Monday, December 31, 2007

December 31, 2007

We have had a splendid Christmas season this year. On Christmas Eve, we went to my brother's house, along with all of our relatives. We had quite a house full and my sister-in-law went all out on a buffet style meal. There was so much food and such a large variety of food that it was hard to sample it all. It was wonderful seeing all of the family and the boys had a great time.

My sister-in-law had planned a very nice and touching toast, before which she read from the Bible. My niece read the story of the birth of Jesus from the Bible and then it was time to open gifts. Our two sons received so many more gifts than we had ever imagined. They barely all fit in the car but the dad was creative and was able to fit it all in.

We stayed home on Christmas day. The boys took their time opening their gifts and they played with each one as long as they wanted before we moved on to the next one. It was a very sweet time for us all.

Each day, at different times, I would start thinking back to what we were all doing last year. It warmed my heart to see where we all are this year. This truly has been the best Christmas ever for me. I think it is the first Christmas that I really did not have anything on my list, other than wanting to have a special first Christmas with the boys and my husband. My Christmas wish came true and I am very blessed:).

The boys received so many lovely gifts and they have been having a wonderful time with them since Christmas. The nice thing is that they received a good variety of things; some things for now, some for summer and some when they are a bit older, later in 2008. So, although they received a lot of gifts, it doesn't seem that they were inundated, since several of them cannot be used right away.

Two of my nieces came to visit for a few days. One was here from Thursday evening through Saturday evening and the other from Friday morning through this morning. The boys really enjoyed the time spent with their cousins and my husband and I even got out alone to go to a movie one afternoon. The girls were a big help to us and it was nice having them here. They are both seniors in high school, so they are staying very very busy this year.

We have been battling some kind of rash on Nick's face for almost a week now. Finally, today, it seems that we are starting to see some improvement. He has not complained about it or scratched or anything but it must have been uncomfortable for him, since it was very hot to the touch up until today. We tried everything and finally resorted to having to put him on an antibiotic. We are also still applying steroid creme so we are not sure which one is now helping...maybe both. Other than that, we are doing great. The boys are not getting sick nearly as much this winter as they did last winter. They have been to church countless Sundays without catching anything, which is wonderful.

The husband is staying very busy with his house projects, as always:). As I type this, he is cleaning the carpets in his office and has already finished the upstairs carpets before the boys went down for their nap. It is going to be wonderful to finally have clean carpets in this house. We meant to clean them right after we moved in and never got around to it.

Hopefully I can get back into the groove and start posting regularly again. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!

Monday, December 24, 2007

December 24, 2007

Things here are going very well. All shopping was completed a couple of days ago. Lots of wrapping was underway yesterday and is almost completed. Today we will head out to my brother's house to celebrate Christmas with my family. Tomorrow we will stay home and enjoy our first Christmas as a family.

Yesterday evening we decided to open our stockings, since there will be lots of presents today and tomorrow. The boys were so excited, as the dad got the stockings down. Nick was almost jumping up and down. We all sat on the floor and the boys had a great time dumping their stockings, opening a couple of small wrapped gifts and playing with the little toys (matchbox trucks, dollar store cell phone-big hit, dollar store tops for spinning, small wooden puzzles, a few pieces of candy and a candy cane). I almost cried at the beginning of all of this, thinking about what we were all doing last year.

Soon after, I went back to my baking in the kitchen and the dad played with the boys in the living room floor in front of the beautiful Christmas tree, while the Christmas music played in the background. I looked out over the living room from my baking in the kitchen and was overwhelmed with the blessings God has given us. It was truly a blessed and magical evening for me.

I have everything I could ever want for Christmas.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

December 20, 2007

In retrospect, I now realize that things have gotten easier, more pleasant, more fun than ever over the past several months. The first six months that the boys were home were sometimes difficult for me. It has nothing to do with them, as they are doing great and they are typical, very sweet little boys and I adore them:). But it took me a while to get used to having less personal time and being able to enjoy that kind of life. It has also taken a while to get used to being so tired at the end of the day...there is simply no comparison with when I worked full time. I was mentally tired and also tired of being stressed out at times but I was not physically tired as I am now...on a regular basis:).

I was visiting with a young mom of twins today though and she told me that she is very tired at the end of the day also. That made me feel much better, as I had always kind of chalked it up to fact that I am an older mom (I'm 44, going on 45 in Feb.). So, I am glad to know that it is fairly normal for other mom's too, especially those with multiple toddlers.

There are still times when I crave more personal time but that is more the case when I have been spending more time around more people (more than my husband and children) and have had less alone time. But, let's face it. What mom doesn't hope for longer nap times, for a bit of extra downtime in the day:).

All in all, things are very happy around here these days. I enjoy my time with the boys and relish each day, as I am often thinking ahead and knowing that these times when they are little are so short....especially short for those of us who adopted our children and did not have the first year or more with them. They are incredible little people and I am truly blessed to have them in my life, as well as my wonderful, thoughtful husband.

In other news, I actually finished decorating our house and tree today:). Surprise surprise! I had previously decided that I was perfectly happy to leave it partially decorated, as there would be less for the boys to take apart:). But, for some reason, I was feeling very festive today. I guess the Christmas spirit has caught up with me, now that the hubbub of the ice storm is over.

My mom went back to her house yesterday. They finally fix her power line and restored her power on Tuesday. I was sad to see her leave and I know the boys have missed her.

My sister came to get her yesterday and, after the boys went to bed, she and I went to Garden Ridge to do a bit of Christmas shopping. While we were at Garden Ridge, my sister picked up a very pretty tray with roses all over it and said, "Oh how pretty. I think I'll get this for mom". Our mom loves roses. I picked one up and looked at it and said, with a very straight face, "This IS very pretty. I think I will get one for her too". My sister gave me the funniest 'are you nuts!?' look that I have ever seen and I busted out laughing. She is such a kidder and practical joker. I couldn't resist. We both laughed about it for a while and then laughed about it again today when I told her that I told my husband about it last night. Her son heard her laughing and wanted to know what was so funny. She told him and he didn't think it was very funny so maybe it was one of those things that you just had to be there. We thought it was pretty funny.

We had a play date yesterday that we all enjoyed very much. Today we also had a short play date with twin girls. It was also fun but shorter. It has been nice to have some company over though and we really need to do it more often. The boys clearly enjoy it, although Ben tends to be a bit shy at first, wants me to hold him a lot at first and generally touches base with me often, which is not his normal behavior. It is very interesting because it is a totally new side of him that we have not seen before.

On Saturday we are planning to meet others at mom's house and start cleaning up the mess of very large branches and mangled trees in her yard. I have heard that it will be cold and we have a 40% chance of rain so we may have to reschedule, although I hate to leave her yard looking like this for very long.

Tomorrow is the husband's last day of work for a couple of weeks:). That will be nice for all of us. I need to buy some hot chocolate and pick up some fire wood.

I still have not finished my Christmas shopping and I have yet to wrap one present. So much for being done before Thanksgiving:). You know what I'll be doing over the next few days.

Monday, December 17, 2007

December 17, 2007

My mom's house is still without power and she has been staying with us since Friday. My sister is coming to get her tomorrow, since she has a doctor's appointment on Wednesday and we are really hoping her power will be back on sometime tomorrow. We are planning to gather at her house on Saturday for Project Clean-Up-Mom's-Yard, from all of the branches and ruined trees that now litter her yard.
I am going to be sad to see her leave tomorrow. I have so enjoyed having her here and the boys have really enjoyed it too. I hope she will come and stay more often in the future. We all really got on well together and she is just so easy to be with. She loves to read (as do I) and she also enjoys watching and hearing about the news and the elections so we have had a lot to discuss. We have also discussed the boys, of course, and I have enjoyed seeing her interact with them so much over the past couple of days. I think she has enjoyed her time with them too.

As they were preparing to go up to bed tonight, Nick quickly ran over to "MaMa" to give her a good night kiss. Ben followed close behind. As they walked up the stairs, they were saying "night night MaMa", over and over. It was very sweet. They really enjoy her and she loves to read to them, talk to them and play with them. She is also very good at distracting them, when they have a bee in their bonnet about something they cannot have or do, and she is good about redirecting them and helping them find interest in other things, when needed. I know she is anxious to get back to her own house but I really wish she could stay longer. I am so very thankful to have her for my mom and the boys are blessed to have her as their grandmother.

Oh yes. One other thing to note before I sign off. Nick said his first full sentence the other day. It was, "Zoe, get down." (Zoe is the cat and she was on the table.) He said it several times and he also has said "kitty, get down" several times. He seems to enjoy telling the cats what to do these days. It is cute.

Time for bed. I'm sorry I have not been posting much lately. I am just really caught up in researching the candidates and I am also enjoying visiting and hanging out with my mom:).

Thursday, December 13, 2007

December 13, 2007

This has to be a quickie but I did want to give a quick update on what's going on here in Oklahoma. I took a drive out the other day to go to an appointment and, had I known how bad the situation was in that part of town, I would not have gone.

It really looks like a tornado came through, at least from the perspective of seeing all of the tree limbs, some very large, and some trees down all over the place. It is really hard to believe your eyes and the pictures on the news do not do it justice....not even close.

My mom got tired of being cold and finally went to my sister's house on Tuesday. I was not able to reach anyone yesterday so I don't know if her power is back on yet or not. As of Tuesday, the assisted living home where my grandmother lives was without power so she was at my uncle's house and my dad and brothers were still without power also. I have heard on the news that the number without power today is much lower so hopefully I will hear something from my family today.

For a couple of days, we had to throw together whatever hodge podge of food we happened to have in the house for meals, as the grocery stores near us were without power. We have since found stores that never lost power and still have a good selection of everything, so the only current impact to us remains the stop lights that are still not working, although they are slowly getting those back up and working also.

During one of our hodge podge meals, we were eating some hot dogs, green beans and brown beans and ham (doesn't that sound just yummy:)!. I am not a fan of mustard but my husband is and, when the boys saw him eating it, they wanted some too. They are amazing. The assume that anything we eat MUST be good and they want to try everything. Much to my surprise, they loved the mustard and kept wanting "more, more". I have yet to find anything that won't eat...they seem to like anything and everything, although there are a few things they like more than others.

That's all for now. The troops are getting restless and the dad is in his office working, as the power at his clinic is still out.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

December 11, 2007

I really must start writing down the cute things the boys are saying these days. Otherwise, by the time I get around to posting about it, I forget. I know there were some that I found very cute and funny but have forgotten so I must do better but here are a couple of the latest things.

I was working in the kitchen on Saturday and the dad was working in his home office, as the boys played in his office. I overheard the dad say "oh shoot", soon followed by the boys saying "oh, shoot", "daddy?, oh, shoot", "daddy, oh, shoot" and the dad laughing in the background. They were both saying it repeatedly. I smiled and *again* thought of how children are so easily influenced by what we do and say.

Yesterday, Nick said "more milk please" without prompting. I think that was our first three word sentence without prompting.

The boys will now say "me?, me?", when they see (for instance) that I am getting ready to go upstairs for something and they want to go with me. Yesterday I started telling them to say "I go?" instead of me. They repeated it over and over, as they are apt to do now days to learn.

After we put the boys in their cribs for the night, we normally rub their backs for a short time and talk softly to them, before we leave their room. Nick has started saying "back, back", anytime he wants us to rub his back...and also when he puts a book or toy back on the shelf, but that's another story. He also likes to rub his Ya Ya's back, which is cute. Last night they were taking turns lying on the floor on a little blanket and rubbing each other's back. It was very cute. They have now gotten to where they like having a small blanket in their crib when they go to sleep. They especially like it when we put Ya Ya and Bear under the blanket and they will say (Nick) "night night Ya Ya", (Ben) "night night Bear", over and over.

One of their favorite things to say now is "oatmeal?". They say it all the time. They used to say it more like "meetmo" but have recently learned to say it correctly. Their pronunciation is improving rapidly these days. They are using an open cup for all meals and snacks now and I think that is helping a lot. We have only had maybe three big spills, so they are doing pretty well with it. I found some really good, clear, plastic cups at the dollar store. We only use sippy cups for on-the-go drinking and also for water-between-meals drinking. I always leave two sippy cups of ice water on the kitchen counter for them so they can get it anytime they want. They actually drink it quite often too, which is great.

Yesterday evening, I left my glass of ice water on the table after dinner and Nick climbed into my chair and started drinking from it. He was excited to get to drink from a big person's glass, rather than the small cups they normally use. It is nice because we are now getting to a point where they know enough not to knock over a glass, if it is left sitting on an end table or something.

I think I forgot to mention that Ben is getting his 2 year molars in now...all four of them. Nick does not seem to be getting his yet, although I am sure we will start to see signs of them soon.

The boys can eat pretty much anything we eat now days so it is becoming almost impossible to hide our intake of any type of junk food from them (she says, sheepishly:). This is probably a good thing as I think we were allowing too much of it to seep into our home and we (I) need to cut back a bit. My two vices are potato chips and peanut M&M's. I have now reverted back to eating an apple for my mid-morning snack (I used to eat healthier than I have been lately).

We took a short drive yesterday, late afternoon, with the intention of going out for some groceries. There were so many traffic lights out, causing the traffic to back up considerably, that we changed our destination and headed to a closer grocery store. It was closed due to lack of power so we headed home but then ended up going to one that is even closer. It was open but was running on generators. They had put all of their meat away, probably in a cooler that ran on the generator. There was hardly any milk left and it was not very cold, so we did not buy it. We ended up buying a few things and then heading back home.

On our drive, we saw many tree limbs down and some trees split in half or completely fallen over due to the ice, even though we live further south of the really bad icing. We also noticed many neighborhoods very close to us where people are without power. We heard on the news last night that the power company spent yesterday trying to get power back up to the water treatment plant and the hospitals. We had been asked to conserve on water but I did not find this out until last night and had already done several loads of laundry and ran the dishwasher yesterday. Fortunately, we also heard this morning that they had the water treatment plant and hospitals back up and were going to start working on neighborhoods today. My husband's place of employment is still without power so he is home again today.

My mom, dad and two brothers' homes are still without power, although my dad and one of my brothers heat with propane so they still have heat. My mom's house does not have heat but she and my other brother, who lives with her, are staying there under lots of covers for now. My sister lives close to them so they can go to her house if they want but they have chosen to stay for now.

The temperature has warmed up a bit and it is raining today. I think the majority of the ice is suppose to melt pretty fast today so hopefully things will improve rapidly, although we have heard on the news that some people may be without power for at week. My dad's house was without power for two weeks during the bad ice storm last year. I think we were in Russia during that one but our house still had power. Those underground power lines are a good thing.

We took the boys outside for a short walk around yesterday morning. They enjoyed it and probably would have stayed out much longer, had we let them. Unfortunately, we don't have mittens that fit them and their little hands were wet and turning red quickly so we didn't stay out for very long, much to their dismay. They cried when we made them come inside. We are all getting a bit tired of being housebound for so long....but we are very very thankful that we have a warm house to be bound into:).

Gotta go, the munchkins are awake and chatting to each other:).

Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10, 2007 Part 2

Yep, we have ice...and lots of it. But we don't have nearly as much as the folks northeast of us have. At my mom's house, my dad's house, my sister's house and my two brothers' houses they do not have electricity. My mom said that they could hear the large branches on the trees cracking during the night and there are large branches down all over her yard. She said it looks like a war zone. So far, we don't have any branches down at our house, although the trees are really being pulled downward by all of that ice.

This is from a Japanese Maple tree that sits just outside of our living room window. Over the past week or so, I have been admiring the beautiful red leaves. They have a very unique, but still very pretty, look now. It is a beautiful tree. I am hoping that it is not damaged by all of the ice.

In other news, here are some pictures of the boys, doing some of the activities I have talked about recently: playing with colored water, moving it from one side of the dish to the other with sponges and medicine droppers and playing with buttons, sorting them into ice trays.

December 10, 2007

Ice ice everywhere! Everything is covered in ice and it is very pretty. Fortunately, we still have power, although there are around 80-some thousand without it in our city right now.

My husband recently left for work and just called to let me know how it was going. He said the streets were not very icy, most likely because the ground is still somewhat warmer than the air. The temp here is in the high 20's now. However, he is seeing many major intersections where the lights are either completely out or they are blinking red. Fortunately, there is not much traffic out.

We stayed in all day yesterday because it looked pretty bad. The boys and I will likely stay in all day today also. I might dress them up warmly and let them play outside for a little while. I think they would probably enjoy it, for a short time anyway. We'll see.

I have been spending a good deal of time on coming up with a more intentional plan for homeschooling preschoolers. I found a good website that has a free preschool curriculum and I am modifying it a bit. It includes introducing a number, shape/color, letter, vocab word and theme to the children each week. Each day of the week you introduce one new thing and it stays up on "My Learning Poster" for a week. So the poster has each of these things on it and you change out each one on a different day of the week.

I am keeping the number, shape, color and letter but am working on exchanging the theme and vocab word with a Bible verse and character trait. We cover vocab words and theme's in our everyday life and all the reading we do and I think the Bible verse and character trait is more important at this point. I have everything ready except the character trait and Bible verse part and I am working on gathering those. I have also been gathering some reading lists for preschoolers and I went to a local used bookstore on Saturday and bought some of the books. They didn't have as many of them as I had hoped they would but I did get four books for seven dollars, which was not bad. There are a couple of books that recommend good books that I want to get but they did not have them at this used store, which was not surprising. I will likely purchase those from Amazon and then keep checking back at the used bookstore for the children's books that I want.

Hopefully I will have everything that I need by the end of the year and can start a more intentional preschool approach in January. I plan on doing little bits here and there throughout the day and making it casual, fun and game-like and not so much sit down, school-like.

Yesterday I was playing a matching-card game with the boys and they really enjoyed it and did very well with it. They kept saying "again" every time we finished but then they would be less and less engaged with each game so we finally stopped, much to their dismay. That's a funny thing about two year olds, I guess. They don't want to stop doing something fun, even if they are no longer really interested in it or paying any attention to it.

Well, the husband just called again. He made it safely to work with no issues but there is no electricity there so he is now headed back home. His boss was there at the same time, discovering the same situation. He gets an A for effort but it will be nice to have him home again today.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

December 8, 2007

I need to start writing down the cute things the boys are saying again. There are more and more of them each day and they are so cute.

Ben's favorite thing to say now is "oooowwww". He says this all the time and with great feeling, even if he is not hurt. I even hear him saying it over the baby monitor, when he is trying to fall asleep in his crib.

Nick still talks all the time. I was in the laundry room, while the boys were having their snack, and I overheard Nick saying to Ben, "brother, big truck!, brother, big truck!". He had heard a big truck driving by and I wasn't in the room but he had to tell someone about it. Ben did not seem to acknowledge this news though.

I was kind of tired the other afternoon and, without thinking about it, I took a deep breath and let it out noticeably. Nick was sitting at the kitchen island, eating a snack and he immediately copied my deep breath. When I laughed, he had to do it a couple more times.

Other things they are saying lately are:

"milk please" and "more milk please"
"read please"
"very big truck!"
"Christmas tree!" (every time we see anything remotely resembling pine needles, including hanging decorations in stores)
"there!" (something I say at times, when I finish a task with them)
"now!" (also something I say at times, when I finish a task...they are quite the mimics)
If Nick is the one saying these things, every thing he says is preceded by "mommy?". He'll say "mommy?, there!" and then give me a big smile. So cute. He talks ALL the time....quite the chatter box.

A favorite book of our sons' is a large book containing multiple Golden Book classics. One story is about how Martha and Bobby help Mommy around the house. It has a picture of the two children, taking off their PJ's. When the boys see this, they say "uh oh" because I am always telling them not to take their PJ's off, since I don't want them to get cold during the night.

And, did I mention that I found a football, baseball (the soft, little kid kind) and a tractor stuffed into the back of the tree the other day? I don't know how they did that but I think they were throwing things at the tree at one point. Ben was hitting it with his hammer yesterday. There are just all kinds of things to do to a tree that are all good fun and fair game for two little two year old boys.
In other news, I went to the dentist yesterday morning, for the first time in two years (since we moved to Oklahoma). It has been many many years since I have missed a six month check up before this, so two years is a long time for me. I was really dreading it.

My appointment was for 9:00am. I thought, since it was an early appointment, that it would be pretty quick. My husband had planned to go to work late, so he could stay with the boys. He was planning to meet me at the dentist office and trade cars with me, so he could go straight on to work.

They finally called my name at around 9:30. They took me back to the teeth cleaning area and took XRays and then said "'wait here; it will be a few minutes". They finally started cleaning my teeth at around 9:50, finished at around 10:10 and the dentist finally came to check my teeth at around 10:30. He spent all of about 5 minutes and told me my teeth looked great, which was the good news of the day....and also that the teeth cleaner lady told me that I obviously took very good care of my teeth:). That was an answered prayer.

In the meantime, my husband was waiting in the waiting room with our sons. Fortunately they have a good section for kids, so the boys were happy. But my husband thought he would not even get the kids out of the car, that I would be finished and we would just trade cars, so he did not bring the diaper bag. Both of the boys had poopy diapers. The boys are not at a point yet where they really care about poopy diapers and they don't care to be interrupted in their play for a diaper change but I felt bad for the two other people in the waiting room.

Needless to say (although I will say it) I was not very happy with this dentist and was ready to walk out several times. I probably would have if it hadn't been for the inconvenience to my husband of rescheduling and him missing work again. It really gets me when dentists and doctors do this kind of thing. It's one thing if you have an afternoon appointment and they had an emergency during the day that made them fall behind. It's quite another thing when you are one of the earlier appointments of the day and it is obvious that this is just the way they do business.

The thing is that I really did like the dentist. He was a really nice, friendly guy. If it was just me being inconvenienced and I didn't have to worry about my husband and the boys, I would just plan to take a good book the next time and I would be quite happy, knowing what to expect. At least we will be more prepared for what to expect the next time, if we continue to go to this dentist.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

December 4, 2007

I have not been very into posting lately, for some reason. We are staying busy, as usual. We are in the (long) process of putting up our tree. We bought it on Saturday and the boys were very excited about the whole thing. We also put the lights on it that day but that was as far as we got. Yesterday I put some decorations on the top part of the tree, but that's as far as I got. I was planning to try to work on it today but have not gotten around to it yet. So, it is a slow process this year, for some reason:). It sure smells good though and it is a very pretty tree, so that's nice.

We have been running errands every day, so today is the first day we have actually stayed home all day in quite some time....although the day is not over yet and we may yet go out to run an errand this afternoon. Our Parents as Teachers lady came over today and played with some really nice puzzles with the boys. I enjoy visiting with her a lot and she always brings some handouts with great ideas and information. The boys enjoy her too, which is good, since that is why she comes:).

Yesterday we went to a teacher's supply store and it was incredible. I will definitely be a regular at that shop in the future. They had some great educational toys that you would not find at a regular toy store. I will be shopping for birthday and Christmas presents there in the future. It's great to find fun toys for kids that are also educational. They pretty much had all of the Melissa and Doug toys there too. We have bought quite a few of their toys so it's nice to know they are considered educational. I kind of thought they were but it was good to see them being sold at this type of store. The down side is that it is very hard to leave the store without spending a good deal of money, because everything looks great. And it's also difficult to decide on which things to spend your money. Other than that, it's great!

When we were getting ready to go out for our errands yesterday, I was tying my shoes and, without thinking about it, started to tie them into double bows:). I cracked up laughing and the boys were looking at me like I was crazy. I guess I have tied a lot of double bows in the past 11 months, and very happily so.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

December 1, 2007

So, we left the boys last night at the church where my MOPS group meets, as they were having a "kid's night out" from 6:30 to 9:30 so that parents could go Christmas shopping or just out to dinner or something. We went to dinner with some friends, who also left their two boys there.

We had all agreed that we wanted to get back as early as possible, since our children normally go to bed around 8:00. We didn't realize that we would have such a hard time finding a place to eat where we did not have to wait an hour to be seated, so that was an issue. It was very frustrating.

When we first moved here, we were surprised to find this out about our new little city....that if you want to go to a decent place for dinner on Friday or Saturday night, you will have to wait for an hour or more to be seated. My husband and I started going out earlier or, mostly (especially after the boys came home), quit going out altogether. We had kind of forgotten about this when we went to dinner last night. Even if we had remember it, we probably would not have thought it would be an issue, since we were having dinner in a neighboring, smaller city. Who would have guessed that they have the same issue that our city has?

We ended up waiting for 30 minutes at the third place that we tried. The first place had an hour wait; the second place had a 50 minute wait. By the time we waited the 30 minutes (closer to 40 probably), we might have been seated at one of the first two places. Oh well.

We ended up having a nice dinner and really enjoyed visiting with our friends. That was nice.

Unfortunately, it was just before 9:30 when we picked up the boys, which was not so nice. Actually, they seemed tired but, other than that, they were fine. They weren't crying or throwing fits or anything. We all went straight to bed when we got home (it was past my bedtime too:).

But today?! Today was another story altogether. I woke up just before 8:00am, which was nice. That's the first time I have slept past 4:45am in a while and it felt good and was much needed. The boys woke up around 8:30 and were little cranky pants from the moment they got out of their cribs. I took them to the grocery store and they did OK but, for the most part, they were whining and crying about something for the majority of the time they were awake this morning. We put them down early for their nap and they were both screaming and crying by then and did not even want us to rub backs or comfort them. Nick settled down quickly, after we left the room, but Ben continued to cry so we went back in to rub backs and talk softly and they both went to sleep quickly after that. I am hoping they take a very long nap and wake up in a better mood.

I definitely prefer the baby sitter method better, where she comes to our house to play with the boys and we go out for an early date and are home in time to play with them for a bit and then follow our normal routine to put them to bed that night. It was much easier for all of us.

I feel very bad when the boys have not had enough sleep because of a decision I have made and then they are in a horrible mood and are misbehaving much more than normal. I know if we stay on their routine and they get the sleep they need, they are much happier kids and I feel that it's really not fair to them when we do something like we did last night. I don't think we will be doing that again anytime soon.

In other news, I took the boys to the library for the first time on Friday. I made a big mistake though. I didn't spend enough time explaining to them how to behave in a library. Nick was bouncing off of the walls, acting more as if he were at the park part of the time. Both boys were pulling books out and looking at them for two seconds before pulling out more. It was not a good situation and we didn't stay long. It's really the first time I have taken them anywhere and felt they were somewhat out of control.  They are normally in a cart or their stroller when we are in stores so perhaps they were simply excited about their freedom in a new child-friendly place.. We will have to work on that.

We have tons of books at our house, many of which they have not even read yet. My sister kept a bunch of children's books from her two kids and gave them to us so we have not been lacking in the book department, thankfully. This is why we have not gone to the library before now. I may wait until the boys are closer to 2.5 years of age before trying it again. They change so quickly and understand so much more in just a few months, at this age.

We are planning to go buy our Christmas tree this afternoon, after the boys wake up. I am looking forward to putting up the tree with them. Although it will be more challenging, I want them to have the experience of getting to help decorate. I sure hope they are in a better mood by then though:).

Thursday, November 29, 2007

November 29, 2007

The boys are both going through a phase where they are saying bye bye to everything they can think of. Bye bye truck, bye bye boo boo, bye bye house, bye bye moon, bye bye airplane, bye bye helicopter, get the idea. But today's bye bye was one to remember.

We were getting out of the car and Ben noticed bird poop on the rear of the car. He had noticed it once before and I had told him it was bird poop. So today, both boys were saying "bye bye poop". I couldn't help but laugh at that one. They were saying it over and over, as we left the car to go into the store, and then they were saying it again, over and over, as we drove away from the store.

Both boys are now doing pretty well with drinking out of an open cup. I have been serving their milk from an open cup in the mornings and then we go back to the cup with the lid and straw when they are more tired. So far, we have only had one large spill that went on the floor. All of the others were just little drips on the counter, for the most part.

They have been waking up way to early for me these days. I don't think they ever changed their wake up time when the time change happened, although their bedtime at night did change. Most days they take a pretty good nap but, boy, the mornings sure get long sometimes.

Today we went out looking for Christmas-y sweaters for them. Kohl's had racks of beautiful little girl dresses for Christmas but NOTHING for little boys. I couldn't believe it. Target was not much better. Babies-R-Us had a few sweaters but not many, although we did find something there that works. I had so few to choose from that I had to buy two identical ones. This is the number one reason that the boys are dressed alike so often. There are just not that many cute boy clothes to choose from and I'm not going to spend a ton of money on clothes that they are going to grow out of in 2 or 3 months.

I am coming down with the dreaded cold that Nick has had for the past few days. I can't tell if Ben is getting it or not. I hate getting sick at this time of year....I mean, it is never something that you want to have happen but it's extra bad at this time of year. There is so much going on and you don't want to miss things or not enjoy them due to illness.

We are suppose to be leaving the boys at a MOPS kid's night out and going to dinner with friends tomorrow night but I'm not sure we will get to go, with Nick still feeling badly and having a constantly running nose and with me starting to get it too.

I have changed my mind about some of the boys' Christmas gifts. We had already gotten them each a very large Tonka dump truck but I think we are going to return it and get one little cash register, two shopping carts and some groceries. They are quickly getting into the pretend thing and I think they might have more fun with this than with the trucks, since they already have some trucks anyway. I have already got the little cash register. It is a popular older Fischer Price toy that has recently been brought back. I am still looking for the shopping carts and food.

I so want to be done with my Christmas shopping soon. I had planned to finish it very early this year and it has not happened. I have some of it done but still have a few things to find.

Much to do before the boys wake from their nap. Happy day!

Monday, November 26, 2007

November 26, 2007

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving, celebrated at my sister's house with her family, my mom, all three of my brothers, several nieces and nephews and spouses and a great niece (pictured)....and of course, my husband and two sons. I lost count of how many people were there but I think it was somewhere around 18 or 20. It was definitely the largest family crowd that our two sons have seen yet and they seem to have handled it well. They had a great time playing with their big cousin Trent (also pictured). I brought lots and lots of toys and books to keep them busy but they spent more time playing with the toys my niece brought for her little girl. All in all, everyone had a great time, we had wonderful food and it was so nice to see the family again.

These three pictures were taken as I was making the Mississippi Mud, the day before Thanksgiving. The chocolate is from the icing and the white stuff is marshmellow creme. The boys now have a new appreciation for baking.

We had a wonderful, relaxing weekend. I did some book shopping at our local Christian bookstore for myself and am now reading several books at once. I have a really hard time going into that place to shop for a book. I normally come out with several and this time was no different. I found six books that all seemed to be calling my name. One, called Mommy Teach Me is about homeschooling preschoolers and I really liked it a lot. I started it Saturday and finished it on Sunday. Great book with some great ideas and good advice. Another is called Teaching Kids about God. It discusses what children at various ages are able to understand about God and different ways you can help them to learn to have their own relationship with God. I have just started it but it seems very good, although I'm not sure if I will agree with everything they say. Another is called The Discipline Book by the Sears' (husband and wife). It is a fairly large book and I am only maybe an eighth of the way through it but it seems pretty good so far.

The other three books I bought to address a concern I have had, which is making sure I am not just correcting behavior but that I am also shepherding the heart of my children. These three books are Spirtually Parenting your Preschooler, Shepherding a Child's Heart and The Key to Your Child's Heart. I am not far along into any of these to be able to comment on them but I think at least one of them will be really good and all three of them will likely have some very good points. So, I have been doing a lot of reading lately.

Here is one of the little activities from the Mommy Teach Me book that I did with the boys today (sorry for the poor lighting). They really liked it a lot. The trays are plastic and the pitchers are glass. I showed them how to carefully carry the tray and place it on the table. They both did pretty well.  I showed them how to be careful with the pitchers and how to pour the rice slowly, trying to hit the middle of the other pitcher. They were suppose to turn the tray around each time, so they are always pouring from left to right, which also helps preparing to read left to right. They poured it back and forth between the pitchers and into the tray and they picked it up with their fingers. They did everything with the rice. I'm not sure that is exactly how it was suppose to go but the book says the number one thing for this activity is teaching them how to concentrate on a task and I think they did that pretty well. They had fun with it regardless.

I went to a dollar store this weekend to buy a lot of the stuff that I need to do many of the activities in the Mommy Teach Me book. I bought some simple sponges, without the rough scrubber things, and I cut one in half to let them pretend to wash their dishes. They loved that and have cleaned their dishes and pots and pans over and over, in addition to the window, the cabinets, trucks, trains, name it, they have tried to clean it. Of course, they were using a dry sponge, so nothing is really clean:). But they had fun and I had fun watching them and telling them what a good job they were doing.

On Sunday afternoon, while the boys were napping, I spent a good deal of time consolidating books and rearranging things in our library/play room. I moved all of the books up so that all of the bottom three shelves are now dedicated to toys and books for the boys. It really allows for orderly toy storage, which is recommended in a couple of the books I have read, and we now also have room for materials for crafts and other activities. The boys quickly get the idea of what goes where and everything has a place and they are pretty good about putting things back, although they do get out lots of stuff at once and make a big mess at times too.

I am very happy with the way the room turned out though. It seems as if there is a lot more play room and there is definitely more storage space for keeping their things orderly. The chair and small red couch are also closer to the kitchen, which is nice when I am sitting in there with them but need to check on dinner or lunch. It has also opened up the front window, which is the window that the boys enjoy the most, since they can see cars and trucks going by.

We went to church on Sunday and I, once again, shamelessly bribed my sons with candy. Once again, they went to their class without a peep and they had a wonderful time and seemed quite happy when we picked them up. The candy thing makes it a win-win for everyone involved. I'm sure the caregivers appreciate that they are no longer having to deal with two children crying at the same time, while they also have other children arriving. Our boys are no longer upset and crying when we leave, which is nice for them, and they love the candy of course. We leave them feeling much better that they seem happy. I figured we'll use the candy bribe for a few Sundays and then maybe try switching to stickers or something else. It seems good for now....we'll see what the future holds.

Last but not least comes our health issues:). Nick has a cold, as of today, and his poor little nose has been running like crazy all day. The good news is that he is not running a fever and it has been quite a while since the boys have had a cold so, overall, they are doing pretty well. I noticed that Ben is cutting his 2 year bottom molars. The only reason I noticed was that he has been drooling a bit lately:). I think I have found a really good chiropractor. After one treatment, which felt wonderful, I am feeling a bit better already....not completely but definitely a bit better. That leaves me feeling very hopeful that we will fix these issues once and for all and he will teach me the right exercises/stretches to keep them fixed.

The most terrible news is that we took Ben back to the plastic surgeon today. His scar is not looking good at all. The surgeon took one look at it and said, with a frown, "this is not acceptable". Apparently, his body reacted to the dissolving type stitches very badly. The result is that the scar is wider than it should be. It looks as if it pulled apart before it healed. And you can very clearly see the little holes where the stitches were.

This means that we have to redo the surgery. I almost cried when we were driving away and I had a chance to really digest this. We go back to the plastic surgeon in two months to see how the scar is doing and how much scar tissue is there. We'll continue to pray about this over the next couple of months and I know God will get us through it. I just feel really bad for B, that he has to go through this all over again. That's what makes me more sad than anything else.

Other than that, things here are great:)! Overall, we are all healthy, happy, having a great time together and still counting our blessings:).

Thursday, November 22, 2007

November 22, 2007

Yesterday was a very busy day for me. I made the Mississippi Mud, entirely from scratch, which took most of the morning, when you add in changing diapers, meals and snacks and playing referee to two little boys. I also did several loads of laundry, the last of which is still in the dryer. I ate lunch, made the bed, emptied the trash, took a shower and washed my hair and fixed it, during nap time.

Since my morning was so busy, I waited until after nap time to go to the grocery store to get some salmon for dinner. I don't like to buy it before the day we are going to eat it because I have had some that went bad in a very short amount of time. (I hate that smell and it comes dangerously close to turning me off to salmon altogether, which would be sad because I really like it and it is so healthy.) The boys took a long nap so we were heading to the grocery store later than I had intended. The temperature had dropped into the 30's so, for the first time this fall, we had to bundle up in our heavy coats. We ended up having dinner a bit later than normal. I quickly cleaned up after dinner and then it was time to brush teeth and start baths. The dad got home when the boys were still in the bath tub.

After the boys were in bed for the night, I was in my bathroom, getting ready for bed. The thought came to me that I had spent very little time holding, snuggling, hugging, kissing or even giving positive feedback to the boys today. After thinking about it for a minute, I ended up feeling that I had spent more time today correcting them about various things (mostly disagreements between the two of them) than I had loving on them.

I really hate it when that happens. It just makes me wish I could have a do-over. It is a gift from God that they have such short memories at this age, which effectively gives me a do-over today:). I am very thankful for that.

I am very thankful for God's love, which He shows us in so many big and little ways every day and through so many people. I can remember a time when I was struggling with feeling God's love. I was in the church choir at the time and we were singing songs about how much God loves us. God tells us He loves us through His word, the pastor preached about how much God loves us and everyone talked about it all the time but I was not *feeling* it. I can remember praying about it, while tears ran down my face, and asking God to help me feel His love for me. I also remember very distinctly how He started pointing out to me, one by one, all the ways He was showing me His love every day, through this friend's hug, through that friend's phone call to see how I was doing, through my family, etc. He responded to my plea very quickly and showed me all the ways He was constantly showing me His love. It meant so much to me and I knew, without a doubt, that He was talking to me and wanted me to know how much He loves me.

I have never forgotten that time. What a special God we have. I am thankful we have such a loving God, who cares about the big and little things that we are going through and who wants us to know that He loves us. I am thankful for the salvation He has provided for us. I am thankful for the two little boys with whom He has blessed us and I am so honored that He has entrusted them into our care. I am thankful for the wonderful, caring husband he has given me and father He has given the boys. I am thankful for our extended families and our friends, who are so loving to us and our children. I am thankful for the abundant life with which He has blessed us. I am thankful for all of the beauty around us, that constantly reminds us of the beautiful world He created.

I am so very thankful that we are sharing our Thanksgiving with our children this year. They are such a joy to our lives. Yesterday my sister was saying how she had just been thinking about what joy they have brought to our entire family and how thankful she is for them too. Yes, we are very very blessed and I thank our heavenly Father for that.

I pray that days like yesterday, when I get too busy and don't spend enough time snuggling, hugging and kissing my little boys, will be very few and far between.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

November 21, 2007

Here are some fun pictures I have taken over the past couple of weeks.

Nick was putting together some bread and veggies for a pretend snack. It was most amusing to watch him work. Notice the plate on the left, with the two cars on top of the tomato. Doesn't that look yummy?! Apparently it does to a little boy:)!

One day the boys and I had a fun time coloring and drawing on paper and envelopes, folding the papers and putting them into the envelopes and pretending to mail them.

Notice how Ben holds his pencil the right way. I only showed him how to do this once. Nick, on the other hand, gets upset with me if I try to show him how to hold his pencil. I read somewhere that you should make them hold it the proper way from the very beginning but I have not pushed this with him yet.

This is a little train set that my brother, SIL and niece gave the boys at a shower, before the boys ever came home. I got it out the other day for the first time but it is really for 3 years old and up....and for good reason. They spent more time taking it apart than anything else so, after a day or two, I put it away again.

But this is a great toy and they are still playing with it a lot. N has especially enjoyed it, more so than B for some reason.

The boys were doing somersaults. Nick would get in position and then pat his bottom, which he could barely reach, and say to Ben "pish, pish", "brother, pish" (translation, push:). It was really cute.

Yesterday afternoon, the boys and I spent a lot of time outside playing. We had been out for a while when I remembered that my sister gave us some sidewalk chalk. I'm not sure who had more fun with it, them or me:).

I am sure who got more of it on their clothes...them! I had to strip them down before I let them into the house. Good thing it was still warm outside.

Today the temperature has dropped like a rock. The last time I looked, it was around 36 degrees and still dropping. Yesterday it was in the high 70's. Big change. I was ready for it though. I like it to be colder when we celebrate Thanksgiving. I made the Mississippi Mud today. It looks good. I hope it tastes good. We'll find out tomorrow.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

November 20, 2007

I have grown weary of hearing Ben scream. He screams anytime things don't go his way. Yesterday he was screaming because Nick was trying to take a toy away from him. So, I taught him how to say "mine":). This is a word that the boys had not starting using yet because they really have not heard it around here much. So I taught him the word and we role-played him having a toy and me trying to take it from him.

At the time, it seemed like a good idea. I want him to learn how to use words, rather than screaming. But, in retrospect, I am thinking that this one will most likely back fire on me. In my vivid imagination, I can already hear him *screaming* "mine!!", even if I am trying to take something from him that he should not have. Oh well, what's a mom to do?

Another thing I may regret is that the boys and I have started playing this game when we listen to their music. There is a song with a chorus that says "I'm gonna get you; you'd better run!". It is a very upbeat, fun song and I just couldn't resist chasing them, while singing the song. They absolutely love being chased. They giggle and laugh and they are never ready to stop. When the song is over, I am exhausted and they are disappointed. I think they could do this for hours.

Yesterday evening, when the dad got home, the boys were sitting in my lap and we were reading a book. We have finally gotten to the point where they will both sit in a lap and let us read the same book to the two of them at the same time. For the longest time, Nick wanted to hold and control his own book and did not want us to read to him. He enjoyed looking at the pictures and talking about them but had little interest or attention span for listening to us read. Now he loves it and will climb into a lap and say "read" to us. I digress. So we were reading a book together and they heard the garage door go up. They both got down and ran to the door and Nick was saying "daddy home, daddy home".

When the dad goes to the bedroom to change his clothes, the boys love to go with him and hide in the clothes, open and close the various doors, play with the digital scales or turn light switches on and off. Ben had been in the library/playroom, when Nick and the dad went to the bedroom. When Ben realized he was missing out on the bedroom play time, he ran in that direction saying "daddy home, daddy home".

Overall, I think the boys are pretty neck and neck, when it comes to their communication skills and vocabulary size. They are both saying more and more 2 word phrases/sentences, although Ben seems more likely to repeat them now, when I say to them "say night night daddy" or something like that. When Ben gets a positive response from me, Nick usually jumps in and tries to say it too.

Yesterday I was singing "Jesus loves me, this I know..." to the boys. Ben started singing it with me and it was **SO** sweet. It almost made me cry. It is just too precious to hear a small child sing. He really did pretty well on the chorus ("Yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me; yes, Jesus loves me; the Bible tells me so.) He could say most of it and he mumbled any words that he missed. He and I were looking at each other while we sang it together and we both had a huge smile on our faces and it was just too adorable. We both laughed together when we finished and then he would say "again?".

We have struggled in the past with the boys wanting to play with the light switches. They have gotten much better about this now and I try to remember to ask one of them to turn the lights on and off for me, since they enjoy it so much. Yesterday evening, we were getting the boys ready for bed and Nick was looking for his Ya Ya. I told him I thought it was in the library/playroom so he ran in there by himself. Normally when he saw that the room was dark, he would stop and come back, look at me and sometimes would say "help". He did not want to go into the dark room by himself. Last night, for the first time, he handled it differently. The light was off in that room and it was already dark. As he went into the room, I heard him say "light" and then the light came on. Next I heard him mumbling, as he was looking for Ya Ya and then I heard "Ya Ya!", when he found it. Next came "light" again and he turned out the light and ran back into the living room. It was the first time I have seen either of the boys actually go through this whole process, realizing they need the light and using the light switch as it is meant to be used. I thought for sure he would leave the room with the light still on, so I was quite surprised when he remember to turn it off again. As much as they enjoy turning the lights on and off, I guess I should not have been surprised that he remembered.

They have also gotten to the point that, when the dryer buzzer goes off, they run ahead of me into the laundry room because they enjoy helping to remove the clothes from the dryer and dumping them into a laundry basket. When I tell them I am going to the laundry room to put clothes in the dryer, they also run along with me. When I drop the clothes on the dryer door, they like to push them into the dryer.

It's nice to see them helping in ways that they can help. They enjoy it so much at this age. I need to figure out how to include them more in setting/clearing the table and loading/unloading the dishwasher. I know they would enjoy it.

They are still having a great time, playing with the large box in which the new furnace came. Yesterday I turned it on its side, so it is more like a cave, and it became a whole new, interesting toy again:). I am in search of some new, good puzzles, as the boys can work all of the puzzles we have now.

I have now gotten to where I create a menu for the week on Monday mornings and the boys and I go grocery shopping that morning and get everything we will need for the week. It really reduces my stress about cooking and I feel much more organized when I do this. So we were at Walmart yesterday and they have these Christmas trees set up as you enter the store. The trees were there last week too, so the boys have already seen them a couple of times and I have told them what they are. Yesterday, as we walked by one, Ben pointed to the tree and said "Christmas tree!", as big as you please. I said "yes, that is a Christmas tree; isn't it pretty?".

Lately I have written a lot about what the boys say. When I do this, I am writing what they are trying to say, rather than the actual way they are saying it. Their words frequently do not come out as clearly as I write them but I am not good at writing their words the actual way they say them, if you know what I mean. In other words, they do not speak that clearly and the dad frequently does not understand what they are saying. Since I am with them all the time, I normally know what they are saying. I just didn't want everyone thinking that they are saying all of these words perfectly clear, as an adult would, even though that is the way I write their words here. It's just easier for me to write it that way....I'm all for easy:).

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is only two days away. I can't wait! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

November 18, 2007 Part 2

For the first time, I took the boys to church by myself! Yay! I prayed about it a lot and I used a small bag of M&M's as my helper:). I talked to the boys about going to church and playing with the other children and seeing Katy (our babysitter) again, etc. I told them they were going to be big boys and not cry and that they were going to go to their class and I was going to go to my class. I talked it up pretty good but I still brought the M&M's, which I believe were key to our success.

I showed them the M&M's as we were getting out of our car and told them they could have one when we got inside. I gave them each one when we got to the sign-in desk. (By this time, they have normally started crying/whining and asked to be picked up.) I gave them each another one when we got to the door of their classroom. When we got to the door, Nick decided he did not want to go and he took off running in the other direction. But then I said "Nick, don't you want another M&M?" and he came running back:). They both went into the classroom and Ben held up his hands for me to pick him up, as he said "mommy? mommy?". I told him I would be back later and I gave the candy to Katy. I think there was only one other little girl in the class at the time and there are two adults and Katy, taking care of the kids. So, the boys were getting a lot of attention from everyone, which helped. And, of course, the M&M's were key. Neither of them cried at all! It was amazing! They normally cry every week, when we leave them.

I was so relieved that it went so well. As I sat in my class, I said a thank-you prayer. My husband joined me for the worship service and we went together to pick up the boys from their class. Ben had his back to the door, so he didn't see us come in. He was holding up a doll, moving her up and down and around, as he danced with her! It was so funny. I was cracking up. One of the caregivers said that both of the boys had been dancing with the dolls. Very funny. They were both very happy to see their daddy, since they had not seen him this morning.

We will definitely be buying more of those M&M's!

November 18, 2007

I was driving the other day, with the boys in the back in their car seats, and I was trying to get out of a parking lot, taking a left turn onto a major road. I was having a hard time finding an exit where I could cross the median. I ended up at a dead end in the parking lot and said "oh shoot". From the back seat, I hear little Nick saying "mommy?" "oh" "hoot", or something like that, but clearly trying his best to imitate what I had just said.

Isn't it funny that, of all the words you say that they don't imitate, that they somehow know when you have said something that you don't want them to imitate? Or maybe it is just that they are drawn to exclamations, since Nick seems to like to also imitate words like "wow!".

Regardless, it was a very funny, but also eye opening, moment:).

The same day, I was combing the boys' hair, as we were getting ready to go out and run our errands. As I was combing Nick's hair, he said "mommy?" "church?". It took me a minute to understand what he was saying, since it was a bit out of context (for me anyway). Fortunately (?) at this age they repeat everything until you acknowledge, in some way, what they are saying. I am quite surprised at how much he is understanding now, not just new words but really understanding more meaning behind the words.

Yesterday the boys spent a good deal of time outside with their dad. The dad was raking leaves and the boys were having fun, playing with leaves, sticks and rocks. I love watching little boys play outside, especially when there are no toys around and they invent their own play. Even though this was suppose to be some down time for me, I was drawn to the windows to watch them. At one point, Ben was ready to come inside but Nick clearly wanted to stay outside with dad. I think he would be out there all day, every day, if he could. I feel guilty at times that I don't get them out enough to play. I need to do better at this because I know it is so good for them.

It's funny though. I watch them with their dad and they seem to be really good about playing while dad reads or works or whatever. With me, they are constantly saying "Mommy? Sit. Sit." They want me to see what they are doing, to play with them, to talk to them, to narrate what they are doing, etc. The dad plays with them and interacts with them too. But I am sure, since I am home with them all day, that I end up doing this more so I suppose they have come to expect it more from me. I definitely talk to them A LOT and I think they like that too. I enjoy spending time with them and playing with them but, sometimes, when I see them playing so nicely, with the dad sitting nearby reading, I'm a bit jealous of that situation:). I suppose maybe I should make an effort to do that a bit here and there, so they might get used to it with me too sometimes.

In other news, Ben's face is healing very nicely. We put sunscreen on it every morning and wash it off every night, so that hopefully the scar will not be as prominent. Yesterday it looked as if the scab was starting to flake off in places. Little kids heal so fast; it is really amazing.

My mom is doing much much better these days. It seems her blood pressure is getting back to normal, so she is not feeling light headed and dizzy so much now. Her energy level is getting better but is definitely not what it used to be, although I wonder if it ever will be. She is still wearing her wig and scarves and has heard that it will take around 6 months before her hair will really be coming back in well. She definitely looks as if she feels better now, which is heartening. I'm not sure if I mentioned that, a week and a half ago, she fell while she was walking in to have her manicure. She tripped over the concrete stopper thing that one hits with the front tires, when parking a car in many parking lots. It was sticking out and she didn't see it. She fell on asphalt and her cheek took the brunt of the fall. I have not seen her but it is apparently all colors of green, blue, yellow and she also has cuts and abrasions. I think she said her knee was also bruised. We are thankful that she did not break any bones and that she seems to be healing quickly.

I can't believe that Thanksgiving is less than a week away. Wow! My mom traditionally makes this dessert called Mississippi Mud and it is delicious. This year, for the first time ever, I will be making the famous Mississippi Mud, since mom does not feel up to it. My sister makes the most wonderful homemade pies, with homemade crust, so I have offered my services to make the Mud this year:).

The dad took the boys shopping with him yesterday and they bought outside Christmas lights for the house and the bushes out front. We have not decorated our house before now but my husband bought some things (timers, extension cords, etc.) at the end of the season last year (when everything was on sale), in preparation for this year. We knew that once we had the boys, we would want to decorate. I am ready to start decorating. I think we should turn on our lights on Thanksgiving day night or the the night after, so we can enjoy them longer:).

The boys are awake now and the dad is at work, so I must run.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

November 14, 2007

Today we went to Sam's to buy a few things and we had lunch there. The boys split a hot dog, had a few potato chips and two sips of an orange soda. This was their first time to ever try any carbonated beverage. When they tried it, they gave me the funniest look and then started coughing. When I offered them a second sip a little later, they both shook their head no. They each finally had a second sip when they were almost done with the meal...if you want to call that a meal:). I sat there and felt guilty about what an unhealthy lunch I was feeding them.

Normally, they have a sandwich, soup, mac and cheese or something like that but they almost always have a veggie with their lunch. I almost always serve them a veggie with lunch because otherwise they won't get their recommended quota. I don't eat nearly as healthy as they do. I know this will eventually be a big problem for me:).

They had all of the Christmas stuff out at Sam's. It really got me excited to start decorating for Christmas, although it is a bit too soon for us. I am so excited to share the holidays with the boys this year! Did I mention that in an earlier post?? :)

Our downstairs air conditioner has finally decided to give it up so we are having to replace it. I am thankful it happened while it is cooler outside and not during our weeks of 100 degree plus summer weather. We have now lived in this house for almost two years. It was built in 1998. We have already had to replace both air conditioner / furnace units (upstairs and downstairs). Isn't that pitiful? (and very expensive). Oh well, that's life. I am thankful that we have the money saved. The guy is going to do it tomorrow.

I found the dress-up play clothes on the Toys R Us website that I want to get the boys for Christmas. The only thing is that the shipping cost is going to be almost $30, which I think is totally outrageous. I tried to find some on-line coupons or promotional codes but have yet to find one that works. I'm still looking. If you know of something, please let me know. I bought the police officer outfit at the Toys R Us store the other day and I want to get the fire fighter outfit and two cowboy outfits from the website. But I really don't want to pay $30 for shipping. What a waste of money. I will have to see if there is another Toys R Us near us and see if they have what I want. I think they sold out of a lot of these clothes for Halloween.

Here are more fun words / phrases the boys are saying:

-- Nick, standing in the living room this morning and pointing outside: "windy!" (it has been VERY windy here today).
-- Nick, after burping the other day: "scuse you" (we have now started telling them to "say excuse me", rather than saying "excuse you" for them, when one of them burps:).
-- Ben, handing me the letter H as I was walking by the fridge this morning: "H" (I just introduced 'G', 'H' and 'I' yesterday evening). Nick also handed me the letter 'I' and told me "I".  I have been introducing three letters at a time, using the magnetic letters that stick to the fridge.They learn so fast!
-- Both boys, first thing in the morning, running towards the big ottoman in the living room where we change diapers: "first! first!" and then pushing and shoving each other away, trying to be the first to get their diapers changed. If Nick wins, Ben throws a big fit and then Nick usually tries to escape before I can change his diaper anyway, after all that fuss. We are working on this behavior but it is really hard to work on things when they both act up at the same time.
-- Nick, pulling Ben's pants and diaper out and peeking into them: "poopy?" and then he looks at me and smiles/laughs. He is such a little mimic these days and quite the entertainer. He doesn't like it when Ben cries and will frequently do something to try to cheer him up.
-- Both boys, sitting in their booster seats at the kitchen island yesterday at snack time, each patting his own chest: "me? me?" (they are trying to understand pronouns)
-- Both boys, sitting in their booster seats at the kitchen island this morning: "daddy, work?, daddy, work?"

I am starting to hear more and more two word phrases. This is one of the most exciting things ever! Am I crazy? I find this so exciting and entertaining. I am always explaining to them different things and showing them things, everywhere we go and I always tell them to say such-and-such. It seems that they just have to say something once and they have it down. Kids are just such amazing learners. And it really gets me when they say something that I have not told them to say before but they just picked it up from listening to me talk, such as "windy". What amazing memories and attention to detail! I am in awe.

This is still just the best job ever!!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

November 13, 2007

Yes, I have started my Christmas shopping! I have hopes of being finished very early this year. Fortunately for me, the boys are so young this year, I can shop with them and even get things for them and they don't understand or remember. The things I bought for them yesterday went into the trunk of the car and they forgot all about them.

The dad already picked up the huge Tonka dump trucks for them, one for each child. They love trucks, especially big trucks, so I think those will be a big hit.

Yesterday we went to Toys-R-Us, as I had planned to get each of the boys two dress up outfits. I had planned to get them the police officer, fire fighter and two other ones but now I can't remember which ones. I think one might have been the train engineer but I can't remember the other one. Of course, it didn't really matter because they didn't even have most of them anyway. They had the police officer, so I went ahead and got that one. They also had the train engineer but I couldn't remember if that was one of the ones I wanted or not and, since I will have to look on-line anyway, I decided to wait and see what they have available.

I got two stick horses:). I had a stick horse when I was a kid and I loved it. I am going to try to find a couple of cowboy hats for kids but I want the inexpensive, play kind rather than the expensive real ones. Toys-R-Us and Walmart did not carry them.

I got two packs of Match Box cars that have very interesting vehicles, such as a dump truck, those roller things that are used to lay down new asphalt, a fork lift, a bulldozer and a bunch of others. I also got some finger paints but I will need to get a good plastic table cloth or something to put down on the floor for this. I still need to get a couple of pads of paper for finger painting.

I am going to get a couple of new children's music CD's from the Christian bookstore. They love music and I am getting tired of the ones we have. We especially need some new music for them for the car, as I am very tired of the Old McDonald, Wheels on the Bus, Skip to My Lou and other songs that are on the one CD that we end up listening to over and over in the car.

I have a few other things on my list but they are mostly smaller gifts. The big gifts for the boys this year are the dump trucks and dress up clothes. The dress up clothes are really for 3 years old and up but I have been getting a few toys for this age group, since their birthdays and Christmas all fall close together. I want to have some things that they are not going to grow out of too early in the year.

I had battery operated toothbrushes on my list but decided to go ahead and use them, rather than making them Christmas presents. We have a hard time with Nick, when it comes to brushing teeth. He makes such a big deal of not wanting to do it. It's strange because he acts like he wants to, when we are on our way up the stairs. Anyway, I thought the new toothbrushes might help and I think they do. It definitely makes it easier for us and they find them interesting. To date, we have only been brushing their teeth at night but I bought two sets of toothbrushes so I could keep one set downstairs so we can start brushing their teeth after breakfast too.

Our sons have still not figured out the time change thing. They are still waking up about 30 minutes to an hour early and then they are taking a longer nap these days. At least they seem to be getting the sleep they need though.

I forgot to mention that we were not able to go to church this weekend. The boys and I all ended up running fevers for about 3 days. I think we are all over it now but Sunday was my worse day and I think yesterday or Sunday was Nick's worse day. Ben got it first so he's a day or so ahead of Nick and me. I believe Ben probably caught this at MOPS. The good news is that they are not getting sick as often these days. Before they got sick this time, I was thinking it had been quite a while since they had gotten sick from the church nursery. I am hopeful that they will do better at resisting illnesses this winter.

Believe it or not, we have been wearing shorts again for the past couple of days. It has been unseasonably warm here lately. The bad news is that we are having issues with our downstairs air conditioner again. Actually, it seems that the issue may be with the breaker box but we are not sure. My husband replaced the breaker last night and it didn't fix the problem. So, I am thinking that I need to call someone about this today but I'm really not sure who to call. Fortunately it was a cloudy day here yesterday. Even so, it got up to about 75 degrees in here. Right now it looks like it is going to be another cloudy day today but you never know.

The other thing that we recently noticed is that our friendly wood pecker is back and has punched another whole in the stucco-like material on our chimney, in one of the same places where we had it repaired a few months back. I have a feeling we are going to have a constant battle with the wood peckers the whole time we live in this house.

Today, we are just going to hang out at home and relax. I love days like that.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

November 11, 2007 Part 4

I showed the boys how to pretend to have a dinner party or "tea party", by showing them how to set their little table with the new dishes they received as a birthday present. I got the bears and Jo Jo out and sat them in the seats at the table. The boys were very entertained by this, thought it was funny, and started to pretend they were pouring stuff and helping the bears eat.

That lasted all of about 2 minutes and then the fun began as they decided it was more fun to SIT ON THEIR GUESTS!!

Sitting on the guests became the fun thing to do. The boys moved from seat to seat, taking turns sitting on each of the bears. The only guest who didn't get sat on was Jo Jo. He is not as soft so maybe that was just smart of them.

The situation quickly deteriorated, as Nick threw one of the bears on the table, knocking half of the dishes on the floor. I discouraged this kind of behavior but, soon after, the lovely "tea party" ended in a dog pile on top of the guests:).

I may have to send them to etiquette classes.

More funny things said this morning:
Ben said: "brother, pish" (push)
Nick said: "no" (this was a first; normally the pusher rushes right over and pushes, for a little while at least...of course, the pusher is also normally Nick so maybe he is just getting tired of being the pusher.

Nick, sitting at the island with Ben, eating oatmeal. He spoons up a huge spoonful of oatmeal and says: "biiiiig bite", just as big as you please. Ben follows suit soon after. So I start asking them to show me a small bite and then a big bite. They do both, repeating "big bite" and "small bite", as the case may be.

Nick, sitting next to me on the little red couch in the library/play room, cutting up the cut-able, wooden veggies: "Mommy?" "Yes Nick?" "tomato" "yes, that is a tomato".

Ben is in the background saying "tractor, tractor, wagon", while he plays with a tractor and the small wagon it pulls.

Sitting next to Ben, reading a book about Jonah and the whale. Ben points to a picture of Jonah, floating down to the depths of a colorful ocean while holding his nose (it is a funny picture) and says "down down down", which is what the book says on that page. They have such a great memory.

While reading books together on the couch, I ask "are you guys hungry?". Both boys look at me and, at the same time, ask "yogurt?".

At some point in the morning, Nick runs over to the fridge and says "milk, milk". I say, "please ask nicely" and he says "pleeeease". I say "can you say milk please?" He says "milk" "pleeeease".

We were sitting on the couch, reading (singing) the Wheels on the Bus book. Ben was laughing and trying to sing it with me. It was so cute. He would sing the beep, beep , beep and swish, swish swish, etc. parts with me and then would sing "all day long" with me too. Nick would sing "all day". I was cracking up.

They are definitely putting more and more words together every day. They are still leaving a slight pause between words at times. This is so much fun! I love watching them and helping them learn to talk!

November 11, 2007 Part 3

The boys actually posed for me one day...or as close as they will ever get to posing, anyway:). Here are the results.

I tried to get a close-up of Ben's cheek, where we had the mole removed, but it didn't turn out too good. Our camera does not do close ups too well.