Friday, June 29, 2007

June 29, 2007

The boys are very into helping out in anyway they can. They now enjoy helping to carry silverware and plastic dishes to the dishwasher, picking up toys (with specific instructions, follow up, as they get distracted very easily when picking up toys, and lots of praise) and rolling out toilet paper for anyone who will let them accompany them to the bathroom:). They are also working very hard on their stair climbing abilities, not wanting to use their hands anymore, and Nick actually OPENED a door today...I mean, he actually turned the doorknob and opened a door that was completely shut! I knew this was coming, because they have both been practicing a lot.

I am really impressed with their ability to feed themselves with their little fork and spoon. They really do pretty well with it, depending of the type of food. Sometimes we have to load the spoon. I took some pictures of them both eating a bowl of broccoli the other day, while their peanut butter sandwich sat nearby, barely eaten. I have not downloaded them from the camera yet though and I can't go back into the living room right now without losing my break time:). More pictures to come later.

They still repeat many words we say and are initiating more and more words on their own, although pronunciation is not their strong suit yet:). I usually know what they are talking about though and my husband and I both have noticed they are starting to pronounce certain words more clearly. They both talk A LOT now...maybe that's because I talk to them a lot:). I am trying to teach them to say "mama, please" when they need my help with something, instead of "uuuhhhhh!! uuuhhhhh!!". So far, they have not remembered this on their own but they will say it when I remind them.

We have decided to go ahead and order the learning tower, which I am very excited about. I think the boys will really enjoy being able to see what's going on in the kitchen, on top of the counter tops and to help and it will be nice to be able to let them both help without having to worry about them falling. If only one of them is awake, it's not a problem but it is too hard with two.

I made a counting mistake that my husband caught. The boys have been home 5 months, as of June 23rd, not 6 months:). I'm sure some of you were wondering about my math abilities. My head has not been too clear lately....unfortunately, I spoke too soon in my earlier post and I am still not feeling quite back to normal yet. I have still been running a low grade fever and feeling very low energy. I really thought I was over it but it started back up again yesterday afternoon and now I also have a sore throat. I am so tired of sickness. One thing is for sure...there is nothing like sickness to help you appreciate your good health. I am thankful the boys are back to their normal, adorable selves and am hoping I will wake up feeling better tomorrow. I am sure they are ready to see me back to my normal, adorable momma-self:).

My husband took the day off today, which means he was working on his projects around the house. The project for today was repairing some guttering around the house. He really can do just about anything. I forgot to mention one day earlier this week that he left me the sweetest card, telling me he would be praying for us that day. That's when both boys were not feeling up to par and were clingy and whiny. Yesterday he brought home some beautiful star lilies. As my grandmother says, he is definitely a keeper:).

My sister, mom and niece came to visit yesterday and it was nice to have some company. My sister is so wonderful with the boys. They are normally laughing the majority of the time she is here. She is so good at entertaining them and being silly with them. It is a joy to watch.

This is really blowing my mind lately: Ben will be 2 years old in approximately 3 months!! I just can't believe it!! And Nick is only about 6 weeks behind him. Wow, it is amazing to me how time can go by so so fast but, at the same time in other ways, it can be going by so slowly. It is a very strange thing.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

June 27, 2007 Part 2

"Babies are such a nice way to start people."

Isn't that just the sweetest little quote by Don Herrold. I don't know who he is but I just love this quote. It was on one of the pages full of quotes that I purchased for building lifebooks. I have created a kind of entry page for each of the boys' lifebooks and used this quote on one of them. I used the following verse on both of them because I thought it was such a great way to start their lifebooks:

All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139:16.

A very fitting way to start a lifebook, I think. So I officially have one page finished for each child:)....that is, in the latest style and size that I have finally decided on. I have already created many pages on line and am using that as a guideline for the prettier hard copy pages. It is kind of fun but also a bit of a daunting task. I'm not the most creative person, yet I can be a bit of a perfectionist, so it is a challenge for me. I am downright shocked at how expensive this whole scrapbooking thing can be.

Here's a random thought for you: Don't you just love "smell memories"? (Can you tell I'm feeling better today? I have even showered and washed my hair:). Yoo Hoo!) I am in the middle of a couple loads of laundry and, while I was folding clothes I was thinking about how I really love "smell memories" and how my favorite one from when I was a child is the smell of the soap my grandmother always had in her bathroom. I'm not sure exactly what it was but it was white, probably ivory or something like that. But, no matter where I am, anytime I smell that smell, I immediately think of my grandmother's bathroom, standing at that sink, washing my hands, and I smile.

I love the smell of our clean laundry. I love the smell of the Downy Mountain Spring that we use. It leaves the clothes smelling so fresh and wonderful. I also love the smell that wafts through the air when the white's are washing and there is bleach in the washer with them. It just smells so clean.

The boys woke up at 9:00 today, second day in a row. Must be because it is so dark outside because of the clouds and rainy weather. They went down for their nap around noon and are still sleeping, so I have had a nice break to get a few things done this afternoon.

It has been a nice and relaxing day so far. Nick is back to his sweet, jolly, very active self that I love and adore. Ben still had around 100 degrees fever but, after his motrin, he was running around playing, almost like normal. He is not quite as smiley and happy as normal though and I miss that...I'm sure he does too. Both boys are eating better today. I am feeling much better today too, even though I am still running around 99.5 degree temp myself. I'm sure the boys have missed my smiley, jolly self too:). But I am definitely feeling more like myself today, thankfully. I did end up moving both entire sets of blocks (plastic mega blocks and wooden blocks) to the living room and the boys noticed them immediately this morning. So I picked them each up a couple times and then finally decided to leave the plastic mega blocks lying on the fireplace hearth. They can still play with them but they are out of the way of the walking path. I think the favorite thing about the blocks so far is putting some of them back in the bag and then dumping them out again. It is so much fun to watch the play of toddlers, isn't it?

My sister, niece and mom are coming for a visit tomorrow. The boys and I were suppose to meet them at my grandmother's house tomorrow but we don't want to expose grandma to our illness so we will hopefully get to go for that visit next week. We have not seen her in quite a while, so I am really looking forward to seeing her again. It will be nice to have company tomorrow. Well, must go fold the last load of laundry before the boys wake up.

June 27, 2007

We have been stuck in the house for way to long now. Hopefully the rain will clear up, at least for a little while today. It is so hard to get out of the house with two little ones, without getting drenched. Also, we have been sick of course, and I don't like getting them out when they are sick. I don't feel good about exposing others and I think it's better for the sickies to be resting at home, as much as little ones rest. I wish I had their energy!

The boys are still sleeping but I am hoping that they will both be waking up with no fever today. We took temps before bed last night and Nick was normal and Ben was still running around 100 degrees. He slept well last night though, so hopefully today he will be feeling good again. I am still running around 100 degrees myself and was feeling pretty rough yesterday afternoon.

I felt so bad for Ben yesterday though. He wanted to eat so badly, whereas Nick was totally not interested when he had such a high fever. I just kind of followed Ben's lead, letting him try what he wanted to try. He wanted the chicken pot pie that I fixed for them for lunch and he had one bite and then couldn't seem to eat anymore, although he kept looking at it like he wanted it. Then he kept wanting milk (he had water) so I finally gave him some and it made him happy. He held the cup for a while and then gave it back to me:).  They ate some crackers but were not very interested in cheese or apple slices for snack. Ben had mostly saltine crackers but he wanted so much more and I could tell he was really bummed. Hopefully he will be able to eat a little more today. I think I'll try serving chicken noodle soup again and see how that goes over today.

This rain is never ending. Their little swimming pool is about to overflow with water now and it just keeps coming down. Last year at this time, we were in the middle of a major drought. I guess you just have to look at the average:), although I'm sure the farmers are really struggling.

I have been pulling out the stops, trying to find fun things for the boys to do. Yesterday we got out all of the wooden blocks (we normally keep a subset of them accessible because they used to throw them and put the long skinny ones in their mouths...may need to reconsider that now because they seem to handle them better yesterday) and we also got out all of the plastic mega blocks, which they really enjoyed. We also have only been keeping a subset of those available because they could not put them together very well but we probably need to reconsider that too because they are pretty good at this now. Get ready for a messier house:). I will really have to relax about this and pray about it a lot!

The boys should be awake anytime now so I must get ready for my day to start. Hope you all have a great day today!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

June 26, 2007

Ben woke up around 2:30 am and I gave him another dose of motrin. I rocked him for a while and put him back down around 3:00 am. He seemed ready to go back to sleep and did not protest, although Nick heard us and stood up crying in his crib. So I held him for a minute also. So, the sick child didn't make a peep when I left the room but the well child was crying; not for long though.

I was watching Nick last night, after Ben started wanting me to hold him again. Nick was actually behaving much better and he got in my lap and sat with us for a few seconds:). He doesn't sit anywhere for too long. Today I will have to do a better job of keeping a smile on my face, talking nicely and thinking of things to keep him busy. I'm afraid yesterday hit me like a freight train and I did not do a very good job of doing these things and Nick felt the brunt of it. I think I was expecting him to behave more like Ben, who will go play by himself, very content and happy, for a little while. Last night, when I was watching Nick, I realized that he is really a people person. He likes to be with people. So when Ben is well and is running around playing with toys, Nick is happy to run around too, playing with toys and they are almost always together, doing whatever they are doing. I think Nick felt a little lost, not having Ben around. So I will have to work on my patience today and mommy needs to put on a happy face and be a nicer mommy to be around. That will likely help a lot.

In other news, it is STILL raining here. It seems like it has rained at least some, almost every single day. There are very few days that go by that we don't get some rain. Now, normally, that might be a good thing. But we have had soooo much rain so far this year that everything is down right soggy. Our new red bud tree that we planted in the spring of 2006 has died. We didn't plant it up high enough, which did not matter all year long, until we got all of this rain. Some of my beautiful flowers are no longer blooming because they are in an area that cannot handle this much rain (same line of fire as the red bud tree). We live on a big hill and our neighbors yard is a little higher than ours so a lot of water drains from their yard, down our driveway and into a part of our yard, hence the dead tree and non-blooming flowers.

I cleaned out the little swimming pool last week and filled it with water. The boys were able to get one swim in before there was once again too much rain and/or everyone got sick. Now it needs to be cleaned again and it is over-full with water from all of the rain.

On the flip side of this, I really do enjoy a good thunderstorm. They are so interesting to watch and to listen to. Yesterday we had a really good, short one. The wind blew really hard and the rain was pouring for a short time. It is awesome to watch a really good thunderstorm with all of the lightening and everything. N gets scared when he hears the thunder though. Hopefully I will eventually be able to teach him to appreciate a good thunderstorm.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 25, 2007

Ben woke up with a fever after his morning nap today, oh joy. This was the first time we have ever seen Ben with anything higher than a low grade fever, so now we know how he reacts. He wants to be held 100% of the time, which is understandable when you are such a little guy and feeling so miserable. If I put him down for even the shortest period of time, he would cry his little heart out. He would lay on me and would be totally limp, to the degree that I was worried about him a couple of times, looking in his face and wondering if he was OK. I took his temperature a million times today.

We also now have a new understanding of how Nick reacts to how Ben reacts to being sick. When Nick saw me trying to hold Ben as much as possible, Nick was jealous and wanted me to pick him up too. To be fair, he is still recovering from not eating for 3 days and having a very high temperature for much of that time. Anyway, when I sat down so I could hold them both, Nick was not satisfied because he really wanted me to hold only him. So, his response to all of this was to do everything possible to get attention. He never once went to play with toys on his own while Ben was awake. He constantly and consistently did one thing after another that he knew he should not do, watching me and waiting for me to respond. Did I mention that I was also still running a low-grade fever myself and, generally, feeling exhausted, and that I was holding a (heavy) sick child most of the time? This did not make for a good combination.

I had also set up an appointment with a guy to check out our attic ventilation, as our upstairs area gets way too hot on hot days. So he was here part of the time when all of this was going on and then he was trying to talk to me and explain what our options are, all the while Nick is misbehaving and doing everything possible to get attention and Ben cries when I put him down to put Nick in his highchair and give him a snack, etc. You get the idea. It was a fun day. Actually, this would rate up there as one of my all time worse days.

Just so you know how desperate I was, I actually turned on the TV for about 45 minutes and let the boys watch Animal Planet's Funniest Home Videos (or funniest animals or whatever they call it). The boys loved watching the animals and this kept them entertained for a while. Nick was clapping and yelling and very excited in general about all of the animals and Ben even watched for a while. Nick is the most active child, yet when the TV is on (which is almost never), he is glued to it. It is really an amazing thing to watch. I was bummed when the show ended and the next one coming on was about shark attacks. I couldn't find anything else decent, that I could tolerate, so I turned it off after that, much to Nick's dismay, as he started up with his attention-seeking behavior once again.

My husband picked up some Chinese food on his way home from work, which was wonderful. The strangest thing though was, about 15 minutes after my husband got home, Ben starts perking up, gets down and starts walking around, irritating the cat, smiling and acting like his old self again. He ate rice for dinner (he had eaten nothing but yogurt all day) and after dinner, he got down and started playing again. His temperature is almost gone. I am amazed.

And, as soon as Ben started acting normal again, Nick started acting normal again too, going off to play with toys and with Ben.

**Updated: Spoke too soon. Ben's fever started rising again just before bedtime. He went right back into limp, hold me mode, poor little guy. We gave him some motrin 45 minutes before putting him to bed. He went down without a whimper, he was so tired, so hopefully he will get some good sleep, at least for a couple of hours:). We'll see what the night and tomorrow brings.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

June 24, 2007

Nick woke up this morning with a temp of around 100 degrees and he slept the entire night without even a whimper, so that's great. Last night he was still running around 104 degrees, as his motrin wore off so 100 is a big improvement. He is still barely eating anything but he is good about drinking. He definitely needs more sleep right now though. Hopefully he will be eating again soon. I hate to see him losing weight because he is a pretty skinny kid to begin with.

Ben seems to have fought it off and, other than a low grade fever for a little while, has not had any other symptoms. My husband and I are feeling much better today too, especially after getting a very good night of sleep last night.

The boys are down for a nap so I'm getting some computer time in and getting ready to work a bit more on lifebooks. I have been collecting the pieces I need to really get going on them and I think I have everything now.

We have one picture of each of our sons, taken from when they were just born. When we were in Russia on the first trip, we were shown these photos and told they would give them to us on our second trip. What we actually received was a black and white photocopy of the photo and the quality is very poor. This was very disappointing.

I want to include them in their lifebooks so I had been trying to make some decent copies of them with our copier but the quality of the original copies we received are so poor that they won't copy well. My husband took them to Kinko's and made color copies, which came out much better than the black and white copies I was trying to make here at home. He also made the copies on the acid free paper, so hopefully we now have copies that will last a lifetime for the boys as keepsakes.

Off to eat lunch and enjoy a little downtime during nap time:).

Saturday, June 23, 2007

June 23, 2007

Today makes 6 months since our sons came home. I have been writing a little each day about how they have grown and changed so much in that time and I have included a lot of pictures recently so today's post will be short.

Last night was a first for us. Last night was the very first night that one of our sons had a rough night and needed mommy. Yesterday afternoon, Nick came down with a pretty high fever of 104.6. We were giving him motrin and tylenol to help but it took a long time to work and he still had a hard night.

Don't you just hate to see your children suffering? It just makes me want to cry right along with them. We didn't get much sleep between 1:00 am and 4:00 am but he did sleep from 4:00 am to around 8:30 am, which was nice. I sat in their room, rocking him while Ben slept, and wondering how often he had been sick and had to suffer through the night alone, with nobody to hold and comfort him. This morning, his fever was better, although he is not eating much. He really likes to drink ice water though, which is wonderful.

Another first was that he spent a small amount of time in our bed during the night (the first time we have ever had a child in our bed). I think he was cold because his fever was slowly coming down. He tried to sleep but kept waking up so I took him back to his bed after about 30 minutes or so, when he had quit shivering. But I think he liked being snuggled up with us. He kept saying "night night?" and "daddy" and he kept pointing at the ceiling fan. Once, he even reached his little hand up and tried to grab it. It was so cute. He seemed relieved when he finally got back into his crib though and he went to sleep right away.

Ben was running a low grade fever yesterday evening. I was running a fever of 100 degrees this morning (and I suspect I was last night too) and my husband had an upset stomach, so I think we all have a bit of whatever virus this is.

My guess is that, once again, it came from church. There was a little boy in their class whose nose was running consistently. I picked him up once because he had climbed up to a place from where he could have fallen. I noticed the glands in my neck were very sore on Wednesday and Thursday, so I am guessing I am the one who brought it home from church this time.

So, we are relaxing and recovering for now. More later.

Friday, June 22, 2007

June 22, 2007

Just because they are so cute:), here are some fun pics from the last couple of days.

The boys now get to get their own yogurt from the fridge. They love helping themselves (I still have to open the door but they are working on that), picking the flavor they want and carrying it over to their highchairs. They love doing this and get very excited about yogurt time. Since they can each eat a whole one now, they eat right out of the container and feed it to themselves. This is somewhat new because their mommy is such a mess-control freak;). In these pictures, they actually have towels on their laps to catch the drips. I am not doing that anymore but it's hard for me because I prefer that their clothes stay somewhat clean during the day.

These bibs are great though, because they have a huge pocket along the bottom to catch all of the food. We keep one set of these bibs in the diaper bag for eating out. They have saved many a mess, so mommy loves them. The boys love them too because they can pick up the food that falls into the bib and still eat it.

The Sooner Start guy, who was here earlier this week, started this trendy fashion and now Nick thinks it is too fun! It always gets a good laugh from me.

Daddy likes to be silly with the boys too and they love that. They were trying to get me to do this yesterday. I did it for a little while but not as long as my husband did. Maybe it is a guy thing because my husband thought it was very funny.

I had a pillow fight with Nick and Ben yesterday afternoon. It was a lot of fun but, unfortunately, little Ben decided to stand on the couch when we were not too far into it so he had to get down. I'm sure we'll do it again soon and hopefully he will remember not to stand next time.

A cute thing from yesterday. The boys both repeat pretty much everything I say, watching my mouth to try to learn how to say the words. Their words are becoming much more clear and they are pointing to anything and everything, saying "that?". Yesterday afternoon, when we were outside, playing in their little pool, Ben pointed to the umbrella, wanting to know the word for it. When I said umbrella, he repeated it after me. He actually did a pretty good job but I was cracking up because, while saying it, he had the tip of his little tongue just inside his lips, where I could see it clearly, and it was moving from one side of his mouth to the other, along his lips, when he would try to say this word. It was a crack up. He did it again, several times and with a smile on his face, for daddy at dinner last night.

It is so fun to watch them learn and grow. They can now reach so much higher that I am constantly amazed at what they can do now. Ben was standing flat-footed and had his hand on our bedroom door knob yesterday. They are trying so hard to turn the door knobs, it won't be long before they figure it out. We can't leave anything along the edges of the countertops in the kitchen and they can reach pretty far onto the kitchen table now. I also have to be very careful now when I take anything out of the top oven and really have to watch them extra close when using the bottom oven. I normally make them go into the living room when I am opening the ovens these days.

They love for me to hold them up to see the food cooking on the stove. I was thinking of buying one of those "learning towers for toddlers", although they are about $160. My husband keeps asking if I really think they would get that much use out of it (probably while he keeps in mind my very nice and very expensive EFX machine upstairs, that has not been used by me in over a year, but I don't want to sale because I keep thinking I might want to use it again sometime:). I think they would really get a lot of use out of it and we could have a lot of fun in the kitchen with it. Have any of you bought one of these? What do you think, would the boys get a lot of use out of one of these? (you can google the words in quotes to see a picture, if you want).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, they will have been home for 6 months tomorrow. Ben will be 21 months old in about a week, which makes Nick about 19.5 months old now. It is really hard for me to believe how much they have changed in 6 months. They are so much fun to watch and be with. I love being their mom and I love being a stay at home mom.

On a more serious note, I mentioned in an earlier post that my mom had surgery about a week and a half ago. We recently found out that she has breast cancer. Initially they said that it was the best kind of cancer you can have because it does not spread outside of the milk duct and is not life threatening. They also thought they were catching it in it's earliest stage, although they still recommended that she have radiation therapy after the surgery. Unfortunately, the mass they removed during the surgery turned out to be larger than they thought and had spread outside of the milk duct, but they are still calling it ductile cancer, so I don't understand that. So now they are saying it is in a more advanced stage and they want her to see an oncologist to see if she should also have chemo. The good news is that the path report shows that the margins are clean and her lymph nodes were fine, which means they got all of the cancer and it had not spread to the lymph system yet. Mom will start radiation therapy in a couple of weeks but she was not able to get an appt with the oncologist until mid-July. She is doing great in her recovery from surgery though. If you could please keep mom in your prayers, I would greatly appreciate it.

The boys are awake now so time to go start my day:).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

June 21, 2007 Part 2

We spent a lot of time outside today.  After they woke from nap and ate, the boys and I went outside and they played in their little swimming pool for a while. Then they got out and just played in the yard for a while. So they got to spend a good deal of time outside today, which was great. I think it's good for kids to spend a lot of time playing outside.

Today was a very long day, since the boys woke up an hour to an hour and half earlier than usual and they just took one nap. So, right now, my husband is playing with the boys and I am taking a little break but I'm getting ready to join them because it is time to take the boys upstairs and get them ready for bed. They should sleep really well tonight....and so should I:).

One of the things I really love about being a stay at home mom is that tomorrow is always a brand new day and I get to start with a clean slate. I love that. Really, every time the kids wake up from nap, we are starting a clean slate, which is great. I really love the time right after they first wake up. Sometimes we sit and rock and sometimes they just want to start playing right away but they are always in such a great mood and it is just a really special time.

Saturday the boys will have been home for 6 months. They are growing so fast, I still just can't believe how much they have changed in the past 6 months. I love seeing their little personalities emerge. It is awesome!

June 21, 2007

Since they woke up early today, we went to the park to play. As it turns out, the water sprinkler park was working and there were two other little children playing in it so my sons wanted to check it out too. I was unprepared because I had thought they were too young for it. When I had seen it before, there were too many big kids running and squirting others with these squirt gun things that put out quite a bit of water. But today it was just little kids so I took off the shirts the boys were wearing and let them run around in their shorts and sandals. They had a ball and it was really fun to watch. They laughed so much and really enjoyed running around. We definitely have to start doing this more often and next time I will be more prepared.
We didn't stay too long because the boys were not wearing sunscreen. Fortunately I had put two towels in the car a couple of months ago, because you never know when you might need one with two little ones. This is the second time they have come in handy, the first being a very rainy day when I had to take the boys to have their hearing checked AGAIN. (I forgot to post about that but we have to go back YET AGAIN for Ben to have his checked again, while Nick stays with daddy, so Ben won't be distracted. It probably won't be until August, since they are booked but that gives us time to soften and clean the wax from Ben's ears, which he desperately needs and is probably affecting his hearing tests.) Anyway, I dried them off, took off their shorts and sandals and loaded them up to come home and they are now napping.

It was a fun morning and I will be looking forward to going back to the water park soon. It is only about a mile and a half from our house.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

June 19, 2007 Part 2

We celebrated our first ever Father's Day (as parents) on Sunday and I think it was a special day for everyone, but most especially my husband. We went to church, where we took turns staying with the boys during the Bible study and church hours. We had not been doing this for quite a while, but the boys were recently promoted to a new class so we are staying with them again for 4 Sundays in a row. Hopefully that will be enough to help them feel comfortable before we start leaving them again.

After church, we went out to eat, which took forever because of the "holiday". The boys did not enjoy that part too much.

When we got home, the boys went down for naps and my husband mowed the lawn while I did the weed whacking. He finished first and went out for a bike ride. He loves to ride long distance, for exercise (so he goes very fast), and he tries to get outside and ride at least once a week (in between, he swims at the gym or rides the indoor bike here). After that, the boys woke up from nap, we ate and then sat around and played with the boys and I took pictures. It was a restful day, for the most part. I printed out two of my favorite pictures of the boys (one of each child) and framed them for a Father's Day gift. My husband loved it and has already hung it in his office at work.

I have been reading the latest Robert Ludlum "Bourne" book, The Bourne Betrayal. I have almost finished it and it has been a treat, better than going to a movie, which I miss sometimes.

The boys, on the other hand, have been reading my copies of the Reader's Digest:). They love sitting next to each other, whether it is in a chair or on the couch. It's really cute to watch them together.

As for personality types, take a look at the pictures below and let me know what you think:).

Isn't he a cutie pie? These are, by far, the best pics I have gotten of Ben to date. I have had a much harder time trying to get pics of him that really reflect his personality, but these are perfect.

And now, here are the pictures of Nick:

He's a cutie pie too.....a very busy one:).

I was trying very hard to get a good shot of him but he kept moving around and would not sit still long enough and he was not into smiling at all. I have to catch him in the right mood....I guess we are all like that, so some degree:).

June 19, 2007

My husband and I have both been struggling with how to handle the questions we ALWAYS get when we are out and about with our sons.

I believe that most of the people asking the questions think the boys are cute and are not trying to be nosy or rude. It seems that people are always curious about twins, triplets, etc. so we are fair game for questions. Since our sons are only 6 weeks apart in age, they look as if they could be twins.

I would say that 98% of the time, when I take the boys somewhere, someone will ask "Are they twins?". They normally say this with that nice, they-are-so-cute look on their face. Most of the time they are women, once in a while a man will ask. Most of the time, we are waiting in a line and cannot easily make a quick statement and escape. Most of the time, the person is just making conversation while we wait and they say something sweet, like "They are so cute. Are they twins?".

Before we brought the boys home, I knew this would be a difficult thing. I guess I thought I would just figure out how to handle it as it came up. It is actually much more difficult than I imagined and my husband is seeing that too, since we have all been out together a few times when this has happened.

I really don't want to lie and say that they are twins, firstly because I just don't want to be lying and secondly because it wouldn't help that much anyway because the next question would be about how hard it was to carry or deliver twins, so it wouldn't help that much anyway.

To date, my response has been usually to say "no, they are not twins, just close in age" or "no, they are brothers, close in age" or something like that. Inevitably, the next question is always "how far apart are they". Sometimes this is because the person also has two children who are close in age and they are just trying to make a connection for polite conversation or, more often than not, they are just curious and making conversation while we are waiting in line, but not trying to be rude. Knowing what I now know, I would be very careful how I would pose such questions, if I were to ask them at all. However, I could see myself asking such questions before I learned what I now know.

When I am asked how close in age they are, I say they are 6 weeks apart. When this happens, I ALWAYS get that look that says that doesn't make sense, how can that be. Keep in mind that I am normally standing in a line or sitting in a cafe or something and cannot just walk away. Normally another question follows in their effort to clear up the confusion and I end up feeling backed into a corner and feeling that my only option, aside from being rude, is to explain that they are adopted. As of yet, not one person has deduced this on their own.

I would really like to come up with a response that would be respectful but that would still reserve our right to privacy. I especially want to have a response that would be acceptable to little ears, for when our sons are old enough to understand what is being said. That is what concerns me more than anything else. I don't want our sons to think we are ashamed that they were adopted but I also don't want them to think we MUST tell everyone we run into at the grocery store and Target that they were adopted, just because someone asked if they are twins.

Any suggestions?

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

June 13, 2007

Things have been very busy around here lately. Yesterday was the first day I have been away from the boys for more than about two hours. My mother had to have surgery so my husband took a day off of work so he could hang out with the boys and I could be with my mom. Her surgery went very well but it was a long day for everyone and the chairs they have at this hospital are not very comfortable (they did have good food though). Hopefully she will recover quickly.

My husband did a wonderful job of taking care of the boys and I think they all enjoyed the day together. He even took them both out to run errands, including a grocery run and the house looked pretty good when I returned. He did say that he was more tired than he normally is at the end of a work day though. I was exhausted too because I had to get up at 4:45 am yesterday morning. We both went to bed early last night.

My sister's son came back with me so he is staying a couple of days with us. He is 13 years old and the boys really enjoy having him here. We are planning a trip to the aquarium today, if the weather is not too bad. We are still having tons of rain here every day and I don't care to take the boys out if it means we are standing in pouring rain, while we are loading and unloading from car seats and stroller.

My mom sent a couple of cute little step stools for the boys and they are having a fun time learning how to step up on them in order to get into the big chairs. These little step stools are very old and home made by a relative from large cans. They really need to be recovered. You can see one of them in this picture.

The boys used this one little stool to climb up into this big rocker, each carrying a book, and then they sat next to each other in the chair and started looking at their books. It was really cute. They are enjoying their new-found independence of being about to get into a chair on their own.

As for the zoo, I have not been very good at taking pictures on our trips to the zoo. Here is a picture of one of our outings, with the boys in their caps, but I think this may have been when we were in Kansas City.

I am very good about taking pics at home and always keep the camera nearby, in case a cute shot comes up suddenly, but I have not done so well when we are out and about. I need to get better about that.

Here is the scene that is frequently at my feet when I am standing at the kitchen sink. The boys will bring their books and toys into the kitchen and play on the rug at my feet. (Those are my toes sticking into the bottom middle of the picture:).

And here is a shot of Ben climbing up on the large ottoman in our living room. Both boys can do this now, without assistance, and Nick can also climb up onto the couch without assistance. They are growing and learning by leaps and bounds.

Here is a picture of my sister, holding Ben. She is wonderful with children and our two little sons absolutely love spending time with her. She is an RN, so she spent the night last night with our mom. My sister is a very caring, giving, serving kind of person and she makes the best pies (with homemade crust) I have ever tasted, especially apple which is my favorite. She and I are very close and our close relationship is one of the reasons I really wanted to adopt two children of the same gender. Hopefully our sons will also have a very close relationship. They are certainly enjoying each other so far and watching them grow closer is priceless.

Here is a pool shot. We have not had a lot of time in the pool yet because of all of the rain. When it gets really hot and sunny, they are really going to love it. I put shirts on them because I knew we would not be out long and I didn't want to bother with sunscreen. The pool is actually in the shade but I was afraid they might get a little too much sun from the reflection off of the concrete.

I'm not a real fan of those swimmy diapers but I guess that's the best we can do for now. I had a very bad experience with them recently. Since they are basically like pull up's, they tend to come off inside out. Let's just say you should ALWAYS check to make sure there is no poop in them BEFORE you take them off.

The boys love to put my husband's house shoes on their hands/arms. This is Ben and he is wearing size 3T PJ's, believe it or not. No, they don't fit him:) but I had not had a chance to buy new summer PJ's yet and the ones we have were dirty.

Here is Ben again, with house shoes on his hands/arms. It always cracks me up when they do this.

I think having a day off was good for me. I missed the boys but I feel much more relaxed with them today. I have also been praying about not being so picky about everything and choosing my battles wisely. God is so good and patient with me:).

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8, 2007

So this evening, I went into the kitchen to take my allergy medicine. The glass of water I had been drinking earlier was sitting on the island so I picked it up, took a big swig of water and swallowed my allergy medicine. Then, I walked to the fridge and started putting ice in my glass of water because I always keep a glass of ice water next to my bed at night.

My husband, sitting in his office in the next room, heard me getting the ice to put into my glass of water. From his office, he said urgently, "Dancer (the cat) drank out of your glass of water a while ago".

That's great, thanks for the head's up honey:).

We were laughing about it later (after I asked why he had not simply poured the water out, after seeing the cat drink from it;) and he said "you have to wonder how many times that happens around here and we never know it".

Sadly enough, it's probably much more often than we would want to know, since we have two cats. Although, it also probably only happens to me, since my husband normally only drinks coffee or Diet Rite (from a can) in the house and the kids drink milk from sippy cups. I'm the one who consistently keeps a glass of water sitting around all the time.

I guess it is fair, since they are my cats:).

In other news, we had a fun time at the zoo today and the boys were really great, which was a miracle since they were missing their nap. They took a good nap afterwards though, starting in the car on the way home. I think the highlight for this trip to the zoo was the company. We went with a group of women and young children and I enjoyed visiting with everyone. There is a wonderful park at the zoo, where the kids had a lot of fun playing and we had a great close up view of two Asian elephants. The elephant handlers were giving them treats, explaining how and why they train them and walking them through their paces on some of the commands they knew. It was very good, except that little 19 and 20 month olds have short attention spans. So we went to the back and had a snack until it was time to move on. The weather was absolutely beautiful here today. It was breezy, cool (mostly in the 70's) and clear blue skies...the perfect day for the zoo.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

June 7, 2007 Part 2

Thanks so much for the comments on the last post. I really appreciated them and so needed to hear this today. I got a bit teary eyed while reading them.

It's funny how God reaches out to you when you reach out to Him. Not long after I wrote that post today, an insulation guy stopped by because we are having issues with too much heat in our upstairs rooms. He saw some verses that we have framed in our entry hall so he knew that we are a Christian family, so he started talking about our faith. First we started talking about the kids and I told him some of our adoption story. He and his wife were teachers for many years and they love kids. But then we started talking about the importance of similar beliefs between a husband and wife and the importance of the husband being the leader of his family, etc.

For some reason, I felt led to tell him, in summary, about what I wrote on the blog earlier today. He basically said something similar to the comments. He also said that God understands and that it was me that was putting a legalistic requirement on my life and feeling guilty about it, but Jesus came to free us, and some other things like that. I felt like God was talking through this very nice, Christian man and that God had sent him here today just for me, because He knew I needed so much to hear this. I almost started crying when I was listening to him because I felt like God was wrapping me in His arms and telling me not to worry.

Going forward, I will be focusing on little prays throughout my days, making some good Christian friends and reading the Bible when I can but not feeling guilty about it when I can't. Thanks again for the comments. I really needed to hear this today.

June 7, 2007

My husband and I have been married now for almost 2.5 years. Before that, I was single for many years (I'm now 44 years old). For some reason, it seems to me I was better at working on my relationship with God when I was single than while I have been married. I don't know why this is but I am really struggling with this and I have struggled with it now for over 2 years.

When I was single, I was very involved in my church and in serving. I certainly had times when I was not praying or reading the Bible as much as I should have but, overall, I certainly did much much better than I have done since being married.

I have been in two different Bible studies, since we moved to Oklahoma a little over a year ago. I really like our church here but we have not really made any close friends yet. Last Sunday, our pastor preached about the need for community and close friends to keep you accountable and my husband and I discussed how we really need to make an effort to make 2 or 3 close Christian friends here in our city (none of our closest friends live nearby).

I have tried to get into a routine of praying and studying the Bible. I came to the revelation a number of weeks ago that, when I am praying more, I tend to want to read the Bible more. Yet, it seems that inevitably, I end up only praying and Bible reading for 3 or 4 days in a row, or maybe a week, before something changes my routine and I end up forgetting about it again. When I realize that has happened again, I feel guilty and I have a really hard time starting up again.

I am very much a person of routine. I like to have routine in my life. I am OK with changing things up a bit a couple of days a week and I enjoy taking the kids out and trying different things, but I normally feel somewhat relieved and a bit more relaxed when we have at least ton the days of the week where we can follow a normal routine. Being out of routine seems to drain me more. I really don't care for this quality of mine and would rather be someone who could just go with the flow and enjoy the spontaneity of life.

Keeping a routine these days has presented a bit of a challenge. The boys are at a point where they tend to have different sleep requirements, Nick needing more and Ben needing a bit less. Some days, they seem to still need two naps and on other days, they sleep so long during their first nap that there is no way we could fit in a second nap...but then they usually have to go to bed early that night because they are so cranky. I think they must also be trying to cut some teeth because they are really really whiny and cranky these days and seem to need a bit more sleep than they did just a couple of weeks ago. So, these days, it seems that each day is a bit different and I just don't know what the day will bring until it's brought:), if you know what I mean.

It seems that when the routine in my life changes, I get busy or distracted and forget all about my prayer life and Bible reading. I know I need this in order to have a close relationship with God. I know I need it in order to raise our sons the way God wants them to be raised. I want it and yet I am not doing it. I want my children to see God in my life. I want to be a good Christian role model for them. And yet I am not doing it. I know I am a better person when I have a closer relationship with God. I know I feel better about myself and the fruit of the spirit shine through much much more when I have a closer walk with God....and yet I am not doing it. It makes me so mad at myself and I feel so guilty. Why do I do this? Is this simply a lack of self discipline? I am so frustrated by this and I really want to find a way to conquer it once and for all. I don't want to be the kind of person that just turns to God and gets closer to God when something bad is happening in my life. I want to have a consistent close relationship with the One who created me.

Has anyone else ever struggled with this? I am open to feedback and/or suggestions and would appreciate any prayers you send up on my behalf.

Monday, June 04, 2007

June 4, 2007

I'm not the type of mom who worries about her kids all the time. I don't jump up every time it looks like they might fall, unless it is a dangerous situation. I don't sit around, worrying about whether they might get kidnapped or things like that. I really just have not worried about them much at all. I know that God gave these little guys to us for a short time and He is in control. I tend to be a detail oriented person and I am normally a very good multi-tasker, so that probably helps too.

All that being said, I had two close calls recently. One close call was this morning and the other was yesterday and they both just about scared me to death.

Yesterday, the boys and I were outside playing in the yard. I had set up their little pool and they were throwing things in and getting them out again and just having a good time (the water was too cold to swim). After a while, they became bored and started looking for something else to do. They started walking around the yard (they have gotten so much better at this by the way. Nick can even run up the small incline in our yard now) and noticed the swing set in the backyard. It had been a few weeks since we had gone back there to play. We've had a lot of rain over the past several weeks so we have had very little outside time lately. Anyway, they wanted to go to the backyard to play on the swing set, which was cute, since this is the first time they had really asked to do this. So we went back there and I wiped the swings down with a towel I was carrying. I was trying to get the cobwebs off of them so I was swinging the towel around and swatting the swings with it. Then I put the boys in their swings and pushed them for a while. They enjoyed the swinging for a while and then they wanted out to try the slide. So I wiped down the slide and helped each of them slide a few times. I would picked one of them up and put them on the slide, about half way down, and then hold their hands while they slid down. They are not quite at the point where they can go up the steps and slide down on their own. But they really enjoyed their mini-sliding and I think they are starting to get the hang of keeping their balance while sliding.

After sliding, they wanted to swing again. So I loaded them back up in their swings and we did that again for a while. After a few more minutes, Ben wanted out but Nick didn't, so I was holding Ben and we were both pushing Nick and they both thought that was fun. (Side note: Nick had such a beautiful, open mouthed smile on his face during this time of swinging; it was a look of pure joy and I wished I could have had a picture of him like that.)

Then I saw it....a yellow jacket wasp landed on the slide. At first, I didn't think much about it. I just thought (and said out loud) that we need to have daddy look for wasp nests. After seeing it fly around for a bit, I remembered something important. When we went to pick this swing set up from the person who gave it to us, there was a huge wasp nest under the platform above the slide. We didn't realize it was there and started breaking down the swing set. The wasps swarmed out and we all took off running but the lady who gave us the swing set was stung several times. So, as I was still holding Ben and pushing Nick in the swing, I bent over so I could see under the platform above the slide. We were standing right next to it and Nick was in the swing closest to the slide platform. There, right in front of me, was a huge wasp nest with lots of yellow jacket wasps covering it.

I immediately put Be down, away from the slide, got Nick out of the swing as quickly as possible and took the boys back to the side yard. We were so fortunate that these wasps never came out and swarmed us....actually, I was fortunate twice in one day, as I mowed the yard during nap time, so I was mowing on all sides of the slide platform. It is amazing really, that these wasps never swarmed in either situation. The boys must have realized from my demeanor that something was wrong because they didn't protest our abrupt departure very much.

Afterwards, I kept thinking of all of the what-if's and it really tore me up. It was so scary to think of those wasps swarming when the kids were there, especially in their swings, since they are belted into bucket seats and it takes a while to get them out. Even now it makes me cringe to think of what might have happened. Needless to say, we won't be going into the backyard again until my husband has a chance to get rid of the nest. We are also talking about how we might change the design of the platform a bit so the wasps would not have such an ideal location to build a nest. Hopefully we can figure something out soon, as it seems the boys are now getting to the age where they are really going to start enjoying playing on the swing set.

Today's event was just as scary, although this time it was my own carelessness that almost caused a very painful situation. We bought some navy blue curtains for the boys' bedroom, with hopes that they will keep the sun out a little more thoroughly than the blinds and also maybe some of the heat. The boys frequently wake up much earlier on very sunny mornings than they do on cloudy mornings and, from today's nap, I suspect that the curtains are also going to help them fall asleep more quickly at nap time. They have made a pretty big difference in how light the room is.

Anyway, the boys were having fun playing in their bedroom. I had hung a curtain rod above their window and then put up the ironing board to iron the curtains. The ironing board was sitting just in front of a shorter (shorter than the ironing board) night stand. Since the curtains took up the entire length of the ironing board, I was setting the iron on the night stand intermittently, for very short periods of time, as I adjusted the curtain I was ironing. (I know you can guess what happened next.) Before I knew it, Nick was right there next to the night stand and reaching out to touch the very hot iron. I very quickly pulled the iron away from him and said "no" with a very scared look on my face. He was looking at my face and saw that scared, horrified look and he jerked his hand back and started crying. I thought he had touched the iron with his thumb, so I quickly picked him up, took him to the bathroom (only a few steps away) and prepared to put his hand under cold water. Before I could do that, he had stopped crying and started wanting to play with things on the bathroom counter, so I knew he was fine. He had not burned his thumb after all. He had cried because he was scared from the frightened look I had on my face.

I was so relieved. As I finished my ironing, I was much more careful to ensure the iron was no where near their reach and I also said several prayers of thanks to God for watching out for them and keeping them safe. I am so thankful. I would have felt terrible if they had been hurt in either of those situations but even more so if Nick had been burned by that iron from my carelessness.

So, those were my two frightening close calls, in addition to some of the things we did this weekend. We had a nice weekend but I could have done without these two events. I still won't be a hovering, over-protective, worrying kind of mom but I will try to be a bit more careful about thinking ahead in risky situations. I think I normally do this and am very very careful in risky situations, such as kids in the bath or around the little swimming pool, etc., but I certainly did not think through the ironing situation carefully enough and I will definitely be more cautious going forward. Fortunately, I hardly ever have to iron anything, although there are a few clothes in my closet that have not been worn for a long while because they need to be ironed. Next time, I will do my ironing when the boys are napping.

The water in the little pool was being heated by the sun this morning so the boys will get to play in it for the first time this afternoon. They are going to have so much fun in this little pool. They both love the water and love to splash and don't seem to mind when they splash the water in their face. I still need to find our old pool toys that are stored away somewhere in the garage. I had a pretty good collection from buying a few each year when I lived in Houston and my sister, mom and some of my nieces and nephew would come to visit for a week each summer. They would come for a week and we would swim in the townhouse pool every day and do fun stuff around Houston all week. It was a great tradition for about 10 or 12 years, until we moved to Oklahoma and now we live within 1.5 hours from them and we no longer have pool access.

Still yet, after we had moved here last year, sometime around spring time, my little nephew and one of my nieces were both questioning when they were going to come and stay a week with us. It was really cute. My sister told them they would not being doing that anymore, now that we live nearby. Instead, they come and spend a night or two or three (or more) here and there throughout the year and we get to see them much more often than we used to. It's nice to be near family and I look forward to letting our sons have sleepover stays with my sister. I have such great memories of doing this type of thing when I was little and I know my nieces and nephew have great memories of going to Houston every summer. Those are some of the things that just put a nice, warm and fuzzy feeling in your heart and I look forward to that for our sons.

Guess I kind of got off the topic here a bit, surprise surprise:).

Friday, June 01, 2007

June 1, 2007

This has been a difficult week for us (me and the boys). I have not felt great, which was not the greatest thing for my mood/attitude, which certainly didn't help their mood/attitude, and I probably tried to do too much on a couple of days which didn't help the situation.

One day, when I had been in an irritable mood, I was kissing the boys on their foreheads, while they were in their high chairs, and telling them "mommy loves you". They both started saying "wuv yu" back to me. It was so so sweet. This week, they have both also started initiating kisses, which just melted my heart. They are both such sweet little boys....when they aren't terrorizing the cats and each other:).

Yesterday morning I took the boys for their third round of shots. I really hate doing this. I'm glad that they do them very very quickly but I still sooo hate doing this and it makes me feel like crying with them. Both boys have to get one shot in early August and then Nick has to get two shots at the end of September and then they will be caught up and won't need anymore until they are four. That will be a relief.

After the shots, they were both very whiny the rest of the day, especially Ben. I kept thinking that maybe it was from the shots because the shot-giver told me the boys would possibly run a temp afterwards, but they never felt warm to me.

After taking a short break yesterday evening, while my husband was hanging out with the boys, I came into the room and picked up Ben and I pretty much knew right away that he had a temp. My husband took their temps and both boys were running just over 100. No wonder they had been a bit cranky. Then I felt really bad that I had not been a bit more patient and loving with them during the day.

Do you ever have one of those days when you are really wanting to get a couple of things done and your kids are really wanting your attention and then, later, you realize you should have just put everything aside for the day and given your kids the attention they needed? That's what yesterday was like here. I had the worse case of mommy guilt last night. I should not have made that cake and I should not have worked on the Lifebooks yesterday. Neither of those things were must-do's. Next time, I need to remember what the important priorities are.

I also set up their little pool yesterday, while they were sleeping. I don't like it. It has flimsy sides that you could not even lean on without them falling over and water rushing out. Turns out that it has a leak anyway so we will be taking it back. This is the second pool I have set up and filled with water. At this rate, it may be the end of the summer before our little guys get to play in their little pool.

During my mommy guilt time yesterday evening, I also realized that I am doing more house work and other things while they are awake these days. I knew that would happen, to some degree, but I think I probably need to go back to giving them a little more direct attention than I have lately. I have still been doing that some but not as much as I want to or intend to. It's funny how that can start slipping away when you are not even aware of it. You just start thinking of the list of things that need to be done and which things you should do when they are asleep and which you can do when they are awake and, before you know it, you are giving them less attention.

So, today will be different around here. Unfortunately my husband and I got very little sleep last night. It has been very stormy here and we have one of those emergency storm radios that goes off automatically with the storm alerts and it kept going off last night. So, my motto for the day will be to do as little as possible around the house and to just hang out with the boys. Sounds like a fun day, huh? Except for the lack of sleep thing, I think it will be.