Friday, September 28, 2007

September 28, 2007

Wednesday morning I was awakened at 4:00 am by a very loud thunderstorm. Thursday and Friday mornings I have been awakened by the fog horn that my husband thinks is an alarm clock. I really don't like his alarm clock. It is the loudest alarm clock that I have ever heard. Many days, my husband wakes up by his internal alarm clock, just before the fog horn goes off and he turns it off before it wakes me. I so appreciate that. He must have been very tired these past couple of days. He is a very hard worker and also very diligent about waking up early to work out.

I don't do well without sleep. God blessed me with children who sleep unbelievably well because He knew I could not handle sleeplessness. In the past eight months plus that the boys have been home, I have only had to get up during the night with each of them once. It was two nights in a row and they were both going through terrible fevers. Other than that, they have always slept through the night or put themselves back to sleep if they woke. I am indeed very blessed and very very thankful.

I have been a grouch yesterday evening and again this morning and I am not happy about that....and neither are my husband and children. I am praying that God will give me the strength and self discipline to get rid of this grouchiness and be joyful.

I am still reading The Well-Trained Mind book and I think it is really great. I'm sure I have said this a few times already. I need to write a post about why I think it is so great and I plan to do that (if I remember). Right now, I have things to do to prepare for our trip to Arizona. This will be our first family vacation together and it will also be the first time my husband's family and many of his friends have met our children. I am really looking forward to it. It will be nice for us to get away for a few days.

I must get some things done before the boys wake up from their naps.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

September 27, 2007 Part 2

I was trying to get a few pictures of Nick, while I was trying some of his new clothes on for size. Ben was with me when I was shopping so I tried them on him in the store. Nick likes putting on the new clothes but then does not want to take them off. He was also not very cooperative in my picture taking endeavor.

In this picture, I think he was trying to undo the rolled up pant legs. I have to roll them up a couple of times. I may have to break out the ole' sewing box and tack them in place to get them to stay up. If any of you have an easier solution, I am all ears. I'm not much of a fan of sewing, sadly enough. I wish I was because I would love to be able to sew some dress up costumes for the boys but, oh well. That's the way it is.

So, he started out happy enough and actually posing for my camera work. As you can see, these jeans are pretty big on him. The smallest size that The Children's Place sells in adjustable waist band jeans is 24 months, which are really big on my little guys. But at least they will be able to wear them for a long time.

It didn't take long before he was bored with my picture taking.

When I tried to get him to pose "just once more" for me, this was the response I received. You may not be able to tell very well but he is definitely NOT smiling. Needless to say, I gave up soon after this.

September 27, 2007

Here are a few pictures of Ben's birthday party:

Here is Ben, sitting next to his little teddy bear cake, made from cupcakes. Everyone thought these cupcakes were very yummy and we were all a bit surprised that they were so good because we got them at the Walmart bakery and the ones we have had from there in the past were not that good. The icing was really yummy.

Ben and Nick both really enjoyed it a lot, as you can see from this picture. Of course, here Ben is doing his now famous squinty smile for the camera.

In this picture my nephew Trent is watching Ben play with his new fire truck. My mom gave this to Ben. It is really cute and came with a little book titled "Ben's First Ride". How's that for a perfect gift?

And here, Nick is playing with the cute little guitar that his Papa and Mimi got for Ben.

Ben received several other very cute gifts but these were the only ones that were caught on  camera.

Now for the good discovery. You know how very noisy some toys can be? And, every time you switch the toy to the lower volume level, your child will switch it back to loud? Well, I have figured it out. Two words: Duct tape:). Take a small piece of duct tape and roll it into a small ball with the sticky side outward. Stuff it into the space next to the volume switch, so that it can no longer be switched to the louder mode. You have to make sure that the piece of tape, rolled into a ball, is the right size so it does not stick out once you have stuffed it into place. Duct tape is so very sticky that it will be very difficult to get out and pretty much impossible for a small child, if you have the right amount of duct tape stuff in there.

This won't work for some toys because the volume switch is also the on/off switch. But many toys have a separate switch for the volume and also a separate switch for English/Spanish. Now, some toys are still way to loud, even on the lowest volume. For those toys, I taped right over the speaker with duct tape. I tried taping over just part of the speaker but they were still too loud. Believe it or not, with tape over the entire speaker and the volume on low, the sound from the toy was right at a good level. So far, the boys have not noticed the tape over the speakers. The two toys that I did that to are trucks and the speaker was underneath. The duct tape is so sticky that I think they will have a very hard time getting the tape off when they do eventually notice it.

It is absolutely amazing how loud they make some of these toys. They must test the volume in the middle of the loud factory or something. I have fixed all of our toys that can be fixed and life is much more pleasant around here now:). My husband was very happy about it also.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

September 25, 2007

I have been meaning to post more pictures for a while so here they are in one big post.

I have started putting the boys on the bar stools at the island for their breakfast and snacks. It is really working out very nicely because I can visit with them while I do dishes and clean up. I think they enjoy it and they feel closer to me while I work. When they were sitting at the kitchen table, they would pat the chair next to them and tell me "chair" or "sit" because they wanted me to sit down next to them while they ate. They are not doing that now, so it works out nicely that I can be near them and still get a few things done, while also still talking to them and singing to them while they eat.

My sweet husband brought me these flowers a few days ago. He is a very thoughtful man:). The boys point to them and say "flower" and then point outside and say "tree", over and over again:). These flowers smell wonderful!

The boys were looking so cute on this day that I just had to take a picture of them. I know I'm a bit biased but, aren't they cute?? Ben has started this thing about smiling so much that he squints his eyes almost shut. It's pretty funny. They didn't really want me to take their picture and were not real happy about having to stand still for this, so they did pretty well considering.

Both boys try to open the fridge on a regular basis but, fortunately for us, they are not able to yet:). We have not had to deal with that one yet but they really like to get their little hands in there and play with whatever they can reach when they can sneak by us.

Here is one of the few pictures we have of me with the boys. My husband took this one recently. I am usually the picture taker so we have a ton of pictures of the boys and quite a few with them with my husband, but not so many with me. I don't really like pictures of myself that much though, so I am OK with that:).

The boys are waking up from their nap so I will have to post the rest of the pics later. They took a late nap today because we went to the mall this morning.

More pics to come soon.

Monday, September 24, 2007

September 24, 2007

Yesterday I started wondering what we were doing this time last year because I knew it was around this time that we finally got "the call". So I have spent some time re-reading last year's posts. Wow, what tear jerkers. It doesn't seem like it was that long ago either. I think it was October 3rd of last year when we got "the call". I have read so many of the old posts now that I am not sure but I think that's right.

What really got me tearing up though was all of the prayers, support and encouragement we received from other's and those who had already been there, done that. Things were so busy at the time that I don't think I really appreciated it enough. It was really touching for me to read back through what everyone wrote. Thank you all again for all of your support over the past two years or so. It has really meant a lot to me.

The other thing that stands out so clearly to me is how incredibly blessed we are. Everything with our adoption and during our past 8 months home has gone so very well. We prayed so much for our boys when we were waiting to find out who they were and also between trips and there were so many other people praying for them too. God has answered our prayers and they continue to do so well. They have attached incredibly well. We have never seen any attachment issues. Both of our sons have always made great eye contact, have enjoyed our hugs and kisses and have never seemed to be grieving anyone or anything. They have always seemed so happy and content to be with us, wherever we are and they are both very healthy.

And what a wonderful blessing they are! When I look back at the early pictures, I just can't believe how much they have changed in 8 months. They are so sweet and such good friends to each other. They really have a lot of fun together. I know it is a risk to adopt two children at the same time, in the event that one or both of them have major issues. We are very blessed that neither of our children have had any issues and I am so happy that they have each other. I really enjoy watching them play together and it is so much fun to watch their personalities emerge. They really enjoy each other a lot and we enjoy them immensely.

I sometimes remember back to sitting in their empty room and trying to envision what it would be like when they were home. I did not even come close to imaging what it would be like. I have had some major adjustment to go through myself and sometimes it has been a challenge for me. It took some adjustment for me to get used to not having much personal time. That was the hardest thing for me.  We went through a lot of sickness for a while that was really trying for me also.  I think I probably went through some feelings of depression a couple of times during the first 6 months but it didn't last long and was not very severe, thankfully. I never once questioned whether we had made the right decision or regretted any decisions we had made. My love for our sons has always been increasing, since the day we met them.

Now, I am used to our new routine and so are the boys. I enjoy their company, although there are still times that I pray that they will take an extended nap and give me a longer break....but it is usually when they have been extra cranky/whiny in the morning and it is clear they really need the extra sleep. They are much better about letting me get things done while they play, which has made my life a lot easier. Part of the difficulty when they were first home was that they would really start acting out when I needed to cook dinner, or something like that. Now, they normally play pretty well together during these times and they understand that "I have to cook dinner so we will have something to eat when daddy gets home", or "I am fixing you a sandwich to eat". They get what that means now so they normally don't fight for my attention when I am doing these sorts of things.

After reading last year's posts, I ended up feeling like I have been complaining too much, since the boys came home, and that I have not been thankful enough for what we have. The reality is that I frequently think about the fact that I feel like I am living my dream right now. I am happily married to a wonderful, thoughtful, Christian husband. We have two beautiful, happy, healthy, sweet little sons and I get to be a stay at home mom, which was always a dream of mine. We are living near my family, so I get to see them much more often than I have been able to for about the past 20 years. We really like our church. We have a comfortable home, where it is a joyful place to raise our sons. Yes, I am an older mom and am dealing with some back problems but the flip side of that is that I have already been there and done that with the career thing, am happy to be out of corporate life and appreciate my new life so much more because of having been through the career ladder/corporate life thing, and we have had time to save our money so we can live debt-free, comfortably and not worry about having enough money to live on one income.

The best thing of all is that I have a wonderful, loving Heavenly Father, who is always there for me, no matter what I am going through. He never gives up on me, even when I forget to pray or read the Bible or act unbecoming-like. He is always willing to forgive me and give me a new start. He has given me the desires of my heart, even better yet, He has made the desires of my heart to be those things that He desires for me. He brings me blessings every day and I am so very thankful, most of all, for Him.

There are some days when I don't feel as if I have been a very good mother. But when that happens, I wake up the next day and am comforted by the thought that each day is a new day and I have another chance to do better. I think God is a lot like that. We have our good days and our bad days but He gives us new chances to do better each day and He is rooting for us to do better, to be more like Christ, each day. I thank God for all the blessings He has given me. I thank God that I am living my dream.

My life is not perfect but it is pretty close:).

Sunday, September 23, 2007

September 23, 2007

We have been very busy the past couple of days with all of our social activities. We went to dinner with two other families from our church Bible study class on Friday and we all had a really nice time. The boys behaved wonderfully the whole evening. They are such a delight.

The first half of yesterday was spent running errands. This time we split up. My husband put the third car seat in his car (for the first time) and he took Nick and I took Ben to run our errands. We had been discussing that we really need to start spending one on one time with the boys and this is a good start.

The other benefit of this is, oh my goodness!, how much easier and faster it is to run errands with only one of the boys with me!! I couldn't believe it. Ben and I went to Tuesday Morning to pick up a couple of things that I needed, then to another place to buy my mega bottle of hair spray, then to the mall to buy some clothes for the boys at The Children's Place, then to Walmart to pick up the birthday cake. I could never, ever have done all of those things with both of the boys, especially the amount of time we spent at The Children's Place. It was so nice, although, poor little Ben was getting pretty tired by the time we got home....but that was OK because it was time for his nap.

I stumbled into a wonderful sale at The Children's Place. I ended up getting four pairs of jeans at $11 each, which I thought was pretty good, although I'm not sure that was a sale price. I should have asked because, if it was, I would have gotten two more. I also got four long sleeve shirts each for the boys at $7 each, which was wonderful. Two of them are really nice rugby shirts. I stopped by Baby Gap on my way out and they had almost the exact same rugby shirt for $20 each. I think I got great deals and my husband was very happy about it too.

The birthday cake was really cute and very tasty. It was a teddy bear 'cake' made of cupcakes. Some of them were white cake and some were chocolate and they were all covered with chocolate icing (lots of it). It had a ribbon around it's neck and was very cute. Unfortunately I could not find any napkins or plates with teddy bears but, oh well, Ben didn't notice and he kept quacking at the ducks on the plates and napkins, which was cute.

The birthday party was a lot of fun. It was very informal because we are pretty informal people. There were no invitations sent out and pretty much anyone who wanted to come came. My oldest brother came, which was a very nice surprise. I had not seen or talked to him in a while and didn't know he was coming. It was so nice to see him. My niece, Aubrey, came and then my sister's family was there, of course, since we had it at her house:). So it was a small, informal gathering and everyone had a fun time, watching Ben blow out his candle and open his gifts.

He was so cute when we were singing happy birthday to him. He was sitting on the table, next to his cake, and everyone was gathered around the table, singing to him. He had the cutest, most precious little closed-mouth grin on his face, kind of shy like but happy that everyone was singing to him. It was really adorable. I taught him how to blow out a candle before we went to the party. It was the first time either of the boys had ever seen a candle lit. They were very into blowing them out. So he did very well at that and then he stuck his little finger in the icing of one of the cupcakes and put it into his mouth. It was too cute and perfect timing. Everyone laughed and took lots of pictures.

He really liked the cupcakes and ice cream. I was eating it with him and helping him and he would give me the funniest looks when I would take a bite. Between the two of us, we ate two cupcakes and lots of ice cream and I really don't think I ate that much!

The boys were both very into opening the presents. The first preset opened was a fire truck and Ben was very into playing with it and kept going back to it. He was mildly distracted by having to open other presents. Nick was very into opening each present. He was a big help to his brother and even opened one of them himself, I think.

They had a great time and it was a lot of fun. Pictures to come soon. Must get ready for church now:).

Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007

We changed our hair cutting approach. We had been cutting hair upstairs, sitting a child on the bathroom counter, and it wasn't ideal, to say the least. Here is our new approach. The boys are watching a DVD:). Yes, we are breaking our no-TV rule for the sake of happy hair least for now. We are going to have to invest in a couple of DVD's which will be saved especially for hair cutting purposes, as they were watching the Potty Time DVD this time, over and over again. I want to save that DVD for when we are ready to potty train but it sure did the trick for this hair cutting event.

This is also the typical face we see when a DVD is turned on at our house (when we are sick or when we traveled to Kansas City and Oklahoma City)...mouths dropped open and a continuous stare at the TV. It's a scary thing.

This picture is Ben, ready for his hair cut. This little guy has a LOT of hair so it takes a bit longer to cut his hair and he gets a bit impatient with us by the time we are finished...even with the DVD, although it was not nearly as bad as when we were doing it in the bathroom without any entertainment.

And here is Nick, ready for his hair cut. His hair is still coming in and getting thicker every day, but it is still fairly thin so his hair cut does not take very long. He was really looking forward to getting in the chair with the cape though. It was funny. We may need to consider doing his hair first next time, since he is so into it. He thought it was great fun to kick up the cape, while daddy was trying to take his picture. I'm not sure what he was looking at though.

The following two pictures are from the high school football game we went to last weekend. My niece, Jana, was the senior attendant at the coronation. This first picture is Jana with Ben. That's me (with the curly hair and jean jacket) and my brother-in-law (with the red shirt with blue and white stripes and the baseball cap) in the background.

And this picture is Jana with Nick. Looks like he was told to show his "happy face" for this picture.

Don't I have a pretty niece? Actually, I have several of them but Jana looked extra pretty on this night, all dressed up for the coronation....and the really great thing is that she is as pretty on the inside as she is on the outside.

Here are the boys, sporting their new sneakers. They have worn sandals for so long, I don't think they remember what it was like to wear real shoes and these are actually their first pair of sneakers. So they have been very excited about their new sneakers. They love running around in them on the hardwood floors and stomping and jumping in them. The other day when we were getting ready to go shopping, when Nick saw that I had gotten their sandals out, he asked to wear his sneakers instead. Ben is always the first to ask to take them off when we get back home. He is very hot natured.

Here is Nick on his tricycle. They love their trikes but they have not figured out how to pedal yet.

And here is Ben on his tricycle. They are learning to get on and off and still need some help. These things turn over too easily.

This is what they spend most of their time doing. It's pretty funny to watch. They steer them all over the driveway and try to push them up onto the grass and even into those two big evergreens.

We had some really nice, cool weather last weekend and on Monday. It was so refreshing. We are back into summer this week but I have a feeling it is not for long. I am so excited to see the fall! I am still new to the seasons and I love switching from one to the next. It is even more special now, since I also get to see the seasons through the eyes of my precious sons.

Aren't they just too cute?!!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

September 20, 2007

Today we had our first official play date. Another doctor and his wife and two sons just moved here from Texas and I had met them a few weeks ago. They are now settled in so we invited them over today for a play date. It was nice because this mom just moved here and doesn't know very many people yet and, even though we moved here over a year and a half ago, I have not been very good about getting to know people here so it was nice that we could get together. I really enjoyed visiting with her and her 2 year old son (D) and my two sons played really well together. Her other son is only 3 months old and boy is he a cutey. I enjoyed holding him.

Actually, Nick enjoyed playing with D a lot and wanted to do everything he did. Ben was kind of funny about it. He kind of stayed off by himself and played on his own. They were all in the sandbox for only a few minutes before Ben got out and started playing in the yard on his own. The entire time they were here, he mostly stayed away from the other two and played by himself. I'm not sure what was up with that. He and Nick always play really well together. I found it very interesting and was kind of sad for him because I felt like he might be a little sad that Nick was playing with D. I could be wrong about that though. He would come over to the adults for attention every once in a while and I held him a few times and he seemed pretty happy and content and he was smiley, so I'm not really sure what was going through his mind. He is a bit of an introvert so maybe that's all it was. Maybe he does better one on one, rather than in a group of three.

The boys all played outside, while we sat and watch them and visited. My good friend Francie came over to join us. The play date was actually her suggestion, although I was already thinking the same thing:). We sat on the patio, under the ceiling fan (it was a bit warm out), and then eventually made our way back inside the house for lunch. The boys sat at the little kids table and they were pretty much finished eating before the adults began. When Nick saw me eating, he wanted into his booster seat at the big table and then he preceded to eat everything in sight, when he had previously said he was finished so he could run and play with D. I was glad to see him eating so much. He needs to put on a couple of pounds.

We had a very nice first play date. It really could not have gone better, so that was great. The other great thing is that now my house is very clean, I have already eaten, the boys are napping and I have some free time to do whatever I want:). Yay!

We are going out to dinner with two other families from our church Bible study class tomorrow evening, which will be fun, and on Saturday evening we will have a small get together to celebrate Ben's birthday with my family. In another week or so, we will be heading to Arizona for a week, which I am really looking forward to. I think it will be a really fun time for us all and I am looking forward to introducing the boys to my husband's family and friends, most especially to his sister:).

I received the latest homeschooling book I recently ordered. It is titled "100 Top Picks For Homeschool Curriculum" and subtitled "Choosing the right curriculum and approach for your child's learning style". I read quite a bit of it on Amazon, as the Search Inside feature seemed to be broken and allowed me to read more than normal. I didn't feel bad about continuing to read it though, since I had already ordered it:). It looks like it will be a pretty good book...hopefully it will anyway. If anyone has read this book, I would love to hear your thoughts about it.

And now, I am going to read for a little while until my cute little guys wake up from their nap.

Monday, September 17, 2007

September 17, 2007 Part 2

Yes, I know I am posting like crazy lately. I'm making up for lost time:).

So, the latest thing the boys can do is reach and turn the upper lock on the door that leads to the garage. Although they have not figured this out yet, this also means they can reach and turn the upper lock on the front door. The door that goes outside from the kitchen and the one that goes to the side yard are both too hard to open (they stick) so we are safe there. But, I will be going to Wally World today to buy the big plastic door knob covers for all outside doors, just to be on the safe side. I really dislike those things but they are now necessary. I am teaching them not to play with the doors but I can't trust them 100% yet and it's just to risky for now.

The other thing that seems to be happening now is that the boys seem to be ready to move their nap time out a bit. Since they went from one nap to two, they have been having nap time from 11:00am to 1:00 or 2:00pm, depending on how tired they are. I had tried to move their nap time out once before but gave up when it became apparent that they were not ready for it.

Lately, they have been spending too much time playing in their cribs (they really have a great time!) before falling asleep. So today, they were playing so nicely that I just let them keep playing until they started showing signs of tiredness/crankiness. This happened around 11:45 so I put them down for their nap and they were out very quickly, with very little playing. I'm going to have to start watching them more closely and following their lead for when they need their nap, instead of following my schedule so strictly. I am such a creature of habit kind of person. I like my daily routines and it takes me a while to get used to a new one.

I found this morning to be very interesting. Ben had to stand in the corner several times during and just after breakfast for bad behavior. He can be very stubborn and it tends to take him a bit longer to figure out that certain behaviors will not be tolerated. Nick had to stand in the corner twice. Some of this was because I had become a bit lax on temper tantrums lately and decided we needed to take corrective action today. After this corner time, I sat and read to them for quite a while, which was very nice. They were very into this today. Ben is always into it but Nick is finally starting to let me read to him sometimes. He sat in my lap and wanted me to read four books in a row this morning, which is a shocker for him. He normally prefers to hold the book himself, turn the pages in whatever direction he wants and may turn several at a time, and look at the pictures while pointing to them and either saying what it is or wanting to know the word for it. The good thing is that, even though we haven't read to him as much, his vocabulary is still really good because he likes to identify the pictures. The other thing that was so nice this morning was that they played so well together, after I had spent some time reading to them.

They are really starting to play together so much more now. When they sit in their car seats, they are always handing things back and forth, holding hands and then pulling as hard as they can on each other, talking to each other in their own little language, pointing to pictures in a book and telling each other what they see, etc. They have so much fun and make each other laugh so much that it cracks me up. They used to be so quiet when they were in their car seats. I think those days are over.

I would say that Nick and Ben both have about the same number of words in their vocabulary. When one of them learns a new word, it doesn't take long for the other one to learn it too. They have at least one word that they use between them, when talking to each other, that I can't figure out. They both clearly know what it is and what it means but I can't quite figure it out, which is kind of funny. It is amazing to watch their communication skills explode like this. I know it is normal and this is a normal age for this sort of thing but, since they are my only children, it is the first time I am seeing it first hand and I am constantly amazed at how quickly they learn and how much they want to learn. I was explaining the word "animal" to them today and they both sat quietly and listened to my explanation and then they tried to say the word. It is so fun to watch them learn and to help them. By the time the morning was almost over and it was time for their nap, I was thinking "man, I sure have talked a lot this morning!". They are really into talking ALL THE TIME now and I really love it. One of the things I love about it is that I really get to start seeing more of their personalities emerge, as they talk more and they are just too cute! They both have a great sense of humor.

One funny thing that happened yesterday was that the boys wanted to go outside but it was time for their snack. So I suggested we take their snack outside and eat at the table on the patio and they really liked that idea. But then I realized that it was closer to dinner time and I really needed to fix something more substantial or they would be hungry at bedtime. So it took me longer to fix them something to eat than I had anticipated. So, thinking they would forget what I had said about eating outside, since they normally don't remember things like that for very long and can be easily distracted, I started to put them at the kitchen table to eat. Nick got upset and ran to the door. He clearly had not forgotten, so that was a new one for me. I will have to watch what I say from now on because it won't be as easy to distract them and change plans. Needless to say, mommy kept her word and they ate outside on the patio.

They are spending more time on one activity and they are starting to pretend more, which is very cute. I would so like to get them a bunch of dress up clothes, like for a firefighter, a police officer, a cowboy and a doctor, for instance, but I was looking at what Toys-R-US had the other day and the outfits were about $20 each. I was shocked! I may have to get creative on this one, although that may be a challenge since I don't sew. If anyone has some ideas, please let me know.

September 17, 2007

I promised to post some pics a number of posts ago so here they are.

The boys like to gather up a few books, climb up into chairs at the table and sit and look at their books. It is very cute to watch. They talk ALL the time now and their vocabulary is huge, although they are still not using two words together, other than a few things like "big bear" or "nite nite" that they learned more as one word in the beginning. I did get Nick to say "night night Nick" into the mirror last night, so maybe we are close. Normally when I ask them to repeat something I say using two words, they only say the second word. One of their favorite words now is "another". Ben especially uses this word all the time, pointing to a tree in a book, saying "tree" and then pointing to every other tree in the book and saying "another, another, etc.". He does this over and over again about everything, including pointing to birds when we are sitting at a stop light. It still takes a mom to understand much of what they are saying, although their speech is getting clearer every day.

The other thing that Ben especially seems to have figured out is the power of saying words in just the right way when requesting something to touch the heart of the person of whom it is requested. Yesterday we were all outside and enjoying the cool evening weather. We had eaten outside and the boys were playing in their sandbox and with their other outdoor toys, when Ben decided he wanted to go to the backyard and play on the swingset. My husband and I were sitting at the table on the patio, enjoying the peaceful evening while he was reading and I was writing a summary of all of the information I have been collecting for the lifebooks. So I told Ben to stay with us in the sideyard and play with his toys / sandbox there and that we were not going into the backyard right now, unless daddy wants to go with you. They can't go by themselves yet because they are not quite steady enough on the slide and could easily fall and they really wanted to swing and cannot do that alone yet. Ben had been standing there, pointing towards the backyard and saying "peeeze" in the sweetest little pleading voice. So when I said "unless daddy wants to go with you", he promptly said "daaaaady" in the same sweet little pleading voice and daddy couldn't resist it. If he had said mommy in that same voice, I couldn't have resisted it either:). But I enjoyed my quiet time while they were in the backyard.

These last two pictures, you can see the posters I mentioned (in a prior post) that I had bought at the Christian book store. The boys enjoy looking at them, pointing to the various shapes, colors and the alphabet and trying to state what each of them are. I think Ben is probably a visual leaner because he seems to pick this stuff up pretty quickly. Nick may be more of a hands on learner but I'm not quite sure yet.

Nick's clothes were in the dryer because this was the day the boys played outside in the pouring rain.

Yesterday I ordered a book determining learning styles (and teaching styles) and it also covers how to use this information to help select the best homeschooling approach. I am still reading "The Well Trained Mind" also.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

September 16, 2007 Part 2

I have been procrastinating on finding a babysitter. I have used every excuse in the book to delay this but I know it is something we really need to do and I know it is something God wants us to do. My husband and I need to have a date night once in a while. We need to get out, just the two of us, and spend a little time together once in a while. We have only been married for a little over 2.5 years. We need some time to go to dinner and to a movie a couple of times a month or so. But then, I have a hard time leaving the boys. I am OK leaving them with my sister but it is hard to think of leaving them with someone we don't know. So I have had a hard time with this.

When we took the boys to their Sunday School class this morning, I was talking with one of their teachers and happened to mention this to her...that we really need to find a babysitter. I'm not sure why that came up but it did and I am so happy it did. She is such a sweet lady and her daughter also helps out in their class and she is a very sweet person too. I have talked with them both in the past about homeschooling because they homeschool too. Anyway, the mom mentioned that her daughter babysits so we discussed it (me, the mom and the daughter), they don't live far from us and, WOW, we now have a babysitter! And not just any babysitter. She seems very responsible and very sweet with children and we have been able to observe her with the kids at various times in the boy's class, which is also nice.

This is definitely a God thing! He just knows how to work things out the best way possible. I really had not been comfortable with finding a do you KNOW that they will be good with your kids. I kept thinking, maybe after the boys can talk better, so we will know how it went and how they liked the babysitter. But this is perfect. It couldn't get any better than this. I know I could leave the boys with this babysitter and would feel perfectly comfortable that they were being well cared for, that she was playing with them and they were having a fun time. And I love her mom too, which is great. So, if she was ever unsure of anything and didn't want to bother us on our date, I know she could call her mom for advice and she would be receiving very good advice. And they go to our church! And the boys already know her from their class!! How much better could this be??

I am still planning to have her come over and play with the boys for an hour or two before she babysits for us, so they will know her better and in the context of our home. I think that will make them feel more comfortable (and me) and it will also make things easier because I can show her where everything is and tell her about our routines.

The other great thing about our new babysitter is that she is homeschooled. So, she can babysit during school hours on certain days also, because she schools during whatever hours she wants to school. By the time most homeschoolers get into highschool, they are mostly self-teaching, except in the difficult subjects where they might need some special tutoring or labs or something. But she told us that she babysits during the days some too.

Is this great or what?? God is so good. Sometimes I really need a shove and He is just so good to do it so gently!!

September 16, 2007

Sorry I have not posted for a few days. We have just been out and about, doing life. We had a memorable event to attend on Friday evening. My niece, Jana (the one who stayed with us for 10 days when I was recovering from pneumonia), was the senior attendant at her high school coronation. So the boys went to their first ever high school football game the other night.

Actually, this was the first time they were in a large crowd, and a noisy large crowd at that! It was also the first time they saw and heard a live band. And, from what I can remember, it was the first time they were out that far past their bed time (yes, we need to get out more:).

They were in total awe of everything, with big round eyes and mouths hanging open. But they did not seem at all scared, just very interested, and they seemed to have a good time. It was an hour and a half drive each way and we actually only stayed through the coronation and the very beginning of the game. By then, it was already 8:00pm and we still had the 1.5 hour return drive, plus my husband and I had not eaten dinner and were very hungry so we headed for a drive thru and then headed home. The boys fell asleep very quickly and slept the entire way home. When we got home, we brought them in, changed their diapers and put them to bed in the shirts they were wearing and they went right back to sleep.

They are still such good little sleepers. I really think that having them both in the same room helps them to sleep better, most of the time. If one wakes up, they can look over and see the other one and I think it gives them a sense of security and helps them feel that everything is right with their little world and they can go back to sleep. This is my theory, although I also realize that God probably thought I could not handle sleep issues so He is giving me a big break.

Nick has had some eating issues of late, although we are hoping he is getting better. On Friday, he started crying when he ate and complaining of pain in his mouth. He would start crying with a mouth full of food and quickly become choked, which really scared him (and me), and that would make him cry more. After this happened twice, I told him not to cry or he would get choked and he understood and became much more careful about it after that. (They are both understanding an amazing amount now days.) He hardly ate anything all day Friday and Saturday and I was really worried about him. He is already a skinny little boy, at only 25% on the weight chart, in comparison to his peers. My husband and I both looked in his mouth several times, trying to see what was hurting him but we could not see anything. We were prepared to take him to a dentist tomorrow but he seems to be much better today. He ate a lot for breakfast and lunch and he only complained once at lunch but kept eating (after getting a bit upset and pushing everything away from him). We are still planning to get both boys into the dentist soon though. They have enough teeth that they should really go anyway. But I'm relieved to see that he is eating again.

We all went to church today, yay!! We are all healthy for a change, yay!! I am praying that the boys did not catch anything at church today. We actually stopped and washed their hands as we were leaving church today. This may help a little but I tend to think that they had probably already put their little fingers in their mouths some before we got to them....but you never know.

I went shopping for toys yesterday, since we have two birthdays coming up soon. Ben will be two at the end of this month and Nick will be two six weeks later. It was fun shopping but it is not easy to find the really good, educational toys. I bought several toys by Melissa & Doug. They make some really good educational wooden type toys that are really nice. I still need to buy a couple more toys for Nick's birthday and, when I do, I am going to go ahead and buy their Christmas toys at the same time so I won't have to deal with the Christmas crowds as much.

I also went to a very large used bookstore yesterday, looking for books on learning styles and homeschooling. The used bookstore didn't have anything I was looking for but I did buy 4 or 5 books for the boys at really good prices. They have a lot of $1 and $2 kids books, which is great.

I'm sure there is lots more that we did since I last posted but I can't remember any of it:). I'm not sure if this is due to aging or two toddler boys...maybe both.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

September 8, 2007

...and I'm loving it! I'm not doing much of anything today, except playing with the boys, reading and now updating this blog. It makes for a very relaxing day.

It was pouring down rain earlier today and the boys wanted to go outside. So they had their first day of really playing in the rain. They had the best time. Nick was laughing and running around and even climbed into the little pool, although he didn't sit down and I was kind of happy about that. I emptied out the pool last weekend and it is probably at least 1/3rd full already, just after rain from the past couple of days and today. Our rain gauge was even full today. Ben pushed the play lawnmower around and really didn't seem to notice the rain at all. They were both very funny to watch and my husband taped them, which is great because we have not been very good about getting the boys on DVD.

I am currently reading several good books: The Well-Trained Mind and Things We Wish We'd Known" are both about homeschooling. War of the Worldviews is about the culture war between two worldviews, the Biblical worldview of history VS the secular view, which promotes evolution. I am also reading The Fruit of the Spirit, which I desperately need, along with a lot more prayer time, on which I am working.

I am very into reading and learning about homeschooling these days. The boys are not quite two yet but I still find myself drawn to learn more about it. The more I read about it, the more excited I become about being able to do this with my sons. I feel so fortunate that there is so much information out there and so many blogs by moms who are doing this every day already. So much to learn and so little time.....actually, I have plenty of time to learn it before the boys are school age but I tend to want to learn everything and read everything NOW. I would like to find a good book about determining learning styles of children and also one about the various education styles. There is so much information available on homeschooling these days, it can be a bit overwhelming at first. Hopefully, since I am investigating it early, I will be ready when the time comes.

Yesterday, I made a trip to our local Christian bookstore, which is an awesome bookstore, and I bought three posters. One is very colorful and has shapes, another has the alphabet and the other one has the colors that are in the small pack of crayons. I hung the first two in our kitchen, where we spend a lot of time, and the third one is in the library. The boys really like looking at them. It's great because, while I am cleaning up the kitchen or preparing a meal and the boys are playing nearby, I can ask them "where is the letter B"' or "point to the circle". They love doing this so I think it will be a good way for them to learn these things.

I also found a great book on active devotions for children birth to three. They mix small Bible verses and prayers with a cute little activity that will have a rhyme or song to go with it, along with a little game, such as paddy cake or something like that. I thought it might be a good way to start setting aside some family time for devotions. We can start out with a very short amount of time and then build on it as the boys get older but at least we would be setting aside some time for this starting when they are young. We already do some reading from a bedtime book or their toddler Bible story book and we say a prayer but they are normally very tired by that time so it is short and sweet and it is not really a devotions time but more of a bedtime routine.

Boys are waking from their nap so I must go. I have some pictures to post but will post them later.

Friday, September 07, 2007

September 7, 2007

For your homeschoolers out there, how did you go about deciding on which educational style and/or curriculum(s) to use? I know there are books available which describe the various educational styles and I plan to do some research on the Internet but if you have any tips or thoughts that you feel were important when you were making this decision or lessons learned, I would love to hear about them.

In other news, the boys and I went to my sister's house yesterday to visit with her and my mom and we also got to see my niece, Jana, and my nephew, Trent, for a few minutes too, which was nice.

The boys were so excited to see "MaMa" and "Kat-y" (her name is Kathy but they can't pronounce the "th" sound yet. They pronounce the "a" as you would when saying "Kathy" though so it does not sound like Katy) that they did not sleep at all on the way there. This was a first...and NOT a good first. I was so bummed that they were not sleeping. But they were so cute. They would hold hands across the back seat and then pull as hard as they could on each other's hands while making these grunting sounds. Yep, all boy! They were making all kinds of noises with their mouths and noting every large truck and bus that we passed.

An aside of a funny story. I have recently noticed that when Nick sees a bus, in a picture, while playing with the toy bus we have or in real life, it sounds like he calls it "beep beep". For several days, when he would say this, I would say, "yes, that is a bus", "can you say bus?" and he would try to say it and it did not sound like "beep beep". It took me a while to figure this out but I finally figured out why he calls buses beep beep. The boys have a really cute book that is called "My Car". It starts out "My name is Sam", "This is my car". It goes on to tell how he loves his car and takes good care of his car, changing the oil, etc. and how he drives it everywhere. Toward the end, it says he drives his car to work "and, when I work" (turn the page), "I drive my bus" (shows a picture of the guy in a bus). Then you turn to the last page and it says "beep beep" and shows a picture of houses and a street with lots of cars, trucks and this guy's bus. It is a funny, cute book and the boys love it. So, I think I finally figured out why Nick calls all buses "beep beep".

Anyway, back to our story. They didn't sleep at all during our drive but they still did very well during our visit. They had a fun time, playing with everyone and it was so nice to see my mom and sister again. Mom is doing very well right now and, other than her lack of hair (she wears scarves and a wig) and a little bit of shaking in her hands, you would never know she was taking chemo. She will have her next (third of four) treatment on Tuesday so the week or week and a half after that will be rough again. Overall, she is really doing well with this now, I think.

When we left, it didn't take long at all for the boys to fall asleep. The funny thing was that B fell asleep before N, which was a first. I have never seen this happen before. I happened to look back there and saw B asleep and N, leaning forward in his seat, staring at B as if he was trying to figure out what he was doing. It was really funny. N had never seen B fall asleep first so he was trying to figure out what B was doing. I think N was asleep within about 3 minutes after that and they both slept most of the way home. Even then, they only had about a one hour nap all day, which is not enough for them so they went to bed early last night.

We are suppose to have a rainy weekend here, which is fine with me. After such a hot summer, the rain is nice. The boys and I got rained on twice the other day, while out running errands. They thought it was great fun. We were at the Border's bookstore and an older gentleman gave us a gift card for $16.80, which was so nice. He requested that we check out a web site so I still have to do that. I only had to pay fifty cents for a book and some alphabet flash cards:). Yay!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

September 4, 2007

We are all in the process of getting over our colds and even squeezed some fun into our three day weekend. The boys still have very runny noses and have mixed feelings about having them wiped frequently VS letting it run down onto their lips and then eating it:). I prefer the former:).

Monday we spent most of our day outside, enjoying the beautiful day. It was really nice and the boys always love playing outside. I don't think Nick would ever be ready to come inside, if it was left up to him.

Yesterday and today, we have had / are having cloudy, drizzley days and we had a little bit of thunder thrown in yesterday morning. It makes for nice, slow kind of relaxing days....the kind where you might consider forgetting all house work and curling up with a book during nap time:).

Yesterday, I received a book I had ordered from Amazon called "The Well-Trained Mind". I started reading it last night and am finding it very very interesting. The author recommends the book "Slow and Steady, Get Me Ready", which I ordered at the same time (thanks again for that recommendation Tonya!). I haven't received that one yet but I am really looking forward to it now. My husband and I have always thought we would like to home school our children so I am excited about learning about the different education styles and also learning about what I should be doing now to prepare us. The Well-Trained Mind explains how to go about teaching your children to read at an earlier-than-normal age (before they would normally start school), which I am very interested in also.

Onto another subject. Yesterday morning, the boys were playing in the bean box and I was in the laundry room, when I heard Ben start crying, as if he was hurt. He was rubbing his head and crying and I could not figure out what happened exactly, since he was just playing in the bean box with Nick (there's a clue). I sat down and rocked him, while watching Nick continue to play in the bean box, as if nothing was wrong (there's another clue; he is usually very compassionate and concerned if Ben is crying).

I have to add a little history here. Monday, we were getting ready to run an errand, when Nick was running in the living room. He fell and hit his eyebrow on the edge of the molding along the floor. I was around the corner and did not see what happened but he came to me crying and already had a bluish area appearing on his eyebrow (it looks better today but his eyelid is a bit swollen and on it's way to turning black and blue). I held him and calmed him down and, when he was feeling a little better, I asked him to show me what he hit his eyebrow on. He immediately showed me so I understood what had happened and also realized he is sure understanding a lot these days.

Back to Ben's injury yesterday. So, Ben is upset, rubbing his head and Nick seems unconcerned, which is really unlike him. I asked Nick what Ben hit his head on and he patted one of the metal bowels in the bean box (don't you just love the honesty of children of this age?). Putting two and two together, I believe that brother Nick hit brother Ben on the head with the metal bowel, probably because he was not getting his way with something. However, I didn't see it so I was not positive. I did ask Nick if he hit Ben on the head and he didn't respond but I gave him a toddler-style lecture on how that is not nice and it hurts.

Move forward an hour or so. I was cleaning up after snack time in the kitchen while the boys were playing in the living room. Ben was happily minding his own business, standing in front of a chair, where he had placed a book through which he is looking. I heard Ben start crying again, loudly as if he is again hurt, and I glanced up just in time to see Nick whack Ben once more on the head before running away with a little wooden hammer in his hand. This little hammer has a square block of wood for the hammer part so I am sure that being hit in the head with it didn't feel very good. At least this time I caught the child in the act and was able to take action so that said child now knows without question that this behavior is not acceptable. I also gave him a more serious toddler-style lecture about how he hurt his brother and this is not nice, while he was sitting on a little stool in time-out.

I find it so surprising that a child who normally displays so much compassion would do this type of thing. It just seems so odd. If Ben is crying while having his diaper changed, Nick will quickly hand him several different toys or books. If Ben is crying while standing in the corner, Nick will point towards him and make sounds, indicating he is very concerned. Nick does not normally like to hear Ben cry. Hopefully this is a behavior that will pass quickly.

Not long after the boys were home, we had a biting incident two days in a row. We never had a problem with it again, most likely because the child who was bitten on the first day returned the bite on the second day:).

Well, my little roughhousers are awake so I had better go get them up. Have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

September 1, 2007

...we are all sick and we caught it from Nick who caught it from church. We had not been in 4 weeks. We missed three weeks because of my hospital stay and recovery from pneumonia. We missed the fourth week because we wanted to visit my mom, who is taking chemo and can't be around anyone sick, and my grandmother, who is 96, was in the hospital with a broken pelvis and didn't need to be around anyone sick either. We finally made it back to church last Sunday and now we are all sick again.

A side note: I'm not sure if I mentioned that my husband taught our Bible study class last Sunday and he did an awesome job. That is the first time I have heard him teach or speak in front of a group and he is definitely gifted at it.

Back to the subject at hand: The boys both have very runny noses and Nick is coughing some, especially at night. Ben is a day or two behind him so his nose just started running yesterday. My husband is feeling like he is fighting it. I started having achey-ness and fever yesterday evening, took something for it and then woke up at 4:30am, freezing from chilling and very achey again. I still feel pretty badly and my body hurts so I have been resting this morning and my husband is entertaining the boys. This is bringing back terrible and way-to-recent memories of my horrible experience with the pneumonia.

I can't believe I am sick AGAIN. I had really just starting feeling normal again this past week, with my energy level back again. Hopefully this won't last long.

The good news is that we have a three day weekend this weekend. Hopefully I will feel much better tomorrow and will be able to enjoy it with my family.

The other good news is that my husband is taking off on Friday of the upcoming week also. So he only has a three day work week and we will have another three day weekend, which is wonderful.

My mom is now feeling better and should remain this way until after her next chemo treatment. She and my sister may come to visit us on Thursday, if we are over our sickness. Hopefully we will all be well by then, as it seems like it has been way too long since we have seen them.