Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Charlotte is 6 months old!

And I'm a week behind!  Which I am not at all proud of!  But, we were enjoying the summer in Santa Cruz and I came back to something yucky going on in my tummy.

Charlotte is growing at an insane rate.  She's definitely not a newborn anymore.  I don't even know where to begin when it comes to her rapid development.

Much to my surprise, Charlotte still has all of her hair.  After all of our time in the sun, and despite spraying the sun screen into her hair, it has a lot of gold in it.  She's finally starting to get some fat rolls on her legs and her cheeks and chin are starting to look chunky.  I love chunky babies.  And really, she eats enough where she should be nothing but rolls.

Charlotte is nursing every 2 hours during the day.  Before bed (around 8:30) she eats 2 ounces of formula after nursing.  Then, she sleeps until 5 in the morning most days.  For some reason, if I skip that 2 ounces, she will be up every 2 hours at night.  I know formula has nothing to do with sleeping through the night, but I swear she knows the difference.  In the morning she eats about 4 ounces of baby food and another 4 ounces in the evening.  Unlike Samantha, she is not a picky baby at all.  She'll use any type of bottle/nipple and eat any kind of baby food.  She does absolutely love melons in her little mesh feeder.

With Samantha, we didn't use baby food because she hated it.  We did baby led weaning and she would just eat food.  She was about the same age and eating teething biscuits and whatever was on our plate.  Charlotte does not like solid food in the same way.  I've given her the baby rice cups and she has no interest in doing anything other than shoving them between her toes...

Charlotte has started to HATE the car.  If we time it right at nap time, she'll sleep in there.  Otherwise, nothing will make her happy.  She's already weaning herself off the paci and chewing it instead of sucking (unless she is super tired) so that's not much help, toys do not interest her at all in the car and basically we just have to try and get wherever we are going.  This means Kaitlyn has been our best in the car baby by far.

Charlotte also does not like for me to leave her.  At all.  For any length of time.  She's better if she's at home, but we have tried going out to dinner and letting her stay with grandparents and it was horrible for her.  She just cried and cried.  She is so stubborn, she will not cry herself to sleep in any situation, she will just cry for hours on end if she doesn't get her way...  This could be trouble later...

Charlotte wears disposable diapers when we travel (size 2 pampers swaddlers) and cloth at home.  Once we run out of disposable, we'll hopefully be rid of them for a good long while!  She's outgrowing her 3-6 month clothes, but some still fit.  She wears a lot of 6-9 month stuff, but the waist is so narrow on some of the things.

Charlotte is currently (unofficially until Monday the 8th of July) 28 1/4" long (98.9%) and 15 lbs (27% and not even double her birth weight yet).

She is so close to crawling it's ridiculous.  She gets on all fours and pushes herself front and back and then usually either goes backwards or falls on her face.  She is able to quickly go from one side of the room to another, scooting or rolling.  She isn't sitting up on her own too well yet.  She can tripod for a minute or so, but isn't too secure...  She has a million looks she likes to give and such a fun personality.  Kaitlyn and Samantha can really get her laughing and playing.

The Story of Chico

By 2009, Kaitlyn really wanted a sibling.  She asked for another baby pretty much every day.  She turned 5 that year and was absolutely obsessed.  By Christmas, I'd experienced 3 miscarriages and I was starting to accept that it just wasn't going to happen.  A few days after Christmas, Dusty's uncle was visiting and brought the cutest, tiniest puppy in the world with him.

He was only a few weeks old.  He was the runt.  His mom had killed all the siblings and he only survived because he was tiny enough to hide behind a hot water heater.  He had been bottle fed and was just so tiny with such a massive head.  His head was so heavy, when he bent down to eat, his feet would go in the air.

Kaitlyn begged for him.  I begged too.  Dusty was pretty strong about saying no, reminding us that we didn't need another dog, and reminding me of the cons of another dog right then.  But, he quickly gave in.

His name was Chico.  I don't know if Archie was more irritated when we brought home Chico or a baby...  But, I thought Chico would help keep Archie active and young longer.  Makes sense, right?

I took Chico with me everywhere.  He was so tiny and so cuddly and I was so scared to leave him.  After we had him for a few months, we found out I was pregnant with Samantha.  I took Chico pretty much everywhere with me until Samantha was born.  By then, he was 10 lbs, neutered and good at being left at home.

Chico is such an interesting looking dog.  He has a severe underbite, so bad the vet asked if we wanted to get him braces.  Since he has no problem eating, it would be $5,000 (or so) for a cosmetic procedure.  He has "bat" ears, squinty eyes and a muscular chest.  He is part chihuahua and part pit bull.  He is amazing with kids and not always the brightest crayon in the box...

We were out of town for about a week earlier this month.  We had a family member house sit and watch the dogs.  Normally, we just have a family member check on them, but Archie is getting old and having a hard time getting in and out of the doggie door, so this made way more sense.  And we were so grateful.

Chico decided to get out of the backyard while we were gone.  We figured it out when we returned.  Somehow, it went unnoticed, which can be easy to do since sometimes Archie barks enough for both of them and will absolutely devour Chico's food if given the chance.

At first, I figured he was in the field behind our house.  He had gotten out there before, but always came back.  We searched and searched.  He wasn't there.  I whistled for him and called his name and nothing.  We went to the neighbors.  No one had seen him.  The man next door that just moved in said he hadn't barked at him in 2-3 days.

Within a couple hours we had posted 25 flyers in the area.  We had talked to everyone whose house touched ours or the field behind ours.  Dusty did most of the talking.  We walked through that awful field over and over again.

One man said he saw him on Saturday running away from the field.  A few other men said they saw a group of pitbulls around the area.  We hoped and prayed that he was just ok.  I put ads on facebook, with the pounds and shelters and on craigslist.

The next morning, I was browsing craigslist and came across an ad of a dog that looked like Chico.

They found him on Friday night, in the direction he was last seen running.  I called their number.  I emailed them.  I text them.  I didn't hear back.  I did it all over and over again.  A few hours later they called.

They said he had been picked up by his family.  I asked if they were sure because that looks so much like our dog.  She said "they fell in love with him" and she had no way of proving it.  But, if I called her back that night when she got home, she would give me their information.

I called her at the time she said.  No answer.  I text.  I left messaged.  I called again.  And again.  And again.  She finally called back and said she wasn't home, but she talked to them and they admitted it wasn't their dog.  They were taking him back to her and we could pick him up.  She would call when he arrived.

That was at 8:30 p.m.  By 10:30 p.m.  We hadn't heard anything. So, I text.  No response.

The next morning I called.  Again and again and again.  Nothing.  Around noon, she text they were bringing him by at 2 and we could get him then.  I responded asking her for her address.  I heard nothing.  2 came and went without a phone call or text.  I emailed, I called, and called and called.

We were getting frustrated, upset, irritated, angry.  I called the police who said it was a civil matter.  I couldn't understand why she didn't just call back to give us an idea of what was going on?

I started calling every 20 minutes.  At nearly 7, my phone rang.  It was a friendly voice, a different one explaining that she had our dog.

Chico had found his way into the garage of her mother-in-law, the woman who posted the ad.  The kids saw him the next morning and fell in love with him.  They took him home to their 4 year old son and 2 year old daughter.  They named him Turbo.  They bought him toys and specialty food and gave him a bath.  The didn't know his family was looking for him.  They didn't know there was a craigslist ad.  They didn't know he was microchipped.

Dusty and Kaitlyn picked him up.  The little boy was upset.  Kaitlyn was happy.  Samantha was beyond thrilled.  And it was bittersweet.  I felt for them, they had a few days to grow attached to "Turbo" and fill the void left by their dog that ran away and never came back.  They didn't expect him to be "found."

Chico is home where he belongs and I sincerely hope that little boy has a puppy of his own to love and grow up with.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013


In today's society, catfishing refers to more than just casting out a line in hopes of catching a delicious dinner.  It also refers to "whackadoos" doing "whackadoo" things.  Urban dictionary defines it well: The phenomenon of internet predators that fabricate online identities and entire social circles to trick people into emotional/romantic relationships (over a long period of time).

We have been "catfished."  In a way at least.  A woman by the name of Monique Spears has fabricated a character she named Joshua Reagan.  Joshua is the father of two, a daughter named Kaitlyn and a son named Matthew.  What a coincidence.  To give proof that this character actually exists, she had to have photos of "his" children.  Anyone want to guess what photos she used?

Yeah.  I don't take too kindly to the photographs I post on my blog being used by "whackadoos."  So, in between a day of editing footage and caring for three little ones, I spent some time finding out a lot of information about Monique.  I verified that Kaitlyn and Matthew's websites (that I keep mostly for me to go back and look at) are password protected, my facebook is still nice and private and since there is only one other place "Joshua's" cover photo could be found, I'll be watermarking all of my images. 

It has been suggested that perhaps I make the blog private.  Which I did consider.  But, it's theraputic for me.  And, I enjoy helping people who may be going through a little bit of what we have, or who would like to try and understand what it is like to lose a child, perhaps to be a better friend to someone hurting.

Just a personal message to Monique, in case you didn't receive the one on facebook before quickly deleting Joshua's profile: I spent more time than I'd care to admit researching you today.  I have more information about you, your life and your "characters" than ever necessary.  You really should get a healthier hobby.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Life is...


Busy, but good.

Kaitlyn is officially done with the third grade.  Her report card was fantastic.  One B and the rest were all As.  Her only B was in geometry.  Considering her lack of motivation to do her homework at the beginning of this semester and how hard it is to concentrate in the summer, we were really proud.  She scored advanced in all of her tests and was "marked" excellent in everything else.  She was really glad to be done with school. That is, until the day came and she realized she would be away from her friends for the summer...

Last week, I spent hours upon hours in her room cleaning it.  When you walked by, it looked just a little messy.  As I started to work "with" her, I discovered a lot of hiding spaces.  Spaces filled with a lot of things from our little pack rat.  She decided she would rather go to sleep at 7 then finish helping.  I have no idea how she slept through me cleaning, Charlotte crying in her room, Samantha running in and out and the lights on full blast.  But, she did.

Our goal now is to have her keep it clean.  To my standards.  Everyday, I go in and check all the hiding spots a few times a day.  If she keeps it clean for two weeks, to my standards without being told, she can get her DVD player back.  Right now, I'm still reminding her a couple times a day.

Samantha is as cute as ever.  She has the sweetest voice and says the cutest stuff.  For example, if I ask her where something is, say her cup or a piece of garbage I know she didn't throw away she says "It disappeared" with this little grin.  She'll always follow it up with "what should I do?" and put her hands up and shrug her shoulders.

Her memory is great, she's constantly mentioning things that happened days ago.  She has started remembering who Matthew is, but not really understanding who he is to her.  Does that make sense?  It's hard, with Kaitlyn we had a hard time telling her what happened, but she knew him.  She knew he was there and that he then wasn't.  Samantha doesn't have the luxury of knowing him as anything more than a memory she doesn't share with us.  Sometimes, I worry it will separate us into two groups as a family, before Matthew and after.  But, I try not to think too far ahead or too deeply.  If I did, I would probably go crazy.

Samantha is starting to get better about liking to go places.  Her sleep is not improved at all.  If we skip the benadryl, she's up all night.  And, she refuses to use the potty.  So far, she'll recite this list of things we will get her if she uses the potty: princess scooter, Team Umizoomi DVD, sparkly shoes, candy and chocolate.  She'll run around in big girl underwear, sit on the potty when I tell her too, every 5 minutes after a ton of Gatorade, juice, milk and/or water, and do this for hours.  Then, she'll say "I caaaaaaan't go on the potty" and ask for a diaper please and then pee in it.  She says she's too little.  I remind her that her big sissy doesn't wear diapers and her favorite big cousins don't wear cousins and she gets so excited.  Then, I ask her again if she wants to go on the potty and she sweetly says "no thank you."


Charlotte is doing great.  At about 4 months, we started giving her baby food.  Her doctor thought it would help with the weight gain and spitting up.  I knew from experience that it wouldn't, but she did show all the readiness signs so we started.  She gets about 1/2 a jar in the morning of fruit and the evening another half a jar of veggies or meat.  Both are mixed with rice cereal to thicken it a little.  She loves it.  She also loves watermelon.  She's no closer to sitting up on her own, but she is super fast at getting from one side of the room to another.  She has also decided that most of the time she hates riding in the car.  That has been less than fun.  It's actually been absolutely stressful at times.  She will just scream and scream, never tiring herself out.  When she's going and Kaitlyn decides that it's a good time to ask about angles and the history of California's state flower it can be hard to concentrate to say the least.

She absolutely loves her baby cousin though.  She will just stare and stare at him.  He is adorable, so I can't really blame her...

Dusty and I are doing great.  We went out to dinner, just the two of us, for the first time since Charlotte's been born.  Yeah.  We had a great time, Charlotte not so much.  She cried and cried the entire time we were gone.  Which pretty much broke my heart.  But, it was nice to eat an uninterrupted meal with both hands.  And, having lunch with my best friend is always something I look forward too. 

It's funny, we have treated all three girls pretty much the same since birth, but Charlotte has really been the one to like for me to hold her.  Which makes doing pretty much everything just a little bit harder.  Considering how much work we've been doing in the backyard, how much I've been working and the to-do list I have for the upcoming weeks, my back hurts and I'm exhausted.

We have so many things we're planning right now.  A few little getaways, some beach side family portraits, baby showers and I'm pretty sure we're going to plan a vow renewal for our 10 year anniversary next August.  Exciting things...

March for Babies!

 I've mentioned before, this year we were honored to be the Ambassador Family for the Greater Capital Division.  Basically, this meant that Dusty and I spoke at the kick off lunch and at the walk.  We were featured in the fundraising tri-fold and shared our story and why we participate with the March of Dimes and their fundraising efforts.

Our team rocked.   This photo isn't even everyone from our team.  That's how incredible they were.  We raised just over$10,600!  They were great through 3!! fundraisers and just an amazing source of support!

I spoke before the kick off of the walk.  Just a short speech telling our story.  Originally, we were all going to go up, but in case I haven't mentioned it before, Samantha is not a morning person.  She wanted nothing to do with anything, so Dusty kept her happy off the stage.

We walked, we enjoyed the company of great people, we raised money for an amazing cause, we honored our baby and we started planning for how to raise even more for next year.  ( )