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