Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Very Lego Christmas

Liam got a lot of Legos for Christmas this year.  Not only did he get his beloved Ninjago Fire Temple from Santa but he also received a Star Wars Venator Class Star Destroyer (pay no attention to the price; we didn't pay that) and a Star Wars ARC-170 Starfighter. 

While the starfighter was a reasonable number of pieces and something he was able to build with only a small bit of help from us, the Fire Temple and the star destoryer were 1174 pieces and 1170 pieces, respectively.

That's a lot of Legos.

He decided to tackle the starfighter first and after that was done, he dug into the star destroyer.  You guys.  HOLY. CRAP.

Many larger Lego sets come with the pieces apportioned into bags and each of those bags is numbered so that you can open the first bag, use those pieces to build as you follow the directions, then open the second bag when instructed and so on and so forth.  Not so with the star destroyer.

Oh no.  It had at least 10 bags and no numbers so guess what we had to do? Open every single bag and sort all 1170 pieces before building could even begin.

It takes up fully half of the table.

Ignore the disgusting chandelier. If you look to the left, that's the starfighter he built first.

Liam started building the star destroyer on his own but it was a complicated item to build.  It folds open so that you can play inside the ship with the included mini figures.  It has a shuttle that is removable.  It has a bomb bay that drops little Lego bombs when you turn a mechanism.

So, Liam needed some help.

Building with Dad

When Dad needed to take a break, Liam worked on his own.  When he needed some more help, I pitched in and helped build. In the end, we finished the piece a couple of hours before more company was due to arrive - which was good because I needed my table back!

The finished ship

The next day he wanted to tackle the Ninjago Fire Temple.  This time when we opened the box there were numbered bags.  Huzzah!!  So, Liam sat down with the directions and a pair of scissors to open bags with and started building.

Two to three hours and 1174 pieces later (and with no help from anyone) he had a completed Fire Temple.

Now I just have to convince him to clean up his damn room so that the Legos can go THERE.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Christmas Joy

Christmas was magical this year.

This year, Jamie was old enough to really get the whole concept of Santa and opening presents - he could get into the wonder of it all.  Also, he was not sick for Christmas this year - which is an immediate improvement over last year.

Liam, of course, loves Christmas and was practically vibrating through the walls on Christmas Eve.  That was Scot's birthday and we had to keep reminding him that while the next day was Christmas, right then it was DADDY'S BIRTHDAY.

Leaving cookies for Santa

I don't have a picture of the stockings or the tree or all the presents because I was having too much fun with the kids.  We came downstairs Christmas morning and they were so excited.  Santa brought stuffed Totoros (thanks to his sneaky elf helpers, Trista and Dan) and they both loved them.  It's been Jamie's favorite pillow ever since.

For the first time ever, Liam told Santa what he wanted for Christmas.  He asked Santa for the Lego Ninjago Fire Temple.  After shunting one of his larger gifts over to his birthday pile (in February), Santa was able to bring the Fire Temple.  The pictures say it all.

One happy Spud

Jamie enjoyed stocking gifts as well - his favorites being Totoro and the chocolate candy.  

After stockings it was time to make breakfast.  After discovering them last year, I again made individual Monkey Breads for breakfast.  OM NOM NOM.

Seriously, folks, these are heaven in a ramekin.

After breakfast we got down the big gifting.  The kids were spoiled by one and all.  Scot spoiled me rotten and bought me a Kindle Fire as well as a new lens for my camera.  It was also a very kitchen-y Christmas as I received (from various generous family members) some new fun baking accoutrements, a panini press, and spices.

More Legos for Liam - clearly he doesn't mind.

One of Jamie's favorite presents - no more high chair!

It was also a very book-y Christmas.  Books, books, and more books! For everyone!

Scot's parents joined us in the afternoon for round two of gifting.  Jamie was napping when they got here so we let Liam open his presents first so he wouldn't die from antici. . . pation.

Grandma and Granddad were very generous.

The contents of the large red bag.

After Liam was done the adults exchanged gifts and when Jamie got up he got to open his stack.  And then, finally, we were done with presents and could move on to playing with our toys and eating dinner.

We had NY strips for Christmas dinner.  As well as risotto, fresh steamed broccoli, salad, rolls, and cranberry orange tart for dessert.  We were tired of the same old roasts so we did something different this year. It was delicious.

I ended the day content, happy, and NOT completely exhausted.  The boys had a blast, we enjoyed all of their excitement and joy and Christmas felt like a holiday instead of a chore this year.  

I hope your holiday was merry and bright!

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Wishing you a joyous and merry Christmas and love and happiness in the New Year!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ten Percent

For all intents and purposes, I have lost 10% of my body weight.  When I say "for all intents and purposes" it's because the scale is being bitchy.  I weighed myself before I left for my meeting and I was at my 10% goal weight exactly.  I got to meeting and I weighed in just 0.1 pounds over.  So, technically, according to Weight Watchers, I'm not quite there yet.

But then I came home and weighed myself again on my (weight watchers) scale and it said I was 0.3 pounds below my 10% goal weight.

So, yeah.  Given the vagaries of scales, I think I can say that I did it.

That means I've lost a total of 18 lbs since I started in March.  Frankly, I'm a little ashamed it's taken me so long to get this far and the last couple of months have been a bitch where weight loss is concerned.  But I finally got here and that's nothing to sneeze at.

I fit into smaller clothes now.  Clothes that were but a pipe dream hanging in my closet - the reminder of how much smaller I used to be before Jamie came along - are now beginning to fit again.  Not everything but some of them.  Some things are too big for me to wear now.  I shop for new clothes in my closet instead of at Target.

And then there's the photographic proof, which really shows me how far I've come.

Here I am the day I signed up for Weight Watchers:

And here is a picture I took of myself this morning when I put on clothes that didn't fit a month ago:

I'm not done yet.  I still have 15 lbs to go to get to my goal weight and if the last several months are any indication, it's not going to be especially easy to get there. But I made it this far, I'm over halfway to my goal weight, and I'm not giving up now.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Word Search

Liam has a new business venture.

I came upon him the other day with a notebook and pencil and I asked what he was working on.

"I'm doing a word search, Mom."

I peeked over his shoulder to discover that he was creating his own word search.  The notebook was one that had graph paper in it and he had set aside a block of squares in which to make his word search.  Then, down the margin of one side, he wrote the words to look for in the box.

He worked on this slowly over a number of days and in that time developed his business plan.  He would print up more of them and sell them at school.  So far, this has not materialized but hey, he's got a plan.  Hopefully this will help finance his move when he turns 10.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wordless Wednesday: Decorating The Tree

More News On The Celiac Front

On Monday we took Liam to see the gastroenterologist regarding his test results and symptoms.  I didn't expect for there to be much forward progress at this appointment but I was looking forward to talking things over with someone more versed in these issues.

I love the doctor we saw.  She was really, really wonderful and saw Liam as a whole person and not just a cluster of symptoms.

The upshot is that we're still on the fence about Celiac.

It comes down to this: Celiac is a microscopic diagnosis and the blood tests can be decent predictors but they're not definitive.  The only way to be definitive is to do an upper endoscopy and take some biopsy samples.  This is what the doctor recommended and what I expected to hear from her.

What I didn't expect was that she has her doubts about the blood work.  While his symptoms do fit a Celiac profile, there are some things that don't quite fit.  His abdominal pain, for one thing, is quite high - just under the sternum - and not lower down at all - especially now that we've increased the fiber in his diet and alleviated much of his issues with constipation.  For another, I think she was a little surprised that he's not having diarrhea problems.

Third, the blood panel they did on him tested for three values.  One was positive, two were negative.  According to the doctor, one of the ones that was negative is a better Celiac predictor than the one that was positive.  There's wiggle room here.

So, while she wants to do the scope to find out exactly what's happening and get the definitive yes/no on Celiac, she also prescribed Prilosec for him.  Given his history of infant reflux and the nature of his pain, she thought it was worth a try.  If it worked and gave him some relief that was a good thing.  If not - well, at least we tried.

We came home Monday night and gave him his first dose and he did fine with it.  Last night he had pasta for dinner.  He quickly ate the fairly generous portion I served him and then asked for more.  He hasn't asked for second helpings of anything in months.  So, I gave him the rest of what I had - which was about equivalent to his first helping.  He finished that, too.  He also ate all of his applesauce.  Then, he went to Tae Kwon-do and immediately upon arriving home said, "I'm hungry!"  Before bed he got his second dose of Prilosec.

This morning he ate breakfast with no problems, no dwaddling, no begging from me for him to finish.  As he was eating I said, "It seems like you've been hungrier since you started your new medicine.  Is it helping you feel better?"  He said, "Yeah, and my hunger is going up and up."

Could his weight loss have been due to not eating because of acid reflux?

Frankly, I feel really dumb not figuring this out for myself.  I have lost count of the number of times my kids have seen doctors because of some weird symptoms that turned out to be reflux and DUH! I know how to deal with that.  It's just that if one of my kids was going to have long term issues with this, I fully expected it to be Jamie because he was so much worse as an infant than Liam was.

This is not to say that we are out of the woods on Celiac yet, though.  It's still possible that he has it and it's possible that he has both the reflux AND the Celiac pulling a double whammy on him.  We won't know for sure until the endoscopy results come back.  His procedure has been scheduled for the week between Christmas and New Year's when he's off school.  I suspect we won't have the results back until after the first of the year.

Until then, if the kid wants to eat me out of house and home, I'll gladly allow it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Red Stripe!

No, not the beer.

Liam tested yesterday for his red stripe on his blue belt.  It was sort of a formality given that he took a bronze in tournament with this same pattern a month ago.  Needless to say, he passed with flying colors.  BUT! I got lucky this time out.  There were only three kids testing for red stripe and Liam was the closest to me so I got great video of his pattern.  So, here it is!

He did a great job.  Now, it's on to his red belt and the last new pattern he will learn for a long time.  Once he earns his red belt he must earn three black stripes before he can test for black belt and for each of those stripes he must perform three of the 9 previous patterns he's learned.  Come February (when he tests for red) he's going to be doing a lot of review of patterns.

Keep it up the great work, kiddo!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


  • It took me a little over a week but I'm finally at a place where I feel like I can deal with Liam having Celiac.  I know we have some rough waters to navigate but I'm feeling like we can handle them.  Most importantly, I feel like I can be there for Liam as he begins to process what all of this will mean (we have not yet told him - see the next bullet point) and that I can be honest with him with whatever questions he asks.  I'm not going to cry at the drop of a hat anymore, I'm going to be strong and confident - which I hope will instill in him a confidence in our ability to deal with this as a family.
  • We have not yet told Liam that we suspect he has Celiac or what that means.  We've told him that he has to go see another doctor so we can get more information but we haven't said anything beyond that.  We want to see what we can find out from the doctor before we have that difficult discussion with him.  Once we know enough to answer all his questions, we will make full disclosure to him about what's happening.  We see the specialist on the 12th and I'm hoping to know more about our next steps after that appointment.  Liam is a worrier and there's no point in leaving him worried and anxious when we can't calm those anxieties.
  • Christmas is under way! We've completed the shopping but I still have all the wrapping and sending to do.  I also need to decorate the house but I have plans to get that started on Thursday.  I've designed, had printed, then addressed and mailed all our Christmas cards - earliest I've managed to do it yet.  Jamie has learned to say Santa and points him out with glee every time he sees him.  I'm hoping Christmas will be full of magic this year.
  • I'm a big old failure at the diet lately.  When the call came about Liam I basically spent about a week eating my feelings (some more cheez-its? Don't mind if I do...) and between that and Thanksgiving, I put on three pounds.  This is especially annoying because I'd plateaued and was just beginning to break through the wall when I got derailed.  So, I gained 3 pounds that were pretty damn hard to lose in the first place.  The climb back onto the wagon was akin to scaling Everest but I think I've managed to do it.  Now all I have to do is stay here.  Weigh-in tomorrow should be so much fun.  Except not.