and your forehead is the victim of a horrible burn. You know - you've done it. So you go to work, trying to cover your burn with your bangs, but nothing helps. So what happens? Everyone you run into takes a double take at your forehead and asks, "What happened?" or "Are you ok?" After the gazillionth time telling your story, you're done. Someone even suggests (when you express your dislike for recapping the story again) that you should hang a sign around your neck that explains it all. And people may even go into great detail about how they burned their forehead once, or how long it took to recover. And they may even point out how their burn has faded or gone away completely. They reassure you it'll be no time before you're as good as new.

Do you really want people to not say anything? To go about their business as if you have no injury? No, of course not. People need sympathy. People need attention. They crave it. So why is it that by the end of the day, if one more person asks what happened to your forehead, you're going to scream???

I'm not sure. Maybe it's the repetitiveness? Maybe it's the fact that people who never talked to you only spoke out when there was something wrong to notice? Maybe it doesn't make you feel any better about your embarassing burn when you hear stories about people doing the same thing? Or when they guarantee a short recovery time?

But you do it too, don't you??

If I saw someone at work with a gash on their forehead, I would say the same thing. I think it's just human nature.

So... I guess that's how I feel about the constant cleft-related comments I get in public with Aidan. I understand why they're saying/asking them, I sometimes enjoy the conversations they spark, and sometimes it's better to talk about it than to simply endure the stares. But it does get old... ONLY because we've heard it often.

When Aidan was born, I don't know how many times I would hear, "Oh don't worry, the doctors can do amazing things these days." Yes, that's great. But it doesn't change the fact that my newborn son can't breastfeed, has to use a special bottle, might have speech issues, and will undergo at least 2 surgeries before he turns 1 and more when he's school-age. But then what would I find myself saying in public when people saw Aidan? "He'll have surgery at 3 months old. Yep, the doctors can do amazing things."

I think the hardest part now is knowing that Aidan's scar has not healed well, and listening to the, "He looks great" comments. I want to (and often DO) say, "Actually, he hasn't healed well at all. His lip isn't supposed to be pulled up like that. He'll have surgery again this summer..." blah, blah, BLAH. But do I really expect people to know that it hasn't healed well? Or do I really want them to say, "Boy, his scar looks HORRIBLE! When's he getting that ugly thing fixed??" My mouth would fall to the floor!

So... what's the answer? I have none. People are complicated. We want the truth. We can't handle the truth. We want to be polite and not hurt anyone's feelings, but we want to be honest. There's no cut and dry... it's all gray.

But I can tell you one thing... when Aidan has his lip revision surgery this summer, you better believe I'll be wanting those comments! I'll want to hear that Aidan's lip looks better. And I'll want to hear that our doctor did a great job revising it. And I'll want to hear that you can hardly tell he once had a cleft. But I think the difference is I'll want to hear that from YOU. My friends and family. Not from the guy at the post office or the lady in the check-out line whose kid is staring at my child's face, or the stranger who's 2nd cousin twice removed had a bad cleft repair 20 years ago and how medicine has improved these days.

Does Aidan's cleft define him? No. Does everyone in public comment on his cleft? Of course not. These days, it's usually, "Look at that hair!!" or (my mom's quote, which I loved), "His eyes are so dreamy." : ) Should anyone (especially my best blogging buddies!) ever feel bad for having said something about his cleft? Absolutely not. None of my friends here or in real life has ever made my, "If I hear that one more time, I'm going to explode!" list. Don't worry. : )

Ok, it's gorgeous out, so I'm stepping down from my soapbox and going to take advantage of the last 10 minutes or so of Aidan's nap and look at my garden.

And yes, I'm taking the monitor with me. : )

p.s. Brooke's blog makeover is almost done - big reveal soon!! And a contest for how to win yours is coming up!!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Road trip - Part II

Aidan's napping, so I better take advantage of it! Just hanging in the office, looking at the snow-turned-rain outside the window, broken toe up on the desk - did I mention I broke/sprained/fractured my little toe this morning?? Yep. Stubbed it getting in the shower this morning (and had to bite my tongue to hold back profanities while Aidan slept) and now it's black and blue. Poor little piggie. : (

Aidan and I went on another road trip of our own yesterday.

Where did we go, you ask?



Why, around the yard, of course!! And guess who's sitting up all by himself in his big boy wagon? Nooooo, not Chad. Aidan!!



Our first stop on the way... loving on Sasha time!


We stopped to pinch leaves off Mama's plants smell the flowers.


And we stopped laughing at the tree for one moment to turn and laugh for the camera. Thank you Aidan!



I couldn't find his other hat I usually have him in, so out came the doggie one. It's makes him look a few months younger, which is great! I can't believe how fast he's changing. One minute he was sitting in the bumbo in the wagon, and now he's in there all by himself!

4 months ago...


But as much as I miss that tiny little boy (and even then, he wasn't so tiny!), I wouldn't trade his nose-stent free, rolling and cruising, grabbing everything and showing his personality stage for anything.

I mean, come on.

Does it get any sweeter than this?




Road trip!

Allison beat me to it... to see her recap of our day together, check out her post here. She got some great pictures I missed (and yes, she unfortunately caught me on camera in some not-so-flattering positions - payback's coming!!!). She also said the nicest things about Aidan, Chad, and me... most of which are true! : )

We packed up the car Saturday and drove to see our friends Allison & Nick, and their two adorable daughters Ella (4) and Abby (almost 2). We sat in their comfy, well-lit living room (I could spend a week photographing in there!) and just hung out. It was great! Allison and Nick are those people you feel like you've known all your life. Ella's quite the little actress (wait till you see her "faces") and Abby and Aidan had a great time playing (until Aidan decided to take over Abby's Mama!!). Watch out!!

Ella and Abby's extensive small toy collection prompted Chad and I to go toy shopping on Sunday. I think Chad had more fun that the rest of the kids there! We went downtown to a great store called Wind Up Here. We both love supporting local businesses!
Chad and Ella hit it off... well, except when Chad busted out his rendition of "Part of Your World" and Ella cocked her head, glared, and said, "I don't know that one."


Doesn't Abby's cleft look amazing? Like all those annoying people always say... "You can hardly tell!!" Oh yeah, and my favorite, "It's amazing what they can do these days." Hey, don't get me wrong... I find myself saying the same things!

"Ah, ah, ahhhhh, ah, ah, ahhhhhh," sang Ariel, sweetly to her magic ball.
Check out Abby doing her crazy Oopma Loompa walk! Cracked me up!!!
The prettiest 'Ella of them all. : )
Aidan decided to only take a 10-minute nap, which turned out great because Allison hung out with the pod while Abby napped. He loved her glasses!
Uh-oh, someone's hanging out with OUR mommy.
Ella sharing with the little ones. Can you believe Aidan's not even 9 months and Abby's going on 2 years? They're almost twins! Check out Allison's post for an old picture of the two of them when we first met.
Did you remember Chad was a cheerleader in college? Well, anytime there's a willing kid, he's game for a little stunting! And Ella was very, very willing.
Ta-Da!!


Gambling, 101. "Hey Ella, I'll bet you 3 dollars Heather won't try a stunt with me."
You'll have to pop over to Allison's site to see if I accepted the bet or not. : )
Go Blue! Yes, that would be Ella's third outfit change.
Apparently Nick has been practicing a little acting with Ella. After all, he's a comedian and Ella's already been in a short movie!! These are her "sad eyes."
And this is "White Steel." : )
The man behind it all... Nick & his pom-pom 'fro!

Told ya I'd get you back!!! Not quite sure what to call this look... : )

I'll say it again... I feel like I've known these two all my life. Just a couple of goofball percussionists who happen to live near where I went to high school, who share my birthday (Nick, Janeen and I are all April 28th - mark your calendars!!!), who have a daughter with a cleft that got all fixed up at Children's in Seattle, and who tolerate a picture of a good ol' pom-pom wig.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

New Pod in the house!

Check out a glimpse of our new little ipod that Chad surprised me with today...



I promise to love both of my pods equally. Well... maybe the iPod comes in second. But it's a close call. : )


Friday, January 23, 2009

"A little souvenir"... and other ramblings

My friend's Dad asked, while looking at my Halloween card on her fridge the other day:

"His name isn't really Aidanpod, is it?" : ) Um, yeah. Right there on his birth certificate.

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It's the end of week 3 and my worst fear has come true: I really don't have as much time to blog as I used to! OH NO!!!! : )

I still love being back at work, but my 6:15am wake-up call is cruel! Took my 4th graders to see the Tacoma Youth Symphony and they played the theme from "Pirates of the Caribbean." Reminded me of last year... I was pregnant and took kids to the same symphony... and they played the same music (it's that cool)... and unborn baby Aidan was a-kickin' and a-thumpin' inside my belly as the percussionists pounded out their raucous notes. I almost teared up remembering! Such a dork am I. : ) But have no fear, I am not a total music dweeb... I did almost fall asleep (like the rest of the audience) as they played "Peter and the Wolf." Hey, it was soothing!!

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Busy is the word of the week.

I've been busy with concerts, doctor's appointments, and giving Brooke's blog a makeover (the big reveal will be coming soon... and the big reveal of when I'll be making over your blog! Might have to make my first real contest!!). Lemme tell you - redoing a blog is a lot harder than I thought. But also more fun! Although I fear doing someone's blog that says, "I don't really know what I want," because then you're left just guessing. Thank goodness Brooke was awesome to work with, and put up with a thousand e-mails from me. I don't know how blog designers crank 'em out so fast! --- by the way, I inadvertently made "Brooke" my new name! It showed up on a few comments I made and they happened to respond, asking, "Who's Brooke and when did you change your name?" Whoops! It's fixed now!

Chad's been busy with his company - instead of not having enough work, now they have too much and need to hire people to cover the contracts. Geez. Glad I'm not running my own business!

And Aidan - well, Aidan has been a busy little buggy too!! Growing teeth (I can see his bottom two now - they're neck and neck!), sitting up (no more wobbling!), grabbing at anything and everything in sight, fussing when I pick him up from Julie's (because I have to put the carseat in first and he wants me to hold him right away), and working on his big ol' belly. I weighed him at my doctor's this afternoon and he was 22 pounds!!! But he's solid - not a total Michelin baby (well, not completely).

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I mean to share this earlier... a conversation I had with my darling 4th graders, after they shared about themselves my first day back to work...

Me: Now raise your hand if you can share something about me to the students who don't know me yet.

Hannah: You're pretty.

Me: Oh, thank you. But what about things they wouldn't know? (because of course they could all see I'm pretty! Duh.)

Amanda: Your clothes always match.

Me: Um, really? (as I look down and realize I am wearing gray pants with a gray and white striped shirt - maybe I really do match!!). Ok, anything else?

Jaden: You used to cut yourself in front of us last year.

Me: (WHAT?? Ohhh, he's talking about when I used my glucometer - I had to check my sugar before and after lunch, and usually had a class at the time, so I just did it in front of them. They'd applaud if my sugars were good!!). Could you at least give the new kids some explanation, Jaden??

(Caitlin raises her hand and quickly explains I had "baby diabetes," but that "she's ok now.")

Me: Ok, anything else?

Max: You like the Huskies.

Me: Yep, that's true, even if they didn't win a single game this season. I AM a Husky through and through.

Vanessa: You used to be big last year (as she holds her arms out in front of her, mimicking a round belly).

Me: And that's because??

Vanessa: Oh, because you had a baby! But now you're skinny again.

Me: Oh, thank you!!! (I look down at my washboard abs extra pooch, rippling under spilling over my belt). But I still have a little bit to get rid of.

Taylor: Oh, that's ok Mrs. Stoker. Just consider it a little souvenir.

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I've committed a crime. I have only taken 21 pictures this whole week. I will, however, leave you with my blurry-and-bad-lighting-but-cutest-subject-in-the-world pictures from today! : )

No, that's not a one-year-old. That's my 8 1/2 month old baby boy.

Little fingers.

Little nose.

Little patience for Mom's camera.

Little smiles.

Little bum, falling.

Little sock, in little hands.


Please, Aidan, will you please stay little??

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Oh wait, I lied. I'm going to leave you with this (for girls). I went to my doc's today for my annual, and as I drove into the parking lot, I chuckled at the memory of an article I read many years ago in some women's magazine (Cosmo? Seventeen??? Who knows?). It was in that section where women write in with embarassing stories... and one woman wrote that the morning of her annual exam, she wanted to make sure she was, um, presentable. So she grabbed the nearest washcloth...

She gets to the doctor's, puts the gown on and her feet up, and the doctor looks down and says,

"Wow, you really went all out this time, didn't you??"

(what she didn't realize was the washcloth she used had glitter on it from her daughter's makeup removal the night before).

Oops. : ) I bet you'll think of that next time too!!