Thursday, December 28, 2006

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Check This Out

Too busy wrapping gifts and cleaning house in preparation for Mom & Dad's arrival to post today. Okay, you got me, we've gotten up late and I've only just started making waffles. The Bug is bouncing in her exersaucer and Sweet Pea is enjoying a fresh tangerine at the table. There is a load of laundry washing though nobody has yet had a shower, and almost all the gifts still need to be wrapped. Slipshod is still sleeping like the dead.

Had an interesting and very vivid dream about Ireland last night - something about Slipshod and I trying to find a special book.

But for today, I leave you with this - in case you didn't already go to the link from QofS's blog. Because you have to hear this. Really.

Put away your glassware, get some tissues ready for your bleeding ears, and have a listen. Most importantly, you may not want to hold small children while listening to this, because you will be so overcome by laughter that you may not be able to keep your grip on them.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Thursday Morning Discovery

I guess the messed up sleep was due to teething after all... this morning The Bug has a tooth! Her lower left front tooth, which we could tell would be the first out of the gate, has finally cut. YAY! I'm hoping that the right one will cut in a couple days and then we can start sleeping better again for a while.

Finally, an Update!

Well, bullet points, anyway...

Somehow during normal play days with the girls I am trying to get us organized for Christmas. It's not going extremely well - for instance, I just finished my Christmas shopping and the gift for my niece in Virginia won't arrive at her house until January 2nd. Also, the gift I've had for a week for the little Bohemian is still sitting here, hasn't gone out in the mail yet, and probably won't arrive in So. Cal. until after Christmas (sorry!). However, I am finished with my shopping now, and it's time for the fun part - wrapping!

Here's what else has been going in our household since last I posted:

Slipshod is working too much and too hard. Nothing new there. He was going to take Thursday and Friday off this week but decided that he really shouldn't miss those 3 meetings on Thursday. BUT, he's taking all of next week off. YEAH!


The Bug likes peas. Bananas are what got Sweet Pea interested in eating solid foods, but this one likes peas. AND, she will only actually take food into her mouth if SHE is the one who sticks the spoon in. She has also cultivated a brand new sound of frustration, which she first used last night at the dinner table while trying to wrest her water cup out of Sweet Pea's hands (Sweet Pea was just trying to keep The Bug from spilling water all over herself). The sound clearly means, "don't TAKE that away from me," but can also be used to convey the sentiment, "hey, I just dropped/threw that toy out of my reach!"

Sweet Pea flipped her daddy off the other night. He said she knew what she was doing because she told him (I still don't know the whole story - he must have asked her if it meant something to her) that I had told her it was not a nice thing to do with your hand. This is where I wonder if I have an alternate personality, because I have ZERO recollection of being in a situation where I had to explain that to her. Am I the worst mother ever? I guess not - after all, even though I don't remember the exchange, I apparently did tell her that it's a bad thing... But geez, she's only 3 and she doesn't even go to preschool (where you'd think she might learn stuff like that earlier) - what gives?


Today, after Clark the cat stuck his claws into Sweet Pea's new yellow socks (not while she was wearing them), I heard her sternly admonish him to "NEVER do that again," and then she put him on time-out! ha ha ha! I had a good silent laugh while changing The Bug's diaper in the next room. She then tried to get him to stay in one place upstairs for his time-out, asked me to make him stay in one place, which I had to tell her I couldn't do, and then, failing that, she proceeded to follow him around the house carrying a time-out cushion made of dirty laundry, trying to get him to lie down on it. hee hee hee!

Sweet Pea has begun to disobey, willfully and often. She tells me "no" when I ask her to do things. There is steam coming out of my ears sometimes, but I am trying not to scream all day every day. Instead, she has learned that if I count all the way to 3 in a stern voice before she obeys me, she will have a time-out. It actually works pretty well and after she is sternly disciplined by me or Slipshod she usually recovers from her disappointment pretty quickly considering how much whining and stalling was involved in the preceeding conflict.

Before I was a parent I used to natter on about how parents should be utterly consistent and that would make the kids obey all the time. Now I am learning the truth of the matter: Give them an inch and they'll take a mile. Sweet Pea most often disobeys when I am least able to be consistent, like when I am in the middle of a diaper change or a nursing session.

I'm getting a more impressive Mom voice now, though. And she's learning to take me a little more seriously. Today after a 1-2-3 conflict during a nursing session I gave her a lecture about how she has to obey me and Daddy because we know what is best for her and sometimes it's a matter of safety, etc. Instead of bucking at the "obey me" part of the lecture she said, "only you, Mama! I only want to obey YOU, not Daddy!" I know that's screwed up and we are constantly trying to get her to take what Daddy says as well as she takes what I say, but at the same time I almost had to laugh because she admitted that she wants to obey. Whew...

Lastly, we had a wonderful early Christmas celebration this past Sunday with Slipshod's family. They all came over here and there were 26 of us mashed into the house. Thankfully it was a potluck, as are all full-family occasions with Slipshod's family. The floor is worse for the wear, because you can't get that many people together, kids included, without drinks being spilled. But otherwise everything went wonderfully, and it was great to see everyone. The picture below shows just how out of control Slipshod's mom is. She defended herself by saying, "well I only got one present each for the girls," (which is not actually true). You'll notice that Sweet Pea's present FILLS OUR ENTIRE FAMILY ROOM. At least it folds up nicely and this year they gave us something that wasn't inflatable!
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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Surrender

You know, sometimes when you just truly say, "what will be will be," you can still get things done.

Last night I was just NOT going to set the alarm for 6am and get up and take a shower. I figured we'd see how the morning went, and I would hope to get Sweet Pea to her last art class, but if it didn't happen I wouldn't fret over it. I really didn't want her to miss it, though.

When The Bug woke up this morning I nursed her in bed while Sweet Pea continued to sleep, and since she was STILL sleeping when The Bug was full of milk and had a clean dry diaper, I elected to lay The Bug back in bed where we could see each other and "chat," and I folded the 5 loads of clean laundry that have been sitting in the baskets for a couple days.

When Sweet Pea woke up we went downstairs and had a pre-breakfast snack of yogurt and graham crackers, then we went back up and I took a shower. Back down for real breakfast, watched Dragon Tales, then went through the arduous and maddening process of getting Sweet Pea dressed. Of course The Bug had a huge poop in the middle of all of this and needed to nurse before we left the house, but that all worked in just fine and we got Sweet Pea to her class on time!

Today's story was about a little dog named Olive, who thought she was supposed to help Santa Claus with his sleigh on Christmas Eve because she kept hearing that song on the radio about "Olive, the other reindeer" (and that is the title of the book). Ha ha ha!

Thus, todays' crafts were of course - reindeer. This time Sweet Pea was able to complete the project and do circle time at the end as well, though she chose not to actually *participate* in circle time. I told her to go sit on the floor with the other kids, and then the teacher told them to stand up and did the "reindeer pokey" with them. Sweet Pea remained squatted on the floor and just watched everyone dance around her. ha ha! Sometimes I worry that she is a loner, but I think it's just that she has not been in this type of situation much and I have not given her the opportunity to hone her interpersonal kills with other kids her age. She certainly doesn't have any trouble interacting with adults.
The teacher was impressed with Sweet Pea's painting of a reindeer. It's cute, but her kitty cats are WAY more detailed. Sweet Pea did the body with a brush and then the teacher said to use their fingers to make little dots for the red nose and black eyes. Then she painted the antlers with her finger. She had been wanting to fingerpaint since we went to the first class, so she got to do that. Hooray!
This lovely stuff one of the other moms called "flubber." The teacher gave us the recipe. It feels SO WEIRD. Sweet Pea totally loves it. She was actually kissing it when we got it home. Ewww! hee hee The teacher had this stuff out in little buckets for the kids to play with before class, and then she gave them each a blob to take home at the end of class.

Today I determined that my original assessment that most of the other kids in Sweet Pea's "messy art" class are younger than her may have been wrong. Like I said, I have very little ability to eyeball people's ages simply by looking at them. However, today I HEARD a number of the kids and most of them were speaking every bit as clearly as Sweet Pea. Since she was an early talker, I'm now guessing that most of these kids are actually right around her age, and my assessment was probably wrong because compared to most of these kids, she is a giant. See? Yet another reason it's difficult to figure out how old people, especially kids, are, just by looking at them.Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Cute is Losing its Effectiveness

The other day I thought I had found acceptance. I thought I had relearned the lessons I learned first in labor: Don't fight it because fighting makes it hurt more and last longer (or suck more, in this case). Let it wash over you in a wave and eventually it will pass.

Turns out I had just had an extra half hour or so of sleep the night before and as a result was feeling a bit more chipper that day.

But I went to bed the night before last feeling rather accepting; thinking, "well, there's really nothing I can do about this, I need to just live with it because bitching about it makes it so much worse." The Bug did wake up when I went to bed that night, and kept me up until 2am, but then she slept until 7am.

That would have been utter heaven for me if Sweet Pea had stayed asleep. In a freakish move, she woke up at 2am just as I got The Bug back into her co-sleeper. She said she needed to blow her nose, and then she needed to get up and go potty. I took care of both situations with her without waking Slipshod or The Bug, and we went back to bed. Just before 4am Sweet Pea woke me out of a dead sleep asking for some soy milk to drink.

I begged Slipshod to get it for her and he agreed and questioned whether I was really letting her have soy milk rather than water in the middle of the night, because our usual policy is to only let her have water once she has brushed her teeth. I was too exhausted to even remember that. Slipshod, however, is tremendously lucid while he's sleeping. Yes, he was sleeping when we had this conversation. He agreed to go get Sweet Pea the drink, then rolled over and continued to sleep. So I dragged my weary ass out of bed and downstairs, taking Sweet Pea because otherwise she would have burst into loud wails, thereby waking The Bug. I figured she must be pretty thirsty to ask for a drink at 4am so I gave her half a sippy cup full of soy milk. After three sips, she was done - put her cup on the bedside table, laid back down, and we both went back to sleep. The Bug woke up at 7am. Sweet Pea slept until 9am.

Last night, The Bug woke up a whole bunch of times. In order to get any sleep myself, I've had to nurse her in bed laying down and then move her later once she falls asleep and I wake up and realize she's asleep. Last night every time I moved her she woke up, so I just left her in bed with me too. Sweet Pea kept rolling over and bonking The Bug in the head with her arms/elbows/hands/head because her usual MO is to roll until she's right up next to me, and with The Bug in between she couldn't get there. But as long as she was in bed with us The Bug slept a little better than she has been.

I, on the other hand, slept the best I could on my side in about 8 inches of space, with my back up against the co-sleeper.

I know I'm bitching a lot here, but really, can you blame me? Both my girls have done this to me - sleep through the night for months as young babies and then totally turn the tables on me. I really don't know what's going on with The Bug either. We have given her Infant Tylenol before bed and during the night, and it doesn't seem to help. I figured she must be in pain, you know, to suddenly start waking up like this overnight, but wouldn't you think Tylenol would do something if pain were the problem? I have tried different jammies, putting her in her sleep sack, not putting her in her sleep sack, one blanket, two blankets, etc. Nothing. There seems to be no rhyme or reason to this sudden change.

I give up. I just hope I can get through how ever long this is going to take on so little sleep without one of the girls getting hurt due to me being less coherent than usual.

As difficult as this is, I think it would be slightly easier if we didn't have Slipshod's entire maternal family coming over on Sunday to celebrate Christmas. Yes, I invited them. And I'm looking forward to seeing everyone and having a family potluck here. HOWEVER, our house looks like a hurricane went through right now, and I'm not getting much done around here with all these sleep issues going on - I'm trying to nap and go to bed with the girls when I can. Sometimes I just can't, though - last night I stayed up late washing all the dishes that had been piling up, because I was sick of having to wash something in order to cook, and sick of having no counter space.

We also need to Christmas shop, which we do largely online, and I prefer to do after the girls' bedtime so I can actually concentrate. Which is hard to do when you've barely slept in a week.

Tomorrow is also Sweet Pea's last art class, which requires me to get up ass early and take a shower before Slipshod goes to work. I will probably need to get up around the time that I could finally be getting a couple Zs. Oh well. Whaddaya gonna do.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

The Baby is Trying to Kill Me

Her sister took this picture and I think it shows her cunning Mommy-killing mind at work.

For the past four nights, The Bug has been waking in the middle of the night, or sometimes even before I go to bed (to be fair I often get there around 12:30, duh) and keeping me up for HOURS. The first night of this, she was awake from 12:30 - 6am. Then Sweet Pea woke up and I had to get up at 7:30am. We are spending a LOT of time in front of the TV these days because I feel so brain-dead. Gah.

I thought that maybe this was some kind of reaction to her shots kicking in late, but wouldn't that have stopped by now? She got the shots on Tuesday morning. Based on the occasional apparent need to nurse and then popping off and fussing, I'm thinking it's teething.

Now, let me just tell you, I nearly died from Sweet Pea's 21 miserable months of teething. I seriously had to convince myself, over the course of a couple years, that it would not be the same with a second child. That it would be better. I could not fathom having another baby if teething were going to be that bad again.

Guess what? THIS IS WORSE. Sweet Pea never kept me up ALL night. I sternly admonished The Bug that if this is teething for her, she must cut 4 at once, because otherwise I may seriously die. Or jump off the roof. And we live in a two-story house now.

She is clearly so tired when she's awake, but somehow at the same time she's VERY awake and smiley and chipper (at least she's not crying, right? That would send me right over the edge). I could have told you this before, but I'm reminded nightly again, that being extremely cute really is a fantastic defense mechanism. Good thing we have enough ambient light in the house at night that I can see her precious face in the dark.

Thankfully, Sweet Pea, who sleeps in our bed with Slipshod and me, is able to sleep through all the waking-crying, Mommy cussing in a whisper-yell, Mommy getting up and down, up and down, in and out of bed, Daddy getting up, the door opening and closing, etc.

While Slipshod, The Bug and I are suffering, Sweet Pea continues to sleep her 10 1/2 hours or so per night, obvlious to the whole crappy situation. Whew... She can even sleep through the occasional hair-yanking. The Bug LOVES to play with Sweet Pea's hair and since she's all of six months old, if she gets ahold of it she inevitably pulls it. I do my best to keep her hands away from Sweet Pea's head at night.

Bleh... anyway, send sleepy wishes to The Bug so we can all get some sleep around here.

All I want for Christmas is her two front teeth!Posted by Picasa

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The First Feeding

"What the heck is this you're trying to feed me, Mom?" The Bug seemed to say. But she thought the spoon was super fun to chew on.
Sweet Pea thinks that she's smiling when she does this with her face. She is SO excited that The Bug tried rice cereal tonight, and can't wait until she can eat everything else as well. She (Sweet Pea) was a great "helper" (you know what I mean...) while I was feeding The Bug. She cheered The Bug on, and gave her sips of water between my attempts to get her to eat rice cereal from the spoon.
This one's just so cute I had to post it.

One thing related to eating that I forgot to mention from the doctor's appointment today: He said that her bottom teeth are not going to pop out imminently, as I keep claiming. He said there is still quite a gum ridge in there, and we've still got a while before those toofers come out. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Appointment Update

Okay, so we had a good appointment with the doctor this morning. The Bug weighs 14lbs. 14oz., is 25 inches long, and her head circumference is 17in. She is growing well and is in great health. Everything has gone so much faster this time that 6 months really snuck up on me and I haven't gotten her started AT ALL on solid foods yet! We have bought the rice cereal, though, and I've just washed and sterilized the breast pumps, so tonight The Bug should have her first experience with solids. Should be fun! :o)

Developmentally, The Bug is sitting up very well despite still not mastering rolling over. Now that she can sit, she just doesn't care about the rolling. I wish she would master that, though, so I could worry less about her when she's playing and sleeping on her back. Yes, I'm usually right there, but sometimes I'm in the bathroom or something and when she rolls from her back to her tummy, she's stuck. She can hold her head up well and play that way, but she eventually gets tired, and sometimes I come back to find her just laying on her tummy with her head down, looking to one side... it's kind of sad looking, though she's perfectly fine. But I'd just rather that she knew how to roll well. I imagine that will come with time.

She is also jabbering more. A couple weeks ago she started making "ba ba ba" noises, and now that's her favorite thing to yell. With a big grin on her face. hee hee!

As for her eyes, they may stay blue... Sweet Pea's are super dark brown right now and they started going dark-dark pretty early, like maybe when she was 2 or 3 months old. Around the same age, The Bug's eyes lightened, which makes me think they're going to stay blue. But, we shall see. Time will tell. They are totally gorgeous right now so I not-so-secretly hope that they stay blue. Especially since I never dreamed that I had a recessive blue gene and could have a blue-eyed child!

The Bug did get 4 shots today, but she is FINE! I wonder if the discomfort/crankiness will kick in later today, or tomorrow. The first time she got shots she was miserable for the entire rest of the day. The second time, she was pretty much fine. But we had given her Infant Tylenol before she got the shots. This time, I had the Tylenol bottle in my back pocket when I brought the girls downstairs this morning, but it dropped out in the kitchen when I sat down to nurse and I forgot to pick it up, and they didn't have any at the doctor's office. So we went without it, and even so, she's fine! She cried while she got the shots, of course, but once they were done she calmed down easily, then she nursed, and on the way out of the office she gave the doctor a huge happy smile. He's not the one who gave her the shots, of course, but still - you'd think she'd be a bit cranky in general. ha ha! YAY. I still haven't given her any Tylenol and think I'll just wait and see what happens. There's no point in giving her medicine that she doesn't need.

I also told the doctor about Sweet Pea's leg hurting last week and her fall and syncope episode yesterday. He said he had talked with the pediatric neurologist after that appointment in May, that the neurologist hadn't found anything neurologically wrong, and that he agrees with the neurologist that she has some kind of syncope. I told him that I'm starting to get all worried that she's not going to outgrow it and he said, in his friendly and down-t0-earth kind of way, "well, if she doesn't, there's really nothing you can do about it." Ha ha! So true. Sometimes we need a reminder... He said that he has had full-grown adults who pass out at the mere mention of the word "blood," and others who respond that way to other stimulus. "Some of us are just wired differently," he said, and that's how it is. Hopefully she will outgrow this by age 5, but the similar occurrence that happened to Slipshod happened in his teens, and his mom had something similar to Sweet Pea's condition well into her 20s. Bleh.

Anyway, he checked her legs and watched her walk and said everything seems fine there. Then he told us about one of his daughters having a similar thing happen and that it came and went twice, and seems to have gone away for good now. Our doctor is not a whole lot older than we are and his two daughters are only about 4-5 years older than ours, so it's nice that we relate to each other as parents (of two girls, even) as well as doctor-patient.

We totally love our doctor and his staff but determined on the drive down today that we really need to find a local pediatrician and/or family practitioner. As much as we don't want to leave them, the drive is just way too long. Today we left an hour early, which should have gotten us there 15 minutes early or at least allowed for problems on the way, but we drove past not one, but two, traffic accidents on the freeway, and arrived late. It's just too far away now. We had wanted to stay with them even while we live up here because we know we will be moving back to the South Bay sometime during the next 5 years or so, and we don't want to lose a doctor we like so well - but this is just kind of crazy, what we're doing. I told the doctor that one of my concerns it that when we move back down, he might not be accepting patients and we wouldn't be able to get back in to see him. He said, "oh, no. That won't be a problem." So, that's nice to know. Makes me feel better to know that even if we can't see them for a few years, we'll still be able to go back when we move back to that area.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Never a Dull Moment...

How was your weekend?

We had a fun one. Sunday we went to my sister's house and had a good time with my family. Today Mom, Dad, and my sister and brother came over to our house and we had a hoot cooking and eating lunch together, and playing with Sweet Pea and her toys, and my brother got to hold The Bug a couple times (he lives on the other end of the country so this was the first time he got to meet her, and somehow he didn't get to snuggle with her yesterday).

Unfortunately, toward the time they were all talking about leaving, Sweet Pea fell over and hit her head on the (Pergo-covered concrete) floor and passed out again. It felt better to have a name to put to the condition back in May, but having this happen again just made me worried all over again, especially when my sister told me that she thinks that the diagnosis (Pallid Syncope) is just a blanket term, and they really don't know what's wrong.

At least we knew what to do this time. I was nursing The Bug so I couldn't get to Sweet Pea right when she fell down, but I could just tell that she was going to pass out again. She started crying right away but my brother picked her up, which of course is what anyone would do with a kid who has fallen and hit her head and is crying. But when he picked her up she went pale and limp in his arms and stopped breathing, as she does when this happens. He didn't hear me saying, "put her down," as soon as he picked her up. But once she passed out my sister told our brother to put Sweet Pea's head down, and she picked up Sweet Pea's feet and held them up in the air. Sweet Pea came back around right away. She wasn't out as long this time as she was the last two times, which was a relief, but that didn't stop me from crying and wanting to pick her up. I am so glad that my family was here. My sister picked her up once she was "back with us," and my mom got an ice pack for her head, and she sat with my sister (her recently chosen favorite-person-in-the-world-who-is-not-Mommy) on the couch and had a drink.

Usually she falls asleep after these episodes but she didn't today, even though she had not taken a nap and was totally exhausted. She was very limp, though, so after Sweet Pea hugged everyone goodbye, I had my dad (the last person to hug her before they left) prop her up in the corner of the couch and we've just been watching TV ever since... I really thought she would go to sleep when the shows were on, but she hasn't. Early to bed tonight, though. For all of us. Tomorrow morning we're going to the doctor for The Bug's 6-month checkup, so I will definitely be telling the doctor about this. Back in May the pediatric neurologist said that this was a textbook case of Pallid Syncope and although it's scary, it's nothing to worry about, but I figure we should let the doctor know whenever she passes out!

Sweet Pea was also walking funny for about four days last week. One day after she got up from her nap she couldn't walk for a while and said her left leg hurt, but nothing had happened that we knew of. I don't know if she slept wrong or what, but she was still feeling pain for at least four days, because she was walking very strangely. After I mentioned taking her to see the doctor she kept insisting that it didn't hurt, though she was still walking strangely. I think whatever was wrong has resolved itself now, but I'm still going to tell the doctor about it.

Bleh. Emotional drain. Even more of it, I mean. I've been having a really hard time for the past week or so with Slipshod working later again, all the out-of-house activity we've had going on last week and coming up this week, and The Bug's sudden change in sleep activity - she seems to be ultra-sensitive all of a sudden to being set down or having me make her stop nursing when she's fallen asleep at the boob. So naps are not happening as frequently or lasting as long as they were, and Mommy's going crazy. BUT last night she did sleep for 8 hours straight. I think that most, if not all, of her nighttime difficulties over the past week or two have been due to me not putting enough blankets on her. Duh.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Just A Quickie

I had some great blog ideas yesterday but now I can't remember what they were.

Slipshod's mom and her hubby came over yesterday to see the girls and brought a pie. Yum. After naps we went out and got a Christmas tree. It's still in its net "sock" but it's in the living room, hooray, and the house is starting to smell all Christmassy.

Sweet Pea and The Bug went to sleep at a decent hour but The Bug woke up a couple hours later, just as I finished the dishes, and I could not get her back to sleep to save my life. She kept me up until 2am! Then of course a totally refreshed Sweet Pea woke up at 7:30am after she got to sleep 10 1/2 hours uninterrupted, and obviously I had to get up and start the day, even though I only got about 5 hours of sleep. But that's something, I guess. The Bug won't nap today, either. God, I wish these teeth would pop out, or if that's not the problem, then I wish the problem would become apparent so I could try to do something about it. Again I ask, why don't these children come with digital readouts on their foreheads? It would be so very helpful to me if I could just look at the baby and read "tank empty," or "replace rear manifold cover."

The Bug does seem to already have the beginning of an understanding of the sign for "milk." Every time she nurses, I sign "milk" to her after I get her on the boob, and then again when the milk lets down. She now squeezes her hand like she's making the milk sign before and during nursing sessions. Yay! Contact has been made! Sweet Pea is excited to teach her little sister more sign language, so that will be fun. We looked up the sign for "Christmas" yesterday, so now we can sign about the Christmas tree (we already knew the sign for tree). Looks like it's time to start watching our Signing Time DVDs again. I don't think The Bug will be into them just yet, and I don't like to show her TV at all, really, but Sweet Pea and I need to brush up on all the signs we used to know so well so we can teach the baby!

To completely change the subject, if we ever get going today, we're going to my sister's house to celebrate her birthday and also to see my parents and my brother. My brother was in Utah on business all week last week, and my dad said, "hey, why don't you come over and see us since you're so close already?" so he flew out yesterday. It will be GREAT to see him - we don't get to do that very often since he and his family live on the other side of the country. Yay!