Monday, January 31, 2011

Its Tricky

Sunday, January 30, 2011


This is not a political blog reference.

Matthew is now pulling up on everything that he can. His favorite thing to do is whatever Luke is doing at the time. This usually annoys Luke. But the other day, we caught them playing side by side at the refrigerator.

Luke has a LeapFrog toy that teaches his to spell three-letter words. He's pretty good at it. He puts it high enough where Matt cannot reach it, but he can't move all the letters to a height where Matt can't get them. Most of the time, the letters towards the bottom of the fridge are good enough to occupy Matt while Luke spells his words up top.

Matt usually just moves the letters around the fridge, but he's getting pretty strong and started knocking the letters onto the floor. He seems to get a thrill out of it, so any letters now in his reach are guaranteed to find their way onto the floor.

The LeapFrog asked Luke to spell the word "saw." He found the 's' and the 'a' in good time and put them into the toy. He started trolling around the fridge for the elusive 'w.' It wasn't up high. He started looking down lower onto the fridge.

Sadly for Luke, his beloved 'w' was on the floor, a victim of Matt's ferocious swipe. We heard Luke let out a cry. And then he loudly squeaked "oh no, my double-u!" before rescuing the letter. Perfect enunciation, hard letter to pronounce!

He was genuinely upset, hurt that Matthew had put the 'w' onto the floor. But Nate and I started cracking up. We have no idea why he cared about this letter so much, as there was a veritable carnage of alphabet soup on the floor.

Hopefully this story comes off as random and funny, we laughed about it for quite some time. Since we like to spew random quotes every now and again, you'll understand it if we mention something about a double-u and have it not have anything to do with the former President.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

A boy and his bike

Nate fell in love with a bike more than a year ago. He's always talked about owning one, and spent a lot of time researching what type to purchase when the time was right. He'd tell me about it and I'd only half listen... I just didn't think he was ready. But one day, Nate decided that the time was upon us and brought home his well-researched, well-thought-out, well-decorated bike.

Ha. Just kidding. But don't you think that Nate looks like Tom Cruise in Top Gun?!

Luke is now the proud owner of a Schwinn roadster tricycle... bright red, chrome fenders, and a wood deck off the back. Daddy couldn't be more in love with the bike, or enamored with its rider. I think he wishes that he could have one just like it.

For a while, Luke wasn't coordinated or tall enough to ride the new trike. Though he really wanted to ride, his feet couldn't reach the pedals and he would get frustrated easily. The tricycle got dusty in the garage. Luke and Nate would look sadly at the forlorn Schwinn whenever they were nearby.

Well now, Luke is finally tall enough and he knows it! He loves the tricycle just like Daddy does. Every day when he comes home from school, he wants to ride down the driveway. It doesn't matter if it is cold, raining, snowing... get that boy on his bike. He rides down the driveway, turns around before he hits the cul-de-sac, then comes back towards the house. Then he repeats.

Ahhh... true love. Just like Shakespeare, though, parting is such sweet sorrow... coming inside after a trike ride typically involves bribery or a temper tantrum.

Monday, January 24, 2011

In Honor of Giftedness

Grammy and Papa (Nate's parents) recently attended a mass in honor of people with disabilities in Syracuse. There was a reading presented at the mass that touched them, so they had the entire poem scripted and framed for me, Nate and Will for Christmas. When I opened the gift, I couldn't speak past the first two lines, as I was already choked up. Nate tried too, but he couldn't get beyond the first paragraph before losing it. The words are so touching if you've ever had someone in your life who has or cares for someone with a disability.

If I knew who wrote these beautiful words, I would give them their incredibly deserved credit. I've read through this poem a dozen times and still cannot keep a dry eye.

In Honor of the Giftedness of Persons with Disabilities

Blessed are you who take time to listen to difficult speech, for you help us to know that if we persevere, we can be understood.

Blessed are you who walk with us in public spaces and ignore the stare of strangers, for in your friendship we feel good about ourselves.

Blessed are you who never bid us "hurry up" and, more blessed, you who do not snatch our tasks from our hands to do them for us, for often we need time rather than help.

Blessed are you who stand beside us as we enter new and untried ventures, for our unsureness will be outweighed by the time we surprise ourselves and you.

Blessed are you, who ask for our help and realize our giftedness, for our greatest need is to be needed.

Blessed are you, who help us with the graciousness of Christ, for we often need the help we cannot ask for.

Blessed are you when, by all accounts, you assure us that what makes us individuals is not our particular disability, but our beautiful God-given personhood that no handicapping condition can confine.

Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for your understanding and love have opened doors for us to enjoy life to its fullest and you have helped us believe in ourselves as valued and gifted people.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


It is hard to believe, but Matthew is now 9 months old! He's been out for the same amount of time he was in... kind of a baby equilibrium of sorts. I took him to his checkup on Friday. We dodged all of the older kids who had the flu. Matt weighed in at 20lb 4oz and 28 inches long - 50th percentile in both. The kicker was that his head circumference (something that Nate and I pay a lot of attention to after having two children with hydrocephalus and VP shunts) is 48 cm - 98th percentile. My immediate thought is to worry that his head is too big.

Me: Do we need x-rays, CT scans to rule out anything wrong?
Doctor: Nope, your baby just has a big head. So do you.


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Such a boy

Will has a smile that lights up his face though it isn't always the easiest thing to catch on camera. For a while, when we would ask him if he could smile, he would click with his tongue (to say yes) and then smile. Our photo-taking became a routine:

Ask the question. Wait for the tongue click. Wait for the smile. Take the photo.

This worked for a couple of months, but the novelty has worn off for Will and he doesn't like to smile on command anymore. He truly is a three-year-old when he wants to be!

Well, we found a new way to get Will to smile. I should say that Oma - who can burp on command - found a new way to get Will to smile. It might not be her proudest claim to fame, but when you're trying to take photos of Will, it is a key skill to have. Burping!

If you burp around Will, he cracks up (such a boy...). He giggles so much that it is infectious. And I end up with all sorts of wonderful photos of him! So come visit and bring your burp-inducing foods. It might sound and smell gross, but we'll come away from it with some frame-worthy photos.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Declaration of (Partial) Independence

When in the Course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness...

Matthew has, apparently, been studying up his American history, and now understands the basis for the Declaration of Independence. Freedom. Fun. Independence. Scare your parents. All the things our forefathers thought about when writing the Declaration back in 1776.

For a kid who just started to crawl during the week of Christmas, he is now a happy, independent, crawling, thrill-seeking, pulling up, falling over, bump your head, do it again, freedom-finding, fearless dare-devil!

And the true exclamation point, the "where has my baby gone?," "boo-yah, Mommy, looky here what I can do" moment... totally unposed. That is brother Luke's encouraging, bad influencing hand you see in the right side of the photo.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Fun with fleas

Because we've all been in and out of sickness, we haven't left the house much over the past couple of weekends. Nate and I were anxious to spend some time out of the house, but didn't have too many ideas for where to go. At the exact right moment when some little one was crying, another was whining, and yet another needed to be fed, an advertisement for the Raleigh Flea Market appeared on the television like a beacon in the night.

The Flea Market was open until 6p, and we finally managed to get there a little after 4p. Things were already closing down outside! But inside was warm and still open, so we put Will and Matt in backpacks and headed in. We weren't in the market for anything in particular, so we just enjoyed walking around. We talked to the vendor at the coin counter for a while and stopped into the vintage toy shop so that Nate could teach Luke and Will all about GI Joes. At this point at the age of 3, they weren't too interested. Oh well, a father's got to try.

We saw some funny signs,

and tried on funny hats.

But perhaps the best time of all was had by Will, who got to play around outside with Nate while waiting for Luke to come out of the potty. See the smile on this video!

Though Luke left with a new hat and Oma picked up a dress shirt, I'm pretty sure we won't head back to the Flea Market any time soon. But yesterday afternoon, it was just what we needed!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Irrational thoughts

I worked from home today because the roads were covered with ice. Matt and Luke stayed home from day care because I didn't want to end as a statistic in a ditch. My mom (Oma) is here to stay with Will while he is tracked out of school, and kindly offered to watch the boys while I worked. When she laid Luke and Will down for their naps, neither was ready to go to sleep. I heard Luke singing for a while, but that dropped off and I figured that he laid down to sleep.

Near the end of nap time, things got a little hairy with Matt being cranky and someone knocking on the door, so I stepped in to wake up Will (as long as his nap isn't longer than an hour, he sleeps better at night). When I opened the door to their room, I came upon this sight:

I am not kidding (although this photo is a reinactment of actual events). My first thought was "is he dead?"

I yelled to Oma and our certified nursing assistant to come upstairs! I needed back up. Then I rushed to Luke's side to ensure that he was breathing. He was. And I suppose I should have gotten an actual photo then, however my immediate thought was to straighten out his neck. I laid him down gently... horizontally... to sleep out the remainder of his nap. Then we all had a good long laugh. And then I woke up Will.

How on earth could he have fallen asleep like that?! I feel so bad that I don't actually know how long he was sleeping in that position! Wouldn't that hurt?

Tonight before bed, I had Luke sit on his bed in the actual location and position of his nap earlier today. I know that this afternoon's incident was not him faking sleep, because when I guided him through the reinactment, he couldn't close his eyes without squeezing them shut and couldn't close his mouth unless I reminded him to.

You can't fake this! You can just blog about it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Serious lack of motivation

Luke is the only one at our house sleeping well these days.

Will is on the front end of the cold that Luke gave him... how's that for brotherly love! He's coughing a lot (but not gagging... I guess that's a good thing!) and generally very congested. Last night, he woke up 6 times to be readjusted or have his nose sprayed with saline. He's just miserable.

Though Matthew also has a cold, we are starting to think that his underlying issue is teething. The Slavik boys are all late teethers, and almost-9-month-old Matthew still has a toothless grin. When Luke and Will turned 1, Will had JUST broken through his first tooth. Luke didn't have any. You have to keep in mind that they were preemies, and were really only 9 months "corrected age" at the time.

So... Matthew is due a tooth. Or four. He's really cranky one minute, perfectly happy the next. He is usually happy playing on the floor, but has taken to pulling on people's pant legs to pick him up all the time (so cute). He's miserable during diaper changes because his poor behind is so raw. And he's waking up a couple of times a night for no apparent reason.

Nate and I alternate waking up with each of these boys when they need attention. And poor Otis leaves our room whenever Matthew (still in the bathroom to sleep) cries. He finds a quiet, but much less comfy spot on the office rug until the crying subsides, and then we hear him click down the hall as he makes his way back to his comfy bed in our room. Otis isn't as good at Luke at sleeping through all the noise.

I used to be a say that I couldn't function on less than 8 hours of sleep each night. Then I had kids, and that number changed to about 5 hours of sleep a night. For the past week, I think my average night's rest has been about 4 hours a night, and that's with several interruptions. I usually have 5 or 6 blog post ideas floating around my head at any given time, just ideas that I have during the day.

I seriously have no blog post ideas right now. My creativity is gone with my lack of sleep! So for now, I'm just going to gripe about my lack of sleep, and hope that things look up in the kids' health department so that you have more interesting things to read in the next couple of weeks!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A bobble head in underoos

Nate plays lacrosse on Sundays. Because of the holidays, he hasn't been out for a few weeks and was itching to go today, even though the weather was really cold! When he got home, he had some new Raleigh Lacrosse Club stickers to put on his helmet. The helmet usually lives in the garage along with Nate's stinky lacrosse pads, but because the new stickers needed to be put on the helmet, it was inside.

Luke loves wearing Nate's lacrosse gear, especially his arm pads and helmet. So I took some photos of him today with Nate's hat on... cracks me up that I always seem to take pictures of Luke when he has no pants on. He reminded me of a bobble head doll bopping around with the helmet on!

I am not exactly sure when pee-wee lacrosse starts, but I have a feeling that whenever that time is, Luke is going to be the first one on the field!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

There appears to be some type of mistake

We realized right after Thanksgiving that it was probably time to move Matt into his crib. Don't be shocked, but since his birth, he has been sleeping in our bathroom. Its a rather large bathroom with open space in the middle - perfect for a Pack and Play. Plus having him just a few steps away when it is time to nurse is a big plus for me early in the morning.

But back to the story... by the time we realized we should transition him to the crib, the holidays were upon us. We have Matt's crib in the office/guest room while we're still living in my mom's house, and we were going to have guests in the room during the holidays. It just didn't seem to make sense to go through the pain of one transition in early December to have to do it all again in early January.

Or I could just be dragging my feet :) Moving to a crib in a room far away seems like such a big boy thing, and this mama might not be ready for that.

I can remember when Luke and Will were about 6 months old (3 months home from the NICU), their combined weight exceeded the recommended weight for the basinet in the Pack and Play. The thing started to sag in the middle and they would roll into each other in the middle of the night. Will used to get so angry! We took that as a sign that they were tired of sharing, and rather than put two Pack and Plays in our bedroom, we moved them down the hall.

So Nate dropped the crib down to a level where Matt can't propel himself over the side, and we've been slowly attempting naps in the crib. Unless the mobile is playing, Matt is not a fan of his new digs. He can't see nearly as much as he can from the Pack and Play. He looks at me with very concerned eyes when I put him in the crib as if to ask "Mom, are you sure you want to do this to me? We have a really good thing going here. You don't want to mess that up."

Once he gets over this ear infection and is back to sleeping through the night, we'll attempt some nights in the crib too. I'm prepared for some crying... my own!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

A war on two fronts

For today's installment of Slaviks Outnumbered, we're going to have a little World War II history lesson. The main players will be General George Patton (Nate) and General Douglas MacArthur (me). I chose Nate to play General Patton because in this story, he's much more likely to slap somebody.

Over the past week, Will has really been having a tough time. He had a day's worth of vomit about a week ago. Because we thought it might be shunt-related, General Patton took him to the ER. They did a shunt tap and determined that Will's shunt was working fine. They sent Will home with anti-nausea medication and he seemed to do better for about a day or two. For the next couple of days, he started to become more irritable. He only wanted to be held and nothing we could do was right.

On New Years Eve, Will had a seizure. It wasn't like his typical seizure - it lasted a lot longer and seemed to affect him more. We were on the phone with the pediatric neurologist for a long time and going back and forth on whether to take him in to the ER. Ultimately we all decided that Will seemed fine (yet tired) and we would let him sleep and re-evaluate in the morning.

Well on New Years Day, Will was inconsolable. We tried everything we could - singing, eating, napping, playing, riding in the car. For a few minutes Will would be ok, but the next second, he was screaming. He seemed altered, which (along with the seizure) pointed us back in the direction of a shunt malfunction.

General Patton packed up the car and he and Will were back to the ER. After a couple of hours, the doctors were able to determine that it wasn't a shunt malfunction... Will was backed up. Like in the #2 kind of backed up. As far as the x-ray could see backed up. Ouch.

So it appears as though he had a stomach virus (which caused the vomiting), which lowered his seizure threshold (causing the seizure) and caused his innards to run amok (backing up his bowels). After a healthy dose of laxative jet fuel, General Patton opted to stay the night with Will in the hospital in the case that pain management was necessary.

So General MacArthur stayed home with Luke and Matt. Luke has had a cough since Wednesday, which isn't too unusual for him in the winter time (due to his lasting lung damage from being on oxygen for so long in the NICU). We have a nebulizer for him when he gets sick, which he gets twice per day during the winter and is usually ok. But yesterday afternoon, it definitely started to get worse.

Matt has been a little congested over the past day or so as well. Didn't seem like a big deal until he woke up in the middle of the night last night with a fever of 102. I gave him Tylenol and finally he fell off to sleep, but his breathing seemed labored. I watched over him for a few hours until Luke woke up hacking like he had a hairball.

Our pediatrician isn't open on Sunday. Most aren't. I hunted around for a Sunday urgent care facility that would see kids as young as 8 months. Let's just say that they are few and far between. But we finally did find one in Wake Forest with an appointment in 30 minutes, and we were off to see them.

They gave Luke 2 more nebulizer treatments when we arrived because his pulse-ox was low. Matt got one as well, because he had started to wheeze. After about an hour in the office, the boys were breathing better. They were both diagnosed as having "the crud" and we had a prescription for antibiotics. We are also on a strict nebulizer schedule for the next couple of days with both Matt and Luke. Let's hope things continue to stay quiet here on the western front (yes, I know that General MacArthur wasn't on the western front... heck, he wasn't on the eastern front either ... but "all quiet in the Pacific theater" just didn't have the same ring to it).

General Patton is still at the hospital with Will. He's going through diapers hourly. That's a good sign (unless you're the one who has to change them...). The pediatricians are trying to make sure that Will is truly on the up and up before they send him home, which means a lot of visits from a lot of different -ologists. We have good luck with some specialties, and want to slap some others. Hence the Patton reference.

The hope is that Will is healthy and regulated today and can be released. But if he has to stay in the hospital for another night just to be sure, we're ready for that too. It is a good thing that Nate and I both have a high tolerance for stress and that we're both highly capable parents! It is tough to try to deal with all these things separately, but we seem to be doing ok.

When we thought we were going to have the weekend as we planned it, we had grand plans of going hiking yesterday, doing tons of laundry, going grocery shopping, putting away Christmas stuff (I know, exciting stuff... I feel an Old School reference would be appropriate here). Since all has quieted down at home, I've been able to get through the laundry. The other stuff is going to have to wait... thankfully we aren't eating MREs just yet.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Properly motivating your Slavik child: An educational video

New Year, New Look

I decided to be trendy and change the look of my blog a la Hudson's River and Little Apple and Her Seeds... we've had the same kinda boring blog look since 2008, so I decided to mix it up a little bit. Hopefully you don't hate it!

If you get the blog update via email and want to check out the new blog look, just visit us at

We hope that you had a wonderful New Years celebration! Happy 2011!