Friday, August 31, 2007

August 31, 2007

My husband and I both thought that my physical therapy appointment was yesterday but, after rushing around to make it and being late, it turns out it is actually we were actually very very early:). So, now I have done the exercises four days in a row, which sounds a little better.

The Parents as Teachers people came yesterday and I really like them a lot. The lady who will be coming once a month is Jackie and she has been doing this for ten years. They bring lots of information and fun things to do and they will always bring one fun activity to do with us while they are here. She told me about several of the activities and they sound like a lot of fun (one of them was the shaving cream on the table thing). I think the boys will love this and it will give us something to look forward to.

I'm not sure if I mentioned this in an earlier post or not but we went back to the dermatologist to have the mole on Ben's face checked again. It had been three months and they wanted to see if it had changed at all. It has not. We were told that the experts are in disagreement about the approach for this type of mole, as to whether it could eventually become cancerous or not and whether it should be removed or not. The one thing that they all agree on is that removing it as early as possible will leave less of a scar than removing it later in life. After listening to the discussion between the dermatologist and my husband (who is a doctor), it sounds to me as if we are most likely going to have it removed. We are going to meet with a plastic surgeon to discuss it sometime soon but not sure when yet. I think the only question remaining is probably whether we will have it done by a regular plastic surgeon here or whether we will go to OKC and have it done by a pediatric plastic surgeon. If we do have it removed, it will be an outpatient kind of thing, where Ben does not have to stay overnight in a hospital, which is good.

We went outside to play again this morning and it was the most pleasant morning we have had in a long time. It was so cool and there was a very light breeze, very nice. The boys wanted to play in the water but they were good about staying out of it when I told them no. It was too chilly and the water in their pool is dirty.

Yesterday and today, Nick's nose has been running like crazy, poor little guy. I know he gets so tired of me wiping it for him, although if it gets too bad before I see it, he will come to me and show me so I guess he appreciates it somewhat. This morning, Ben's nose started running too, so he is now catching the same cold. Fortunately there have been no fevers and they both seem to be fine, playing and running around as usual.

Two of the things they really like these days are the bean box and playing with the blocks. They ask about the bean box several times a day and Nick now calls the sandbox the bean box too, which is funny. I tell him it is a sandbox and he still calls it a bean box. They love for me to build a tower from the wooden blocks and let them knock it down...over and over and over again. Sometimes they are really good about waiting and letting me build it real tall but most of the time they knock it down before it gets very high. Nick will sometimes knock it down when I am just starting and Ben will get upset because he wants it to be bigger.

The boys can both now climb up into their booster chairs at the table and fasten the buckle all by themselves. Sometimes they will clap and cheer when they are finished, especially Ben. It is very cute to watch.

One of Nick's favorite things to say right now is "knock knock". The funny thing is that I only said this to him once, as I was knocking on a door that he had closed between us and he picked it up right away. He will knock on anything and everything and say "knock knock". My favorite thing to hear them both say though is still "umbrella". It is sooo funny to watch and listen to them say this word. We really need to take a video of it before they learn how to pronounce it better.

The boys have both been taking longer naps for the past few days, since they started getting their colds. So I have a bit more time to get things done while they nap. It sure makes the day go by so fast though. They go down for their nap at 11:00 and are usually asleep by 11:15 (after they have thrown their ya ya's back and forth between their cribs a few times and then missed and they lose them to the floor). When they do not have colds, they normally wake up around 1:00 but lately they have been sleeping until 2:00ish. By the time I get them up, change them and feed them, it is going on 3:00 so the day is already mostly gone. I probably have about an hour left before nap time is over so I had better go get a few things accomplished, although I have already done my back exercises, eaten and now updated this blog, so I'm not doing too badly.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

August 30, 2007 Part 2

Do you have certain buttons that, when pushed by your children, will really get you going...and they know it??

I know I do, although I try hard to hide them from my kids. One of my buttons is screaming. I am OK with loud playing and even screaming/shrieking when playing and having fun. That's not a big deal to me and it usually doesn't happen that often. My button is pushed when there is screaming because a child is not happy with something or something does not go the way they think it should. Both boys have used this, although Nick started it and Ben caught on very quickly. I have tried everything I can think of to stop this behavior and we are now considering it "a fit" and standing said child in the corner for it. I decided it is better not to focus on the screaming but to just categorize it as "a fit" and follow the same method for dealing with fits. This seems to be working and we are seeing much less of this now. One thing I have noticed though is that Nick will sometimes scream when he hurts himself.....not like a scream of pain but a scream of anger, just like the kind of scream he sometimes uses when he is having a fit. It is kind of strange and I am not quite sure how to handle this one yet since, when it happens, he is normally upset because he is hurt. Thankfully it seldom happens.

Another button of of my children loves to throw things on the floor. He will pick up something or, more likely, many somethings, and deliberately throw them on the floor, for no reason whatsoever. Sometimes, when I am changing his diaper, he will grab anything nearby and throw it on the floor. He will go over to one of the toy baskets, pick up a toy on top, throw it on the floor and then walk away, looking for another toy that interests him, or the next thing to add to the pile on the floor. I think this child is really good at finding my buttons and sometimes enjoys pushing them...sometimes while looking right at me, with a smile on his face.

August 30, 2007

Not much, just life:). We have been enjoying some outside time. The boys love their swingset and will let me push them until my arms fall off, which can be very startling to a not-yet two year old:). They love the slide and the little teeter totter...and their sandbox and, mostly, playing in water. Nick especially loves playing in water. Anytime we go outside, I ALWAYS bring towels, even when they are just wearing their normal play clothes. And, we ALWAYS need the towels.

The boys are spending more and more time playing together and making each other laugh, which is fun to watch. I have also noticed that they spend more time on an activity and less time bouncing around from one thing to another. They have recently started roughhousing, which I have mixed feelings about. They think it is hysterical but I'm not so sure. It is cute to watch them have fun and laugh so much but Nick definitely has the advantage and tends to push Ben back (they play on the couch so it is a soft landing) or get on top of him. Ben thinks it is funny, for now. Nick doesn't understand that doing this when not on the couch could hurt Ben. Also, I have some horrific memories of my three brothers "roughhousing" and really being kind of mean to each other and I don't want my sons doing that.

Our local school district has a program called "Parents as Teachers" that I have signed us up for. I had heard that they have one day a week where parents bring their little ones in to a special classroom at the school to play, which is really why I was interested. Unfortunately, they no longer do this, since they don't have room because of all-day kindergarten. But I signed up anyway. They will be coming over to our house once a month with activities for the boys. It should be fun for them, hopefully. Today is our first day. The bad news is that Nick is coming down with a cold (yes, we were back in church on Sunday:). So I'm not sure how he will be feeling today, since they are still sleeping.

I am feeling much better these days, from an energy perspective. I finally feel back to my normal self. My back is still a big issue and I have done the exercises the past two days:). I have finally resigned myself to doing the exercises, since it doesn't seem I am getting any better otherwise. I finally go back to physical therapy today so he will see how far I have NOT come.

My mom has had her second chemo treatment and has been going through the week or so of feeling badly. It is better than last time though, thankfully.

My grandmother is now in a nursing home and it has been a really tough thing for her to accept. It was also very hard for my sister, dad and uncle to deliver the news.

I had thought of a ton of things to write about the boys, over the past week or so, but now I can't recall any of them:). I will have to start writing them down. I hear banging on cribs now though, so the kiddos are up and ready to start their day.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

August 28, 2007

I bought a potty chair and one of the small seats that goes on top of the toilet seat. I bought two books for toddlers about learning to potty. I bought that cute, animated DVD and one of the books I got goes along with it. I also got some training pants, some cute big boy pants and some double purpose plastic / training pants (they are like really thick plastic pants with some absorbent material inside and the plastic on the outside and they make the child look like he is wearing a big bubble:).

The boys enjoyed the DVD the most and they have watched it several times. They love the potty song, which is played while they show lots of cute pictures of toddlers running around and playing with a potty chair. They enjoyed playing with the potty chair, sitting on it and taking it apart. They loved one of the books. It has a button that, when pushed, plays the sound of a toilet being flushed and then little kids laughing. Unfortunately, it is extremely LOUD. For some reason, it didn't sound that loud at the store. The boys do not care anything about looking at the pages of this book. They just want to press the button over and over and over again. So, for now (until I can figure out how to break the button), that book is in the top of one of our cabinets:).

I had already been thinking that probably next spring/summer would be a good time to start trying to train the boys, even before I bought all of this stuff. But I figured that we would have to have it all sooner or later anyway and Nick typically wants to try everything and anything new so I thought maybe, just maybe, he might be ready to train sooner.

Today I decided to put them both on the potty and see how they did. Ben wanted absolutely no part of it so that was the end of that. Nick wanted no part of the potty chair but is very excited to get to sit on the big potty, mostly because he likes tearing toilet paper into little bitty pieces and putting them in the toilet and he also likes flushing the toilet over and over again. I let him sit there several times today because I thought it was good practice, he seemed interested and I figured at least he is getting some practice on the routine (washing hands after, etc.).

After he finished sitting on the potty (with no results, other than some wasted toilet paper and water) I put him in the double purpose plastic/training pants, thinking that he might feel the wetness and want to go sit on the potty again. He peed in them right away, although he gave no indication of this. Soon after, he wanted to sit on the potty again (which is how I knew he peed in them right away), so I let him and then put him in a pair of cotton training pants with another pair of the double purpose plastic/training pants on top of them (thinking that maybe he would now feel the wetness). Nope. Didn't even notice the wetness and, when I asked him if he was wet, shook his head no, even though I knew he was.

My conclusion is that I am definitely not ready for this and am really dreading the time when I must do this. I don't think they are ready either....well, B is definitely not ready, which I pretty much already knew. N might be, if I really wanted to work with him on it. I think I would rather wait until he is more obviously ready though....mostly because I am just not ready...and I think if I wait longer, it might be easier and faster.

From everything I have read, the fastest way to train them, when they are ready (and I am ready - they will likely be ready before I am...especially since I will likely never be ready:), is to put them in cotton training pants or let them run around bottomless, so they are much more aware of when they start to go. I can understand how they might need to feel this the first few times. What I don't understand and really want to know, for those of you who have been there and done this, is how do you keep them from peeing all over your furniture and rugs?? I don't mind the hardwood floors. They clean up easy enough. But what do you do about the furniture and rugs??

I am definitely going to need to do some reading about this before I am ready. Oh how I dread this. (Can you tell I hate messes?)

Friday, August 24, 2007

August 24, 2007 Part 2

For those of you who have been there and done that, I would love some feedback on what kind of potty chair to buy. I am torn between going straight to the little seat that fits on the toilet, along with some steps to get up there, or buying one or two potty chairs. Any recommendations, pros, cons?

I don't think the boys are quite there yet but I would like to start gearing up for the event. I think we might go to a used bookstore today and look for some children's books about learning to potty. I would also like to find a good DVD for them. Since they do not normally watch TV, watching the potty DVD will be real treat:). Any recommendations on books and DVD's will also be greatly appreciated.

August 24, 2007

I am feeling better today so hopefully this will be long term and I will continue to feel back to normal now. Thanks for the emails and comments. They are greatly appreciated.

I had my hair highlighted and it was nice to just be there. It seems a bit lighter than it used to, although it had been so long and it was looking so dark on top that it could just be the contrast. They never can dry/fix my hair well at all. Yesterday, the lady who dried it put this product on it that she said takes away frizz. My hair was so big and frizzy when she finished, it was down right pitiful and somewhat humorous but I hadn't said anything. The lady who highlighted it and who normally dries it came by to see it and she immediately started trying to repair it. It wasn't quite as big when she finished but, overall, it was beyond repair. I always come prepared and, as soon as I get in my car, I put it up in a ponytail:).

They always ask me if I want them to dry it straight or curly. Sometimes I let them dry it straight, just to see what it looks like. It's kind of fun, since it is curly all the time. But, after doing that a few times, I have gotten tired of it. When it is straight, it is so fine and soft that it won't stay in a pony tail very well and I think I just look weird when it is straight. My husband doesn't like it like that either. It just doesn't look like me. But I think they prefer to dry it straight, even though it takes FOREVER, because they know how to do that better than how to make it look good when it is dried curly. To be fair, it took me a while to figure out how to dry it curly too, without it becoming big or frizzy. Maybe they will get it eventually. Maybe not. (No other hairdresser has ever figured it out.)

This morning the boys and I got outside. I pushed them on their swings for quite a while, until my arms were too tired to continue. They played on the slide for a while. They are pretty good at the slide now and can even climb up the slide these days. They played in their sandbox for quite a while. I even had time to weed an entire flower bed that was completely covered with weeds, while they played. I can tell I am feeling better today because, when I noticed how terrible this flower bed looked last week, I just felt overwhelmed and defeated. Today I was ready to tackle it. I pulled out all of the weeds and it looks much better now. We MUST mulch this bed this weekend so hopefully the weeds won't take over next time. Hopefully I will have the time and energy to do this.

We are suppose to get some rain today and it has been cloudy all morning. I love it! It was 78 degrees when we were outside this morning. Although it was a bit humid, it was still somewhat breezy and it felt so wonderful. I'm glad it's Friday and am looking forward to a normal weekend.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

August 23, 2007

I have been feeling a little "off" lately. Actually, it seems like that the whole hospital experience threw me off and I don't feel like I have been the same since. I don't mean physically. Physically I am fine now, as far as I can tell. I do wonder if my low energy level might be left-over from my illness and have had some people tell me it could be but I'm not sure. The past few days, I have felt kind of down and listless, which does not make for a very fun mom...that makes me feel a bit guilty. Of course, when one is feeling down, one does not usually feel very energetic. So, I'm not sure really what's going on with me right now.

I had a nice surprise today though. I have been on the cancellation list with my hairdresser for a couple of months now. She is booked out for 4 months or so and I am so limited on when I can go, it has taken forever for me to get an appointment. Today they called me and said they have a cancellation for today at 5:00. So I quickly called my husband to see if he could be available to take over with the kids while I get my hair highlighted. Thankfully, he can. Yay! This is definitely an answered prayer.

Mom had her second chemo treatment on Tuesday and today she goes for her shot, which is suppose to keep her while blood count from dropping too low. It is also what made her very achey last time. She was in a considerable amount of pain from it. So this time they made sure she had some strong pain killers, just in case she needs them. Also this time, she knows not to take her blood pressure medicine, since the chemo makes her blood pressure drop. Last time she didn't know this and she almost passed out, after taking her blood pressure medicine. So starting tomorrow, she will most likely have a week or so of not feeling well again. She was feeling so well yesterday that she actually went outside and weeded her yard. I couldn't believe she did that. It is still pretty hot here. She probably should not have done that but I think it made her feel better. She is wearing her wig or scarves now and she really sounds in good spirits. She is surprising me at how well she is dealing with all of this.

My grandmother is still in the hospital and will be moved to a nursing home on Friday. I haven't heard an update about her recently, although I am sure she is still in considerable pain.

I took the boys to the park on Tuesday and they had a great time. They are really into climbing now and they like the slides. They especially enjoy swinging and I was getting tired of pushing them both by the time we left. I definitely need to start working out again. I am thinking about it:).

Ben's lip is pretty much healed now. They heal so quickly, it is amazing. They continue to eat like there is no tomorrow. They are such good, healthy eaters. I am constantly amazed. They are also saying more and more words every day. Today I was teaching them about opposites, such as up and down, big and small, etc. I can tell that Nick is trying to figure out the big, smaller, smallest thing lately because he is very into trying to stack the stacking cups in the right order.

I feel like I should be teaching them more but I'm not sure what for their ages. I wish there was a little curriculum that I could follow for children of this age. If you know of one, please let me know.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

August 21, 2007

I took a few pictures this morning and, when I uploaded them to my laptop, I had a surprise. My husband had taken a few pictures one evening, while he was playing with the boys and I was taking a break in the other room. I thought this was especially cute, with the boys "reading" their Reader's Digest and Ben wearing the snow boots.

I have not seen any temper tantrums from Nick for a while now, which is wonderful. However, now it is Ben's turn. I think he learned a lot from watching Nick:). He can throw quite a fit these days and anything and everything seems to set him off. I have been making him sit on the little stool, rather than standing him in the corner but I may have start using the corner if I don't start seeing some improvement soon. The stool is nicer because I can still spend time with the other child. With the corner, I still have to stand nearby and make sure they stay there and the other child kind of gets ignored. I am hoping he will come around without having to use the corner but we'll see.

Yesterday Ben fell down and busted his bottom lip so he has a fat lip today that looks very sore.
One thing I started doing a few weeks ago that the boys love is to keep a couple of sippy cups full of ice water on the kitchen island, next to their little learning tower. They get so excited when they see me preparing their ice water and they climb up on their tower many times a day and drink their water. They see me drinking water all day, so they like to drink their water too. These sippy cups are insulated so they stay colder longer and I refresh them a few times a day. They have never been that interested in juice so they really only drink milk (with meals) and water throughout the day. I am glad they like to drink water. I am hoping it will help keep their teeth a little cleaner. Currently we only brush their teeth before bedtime but I really need to start brushing them at least in the mornings too. I read that having them drink water after meals/snacks is a good practice, if they do not brush after every meal/snack, so at least we're doing that.

Both boys have now learned how to take off their bibs, which I find very annoying because they do so before they are finished eating. I am trying to teach them that if they take off their bib they are all done eating but I can't do that if they really haven't eaten much yet. If they have eaten enough to get them through until the next snack time, I don't mind doing it but then I am not being consistent so it doesn't really work. I am thinking about getting out some large safety pins or maybe some superglue:).

N has been trying to learn to wink. It's quite funny to watch him try.

I have not been getting as much done around the house these days but we have clean clothes to wear, I have been getting more rest and I have been spending a lot of time with the boys, so I guess we're doing ok.

I have been so slow in getting around on some days that I even end up waiting until the boys nap at 11:00 to even get cleaned up and dressed. Today was one of those days and I almost had a big "uh oh", as I got locked out of the house this morning. I went into the garage to look for the two smallest cups that go with our stacking cups. We have not seen them since Ben took them with him in the car one day. I decided to go back into the house to get a flashlight and found that the boys had locked me out while they were playing with the door. I kept telling them to open the door, while trying to turn the knob, and eventually they finally got it open, thank goodness. I let out a big "whew!" on that one. I could just picture myself, shelping around to the neighbors house trying to find someone home, wearing my husbands huge house shoes and looking as if I just crawled out of bed, while the boys were alone and crying in the house. Needless to say, I learned a big lesson and will always take keys with me in the future.

The boys both like to try to put Mr. Potato Head's glasses on. Here is Ben in action.

Monday, August 20, 2007

August 20, 2007

My husband took Friday off so we had a three day weekend, which was nice. On Friday, he spent the morning working outside. After the boys went down for their nap, I left him with the monitor and took off for a bite to eat and a movie. I saw No Reservations and I really liked it, although it was a bit sad in places, which I didn't need.

I had talked to my sister that morning and she felt that our grandmother was not doing well at all and that we should really plan to visit her in the hospital soon. Also, my husband was taking off in the afternoon for a men's retreat so I was going to be on my own with the boys the rest of Friday and most of Saturday. I don't mind being on my own with the boys but I am still feeling a bit low energy and, as hot as it has been here lately, it has gotten a bit boring around our house. Mostly, the news about my grandmother had me already feeling a bit teary so the movie added to that a bit. Other than that, I really liked the movie and enjoyed my time out of the house. When I got home, my husband was feeding the boys so I took an additional hour alone in our bedroom to catch up on some reading. It was a nice, relaxing afternoon and just the break I needed before my husband took off for his retreat.

Saturday morning, the boys and I got around a bit earlier than normal and were able to enjoy some time outside before it got too hot. They played in their sandbox while I did some weeding of the flowerbeds. Then they just enjoyed some playtime, running around in the yard and playing with the hose. They were both soaked when we came in so I threw their clothes in the dryer while they had their snack. It was a fun morning for all of us and I felt better that we were able to get outside for a little while, although I was dragging a bit because I had not slept well that night. The rest of the day was mostly uneventful. The boys were happy when daddy got home. I was happy too and I slept much better that night.

It's funny because we have a house alarm but I still don't sleep well when my husband is not home. On Saturday night, our electricity went out for about an hour and a half, from around 9:00 to around 10:30. I was sooo glad that didn't happen the night before, when I was here with the boys alone.

We decided to go visiting on Sunday. We surprised my grandmother at the hospital and she was especially happy to get to see the boys. They were so well behaved too. We did not stay too long though because she had been sitting up in a chair for a while and, by the time they got her back in her bed, she was very tired.

I have a whole new perspective on being in the hospital and not feeling like visiting, now that I have been through it. I really felt for her because it is obvious that she has been and still is in an enormous amount of pain. They give her pain medicine and it helps but does not eliminate all of the pain. Any time she moves, sneezes, coughs or anything, she is in a lot of pain. For those of you who don't know, she fell recently and broke (or fractured, not sure?) her pelvis bone in a couple of places and she is 95 years old. She is unable to support any of her own weight now and it will probably take at least two months to heal. Unfortunately, two months of not being able to walk may mean she loses so much strength that she will not be able to walk again. They want her to spend time sitting in a chair to reduce her chances of getting pneumonia from laying in bed too much.

Our next stop was at my mom's house. She is so cute. She had cleaned off her coffee table, which usually has lots of pictures and pretties on it, and she had put out two good size tubs and each contained lots of bowls, spoons, spatulas, measuring cups, etc. for the boys to play with. They really enjoyed it a lot. My sister came over and played with them too. My husband spent some time working on mom's bathtub, fixing the caulking between the tub and the wall and hooking up a shower head that can also be hand held and has a long hose so mom can use it in her bathtub. She gets very weak after her chemo treatments and getting in and out of her bathtub becomes very difficult, if not impossible, not to mention dangerous. She takes baths, not showers, so we got her one of those chairs that fits into the bathtub. So now she can sit on the chair and use the hand held shower thingy to wash herself, which should be easier and less risky. She is really losing her hair now and I can tell it is very hard for her. I know it would be for me too. She tries to take it in stride and makes jokes about it once in a while but I know it bothers her. She goes for her second chemo treatment tomorrow.

For those of you who believe in prayer, if you would raise up a prayer for my grandmother and my mom, I would greatly appreciate it.

We finally got some rain, yay!!, and it cooled down considerably yesterday. It was so nice and I just loved seeing all of the clouds. We really needed that. We had fun running our errands in the rain yesterday morning, before we went visiting. It wasn't raining hard, just sprinkling at the time, but it was also windy and we all enjoyed being out in it. It just felt so good. What a relief, after all of the hot, hot days we have had recently.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

August 16, 2007 Part 2

So today I took the boys to the little play area in the local mall. I called several places in our town in search of an indoor play place for toddlers and it appears that none exist in my town. So, back to the mall we went, since it was about 103 or 104 degrees here today and we really needed to get out of the house.

The more I go to this little play area, the less I like it, mostly because of the other kids. I find it very frustrating that other parents will sit around talking or just not paying attention while their children are breaking the rules of the play area, putting the younger children in possible danger, or just being downright annoying or rude.

This little play area has a very small slide. The kids have to go around and into one of two small doors, into a little "house" type of structure and then they climb a few small stairs to get onto the slide. It is such a small slide that there are no hand rails or anything. The top of it is about at the level of my hips and it curves around as it goes down. It is cute and the kids all love it though. The big kids like to walk down it.

I typically stand near the top of the little slide because Ben is still learning how to transition from the climbing/standing position to sitting on the slide and he is a bit unstable. If he fell off the top, he could land on the "wall" of the little house-type structure and it could really hurt. Additionally, I am still teaching my two how to take turns and I don't want them cutting in front of other children.

Those were my reasons for standing there in the beginning. In the few times we have been there, I have seen tons of bigger kids, who should know better, cutting in front of the little ones, pushing them aside, walking up the little slide, as one of the little kids is sitting on the top, getting ready to go down, etc. Sometimes other little kids do these types of things too but frequently this behavior is from older kids who should know better. I try to handle it very tactfully, sometimes looking around to see if there is a parent who is watching and getting ready to get up to do something about it and sometimes there is and the parent will tell the child not to do such and such. And sometimes no adult is paying attention to what is going on at all.

Today, there was a younger little boy who kept climbing up the slide when the other kids were waiting in line to go down. Two of the kids were sitting on the slide, waiting to go down and other kids were waiting in line and this little boy was holding them all up, while he climbed up the slide. He did not seem to know better, although I think he was of an age that he could have been taught. The kids were looking at me like I should do something, since they had seen me ensuring my two were not cutting in line and I may have also told another child or two not to cut in front of one of mine once or twice, in a very nice way (three bigger kids just walked up and got right in front of Ben, when he was waiting to go down the slide once).

Anyway, I was not sure how much this little guy would understand and certainly was not going to pick him up and move him so I was looking around, wondering where his parent was. Finally, his dad came and got him off of the slide but did not try to explain to him that this is a no no and that we walk around and stand in line or anything like that. This little boy was right back at it, climbing up the slide again a few minutes later. I was watching his father and he was just sitting there, watching his son, like he thought maybe he might get down on his own, while several little kids were again waiting to go down the slide. The little boy kept doing this over and over and the father did nothing. It was quite frustrating.

At one point, a group of little girls came who were all a bit older, probably around 5 or 6 years old. They were running all over the place, which is against the rules of this little play area. It is not a very large play area and there are normally too many kids anyway so big kids running can really present a danger to the little ones. These were the kids who cut in front of B when he was waiting to go down the slide. I never figured out which adult they were with.

When the boys were back in the stroller and I was just starting to push the stroller towards the exit, the younger boy who kept blocking the slide came up to our stroller and stood in front of N's side of the stroller, hanging on to the stroller. He just stood there, smiling at N and holding our stroller, seeming to have no inclination to move out of our way so we could leave. His father was only a few feet away (not within reaching distance) and was watching but, again, was doing nothing about it. It's like this dad had no sense of timing when it came to correcting his son...actually, he did no correcting at all but he had no sense of timing when it came to getting his son out of someone's way. Finally I said "excuse us" in that lovely sing-songy voice to the little boy and the father finally came over and moved his son out of our way.

August 16, 2007

Here are some funny pictures that were taken a couple of days ago.

Ben, trying to put his pajamas on. The boys were having so much fun playing with each other and with these pajamas. They were cracking me up.

Here they were playing tug of war with some of the pajamas. Up until this day, Nick would be trying to put the pajamas on and Ben would climb up next to him, grab any pajamas he could reach and promptly throw them in the floor. This was the first time Ben tried to put them on. They were having a pretty fun time together in this picture.

Our first meal where we were all at the table together. You can see the two highchairs in the background. Those are now in a closet upstairs and we have more room to move around the kitchen. The boys love sitting at the table with us. When they are eating their snack or lunch, they love it when I sit down next to them at the table. I have been teaching Ben how to spoon up a regular size bite, rather than a too-big bite and he is really doing pretty well with it. He needs reminders though for now. You can see their little cups with lids and straws in this picture also. We were having roasted chicken, baked potatoes and green beans on this evening. These little booster seats were only $15 each and they are perfect for our purposes.

I am starting to get a bit stir crazy from being cooped up in the house so long. The temperature is just so hot, it is not smart to spend time outside. Yesterday the temperature peaked at 107, according to our temperature gauge. That does not include the heat index. The funny thing is that I thought it was humid but it must be extra dry because my hands and finger tips have been very dry lately. I even have one cracked finger tip, which is so painful. I hate when that happens. I don't think I have ever had it happen in the summer before though, so I was very surprised by this. I'm sure the five loads of laundry I did yesterday did not help.

I am getting ready to search for a kids play place here and see if they have one or not. I'm not sure but I hope they do. It would be a nice alternative to getting outside. The boys really need to get out of the house too. Hopefully I can find something and it won't be too expensive.

I made a new casserole yesterday evening that we all really loved. It was pretty simple and I think it was fairly healthy. I radically modified another recipe and was very pleased with how it turned out. This is a big thing for me, since I am not a very good cook:).

The kids are all starting back to school here this week. I kind of like it when they go back because things are less busy during the days. I just have to remember to run my errands before school gets out and to avoid the school zones. I still need to call our school district and find out about the Parents as Teachers program, as I would really like to sign us up for that.

As you can see, I don't have much to report today. It's been pretty boring around here lately. I am still struggling with recovering my energy level and my back is still bothering me....the more energy I regain, the more I am able to do and the more my back hurts again. I was hoping it might have healed a bit and I would not have to do those exercises they assigned me but I think I am having no such luck. I finished a lot of house work yesterday though so today I am taking it easy.

I am off to have my lunch before the boys wake up from their nap.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 15, 2007

Do you ever just get tired of how everything is always moving towards disrepair? Think about how much time we spend doing laundry, dusting, cleaning, repairing, WEEDING, etc. only to have to turn around and do it again very soon. I, for one, will not miss this part of living in this world, when it is time to graduate to our new world in eternity, with our Lord.

This kind of stuff is getting to me more than normal because I am still not up to par in my recovery, which is very frustrating in itself. I think this will be the illness that has taken me the longest to heal in my entire life so far. Hopefully this will be the record for my life.

My husband woke up early this morning and could not go back to sleep. I'm not sure if he woke me or if I woke because I heard Nick on the monitor but I woke up around 4:45am so this is already a very long day.

I am well on my way to finishing several loads of laundry, which was much needed. After I put the boys down for their nap, I went outside to cut back some of the dead flowers in the front yard flower beds. I think we under watered and it is not looking so hot these days, which I get embarrassed about because we live in a neighborhood where people keep their yards and flower beds immaculate. The weeds are also out of control, which I find very frustrating. I went out with the intention of only staying 15 minutes. I came in after 30 minutes, feeling defeated by the elements. We are in that red zone on the weather reports lately, warning people who have respiratory problems to stay inside (that would be me, for now). I was out before the excessive heat of the day but I was in full sun and it was still very hot. I felt exhausted when I got back into the house. I am thankful that the boys are taking a long nap so I have some time to rest. I still need to clean the bathrooms, dust and vacuum the master bedroom and bathroom but that will have to wait until another day.

On a happier note, yesterday I took the boys out for a quick trip to Babies-R-Us to buy them each a booster seat. I was really tired of the high chairs and how much room they took up in the kitchen and I had been looking forward to having the boys sit at the table with us for a while now. I knew they would love it and they do. They obviously feel like such big boys now and my husband and I both really love having them sit at the table with us. They are pretty neat little eaters too, which I appreciate. Of course, we have spills and that's OK but they normally don't purposefully throw food on the floor these days. Actually, they will let us know if they accidentally drop a piece of food and they usually want us to wipe their hands if they get food on them. They love using forks and spoons and will try to use them to eat everything, which is sometimes kind of funny. Yesterday evening, they wanted big people forks, instead of their little ones, so I got them each a salad fork and they really liked that a lot.

Another notable event that happened yesterday. When I got the boys up from their nap, Nick pointed to his bottom and said "poopy" again. This is the second time this has happened so it seems he is moving in the right direction. Yesterday the boys were having fun putting diapers on their teddy bears (actually, I put them on repeatedly and they took them off repeatedly). I also gave them each an old bottle so they could "feed their baby". They tried it once or twice but, overall, they weren't too interested in feeding their teddy bears.

I don't have much other news today. Things are pretty boring around here right now, with it being so hot here. I can't really get the boys outside for any length of time so we are just staying in and playing a lot. I am enjoying spending time watching them play and reading to them a lot. They will now pat a chair and say "chair" or "sit" when they want me to sit down so they can get in my lap and read or just show me something. They also do it while they are eating, as they like for me to sit with them while they eat. It is very cute.

They are talking so much these days. The Sooner Start lady was here yesterday. She is only coming once a month now and she could not believe how much they had changed. She thought Ben looked like he had grown a lot and she thought both boys were talking a lot and their pronunciation was better than when she was here last, which was nice to hear.

Ben's birthday is rapidly approaching, although I just realized the other day that we will be in Arizona for his birthday. So we will plan an early birthday party for him before we leave.

My husband will be going to a men's retreat with other men from our church on Friday late afternoon/evening, returning on Saturday late afternoon so it will just be me and the boys for the first time. I am looking forward to cooler weather. We might get a break on the weekend. Hopefully we will get a break and maybe I can get outside for a little while with the boys.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

August 14, 2007 Part 2

Nick is now 21 months old and came home from Russia at 14 months old.

Nick is definitely an extrovert. He loves to be with people. Lately he has started saying, in a questioning tone "brother?, brother?", when he has lost track of where his brother went off to. As soon as I tell him where brother went, he is off to join him, always running, always in a hurry. It is really cute. Sometimes Ben will be sitting on the couch or in a chair, looking at a book and Nick will get his own book and climb up right next to Ben and sit next to him, also looking at his book. They are really cute together and they clearly enjoy each other a lot. I have also noticed that they have no sense of personal space with each other. One will move in close and start examining something the other is doing and they usually just take it in stride, unless someone tries to take the other's toy.

Nick is a clever little boy, when it comes to getting what he wants with Ben. If he wants something Ben is playing with, Nick will bring another toy or book, hand it to Ben and promptly take the toy or book that Ben was playing with. Most of the time, Ben is interested in the new toy or book and Nick will get away with this. It is very amusing to watch. Nick knows exactly what he wants and what to do to get it. Sometimes this doesn't work and Nick is not happy when he has to find another toy to play with and leave Ben alone.

Nick is a normally a very happy-go-lucky boy, although he is probably more volatile than Ben with his emotions. I would say he has higher highs and lower lows than Ben and tends to display more anger if things don't go his way. He is also a very compassionate child and does not like to hear Ben cry. If Ben is crying while having a diaper change or sitting on the little time-out stool, Nick will quickly go find a toy and bring it to Ben, trying to cheer him up. It is very sweet to watch and Nick is obviously pleased if the toy ends Ben's unhappiness. Once the boys were in their cribs and had not been awake very long. I was listening to them on the monitor, while finishing up something I was doing. I heard Ben start his whining kind of fake cry and then I heard Nick saying "boo, boo", as if he was playing peek-a-boo with Ben, trying to cheer him up. Ben stopped his whining and was laughing before I went in to get them.

Nick is a singer. He loves to sing and I will frequently hear him singing a little song as he goes about his playing or even on the baby monitor, after he has awakened in his crib. Lately he has been singing the "clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere; clean up, clean up, everybody do your share" song. He only sings the "clean up, clean up" part but he has the tune right and I can understand the words. I think sometimes he just makes up the songs. They are all sweet to my ears. I love to hear his little voice.

Nick is less enthused about "time to eat" if he is busy playing with a toy, although he does get excited about being able to pick out his own yogurt and get it from the fridge himself. Sometimes, when he gets downstairs in the mornings, he will immediately head to the kitchen and say "eat?, eat?", so he does get excited about eating when he is hungry and not too busy playing. I normally cut his food into bigger bites, hoping to get him to eat a little more. He is right around the 25th percentile on the height to weight ratio, which is much better than he was when he left the orphanage. He is very active so he burns it off quickly. He is so fast, it is hard to catch him when he decides to run from me (we work on this so that, hopefully, this doesn't happen often and it has never happened out in public, thankfully). He is very athletic and loves to do anything physical. He loves to play with balls, throwing and kicking them, and he loves to climb anything and everything. There is no doubt in my mind that, when he gets tall enough, he will be climbing out of his crib. Fortunately that is not happening yet. He plays hard and he falls asleep fast, even in his car seat.

Nick is definitely a child who loves life and embraces anything new that looks like fun. He is still a bit of a momma's boy at times, especially when he is tired or hurt, although Ben is too. Nick loves to give kisses and hugs, although they are usually quick because he has things to do and places to go. He is one busy little boy and he has also definitely stolen my heart.

August 14, 2007

Ben is now 22.5 months old and came home from Russia when he was 16 months old.

My two sons have very different personalities, which I kind of think is a good thing. It is so fun to watch their personalities emerge.

Ben seems to be a lot like my husband and I in that he seems to be a borderline introvert. Borderline because he tends to enjoy people but he also clearly enjoys going off by himself and playing quietly at times, especially when he has just spent a lot of time with others. He is a happy little guy and always has a smile for me when I go in to get him from his crib, after he has awakened from a nap or in the morning. He will sometimes wake up with some of that fake sounding crying and may even be doing it just as I am approaching his room. But, as soon as I open the door to his room and our eyes meet, he ALWAYS has a smile for me. It is as predictable as the sun rising and I love it.

Ben is a pretty good natured little boy, although he does have his moments. He likes being picked up and will raise his arms frequently, asking to be picked up. If he is picked up in a timely manner, he will be the happiest little guy. If you are too busy at that exact moment and he has to wait a bit, he most likely will not be a very happy little guy and will start crying...not every time but most times. His latest form of temper tantrum includes a whine/cry with an immediate throw-his-little-self-back-on-his-bottom (from a standing position) with a look at you, as if to ask "and just what are you going to do about that??".

I think this might have just started after I got home from the hospital but I can't remember for sure. It is actually pretty funny but it is not a good thing so we are working on it. I have not been as consistent as I need to be though. Now that things are getting back to normal around here, we are working on consistency again.

Ben loves books and loves to sit in a lap and have books read to him, over and over again. There are times when I have been working in the kitchen and have looked up to see him sitting on the floor or in a chair, looking through some of his books and he would stay that way for a pretty long time, for his age. He will get pretty impatient and whiny if he climbs in your lap with a book and you are talking or something and not paying attention. He wants his book read pronto; no talking to others in between readings.

I love to sit and watch him, as he walks around and plays with toys. He has the cutest looks on this face. He is a very determine little guy and does not yet quite get the concept of taking turns or "he had it first; you need to find another toy". These types of things frustrate him. He has the cutest little gait in his step, both when walking and running. Every time I take the time to just sit and watch him, I always end up smiling.

Ben loves to eat. I will always ask the boys if they are ready to eat or if they are hungry when it is time for snack or meal time. Ben immediately takes off towards the kitchen, without fail. I've never seen him turn down or ignore a snack or meal opportunity. Fortunately, he loves loves loves fruits and veggies of any kind, any that we have tried so far anyway. He is always a very good eater. The biggest clue that he is getting sick is if he is not eating, since that is the only time we have ever seen this with him.

Ben is also a snuggler. He loves to be held and loves to be snuggled and kissed. He will frequently crawl into my lap and put his little head on my shoulder, ready for his snuggle. How long he stays depends on how tired he is. It is very easy to evoke a smile from Ben. A kiss and a snuggle, a tickle, a little teasing or just looking at him and giving him a big smile and you will very likely be rewarded with a quick, beautiful smile. He has a very engaging smile, this one. He has most definitely stolen my heart.

Monday, August 13, 2007

August 13, 2007

Jana went home on Saturday and my husband went back to work today, so this was my first day to do everything on my own again. It's nearly 5:30pm here and I am so exhausted. Yes, I over did things a bit. Yesterday I will take it a little easier, although I must do some laundry.

Jana had washed up a huge amount of clothes for the boys; clothes that were given to us. We had sorted and put a lot of the clothes away while she was still here but there was one large basket of clothes that still needed to be sorted and put away so I did that today. That in itself was a big job. After I put all of the clothes away, it was time for the boys to go down for nap, so I put them down.

Then, I happened to wander into the guest room so I decided to change the sheets on the bed, so it would be fresh for the next visitor. In retrospect, this could have waited for another day. When I got the sheets from the closet, I noticed several sets of sheets were not folded the way I fold them (yes, I have a bit of OCD), so I refolded them and then changed the sheets on the bed. And then I also put out fresh towels in the guest bathroom. I still need to clean the bathroom, dust the furniture in the room and vacuum but that will wait until another day.

I rested for about 20 minutes or so and then I started preparing for vacuuming the downstairs floors and rugs. This is a huge job but it was soooo bad that I could not wait another day to do it. It was just bugging me too much. This job includes picking up all of the toy baskets and toys and putting them on the furniture, shaking the rugs in the powder bathroom and moving anything that can move, so I can vacuum under it. I also vacuum underneath the pieces of furniture that don't move because if I don't, the little dust balls that are under there will end up coming out and rolling across the floor at some point. And, I also vacuum the couch in the living room and the red couch in the library, since they always need it badly.

I finished vacuuming the office, foyer, library/playroom, living room, kitchen, laundry room and powder bath and then the boys woke up from their nap. So, I still need to vacuum the master bedroom, bath and closet before I am finished with the downstairs. I am hoping to do that tomorrow but, we'll see. I also need to dust eventually. That bothers me less than dirty floors.

I know I did too much but it is really hard not to. I was so tired all afternoon, I was not much fun for the boys and I think they were getting a bit bored at one point. Now that most of the floors are clean, maybe I can take it a bit slower for the rest of the week and get enough rest.

On a sad note, my 95 year old grandmother, who was still living on her own in her own house, fell yesterday and broke her pelvic bone. She is in the hospital and is in so much pain. I can't even imagine. And she is this tiny, little bit of a lady, weighing in at maybe 95 pounds. She is such a sweet, wonderful Christian lady and what a prayer warrior she is. I am so sad for her that she is having to go through this. My sister went to see her this morning and they had her drugged up pretty good for the pain. Yet they were already saying they were going to have to start getting her up to walk, or she would end up with pneumonia. She has a very long, painful recovery ahead of her. Please keep her in your prayers.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

August 11, 2007

I put our bean box together yesterday and it is definitely a big hit. The boys love it and they play in it so calmly, it is amazing to watch. The adults find it irresistable too:).

I have also been letting them play in the water at the kitchen sink, which they love. I put towels on the floor to catch the splashes. I would rather clean up beans than water but they really love playing in the water too.

The bean box has a really nice lid and the handles of the box close up around the lid to hold it on. It seems to be just the perfect size for two little boys.

I still need to get the plastic tweezers. That's a great idea. Thanks Lauri and Tonya for the wonderful ideas!

Here is a close up of Nick from yesterday. Hasn't he changed so much in the past 6 months?

He is such a fun little boy with a wonderful, happy personality.

Here is Ben, playing in the bean box yesterday. He tends to get bored with it faster than Nick but he enjoys it for a while. Ben is now right around the 80th percentile on the weight for height ratio chart, so we just switched him to 2% milk and are taking the steps mentioned in earlier posts to slow down his eating a bit. He never noticed the change in milk and is doing well with our new approach to slowing him down when he eats.

He is also a very happy, sweet little boy. He loves to be held and hugged. He loves to be read to a lot. He has a very quick, happy smile.

Both boys are so lovable and are offering lots of affection unprompted these days. It is so sweet and heart warming. They both love music so we listen to music every day. One of them always remembers to ask for it to be turned on.

I have been working with them on using "please" or "mommy" when they need help with something, rather than whining. They are doing well with it, although they still need reminders sometimes. They were actually doing very well with it before I got sick. We kind of took a step back on everything because of my sickness. They were even switched back to their sippy cups. I did not change them back because I thought it might be comforting to them and they needed that with all of the changes they recently experienced. I will be switching them back to cups with lids and straws and open cups soon, as they really need it to help improve their pronunciation.

Yesterday afternoon, Ben went back for his hearing test and it went very well. He passed with flying colors, once brother was not around to distract him and we had also cleaned the wax out of his ears:).

After the hearing test, Ben and Nick both had to go for more shots. Ben had two and Nick had one. It is harder now because they are starting to remember the room where they get the shots and the lady who gives them. Nick was pretty upset even before he got his shot. He knew what was coming. Ben did too but not until just before. Ben is now caught up and does not have to have any more shots until 2009. Nick has to go back in September for two more and then he will also be caught up. I really hate shot days.

Jana just left about an hour ago. We will all miss her so much. She is such a sweet and giving person and the boys had a ball playing with her every day. They are really going to miss her a lot and so will I. She was a huge help to me. My husband and I were even able to get out alone yesterday evening and go to a movie. It was really nice and only our second time to do so since January.

I am doing much better these days, although I am still not back to normal. The doctors tell me it may take several weeks to a month more before I am completely back to normal. My lung does not hurt anymore, which is great. It feels kind of tight and uncomfortable when I take deep breaths and it makes me cough. My energy level is definitely a lot better but still not back to normal yet either. One annoying leftover thing is that the back of my hand is still very sore where one of the IV's was. My husband says I need to put heat on it. I did once but I need to do it more often I guess. On my other hand, the vein that goes down the outer side of my wrist is also very sore. I think they must have taken blood from that vein once. I am wondering how long they will continue to hurt without the heat:). There is just not enough time in the day to do everything.

My mom went through at least a week of feeling very poorly from the effects of the chemo and the related drugs. Her blood pressure dropped so badly that she could not get up and around without someone helping her. She was also taking an antibiotic that was causing her to ache very badly, all over, even her teeth and ears were aching. She is now off of that and feeling much better. Her blood pressure was even better yesterday too, which was nice. Yesterday she actually called me, which was a big sign that she was feeling better. She did not even feel like talking when I called her for a while. I am off to call her now to see how she is doing today.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

August 9, 2007 Part 2

So this hospital thing was not fun, it was a pain and I would not want to do it again. On the bright side of it though, I think Ben and I came out of it with a closer relationship, which is kind of funny, in an odd sort of way. If anything, I would have thought he would have been angry with me for leaving him but he has been more clingy and wanting only me since I have been home.

You might remember that, when we were in Russia, my husband carried Ben everywhere and I carried Nick everywhere because Nick was lighter than Ben. Up until the time I went into the hospital, I felt that Ben was more strongly attached, in some ways, to my husband than he was to me. I also felt that Nick and I had a better attachment than Ben and I did and it really bothered me a lot. As a matter of fact, I was praying about this before the hospital adventure. The moral of that story is be careful what you pray for because you just might get it:). I think maybe I should have been a bit more specific during my prayer time:).

Actually, I am very happy that Ben and I have a closer relationship now. It is an answer to prayer and it just makes me feel so much better. God definitely answered my prayer AND He used a very bad situation and brought something good from it. It doesn't get much better than that.

August 9, 2007

I was looking back through some of the first pics we took, after the boys came home, and I was just so surprised at how much the boys have changed in 6 months. I'm thinking I didn't do our 6-month-home post justice and you just have to see the comparison of these pics.

These first two pictures were from Feb. 3rd of this year. The boys arrived home from Russia on January 23rd of this year.

These two pics were taken on my birthday this year, Feb. 23rd.

Can you believe what babies they were 6 months ago?? And now look at what toddlers they are!! I am amazed at how quickly they changed. Do all kids change this quickly in 6 months??

This picture was taken on July 22nd.

I was trying to find closer up pics that are more recent and discovered that I really need to take a few good pics. This is the best one I could find of Nick. It was taken on August 3rd.

This picture was taken this evening. I was trying to get some good pics of the boys this evening but it didn't take me long to remember that evening is not the best time to take pics. This was just before bed time and they were pretty cranky. I was not able to get even a half way decent pic of Nick.

And, last but not least, here are the promised pics of the boys and Jana outside, playing in the new little sprinkler thingy we got. The boys have really enjoyed this thing this week.

I really need to remember to move it tomorrow, before it kills the grass.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

August 7, 2007

I'm sad to say that I don't have any pics of the boys playing ping pong, the day I came home from the hospital. It was so cute and I thought for sure someone took some pics with my camera. Hopefully I can get some from our friends who were recently here.

Regardless, here are some recent pics of the boys.

Nick and Ben enjoy turning Jana around in her chair.
They love doing this to anyone who will let them. It makes you dizzy pretty fast though.

Yesterday, when I went to my doctors appt, the boys received their first ever sucker. They thoroughly enjoyed them, for a little while. Nick got tired of his, after a little while, and handed it to me. Ben lost his during a diaper change and, since he forgot about it, it remained "lost".

They did pretty well when I was getting checked out. I like taking them to the doctor when they don't have to have anything done and they can just watch mom have her heart and lungs listened to. Ben got a bit upset when I had to go in for my XRay.
He is still getting upset when I leave the room without him and even doesn't want to be outside, having fun, without mom there. I just left him out there with Jana a few minutes ago and he was crying. He quit within a few minutes though and I'm sure he is having a good time now.

They took a really good, long nap today, which was great, since they woke up early. I went to the big Walmart, while they slept, and I got some groceries and also this neat sprinkler toy for them (it was on sale for $5!), which they are playing with now. I will post pics of that next time.
Don't they look like happy little campers with their first suckers?

Nick, getting a pony ride from dad.

Nick, trying to put on his PJ's. Actually, he takes both pairs of bottoms (his and Ben's) and puts one on each leg. He is definitely interested in learning to dress himself now. I am going to have to start working with him on this, since he is so into it. I leave the PJ's out, after dressing them, and it keeps Nick entertained for the longest time.

We also had another first today. When I went to get them up from their nap, he was standing in his crib. He pointed at his bottom and said "poopy". Wow! I was impressed. I have been asking them "are you pooping?" when I see them making *that* face, so they will start becoming aware of it. I guess it is working with Nick.
He tends to hit milestones early so maybe he will potty train early. The nice thing is that, when Nick learns to do something, Ben starts trying really hard to learn it too. Ben wants to keep up with Nick so it pushes him along.

The boys were having a great time *helping* clean the floors. It kept them busy for a little while, when I was not feeling that great.

Doesn't Ben look happy with himself and his mopping abilities?

This is Ben with the latest boo boo on his nose. I think this happened the same day I came home from the hospital, as it looked very fresh then. Less than one week later, it is gone. They heal so fast; it's amazing. I thought he would have a black eye but it just turned a little blue and green right in the corner and that was it. It sure didn't slow him down at all.

The boys noticed these boots in their closet that my friend from Boston sent them (thanks again CEP) and they wanted to try them on. It was so funny to watch them, since the boots are still big on them, especially with no socks. I think they might fit Nick this winter though. There is another pair but they are too little already. These guys are growing so fast, it's incredible.

Jana put the boys at the sink and let them play in the water and in some soapy bubbles. They had a ball. She gave them each a bowl to play with but Ben kept pouring water all over the floor behind him, while trying to reach the facet with the other hand. We switch the bowl for a small glass and that seemed to work better.

I would really like to find a book of fun, educational activities to do with toddlers and preschoolers. If you know of a good one, let me know.

Jana and I were in the kitchen and it got real quiet in the library so I was sure they were up to something. I peeked in and they were both sitting on this little couch, looking at their books. It was so cute....and surprising:).

I'm giving them a lot more freedom around the house these days, although I do try to keep a listening ear out to make sure they are not getting into our books or making a mess in their daddy's office, which is just across the foyer from the library. They are doing pretty good with behaving and we are all enjoying their new-found freedom.

Monday, August 06, 2007

August 6, 2007

Today was my first day to really get out of the house. I even did my hair and put on some make up, much to my husband's relief, I'm sure (he is so sweet, I would never know if he was actually wishing for this...but he did tell me I looked very nice:). It was exhausting though.

Our schedule for the past week or so has me waking up naturally (which is oh so wonderful) sometime between 7:00 and 7:30. My husband has not even been saying goodbye before he leaves for work in the mornings because he doesn't want to wake me. While I miss our goodbyes, I am happy to be sleeping in because I really need the extra sleep right now. Anyway, I have a little breakfast and watch a little news and the boys and Jana are normally awake sometime between 8:00 and 8:30. They have breakfast and then the boys play, while Jana cleans up the kitchen and I sit in the living room, letting them climb on me and reading books as requested.

They have a snack around 10:00 and then they go down for their nap around 11:00, at which time I normally lay down and rest. Today, I had to shower, fix my hair, put on make up, eat and then wake the boys and feed and change them before we headed off to my doctor appointment. So it has been a tiring day for me.

On normal schedule lately would include the boys waking up from nap around 1:00 or 2:00, having lunch and then getting ready to go outside to play. Jana has been great about getting them outside every afternoon to play in the sand box, wading pool and on the swing set. They are really having a ball with her, they love being outside and it gives me more breaks during the day, which I still need.

My appointment went well. My lung sounds better, I am healing more and feeling better every day. My lung still looks kind of yucky in the XRay, but that's to be expected and can take another couple of weeks to clear up. I still get tired more easily than normal and my lung hurts when I take a deep breath. I find it very painful to lay on my left side and I can't sneeze. My body has tried to sneeze twice, since I have been sick. As soon as it tries to take a big breath, I feel such pain that my body immediately stops trying to sneeze. It is actually kind of an odd experience.

I did get outside and do a little weeding yesterday, more than I should have actually. I won't be doing that again anytime soon...but it looked so bad, I had to do something. I just went out to pull one or two weeds and ended up pulling a bunch of them and then was too tired to put the piles into a bag. My husband was not too happy with me when he had to go outside and finish it because he had already showered, from having worked outside earlier and being all hot and sweaty and it was really hot and humid here yesterday. At times, I'm feeling a bit stir crazy around here but then I feel too tired to get out and do anything. So I guess I'm taking it easy for a few more days. Jana is staying with us until Saturday, for which I am very thankful.

The boys continue to improve. Nick seems like is really back to normal, although Ben may still be a little more insecure than before my hospital stay. Our efforts at slowing Ben down with his eating are really working well. They had a sandwich yesterday for lunch and we cut the bites in half the size they would normally be and only gave him half of them to start with (he looked at the dish and immediately said "more?". He got over that though and it really worked well. He and Nick finished about the same time. We only gave Ben half of his oatmeal to start with this morning and both boys have gotten to where they really like cheerios on their oatmeal. This actually helps because it means Ben has to stop and chew the oatmeal/cheerios, where normally he just swallowed the oatmeal right down and shoveled in another bite. Having only half as much in his bowl also prevented him from getting the large spoonfuls he normally got. All in all, it slowed him down so much that he didn't finish all of his oatmeal this morning, which was great because we were normally giving Ben more than we give Nick and Nick never finishes his. I think this new plan was just what we needed and Ben is not frustrated by always hearing "no more", when his brother is not even half way finished eating. Of course, we let them have as much of the veggies as they want and they are likely to fill up on them and not want any else if we let them. It is quite amusing to watch. Jana was amazed at how they ate broccoli and are now requesting it by name (only a mother could understand it though:).

My mom is not tolerating her first chemo treatment well. Her blood pressure has dropped and, even though she is not taking her blood pressure medicine, it is staying too low. My brother and sister are staying with her around the clock because she is pretty much spending the majority of her time in bed. She feels very very achey and does not feel up to sitting up for more than 15 or 20 minutes, maybe once a day. I'm not sure how well she is eating; I'll have to ask about that. My sister called the 24 hour on-call nurse hot line today and was asking about changing mom's antibiotic (protects her from infection while her white blood count is low from the chemo). She is taking the same one I was taking, that has a ton of bad side effects, although she is on a lower dosage. The hope is that maybe some of the achey-ness would go away if she could switch to a different antibiotic. They may have to adjust her chemo treatment to fix her low blood pressure.

I hope they are able to work through these issues so mom can tolerate the treatments better. I think if they cannot make it a bit more tolerable, she won't take the treatments. I can understand though. If she spends the entire three months in bed, she won't be able to walk. They really have to do something. Thanks for your continued prayers.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

August 4, 2007 Part 2

We took 6 month measurements of the boys today. The first official measurements we took was about one week after the boys came home, on Feb. 1st. Six months later, on Aug. 1st:

Ben is now 29 pounds (feels like 35:) and 34 and 3/8 inches tall.
Nick is now 24.8 pounds and 33 and 5/8 inches tall.

In this 6 month period, Ben has grown 3.38 inches and has gained 7 pounds.
In this 6 month period, Nick has grown 3.88 inches and has gained 4.8 pounds.

One of the issues I have been concerned about recently is that Ben eats way too fast. He just shovels it in, hardly taking a break between bites or swallowing everything that is in his mouth before adding more to it. He consistently finishes whatever he is eating at least in half the time it takes Nick, if not sooner. I believe he eats so fast that his body does not have the time it needs to register that he is full. He frequently finishes a good size portion of food and then says "more?".

We are now starting to address this in a couple of ways. One of the things I thought of recently is that we need to start giving him smaller portion sizes and cutting up his bites into smaller bites, so that it takes him longer to eat. I tried this today when they had their yogurt snack and it worked well. We have to think of ways to slow him down. He gets very upset if we try to physically do this while he is trying to shovel food into his mouth, so we have to get creative.

When he had his yogurt snack today, I only have him half of the container in his bowl to start with. It was great because, since the amount of yogurt in the bowl was shallower, he could not get these huge spoonfuls that he normally would get. Also, when he finished and asked for more, he was not told no, which is nice. He got the other half of the container, which made him very happy. In the end, he finished his yogurt just before Nick, which was a huge improvement. Normally, Nick is not even half way done when Ben finishes.

The other bad thing about this is that, when Ben finishes, Nick will decid he is finished too, just because he wants to get down and play, since Ben is playing. Or Ben would finish his yogurt and get a cracker and then Nick would not want the left over 60 or 75% of his yogurt, but would want a cracker instead, since Ben was only eating a cracker. I wanted Nick to eat his yogurt because he needed the protein so he wouldn't get hungry during his nap. Also, he is still a little thin and it wouldn't hurt him to eat just a bit more....not to mention all of the yogurt that was going to waste. So, it seems that these slight changes for Ben may have a good impact for Ben and Nick both.

They are both outside playing with Jana right now. They love being outside and love playing on their swing set and slide. It is so cute to watch. I watch from my bathroom window sometimes because I can't stand the heat right now. It makes it harder for me to breathe. It also allows me to have a much needed break, so that's a good thing. I will post some more pics later. Too tired to go get the camera and upload the most recent pics, but we have some cute ones of the boys playing ping pong (I hope those are on my camera).

August 4, 2007

I have lost track of how many days I have been home now. Since my husband is having to work the weekend two weekends in a row, rounding at the hospital for the first half of the day, the days just run together and it gets confusing.

I felt really good yesterday morning, relatively. Today, not so hot. I may have over done it a bit yesterday. They switched my antibiotic yesterday. The first one they put me on had tons of bad side effects. One of them was ruptured tendons and the tendons above my heels had gotten very sore. They didn't want to take that risk and neither did I so they switched me to another antibiotic.

I'm still running a fever, which was my big concern. I talked to my doctor yesterday and he was not concerned about that. He expected it. I asked more questions and he set my expectations better so that was a good thing. I have an appointment for a check and XRay on Monday and I was afraid that if I was still running a fever, they might put me back in the hospital. It seems that's not the case, so I'm OK with it now. My doctor just told me to start taking Tylenol around 6:00pm to keep the fever down, since it normally peaks in the evening/night. I wake up soaking wet around 2:00 or 2:30 because my fever breaks sometime before then. I actually had to get up and change my shirt and put a towel under me a couple of nights. Last night was not quite as bad though, so maybe I am improving.

I am just so very thankful that Jana is here. There is no way I could do this by myself. I don't think they would have let me leave the hospital until someone was here to help, so this was definitely a gift from God.

The boys continue to improve. Nick seems totally back to normal. Ben is still quite clingy and wants to be held a lot. He is funny though because many times, if I sit down with him, he will get down and play. But as soon as I stand up, he runs over and wants me to pick him up. He did this even before I went to the hospital to me and my husband both at times so it is not completely new behavior.

One thing that surprises me is that the boys seem to need more sleep these days. I have been trying to keep to our old schedule but they seem to get too tired and then it is so much harder to get them to bed. I may need to go back to our older schedule of two naps a day for a while. I'm not sure if this is just due to more stress in their lives or what.

My mom had her first chemo session the other day and it went very well. She said she didn't feel anything when they were administering it. It has been a few days now though and, as each day goes by, there is the possibility that more side effects will show up. Thursday and part of Friday she was feeling very very shaky from one of the drugs she has to take. That seems to have gotten better. Today her blood pressure dropped when she got up and went to the kitchen and she fell. My brother was in there with her and tried to lower her gently to the floor but she was too hard for him to hold so I think she did get a bit of a bump and may be a little sore.

Fortunately, my sister is a nurse and my husband is a doctor and we also have a 24 hour number we can call to discuss any issues with a nurse who is knowledgeable on the chemo side effects. So far, I think my sister is just planning to reduce mom's blood pressure meds, if her blood pressure is still low in the afternoon. I am very thankful we have such knowledge available to us. It is reassuring.

It is still unsettling though because, as each day goes by, you just are not sure what new issue may come up and how she is going to be feeling. We are praying that she will tolerate the chemo treatments well and that she won't lose her hair. At this point, I think my sister is actually more worried about the radiation treatment that will follow the chemo than she is the chemo. Please keep mom in your prayers.

Just so you know a little about her, she is one of the most giving and thoughtful people I have ever met in my life. She loves to send people cards and do nice things for people. She has a very gentle and sweet spirit and tends to get her feelings hurt easily. I always feel a bit protective of her. For many years, before I was married, she and I were best buddies. We went on some vacations together, including a trip to San Francisco and another one to Washington D.C. and W. VA. I would go to her house for holidays and usually a week in the summer. We would drive around the little towns and talk about how things had changed and who was doing what these days. In the summer, I would usually do some yard work for her. I enjoyed working in her yard. I will be glad when the boys are a little older and I can start doing things like that for her again. I should be able to next summer, I think.

If you could please keep her in your prayers, we would really appreciate it.