Thursday, September 25, 2014

Keepin' Up With the Russes

It has been a while since I've last written about what is new with our family. The truth to be told, it has been really hectic ever since we found out we were pregnant with Baby Russ #2. It has been a really wonderful year thus far, and I feel that we have a lot to catch up! My blog has become a bit of baby oriented these days, mainly because it's the only topic I have time to write about on a weekly basis, and I want to make a baby book from weekly blog posts regarding my pregnancy. So I am taking a quick break from baby oriented posts that I normally post (don't worry, another one is coming next week), and let you guys know what is new with us!

We went through a series of weddings this summer. It involved a lot of traveling, and visiting family. Thank goodness for blogging, because otherwise I would not have remembered much of what happened over the summer, because it has been such a whirlwind ride, and of course, being pregnant doesn't help my memory very much! It was a really wonderful time. However, to throw in the craziness, Stu got a new job, and that required us to move about an hour and half up north from where we were living. We spent our free time of looking at the houses, and duplexes for about two months. It was very stressful, because we felt that with every place we looked at, it didn't really exactly fit our needs somehow, and there was something about it that we didn't like. We could not quite commit ourselves to the house we had looked at. In meanwhile, Stu was commuting from work to home on the weekends, and I played a single mom to a zany wild toddler during the weeks. We kept faith that things were going to work out. 

It was really hard. It was probably one of the hardest experience I have done, and that definitely gained a lot of respect from me toward single parents (not that I didn't have any before, it was just that I had no idea how hard it was until then). I was constantly tired, and had very little energy. Thankfully, my mom did come quite often to relieve me, and help me to pack up the house. Oh yeah, I did a lot of packing on my own with help from my mom, and Stu on the weekends when he was able. It was a humbling experience. I was glad that I was out of first trimester by then, because it would have sucked even more if I was sick with all that stuff going on the top. By end of July, we were feeling a bit pressured to find a place, because we had to be out of our duplex by end of August. Well, we got lucky. 

We secured a beautiful ranch home from wonderful sweet elderly couple that we got along with fabulously. They were willing to rent it out to us, and eventually, sell it to us if we wanted to buy it from them in a year from now. It had everything we wanted. I fell in love with our huge beautiful kitchen, and the fact that we had first floor laundry! I felt spoiled, actually, by all this! We grabbed the chance, and thanked our lucky stars. We ended up moving in mid-August. I was really sad to leave Ripon (and I still do get occasionally home sick for Ripon, I won't lie), yet at the same, I was excited to start something new with my family. 

We all adjusted well to living in a new town closer to Green Bay area. Stu ended up really loving his job, and it was a perfect fit for him. Things really did work out for us in the end. 

Then shortly after the move, Forrest turned 2 years old! We threw him a birthday bash party a few weeks after his birthday. We were really thankful to have our family come up, and spend the day with us. Forrest continued to do so well with his language development with both signing, and speaking. He learned his alphabet, and numbers! No lie, I was pretty impressed with his learning. Kids were definitely sponges, and absorbed everything they put their hands on! Forrest weaned from his pacifiers with no problem. It went better than I thought! 

Forrest, and I ended up meeting with a new allergist, Dr. Warpinski, and he was absolutely heaven-sent. He was incredibly amazing. I really had no idea that there was even a better one out there than our former allergist (she was also wonderful). We learned in depth about severity of Forrest's allergies to peanuts, dairy, and eggs. Peanut allergy was pretty severe, which we had anticipated, dairy allergy was mild--so there was a very good possibility of him outgrowing it at one point in his life, and he had no reaction to eggs at all. That was good to know. Forrest continued to have eczema issue with his skin, despite his diet being managed, and daily skin care. He tended to have bad flare ups on his cheeks in winter time, which led me to suspect it was somewhat seasonal related, and it was something I needed to discuss with Dr. Warpinski, if this ever turned to worse. Anyway, Dr. Warpinski wanted to hold off on food trial for tree nut allergies, even though we had a clearance from our former allergist, until next September. That meant Forrest will end up getting another blood draw (poor kiddo), and have his blood tested for tree nuts. 

Aside from Forrest's allergies, Forrest is one very healthy boy. He is pretty tall for his age, which does not surprise us, and loves being active. He enjoys getting into things! Forrest brings so much joy into our lives. Related to the baby news, Forrest does not quite know what he will be getting into this come December! It will be wonderful to see Forrest, and the baby bond. 

It has been a long time since I presented Miss Layla, AKA Turkey, on this blog. She has not been forgotten in our family! She is one spoiled Diva. Matter of fact, she has just turned 9 years old today! Actually, we don't know her true birth date, and her rescuers, along with foster parents, have no clue when her birthday is. So, we dubbed her adoption day (today) as her birthday! Anyway, it makes her 60 years old in human years. What an old grouchy lady that she is. Turkey has been really good with her behavioral management. She has truly come a long way from when we first got her. Her food aggression with food dish has apparently faded away, and has been gone for a very long time (since she learned that she's a part of our family, and is not in a foster care so she's home permanently). It helps that we manage how we deal with food around her. We don't taunt, tease, or mock her with human food. We simply refrain her from sampling human food directly from our dining table. She can calmly lay on the floor by the dining table, and has learned not to bother Forrest when he is eating at the table. 

We feed Turkey dinner first, before we eat dinner, so her stomach won't be as empty. It is usually recommended that we feed dogs AFTER we eat dinner to show our dominant position over them, but it doesn't work with Layla. It feeds into her anxiety, and makes her food reaction worse. It is better to feed her about 10 minutes before we eat, then Layla feels full, and is less inclined to bug us while we are eating. We've taught her to sit, or lay by us while we eat dinner. She has been pretty good with that. Turkey struggles a bit with Forrest walking around with food, especially Eggo waffle, and wants to eat it. She snatches it from Forrest. So we are working on that aspect. Turkey is generally pretty good with when Forrest is snacking, and Forrest loves sharing food with her. I don't stop them. 

Turkey still struggle with leash aggression. The more we walk, and the more she gets familiar with the new neighborhood, the better she gets with reacting to other dogs. We've always known that Turkey's socialization skills are poor, due to her history prior coming to our family, and we continue to work on that. Turkey is great with other dogs while she IS NOT on the leash. On the leash, not so much. As result of that, we use chest harness, and inform other dog walkers not to approach us. I am looking into buying neon colored harness that warns others to leave her alone while walking. Turkey loves to be petted, even on the leash, from others. She enjoys people, and having them lavish on her. 

There has a point in Layla's life when she was scared of having people approach her. Not now. Matter of fact, she whines, and hams up attention from other people when they visit! It is amazing how much 3 years can change a dog for better with a lot of tender loving care. We wouldn't trade her for anything else in the world. 

As for us, we are doing wonderful. Like I had mentioned earlier, Stu is loving his job, and I'm loving being a stay at home momma. Stu is going to turn 30 soon! Hard to believe that we will be in our 30s soon...and to be parents of 2 kids! I've been so busy these days preparing for fall season; harvesting, pureeing, cooking, and baking, along with taking care of Forrest, and growing a baby in my belly! Of course, you can always keep up with what is going on with us with my weekly pregnancy update, because I do sneak in here, and there about what is new.