Sunday, October 30, 2011

Today was a fairytale....

The title of this post is a song by Taylor Swift.  It came on the radio this weekend and we all busted out laughing because it was so ironic.  Our weekend was anything but a fairytale.  Nolan said, it should be: Today was a Horrortale.  LOL!

I'll start with some cute pics of my little family from this weekend.  We all look so happy....

Getting ready to head out to Nolan's grade card celebration dinner...

The face Luke makes a lot lately...he sucks on his upper lip.

Look at my teeth!  And there is one more you can't see, and another almost ready to make an appearance!

Poor Nolan, trapped under Luke's walker...

Mark and Luke at the restaurant

Lukie standing all by himself.  This happens several times a day now,and he can stand without assistance for more than a minute at a time :)

It would probably be therapeutic for me to write out all the disappointments, frustrations, and nightmare moments from the weekend.  While it's tempting, I will refrain.  I'll briefly share some highlights from the weekend, and you'll get the picture.

* I was vomited on three times
* We misjudged Luke's ability to handle going out to eat, and were stuck at a 2-hour meal with a cranky baby. 
* Cranky baby become more cranky and screamed at the top of his lungs the entire drive home from restaurant (about 45 minutes). 
* Any and all dealings with Nolan were somewhat challenging.  I said I felt like I was trying to run while submerged in a deep pool of honey. 
* Luke cut his 5th tooth, and is working on his 6th tooth.  Teething = epic fussiness.
* Flu shot + having a cold + teething = I'm not going to sleep, but I'm super tired so I'll just whine.  All. The. Time.

These are just the definitely don't want to hear about the low lights!  Parenthood: you take the good with the bad, and hope by the end of the day that you have more good moments than bad moments!!  <3  

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Where O Where Has Paci Gone....

Snot has hit in a big way at our household.  Poor Mr. Lukie is the victim.  I took him to his doctor yesterday, and luckily he simply has a cold.  No ear infection, no chest infection...just a lot of snot.  While we were at his appointment, the doctor informed me that it was time for Luke's second dose of his flu vaccination.  She said it was no problem for him to get the shot while he was sick.  Against my better judgment, I agreed for him to receive the second dose.  Maybe it's a coincidence, but he has gotten worse since the shot. He's been spiking a fever, he's coughing, and is generally miserable. 

No one got much sleep at our house last night.  I know how awful the night can be when I have a cold, so I can only imagine what it's like for a baby.  That is why Mark and I didn't mind too much that we were up most of the night trying to comfort Lukie.  Around 3am, Luke was wide awake and causing all kinds of chaos in our bed.  He was standing, holding on to our backboard when we heard a sound that made us groan: His paci falling down behind our bed. 

Those of you who have children who take a pacifier know how tragic it can be when the paci goes missing.  It's not a situation anyone can ignore.  That is why I made sure to have extra ones on hand once we knew what style of paci Luke liked.  We ordered six of them to be exact.  I remember Mark saying -- we need this many?!  I told him it never hurt to have some spares, and we joked that we had a stockpile for life. 

Well, not so much.

Within a few months, we somehow found ourselves searching for pacifiers.  The stockpile was gone.   We wondered, where have they all gone?!  We searched our house to no avail.  So we ordered more.  I think it was eight this time.  Counting the two we got from the hospital, we are now up to sixteen pacifiers.  Sixteen!  Yet somehow, last night at 3am, that lone paci that fell behind our bed was the only one to be found in our house. 

Mark got out of bed and was determined to find some pacifiers.  I heard random banging around, shuffling of furniture, and then he appeared with a huge long pole in one hand, and a commercial sized flashlight in the other.   

He seemed proud of himself, as he had located two pacifiers in his grand search.  He had to move our bed, and use the pole to fish out the one Luke had thrown.  After washing the pacifiers off, and putting away all his paci-searching paraphernalia, he came back to bed only to find Luke had fallen asleep and didn't need his paci anymore.  Sigh.  We joke that we will be periodically finding pacifiers in random locations for the next twenty years.

In closing, I have to share the sweetest story of brotherly love.  Nolan came home the other day and asked me if I could attend his school mass this week.  I said sure.  He went on to explain that their class is in charge of mass this week, and part of that involves bringing in their greatest treasure to share with the school during mass.  He said, I want to bring Luke in for my treasure.  I totally started crying.  It was the sweetest thing.  How special that he views Luke has his most precious treasure!  I am going to write that in Luke's baby book.  Someday that will mean a lot to Luke. 

On a sad note, due to Luke's illness taking a turn for the worse, I wasn't able to take Luke in for the mass today!  I feel terrible about it.  This morning I thought we could swing it, but as the day wore on I could tell Luke was in no shape to go to mass.  Luckily, Nolan has a picture as a back up.  I called his school so they can get him a message, but I still feel awful about having to cancel.  I know he will be so disappointed.  :(  I am praying he took the news okay....

Get feeling better sweet Lukie, and Nolan I hope you understand why we couldn't come to mass <3  

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Crank it up

Baby mobility comes with its own set of challenges, as any person who has ever lived with a baby knows all too well.  However, it's not all bad. 

Luke has finally reached a point where he is not a constant danger to himself.  He can stand without any support for about 5 seconds now.  Since his balance is improving, he is not falling as much as he used to.  He strength in his legs has grown to the point of him being able to lower himself to the floor in a very controlled fashion.  These new developments come with much more freedom for Luke, and fun for us.  Time that used to be spent following him around trying to prevent the next facial bruise can now be spent hanging in the background, watching what he can do. 

My absolute favorite time is when Mark, Nolan and I are all home with Luke.  We love watching Luke make his way around the room.  He can get around really well with his walker - at times he gets going so fast he is almost running.  We all clap and cheer for him.  He loves the attention, it's adorable.  The other day, we were talking and no one clapped or cheered for Luke.  He stopped in the middle of the floor and stared at us like, "Um hello?  Did anyone notice what I just did?".  It was hilarious.  We started cheering and clapping and off he went with his big dimpled smile.

I've mentioned before that he loves the window cranks.  That love has grown to an all out obsession.  Since he is more stable, it's not dangerous to let him take the cranks off and carry them around.  And he seizes every opportunity to acquire a crank.  Today I decided I needed to document his crank craze.  These are some snap shots from his playtime this afternoon.  I think for Christmas and his birthday we just need to get him a bunch of window cranks, LOL!

Caught removing a crank :)

On his way to get another one....

Zooming his car while holding two cranks in his hand....

Playing with his blocks....and his cranks

Crawling with, you guessed it, his cranks...

Our silly boy.  Now I will never forget his odd love of window cranks :) 

In closing, someone shared a link on facebook that I found to be helpful.  It was a list of things to say in your head to help you stay calm when things get a little crazy in parent land.  I believe self-talk can be a very powerful tool when things seem to be spiraling out of control.  Some spoke to me as a parent of a 10 month old, and others spoke to me as a parent of an almost 10 year old.  These are my favorites from the list: 
  1. This too shall pass.
  2. These children are much more than their behavior.
  3. I can treat disrespect, respectfully.
  4. There is a way to turn this into a learning experience.
  5. This is age-appropriate behavior for six-year-olds (ten-year-olds or teenagers) so I won’t take it personally.
  6. Mistakes, theirs or mine, are opportunities for growth.
  7. This is the perfect opportunity for me to teach about cause and effect by holding my children accountable for their behaviors/choices.
  8. I don’t need the approval of others to be happy.
  9. I am not responsible for the choices they make.
  10. I can choose to be relaxed now.
  11. I can rise above this.
  12. No matter what happened, I can stay calm and centered.
  13. Regardless of how many times I fall down, I can get back up.
  14. I can bend in the wind without being broken.
  15. As one door closes, another opens.
  16. God will guide me.
  17. I can trust my inner-knowing here.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Boom Boom Pow

The joy of having a puppy is really cranking up over at our house.  Well, sort of.

In all fairness to Boomer, he is a puppy, and he's acting like a puppy.  It would be unreasonable of me to expect anything else.  He's doing great with house training.  And he continues to love obedience training.  He is very bright, he's friendly, and he's super cute.  We had our first puppy training class last week, and he loved it.  Although, we were asked to stay after class so the trainer could work with us on Boomer's puppy biting. 

Boomer takes puppy biting to a whole new level.  If left to his own devices, he would literally bite me every second.  I tried various techniques that had been recommended, and none had lasting positive effects.  Luckily, the technique our trainer showed us does work.  I have to stay very consistent, but after two days I do see a difference.  When he softly bites me, I have to scream as loud as I can (a yelping scream to sound like a puppy).  If he clamps down hard, I have to put him on his side to dominate him.  This evening I noticed that when I would "yelp" he backed off, and when I had to hold him down he didn't struggle much.  Probably the best advice that we were given is to reward any and all positive behavior.  What I discovered today is he seems to actually need to clamp down on something all the time.  He must be struggling with teething.  As long as I have something available for him to bite,  he will bite the toy instead of my hands/legs/feet. 

Boomer continues to be a good thing for our family.  Nolan and I enjoyed our time together last week during puppy school.  We rarely have time alone like that, and it was fun.  Nolan takes the class very seriously, and did a great job with Boomer.  The trainer uses cooked chicken strips for training treats.  She made the comment that it's good to use human food, because you can spit the food out of your mouth randomly, which apparently teaches the dog to watch you at all times (personally it sounds a little weird to me, but whatever).  Nolan was all excited at the thought of getting to eat the chicken himself, and was asking to eat the leftover treats.  LOL, that's my boy! 

This probably sounds a little weird, but I feel like I've grown personally since having Boomer.  This wasn't an ideal time to get a puppy, but due to some circumstances that have arisen, we felt the benefits outweighed the drawbacks.  I have had to dig deep at times to remain patient with both Boomer and Luke.  They are pretty much at the same level in terms of the amount of supervision they require.  It's a juggling act during the day.  I put a lot of thought into how to structure our day to accommodate both Luke and Boomers needs.  I feel a sense of accomplishment that things are working out so well.  I take 100% of the credit, because I am the one behind the scenes making it all happen.  Boomer and I are developing a strong bond and that is fun too.  I am learning to be calmly assertive with him and I think he is finally accepting me as his leader.  It's pretty cool. 

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but it's good enough.  Oh, and Boom Boom Pow is the song that comes into my mind every time I say Boomer's name.  Good thing I like that song ;) 


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bath time revised, yet again!

Last week it was confirmed once again that Luke and Nolan are very different children!

When I got Nolan a bath seat around seven months or so, he loved it and he used it until he was physically too big for it.  He had probably far surpassed the age when most kiddos stop using the chair -- I know it was well past his first birthday.  I think he was close to 2 years old.  It worked out wonderfully for him.  He would splash around safely and play with his toys.  It was great!

When it was time to put Luke in a bath seat, we decided to get a nice one since we figured he would use it for many months.   


Luke is so wild in the tub that he was able to tip the chair, which was super dangerous.  Also, he wanted out of the chair and would stretch and strain to the point of nearly rubbing his little belly raw.  We begrudgingly admitted that we would, once again, have to switch up bath time.

I looked at all kinds of options and came to the conclusion that the best solution was to use the big tub.  Yes, there are toddler tubs that Luke should theoretically be able to use for the next year or so.  But knowing Luke, he would probably only use those for a few months before he found a way to make those dangerous.  We settled on a natural rubber bath mat to prevent Luke from slipping and sliding around, and a faucet cover to prevent him from crashing his head into the faucet. 

He was in heaven!!  At first he sat nicely on his mat, calmly playing with his toys.  I made a comment to Mark that I couldn't believe he was sitting so nicely. 

Then he got his confidence.

He was exploring the faucet cover, and then started standing up :-O  We almost had a heart attack a few times, but he had a great time.  We will definitely have to keep an eagle eye on him in the tub, but I think it's the best set up for Mr. Lukie.  I just can hardly believe that our ten month old is already loose in the big tub.  What a big boy :-)


I am happy to say that life has started to resemble "normal" again.  Mark will still be very busy for a few more weeks, but we'll slowly start seeing more of him, which will be great!

While Mark was working around the clock, Luke decided sleep was overrated.  Between having no husband around to help and having a baby that was active all day, the organization of our house went completely out the window.  We had a family meeting last night to discuss ways we can all work together to manage the clutter.  We now all have our own "junk drawer".  I am still laughing at Nolan's excitement about his junk drawer.  He could not wait to start filling it.  I explained that the goal was not to shove the drawer full of random things.  Instead, it was for those times when he has something he doesn't know where to put, but it's something he wants to keep. Still, he was thrilled.  His drawer already holds many "treasures" such as old pens, a screw, vet paperwork he found (??), tape, bug spray, etc.  He probably told me "this is awesome" twenty times last night.  Who knew a drawer in the kitchen would be so exciting?  As long as the drawer prevents him from leaving his things all over the place, then I'm happy :) 

On an unrelated note, I am happy to say that I lost 5 lbs. my first official week back at following Weight Watchers.  Yaaaaay!  I even made it through an early Thanksgiving meal/trip out of town!  Knowing that I had to weigh myself in front of someone made all the difference.  This is good :)

Here are some various pictures from the last week or so.

Boomer after his first haircut:

Luke with his new crib protection.  Why would he need protective wraps around the top of his crib?  Well, because now that Luke has four teeth, he likes to chew on his crib and bites so hard that he digs into the wood!

My silly boys in a pile of leaves!

Luke in his awesome snow bunting bag, getting ready for a walk with Nolan and I.  I love it so much, and so does Luke!  It keeps him very snuggly and warm :)

Luke in his new big boy carseat.  We had a theory that he hated his infant seat now that he is bigger.  So we upgraded, and I must say, so far so good.  He has traveled for two, 3 hour drives without any major drama. 

Poor Luke being posed by Mommy -- he is not impressed :)

Sweet big brother Nolan <3  He absolutely adores Luke.  The other day he walked up to me while I was holding Luke and he kissed Luke and then said, "Luke, you are an amazing creation".  What a special big brother :)

I have endured the incredible loss of a child.  I think about Adam every day, and I miss him every day.  However, I have been blessed so abundantly by having Mark, Nolan, and Luke that I would still call myself a very lucky girl.  I'm sure every parent feels this way....but I really do think I have been given extraordinary children.  I am grateful for my life <3

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Better than I

I realized this evening that my husband is for sure a better person than I.  I've had this thought several times throughout our marriage, but tonight I know it's true.

It's pretty much been hell in our world for the past week.  Mark has been working around the clock for the past seven days.  When I say that, I am not joking or exaggerating.  He gets home well after midnight, and leaves before anyone wakes for the day.  If we were really lucky, we'd see him for a few minutes in the morning, but some days we did not see him at all.  Never once did he complain.  Instead, I would call him to tell him the details of our day (and I was probably whiny about the challenges I was facing at home) and he would listen and empathize.  He barreled through, and did what was needed to be done at work.  They finally reached a stopping point today around 4pm.

I think most people would arrive home in a bad mood and would head straight to bed.  Mark came home in a good mood and ready to play with Luke.  He was excited to see some of the new ways Luke has learned to play this week.  He talked with me for awhile.  Then he passed out on the couch for a few minutes, ate dinner, then had to head back to work for a few hours.

When he came home for the second time, he agreed to install Luke's new carseat.  The fact that he was willing to mess with that surprised me.  He then proceeded to spend nearly two hours reading the instruction manual completely, and installing, uninstalling, and then reinstalling the seat in an attempt to get it just right.  I have never seen anyone check a seat so thoroughly or carefully.  It was a frustrating process and most people would be ready to take a sledge hammer to the stupid seat, but he stayed calm and got the seat installed properly.  Somehow, he was still able to smile at this point. 

Me?  I wanted to completely meltdown several times this week.  Nolan was home sick from school all week, and won't be able to go back tomorrow either (he's feeling much better, but his cough is lingering).  Luke's sleeping schedule has been a train wreck.  The house is in complete disarray.  I didn't get to do much, if anything, I wanted/needed to do this week because I was pretty much locked home with a sick child.  Luke has been clingy -- I was folding laundry with Luke standing next to me, clutching my shirt.  At times it's been pretty intense and I have definitely complained and whined, and been in a bad mood.  I've been snappy and I've felt sorry for myself. 

I look at Mark and I feel lucky to be his wife.  He is an inspiration to me.  I need to remember that there are many people in the world who would gladly trade worst day would seem like heaven to them!  <3

As a side note, Nolan had to get glasses!  Here he is :)


Sunday, October 9, 2011

A new perspective

I love the start of October.  Partly because of the weather -- the crisp days, beautiful leaves -- but mostly because October kicks off four exciting months filled with holiday fun and celebrations.  Halloween, Thanksgiving, our anniversary, Luke and Adam's birthday, Christmas, NYE, and Nolan's birthday.  Busy, fun times!!

Last year at this time wasn't so fun.  I was hugely pregnant with Adam and Luke and was gearing up for my maternity leave to start (crazy that I stopped working a year ago already!!).  I had to have my feet up as much as possible and I felt very uncomfortable most of the time.  I had no energy to do anything special.  Plus, we had the stress of not knowing what was going on with Adam.  Then the boys were born right before Christmas, and obviously there was a lot going on after they were born.  So all in all, the holiday season last year was a bust. 

I figured I had two choices for this year: Dwell on the past and be completely depressed when I think about last year.  Or, reinvent the holidays and move forward.  Definitely going with choice #2.  I think I owe it to myself, as well as my kiddos, to continue to make the holidays special.  Christmas day will no longer be "the day we found out Adam was going to die".  Instead, Christmas day is "the first day Adam really got to live".  Why?  Because once we knew his diagnosis, we stopped all the testing, probing, etc.  The focus shifted to getting him home so he could live his life with his loving family.  That's a good thing!  January 5th is the day Adam died, but we can also remember it was the first day he was completely free from suffering.  We know Adam suffered his last few days, so I think it's important to remember that he is in heaven now and that we will see him again someday.  Of course, there will be sad moments.  That's normal and natural.  My goal is to make the overall tone of the holidays joyful.  I believe Adam would want it that way.

We had a family meeting and came up with a long list of fall/holiday activities we want to partake in this year.  We proclaimed that this will be the best holiday season ever for us - a lofty goal but we're sure going to give it a try!  I feel good about our plan and our new perspective.  I have much hope that we will have the strength to continue to work through our grief while fully participating in a happy holiday season.  <3 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Ramblings from a cranky Mama :)

It's nearly 10pm and I am in my comfy recliner, feet up, sipping some iced tea and watching mindless TV.  Just what I needed after a long couple of days!  I'm tired and somewhat cranky.  Here are some things on my mind....

Lukie got his picture taken yesterday in his Halloween costume.  I have refrained from taking him in for professional pictures because I wanted to save some money aside for a really nice family photo shoot.  However, I received a coupon in the mail from Sears offering a $120 package for $10.  No sitting fee, no catches or stipulations.  Since Luke won't be able to go trick or treating this year (he would go if we had Nolan, but sadly, this is Nolan's year to go with his dad), I thought the Sears coupon deal would be perfect to capture his cute costume.  I am fairly certain the photographer we got does not have any children of her own, and is also clueless about child development.  She wanted Luke to sit still on an "x".  Really?  That lasted for about 1 second and then he was crawling around.  By the end of the session I was sweating due to all my containment efforts.  Despite all of that, she got some cute shots and Luke is now officially documented in his cow suit :)  As a side note, I am super excited because we are booked with a photographer for November.  She will come out to our house, which will be awesome.  I've seen her work and she is amazing. 

We were supposed to be on vacation right now, but we didn't get to go.  So sad...  We were going to leave Thursday and come back tomorrow.  Unfortunately, Mark's busiest time of the year hit later than expected, and completely interfered with the trip.  Public service announcement: Never book non-refundable hotel rooms.  Seriously.  Even though they are $20 cheaper a night.  They really mean it when they say it's non-refundable!

Speaking of Mark's busiest time of the season...I miss him! 

Luke has started to do some fun things lately.  My favorite development is his car zooming.  Talk about a flashback to Nolan!  It's so cute to watch him crawl around with his yellow Hummer :)

It seems like the more he can use his toys, the happier he becomes.  We spend most of the day in his playroom, and it's wonderful.  He'll play for hours back there.  It's funny because every few minutes he looks over at me and gives me a big smile, or he'll crawl over for a hug, or he'll come climb all over me.  He no longer needs me to sit right next him while he plays, but he likes to check in with me frequently.  Therefore it's still pretty impossible to get much done while he is awake.  He was on a great napping pattern of a long afternoon nap.  It was helpful because I could get a lot done during his nap, leaving me completely available for playing while he is awake.  The last couple of days have been different.  He's fallen asleep for just a few minutes in the car, which resulted in him skipping his afternoon nap.  There seems to be a connection between poor daytime sleeping and poor nighttime sleeping.  That has been rough, which is one of the reasons why I'm cranky and tired :P  I am facing the fact that Luke is a child who is easily disrupted.  If I want him to get the sleep he needs, then I have to do my part in honoring his routine.  Good sleep habits are still new to Luke, and I can only hope that in time he will become less sensitive to the car ride snooze.  Until then, we'll be at home...a lot! 

I have more to say, but I'm so tired I don't think I can continue typing coherent sentences!  More later.  For to bed!  <3


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Get. In. Gear.

Seriously.  I need to get in gear and step up.  About my weight, that is.  Anyone who has ever struggled with their weight knows where I am coming from.  It is way too easy to fall off the wagon.  One slip up turns into two, then a week, and a month.  Before you know it, you are back to square one.  It is so frustrating!!  I am mad at myself for falling back into old eating habits.  I briefly tried a different eating plan, but that didn't work either.  I still workout daily, which is good.  Also, I still stay away from processed foods for the most part.  And I am still off aspartame.  So I guess it's not all bad.  But it sure seems like it sometimes!  The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.  I looked myself in the mirror and faced the fact that I need to try something different since my typical weight loss approach is not working.  My solution?  Weight Watchers meetings.  Oh yes, support group, here I come!

I tried a meeting yesterday, and I think the meetings are just what I need.  First of all, WW only hires leaders who have lost weight on the program and kept the weight off.  Our leader lost a lot of weight by following the WW plan.  There is a picture of her standing inside of ONE leg of her old jeans!!  Second, I think the meetings will be a way for me to "keep the program alive".  I need to be around people who are on the plan, and excited about it.  I need to see other's success and be inspired.  I need the pressure of a weekly weigh in that takes place in front of someone else.  Finally, I am making a list of reasons why I want to lose weight.  Those reasons have little to do with how I look, and much more about how I feel when I'm eating healthy.  Things like, having more energy, moving my body easier, feeling in control, etc. 

Sometimes I feel embarrassed when I think about my struggles with weight.  But then I remind myself of two things:

1.  At least I have the courage to keep trying.
2.  Everyone, and I mean everyone, struggles with something.  My struggle just happens to be weight.  That is no worse or better than someone who struggles in a different area of their life.  So if you are a smug skinny person, know that there is something out there that is hard for you, but is easy for me. 

Wish me luck.  I need it.  I decided there is no better time than now to get back on the wagon.  The holidays will be here very quickly, and I know I need to be back on track to avoid blowing up from eating goodies non-stop!!  I would love my New Year's resolution to be to continue WW, not to start WW again.  My hope is that someone out there reads this and decides they can give weight loss a try once again too.  Fall ten times, get up eleven times!  <3

Could these guys be any cuter?  I think not!

Mocha saying to Boomer: I'll kill you if you come any closer to me.


Saturday, October 1, 2011

I've come a long way.... 9 1/2 months.  Taking Luke out in public by myself used to be pretty stressful, even if it was a simple outing.  I suppose because of the frequent nursing, unexpected/unpredictable screaming fits, sleep deprivation, etc.  Today I thought wow, I am getting the hang of this!  I voluntarily and willingly scheduled a vet appointment for Boomer, knowing that I would also be bringing Luke along.  I of course had a well thought out war plan in place, but 9 months ago I never would have even considered such a trip!

It was, of course, pouring rain again, which always complicates things.  But I had a plan that I was pretty sure would work.  I put Boomer's crate in the back of the van so he would be contained while I was driving.  I brought Luke's stroller along, so I could have him contained while we were at the vet's office.  I cringed at the thought of him crawling around the floor and finding all kinds of disgusting "treasures" to put in his mouth!  Boomer is used to walking on a leash while I push the stroller, so I was pretty confident I could manage the trip without too much drama.  For the most part, it went well.  Our vet said Boomer is very healthy and has a great temperament.  I got some good training tips and it was looking like the trip would be easy and issue free.

Until it was time to check out.  All hell broke loose.

Luke started wildly screaming, most likely because he wanted out of his stroller.  Boomer decided it would be a good idea to run all around the stroller, getting his leash tangled up in the stroller.  All the while, I'm trying to carry on a conversation with the receptionist about his next appointment, and pay the vet bill. It was frustrating, but I didn't let any of it get to me too much since I knew we were almost done.  I got everyone loaded back into the van and I felt very pleased with myself: I did it!  All by myself!  I started to back out of the parking lot when I heard a weird sound.  I had backed into someone's truck!!  I have never done something like that before - I was mortified!!  I got out and sure enough, I had damaged both my van and the other person's truck.  I parked our van and went back into the office to see if they knew who drives that truck.  It was the vet's truck.  Lovely!  I was so embarrassed and felt like an idiot.  Luckily, he was extremely pleasant about the whole thing and doesn't even think he's going to fix his truck.  He has our information in case he changes his mind, but he said he wasn't worried about it.  We will fix our van because it's new and we don't want it to rust where the scratches/dent is.  Just went I thought the trip was going to be completely uneventful....!

Speaking of Boomer, we are in love with him already.  He is so smart!  I taught him the "sit" command in like 3 minutes.  I can tell he is really going to enjoy obedience training.  He is so focused and proud when  he does his sit command.  I have never met such a food-driven dog.  He goes crazy over any treat - especially cheese and ground beef ;)  It's funny because whenever I get food out, he sits perfectly and looks at me intently like - look mom!!  Do you see how good I'm sitting?  Shouldn't I get a reward?  Boomer has been good for our family because I've found that we have all spent much more time together this week.  We take a nightly walk with Boomer, and we sit in our kitchen/front room to play with him (we don't trust him enough yet to let him be in our carpeted areas too much).  There are no distractions there -- no TV, computer, etc.  Nolan made the comment that he loves the front area of our house.  Later when we were all back in Luke's playroom, he made the same comment about that space.  Again, there is not a TV, computer or other distractions back there.  I guess that goes to show how kids really do just crave time and attention from parents.  It's funny because we have this nice TV and furniture setup in our living room, but yet Nolan's favorite rooms are the places where there is no entertainment and the least comfortable places to sit.  It makes me realize that even when Boomer is house trained completely and we can have him with us in our living room regularly, we still need to turn off the TV and carve out some time for us all to hang out and just talk.

Luke is still not loving Boomer too much.  He smiles at him a lot, but doesn't show much interest in him beyond that.  Probably his favorite thing about Boomer is that he gets to take two stroller rides a day now instead of just one :)  Seeing how much Boomer and Luke like the walks (and me too!), I decided to get winter gear so we can continue them throughout the winter.  I found a "snow bunting" bag for the stroller, as well as a super warm fleece snowsuit for Luke.  They both got rave reviews and many people said their children were able to take stroller rides in the winter, even in places like Minnesota and Maine, when using the snow bunting and/or the snowsuit.  I think the wind can be the biggest problem when it's cold, so I put a rain cover over the stroller that blocks the wind.  Between those three things, we will  be good to go.  I think Luke almost prefers the colder weather because I make him so snuggly in the stroller - he instantly falls asleep and is always so happy after his stroller snooze.   

In closing, I have to brag about Nolan for a minute.  He got his midterm report this week and his grades were fantastic!!!  He gets a grade in several subjects...seems like 10 or more.  All A's and one B -- woo hoo!!!!  He has been working very hard this year.  Their grading scale is tough - 93% or above for an A.  They have homework every night and he diligently works on it without reminders from me (most of the time).  I am so proud of him.  Yay Nolan, keep up the good work!!