Curious George and the Case of the Broken Arm

Last Saturday, Kate and I were on our way to Tony’s parents’ house when I got the phone call. Tony said our plan to attend Curious George and the Golden Meatball that afternoon at the Granada Theatre in Emporia was changing. He was on his way to the Emergency Room with Alex. He said he was pretty sure Alex had broken his arm after taking a fall down the slide.

Apparently Alex had been at the top of the slide and was trying to pull his cowboy boots in front so he could sit down and go down. Instead, they got caught up causing him to lose balance and fall down. Poor Tony was only a few feet away helping one of the cousins go across the monkey bars and saw the whole thing. 

At the ER, Kate and I hung out in the waiting room with Tony’s sister Melissa (she drove them) until the nurse said we could go back to Alex’s room. We made it back to the room just in time for quick hugs and some consoling before they came in for x-rays. Alex was mellow. Tony was a little shaken up.

The x-rays confirmed Alex had broken both bones – one pretty much set in place and the other, not so much. After getting consultation from the bone doctor, the nurses put Alex in a temporary splint and sling. Then they told us that we were going to need to follow up with an orthopedist on Monday to get a cast and determine if additional work would need to be done to set the bone back into place.

Overall, Alex tolerated the pain well and mostly was just disappointed that we weren’t going to make it to the Curious George play. (For a brief  bit of time he was also worried the nurses were going to cut his shirt off before they splinted his arm. I don’t know why… I don’t think he has any particular affinity for the plain blue shirt he had on, but nonetheless, he was concerned.)

As we were leaving the ER, one of the nurses brought out a stuffed monkey for Alex as consolation for missing the play. He loved it and declared he should be named Curious George. I just love this photo of him playing on the LeapPad and making sure George was positioned to watch.

Determined to make it up, we decided to take the family to see Curious George and the Golden Meatball on Sunday when the traveling production stopped in Ottawa. Alex was super excited, and I was interested to see how the kids would do during a theatre performance. I was not prepared for the play to be a musical… so I was a little caught off guard. The kids seemed to enjoy it though, especially Alex.

On Monday, I was able to get Alex into Cotton O’Neil Orthopedics & Sports Medicine to see Dr. Deister. After a quick review, he decided it would be best to sedate Alex and set the bone before they put on the cast. No plates or screws, just a little bit of pushing.

So we went back bright and early Tuesday morning for the quick procedure. The sedation was minor (gas only), but it was Alex’s first anesthesia so we were a bit nervous. Other than being pretty pissed off for awhile (“I hate this world!”), Alex handled it all really well.

I’m hopeful that we don’t have to go through this again – or at least not anytime soon. But, being realistic, the entire situation went as well as it could. And we have three kids. Things like this happen. Accidents happen. I’m just glad that Alex has been a good sport about it (except for when he’s not… like in this photo where he’s super mad).

The 2018 Ski Trip

Last week we went with the entire Kansas-based Menke family to Granby Ranch in Granby, CO for our ski trip. It was great, and if you’re looking for a family-friendly place to go skiing, Granby should be on your list. The condo was awesome (we had our own hot tub – score!). Lessons were affordable. And the slopes weren’t very crowded. All in all, the makings of a solid week of family fun.

It’s always crazy an adventure to take the kids on a 10+ hour drive. Honestly though, we nearly have that down to a science thanks to Tony. He always makes sure we have plenty of drinks, snacks and movies that are easily accessible, and he’s willing to make copious bathroom stops.

The thing that really stood out about this particular ski trip, is that it was the first time we’d have the entire family up on skis at some point. Leo is an old pro, but it was the first time Alex would get to attend lessons, and Kate was finally big enough for us to get her out on the bunny hill for awhile.

We enrolled Leo in two days of intermediate ski lessons, although he skied all day, every day, regardless of whether he had lessons or not. He complained about having to go to lessons (cousin Carson didn’t have to – it’s not fair!), but after two days he had made several friends in the group, so I think it was a good investment in his time and our money. Because Leo’s quite adept at skiing and prefers to ski terrain parks and narrow trails, I didn’t get any photos of him. It’s a sad but unfortunate result of being better at skiing than his mother. Instead I’m including a photo of Kate and Alex looking over the balcony of the base lodge, trying to find Leo.

We also enrolled Alex in ski lessons. We opted for three days for him since it was his first time in lessons, but only half-days. Initially, we were a bit disappointed he’d only get half-days, but as it turns out, those ski school people know what they’re doing. Alex loved lessons until around 10:30 each day. Then he was tired. And done. So we would inevitably get a call from ski school, and either Tony or I would have to go down and cheer/console/bribe Alex in attempts to get him to finish the remaining hour-ish of time.

Kate was not old enough for lessons, so we took her out for about an hour one afternoon on the bunny hill. Alex tagged along and showed Kate how to ride the magic carpet. Initially, Kate didn’t really want to stand up on her skis, and couldn’t quite follow along with what was going on. But it was only a matter of time and that girl figured it out. Before I knew it, Tony had her skiing down the bunny hill all by herself, and Kate was giggling the whole time!

In addition to skiing, we also spent some time playing in the snow and building a snowman. As it turns out, the fresh powered didn’t pack well so we had a non-traditional triangle snowperson instead of the typical three-ball configuration.

For Tonythe skiing wasn’t particularly challenging. Granby had an entire mountainside that was exclusively blue and black runs, but they weren’t terribly long and several still weren’t open (while it snowed 6-9″ while we were there, they hadn’t had a whole lot before then). And let’s face it, Tony really likes the super steep, super fast, crazy stuff. I know he had a good time though, watching the kids and getting to spend time with his dad, sister and brother, along with various assortments of the cousins, going down the green and blue runs on the other mountainside.

Tony also invested quite a bit of time helping me try to take my skiing to the next level. After seven years (although technically I’ve only been skiing five times), I’m still trying to make the transition from relying on the wedge (pizza) to slow down and turn, to going all parallel, all the time. It isn’t a tough concept physically (although it does take some work), but mentally, you have to trust yourself and take the risk… and that’s something I struggle with. After a few rough moments (and one afternoon where I wasn’t on speaking terms with Tony), I think I finally got there. By my final couple of runs, I was pretty good at doing parallel turns. (We’ll see if it sticks for next time.)

All, in all, I really do enjoy skiing, and I especially enjoy skiing with Tony around… I don’t really like many other folks around because a crowd makes me really anxious, but I’m pretty comfortable with him there.

I’m so thankful that I married into a skiing family and that I get the opportunity to take my kids skiing. I can tell they’re all going to love it. (In fact, Leo declared the other day that he’ll probably be most likely to go to the Olympics in skiing, lol.)

 

All About Alex – September 2015

alex-and-the-mustachIt’s hard to believe my little guy is two! It seems like it was only a few months ago when he was a tiny baby making little old man faces. Now he just puts on the occasional mustache when he wants to look like one.

  • Hotdog! A few months back we started watching Mickey Mouse Clubhouse in the mornings before daycare. Alex has become a big fan. He loves to “dance” when the hotdog song comes on. For the most part, his dancing consists of stomping around the front room and attempting to sing along with it. He’s not able to actually say all of the words, but his bellowing is mostly on-pitch. It’s pretty cute.

    He’s now also become a fan of Paw Patrol. Needless to say our mornings before daycare are pretty cartoon-filled. (At least it keeps the kids somewhat entertained so I’m able to get ready for work.)

  • Just Like Brother. Alex wants to be just like his big brother so everything Leo does, Alex is quick to follow. Leo starts playing with something, Alex wants to play too. Leobrotherly-love goes somewhere, Alex goes too. Leo picks his nose or jumps off the couch, Alex
    picks his nose and jumps off the couch.

    You get the picture.

    It works out great for me when I need to get Alex to cooperate. Leo seems to understand for the most part, so he’s pretty quick to help.

    The only downside is Alex is pretty upset each time Leo goes to his dad’s house. Every morning Alex will wake up and look over at Leo’s bed. When Leo’s not there, he’ll ask, “Where’s Leo?” over and over. It’s sad, but it makes me appreciate how well they get along together. I know he’ll understand the situation a little more as he gets older.

  • Baby Love. Man oh man, Alex loves his baby Kate. I’d been a little nervous about how he would handle having a new baby in the house and having to share attention, but he’s been great. Don’t get me wrong, he’s a bit of a bull in the china closet, so we have to make sure he doesn’t squish her too much. He loves to give her hugs and super drool-filled kisses. At daycare drop-off. At bedtime. Whenever he walks by her. It’s pretty constant.Alex is also infatuated with her tiny feet and holding her hand. He loves to look at herbig-brother feet, and then compare them to his. And he likes to push his finger into Kate’s little clinched fists so she is hanging onto it. I have a feeling they’re going to be best friends (and enemies) real soon!
  • Crayons For Coloring. Only a few short months ago, Alex couldn’t be trusted around crayons. He might spend a few moments holding them, attempting a crafty_alexscribble. But as soon as he thought no one was looking, the crayons would end up in his mouth. Fast forward to Saturday morning when Leo was at the table working on some homework. Leo spent a full hour coloring and drawing on construction paper and never once put anything in his mouth. I consider it a win! Not only did his teeth stay white, he actually sat down and did one thing for more than five minutes – that’s no small feat in our household!

Motherhood, the Second Time

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Throughout my pregnancy, I wondered whether I could handle another baby. I was confident I wanted a second child (I’d like to have three or four kids eventually), and I felt like I was really starting to get the hang of this mom-thing with Leo. (It only took about 4 years… that’s probably normal, right?) But I wasn’t sure how I’d handle all the challenges a new baby presents along with taking care of Leo and making sure he was still getting plenty of love, attention and parenting time.

We’re a little over a month into this new adventure, and I’d have to say I think I’ve adjusted pretty well. In fact, mothering seems so much more comfortable this time around. I can’t really tell whether it’s because I’m not “new” at the mom thing anymore and have realized there’s no need to stress over the small stuff. Or, if Alex is just a little bit easier of a baby than Leo was. I’m guessing it’s probably a combination of both.

Seriously, Alex is very chill. He cries when he’s hungry and when I’m changing his diaper. (There’s something about a cold wet wipe against his little baby butt that he doesn’t love.) Other than that, he’s a pretty content kid. I get up twice a night to feed him, but it’s pretty regular so at least I’ve been able to adjust to a somewhat comfortable schedule to accommodate it. Overall I’m probably getting around 6-9 hours of sleep a night. (I realize that will probably only be 6 when I’m back at work and can’t partake in the morning naps like I have these past few weeks.) But for now, it’s working well.

Honestly though, Leo wasn’t exactly a problem-baby. We struggled with irregular sleeping and he had a touch of colic where pretty much nothing I did could make him happy. But in reality, I know lots of other moms with babies that have struggled much more than we did. And Leo’s adorable smiles made it tolerable.

I really think the biggest piece comes from the experience I have under my belt. I’m not over-analyzing things like I did with Leo. I don’t spend every waking minute trying to read everything I possibly can on the internet so I can be super mom. I just flat out don’t have time for that. I have to be mom, and keep the house intact, and get the groceries, and spend time doing fun things with Leo. So my approach is much more fluid this time around. Alex just comes along and gets things done with me. Not even six weeks old and this kid has made several trips to the grocery store, to work, to daycare, to the park, to Kansas City and Emporia and lots of places between. He’s my mobile, go-with-the-flow baby.

The thing I’ve loved best about motherhood the second time around, is to see how much Leo loves his baby brother. I smile every time Leo stops what he’s doing to come over and give Alex a kiss. And when he helps try to sooth Alex in the car. And when he tries to play with Alex. And when he tells his daycare friends, “Come look at MY baby.” Seeing their bond, even at this early stage, is more special and means more to me than I ever could imagine. Leo’s an excellent big brother and Alex is going to love him so much!

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Alex’s Birth Story

Alex-sept-9It’s been a little over two weeks since Alex decided to make his day-early arrival, but it’s a day Tony and I will remember for the rest of our lives.

It was a Monday, and it started off business as normal. I woke up and picked out one of my favorite maternity dresses. (I had been intentionally asking myself each day for the past week, “if this is the last day you wear maternity clothes, what do you want it to be?) I headed off to work with a list of things in my head that needed to get done before the mysterious delivery day would come.

Around 9:30 a.m. I started having contractions, but nothing particularly different from the weeks of contractions I had been having off and on. There wasn’t a formal start or end, so I made nothing of it other than to send Tony a text message telling him to alert the moms (both his mother and mine). This was actually the second time he’d done that, so I was a bit leery to give him that direction. I didn’t like the idea of becoming the mom that was constantly “crying baby” and then not actually going into labor. But since I was induced with Leo, I wasn’t really sure what labor starting contractions would be like. And I didn’t want our moms to miss the delivery since they both had an hour+ drive to get to the Birth Center.

The entire morning I tried to ignore the contractions and focus on work, but as the day wore on that became harder and harder to do. I was starting to struggle to focus and was become a bit irritated at things that wouldn’t normally ruffle my feathers. Around 11:30, when the contractions became a bit more formal and intense, I started timing them. It only took a half hour to realize they were consistently 4-5 minutes apart, lasting for 30 to 40 seconds. At that point, I decided it was probably time to go to The Birth Center to figure out if I was, in fact, starting labor. I spent the next hour sending out emails to wrap up a few projects and then a final email around 1 p.m. to the entire jhP staff (while most everyone was out at lunch) letting them know that I was taking the afternoon off.

Still feeling a bit unsure, I decided to stop Walgreens before heading to The Birth Center. I spent about a half hour walking up and down browsing through the aisles and grabbing a snack for lunch, still trying to determine if it was worth my time to stop and get checked.

At 1:30, I called Tony and let him know I was headed to The Birth Center. He asked if I wanted him to come, and I told him not to worry about it if he was in the middle of something. I didn’t want to interrupt his day. I said I’d give him a call when I had more news.

When I dropped into the Birth Center, I asked Kelly if I could get checked and told her I thought I might be in labor. Surprised that I was so nonchalant about things, she sent me upstairs so Eilene could check me. She took a quick look and sure enough, declared that I was in fact in labor. I had dilated to a 6, so I didn’t even have time to run home, baby Alex was on his way.

I sent a text to my mom giving her an update and telling her see needed to hurry, and I gave Tony a call. Fortunate for me, he had already wrapped things up at work and was in his truck en route to The Birth Center. I met him in the parking lot, we grabbed my stuff out of the car, and then we settled in for our short stay.

By this time, contractions were quite regular and starting to get intense. I could tell that my Lis and Tony beforebody was working fast to get the baby out, but I really didn’t want to push things along until our parents were there. So Tony and I hung out in the reception area. I sat on the birthing ball (still wearing my favorite maternity dress) and Tony on the couch, joking back and forth with the nurse and midwife as they took regularly took my vitals and listened to the baby’s heartbeat.

Around 3:15, we moved into the birthing room, and Tony and I took a final “before baby” picture. Shortly after that my mom arrived and contractions ratcheted up a notch. I changed into a plain red jersey dress and transitioned from sitting on the birthing ball to full squats during contractions, helping get the baby into final position before the pushing began. At that point my water broke and things started getting real. Contractions were so intense, I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to hold off long enough on the pushing for Tony’s mom to get there.

Once my body gave me cues that it was time to start pushing, I moved so I was kneeling on the bed and resting my upper body on the birthing ball between contractions. Right about the time I started to push, Susan arrived. I really can’t tell you how long I was pushing before Alex came out, but I know that by 4:05 p.m. he arrived.

Tony did a great job throughout the labor, offering me lots of support and encouragement. He didn’t hesitate at all when it was time for him to catch Alex on his way out or to cut the umbilical cord.

Those first few minutes with Alex on my chest and Tony beside us were pretty magical. After 10 months of carrying this little thing around in my stomach, there he was. 10 long fingers on his tiny hands and 10 long toes on his larger-than-most-baby’s-feet. He was long and slender and had a head full of dark hair. And he was a natural at latching so our early start with nursing was off on the right foot.

About an hour later, Brandon brought Leo by The Birth Center so he could meet his new little brother. I was so happy and appreciative that Brandon thought it was important for Leo to share that time with us. I’ll always remember those moments, especially when Leo saw Alex’s umbilical cord stump and said, “Look at his penis mom, it’s funny.”

And that’s Alex’s birth story. Born 4:05 p.m. on September 9th at The Birth Center. He was 22.5″ long (just like big brother Leo was), and weighing in at 8lbs 12 ozs (a full pound smaller than Leo!) We’re now a small family of four!

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