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!

video

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!