Thursday, January 31, 2013

The Detroit Auto Show 2012






The Detroit Auto Show, more famously known as the North American Auto Show is THE largest auto show in the country.  It makes sense as Detroit is the Motor City and home to all domestic and a few foreign (at least their home base in the States) auto makers' headquarters.  The first week of the show isn't even open to the public and only open to those in the industry.  That's when the auto makers make their newest model and concept reveals for the next few years.

Andy has been working for Bosch since 2010 and one of their largest departments is automotive components.  Our first time living in Michigan, we moved during the first week of the show, so Andy didn't get to attend.  His second year with Bosch, we were moving from SC to Germany, so it wasn't an option either.  This was the first year, we were in the right place at the right time.  Our friends the Reeses planned to go with us as well, since Tom also works for Bosch in an automotive capacity.  Both Brady and Sam love cars, so we figured they'd be well behaved and have a great time.



Our first stop was the Ford booth.  The Mustangs were front and center.



Brady saw people getting in and out of the cars and immediately wanted out of his stroller to get in too.  Once he was out, that was it, he wanted inside every single car!  I ended up pushing an empty stroller the whole time.  What's great about the car show is you can get in almost every single car, play with everything, and there's no salesperson breathing down your neck trying to sell you the car.  It's a great way to shop around if you're in the market for a new car (which we may be for Andy in the next year or so).



Ainsley and Tom in the Stang.



Brady was very patient (most of the time) in waiting his turn to get in any car.  This is him in the Stang.



Brady had been talking the night before and in the morning before we left about how he was going to the car show with Sam and Ainsley.  He gets excited in the car when he sees emergency vehicles and we saw one on the way.  Andy told Brady and he very seriously said, "No! Go to car show with Sam and Ainsley." He was excited to see race cars, so this is him and Ainsley posed in front of the first one we saw.



They were happy to be in a car whether it was in the driver's seat or even the back seat.



Brady scoping out a Ford Expedition (which we were all expecting to be larger; it was not on par with size of the GM large SUVs).



I may be driving a minivan for now, but since we bought it two years ago, I've been talking about how my next car will be a Suburban.  It has the same seating capacity AND a big trunk.  We fill up the trunk in my van with the back row folded down, so we will need that space and the seating eventually.  This is me and Brady in the GMC equivalent of the Suburban, the Yukon XL.






Brady and I chilling out in my "baby."



Kia had set up a fun place for kids to dance around and see themselves on a big screen with the dancing hamster you see in their commercials.  Brady got a kick out it!



In the back of a Dodge Grand Caravan.  They had double pull down TV screens and a movie actually playing on it.  I was worried we wouldn't get the kids out ;)






I couldn't remember the name of this car (the boys knew exactly what it was of course), but I thought it was really cool with the door that open up from the side.  There was also a huge 17" touch screen in the front.



This one is for my dad.  Every time he sees a Fiat commercial, he says, "Don't ever buy a Fiat!"






We walked around for three whole hours and didn't even make it to every single auto maker's booth, it was just that large!  We were glad we finally made it there after almost three years with Bosch.  I don't think we would've had this opportunity (or many others we've had in the last three years) without them.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Adventures in Potty Training




Brady is getting ready to turn three in just a few short weeks and soon after that will be a big brother.  Around this time people start to think about potty training.  The average age for potty training is two and a half for girls and three for boys.  For his second birthday, Brady got a potty seat for the real toilet and a step stool.  I had thought with so much time at home in Europe, we'd have time to work on potty training.  Well, he wasn't ready and in the end that worked out for the best as it's harder to find bathrooms in Europe and they aren't public.

Around August, I decided to start putting him on the potty because he thought it was funny to pee right out of the bath or shower.  The toilet is right there, so I'd quick put him on, then praise and reward him.  He wasn't too keen at first.  I would catch him starting to poop and run him to the bathroom and he'd start screaming that he didn't want to go on the potty.

We moved into our house at the end of August and when we went home to visit in September, my mom had bought Brady a potty book.  It was very simple and he really took to it, wanting to be read it several times a day and several times in a row.  After that, he started telling us when he had to go to the potty.  It was shocking because it was like that book had flipped a switch.  By October, he was completely trained with poops and would only tell us about half the time when he had to pee.  He was still in diapers, but we would only have to change about two or three wet ones a day.

At the rate he was going, I was starting to feel good about him being trained by the time he turned three and certainly before Izzie B arrived.  In early December, one of the ladies in one of my Facebook groups had mentioned that when she potty trained, she went straight to undies and although it could be messy at first, it was more effective as the kids knew right away when they had an accident.  I know other people have allowed their kids to go around without any pants or undies on, but Brady thought it was all too funny to pee on the floor, so I knew it wasn't for us.  I had bought a package of undies before we left for Europe and decided that day that I would put them on Brady.  I made a big deal of it for him and reinforced that if he had to go to the potty, he had to tell me.  That first day, he had one pee accident in his undies and was very upset about it.  We changed his undies and went on with our day.  At that point, I put him in pull ups during nap and overnight just in case.  From that point on, he stayed dry and clean every day, even while sleeping.  He would scream for me when he woke up because he needed to use the bathroom.

I had kept him in just a shirt and undies for a week, so I could see if he had an accident.  He stayed dry that week, so we moved on to wearing pants (and only pull-ups while sleeping or out in public).  Another week went by with no accidents, so I decided to let him wear his undies while sleeping.  Still no accidents!  I was amazed at how quickly he took to it.  It was getting close to Christmas time and we had several long drives ahead of us (4 hours to Pittsburgh and what ended up being almost 12 hours from Pittsburgh to NYC).  I knew I'd put him in pull ups, but was worried he'd fight me on it.  Fortunately, he didn't and stayed dry, holding it until we made a potty stop for ourselves (although we made sure to ask him every time we were coming up on a rest stop).

Since we've been home from the holidays, he's had a total of two accidents, but nobody is perfect and I expected the occasional accident.  Even older kids have accidents sometimes.  He was getting good at going all by himself by going into the bathroom, putting his seat on the toilet, getting his stool, taking off his pants and undies, sitting on the potty, going, then coming out to have his pants put back on.  I am getting ready to register him for preschool at the beginning of March and while reading through the info, noticed that due to legal reasons they aren't allowed to assist the children in the bathroom for any reason.  This means I have seven months to teach him not to completely strip from the waist down to go to the potty and then how to pull his pants and undies back up.  We've started the past couple of days working on this.  I have to go in with him to make sure he doesn't take everything off, and then I coach him on how to get things back up.  It's not perfected yet, but I feel that by September, he'll have it down.  Of course, in five and a half weeks, we go back to diapers with Izzie, but diapers never really bothered me.  It was actually easier in a way because you didn't have to find a bathroom immediately while out and about.  We are so proud of our little guy and amazed at how fast he's growing up!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

30 Week Growth Scan - Izzie B





So far things have been going pretty well with Izzie and the pregnancy.  I was going to the doctor for check ups every four weeks until Christmas.  At that appointment, it was discovered that my uterus had not grown at all in the past four weeks.  For those who don't know, at every appointment, starting in the second trimester, they measure how high your uterus is (called fundal height) and it should correspond in centimeters with the number of weeks pregnant you are at that point.  I was 24 weeks at Thanksgiving and measured at 26cm (two weeks ahead), then at 28 weeks at Christmas, I was still measuring at 26cm (two weeks behind now).  It was determined that after the holidays I would come in and have a growth scan to measure baby and fluid levels to make sure things were fine.

This whole situation made me very nervous as I had always measured slightly ahead with Brady and there was never any concern.  Fortunately, from that point, we'd be coming in for appointments every two weeks, so I only had to wait until a few days after New Years for the scan.  Being home with family was a great distraction and we were back home before we knew it.  Of course, we got sick right when we got home and I was still a little iffy when we went to the scan.  I almost passed out during the middle of it and I was even lying down.

My biggest concern was low fluid and that meaning more constant monitoring and potentially having a preemie baby.  Fortunately, the scan went great. It was almost three weeks ago now, but at 30.5 weeks the tech double checked that she's still a girl (which she certainly is!), fluid levels were great, and Izzie B was measuring at 3lbs 14oz (60th percentile).  Since it's been three weeks and she should be gaining on average half a pound per week, she's likely close to 5lbs or over at this point (I'll be 34 weeks on Saturday).  She wasn't very cooperative to get any good 3D shots and all we got was the side of her head.  The top picture is her face in 2D.

I had a regular appointment with a doctor right after the scan and she was very pleased with the findings of the scan.  In the two weeks since my last appointment, the fundal height had increased from 26 to 29cm which was good (although almost two weeks behind still).  I had another appointment last week and right before that, I'd taken some belly shots.  Looking at the side-by-side comparisons from Thanksgiving, Christmas, and now, there was almost zero difference in my visible belly size.  That started to freak me out a bit, especially since I also compared the most recent one to Brady at the same point.  I was WAY bigger with him (although some people didn't assume I was pregnant most days).  My mom pointed out that I've gained so much less weight than I did with him and that might be a factor, but I was still so nervous that the fundal height was going to stay the same again.

When I got to the appointment, I was weighed and had only gained half a pound in two weeks.  That freaked me out because the baby should've gained almost a full pound in that time.  Of course, I had a ton of time to think about it as the doctor was running very behind and I was sitting waiting in the exam room for over half an hour.  Luckily, the fundal height had increased from 29 to 33cm and I was two days from hitting 33 weeks, so she was right on track.  We really have no idea where I'm hiding here, especially since I'm so short waisted.  I guess I should stop worrying and focus on the fact that I might escape stretch marks this time around (I didn't get any until 38 weeks with Brady and even then they weren't too bad).

Something I discovered after I had Brady was that I have Von Willebrand disease, which means I'm missing a clotting factor in my blood, making me more susceptible to bleeding.  Several of my immediately family members have it and complications after Brady's delivery, so it was enough to have me sent for the testing.  It was determined that I do have it, which means I need an IV of the clotting factor I'm missing during any surgery or procedure where there would be significant blood loss.  The doctor I saw decided that because of needing this IV, it would be best to induce before my due date and avoid me going into labor on my own (I was induced with Brady at 41 weeks and 1 day).  She said I could induce any day after I turned 39 weeks and suggested a Wednesday or Thursday as there would be a doctor in the hospital those days for the full day.  It was so surreal to think that I would get to choose my child's birthday and the same would go for any other children we have in the future.  It almost feels like a huge responsibility.

The scheduling lady called yesterday, and I went with Wednesday, March 6 (right between Brady's on Feb 19 and mine on March 11), which is only six weeks from today!  Eeek!  There's so much still to do.  With Brady I was ready to have him by this point, and this time I'm thinking we have to get a ton done and I hope there's enough time.  We are in the middle of painting her nursery, we need to dig out all the old baby gear from the basement, and of course Brady turning 3 and having his party.  Hopefully, she doesn't get any big ideas and decide to come early.  Of course, now I'm thinking because she'll be a little early, she'll be smaller than Brady (who was 8lbs 5oz) and need newborn clothes, which I purposely didn't buy many of because you  never know if bigger babies will fit in them.  I guess we'll have to wait and see.



Another great foot pic.



The arrow in this one is pointing to her calf.  The tech remarked at how toned it was.  She must take after Andy because I have cankles lol.