Thursday, June 14, 2012

Little trip

We are back from a mini-trip.  I won't say mini-vacation, because as a friend so smartly said, when kids are along, it's a trip, not a vacation.  Isn't that the truth?!

Luke and I went along with Mark on some farm tours.  We got to see some really cool, cutting-edge stuff.  It was mostly fun.  Mostly.

Our hotel room was not fun.  It was way too small.  It contained a king sized bed, but the bed pretty much took up the entire room.  There was a small path to walk around it.  Normally, that would be fine.  With an active toddler?  Not so fine.  Then there was the bathroom.  Weirdest hotel bathroom ever!  There was no tub, and no official shower.  Only a drain in the floor, with a shower head sticking down from the ceiling next to the toilet and sink.  Then, as a "courtesy" (according to the sign), they provided a wooden platform to stand on post-shower to avoid the bathroom flood.  Awesome!

The drive to the hotel was stressful, filled with lots of road construction and traffic.  Dinner was weird -- an entire buffet of food I'd never heard of.  Luke only slept about 2 hours the entire first night.  He ended up in bed with us, thrashing around and needing to plaster his body on top of mine at all times.  Finally, about 2 hours before we had to leave for the day he crashed, and we could barely even wake him up when it was time to go.


Thankfully, things were on the upswing for the rest of the trip.  Luke enjoyed seeing so many cows, tractors, and new sights.  He didn't get any official naps, and the food was again weird, but he did better than I could have expected him to do at his age.  Another wise friend told me to bring lots of snacks, which I did.  Having so many things for him to snack on during the day was a huge lifesaver for when he started to get cranky.

Luke loved to point at the cows :)
My favorite part of the trip -- seeing robotic milkers!  Super cool!

Cutie pie Luke, pointing at cows again <3
After touring 4 farms in one day, we were all exhausted.  We decided to stop at one of our favorite restaurants on the way back to the hotel so we could be guaranteed a good meal.  It tasted so good!  We all literally crashed when we got back.  We were asleep by 7pm, and slept until 6:30am.  We needed it!

I'm glad we went.  It was nice to be around so many farmers.  They are all generally supportive and respectful toward one another, regardless of farm size, farm practices, etc.  I enjoy surrounding myself with open-minded, accepting people like that.  As I get older, I don't know what it is, but I find it hard to be around radical people.  I'm sick of all the debates: Big farms vs. small farms; Public vs. private vs charter schools; Stay-at-home-mom vs. work-at-home-mom vs. work-outside-of-the-house moms; Parenting styles; Cloth diaper vs. disposable diapers; Breastfeeding vs. bottle feeding.  Birth plan choices.  I could go on, and on, and on.  The bottom line is, we all live in glass houses.  And we're all just doing our best in life.  Life choices aren't all simply black and white, right or wrong.  No one wants to be judged by others.  There is a way to feel passionate about certain things, and be proud of personal choices/lifestyle without putting others down in the process.  I witnessed that the last couple of days, and it was very refreshing.     I love this quote so much:

The more you love your decisions, the less you need others to love them.    

So true!  Cheers to being back home.  Normal food, comfy bed, spacious home.  Lovely!

Oh, one last thing.  Our special Boomer pup was quite a handful at the boarding facility.  When I picked him up the woman said, Oh Boomer, he is a Boomer!  She then went on to say that he destroyed his sheepskin rug, and was generally bouncing off the walls.  I apologized, but explained that Boomer and our boxer Jazzy spend their days romping, chasing, and playing in the backyard.  Being in a kennel for a few days is tough for a pup.  Poor Boom-Boom.  Here he is with his "summer cut".  All his fluff is gone!



Saturday, June 9, 2012

Little fish

I keep meaning to write about this, because it's so cute and sweet, but I always forget.

Luke is adorable in the bathtub.  After we got over the initially turbulent bath episodes, bath time is always fun times for Luke.  I'm starting to wonder if we might have a little budding swimmer on our hands! I was a really good competitive swimmer growing up, and it would be cool if one of my kids also participated in swimming :)  Nolan was never interested, and that was okay with  me.  I see many parents pushing their children to enjoy the same sports they once participated in, and I don't think that is healthy.  It puts too much pressure on kids, and they need to be free to forge their own path.  Nolan knows how to swim, and he enjoys swimming for recreation, and that is good enough!

Lukie on the other hand is showing much more of an interest already.  He has started laying on his stomach in the bathtub, puts his face into the water and blows bubbles!  For some reason, it's amazing to us when he does that.  He kicks his legs around and just loves it.  The funniest part is when it's time to get out of the tub.  I flip the drain open, and he likes to remain in the tub, waving bye-bye to the water as it goes down the drain.  LOL  It's priceless watching him smile and wave, as if the water enjoys his farewell.  

Maybe Luke simply enjoys baths.  We'll enroll him in swimming lessons when he's old enough, and see what he thinks.  It might not be in the cards to have any swimmers, which is totally fine with me.  I do, however, secretly have my fingers crossed ;) 


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Sand Man

Here is our little sand digger :) 

Notice the tiny fists full of sand, ready to launch!

Diggin'

An action shot of sand tossing

Both boys will enjoy the sand this summer.  Nolan hasn't had a chance to play in it yet, but he'll be back tomorrow to try it out :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Pictures of the boys

A few pics of the boys from today.  Nolan had a baseball game (his team won, congrats!!), and Luke finally has sand in his sandbox.  Nothing else too exciting happened.  Just a regular old day.  So far I'm not having Facebook, Pintrest, or general web surfing withdrawal.  I do miss reading some of the daily happenings of my buddies, but that just means we'll have more to catch up on when we hang out face to face ;)  I do quickly scan my newsfeed, but I don't spend time reading each and every update, commenting, etc.  We'll see how long this lasts :)  Oh, and I learned that I probably won't be hosting any sandbox playdates this summer.  Unless the child is at least a year older than Luke and can handle his antics.  We have a little sand thrower on our hands.  What the heck is up with this throwing theme?!   

Warming up

Going for a hit

On 1st base -- ended up stealing 2nd and 3rd, and then scoring :)     


The pictures of Luke in his sandbox will have to wait, for some reason the site won't let me upload them.  <3

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Kick off!

It is summertime, and we are loving life!  No more morning rush, packing lunches, homework, etc.  It's just relaxation and fun :) 

We kicked off the summer with a trip to the zoo yesterday.  The weather was gorgeous.  We met one of my friends and her two kids there, and it was great.  The only downside of the day was that every other person had the same idea, so it was packed.  So packed that my friend and I had trouble finding room to push our strollers through the masses of people!  But we managed to find a super cute kids picnic table to eat our lunches, the kids played at the playgrounds, and we saw lots of animals.  Nolan had a blast, Luke tolerated it (mostly).  It was a good day.  I even decided to purchase a family membership, which we're excited about.  I used to have a pass when Nolan was little, and I loved it.  After just two visits to the zoo you've already paid for it, so it's totally worth it.

We came home from the zoo and rested for awhile, and then headed to Luke's first music class.  So stinkin' cute!  Nolan had fun too, which is a bonus.  I mean, two activities in one day that both boys enjoyed -- that is a miracle.  (It's not easy finding things that a toddler and pre-teen both enjoy doing!)  I loved watching Luke interact with the other kids.  He's all smiles and not timid in the least to go up to new children.  The teacher handed out our music bags.  Inside was a scarf, rhythm sticks, and an object that has beads inside (noise maker, for lack of knowing the official word).  I thought, wow, Luke will love this!  Until he decided the rhythm sticks are fun to throw.  While the other children were beating their sticks together, my little lovely was throwing his all over the room.  *sigh*  I had to take the sticks away from  him, which resulted in an epic meltdown.  Our goal for the week is to hopefully break Luke of the urge to throw his musical instruments :-)  So far, nothing is working.  He's not a big toy thrower, so I don't know why he is determined to throw his sticks.  Toddlers!

And that's about it!  I plan to write a couple posts a week about our summer.  When school starts back up, I'd like to compile those posts into a summer memories book.  I want to have a very "unplugged" summer.  Minimal time on the internet, Facebook, Pinterest, etc.  It's so easy to get sucked into wasting time on the internet, and I need a break from that.  The real world is much cooler than cyberspace!

Peace <3


      

Friday, June 1, 2012

Peaceful

Oh it feels so good to be back to normal around here!  Our house is well on its way to becoming disinfected and we're all on the mend.  Thank God!  I just finished baking a cherry pie, and I'm either making shrimp or spaghetti pie for dinner.  Either choice will be yummy!  Love having  my appetite back :) 

I'm very excited because Luke starts music classes this week.  He is going to love it!  I have never seen a child who enjoys listening to music/dancing as much as Luke.  It'll be a smaller class, and the kids are all very close in age.  That will be great because the activities can be geared for their level.  Nolan doesn't know it  yet, but he gets to come along with us to sing songs and dance.  I'm sure he's going to love that, lol!  The cool part is, Mark should be able to come to some of the classes with us.  I'm thinking we might make an evening out of it each week, and have family ice cream night after the class (could be a good incentive for Nolan to attend the classes!). 

I'm also excited because Nolan is out of school!  Yippee!!  We're going to make our summer bucket list this weekend so we can be sure to fit in lots of fun stuff before school resumes in August.  I have a zoo trip planned for next week, complete with a picnic lunch.  The boys will love it :)  I want to have a good mix of day trips, play dates, and lazy days at home.  We've got the big water park/bounce house, sprinkler, water guns, pool, sandbox, bikes, etc., so there is plenty to keep us busy around the house.  As a side note, Luke really enjoys riding in his bike trailer.  It's effortless to pull him around in it, I've been impressed.  I highly recommend the Croozer if you're in the market for a bike trailer.  We have a double, but I'm sure the single ones are just as good.  The only thing that scares me is when a car is coming -- I'm always worried they won't see the trailer.  It's big, neon green, and has one of those tall orange warning flags.  You'd have to be blind to miss it....but yes, I am paranoid! 

TGIF!  Enjoy the weekend <3
  

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Haircut and Ick!

Luke got his first haircut over the weekend.  I decided to cut his hair, even though I had never done that before!  I knew the electric clippers would scare him, but I hoped that they would scare him less if I was the one using them.  It came out pretty good, and he stayed fairly calm throughout the ordeal.  His hair is very light blonde now.  His first hair that came in was reddish, but with all of that cut out, he's almost white blonde.  He looks like such a big boy! 

Love that smile

Running around and dancing after his haircut :)

You can see how blonde he is in this picture

Handsome Nolan

Nolan's new Nerf gun (the bribe for his MRI!)

Brothers <3



In other news, our house has been hit hard with the germs!  Last week I was sick -- it came on fast and furious and was not fun at all.  Then, Monday night I felt weird when I went to bed.  Just generally nauseous.  Luckily, I decided to put a puke bag next to the bed.  I few hours later, all hell broke loose and I was up all night getting sick over and over and over again.  About 2 hours after I got sick for the first time, Nolan joined in the fun.  Then, in the morning when Mark got Luke out of his bed, he saw Luke had puked in his crib.  Three down, one to go.  So far, Mark is still healthy.  But it was one awful 24 hours.  I still feel pretty sick, but since all the intestinal junk has stopped, it feels like a major improvement.  Luke and Nolan still feel pretty yucky too.  Luke even puked again this morning before his nap.  Mark must have an immune system of steel after being in the house with all of us and not getting sick!

Here's to hoping for continued improvement with our health!!  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Bravery

I am so proud of Nolan.  I am proud of him for countless reasons every day, but today I'm specifically proud of him for being so brave.

Nolan hates shots.  Actually, he pretty much hates anything associated with doctors/medical procedures.  I trace this back to when he was almost 3 years old, and had to get some blood drawn.  The person drawing his blood was obviously not trained to work with young children (we went to a general lab).  She stuck his arm, and then he started thrashing around with the needle still in his arm.  It was bouncing all around, still in his vein, and was extremely painful/traumatic for him.  Going to the doctor was never the same after that.  Just as he started to overcome his fears, he had another bad experience.  He was about 6 years old and we had to go to an urgent care center on a Saturday because I suspected he had strep throat.  When they swabbed his throat (which is already painful enough if done correctly), she did it so hard that it started bleeding!  That sealed the deal for him: Medical visits = awful experiences. 

We learned last week that Nolan needed some medical testing done.  I'll go into more detail once we know exactly what is going on with him, but it's nothing life threatening.  The doctor wanted an EEG and MRI with and without contrast.  Uh-oh.  I knew what "with and without contrast" meant: A needle.  Also, I had an MRI during my pregnancy that about sent me over the edge, and I'm not officially claustrophobic.  I was honest with Nolan about what procedures he had to have done.  I showed him a video of a child having an MRI.  I made him a CD of his favorite songs to listen to during the MRI.  I flat out bribed him with a new Nerf gun that he wanted. 

Today was the day, and he did great!!  He was extremely nervous, but we had a plan and it worked :)  We jammed out to his CD on the way to the appointment, which helped him.  While in the waiting room, we looked at pictures and videos of Luke (on my phone) to make him laugh.  I rubbed his feet to let him know I was there during his MRI.  When he had to get the contrast injected, I distracted him by talking about what treat he wanted to order from McDonald's afterwards.  He took the injection like a champ, and finished the MRI without any issues.  When he went back into the MRI machine after having the contrast injected, he said, Mom if you can hear me, thank you <3 

I think Nolan left the clinic with new found confidence in himself and his ability to handle medical tests.  Maybe this will be a turning point for him, and he won't be so scared in the future.  Either way, I am very proud of him.  He is one strong guy <3

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Routines!

It has taken me by surprise how much we rely on routines in our household.  I never thought of myself as an overly structured person.  I definitely wasn't when Nolan was a baby/toddler. I think the difference is now I have an older school aged child.  That within itself creates the need for a routine.  There is a waking time.  A breakfast time.  A time to catch the bus.  A time to arrive home on the bus.  A sports practice schedule.  A sports game schedule. A dinner time.  A homework time.  A bedtime. 

To try to manage all of those things without a routine would equal complete chaos.  Add in a toddler without a routine, and you'd really have a mess. 

I had some friends who were very structured when their children were young, and I used to think they were a little inflexible and/or unnecessarily rigid about things.  However, now I have a very different perspective -- oh the difference having multiple children makes!  (And I'm sorry for those thoughts I used to have, my dear sweet friends!!)

I see now that Luke thrives on a schedule, and fully expects/wants to stick to our routine.  If I switch things up, he will forge ahead with the routine, with or without me. 

For example:

After breakfast, we get Nolan out the door for the bus, and Luke and I head back to our sunroom.  I put on Sesame Street, and he doesn't watch it (but likes to dance to the music).  We play back there for about an hour or so.  We do this pretty much every day.  Today, I sat down in our front play room and turned on his music.  He started dancing and played a little, but it must not have been the same for him.  He noticed our gate was unlatched, so he took it upon himself to go to the sunroom, open the doors, and sat down to play back there.  He giggled hysterically when I found him, but it was clear that is where he wanted to be.

After we play, and I can tell he's getting tired, I get him a small snack (like Puffs or a breakfast bar), and we head back to his room.  I open his curtains so he can look out his windows (one of his favorite things to do), and I sit down on his floor.  I started doing this because I wanted him to have an attachment to his room....enjoy playing in it and know that it is his special space.  He loves it.  He comes over for bites of his snack while he's busy playing/investigating his room. 

One day I was in a hurry and I was going to skip the room playing/snack.  We had a late breakfast so I didn't think he'd be hungry.  I went straight to the diaper change and wanted to put him down for his nap.  He was not having any of that.  He went over to his windows, and tried to open the curtains.  Then he sat down on the floor and looked at me like, I'm ready to have my snack! 

It amazed me how important those things were to him.  It's good to know that he enjoys structure, and I try to honor his routine whenever I can.  There are of course times when things get thrown off schedule.  I try to not let that happen more than once or twice a week. I notice that if we have a crazy week when several days are completely out of the ordinary, he'll start to get fussy and cranky.  I also notice that it's our morning routine that matters the most.  After he wakes up from his nap and we have lunch, he can pretty much handle anything for the afternoon/evening.  That is when I try to meet up with friends, run errands, etc. 

We're strict about bedtime, which also seems to help Luke (if you remember, he used to be a horrendous sleeper!).  We start getting ready for bed at 7:45, give a snack, and then in the crib he goes at 8pm.  He seems to know that is a non-negotiable destination, because even if he doesn't fall asleep right away, he'll quietly play in his crib before he crashes.  Usually he crashes immediately, but when he doesn't it's sweet to see him reading a book before bed :)  (love the video monitor!)

I'm sure our routine will be different this summer when Nolan is done with school.  It will be interesting to see what pattern we fall into, and how well Luke handles the change!  My carefree days with one child are gone, but I can embrace this routine ridden life as well <3


Sunday, May 20, 2012

Self feeding

After seeing him use a fork in the restaurant today, we decided to totally commit to letting Luke feed himself.  He's been feeding himself for months with his hands, but using utensils completely on his own is new.  He had played around with them here and there, but it's the real deal now!

Here are a few cute pictures :)  We were totally prepared with the plastic bib, and I'm glad we were!  We're so proud of him.  He diligently worked at getting the entire bowl of yogurt down by himself.  I was amazed at how patient he was.  It looked like a frustrating process as he tried to figure out how to hold his spoon.  He settled on a modified fist grip and it worked well for him.  At one point we tried to help him a little, and he freaked.  He was determined to do it by himself and he did!  It's actually nice because it takes him a long time to eat, and it keeps him occupied (which means we get to enjoy our food while it's still hot!).  Awesome job, Luke!  This feels like a big milestone, him being able to manage his meal entirely.  I love that he is becoming more independent. 

Here are a few action shots!





   
<3

Pure Loveliness

That is how I would describe our weekend!

Weather was great and I'm feeling ready to embrace summer :)

We had fun Saturday night, having dinner and hanging out with another family.  I always feel refreshed after spending time with people who are in the same stage of life as we are.  Good times, and I feel blessed to be meeting more and more moms in our community.

This afternoon Mark, Luke, and I went on a little adventure to a park we've never tried before in our area.  It was nice -- Luke's favorite part was the sand volleyball court.  He is obsessed with digging in the dirt.  I thought he'd be too young for a sandbox this year, but he is definitely ready.  I've never seen anything like it. He is our outdoor boy for sure! 

Before we went to the park, we stopped to have lunch.  Much to our surprise, Luke decided he was ready for regular silverware.  He used a regular sized fork, as if he'd been using one forever.  Obviously, he's ready to move from eating with his hands only.  The funniest part was that he was trying (sort of successfully) to hold it correctly, not the traditional fist hold.  Who would have thought little Lukie would want to have table manners and use silverware? 

After eating and playing at the park, we stopped at Wal-Mart to get Lukie feeding supplies.  Some bowls with suction cups on the bottom, big boy silverware, some older boy sippy cups, and a portable high chair.  I am so done with his normal high chair.  It's in the way, and it drives me nuts.  We switched to the kind that attaches to a normal chair.  It will also be nice for Luke to feel like part of the regular table now.  We wanted to buy a sandbox, but they were sold out.  So we'll order one and get it set up sometime this week.  He'll love it!

Here are some pictures from the park :)

Not enjoying the equipment -- something about those stairs freaked him out!


Sort of enjoying the swings.  We got a half smile, half whine.

Proudly showing Mama his dirt!


Full on digging!
Loves to watch it fall to the ground.

After getting messy and hot, time for a ride in his stroller.  Piggy toes out for some fresh air :)

This is from a few weeks ago. I love kids in their jammies. The shirt has a cow on it and says "Pasture Bedtime".  Cute!

Cheers to friend and family filled weekends!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Toddlers....

A quick post about a couple toddler facts:

1.  Going through an automatic car wash can be terrifying.  I found out the hard way yesterday.  Poor Mr. Luke became completely hysterical during our trip through the car wash.  I felt so bad because there was literally nothing I could do to help him.  Our car was in the track, moving along.  His car seat is directly behind mine, so I couldn't even reach back and hold his little hand or anything.  Lately many things scare him.  Poor guy!

2.  They completely understand what we are saying.  Ever since using his water table outside, Luke wants to play in water any chance he gets.  Including the dog's water bowl, and the toilet.  We've been working with him on not doing these things, but he'll still try.  This morning, he walked over and picked up his shoes.  He had a big dimpled grin on his face, and was walking right over to the water bowl.  I knew what his plan was: Throw his shoes in the water.  I said, "Mr. Lukie I think I know what you are going to do and I don't think you should do it."  I said that, not expecting him to know what I was saying....I was going to follow up with a "No Luke".  But I didn't have to.  He stopped dead in his tracks, turned around, looked at me, and threw both shoes down to the ground.  Then he collapsed to the floor, sobbing.  So yes, they know what we are saying!

Kids!

The best husband and father in the world has a birthday today!  (I'm not biased or anything)  Happy 34th birthday to Mark!  We're now the same age again :)  I love that we're less than a month apart.  Luckily his harvest should be wrapped up enough to celebrate tonight.  Love you Mark <3

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Project

Yesterday was an interesting day in our household. 

To start with, Mark is harvesting.  That means I'm on my own at home.  He leaves early in the morning, and returns so late that I'm often in bed asleep when he gets home. 

Add in that I had a major project to help Nolan with, and had been counting on Mark's help with Luke, and you've got a perfect storm.

For a few months, Nolan's class had been preparing for Market Place.  They partner with another student, and plan to make and sell a product.  They learn all kinds of things about profit margins, marketing, etc.  Nolan and his partner chose Monkey Bread as their project.  We had gotten together with the other family a few weeks ago to do a "test run", to make sure we were good to go for Market Place.  We had determined that we each needed to make 5 batches.  Each batch takes about an hour and a half....so that is a lot of baking.  I doubled the batches, which cuts down on some of the time, taking about 2 hours for 2 batches. 

Once I realized Mark wasn't going to be home to help entertain Luke, I made the decision to do what I swore I wouldn't do: Start baking while Nolan was at school.  I know, I know, not the best thing for teaching responsibility.  However, this was about survival.  Luke is a gigantic Mama's boy, and wants to be at my side at all times.  If he is not, he screams.  And no, leaving him to scream at the gate does not teach him to stop doing that.  It just makes for a day filled with lots of screaming :)

I thought if I could get a double batch done while Luke napped, then I'd have a head start.  Then, when Nolan got home, I could have him babysit Luke while I did another double batch.  He would be contributing to the project by babysitting.  Once Luke went to bed, we could bake the final batch together. 

It went mostly like that.  The only problem happened during batches 3 & 4.  I had the bright idea to change up the process.  I found a different recipe that seemed less labor intensive.  It seemed like the end result should be the same.  Well, not so much!  Once they cooled off and we tried it (at 8:30pm after Luke was in bed), we both knew there was no way we could send that to school.  I didn't have enough ingredients to redo those batches.  Mark wasn't home, so to go to the store would involve waking Luke up, and dragging us all on a 40 minute round trip to the store.  Then, we'd still have 3 batches to make.

I made the executive decision to dump the 2 bad batches.  There were some tears, and some panic on Nolan's part, but after assuring him he'd have 3 really good batches to sell, plus his partner's 5, he was okay.  They still had 144 servings to sell, which is plenty. 

At 10pm we finished up.  We had fun.  Some good conversation and mom/son bonding.  I was up super early this morning so I could cut/package the bread from last night (it had to cool overnight) and grab a shower before Mark headed out to harvest.  I got Nolan to school with his Monkey bread, and visited a sweet friend and her kids.  Luke had a blast playing, and is now sleeping soundly.  I am relaxing in my chair and happy that we can have some quiet time this afternoon. 

It was hectic, but we pulled it off.  I can't wait to hear how much money they made!  Their class will choose a charity to donate all the money to.  It's a really neat way to teach important concepts to students.  Love his school <3

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mama's Day!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Mother's Day weekend.  We sure did.  It wasn't perfect, and it wasn't relaxing, but we spent time with family and our weekend captured the true essence of motherhood.

I was up bright and early Sunday morning to prepare for our 3 hour trip to visit my family.  I was feeling proud of myself for planning ahead so our morning wouldn't be hectic, and so we could leave on time.  Then it hit me: I didn't check the altar server schedule!  OMG, is Nolan supposed to be an altar server at mass this weekend?!  Panic set in, because if he was an altar server, that meant we'd have to leave in less than 30 minutes in order to get him there on time.  I rushed through my shower, and flew out to my computer to check the schedule.  Sure enough, it was his weekend.  Everyone else was still sleeping, so I had to call out a "red alert" and we all had to spring into action.  After a quick calculation in my mind, I knew there was absolutely no way for us all to be ready in 30 minutes.  So I told Mark to get his shower, and I told Nolan to get dressed.  Mark drove Nolan in, dropped him off, went through the drive-thru for breakfast, and came home.  Meanwhile, I was getting myself ready, getting Luke ready, and feeding us breakfast.  Mark got home, we threw everything we needed for the day in the van, and we headed back to church.  Caught the last 15 minutes of mass, was there for the blessing of farmers, grabbed some blessed soil to sprinkle in our garden, and off we went on our road trip.

It was a success.  Nolan made it in time for altar serving, and somehow, we were the first ones to arrive at my parent's house.  Can't every mom relate to mornings like that?  I think it's just part of the job.  And honestly, when all of our kids are grown and gone, I'll probably wish for the craziness some days :)

I can think of several positive and negative adjectives to describe motherhood.  Sometimes, many adjectives could be used to describe one single moment.  But I love it.  I really, really do.  It is the most important and meaningful job I'll ever have.  I love our kids to pieces, and even though Adam isn't here with us, he's always in my heart.  I often feel his presence and I think he's behind so many of the good moments/blessings in our life. 

In motherhood, the days are long but the years are short.  Over the span of my life, the hard stages are just a little blip on my timeline.  I'm glad I realize that, because if I didn't, I probably wouldn't want our family to expand, LOL! 

Here's to another year of mothering.  I love my mom and my mom friends who are there for support and encouragement through this wonderful, but often overwhelming journey.  It's cool that I have people in my life who value family and, even if they themselves don't want a big family, can totally understand why someone else might.  And women who just in general accept me as I am, whether our parenting choices are the same, similar, or completely different.  When walking in a minefield of mommy wars, it's important to have fellow moms who don't engage in that nonsense.

Moms rock!  Happy Mother's Day!!  <3     

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Sigh of relief

Today, Mark and I went for a skin cancer check.  Apparently, May is skin cancer awareness month, so it was a good time to go get checked.

Both of us have family members who have had, or currently have, skin cancer.  Being fair skinned, and having spent a lot of time in the sun during my late teens/early 20's, I was nervous.  Mark had noticed some changes in a few moles, so he was also worried.  I woke up very early this morning with an uneasy feeling, as did Mark.  Looking at our two young boys, it's scary to think about having health issues. 

We went together to the doctor, and took turns playing with Luke in the waiting room while the other got checked.  We both received awesome news: Our skin is perfect.  What a relief!  We both commented on feeling like a big weight was lifted from our shoulders. 

It's funny how we all want to hide from things at times.  For us, taking that first step was a scary one.  But now we know that we're okay, and we can stick to a regimen of yearly checks.  If any issues arise in the future, we'll know right away before it become serious.

So today, we thank God for the gift of health, especially since we take it for granted at times.  Lately, it seems as though a rainbow is shining down on our family.  I don't know how it's possible to have so many blessings come our way.  We are thankful beyond words.  <3 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Life is good, even when it's not

Life is good.  Even when it's not.

I truly believe this.  During my younger days, I would have laughed at that statement, and rolled my eyes.  That is the good thing about getting older.  At 34 years old, I can see beauty more clearly.  I feel grateful and thankful most of the time.  I have confidence that I only wish I had when I was younger.  I can handle a lot.  I have dealt a lot.  I am proud of my life story, especially since it's a colorful one.  When a challenge comes my way, I no longer fall into the depths of despair.  Instead, I take it in stride, knowing that someday I will realize what a blessing it was.  I don't feel jealous of other people's success or good fortune.  I have lived long enough to know that sometimes we're on top, and sometimes we're not.  It all comes full circle.  It's a lot more fun to be happy for other people, and wait for my turn to come around again.

The 30's rock.  Still so young, but possessing much more wisdom than before.  Raising a family.  Being concerned with the things that matter, and forgetting the other stuff.  It's a wonderful time.  <3 


Friday, April 27, 2012

Future Farmer

Here he is, in all his toddler glory :)  A possible future farmer!  It will, of course, be up to him....but we'd love to have him join the farm someday!


Here is another picture, full body, showing off the matching John Deere tractor socks.  When I put the socks on him, he spent some time sitting down, staring at them and touching them.  Too cute!


I am very proud to be the wife of a dairy farmer.  Mark works hard every day to produce top quality milk to feed the nation.  He is a good steward of the land, carefully following all of the rules set by the state department of agriculture, as well as the EPA.  He feeds his cows a perfectly balanced diet that is constantly monitored and adjusted as needed by a nutritionist.  His farm is clean and orderly, and the cows are healthy, calm, and well cared for.  The first time I visited his farm I remember being amazed at how content the cows were.  The only "mooing" I heard was from a cow giving birth in the birthing pen.  If any worker is caught being rough with the cows, they are fired.  He runs a top notch operation.  I know better than anyone how much thought, planning, blood, and sweat goes into making a dairy farm run.  It's a 24-7 job. 

It's sad to me that farmers get such negative press sometimes.  People who have never been involved in agriculture consider themselves experts on farming practices because they have read some books or articles about it.  They are the first in line to tell farmers how they should run their business, and make claims about the use of antibiotics/steroids/growth hormones/etc. that are not based in reality.  Their suggestions about how farms should be run would cause farmers to go bankrupt.  Still, they shout their nonsense as loud as they can, and there are people who believe their claims, who then in turn shout out the same nonsense, which leads to many misinformed consumers. 

Some people have become so passionate/radical in their beliefs that they've gone so far as to write threatening signs toward our family, and make public slanderous statements about our farm.  Who ever knew farming was such a controversial business?!  Certainly not me! 

There are misconceptions about every career out there.  If we all take a moment to think about it, we've probably all had a very frustrating encounter or two when someone was trying to tell us how to do our job, not having the first clue about what an actual "day in the life" is like.  Also, every career field will have some bad apples that ruin it for everyone.  Same goes for farmers.  I've seen videos of horrendous abuse of livestock, awful living conditions, etc.  I just wish people could balance that with common sense and know that not all farms are like that: Some are, most aren't. 

I plan on periodically writing a post about farming.  I've been thinking about this for awhile, but didn't know where to start.  Luke's new shirt inspired me ;)  My readers most likely aren't the radical oppositionists I'm referring to in this post.  But maybe someday those people will stumble upon it and it will make them think.  We all have to eat, and we should be thankful that there are people willing to dedicate their lives to producing.  It's not glamorous, and it's not always profitable, but they hang in there and keep farming.  Cheers to them.  I'm glad that our children will have such a wonderful example of responsible farming. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Mama Bear

I have come to a conclusion about what is the hardest part of being a mom.  It's not any of the things I anticipated -- the sleep deprivation, crying infants, whining toddlers, tantrums, disgusting diapers, breastfeeding, separation anxiety, illnesses, etc.  Those things can be annoying and very frustrating.  But they will never hold a candle to the feeling you get when someone has hurt your child.  It would be hard to find an adult who, at some point in their life, has not been made fun of or teased.  We've all been there, and I suppose to some extent it's just an unfortunate part of growing up.  Still, it's so hard to look at your child and see their pain, but not be able to "fix it" for them.  Luckily, Nolan gets along well with others and has a lot of friends.  However, there's always that one person who likes to be a thorn in everyone's side, and yesterday Nolan was the target.  There was a fleeting moment when I wanted to call the child's mother and just let loose.  Especially since it seems anytime there is a negative experience at school, this child is at the heart of the situation.  But, I know that would not help anything.  It's not a case of Nolan being solely targeted and bullied.  The rudeness seems to be evenly distributed among most kids in the class.  I comforted Nolan and gave him some tips for how to deal with future issues.  After enjoying his favorite meal for dinner and spending some quality with the family, he was patched up and ready to face another day.

There is such a fine line to walk when helping children navigate difficult social situations.  I think it can be difficult even as an adult to recognize good vs. toxic friendships.  We all have bad days when we say things we shouldn't say, and so we have to be flexible and understanding towards each other.  However, when there are more bad days than good, that is when it's time to say adios. 

You couldn't pay me a million dollars to go back and relive the growing up years.  Childhood can be so much fun, but it can also be stressful.  I thank God every day for the wonderful friendships I have in my life.  It feels good to have people standing next to me genuinely cheering during my greatest moments and supporting during the darkest moments.....and who allow me to do the same for them.  Too many friendships get ruined by petty jealousy, insecurity, and competitiveness.  I think that is a theme that persists through the ages, sadly. 

Can you imagine a world where we all treated everyone with kindness and respect?  It would be wonderful!  We could all band together and start a very simple revolution: Be kind to others.

Peace <3




Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The season begins!

Nolan had his first official baseball game last night.  They lost, but he had fun and worked hard, so it was a success.  The game started at 7:30pm, so I left Luke home with Mark.  I'm glad I did, because it was COLD!  And WINDY!  When I got home, I had a layer of dirt all over me.  The wind was straight in my face, blowing dirt from the ball diamond right along with it.  To make it even more fun, the sun was blaring directly into my eyes.  I came prepared with my warmest winter jacket, a blanket, and sunglasses, so it wasn't too bad.  The game ended at 9:30, and I took Nolan  out for a hot chocolate.  He huddled under the blanket in the backseat and was in heaven on the way home all cozy and warm, after freezing for two hours!

In other news, Boomer and Jazzy murdered a turtle in our backyard.  It was disgusting.  Nolan went out to investigate the situation, and made sure to bring the murdered, bleeding turtle to the window to show me.  Yuck!

Luke has been a good little partner lately, as I've had lots of errands and appointments to deal with.  I've heard several comments about what a good little boy he is.  I certainly agree!  He is still extremely busy; however, he listens well for a child his age.  As long as I have appropriate expectations for what he can handle, he's pretty easy to drag along to various places.  He's generally full of smiles and giggles.  People always comment on his beautiful eyes/smile.  He seems to know he gets a favorable reaction when he smiles his biggest dimpled grin, because I watch him flash his smile, anticipating a reaction.  Silly toddler :)

One interesting development I've noticed lately is a reaction of fear, mostly to unexpected sounds.  We were in a public restroom the other day, and someone flushed a toilet.  He's heard a toilet flush a million times at our house, but the ones in public restrooms sound different and are much louder.  His face crumpled into fear and he ran to me for safety.  Yesterday he and I were playing in his room, and Nolan came home from school.  He saw us in the monitor, so he started talking to us via the monitor.  That completely freaked Luke out, and he again ran to me for safety.  He didn't know where the voice was coming from, and I could totally see his fear. I think that is pretty normal for his age.

I'll post a picture of Nolan in his fancy baseball uniform soon -- he looks so grown up and professional!

Peace <3     

Friday, April 20, 2012

Lost in translation

Happy birthday to me!  =)  Today I turned the big 34 years old.  I don't get too worked up about turning a year older.  I still feel as young as I did in college, I'm just much wiser now.  So that's a good thing!

It's been a great day.  Tonight the boys are taking me out to eat at a Mexican restaurant, so that will be fun.  I'm looking forward to some time with my three favorite guys!

I wanted to share a funny story about Mark and my birthday cake.  Each year, I request a "joke" cake.  I pick a child's theme - like Barbie, princess, etc.  For the past year, Nolan has periodically asked me what I'm doing for my cake this year, and I always tell him I'm getting a Strawberry Shortcake themed cake.  As it got closer to my birthday, that was still the plan.

About a week or so ago, Mark asked me what kind of cake I wanted.  I told him, chocolate cake, white butter cream frosting, and Strawberry shortcake theme.  His response was one of confusion: Chocolate strawberry shortcake?  What is that?  Me: Yes, Strawberry Shortcake theme, chocolate cake.  He was still clearly confused.  So I clarified again -- Strawberry Shortcake is the theme.  He still seemed confused, but I told him to say exactly what I said, and they'll know what he's talking about.

Wrong.

The person who is usually in the bakery wasn't there, so some young guy from the deli came over to help Mark.  It had been a few days since we had talked about the cake, so Mark forgot the exact wording I used.  All he remembered was strawberry shortcake, and chocolate cake.  Since the person working wasn't an actual bakery employee, he probably had no idea about Strawberry Shortcake.  He was just as confused as Mark.  Apparently the person who got the written order was equally confused, because they called Mark for clarification.  He verified the order, and was certain he was fulfilling my wish for a chocolate strawberry shortcake birthday cake.

When he presented my birthday cake, I was shocked when it was not a Strawberry Shortcake theme!  It was pretty and nice, but not what we had talked about.  When we cut into it, there was some strawberry glaze midway through the chocolate cake, LOL!!!!  That was the only thing the bakery could come up with for this strange Belgian man requesting a chocolate strawberry shortcake cake ;)

So, no Strawberry Shortcake cake, but I did get to sample a new flavor I've never thought to try before, and it was actually really good!  My sweet husband.  Sometimes I forget that we have different cultural backgrounds.  Strawberry Shortcake is not in the vocabulary of a man who never had sisters, and who is not from the USA!  It's a funny story I'll always remember, and a great way to start my year of being 34.

Peace <3

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Happy and healthy!

Mr. Lukie had his 15 month well check today.  Yep, a few days before he turns 16 months old.  I'm a bit behind!  Poor planning on my part made it end up this way.  No biggie!

He is doing great.  On track or ahead of the game in all developmental areas, growing right on schedule, and just all around a healthy, happy boy.  We are so blessed!  He has settled in to a predictable growth curve....85th-90th percentile in height, and the 50th-55th percentile in weight.  Tall in thin like Papa.  He received two shots today, and surprisingly, that was pretty uneventful.  He screamed initially, but I think it was more because he was being held down.  As soon as she was done, the tears stopped and he was very interested in his Band-Aids :)  I think all his falls, bumps, and bruises have made his pain tolerance very high, so shots seem like no big deal to him.

Here's to hoping that he doesn't struggle with a reaction to his shots.

Peace <3

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Turning a corner!

It's funny how kids suddenly turn a corner developmentally.  Luke changed right before my eyes during the last 48 hours.

First, books.  Luke has always enjoyed books, even as a baby.  However, his enjoyment was mostly looking at the pictures.  He liked books that didn't necessarily tell a story, but had cool pictures.  I'd go through and label the pictures and he loved it.  I even would catch him sitting with a book and pointing to different pictures and labeling them in his babble way.  It was cute.  If I chose a book that actually had a short story, he would sit for a little bit (10 seconds), but generally it was too boring for him and he was off running to get a toy.

Yesterday, that all changed!  We were playing and he brought me a book.  It was a book that had a short story about a scarecrow, and didn't necessarily have awesome pictures (in my opinion).  I didn't think he'd like it, but I figured I'd give it a try.  He sat in my lap, perfectly mesmerized and loved every minute of it.  When I finished the book, I set it down and he promptly picked it up and handed it back to me.  Then he sat back in my lap to hear it again.  We repeated this at least fifteen times in a row, and I am not exaggerating.  After so many readings I couldn't take it anymore, so I picked a different book and the same thing happened. He was in love!  I'm guessing we spent 40 minutes reading different books non-stop.  The only reason we stopped it because I needed to start dinner.  After dinner, Mark picked up where I left off and read several books.  Mark and I turned to Amazon last night in search of board books with good short stories :)  Lukie has 5 new books coming Tuesday!

Second, TV.  I have suffered managed to raise Luke for almost 16 months without the aid of TV.  Think about all the times you need your child to watch a DVD/TV show for 30 minutes while you make dinner, take a shower, do housework, or just need a break.  I never got to do that!  I used to try....and I guess I should say that when he was an infant I'd put him in his swing in front of Baby Einstein and sometimes that was okay with him.  But I couldn't count on it, and he never really liked it.  He just tolerated it.  Sometimes.  Once he was sitting up/crawling, that was completely over.  I just adjusted, accepted it, and found different ways to navigate the day. 

Today, for the first time ever, he became interested in the TV.  He watched about 10 minutes of Bob the Builder!  Then, Sid the Science Kid came on and he was semi-interested in that.  I was amazed!  Now, he didn't just sit down and watch the show....but while he was playing he would stop and watch it here and there.  This is huge for us!  I'm hoping that maybe, just maybe, I can find something he likes enough to keep him entertained while I make dinner in the evenings.

So, not sure what happened to Mr. Lukie, but he's changing!

I'll close with a few cute pics of him playing outside :)  Nolan comes home tomorrow!!!!!  Woo-Hoo!!  It's been a loooong spring break without him, he is greatly missed!




 

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter!

I hope that everyone had a wonderful day :)

Our day was very, very low key.  Luke spiked a fever yesterday, and it continued on today.  He wasn't feeling well, and Mark and I are both battling sinus issues again (thank you weird weather!).  This was Nolan's year to spend Easter with his dad, so it was just Mark, Luke and I.  Since no one felt 100%, there isn't much to report about our day!

Life has been much calmer the last few weeks, which I'm extremely thankful for.  I've just been able to focus on my lovely boys and enjoy our days.  Luke has been so happy and silly lately, it's a lot of fun.  I love that I can sit outside and just let him explore.  He walks all around, checking things out.  It's good for him to have a big open area that is safe:  It gives me a break from telling him "no", and it gives him a break from hearing "no"!

I can't remember if I mentioned this or not, but Nolan had a terrific report card, and he's in his final quarter of the school year.  So proud of him!!!  He will be a 5th grader next year -- which is middle school!  Eeeeeks, not sure if I'm ready for that!  

I already celebrated my birthday with my parents, and they got me an indoor grill.  I tried it out and I love it!  Regular grills are nice, but by the time Mark gets home from work it's too late to start dinner at that point.  We just don't seem to use it as much as I'd like.  Now I can easily grill inside no matter what.  Here is some yummy chicken I made :)


Cheers to a new week filled with good things!

Saturday, March 31, 2012

So close!

I joined in the hysteria of the Mega Millions lottery, and bought $10 worth of tickets.  We don't play the lottery, but after hearing about the jackpot so much I figured it couldn't hurt to spend $10 for a chance to win.  It was fun to daydream about what we'd do with our winnings.  What we would do to make our life easier, and what we'd do for our family and friends to make their lives easier.  Charities  and scholarships I could start.  Yes, it was fun to think about!  I knew we wouldn't win, but a girl can dream.

The winning numbers:

2, 4, 23, 38,46 and MB 23

One of our tickets:

2, 23, 35, 38, 46 and MB 4

OMG, so close!!!!!

We did win $150, which we are pretty psyched about.  I rarely ever win anything, so it was shocking.  

So instead of figuring out how to spend a jackpot of millions, we have $150 of "fun  money".  Our tentative decision is to buy a membership to a local outdoor pool.  That would be a gift to the family that keeps giving all summer long.  There is a small town a bit south of us that built a brand new pool 3 years ago.  It's not enormous, but it's very nice.  There is a big water slide, which Nolan would love.  There is a zero entry part for Luke where it gradually gets deeper.  There is also an area that has sprinkler-like contraptions that I think both boys would enjoy.  The hours are good - open 1pm-9pm.  I don't like to go in the heat of the day because of the intense sun, but I think it'd be a great thing to do during our late afternoons/early evenings.  Especially when Mark is working a long day....I can load the boys up and head to the pool.  We'll still set up our small pool in our backyard as it'll be perfect for Luke.  But I doubt Nolan will like the pool too much this year, it's pretty shallow and small for a kid his size.  

So, thanks to some good luck, we'll be having a lot of free fun this summer.  Pretty darn cool.   

I'll close with a cute picture of my boys.  My parents came today for a visit.  We celebrated Easter, my dad's 60th birthday, and my birthday (early).  It was a great day.  The first picture is of Nolan blowing bubbles for Luke....which Luke thought was super cool.  I see hours of bubble fun ahead of us (outside, NOT inside! Funny what Grandma's think is a good idea when it's not their house, lol!).  

Finally, this is Nolan's masterpiece.  He decorated my dad's cake: It says "Happy 60th B-day Gramps".  Isn't it lovely?!  :)




Thursday, March 29, 2012

15 month old Lukie :)

Well Luke is officially 15 months old.  I'm a little late in posting, but it's hard to believe that he's already this old!!  We have come so far when I think back to the early infant days.  It's a special time :)  Here are some general comments about our little Lukie....

  • Babble, babble babble!  He loves to talk nonsense.  More and more those babbles are turning in to words.  Super cute.
  • No more nursing.  He's been completely weaned for two or three weeks, and it's been great!  I know that breastfeeding is not for everyone, but it was definitely the right choice for our family.  It's crazy to think that I've spent nearly 27 months of my life nursing a baby!
  • Sleep is good.  Luke is still sleeping like a champ.  He wakes up between 6-7am, and goes to bed at 8pm.  He's still taking a morning nap and an afternoon nap.  He's grown to love his crib.  It's so cute, when I can tell he's getting tired, I'll say Do you want to take a nap?  He'll smile, giggle, and walk to the hallway door.  When I tuck him in, he has the sweetest smile on his face and snuggles up to his blanket and stuffed animal.  
  • Eating is good.  Mark and I cannot believe how much Luke eats.  I think he would eat all the time if I let him.  He eats three regular meals, and then 3-4 snacks each day.  He's still not drinking milk, only water.  I don't know where he puts all his food, because he's a skinny toddler.  I don't want to see our food bills when he's a teen!
  • Sensitive little guy.  Luke has struggled a lot with teething over the last few months.  However, I'm realizing that he can be pretty sensitive/emotional even when he's not teething.  He doesn't throw all out tantrums, it's just short bursts of emotion.  If we have to correct him at all, he's devastated.  If he's tired or hungry, he's devastated.  If I walk out of the room, he's devastated.  Sometimes making it through the day can be a delicate dance!  I've learned to just roll with it and it doesn't cause me too much stress.  He's a normal toddler :)
  • On the go.  Luke is still very busy exploring his world.  Bumps and bruises are very common around here, and even blood has made an appearance a few times.  It's scary when he gets hurt, but it's also fun that he has such an adventurous spirit.  
  •  Still cloth!  Yes, I'm hanging in there with the cloth diapering.  It's not glamorous, but it is good for the environment and really good for the wallet.  
 And that is Luke in a nutshell.  He is so loved <3  

Thursday, March 22, 2012

You gotta have FAITH!

The concept of "having faith" has been very relevant in my life lately.  Having faith is such a simple concept, but at times it can be difficult to put it into practice.  I think we all find ourselves consumed with worry at times.  Sometimes the worry is very justified, and other times it's probably unnecessary.  It's easy to get too caught up in the small details.  The real question is, how does one manage stressful situations?  What does "having faith" look like?

I don't have the absolute answer, just my own theory. I think it involves action vs. inaction.  I also think the having faith part comes in when you've done all the "actions", and you are left to sit and wait for the outcome.  It's hard to be comfortable with uncertainty.  Having faith is recognizing that you are not in control.  And it's about being open to different possibilities.  Having faith isn't easy.

I've found that looking into my past helps with faith.  Thinking about different situations where I had to have faith, and remembering how things ended up being okay, even though the outcome was something I had not imagined.  That's the funny thing about life:  You just don't know what the future holds.

Cheers to the ups, down, twists, and turns because when I think back to my life story, those are the things that add the spice and color.  It would be a pretty boring if my story read: Everything always went exactly as planned, and it was always easy.

A quote I found on Pintrest was perfect:

Sometimes all you can do is not think, not wonder, not imagine, not obsess.  Just breathe and have faith that everything will work out for the best.

Yes it will!  Probably better than I ever imagined <3

  

Hello....summer?

Well the warm weather continues, and I'm beginning to think that it is here to stay.  Since the cool temperatures of fall and spring are my favorite times, I'm a little bummed.  I'm the most comfortable when temperatures fall between 40-70 degrees, give or take a few.  Below 30 and above 80, and I'm either too cold or too hot.  But it looks like I'm going to have to get over that, because for Luke, happiness is being outside.  I have a feeling that even if the temps rage to over 100 degrees this summer, I'll be outside.  Thank God we have a pool and a water slide park!

Luke's latest adventure has been the cornfield.  He went from being unsure about walking in the grass, to running in the grass and venturing into the fields.  The corn stalks from last year are about chin level to him, and they are very stiff/pokey.  I keep having visions of him falling and poking his eye out.  (Why do moms always worry about eyes getting poked out?  I haven't ever personally heard about this type of injury happening, but it's a constant worry.)  He loves to bust through and explore.  Last night he did fall, but instead of poking his eye out he cut his chin.  There was blood and everything.  Unfortunately, it was not traumatic enough to act as a deterrent to the field, as he immediately ran back into the field after we comforted him. 

The other really fun thing Luke discovered is my flowers.  I picked a daffodil to show him what a flower is.  He was interested alright....flowers are fun to crush and smash!  After I showed him one, he went on a seek and destroy mission against my poor flowers.  It almost seemed like he expected the flowers to do something really cool, and was disappointed when they did nothing.  So he kept trying more and more, but was disappointed each time when they simply smashed down and became lifeless.   

Nolan started baseball this week, and he's doing very well!  He took a year off and played soccer last year, and I have to say I'm impressed that the break didn't seem to hurt him any.  It was the first time I've ever seen him enjoy baseball.  He was smiling and genuinely enjoying himself at practice.  It was a good sight!  He seems to have some great coaches this year.  I can't wait for his first game :)

Fun stuff with the boys!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Fun, Fun, Fun!

That is how I would describe the past few days.  Even though I haven't been feeling well, and Luke is battling some sort of cold/sinus issue...we have had a lot of fun!  The weather has been fantastic and we are taking advantage of it. 

When it comes to outdoors, Luke is up for anything.  He loves being out in the fresh air, exploring his yard.  He gathered some sticks he found on the ground, and enjoyed breaking them in half.  He located acorns in the grass and tried to eat a few.  He squished dirt/mud.  He touched a worm in a puddle, and bounced his basketball in the puddle (and wanted to lay in the puddle, but mean Mama interfered!). We took a couple long stroller walks in the country.  He zoomed around in his new tricycle.  He picked dead flowers off their stems.  Chased our outdoor cat.  Enjoyed his swing.  Carried around his basketball, and practiced "dribbling" his basketball (a.k.a. throw it down and watch it bounce).  Lots of fun stuff.  I feel very blessed to have such a happy, healthy, adventurous, and spirited little boy. 

The real fun is going to start when Nolan is done with school.  This summer is going to rock.  The options for fun are endless now that Luke is older!  Nolan is already talking about playing with Luke in our big water park.  Nolan is very responsible and trustworthy, so it will be no problem to let Luke in the water park with him.  Hooray for spring and summer!

Here are a couple pictures of Luke, and a video.  The video is funny because he's been doing this thing where he puts his arms behind him when he walks, it's like he thinks it makes him go faster or something?!  We notice he does it a lot outside, trying to be aerodynamic I guess, lol!


Happy to go on a morning stroll....


Hugging his beloved basketball.  He watches Nolan play basketball, and he wants to be like his big brother!

   
Cheers!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Must share

There is an article that has been circulating around Facebook.  Many of you have probably read it already, but I had to post it just in case.  It's wonderfully written, and so true!

Awesome article

It's about judging other people's parenting decisions.  I think we've all been guilty of judging others, especially when it comes to parenting.  Personally, I was a lot more smug when I was in the early years of my parenting journey.  I had one, easy-going compliant child.  I thought I was the most awesome parent ever, and couldn't truly appreciate the struggles others were going through.  Well, then I woke up and realized that every child will do something to humble you at some point.  And so much is determined by your child's personality....some kids are just easier to parent than others.  The tantrum throwing toddler you see at the grocery store is not a product of faulty parenting.  Actually, that mom is probably the one who deserves an award for fighting the good fight in the trenches of parenthood.  Love your kids and make decisions based on what works for you, your child, and your family.  Be confident in your decisions and don't worry about what others are doing.  Embrace and accept your children for who they are.  And find a support network of moms.  I've been lucky to have awesome mom friends who don't get caught up in the comparisons, competitions, and judgments of parenthood.  Having an accepting community of moms sure makes the journey much sweeter.   

Peace! <3  

Thursday, March 8, 2012

No sick days

Spring, please get here and stay here.  While I have enjoyed the warmer temperatures this winter, my sinuses have not.  My body cannot adjust to the constant temperature changes.  My head feels like it's going to explode.  My throat hurts.  My ear hurts.  I wish moms had sick days!

Other than not feeling well (Mark is sick too), things are going a lot smoother at our house this week.  Luke is back to his happy little self, and it's amazing what a difference that makes on the tone of the day.  He is a babble monster.  It's funny to hear him carry on complete conversations in his own little language.  His adventurous spirit continues, as his favorite thing to do is climb.  He's taken two epic tumbles lately.  Both times I was right there, but wasn't able to stop him from falling.  It's pretty scary to see your toddler fall face first from an elevated surface.  Luckily there weren't any lasting injuries either time.  But unfortunately he didn't learn anything from the experiences, as he pretty much immediately climbed back up on the bench and started dancing!  Boys.....

Nolan is looking forward to baseball season starting.  This week he'll find out what team he's on. He's anxious to see how many friends end up on his team!  I'm going to try to find a young (middle school aged) babysitter who can accompany us to his games.  Mark's busy season starts up pretty soon and it's unlikely that he'll be able to come to many games.  If I take Luke to a game, I won't be able to watch because I'll be too busy chasing Luke around.  So I figured to take some stress out of the situation, I'll gladly pay someone to watch Luke at the ballpark so I can watch Nolan play baseball.

I'll close with a few pictures.  The first one is of Boomer and Jazzy.  We've finally started letting them play together in the backyard.  Poor Jazzy is all I have to say.  Jazzy (our Boxer) likes to play for awhile, but then she'd rather relax.  Boomer doesn't know how to relax.

Boomer flying toward Jazzy


Jazzy trying to take a time out, while Boomer is sneaking up behind her.  Boomer is 7 months old and has surpassed Jazzy in size.  He weighed 65 lbs. the last time we weighed him!


Luke's new rockin' tricycle!  We had so much fun shopping for his outdoor ride on toy.  We were planning to buy a Little Tikes plastic ride on toy (the big ones for outside use).  But then we saw this, and felt it was a more useful toy.  It's a tricycle that has some extra supports to use when they are younger (you can use as early as 10 months!), and then as they get older you take parts off until it's just a regular tricycle.  He loves being zoomed around.  In the first picture he was doing his "sooooo big" and lifting his hands up :)  



It's called a Smart Trike, and gets lots of rewards.  It's so nice because what a toddler really wants to do is zoom around.  But they can't pedal yet, so normally you end up breaking your back bending over to push them around.  The long handle makes steering easy and pain-free. 

Fun times await for this spring/summer!!  <3

Saturday, March 3, 2012

"Vacation"

Our family was blessed with a mini-vacation this week.  It was a conference for dairy farmers and their families.  The conference took place at a water park, and it was virtually free, so we decided to go.  It was quite the trip!

We left Wednesday afternoon.  If it weren't for Nolan, I would have canceled the trip.  Luke was not feeling well at all due to teething issues.  On top of that, his sleep was completely disrupted.  I had just put him down for a nap Wednesday morning when the phone rang: Nolan's school was canceled due to a power outage.  I had to wake up Luke and go pick Nolan up from school.  The day was pretty much downhill after that.  Luke couldn't get back to sleep, which increased his misery.  All the packing I had planned on doing during his nap had to be done while watching a crying toddler.  By the time Mark got home, I was ready to scream. 

But, I decided to reach deep down into my mom patience, and move forward with a good attitude.  Nolan was so excited about the trip, and I wanted it to be a fun time for him.  Luckily the drive to the water park was uneventful.  We arrived on time, got settled in our room, and headed down to the conference dinner.  Usually Luke loves new places, but he was so miserable that nothing impressed him.  He pretty much cried through the entire dinner and "ice breaker" activities.  Our plans to visit the water park after dinner changed to me staying in the room with Luke while Mark and Nolan checked out the water park.  That was fine with me -- Luke went to sleep right away and I had some quiet time to relax.  Nolan had a blast with Mark at the park, and the hell of the day was forgotten by all. 

Until Luke woke up at midnight.  Screaming.  And screaming.  And screaming. 

Nothing made him happy. We tried him in bed with us, which resulted in less crying, but lots of thrashing. We tried putting him back in his pack-n-play, which resulted in about 20 minutes of sleep.  Then the screaming resumed.  In addition to that, our heater seemed to be broken in our room.  It felt like a sauna.  We were all miserable.  We decided we needed to upgrade our room - all of us being in a one room hotel was not working.  So at 3am, I called the front desk to inquire about upgrading.  She must have heard the desperation in my voice (and the screaming child in the background), because she offered to upgrade us for free.  And we could move immediately. 

So at 3:30am, we packed up our room and moved to a "lodge".  It had a full kitchen, a living area, and a separate bedroom.  And the heating system worked.  We all pretty much collapsed once we unloaded our things and everyone sleep blissfully until 7:30am. 


Day 2 went much better.  Luke was still not in the best mood, but he wasn't screaming every second.  Mark had to attend meetings all day, so I took the boys to the water park.  It wasn't a seamless process, but it went well enough.  Nolan had fun, so I considered it a success.  Luke liked the wave pool the best.  I would take him out into deep water and hold him, while singing and bouncing him around.  When they turned on the waves, he liked to sit in the shallow end and let the water crash into us.  The worse part of the morning was when I couldn't locate Nolan for an hour.  I searched everywhere and came to the conclusion that he either drowned or was kidnapped, and I was in an absolute panic.  I was on my way to the front desk to have him paged when I spotted him playing water basketball. Lesson learned: Have a very specific check in plan next time!  A general "come check in every now and then" is not sufficient when you are dealing with a 10-year-old boy. 

Thanks to our larger room, Luke was able to nap peacefully and rejuvenate for the evening activities.  Dinner was tense, trying (unsuccessfully) to keep Luke happy.  The poor guy was just miserable.  He did manage to enjoy more time at the water park in the evening.  It was so much fun to be at the water park together -- much less stressful than having both boys there by myself.  Luke loved the lazy river, and he took a dip in a slightly warm whirlpool.  I got conned into going down a crazy water slide with Nolan.  It was a painful and frightening experience!  My neck is still sore from it!  I took Luke up to bed at 8pm, and Nolan and Mark swam until closing time at 10pm.  Apparently the grand finale of the evening was Nolan vomiting at the water  park?!  I didn't ask too many questions, I was just happy I didn't have to be a part of that drama!

I thought Friday would be seamless.....we were all packed to go, and the plan was to take Luke and Nolan to a huge, 3-story play area.  Luke was Nolan's ticket in, since Nolan is too tall to go in by himself.  I settled in to a chair and was excited to have some time to relax while the boys played. That lasted about 30 seconds. I heard an insanely loud noise, and then Luke screaming.  That was the end of my peace.  There was some huge volcano-like structure that roars and shoots balls out of the top like lava.  Well, nice idea, but guess what?  It's scary to little kids.  So, we trooped down to Mark's meeting and waited there for a couple hours until it was time to go.  Luke fell asleep in his stroller (thank you God) and Nolan managed to keep his complaints to a minimum.  We had lunch and headed home.  Two sleeping boys in the back + Mark at the wheel = nap time for Mama.

So yes, we took a "vacation".  It wasn't relaxing, and at times it wasn't fun.  But it was a blessing to get away for awhile.  And we had a good laugh about all the insanity.  Family vacations are about making  memories and spending time together....both of those things were accomplished.  We can't complain about that!  Here are a few pics......not many this time because not many situations were "Kodak moments", LOL!

Getting ready to go swimming!!

At the water park with Papa



Nolan and Luke at the play area before the "volcano" erupted!