Saturday, December 31, 2011

Baby 2: 3 and 4 Months Old

Weston @ 3 months
- Weston has started to giggle, specifically when you change his clothes.  I don't know what is so funny, but he just cracks up.
- He loves being tickled on his cheeks and neck.
- He loves it when he gets attention
- He will not sleep unless his arms are swaddled.  (That works ok for these cold months, we'll see how next summer goes.)
- Weston outgrew most of his 3 months clothes!  I can't believe I'm already putting 6 months clothes on this guy.  We compared pictures of Reid and Weston the other day, and Weston is definitely in bigger clothes in the pictures of the same age.

Weston @ 4 months

- He's gone 10 hours straight sleep multiple nights, but sometimes goes back to 7-8 hours, then back to 8-9 hours.
- He has really started responding to us, he loves to plays games.  If he makes a sound, and you make a sound, then he makes a sound, he starts to really smile for you.  If you start to tickle him, he'll giggle each time, then if he hears you laughing, he'll start giggling too, even if you aren't tickling him.
- He's a home body.  He doesn't sleep well out in public.  And is only ok if he can see mom. (wondering if the car seat cover is going to last much longer)
- He also loves the quietness of home.  When it is really noisy and chaotic, he can't seem to settle down at all.  From the time he was born he couldn't sleep with loud noises.  Some people claim you can train this out of them... but he has always been this way.
- Comments from others:
"Wow, he looks just like Reid"
"He sure looks like your family"
"Reid and Weston definitely look like brothers"
 .... Sure I hear the obligatory, he's cute, but he really is!
- He's a momma's boy.  Both my boys are which is tricky.
- Weston is eating 6 times a day, giving me "present" diapers once a week (but he's cranky if he goes that long), and still is spitting up a bunch (some days not so much, other days it never stops)
- He's adjusting to Reid noises.  He actually has calmed down a few times once Reid starts making a racket with his toys or stomping, but he seems to know when if there are strangers around making noise too
- Gives the BEST smiles when you go in to pick him up after sleeping, super open mouthed
- Starting sticking his tongue out.  I can decide if it feels funny or he's trying to be silly
It's cuter than this, I promise... still trying to get cute pic of it
Weight:  14lb 7.5oz  50%
Height:   25.5in 75%
Head:     41.5 cm  25-50%

Official 4 month pic (even though it was a couple days after)

Weston is a good and mostly predictable baby... I'm grateful for his spirit and I truly am so glad he's here, it sounds weird but I really think I missed him.  The more I get to know him, the more I wonder how I felt at home without him here.  He's such a comfort to my heart.  He loves Daddy and Reid too... he smiles for them almost anytime they want one.  We love you Weston!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Halloween 2011

Well, it was our first big Halloween... here's how it went.

We missed our church party, but went to our friend's, but Reid still didn't like it much... partly cuz of the costume drama.  We made this super cool Mater costume last year, but then Reid got super sick on Halloween, so we didn't use it.  He didn't even want to put it on.  Then about a month ago, we got it out and he drove Mater all over the house.  "Sweet!" I thought, "my kid actually likes the costume this year."  So we thought we try it again.  No, he didn't want to use it.  So we carried it around and trunk-or-treated at the church party.

Since that didn't go well, the day before Halloween we got out Reid's Halloween bucket and had him go "trick or treating" to each of us, so he could practice and get excited.  Well, he asked about it for the next 24 hours!

On actually Halloween was a Fall Festival for little kids at a local park.  I wasn't about to carry Mater, a baby and a sad toddler, so I put on some hole-y jeans and a flannel shirt and Reid's tool bet and called it good for the morning.  He ran around and had a blast... feeding a lion, putting into a nelephants trunk, and riding on the hay ride ("tractor ride").  Went to lunch with friends and came home and napped.  

I was foolishly still hopeful that Mater would be selected for the evening, but NOPE, he wasn't.  So we grabbed the tool belt and he was ready.  Our neighbors invited us to go with them, and I thought that would be better for him to see how it worked with other kids.  They had a blast.  Reid loved having other "guys" (non-adults) to follow.  He would say "ick o TREAT"... always screaming the treat part... it was hilarious.  He was also very good to say "thank you" and sometimes even a "bye" or "see you later".  He was the hit of the night.  He also got very excited about the moon, and saying hi to fellow trick or treaters that passed us.

Unfortunately, after the first scary house (and it was actually scary), he required mom to go with him up to the door from then on.  For the first few houses after a scary house, he would ask, "Scary?" and we would all reassure him it was ok.  I never made him go up to the door at the scary houses, but he still knew if it was a scary house just by passing it.  And some houses that weren't scary, but had Halloween sounds, still made him very cautious.

About halfway through the night he started slowing down, I finally figured out it was because his candy bucket was too heavy!  I started carrying it for him in between houses, and then he perked right back up.  But by the end, my neighbors, Reid, and I were all tired.  Matt stayed home with Weston and the dogs to hand out candy.  Weston was a champ and slept the whole time, doorbells and all, can't say the same for the dogs.  :)

When we got home, he asked for some nerds, which he loved and milk duds, which didn't last, and a lollipop.  Then he happily sat down watched Thomas while I got Weston to bed, and then he went to bed quite easily.

It was such a fun time for us to see Reid as he's growing up, interacting and participating more.  We had a great Halloween!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Is It Two Months Already?!

Well, month two was much more exciting! 

The first week were just enjoying getting back to normal life and even took it easy with General Conference weekend.  We just used the air mattress we had blown up for company and sat on it while we watched conference on the computer.

The following weekend my brother, his wife and four children came to visit.  They were here for 3 days total, but I think we had a lot of fun.  We visited, played games, went to the Nature and Science Center where we got to play in the dino pits, we rode on the train in the park downtown, we even were able to fit in seeing the bats come out at night.... and one of those days was Sunday!  I was very humored by my nephews who are 5 and 7 and all the questions they ask.  I gotta get ready for that age when kids absorb everything.  We are so grateful they took the time to come visit and meet Weston, it was a lot of fun!

(who would've thought watching bats come out at night would be so impressive)
(and yes, you do get "dropped on" we had a run for it when the flight path changed)
They left on a Tuesday morning, so we began the craziness of packing for a week and a half, and left for Arizona the next day.  Matt's brother was getting married on Friday.  We planned to do it in one day, but gave ourselves two days, just in case.  We did make it in one day.. one very long day.  It was rough from the first hour on, including missed turns, stressful pit stops.  Then the afternoon, things calmed down, but by evening Weston was DONE.  So we nursed, changed him, and drive into the sun with a crying baby.  Eventually he fell asleep, but the poor kid was just sick of the car seat.
Friday was the reception and the wedding, thanks to my sister who watch Reid all morning and my parents who came up to the temple to watch Weston.  That evening was a beautiful reception and lots of friends and family to visit with.
Saturday was Matt's sister's baby shower which was a blast, lots of girl time.  Plus our friends drove down from the Safford area and hung out with us all day.
Sunday was busy because we were able to bless Weston with all the family in town for the wedding.  Matt and I were busy being hosts, Weston was in heaven being passed around and loved, and Reid got to play with his best buddy Ryde.  It was so much fun, we had so many loved ones there, it is times like that that I realize how blessed I am.  I had tons of people there, and a bunch more who couldn't come.  I am so grateful for all the love and support we have.

Matt couldn't afford another day off work, so we stuck around all week.  Monday was a recovery day.  Tuesday - Friday were about trying to make visits, take care of our rental house, let tired children recover, and other various errands that just seemed to make the week fly.
Saturday we drove home and Weston slept and slept and slept!  We made great time, and it went really well.  Reid had been asking for about 3 days to go home, so he was a very happy boy.  Regardless of the craziness, we were so grateful for parents who hosted us and social things at there houses so that we could make the best of this trip with a 6-7 week old.

I don't know where last week went, but between playgroup, church callings, tired boys, Matt's long hours at work, doctor appointments, laundry and all that comes from a trip, the week flew by. 

This week is full of fevers, running noses and lack of sleeping.  I knew it would catch up to us, I am grateful that it waited until the craziness was over.

Weston's 2 month stats:
Weight: 12lb 4.5oz
Length: 24in (although, it wasn't quite that if you ask me)
Head: 39.5in
(I looked it up, Reid was the same weight, but over and inch shorter)
Sleeps 8-9 hours at night!
Thanks to cornstarch the diapers are no longer stressful, and I usually only get presents once a day!
Smiles always at mom, especially when he's crying cuz he's hungry and mom picks him up
Loves to smile and laugh instead of eat
Loves kisses and zberts on his cheeks and neck (I even got a full blown giggle!)
Is cooing and talking all the time
Has a fussy time of day (dinner to bed time)
Weston has become the sweetest boy ever and just chills and is patient with me
Doesn't love tummy time
Sleeps in his own room
Loves to watch his big brother play and will even give him smiles

(2 months old)

  (smiles for Grandma, 7 weeks old)

Reid's done some new things this month too: 
  • With new visitors with different vocabularies around him for a month, his talking has improved so much.  Not only does he say more complete sentences, he is getting better and pronunciation (which really is a shame, I'm going to miss "nin-nows", a.k.a. windows).
  • He has started copying us... we are learning that we have to be careful what we say around the house!
  • He is now learning how to say prayers, which brought tears to my eyes the first time.  (always has been good at folding arms, now we are working on closing our eyes... very tightly! hahaha!)
  • He is becoming a more experienced and brave climber on furniture, playgrounds, it doesn't matter, he'll climb it.
  • After going to a play date, he learned about Thomas the Train, and now it is ALL about trains.  He loves them... he spends hours each day making car trains, or toy trains, or something that isn't a train into a train.  He still loves cars too though.  He pretty much like moving vehicles.
  • He has started asking for diaper changes when he actually needs them.  Oh boy, guess I gotta figure out how to potty train!
  • The jealousy is just beginning.  Mom is the favorite right now, and there are times he wants me when I'm holding Weston, but cries until I put Weston down and pick him up.  It is sweet but hard.
  • But on the up side, he's very sweet and always tells me when Weston is crying or if he is sad, and then he'll let me go take care of him.  Such a good big brother!
  • He can count to ten and is getting better at counting to twenty
  • He knows almost the whole alphabet in capital letters, we are now working on lower case.
  • My favorite is that he has started to sing songs.  Sometimes just a word or two, but he just sang 1 entire line from Bob the Builder all morning, it was so cute!
So that was month two... Phew!  I think I need a nap.  :)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The First Month with Two

The first month of Weston's life was full of all the normal adjustments and recoveries required with child birth and additions to family.  We survived it thanks to AMAZING parents!  My parents were able to stick around for two weeks and cook, clean, babysit, purchase absurd amounts of food, and repair various things around our house!  Matt's parents only had a couple days, but I still got laundry folded, meals cooked and paid for, and entertainment for Reid!  It was a blast.  We even had a special visit from Matt's cousin who had a business trip here, which is fun cuz he was MY friend in high school, before I even met Matt.

We are so happy to have Weston here and have been working on adjusting, so this is late, but I want to write a few things down before I forget them.

1 Month Stats:
Weight: 10lb 2oz
Length: 22in
Head: 38in
Sleeps 5-6 hours at night (bless you child!)
Smiles but not always at us
Great eater
Spits up a ton
Gives me presents in his diaper almost every diaper change
Had the worst diaper rash and I struggled to figure out the trouble.  (at this point I tried changing my diet to help, but nothing)
Reid liked to tickle his toes and hands
Reid would check on Weston first thing in the morning, but other than occasional tickles, he didn't really care.
Everything else is a blur  :)

 3 weeks old

1 month old

One super fun thing we were able to do with Matt's parents (which completely wore me out though) was going to the Old Pecan Street Fall Festival.  Legos had a station there were you could race your cars.  Needless to say, Reid LOVED it.  There were some great naps had that day.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Welcome Geek Baby #2!

August 26th 2011 @ 1:16pm Weston Cade was born!  He weighed in at 7lbs 15oz and was 19.5 inches long.  I was induced, but still was able to labor and deliver naturally.
We are really enjoying him and adjusting to our new life.  I hope to write the story down soon.  But for now pictures will have to do.

A few hours old
 Getting his hearing test (he looks like he's jammin')

 5 days old

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Why Two Year Olds are Great

Because when you are busy stressing and counting contractions...
They come up to you on the couch, and start bopping you on the nose saying, "Boing, boing, boing!" 

I totally lost all my concentration and that contraction time was off a little bit... but I sure did get a really good laugh!

(p.s. the contractions slowed down later that night... so no baby yet)

Friday, July 29, 2011

Thoughts of Soon to be Mom of Two

Lately, I just find myself staring at Reid, wondering when did my baby get so big?  I remember when he couldn't do or say anything.  And now he can almost always clearly explain what he wants, and when I check to verify, he accepts that as a "yes", and then I have to disappoint him and tell him no.  Thus begins the tantrums.  But really, his tantrums are fabulous as far as tantrums go.  He'll either drop his head and shoulders and stick out his bottom lip in the most perfected pout you have ever seen, or he'll let out the most pathetic cry and then throw his face on the couch/automan/chair/etc.  Give him a minute or two and he's over it.  I am grateful that these tantrums aren't bad.  But the testing of the limits, OH!  I'm so tired of saying no, and saying no to the same thing!  But really, can I blame the kid for wanting more fruit snacks/juice/M&Ms/popcorn/etc.  No, not really.  I just have to be a mom and do what is good for him.

Then there are the truly sweet moments, when he grabs my head and snuggles it up next to his.  Or when he wants to play "dark again" (hiding under a blanket), so we can giggle together.  He always gives me and his daddy sweet kisses.  He jumps for joy when Daddy or Mommy come home when they have been gone.  He loves his independence, as long as he knows where we are.  And the trust my child shows me is amazing.  I was overwhelmed one day at a beach entry pool, when I was trying to show him that the water went deeper, and he just kept walking towards me, even though the water was completely over his head.  I love this little boy so much, and I can feel the love that he has for me.

So how could anything be wrong?  Well, in church a few weeks ago a friend gave a lesson about how scary it was to have another child coming into her family.  And it hit me... that is what I have been feeling!  Will I love this 2nd baby enough?  Will I still be able to show my 1st baby all the love and attention he needs and deserves?  Will I end up abandoning the older child, because the baby needs more?  How is my 1st child going to adjust?  How am I going to adjust?  Will I be able to give everyone what they need?  All these fears have hit me like a ton of bricks.

Deep down I know this is the right thing, and I am so excited to meet this little guy inside of me.  And I would never want to deprive Reid of the love you can feel for and from a sibling.  So I know this is the right thing, but man am I scared for them.  Will I be enough of a mom for BOTH of them?

I am grateful for the comforting words of my best friend who told me that I'm normal in all this, and shared some very reassuring thoughts and feelings from her experience of having multiple children.  But I still find myself crying every time I read those "baby is coming" books to Reid.  I ache for him and the change he is going to have, and the challenges that this little boy will have to soon face.  And I just want to help him and make it easy, but alas... I need to let him go through this, as much as I need to learn how to be a mom of 2.

I have tried to make the most of this summer, spending time with Reid, letting him learn and grow and experience all that he can.  I have tried to bond with him and show him my love.  I have tried to teach him about shapes, colors, and Jesus Christ.  I hope that through all of this, he knows that I love him, and come what may, we are a family forever.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Driving, Vacations and More

We survived our long vehicular summer vacation, super prego, sprained foot, toddler and all.

What summer vacation, you say?
Well, Matt's family had a reunion in Utah.  So the question is... what is the quickest way to get from Texas to Utah?  Flying of course!  Well, it sure wasn't the cheapest.  So we looked at other options.  If we went to Colorado and stayed with my brothers instead of driving straight there, we'd add only 100 miles to our trek.  So thus began our fabulous vacation.

We started out bright and early on a Saturday morning.  We were thrilled to just be out on a vacation, it didn't matter where.  About two hours into the drive, we got stopped on the road.  The man that stopped our car said, we have to stop traffic because they have to land a helicopter on the highway.  (how cool is that?!)  Then he continued for accident victims.  (ok, that's a bummer)  So, while waiting, I figured, let's eat something.  I pull out a mango we hadn't managed to eat before leaving.  I brought paper towels, a knife and a bowl, surely I was prepared.  HA!  That sucker was so juicy that it got everywhere.  And did you know that mango is super slippery?!  Yeah, went right down into that place by your seatbelt and the console... that teeny whole that you hate wedging your hand into on occasion when you drop some item that CANNOT be left behind?  yeah, that one.  Well, I might have let it go, except for the GIANT wasp that flew into the car through our open windows!  AHHH!
So, I'm trying to get the food cleaned up, with my totally mango juice covered hands... in the mean time, Matt's trying to wave the wasp out of the car, with his mango covered hands.  Oh and let's try and keep the wasp out of the back seat, because I do NOT need a wasp stung toddler on my hands while we drive for 14 more hours!
Thanks to a cheezit box and quick automatic windows... we managed to get the wasp out of the car.  But then it was chasing Matt around wanting the cheezits!  So he jumps in the car, and we sit there breathing trying to pretend we did not just run around like crazy trying to get a wasp out of our car.

After that we were grateful to get going on the road and had a wonderful drive to Colorado.  Reid made it 12 hours before we put a movie on!  I couldn't have been more proud.  (don't worry, he didn't make it more than one hour by the last trek of the drive)

In Colorado and had a blast with two of my older brothers' families.  We had an ice cream tasting contest (which me and my 9 year old niece won on a team effort!), we played hours of games while it rained and poured, we thoroughly enjoyed the cool nights, we toured geeky things like NIST and NOAA, played an hour or two of tag (which was pretty hilarious), and got spoiled as my dear sisters-in-law fed us and let us relax for a few days!

After that, we headed to Utah for the family reunion.  To give us a little time to rest up, we stayed at my aunt's house for one night.  They have a gorgeous home and are so gracious to share it with us.  They fed us and even watched our son so we could attend the Salt Lake Temple.  (something we both have wanted to do for years!) 

Then with a little grocery shopping, it was time to head to the family reunion.  Matt's aunt found this beautiful huge cabin in the mountains east of Salt Lake.  It was so nice!  Tons of rooms, big open social areas.  Not to mention sand volleyball court, tether ball, hammock, two playgrounds, fishing, fire pit, lovely front porch and lawn, Oh and the gorgeous Utah air!  The only bummer, which isn't completely bad cuz it was beautiful, was the creek that was a raging river due to all the snow melt.  We got to share our room with Matt's sister, and I hope she slept ok with a toddler in the same room!  (she was polite if she didn't)  The funny thing is that it was on the 3rd floor, so all the heat of the day was in there by the end of the day, and I was sweltering by the time I would put Reid to bed.  So I did my best to open up the windows to cool it off... and man, that's so fun to just open the windows and enjoy the beautiful cool night air, and even be quite chilly in the mornings!
A family favorite at these reunions is playing Rook.  It is hard to play Rook with just me and Matt, so we did our best to get all of the playing in that we could.  Matt's cousins and aunts and uncles are quite skillful at this game... so it is a fun challenge.

Then after a few days there, we headed back to Arizona for a quick stop in.  The best part of the travel was carpooling with Matt's parents and sister, so we got to have some great chats while driving out on the open road.  Reid was struggling by this time, but other than his break down when I didn't realize how late it was and how hungry he probably was... he was a pretty good sport.

In Arizona, we visited with a few friends (the dentist included for me) and family.  I enjoyed getting my Eegee's and Frost cravings satisfied, and visiting with great people!  Reid really enjoyed some one on one time with Grandma and Grandpa A at the house he mostly remembers as home. 

We only stayed for one day, just to break up two super long days of driving.  Then we headed back to Texas.  This drive was painful and hard, and altogether worthy of forgetting.  We got stopped twice in the last couple hours because we had a headlight out.... which we knew about, but what can you do?
(When we got home I am proud to say that my husband manned up and saved us $100+ by changing the headlight himself!)

A great family vacation with lots of family visited and enjoyable times had!

Super prego, yeah how's that going?
Yes, I figure we drove about 52+ hours on this vacation.  I was 30 weeks when we left, 31 weeks when we got home.  Just got this trip done in the knick of time!
I am now 33 weeks and I'm not allowed to leave town once I'm 34 weeks.  I'm starting to get ready for this baby.  Car seat covers are being washed, birth plans have been updated, hospital bags are being packed, and labor/birth education courses are being reviewed.
This baby is measuring 70%+, and so am I.  I guess that belly measurement they do shows me as big.  It makes sense to me, because I was over 8lbs at birth, and Reid didn't even make it to 7lbs until he was a week old.  So this baby may be getting the taller genes in the family... we'll see!

Sprained foot!  What the ...?
So 2.5 days before it was time to be driving out of the driveway, I was rushing down the stairs and rolled my ankle.  Yeah, that's to be expected.  I don't have the greatest ankles, and I'm all loosy-goosy from being prego.  Well, the sprained ankle I can deal with.... it was the other foot that I landed on that was killing me!
After a rough night involving me at the church with 8-12 year olds, nail polish, Matt home with Reid and a power outage, and LOTS of pain... we sent Reid off to an air conditioned house and headed to the ER.
Can I just tell you how frustrating it is to feel like you have broken a bone?  In the same general of your body as the ONLY other broken bone you have had?  And getting this injury on the same apparatus as before?  Yeah, its frustrating.   And no one in the ER wants to give a 29.5 week pregnant woman painkillers without checking with the doctor first... so wait we did.
Of course it wasn't broken!  GRRR.  But it was pretty badly sprained.  So basically I went to the ER to get some painkillers to make it through the next few days.
My tailbone also hurt some, so they sent me to labor and delivery to double check that all is well with the baby, and it was.

We finally got home @ 2am, and thank goodness to amazing friends who made it possible to sleep all day long while she kept Reid at her house.  THEN she came over the next day and packed for me!  LIFESAVER!

So as if tredging around on vacation while super pregnant isn't fun enough... I was also sporting a big black ortho boot and donut pillow.  If I got a dollar for every look that said "ohhhh", "poor her", or "oh man!"  I would be a very rich woman.  I really did look pathetic.... plus, I was still dealing with pain because I couldn't take pain killers because I needed to help drive.  Oh man, was that fun!

3 weeks later it is finally getting better.  I no longer wear the boot, but I am currently still sitting on my boppy pillow because let's face it a bruised tailbone takes like 100 years to heal!  Really I'm doing just fine, I have to admit... I'm wondering if a bruised tailbone is gonna make labor hurt more?  Anyone know?

So, that's our summary for now.  Add in doctor appointments, playgroups, church callings, work, and pregnancy exhaustion and that's what kept us busy this summer.  Hope your lives are a little less crazy!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Summer is Off to a Good Start

Well, I've had a few requests for a new post... so here you go.

I swear I'm bigger than I was at this time.  I am currently 26 weeks, and I think I look like I did at 30 weeks last time.  This little guy is carrying super high, he is already in my ribs all the time.  Matt has felt him kick multiple times, but I can't seem to get Reid to wait long enough to feel it. 
I've had some back pain this time, so I asked my doc, and she recommended a maternity belt.  So now I'm strutting to the groovy belt under my clothes.  So far I think it has helped.
Sleeping - well, I can't.  I toss and turn about every hour or two... if I get 3 hours, I feel awesome.  It just makes me laugh, cuz I know I'll be more tired later!
In spite of all that, I'm grateful this little guy is healthy and kicking and that I am able to continue to function at all while pregnant.
(me at 24 weeks)

(my 20 week 3D ultrasound of this little boy)

Is a crack up.  He is less of a baby and more of his own person. He says the funniest things.  My favorite right now is "Ready, Set, GO!"  (sounds more like re-ee, se, go)
He FINALLY got some more teeth.  It has been almost a year since we've had teeth come in.  But his canines are making an appearance, barely before he turns 2.
Reid got a nasty cold and gave it to us.  Reid's lasted almost a week, but then I think the lingering was just teething.  Matt's lasted 2 days, and 3 weeks later, I think all symptoms of mine were gone!
Reid has also learned about movies.  His favorite is Joo-joo.  Can you guess what that is?  Yeah, it took me a while too.  Incredibles!  He LOVES it.  Wall-E is also another fav... but really he loves most cartoons at all.
We've been working on colors and letters.  He can pick out the letter "o" (because he has learned about circles), and sometimes can find the "h", but we're still working on all the others.  Blue is the color he gets right the most... but RED is his favorite crayon/pen/marker color to draw with.

On goings:
Matt's brother got home from his mission!  Welcome home!  So Matt went home for a visit.  It ended up that the cheapest tickets were to be gone for a WHOLE WEEK!  I didn't know what I was gonna do without him, until my sister called and said she is coming to visit me!
So my sister was here for 4 days to play, while Matt was gone.  We had a blast.  We mostly went shopping, out to eat, and watching chick flicks while Reid was alseep for the night.... but we also went down to the park and rode the little train.  It was so much fun.  I would've been bored out of my mind... and I love hanging out with my sister.  It was so fun!
(someone brought bubbles on the train, Reid's trying to grab them)

Other than that, we're just plugging along.  Trying to get more organized, getting ready to move Reid to a toddler bed, and swimming as much as we can!

Hope everyone has fun summer plans!

Monday, April 25, 2011

April On-goings and a Fun Easter Report

For the month of April, we spent most of our time trying to unpack and get settled in our house.  It's amazing how much time you spend cleaning up the yard, or picking out decorations for each room, or painting over ugly stencils, or what have you in  your new home.  We're still not there, but the baby's room is half cleaned out, so we are making definite progress!

The big news of April is that we found out we are having another BOY!  We are ecstatic!  I am so happy that Reid will have a buddy to be friends with, and then fight with, and then hopefully be friends with again once he is older.  It's a wonderful circle of life siblings go through and I'm excited that our boys will have that opportunity. 

Everyone asks how I'm feeling, and pretty good is the answer.  I was pretty sure it was a girl because I just can't kick this nausea and I thought the extra estrogen in my system HAD to be the cause... but I was wrong.  It simply is a different pregnancy.  I'm feeling him kick, but mostly it feels like he's just wiggling around while he still has room in there.  My energy level has been much lower this time around, and I've been assured it is due to chasing my toddler around!  Also, my back aches almost every day, but that is bearable thanks to my heated rice socks.  So really, I'm doing well.... Most days I can get chores done around the house, and usually we make 2 park appearances and a library appearance each week.  So I think it is going well!

This little guy is due August 27th, but my doctor doesn't think I'll make it to then, I've been told not to be more than an hour from the hospital once I hit 34-35 weeks.  What fun a HOT July/August is going to be for me!

So far we have been blessed and loved our new ward.  We attended our first ward activity... it was an Easter Egg Hunt.  Reid had a blast!  They divided the egg collecting sections into 3 age groups: 3 and under, 4-7, and 7-11.  Each child was supposed to get only 1 dozen eggs (because that's what each parent was asked to bring).  However, after collecting 12, Reid noticed there was still more eggs to be collected, so he kept going.  So Matt just kept emptying out the eggs, and Reid thought it was great game and didn't want the fun to stop!  He quickly became efficient and found that if he grabbed 4+ eggs at a time, he could fill up his basket faster, instead of one egg in the basket at a time.

After we finished our egg hunt, we got to play on the playground.  Then Reid got his face painted, we asked him what animal he wanted, and after multiple sounds he chose a sheep.  So he had an adorable sheep on his cheek.  Then we played more on the playground and his Daddy helped him swing and he got to learn about underdogs... which he also loved.

On the way home, Reid crashed (fell asleep)... unfortunately he woke up when he got home, and proceeded to talk, jump, and sing in his crib for 2 hours, while I took my afternoon nap.

That afternoon we went to some friend's house who also moved to TX.  They had a kiddie pool in their backyard.   It was all Matt could do to get Reid's brand new shoes off before he went in clothes and everything.  I thought it was adorable, and why not let the kid be a kid? (clothes and all)  Until I looked outside and saw his diaper bursting out of his shorts, then we got a swim diaper on him and he kept going, just fine.  We continued the fun with hamburger, hot dogs, and lots of yummy side dishes.

Sunday we enjoyed church, some really great Easter talks about the Savior, Matt taught the EQ (the men's class) lesson.  Then we went over to our other friend's house and were fed an absolutely amazing Easter dinner, and fabulous conversation. 

All in all, Easter was a really great success.  We feel like we are getting to know more people and making some really wonderful friends.  We are so grateful at this time to remember the Savior and the blessing of the Atonement in our lives, especially as we are adjusting to our new surroundings, we can feel His love for us.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Why the Recent SC2 Patch is a Failure

The 1.3.0 patch to the Starcraft 2 client changed the way players view their win / loss statistics... or rather how they don't view them.

The patch notes described this change in a 1-liner:
"Loss counts are no longer displayed in Profile and Ladder pages for players below Master League."

Blizzard, why the hate?

A blue post (Blizzard Employee) on the SC2 Forums reads:

"Win/loss ratios start to matter at the Master's League level because the matchmaking system no longer plays as much of a role, and very good players can rack up many more wins than losses by consistently defeating opponents. Since the matchmaker is no longer as much of a factor, those stats become a more accurate measure of relative success."

"We had a pretty strong rationale for removing losses from the records of players below Master's League. Essentially, prior to that level of play, the losses you've sustained aren't particularly meaningful. Please allow me to explain:

Let's say that you're new to StarCraft II and you play (and lose) a ton of games. You've racked up dozens of losses and a handful of wins, and things look grim. Instead of giving up, you get better, learn effective strategies, and you start playing much more skillfully. Pretty rapidly, the matchmaking system starts pitting you against tougher opponents - but because of the very nature of the matchmaking system, and even though you're making progress and facing tougher opponents, your win/loss rate stays at around 50%. In a scenario like this, it means that your wins will probably never surpass your losses, even though you've become a better player and your wins have become more meaningful than those early losses. Even for someone who starts pretty strong, win/loss numbers should still settle around 50/50 anyway. That doesn't feel good, but worse, those numbers also don't accurately reflect your current level of skill or progress anyway."

Blizzard, I have news for you. Your matchmaking system is fairly broken anyway, and your Leagues and Divisions are pointless. You've successfully replaced one slightly-relevant piece of information with something far less useful.

This change gives players the sense that they're not that terrible by only showing them how many games they've won. Nevermind that you lost 500 games, your 14 wins is wonderful and worth showing. Really, the 14 wins are just as pointless as the 500 losses. If you're going to throw out one statistic, why not both?

The reality is that the wins and losses are both valid statistics, even in ladder matches where they should remain aproximately 50 / 50. The error here is not that the "numbers ... don't accurately reflect your current level of skill or progress" but rather that the interpretation of what these numbers mean is incorrect. People are used to winning far more than they lose. People like to win. They want to see a win ratio of 90 / 10. (90% is an A, after all.) But that's not sustainable for every player, because for someone to win, someone has to lose. Unfortunately, the ladder / division system attempts to boost a player's self-esteem by promoting their mediocrity.

As I mentioned before, the ladder system is completely broken. As it currently exists, there are 7 leagues: bronze, silver, gold, platinum, diamond, master, and grand master. Each league is split into many divisions. Each division has 100 players. Currently, there is no way to tell how many divisions exist in your league.

There is no SC2 Armory, no way to view the other divisions or even know how many other divisions in your league there are. This makes it impossible to size up your competition. The WoW armory was a huge step toward an open-content gaming experience. Much like the advantages that come from open-source, open-content ensures that the community feels the game is being handled fairly, and know what to do to make themselves great. How many books have been written about the game of Chess? Has this diminished it's fun? Has it made the players cheaters? No. Instead, it has inspired some to become better.

Part of the problem with the win / loss system and the ladder / leagues/ divisions is the closed-formula information-hiding employed by the game designers. No one knows exactly what the criteria is to get promoted, or how to improve their MMR. Some may find this mystery intriguing, and, admittedly, at first it is. Until, halfway up the ladder, you find yourself grinding for points, not knowing if you're actually getting better, or if you're simply spinning your wheels.

As of December 2010, Blizzard had sold 4.5 million copies of SC2. On an average night, there are 750,000 people online. Assuming that all accounts are active for the current season, this means that there are 16 players online for every division (100 accounts). That sounds good at first, until you realize that many of them are afk, playing the campaign, custom maps, or vs AI games. Let's be generous and say that 50% of the people online are playing league games. So we're down to 8 players in each division are online. But even if they're playing a league game, they could be playing any match type: 1v1, 2v2, 3v3, 4v4. So really, it's most likely 2 players online in each division playing each format.

Have you ever actually played against someone in your same division? I seriously doubt it. Even if you had, how would you have known?

If you're playing 1v1s, you could play one unique match-up from your division. If you're playing 2v2s, then it's you and your ally online with no one to play against from your division. That sounds pretty lame to me.

So, in order to combat this issue, Blizzard lets you play people from other divisions in your same league, or people from the top of the league below you or the bottom of the league above you. In essence, if there's not enough people to play against that are your skill level, it matches you against people who aren't your skill level... because, let's face it: Even playing a badly-matched game is better than sitting for an hour waiting for a match. We all learned that from the Random Dungeon Finder in WoW.

But take a step back and look at what we just rationalized. Now I'm getting a 1-100 ranking in my division for playing against people that aren't from my division. Isn't that more pointless than my win / loss ratio? Why group players if the groups mean nothing? Furthermore, nobody knows what league or division the people I beat are from. Nobody even cares about that part. All they know is that I'm rank X in platinum league. Talk about misinterpretation of data.

Implementing seasons should help lower the number of inactive players ranked in the division and improving the ability to be matched better to your skill level, but the possibility of playing people outside your division makes the entire division system pointless. In fact, the only thing the division system does is make a cosmetic front for people to feel good about themselves. Even at low levels, people can feel good about making their way up the ranks to #1 in the bronze division, even though that ranking means virtually nothing compared to the people in their own division.

What's so wrong with having only one division for each league? That would make it almost impossible to ever reach the #1 rank. You'd either never get promoted, or would have to get promoted from the top 3,000 players in the league. And who wants to look at their progress for the night and see that they moved up from rank 15672 to 15621? When the numbers are that large, it makes you feel insignificant. But when you're in a division of 100 players, you have a (false) sense that you're better than (a seemingly) large group of players. When in reality, you never even played against any of those people you think you're better than. Implementing the divisions is a facade to promote self-image.

In essence, SC2 is a completely different game in the lower leagues than it is in the higher leagues. Hiding the number of player losses in the UI didn't change that one bit. So, why did you do it, Blizzard?

Improved player experience?
Better game play?
Freed up visual space in the UI?
Offered the players more options to assess their performance?

None of the above. I'd argue that it was purely out of motivation to keep the player base from quitting playing the game. More people playing means more people are buying the game. There is only one reason why Blizzard would do such an awful thing. Money.

Now, I'm not one to openly criticize without offering some suggestions that I think would help alleviate the problem. So, if you're reading this, Blizzard, take some notes.

1. Create a new UI menu where all individual player stats can be viewed. Display Wins and Losses as seperate statistics where they aren't linked together. Show them in various ways so that players can analyze them in their own way. For example, create a option to show wins or losses for the current season compared to last season. Or, show wins versus players that were favored / slightly favored / even. This way, the win/loss count becomes meaningful.

2. Create a SC2 Armory. This shouldn't be hard, you already have the infastructure from WoW to do it. Openly publish what the leagues and division layout is. This type of open-content will please the player base.

3. Increase the size of each division and force matches to be played from people within your division only. Yes, that would cause some slowing of the match-making process, which is why I offer #4.

4. Make the divisions tiered. Within each league, make the divisions openly tiered so that people joining the new league are in the lowest division of the next league. This continues the concept of leagues to a finer granularity, while still separating people into groups of 100 and giving them a sense of progression in their play... but it will actually mean something. Doing so would require the promotion and demotion to happen much more quickly.

5. Open-Content the way you promote the players. Open-content the MMRs, and let the players who are matched up know the MMR of their opponent. Perhaps in the score screen, show a graphical chart of the placement of themselves and their opponent's rankings.

6. The set of static achievements is getting stale. On a regular basis, add new achievements that promote people to get better. For example, add an achievement specific to the current season to get promoted to a new league, or to Win a game against a "Favored" opponent.

In all cases, give the player more information, not less. Make the content more transparent, don't try to hide what's going on. If you need to make another menu to find this information, so be it. Digital real-estate is cheap. Display the information in a new way, don't just make it go away.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

21 Months

Reid is growing quickly, and in the shadow of a move and another baby.  I felt that I should blog about a few things he does.  Sorry this post is more journaling for a mom who isn't doing the best job at documenting everything.

Reid has found a large interest in letters and numbers.  In fact he can tell them apart (most of the time).  All numbers are 2 or 8, and all letters are H or O... sometimes he'll say a few more letters.  My favorite thing he does right now is when he's getting ready to run down the hall, or slide down the slide or whatever might require a count off, instead of 1...2..3...go... He says "2...8" and then goes.  It's adorable.

Something that makes me giggle, only as a 12 year old boy should, is that every time we are getting in or out of the car, Reid immediately starts asking "Butt? Butt? Butt?  Pease Mom, butt?... Butt!  Butt!  Pease Mom, Butt!"  I seriously just about lose it each time, I just want to giggle.  What he is asking for is to push the garage door BUTTon.  Yeah... we're working on the TON part of that word.

As we have moved into a 2 story house, Reid is quickly getting faster at stairs, but occasionally, he wants to slide down on his bum with you, and lets you know this, by patting the ground next to him... multiple times.  He's even started doing this when he wants you to sit next to him on the couch.

When he has found something good to do to occupy his time, and he would like you to join him, he waves his arm in a circle, as if to say "Come on".

His zerberts are better and juicier than any of mine!  I crack up every time he finds a bare mid-drift and dives right in for the love zerbert.

Reid loves to play sheet monster.  Where he puts a sheet/towel/blanket over him and wanders around trying to 'get' you, and then wants you to 'get' him back.  It can be fun, but he gets worked up, and yesterday he learned, it is not always a good idea to wander too far (with your vision impaired) when you are on top of the bed!

Reid loves to read!  haha.  He really does, he says "book", and we can spend 30 mins easily reading at one time. (which is a lot for a toddler if you ask me)

Reid is the best pucker-er... the kisses are a bit juicy, but the pucker is IRRESISTIBLE!

When I cry (because let's face it, I'm pregnant... I have emotions), he always comes and sits on my lap and say "Mommy" and gives me a big smile.  I tell him I need a hug, and I always get one.  He knows how to heal a sad heart!

Reid has learned that kisses do heal wounds.  His first major skinned knee, he ran away once he had received his mommy kisses (post washing), and took no interest in the Superman bandaid!  He also has learned that if he hurts mommy, or she gets hurt, he can kiss her owies better too.

Every night when I put him down for bed.  he says "Nigh Mommy", waves, and then puckers for his nightly kiss.  (Not sure how much longer I can lean over the crib for that special moment!)

Reid has come to love the dogs.  He chases them around and often gives them hugs and kisses.  He does torture them a bit and has been known to chase them around the yard... but he doesn't realize it is torture, his heart is pure and he just wants to love them completely.

Reid LOVES water.  He'll splash and kick in the bath... he doesn't even care if he gets his own face.  He loves to lay on his belly and practicing kicking.  We've even tried to teach blowing bubbles, but he doesn't get it, cuz Mommy doesn't put her face in the water either.  (I'm ready for the community pool to open up!)

Reid is a great eater.  He loves most fruits.  He calls all of them "brapes" (grapes).  Strawberries and raspberries are probably his favorites, with grapes, bananas and apples shortly behind.  He also likes veggies.  Tomatoes are his favorite, but he likes carrots, cucumbers, and bell peppers too.  He's a great meat eater, chicken is his favorite.  He also loves bacon.  Potatoes are a hit also, hash browns, french fries, you name it.  He's occasionally picky with breads, tortillas and starchy stuff, but general eats it if he can dip it!  (ranch and salsa/sour cream mix are big hits)

And last but not least... Reid misses his Grandmas and Grandpas.  I have a picture of both sets with me and Matt at Matt's graduation party, and he recognizes them and is excited to see their picture.  And twice he has wandered through the house trying to find them.  It was so neat to get to spend time with them before we left Arizona!

I'm so grateful for his spirit and personality.  I can't imagine life without him, and I am thrilled and so blessed to be able to spend EVERY day with him!  Love you Reid!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Moments that Melt Your Heart

So when Reid was born, I couldn't stop loving him. I would give him at least 100 kisses a day. I guess I still do, because this sweet little boy will be snuggling with me on the couch or somewhere, and will say "Mommy" and then pucker his lips, multiple times. I feel so special every time he wants to share his love with me.

One day I was trying to teach him to say I love you, and every time I asked him to say love, he would just pucker up his lips. I guess in his own way, he was saying I love you.

Every night before bed, he gets a kiss from mom and dad, and sometimes he needs more than one.... It is all I can do (with a growing belly) to lean over the crib and give him one last kiss.

Then today at church, a sweet lady behind us had an adorable quiet book full of zippers, velcro, buttons, etc that she kindly shared with us. One page had a train with two open pockets to slide something in to. One pocket had an apple, and another had a little girl doll figure. He put the apple in its place, and then brought the girl up for a kiss, put her in the pocket and said "night night". I immediately gave him a hug and loved him back, because sometimes you just can't resist the sweetness that a child has in their heart.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Quick and Dirty version

Well, at some point I'll have time to share all the emotions connected to what is going on in our lives. But for now here's what's going on....

1) Take semi-permanent leave of absence from work (been working for 8 years)
2) Making the move to 1 salary income
3) Parents coming home from mission from England
4) Moving from AZ to Texas (other than college, AZ is the only home I have ever known)
5) Expecting baby #2 (due Aug 27th)
6) First time to move where I am the one in charge, ha!
7) Have to pack and clean house for the above events
8) Found a house to rent

Is that enough? I think so. In short, sorry if I don't post for a few weeks.

Friday, January 7, 2011

2010 Recap

I saw a few friends do this, and loved the idea, so I decided to try to recap our year... so here it is:


January - Reid went through a horrible sleep schedule this month so I don't remember much. (Apparently, I didn't even blog) According to our calendar we did the usual church callings, family stuff, and I attended baby showers for friends.

February - Reid learned to crawl and got his first tooth! Girls' Camp prep was gearing up here for me, literally my calendar has meetings written all over it! Various family events pretty much filled up the rest of my time.

March - Got a new niece (who was born on the side of the road!). More camp, more baby showers, more family activities. Start thinking about trip to England. Started up New Nester's FHE. Thyroid ultrasound.

April - Girl's Camp Sleepover. Biopsy for my thyroid. Get taxes in (barely).

May - Finish up Girls' Camp Preparations. Attend an olympian's wedding reception (I just feel cool that I know someone who was in the Olympics!). Car break down on the way to the reception. A week later and $1500 later, our car works again. Visit with friends and family. Meet with thyroid surgeon and decide that surgery is a good option. Go swimming with Reid as much as possible before surgery.

June - Girls' Camp (yay!), post Girls's Camp meetings, etc; this also meant spending a WHOLE week away from Reid! It was hard but camp kept me busy and we had a wonderful week up there. Reid turned 1 the day I got home from camp, and we had a small family party. Square Dancing ward activity and surprisingly had a blast. Thyroid surgery: have more than half of my thyroid removed. Find out thyroid had cancer in it, so it was great that it was removed. Matt's job changed and is now based out of Austin, we start exploring the options of moving.

July - Spend 4th of July camping and fishing in the White Mountains with the in-laws (and I actually caught a couple fish!). Do lots of laundry! Whirlwind week long trip to England with a 1 year old, so great to see my parents! Thyroid check-up says that cancer should be completely cured, make no more plans to get the rest of it out. Starting swimming with Reid again (just no working out, cuz that stretches my neck).

August - Attend the temple and be the escort for a dear friend of ours. Spend 3 weeks recovering from the jet lag. Leann worked lots of extra over-time to cover for a co-worker. Get new renters, clean and paint our house.

September - Recover from the past 3 months. Start playing D&D with family. Baby shower, dinner with friends. Date night swap with Anderson's! (we went to Cheesecake Factory, yum!) Start making more decisive plans about moving to Austin.

October - Take a week off of work (due to August over-time). Celebrate Leann's birthday by spending time with my sister's family and then they took Reid for the night for us, while we got to go to Texas Roadhouse and then sleep in! Be in charge of ward Trunk or Treat. Spend a week and a half making Reid's Tow Mater costume (which we still don't have a picture of him wearing), but it was all in vain because Reid got a stomach bug for Halloween.

November - Craft Saturday, made these awesome wall hangings for our bedroom! Clothes shopping spree for me! A nice quiet Thanksgiving with the in-laws. Leann help out in nursery in church, so Reid got to go a month early!

December - Reid turn 18 months old! Leann set up plan with work to go on full leave of absence at the end of January. My grandmother's 90th birthday party. Reid get a fever the day before Christmas Eve. Reid then follow the fever by getting his molars on Christmas. Matt gets a mountain bike for Christmas, and we spent the rest of our Christmas break going on walk/rides (I push the stroller, he rides the bike, and we'd bring the dogs half the time). Matt's birthday dinner at Saffron. Gaslight with the family. Continue with plans to move to Austin.

I can't decide if I think my life is boring or not. It is what it is, I guess.