Monday, May 30, 2011

I. Am. Tired.

My body actually hurts I'm so tired.  The last few days have been very hectic.  My parents came for a visit today, and we were trying to get things completely finished around our house.  Everything was out of order due to painting our living it was A LOT of work to get things back under control.  We were up late working after Luke went to bed, and I was up early to work before Luke woke up for the day.  In the end, it was worth all the hard work.  We are thrilled with our results. 

Here is our deck before EnviroTiles:

 Here is our deck now:

The railing is down, and all the worn wood is covered.  Pretty cool!  My hardworking husband did an awesome job!

Our living room is painted, but I'll wait to post a picture until our new furniture arrives.  Should be this week - can't wait!

I forgot to take a before picture of our front door, but here it is now.  The paint is called "Happy Camper", which is an appropriate name.  It's such a bright, cheery color :-)

Our final project was turning our sunroom into Luke's playroom.  We had not done much with that room - we wanted to leave the windows uncovered to let the full amount of sun in, and also so we could have an unobstructed view of our backyard.  It's an all-season sunroom - normal windows and vents for AC/heat.  However, we found that without window coverings, it got too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.  I bought thermal curtains that will help keep the heat out on hot, sunny days, and they will help keep the cold on in the winter.  We are still waiting on the curtains for the sliding door and one set of windows (on backorder), but here is his room so far:

We love it!  I'm anxious to get Luke's toys all arranged back there and to start using the room.  When Luke becomes mobile, I'm really looking forward to being able to close the french doors, and let him crawl all around.  Everything will be child-friendly and safe.  That means mommy will be able to have a break from chasing him :-)  A big thanks to my dad for spending hours helping us get all the window treatments hung, the carpet pad cut and placed, and for helping move furniture around!  And an equally big thanks to my mom for entertaining Luke all day so I could help with the room.  Without their help, it probably would have taken us a week to do all those things.  Once our living room furniture is delivered this week, we will be DONE!  Maybe we can actually relax a little in the evenings once again!

On an unrelated note, Adam has been on my mind more than usual lately.  I miss him so much.  I can vividly remember his little sweet face, and I wish I could hold him just one more time.  What I keep thinking about over and over is how he would respond to me when I held him.  We know he was blind - he did not have an optic nerve.  We also know he could not hear well - he had a little bit of hearing in one ear, but when they tested him that wasn't even consistent.  These are facts, and logically I know they have to be true.  However, in my  heart I feel like he could see and hear me.  When I held him, he would immediately turn his head and look directly at me.  He would open his eyes and look at me.  If he couldn't see anything and he couldn't hear much, I wonder how he was able to do that.  Maybe he could sense me some other way.  It makes me feel good to think that somehow he knew he was with his mommy.  As I watch Luke grow, learn, and change, I often wonder what it would be like to have both of my little guys here with me.  I think Luke would have loved having Adam around.  They would have had a lot of fun together <3

Nolan closes the chapter on 3rd grade this week!  We are going out to breakfast before school on his last day.  Then he will be a 4th grader!!!  :-0  I think it's going to be a great summer.  We are so blessed :-D 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

5 months old!

Well Mr. Luke turned 5 months old this weekend.  I can barely believe he's already that old.  He is growing up super fast!!  And he is as cute as can be.

He seems to learn a new trick every few days.  Sometimes I just want him to slooooow down.  He learns new gross motor skills very quickly.  Yesterday he started sitting up unassisted!  I was shocked.  I knew he was getting close to being able to sit up, but I thought it would take a few more weeks of practice.  I put a boppy pillow around him so when he topples over he won't have a major crash to the floor.  Today he sat very stable for about 10 minutes, then he was getting tired and started falling to the side.  He seems very pleased with the new trick he can do.  It's sweet.  This picture if from yesterday,  his first time to sit up for any amount of time.  Today he was even more stable, but my camera wasn't handy.

Another new development is he is attached to a stuffed rabbit :-)  It's funny because with Nolan, he became attached to a big white comforter.  Big and white being the key words.  We had to drag that thing everywhere.  He called it his "cank", and later his "star cank" (it had stars on it).  It was dirty all the time and ended up looking more gray than white towards the end.  With Luke I was prepared with small "lovies".  I put them around him and he never really reacted to them.  Then, for Easter my parents got him a stuffed rabbit.  It's so soft and velvety, and completely baby safe (no sewn on buttons for eyes/nose/mouth).  I put the bunny in his stroller one day for our daily walk.  The whole walk he chewed on it, smiled at it, and held it.  I knew he had chosen his "lovie".....and guess what?  It's big and off white - LOL!

My mom had actually bought two of them a long time ago - one for Adam, and one for Luke.  Adam's was blue.  She was going to just keep the blue one at their house for when Luke comes to visit.  Before Luke gets too picky, we're going to switch and I'll take the blue one.  It won't show so much dirt, and also she was able to find another blue one for a spare (because all parents know the drama that can happen if a lovie gets lost or ruined!!). 

Nolan finished up his soccer season this weekend.  He said it will be his last season.  He wasn't that into it this year.  He loves football and basketball, but is still looking for that perfect spring sport.  Looking ahead to high school, boys tennis is offered in the spring.  So he's going to start tennis lessons this summer to see if he likes tennis.  I'm hoping it's a good fit for him!  He will be done with third grade this week - unbelieveable!  He has a special part in their school mass this Thursday, so I'll go to that with Luke.  Then they have a talent show on the last day of school - he is doing some dance with this class?!  It will be hysterical, and I am definitely going to watch :-)

Weight watchers continues to go well for me!  I'm down 15 1/2 pounds.  Hooray!  I'm losing at a slow and steady rate, which is the way to do it.  I feel much more confident in my summer clothing.  I'm definitely not at my goal weight, but I'll get there eventually.  I walk about 2 miles a day with Luke, and that is making a big difference.  I am proud to say that eating healthy is officially a habit now.  I give myself one day a week to splurge - I use my "banked" points.  That seems to help me stay on the plan.  Tuesday is my weigh in day.  After I weigh in, I look ahead at the week and decide which day will be my splurge day.  I've found that it's very important to plan ahead so splurge days don't turn in to binge days.  When I have a plan, I am able to stay in control of my eating.  That is a good thing!

And that is all for now! <3

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Note to self: Home improvement projects are not a good idea with an infant.

Wow it has been busy around our household lately! That, coupled with the fact that our internet has not been working in the evenings for some reason, has led me to feeling behind on our blog. I have grown to really enjoy writing entries. I love that I have a place to document our life!

Anyway….home improvement projects have taken over. And it’s not been fun. At all.

It started with the deck. Mark is using something call EnviroTiles to cover our wooden deck. The wood has aged and worn with weather, and we felt it was too dangerous for Luke. All we could imagine was splinters in his hands and knees. Ultimately we want a concrete patio - not big fans of the wooden deck. It seems to attract mosquitoes, wasps, and we think there is an opossum living underneath it. Yuck! Plus, it requires a lot of maintenance. Concrete patios, done the way we want, cost a lot of money. So we hope that the EnviroTiles will last for about five years, at which time we’ll completely update the way we want. The tiles are cool - made out of recycled tires. Most of the deck was done, but then all the rain hit and so it was put on hold. Then it kept raining, and raining. When we did have a day it didn’t rain, he had to mow. We think he’ll finish it up today, thankfully.

The other outdoor project is a new flower bed along our front sidewalk. We bought the plants, and dug out the bed. But again due to the rain, it sat unfinished for awhile. That should also be finished up today.

Inside has been the real nightmare. I had the bright idea to repaint our living room. We bought new furniture, and I thought it would be a good time to refresh everything before the furniture arrives. I love the color we picked….but it has taken THREE COATS to cover the walls completely. Ugh!!! If our living room was a small room, that would be fine. But it’s a very large room - it’s taken four gallons of paint. Trying to find time to paint with an infant is next to impossible. I spent an entire Sunday working on it, but didn’t finish. So for the past week, Mark and I have been slaving away on the painting after Luke goes to bed. The whole front of the house is in shambles, as all our furniture, curtains, etc. are spread all around. It’s driving us all a little crazy.

Finally, we are updating our front door. We didn’t want to buy an entire new door, so we are just refreshing it. I painted it a new, lively color. Mark bought new hardware. It should be done today, and I’m excited to see the results. But again, not fun with an infant. Luke was in an “I only want mommy” mood today. So he fussed the entire time Mark had him (while I was painting the door). I felt badly for Mark, and it was annoying to listen to while I was painting. Also, the tarp we hung to block off the door kept opening, and at one point fell down completely….which I didn’t realize for maybe an hour or so. I keep waiting to see a bird or some other random animal inside our house!!!

I think we’re going to love everything we’re updating…..but it sure hasn’t been fun getting it all finished. When it’s all done, I’ll post some before and after pics.

I’ll end with a public service announcement: when you have been outside under trees, make sure to check yourself for ticks when you come inside. I took Luke on a walk yesterday with a friend and her baby. We walked on a bike trail that is tree lined. When I got home, I felt like bugs were crawling all over me. I thought it was all in my imagination. I was wrong. There were FOUR ticks on me!!!! I found two myself, and when Mark got home I was freaking out about it, and asked him to check my hair to make sure I didn’t miss any. He found one more in my hair. Then I went to take a shower, and found another on my arm, and it was attached! I about lost it. I guess with all the rain we’ve had, ticks and mosquitoes are thick this year. Beware, and consider yourself warned!!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Some general updates!

Here are some updates from our household:

Luke had his first bite of cereal for the first time this evening :-)  It went pretty okay!  His doctor had given several suggestions for what to mix with the cereal, and we decided on pear juice.  That one sounded the yummiest to us....and apparently Luke agrees.  We don't think he actually swallowed much...still figuring out what to do with the new substance in his mouth.  But based on his positive reaction, we're going to make cereal part of his evening routine. 

Luke continues to keep us guessing during the nighttime.  I was reading a book, Health Sleeping Habits, Happy Child.  One of the suggestions in the book is early bedtimes.  For awhile, that seemed to really help Luke.  We would start the bedtime routine between 6:45pm-7:30pm, depending on when he showed signs of being tired.  That only worked for a few weeks, and now he is not tired at all until 8pm at the earliest.  That is fine for us, because the super early time was pretty difficult.  Mark doesn't get home from work until 6pm (at the earliest), and Nolan frequently has soccer games that start at 6:30pm.

We lay Luke in his crib, and he will sleep in there for anywhere between 5 hours and 8 1/2 hours.  Whenever he wakes up for the first time, I nurse him in our bed and we go back to sleep until the morning.  That has worked really well for us.  Until yesterday.  Yesterday and today, he has decided to only sleep for 20 minutes in his crib, then he wakes up SCREAMING.  We suspect gas pains, because these are violent screams.  So he's been hanging out with us for the most of the night, and it's tiring.  His sleep is very restless, which again makes us think he is feeling some sort of discomfort.  So, the saga continues.  Just when I think we're making progress, he has a setback.

Luke has also entered a very clingy stage.  Happiness is being attached to mommy.  While I love his adoring smiles and "kisses" (he opens his mouth wide against my cheek, leaving a nice slobber spot!), it's hard to get anything done during the day.  He has always liked being carried/held, riding in the Moby, etc.....but this is different.  If I am not in his line of vision, he screams or whines.  And sometimes even though he can see me, it's still not good enough until he is in my arms.  This results in some stressful moments when I'm trying to get a shower/get ready in the morning, cook meals, etc.! 

All sounds like a lot of fun, huh?!  LOL 

On a positive note, he does great when I take walks.  I can get 2 miles in a day now and he is perfectly happy in his stroller.  It's awesome!  Also he does very well during grocery shopping (I've learned to go early in the morning, and he rides in the Moby).  He's working on being able to sit up.  We're not there yet, but his balance is improving.  He has made the "ba" and "ga" sounds.  He loves to blow raspberries, and enjoys having "coo conversations".  He is soooo strong, and loves to show us what a big boy he is by standing (holding on to our hands, of course).  We love and enjoy him immensely!

Nolan is nearly done with 3rd grade, which seems impossible.  He has had a great year - becoming so much more grown up, and has earned excellent grades.  Soccer season is winding down, and will be done in about a week!  Next up: football!  Nolan continues to love being a big brother to Luke.  Luke lights up when he sees Nolan - he clearly recognizes and adores his brother.  A big moment for Nolan - his basketball hoop is installed at our house.  He loves having a hoop here!  I am so proud of Nolan....he is a super kiddo.  We are looking forward to summertime!  Can't wait to have long lazy days together :-)

I am still sticking to the Weight Watchers plan, and loving it!  My last weigh-in was really good, dropping 2.6 lbs.  I was glad to see a big loss, because the previous week did not produce a loss for some reason.  I've lost about 13 lbs. so far.  Yay me!  I am proud of the positive changes I've made to my eating habits. 

We are undertaking some home improvement projects.  Mark is refurbishing our deck.  It's almost finished and looks great!  We added a new flower bed in the front of our house.  I'm going to repaint our front door this weekend.  I'm also repainting our living room.  Our new living room furniture will arrive in a couple of weeks.  Our sunroom is going to be Luke's playroom.  It's perfect because it's off of our living room, and has a set of french doors.  I like that we can close off the sunroom if we don't want to look at all the toys :)  It'll also be nice to be able to close Luke in the sunroom once he's mobile.  I can sit and relax back there with him while he explores....everything will be child-friendly, which means mommy can have a break from chasing him around everywhere!!

I've had some rough moments about Adam lately -- Mother's Day was hard.  Also we finalized his memorial stone design.  My hairdresser asked me how my babies, plural, were doing.  It was tough....she is new, and I'm guessing my previous stylist left a note about me having twins, and probably didn't note that one had died.  I had to unexpectedly tell Adam's story, which was difficult.  She felt awful and started crying....not the relaxing activity I had anticipated.  There will be good days, and there will be bad days.  <3


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Mother's Day

I love Mother's Day.  I know some people think it's just a holiday created by Hallmark, and maybe it is.  But if you ask me, there is nothing wrong with a day dedicated to honoring mothers.  I especially love the day, being an "active duty" mom of an infant and a 9-year-old!  I could use a day of pampering :-)

This Mother's Day feels different to me.  I'm so excited to have more children to be thankful for; however, my heart aches for Adam.  I miss him so much.  I found a quote that struck a chord with me:

"The way to love anything is to realize that it may be lost."

Sadly, I know that a child can be lost.  I've always known that on some level.  But it wasn't until I actually had a child die that I truly grasped the concept.  Since Adam's death, my love for my children is deeper than I ever knew was possible.  I feel intense gratitude for them.  I find that the hard times don't feel so bad anymore.  There are many moments when I feel stressed out or overwhelmed.....but I'm able to keep it in perspective a little better.  It's a blessing from Adam.  Happy Mother's Day to all the mother's out there <3   

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Spring cleaning

Spring is in full swing at our household.  Well, spring cleaning that is.  And I'm not a fan. 

Inevitably, I am hit with the sudden urge to purge each spring.  I hate clutter.  I can't even watch shows about hoarders, because it almost makes me feel sick to see the massive amounts of clutter.  Now, I wish my hatred of clutter prevented junk build-up....but somehow it does not.  Instead, things pile up throughout the year and then one spring day, I flip out and do something about it.  That day was today.

Nolan's room was at the top of my list.  Last summer I vowed I had helped him clean his room for the last time.  I figured if I refused to help him clean his room, he would stop making such huge messes (because he would be solely responsible for cleaning them up!).  Well, that plan didn't work.  I stuck to my guns and made him clean his super sized messes.....but they kept happening!  And then his room started to smell weird.  Clothes disappeared.  I found myself closing his door during the day so I didn't have to look at/smell his room.  I knew I had to intervene. 

I went in his room and looked around, and realized he was set up to fail.  He had toys in his room that he hadn't played with in a couple of years, and clothes that I knew were too small.  So today we took out all the toys in his room except his Nerf guns, and board games.  I made him try on every article of clothing to determine what fits, what can be donated, and what needed to be thrown out.  We are  not completely done yet, but there is already a huge improvement.  My hope is that with all the junk gone, it'll be much easier for him to keep his room clean.  When I saw all that we removed from his room, I'm unsure how all that stuff fit in there to begin with!

I hate going through the motions of spring cleaning.  It's exhausting and not fun.  The only reason I do it is because I LOVE the end result.  I love how fresh the house smells, the lack of clutter, and the fact that everything is where it is supposed to be.  I wish I could hire something to spring clean for me.  A girl can always dream, right?!  Next up: My closets.  :-0