A Daddy Weekend

Mel went to Cedar Rapids this past weekend to visit a friend. This left me home alone with both kids. I got the kids put to bed alright Friday night, although Max did get up twice to be fed during the night -- at 10:00 p.m. and 12:30 a.m. He ended up waking up at 4:40 in the morning, followed by Emma waking up at 5:20. Emma wanted to go somewhere Saturday morning. She ended up asking if we could go to the Mall of America so she could ride the merry-go-round. So, I decided to take both kids to the mall. Taking a three-year-old and a seven-month-old to the Mall of America by myself was a lot more challenging than I thought it would be. The hardest part was when we were in the middle of eating lunch and Emma told me she needed to go potty. Well, she is too young to go by herself, our food was only half eaten, I was trying to feed Max, and there was no one to take her besides me. I ended up telling her to finish her lunch first, and then we would go to the restroom. We finished up and went, however Emma apparently didn't actually have to use the restroom. I guess my gamble paid off. Emms ended up riding the carousel three times during our visit to the mall before we headed home.

Yesterday, we all went to the Woodbury Days parade. That is one really long parade! I think it lasted about two hours! Before it was over, Emma was ready to go home. It wasn't because we were there for so long, but instead because she was frightened by the fire coming from the RE/MAX hot air balloon basket that was in the parade. The loud noise was bad enough, but when they fired it up near us, I think the combination of fire, intense heat, and noise pushed her over the edge. It took several minutes to calm her down. She ended up with quite a bit of candy. I don't think she will be able to go through it all by Halloween even. She also ended up with a lot of political stickers on her shirt. Somehow though, the stickers from the Republican candidates ended up being covered by the stickers from the DFL candidates. Hmmm, I'm not sure how that happened.


Time to Blog

I've been having a hard time making time to blog lately. I have some time now, so I thought I would write about our trip to Iowa last weekend to celebrate my grandmother's ninety-first birthday, as well as the birthdays of my sister and my cousin's wife. We drove down to my mother's home Friday night. I think this really messed up Maximus's sleep schedule. It took a long time to get him to sleep. Fortunately, this meant he ended up sleeping much later than usual.

On Saturday we had lunch at the Colony Inn in Amana. Lunch was terrific! The mashed potatoes and gravy were delicious, and the Swiss steak I had for my entrée was quite flavorful as well. We then returned to my grandmother's house where we later had a small dinner followed by cake and ice cream.

My mom, sister, Mel, Emma, Max, and I went to the Other Place in Waterloo for pizza on Sunday before returning home. The drive back went pretty well except for the last half hour or so. By that time, Max had woken up and was tired of being in his car seat. He wasn't shy about letting us know it either. I hope we all survive our trip to Iowa next month for a wedding reception. That trip is going to be much longer than the one we took last weekend.


Taking Off the Pounds

I seem to be getting back on track with my weight loss. I lost another 1.2 pounds this past week, meaning that my weight has now decreased four of the past five weeks. And I think the only reason my weight was up last week was that last Tuesday I went to a potluck lunch at Mel's workplace. I was actually expecting to see an increase this week as I weighed myself Monday and my weight had increased significantly. I was very happy to see that it did not increase however. In the 14 weeks since I have been using Weight Watchers, I have had a net loss of 11.2 pounds, averaging 0.8 pounds per week. I'd like to see my weekly rate of weight loss slightly higher, but this number is acceptable. I now have 12.5 pounds to go before I have lost 10% of my weight when I started Weight Watchers in May, and 25.6 pounds until I reach my goal weight of 200 pounds. I know I can do this, but it would be much easier if I could find some time to get some real exercise in.


Voter #3

On our way to daycare this morning, the kids and I stopped so I could vote in the Minnesota primary. When I signed in, I found it interesting that there were two people whose names were on the same page as mine whose eligibility to vote was being challenged. For one of the two names, there was a not indicating that the person had moved. For the other, it said the person was a felon. I didn't think to look at the time, but I could have actually looked to see who these two people were who listed as possible illegal voters.

After getting my ballot, Emma, Maximus, and I proceeded to the voting booth. Up until the time I got there, I still wasn't completely sure who I was going to select for the nomination for governor. In fact, I hadn't even made up my mind whether I was going vote in the Independence Party race or the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party race. I ended up voting in the DFL column of my ballot, selecting the incumbents for Secretary of State and Attorney General. It was a tough decision for me between Mark Dayton and Margaret Anderson Kelliher when it came to the governor's race. I'm not going to say for whom I voted, but I didn't even consider voting for Matt Entenza. While I am sure he would do fine in the job of governor, his insistence that Minnesota should drop out of No Child Left Behind made me not want to vote for him. The fact that my job entails creating tests, such as ones used for NCLB, played a big role in this decision.

After I marked my ballot, I let Emma slide it into the ballot-counting machine. My ballot was the third one of the day at my precinct. I didn't think that was too bad considering that the polls had only been open for a few minutes before we arrived. The person manning the machine gave Emma and me "I Voted" stickers. He was going to give one to Max as well, but I declined. I told him that Max would just take it off and try to eat it.

No matter who wins today, I will still have a choice to make in November. I can not yet say that I am completely committed to voting for the DFL candidate, whomever that may be. I could still select the IP candidate. Of course, there is no way in hell I will be voting for Tom Emmer three months from now.


Maximus's First Few Days With His Helmet

We've been breaking Max into his STARband helmet since Friday when we got it. On Friday, he alternated between one hour of the helmet on and one hour of having it off until he went to bed without the helmet. Saturday he was two hours on then an hour off, without wearing the helmet for naps or overnight. Yesterday it was on for four hours and then off for an hour, leaving it on for his naps. Finally today, Maximus was supposed to leave it on for eight hours with an hour off. However, he was napping when it was time to remove the helmet, so he actually wore it for a whole ten hours before removing it temporarily. He didn't have any difficulties napping with his helmet on, and now he is sleeping with the helmet on. The past two nights, Maximus has finally slept through the entire night without waking up to be fed. I hope he manages to do it again tonight. I am not sure if the helmet will affect his sleep though.

I have been out and about with Max a few times since he started wearing his helmet. I admit that I wondered how other people we would see would react to his helmet since it isn't something most people are familiar with. At Target this past weekend, I noticed that some people looked, but no one stared or asked why my baby was wearing a helmet. There was a woman who was helping an adult with a developmental disability do his shopping. She stopped to talk to Max, commenting on how pretty his big blue eyes were.

Saturday evening though, we did get a question about Max's helmet. We were eating at a restaurant. When our server initially greeted us, he said that Max's helmet was cool. Later on he asked if Max was learning to walk, assuming that was the reason for the helmet. We did explain that Max had the helmet to correct a flat spot on his head, and he found that to be interesting. Likewise, Max and I were shopping at Target today when a girl who appeared to be about nine or ten years old commented that she liked his helmet. I started talking with her mother and explained the purpose of the helmet. And of course, when I took Emma to daycare this morning, the other kids were curious about Max's helmet. I expect that Max will get second glances from people when we are out, and of course I am perfectly willing to educate them about its purpose if I am asked.

Tomorrow Maximus begins wearing the helmet for twenty-three hours every day. He still doesn't seem to mind it, so I am not anticipating any problems.


Max's Helmet

Last month, Maximus was fitted for a cranial remolding orthosis, a helmet, to correct the shape of his head. Yesterday we got the helmet from the orthotist. Max has the condition plagiocephaly, or flat head syndrome, due to his having torticollis, which causes him to turn his head predominantly to the right. Because he spent a lot of time lying on his back, and turning his head to the right while on his back, the right side of his head is flattened some. This helmet will allow the flattened parts of his head to grow out while restricting grown in the directions where his head has already grown out. After a brief break-in period, Max will be wearing his helmet for twenty-three hours a day until his head has a rounder shape. The orthotist estimated that this will take until Max is about eleven months old. So he could be wearing his helmet for about five months.

Prior to receiving the helmet yesterday, I was concerned that Max would have a problem with having the helmet on his head. However, its presence didn't seem to bother Max one bit. He does not act any differently whether it is on or off, and he hasn't tried to remove it from his head. For a couple of weeks, until he is completely adjusted to having the helmet, Max will probably have a harder time sitting up and rolling over. However, he will have the benefit of being able to fall over from a sitting position without hurting his head. Of course, when he finally gets rid of the helmet, he may be in for an unpleasant surprise when he does bump his head. We are going to have to start washing Max's hair daily now, instead of every other day as we have been doing. Otherwise, the helmet, which we will also have to wash daily, will begin to smell bad. I am really looking forward to seeing the progress that Maximus makes by wearing his helmet.


Wrap-up of the Past Week

We've had a pretty busy week this past week. Last Saturday we all went to the Mall of America where Emma finally got to ride on the carousel. She rode on it three whole times! I thought that since she was tall enough to ride on her own, but I wanted to go with her, I would have to pay as well, so I paid enough for two rides, one for her and one for me. However, when we got on, they only charged us for her, so we had enough points left for her to ride a second time. Somehow though, the points were not deducted from our ticket for on of her first two rides, so she was able to ride a third time. She had a great time on the carousel.

On Sunday we went to the Minnesota Zoo. Emma wanted to play in the splash pad, but we told her we would do that before leaving instead of right when we got there. As a consequence, Emma did not want to spend much time looking at any particular animal. She kept saying that she wanted to see the next animal. I am pretty sure this was so we could finish with looking at animals so she could play in the water. When it was finally time to go home, Emma was not happy about it. She screamed all the way to the car that she didn't want to go home yet. She fell asleep in the car, but when she woke up when we got home, she began whining again. She ended up spending a bit of time in her room alone until she managed to calm down.

On Monday, Max rolled over from his back to his tummy! He had begin rolling the other way regularly last month, but now he can roll both ways!

Max's physical therapy appointment for his torticollis was Wednesday. He is doing really well, although he still tilting his head to his left. This appointment was also a lot more pleasant than the previous two as Max refrained from screaming for most of the appointment. He did complain some during one of the exercises he did though. It was nice to not have him screaming for the entire appointment though.

I had a follow-up appointment from my gallbladder surgery yesterday. Everything looks just fine.

I have had quite a bit of work lately, especially since Wednesday this week. All of these other appointments haven't helped with getting it done, and we have another appointment this afternoon. However, working at night, I have been able to get things done. Well, I've gotten most of it done anyway.